EFP 91: From The LAPD To A Multi-Million Dollar Empire (With Tim Bourquin)

Justin Cooke

April 24, 2014

Tim Bourquin from AfterOffers.comHow did a cop with the LAPD end up building an empire and selling multiples businesses for millions of dollars? You’re going to like this week’s episode…

Introducing Tim Bourquin of After Offers

This week we have Tim Bourquin on our podcast. Tim is the co-founder of AfterOffers.com, a platform that allows visitors to subscribe to your email list shortly after subscribing to another website in the same industry as you. He’s launched and sold several other online startups and also failed on a few. His story on how he got there is incredibly interesting.

Today, Tim and I talk about his days as a police officer before he became an entrepreneur, how he started making $1,000 every day from an “eBook” back in 1996/97, his multi-million dollar exit, and several other exciting stories. We’ll even talk about some of his failures and what he’s up to lately.

If you want to be inspired and walk away with practical business advice from someone who has seen it all then this is a great episode for you.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

 Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • How Tim made $1K per day from his “eBook” in 1996/97 and made a multi-million dollar business out of it.
  • The progression from a few people meeting every weekend to a 2,600-person trade show.
  • Tim’s multi-million dollar exits and his $150K loss on an idea.
  • How do you know when it’s time to sell and how long does it take to know if your idea is a winner/loser?
  • The backstory on Tim’s latest project, AfterOffers.

Mentions:

Quotables:

  • “The earlier you monetize the more you set your tone that your content is valuable and is worth something.” – Tim Bourquin – Tweet This!

What do you think of Tim’s stories? Do you have any questions for him? Share them with us on SpeakPipe or comment below and we’ll make sure you get answered by Tim himself!

 


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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 1795 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.

Speaker 2:                           Without the bullshit.

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

Justin Cooke:                     Welcome to episode 91 of the Empire Flippers podcast. I’m your host, Justin Cooke, and I’m here with my business partner extraordinaire, Joe hot money, Magnotti. What’s gone on buddy?

Joe Magnotti:                    Hello everybody.

Justin Cooke:                     We’ve got a great episode lined up for you this week. We’re talking to Tim who used to be in the LAPD, as part of a gang unit guy, creates an Ebook, ends up creating a multimillion dollar empire out of it. We’re going to dig into the details, we’re going to get the down and dirty and talk about some of those failures along the way too. I really love this interview, I think you’re going to love it as well. Before we do that, let’s do some updates, news and info. First thing buddy, we’ve got two new five star reviews.

Joe Magnotti:                    Hit me up, buddy.

Justin Cooke:                     First one is actually from iTunes, it’s from Kat Johnny, Five stars, “I love your insight, huge fan, keep up the good work.” We’ve got another five stars, Ron Stitcher from Alex says, “Got me started online, checked out the podcast two years ago never looked back, working from home, making more than I did at my 9:00 to 5:00. This stuff works, love the Flippers.” Appreciate that Alex, thanks buddy.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, thank you so much and keep those five star reviews coming in. We’d love to see the stitcher stuff as well.

Justin Cooke:                     We have got something new actually for our listings, websites and businesses that we have in the marketplace, we’re going to be doing interviews with sellers. Already done two, we should have these published by the end of this week or early next. I sit down with them, we discuss niche selection, the history behind the site, how they built the site out, the successes they had, the failures they had. We’re talking about the opportunities and also some of the risks for any potential buyer. I think this is a really nice addition to the listings and it gives buyers more of an opportunity to dig behind the scenes and find out more information about the site than they might just in a regular listing. You know what I mean?

Joe Magnotti:                    I think this is going to be huge because a lot of buyers want to speak to sellers and although they might wind up speaking to the seller anyway, this is just going to give them further proof, trust, and with the whole process in general.

Justin Cooke:                     Also, as a buyer, I kind of want to hear what the seller has to say. I consider myself a pretty good judge, so if the guy just sounds kind of not my cup of tea or he didn’t answer some of the questions very well, then I think I would probably move on and look for the next website for sale so I think it would be a great kind of disqualifier for potential buyers. Last point I want to talk about, buddy is, we’re molding about with a website investment program. This is something that I’ve talked to you about for the last couple of weeks and I actually sent an email out to a bunch of our previous buyers, some of our higher end buyers and want to talk to him about this investment idea we’ve been kicking back and forth.

                                                The idea is this, right now we sell websites at 20X monthly net profit, so 20 times the monthly net profit as a multiple. The new idea, in addition to that, would be to partner with us. The idea is that they could buy the site themselves the exact same way they’re doing it now at 20X, and then actually have us take over the management of the site. We get this question a lot like how hands off is this site, can you help me, can you guide me along? What we’re thinking is that we do a quarterly strategy call with each investors, both Joe and I on the phone, kind of knocking out what we think would be best for the website, our plan of attack over the next three months building the site out, and it would also be monthly manageable.

                                                We have our team doing all the things that we discussed in the strategy meeting and doing a monthly report every month to show what was done the previous month and also show what’s planned for the next month to hit our goals. I think this is going to be big, I think it would be big for some of the people that are definitely the portfolio Paul types, they want a more hands off investment and they want to leverage the fact that we’ve already got a team here trained, ready to roll and ready to build out their sites.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I was super impressed by the feedback. We got an email. I think maybe only one or two people were neutral instead of positive, but everyone else was overwhelmingly for it and wanted to know more details. It’s definitely something we have to get to buyers as soon as possible.

Justin Cooke:                     I actually got a lot of help from some of the emails. The email thread’s like 52 long or something, but I’ve got a lot of help from people that give me some really good ideas in terms of rolling this out. We’ve got a meeting about this actually next week when we should have something out with this to at least test through it in a couple of weeks. I think the price point on this isn’t going to be cheap, we’re probably going to have a minimum of 30 $40,000 sites and that’s simply because if we’re going to get involved, we’re gonna get our team involved and have meetings and reports and everything, there has to be enough net profit there to make it worthwhile for us and the investor. We’ll be talking about that more, we’ve got more details that we’re still working out.

                                                I just wanted to kind of throw it out there as a podcast listener, you can tell me what you think. I’d love to hear your feedback on this as well. All right buddy, let’s get into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 1:                           This is the Empire Flippers podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     All right, I’m really excited to have Tim Bourquin on the show today. He’s the CEO and the co-founder of afteroffers.com, it’s a platform that helps website owners monetize their email list and the moment someone signs up. He’s also launched … built, launched, and sold several businesses, a couple from million dollar exits, and I’m really excited to have him on the show. We’re going to dig into kind of his journey from a gang cop to building an Ebook business that made a bunch of money to building out these events and trade shows. Tim, thanks so much for being on the program, man, I appreciate it.

Tim Bourquin:                    My pleasure, Justin. I love talking about this stuff, so I’m happy to do it.

Justin Cooke:                     I first read about your story on The Daily Interview, Erik’s side, thedailyinterview.com, and I was fascinated by this cop turns online treater story. Tell me a little bit about this, you were working in the gang land unit and then you started doing Ebooks, how does that work?

Tim Bourquin:                    It starts back in police academy, there was a classmate of mine who was always talking about day trading stocks. I had actually been a financial planner for a bank before I got sick and tired of that and bored of that, and decided to become a cop. When I was in the police academy, we would go on these 10 miles slog runs, like these runs that would just seem to go on forever and the way we kind of kept our minds off of how tired were and how much pain we were in was we would just talk and this guy would talk about his day trading. He would go home from the academy each night, get stocks ready to trade and put his trades on for the next day, we had to be at the academy 5:30 in the morning.

                                                We started talking about this and after we graduated the academy we morphed into separate divisions of LAPD and while I was working, I was working the 2:00 PM to 2:00 AM shifts. They were 12 hour shifts and I was just fresh out of the academy on patrol but I would start trading stocks in the morning from like 6:00 AM here on the west coast till 1:30 when the market closes and then go to work as a cop. Back then, this was like ’96, there was hardly any online brokers, there was no E-Trade, there was no Ameritrade, Schwab or anything. I really just kind of muddled my way through it and I needed to find the people that I could talk to about how to trade.

                                                I was having a little bit of success, I would make some money, lose some money, but I really didn’t know what I was doing and so I put a classified ad in the paper. You remember those old internet or those infomercials about putting classified ads in the newspaper?

Justin Cooke:                     Oh, yeah.

Tim Bourquin:                    I basically did that, I put a classified ad in the paper and said, “Hey, I’m trading. If you’re trading too, let’s meet for breakfast and talk about online trading.” Four guys showed up, I didn’t know if I’d be sitting there eating breakfast alone I had no idea, four other traders showed up. These guys knew a lot more about trading than I did and we just sat there and ate sausages and toast and eggs and just figured out that … What we were doing, we gave each other tips and I was kind of like a little mini mastermind that started and this was in the early days again before people were even talking about day trading and what this was.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s so funny Tim, this is so early and talk about like if there isn’t a mastermind, you can’t find it out there just to build your own and that’s exactly what you did through old school advertisement, “Hey, I talk about day trading. Do you want to meet me for breakfast on a Saturday to discuss?” So you met up with these guys and they were pretty sharp and they were doing it as well, what was the outcome of that meetup?

Tim Bourquin:                    Four guys became eight, became 16, became 32, that’s tied to the math I can do, I was a poly sign major, it just kept doubling and doubling and we had more people. We used a back room with a restaurant and then we had to move to a bigger restaurant that had like a dining hall area and pretty soon we had to move into a hotel ballroom. Eventually when the dot-com era was really in its full force, this is like ’99, we were 500, 600 people in a hotel ballroom. We had a budget, we had dues, I’d fly people in and put them up in the hotel to speak to our group, it got to be a big deal. Along the same time I was realizing that a lot of people were starting to ask questions about how to trade stocks online and so I grew up this six page PDF report and I just kept adding to it and I would give it away to friends.

                                                Back then I was just in cop mode, I thought that’s what I was going to do, I enjoyed this on the side, but I’m going to make detective and then I’ll make lieutenant, I’m just going to go up in the ranks and the LAPD, and somebody said to me, “This report is really good, you should sell this.” I’m thinking, “Sell this, what the hell? I just made this thing up, who’s going to want to buy this?” You had to work really hard to get a merchant account back then, I put up this website that was made in Netscape navigator that was this cheesy dollar bill background that was over and over again, with all the tech centered down the middle, it was the dumbest thing ever.

                                                I put it up for sale and I sold four the first day and then 10 and then all of a sudden I was like selling 40, 45 books a day and then it became $1,000 a day. All the while we had this online trading group that was going too.

Justin Cooke:                     This whole time, created this Ebook basically for friends and family, you expand on it a bit and some of your friends are like, “Hey, this is good, you just sell it.” You start selling it, started making $1,000 a day selling an Ebook, which is phenomenon, and this is like 1997-

Tim Bourquin:                    Oh and by the way, it wasn’t an Ebook. I printed this thing out, bound it with one of those binders that gave you staplers, and my wife would take it to the post office. That’s what I did, there was no Ebook. I’m like, what’s an ebook? I didn’t even know how to get it to be able to be downloadable.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s a bound book that you and your wife were frantically binding and sending out to people, a million people. You’ve got this mini mastermind where you show up and there are three people, three or four other people that you don’t know if they’re freaks, right?

Tim Bourquin:                    No idea.

Justin Cooke:                     And there you sit on top and they’re cool and then it gets bigger and bigger and bigger to where you’re running full on events based on online trading. I think at one point he got up to a 2,600 person trade show, is that right?

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah. Someone at one of the meetings came to me and was one of the founders of CyberTrader, which was then bought by Schwab, it’s now Schwab’s online broker, it’s how they got into the online business by buying this company, the guy came to me and say, “Hey, can I put a table in the back? I’ll pay you to do that at every meeting.” And I’m like, “No, I don’t want a table in the back.” He just kept coming after me and finally I said, “All right, give me a thousand bucks.” And he goes, “Okay here.” Gave me $1,000, put a table in the back, and then two people, three people, so this became the trade shows. I fell into this stuff, I got so lucky, the timing was so good though that I was very fortunate there. But eventually that hotel barn wood tables in the back and 500 people turned into a trade show at a convention center with boosts an exhibit hall and seminars, that’s how the first trade show started.

Justin Cooke:                     Interesting, Tim, you kind of resisted the first guy offering to do the table in the back and Joe and I have done some of this as well with people like customers, potential customers, requesting that we do something or build something out for them and we say, “No, no, no,” and finally a light dawns and we go, “Yeah, you know what? We get enough request for this, we should probably do it.” What turned the table for you? Why did you let that first guy in with the table in the back?

Tim Bourquin:                    I think I made a really common mistake and I see a lot of people go through this evolution with their online businesses or with their blog. They start out thinking, “This is going to be just pure information, I’m just going to give away as much stuff as I can, I’m not going to monetize this. I’m going to wait and just give away so much free stuff and be so attractive to people that when I finally do sell that thing, they’re just going to throw their money at me.” It just doesn’t work that way. Back then I was thinking, you know what? I need to grow this bigger. I need to wait until I had this thing really has some momentum before I try to monetize it in any way or have sponsors or sell it. It was just stupid because what I later found out doing a bunch of other businesses is that the earlier you do it, the more you’re setting the tone for your audience that your content is valuable and it is worth something and you’re not here to just give away tons of free stuff.

                                                I’m not here to write 50 free Ebooks and give people tons of free stuff because what I build is value and I should be compensated for that. I’m constantly telling people, don’t wait until you have what you think is a big enough audience to buy your stuff. Put up your blog on day one and put up a five page report for 10 bucks that you’re selling, set that tone that what you had to offer as a value and you want to set that and monetize that right away, don’t wait.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s interesting, Tim, we have an apprentice here who had never gone the monetization route and I think he was doing it more as kind of an online resume. His blog is like his online resume and what he’s up to and he’d never monetized. We started talking about traffic, I was telling him, “That traffic doesn’t necessarily matter because it’s non …” I mean it matters. It’s important, you get eyeballs and it’s interesting but that’s not easily turned into a business because you don’t have a niche, you don’t have a niche that people are willing to pay for something in there. Are you familiar with Andrew Warner from Mixergy?

Tim Bourquin:                    Oh yeah, absolutely. I know Andrew.

Justin Cooke:                     I was listening to an interview with him and he talked to … someone was asking, what’s the best thing you did for your podcast? He said, “The best thing I did for my podcast was monetize it.” He said, “When I started monetizing, I then had the funds to make my show better.” If you’re a listener out there and you’re a creative person, I think that’s important to recognize and realize is that through monetization of your content, you can actually improve your content. If you’re like one of those guys that says, “I don’t care about money as much, I just want the value,” that money can provide value. I thought that was a pretty interesting point by Andrew.

Tim Bourquin:                    I’ve never quite understood that when people say, “The money doesn’t matter to me.” I think deep down it does, but I think they just don’t think they’re worth, like who’s going to want to buy my stuff? And the truth is you have to have that confidence that yes, you’re working hard on this, you deserve to be compensated for it. You wouldn’t take a job for free, so why are you working for free for an audience?

Justin Cooke:                     It’s interesting, Tim, all of our content … we actually have free content, so all of our content, Empire Flippers is free, but it’s not like we’re just working for free or out of the goodness of our hearts, we’re running a business. We monetize around our content through people buying and selling sites. If people stopped buying and selling sites, we would stop with the content, it’s pretty straightforward. It’s a business first and foremost, and I don’t consider myself a blogger and more of a business blogger, and I think that’s an interesting differentiator. Some people are like, “I just want to write, I have the need to write,” but they’re not really looking to build a business and look, if you want to make it a hobby, that’s cool, but if you want to make a business out of it, yeah, you’ve got to make some money.

Tim Bourquin:                    It’s okay if your blog is set to do something else, your blog indirectly makes you money because you’re a consultant or you’re considered an expert in that area, that’s okay too. I’m just saying, telling you constantly, don’t wait. From day one had that idea in mind, put something up for sale even if it’s just a small something.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s get back to the trade show, you’ve got 2,600 people show up to event, you’re flying people in, you’re deeply involved in this thing, you’re making some money online with your Ebook and you’re still a cop.

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, I was until after the very first trade show. Once I saw this was going to work and I knew that we needed to do five shows in the next 12 months, there was just no way. There was this day, and I talk about it a lot, there was Christmas Eve when I went to drop my six month old baby off and my wife off at her family’s house and go to work because bad guys never sleep and I thought, this is insanity, man. I was sleeping four hours a night, I was working 10 hours on the business, 12 hours on at LAPD. I had to make a choice and I was two months away from making detective, I was doing well, I loved being a cop, I truly did, I never quit because I hated my job.

                                                Being a cop I think is the greatest job in the world, you chase bad guys, you get to carry a gun, you get to pointed it bad guys. It’s awesome, it really is a fun job. I miss it sometimes, that drive to work for myself and to determine when it was going to go to work was too strong. My wife wasn’t working, she was a graduate student in yet getting her masters and I had a small baby, but I had to do it. Thankfully the trade show was a success and I knew I could be successful doing it, but it was scary to quit.

Justin Cooke:                     We’re talking Internet business in 1996 and 1997, that is early. It’s easier to look back and go … I mean, there was … thinking about how wide open the Internet was in 1996, 1997, 1998, oh my God, like there’s so much opportunity. Do you think it was easier at the time? You didn’t know what was coming, do you still feel that there was a lot more opportunity then or do you think just as much today?

Tim Bourquin:                    I think the tools obviously are much better today, anybody can get up and running with a blog. It was a hassle just to get a website up, the hosting and you had to know PHP. It was really hard, it was difficult back then, you had to have engineers help you. These days it’s so much better, it’s easier to get things up and running, but back then it was a lot easier to get attention. At one point I think I actually had an email when I submitted my site to Yahoo, I got a reply from Jerry Yang saying, “Okay, your site’s live on Yahoo.” That’s how early it was. I wish I still had the email, I used to have and I don’t have any more, but you were losing on Yahoo four hours after you’ve submitted your thing.

                                                Obviously all that’s changing coming from the SEO background, so it’s much harder these days to get attention for stuff. On the plus side, it’s so much easier to get up and running now and selling things and within a day have a site up in eCommerce going, that part is so much easier.

Justin Cooke:                     I can whip a WordPress site together, put up a buy now button and it’s interesting you’re talking about selling something up front, that is so much easier to do today. We were talking … I was reading about like you’re in trouble just trying to get a buy now button up on stuff on these old websites that were a pain in the ass to put together. What mistakes are success did you have back then in the late ’90s that you think are just kind of silly now? You’re like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I didn’t know this or I can’t believe I missed out on this opportunity.” When you look back, what were you thinking?

Tim Bourquin:                    I think even though our trade show was successful and that became more of an offline business in 2000 to 2004, I didn’t expand it as quickly as I could. Part of my problem as an entrepreneur, what I’m always struggling with is focus. I see a ton of things out there, I see opportunity everywhere and I have all these ideas and I love to go pursue them and figure out if I can do 16 things at once. It’s a benefit in the sense that you’re always learning and you’ve got that curiosity but it can be a real detriment when you’re not focused enough on one thing and you’ve got 16 things that you’re trying to do great and make money with when you really should take the one you enjoy most and you think has the best opportunity and just push like hell on that one to grow it.

                                                I think early on I threw too much spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick and that lack of focus, I think, kept me from expanding the trade show side of the business when that was really exploding, when you were getting tips from your dentist and gardener about what stocks to buy. I should’ve been doing shows in Singapore and in Europe and, and I wasn’t. We had a couple of shows, they were successful, but they were small because we weren’t focused enough.

Justin Cooke:                     It wasn’t that bad, Tim, you still had a multimillion dollar … let’s talk a little bit about how’d this go about? It was a brand, it was a trade show, it was how … did someone to reach out to you, did you look to sell it, how did that work?

Tim Bourquin:                    In this case we had a pretty large competitor in the space and they initially came to us in about 2003 and said, “Hey look, let’s talk.” And these guys were five times, six times the size that we were easily. We flew down to Florida and we talked with them and had great discussions, but we could never just come to that figure like here’s what we think the business is worth, here’s what you want to pay us. We never got close and we were just too far apart, so we amicably, we said, “Let’s talk again later.” A year goes past and they started their own event to directly compete with us, but the only trading space was unique in that it was all the things that we started really small and everybody kind of knew each other in the industry. We had a really established our foothold as being the day trading event-

Justin Cooke:                     The prime movers.

Tim Bourquin:                    And the online trading event. Exactly. They tried to do their own show and it was an okay show but they just couldn’t get traction like we did, so they called us back down and said, “Let’s talk again.” A year later we were back down there and finally came to … like anything sat in the board room for eight hours and got to the point where it had enough zeros in the number and we said, “Okay, we’ll sell.”

Justin Cooke:                     It’s interesting, that’s one of the problems with deciding to sell your business or whether you actually do it or not. It’s like you’ve got these two sides of the coin where generally the entrepreneur thinks their business is worth more and when the offer comes and matches that, it’s difficult because as you grow your business and it gets bigger and bigger whatever your number was before changes and I see this happen with other entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed and talked to were like, “I’m out at this level,” and they go, “Ah, we’re big enough now,” where, nope, it’s the next though. They keep raising their prices, it’s hard to get those two to match.

                                                You got a match, it’s enough zeroes, eight hour meeting in a boardroom, how long did it take to fully transition that business? Was it a straight up cash deal, was it stock, was it an earnout, how did that work?

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, it was straight up cash and part of an earn out, so it was cash plus earn out and we had to sign a one year employment agreement, which was hard for me, because I left because I just thought I didn’t want to work for the man anymore and all of a sudden I’m working for the man again, but I thought a year I can do that and I can do it for a year and help make that earnout, maximize it, which is what the new owners are looking for. They’re looking for you to help them realize the profit on what they’re paying and then the earnout as good at as it can be for yourself too. That’s what we did, I think it took two years to earn it all out although it was a big … I think maybe 60, I’d have to take a look at the paper now, but 60% of it was up front and then 40% earnout.

                                                It worked out well because the show continued to grow and we did earn that part out. I had a partner, so it wasn’t just me, part of it was knowing when it was time to sell. The reason we were able to come to a figure is there was a time when we thought, “Do we want to keep doing this, can we grow this more?” The problem with selling a business is that when you’re at the top, you don’t know you’re at the top. We were already on the downside because the dot-com had burst right and the stock market come down and so our attendance had come down too. We were a little bit late in selling, but trying to time at the very top is very hard to do because you don’t know when that is, you don’t know when you’re at the top.

                                                When you’re at the top, you feel like you’re not even close and there’s room to grow. All you can do as a business owner, as an entrepreneur is try and to get as much as you can, be as greedy as you can for yourself and just try to … when you’re tired of it, which is what I was, when you’re ready to move onto the next thing, go out and call and try and find. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to go out and try to find a buyer. Most people think if you make that first call, you’re at a disadvantage, I don’t agree with that. All of my businesses, when I was ready to be done and sell, except for this one actually, I picked up the phone and called my competitor and asked if they wanted to buy.

Justin Cooke:                     We argue that strategic buyers generally attribute more value to your company than just a portfolio buyer. So yeah, if you’re reaching out, you have a better shot at getting more money from a strategic pickup and if they don’t, then you can reach out and that’s … we tell them that as brokers, you’re better off looking for a strategic option first because you’re likely to get more money. You’re, now I’m going to say it, flushed with cash. It’s two years after you’re, you’re sitting pretty and you just crushed it in the trade show business and your next step is saying, “Look, I’m going to go out and I’m going to do another trade show.” You did it, you lost about $150,000 on Nanotechnology. Talk to me a little bit about that.

Tim Bourquin:                    I probably made … The number two most common mistake is after you sell a business and you’ve done very well, we were millionaires at that point and you think, “I can do this all over again from nothing, no problem. I did it once, I’ll do it again, I can crush it.” We thought, okay, we know the trade show business, what is a good area of industry that’s up and coming that needs a trade show that doesn’t have a trade show. We looked and looked and looked and we settled on nanotechnology. I’m a political science major, I was a cop, I don’t know the first damn thing about nanotechnology, but for some reason I felt like I could do a trade show about nanotechnology. It was a huge mistake because I learned that probably the first lesson I should have learned a business is do what you know and enjoy.

                                                While I thought it was a good business opportunity, I had no passion for the industry, I had no passion for the topic. I knew trade shows and I knew what would make them work, but you have to know the players in that industry to make a trade show work. You have to know are people going to come to the event to see what the new technologies are, I didn’t know any of that. My business part and I each put in at least $150,000 and blew the lot because we spent it all on trying to get advertisers and traveling all over the world trying to get sponsors, and we blew it. It was a tough lesson for me, even when you’ve made a little over a million dollars at the end of the previous sale, 150,000 doesn’t seem like a lot in that respect, but it was, I mean that was a big chunk of money from me.

                                                I’d never spent that much money in my life, let alone, spent it and lost it and so it was a tough lesson and it just taught me that from that day on, I was like, no matter what I do, I’m going to know something about the business I get into. I’ll never going to make that mistake again of just thinking that I can do it because I have, I’m going to will it into existence. That only goes so far.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s a bit of a blow to your ego too where you have this great trade show and then this one didn’t work you’re like, “Oh God, did I just get lucky with the first one, how did that work?” When did you realize it was a bust? How did you say, “This just doesn’t work for me, I got to get out?”

Tim Bourquin:                    We had hired employees, we had office space, we had printed materials and it was like, we’d spent this money and we had nothing left in the bank and it’s like okay, are we ready to put in another $150,000, are we going to follow good money with bad or bad money with good. We just sat down with my business partner and at that point the real estate market was starting to take off and he wanted to go in that direction, go in real estate. I didn’t want to do that, but we just had this discussion is like I can’t … I’ve got a family to think about. I cannot screw this up, I can’t put another 150 grand in and so we decided to just cut our losses there.

Justin Cooke:                     Was this the same business partner from before?

Tim Bourquin:                    It was, it was the same one. We had had our disagreements too, that’s another thing, having a business partner is great. We complimented each other but we really got into … we argued. We’re good friends now, but it was tough time to be in business with each other and he really wanted to go into real estate. When you’re losing money and you’re like just putting money into the … bleeding money, it’s not a good environment for to have a business partner. It’s a lot of stress on you and the relationship. It was tough, so we decided to call it a day.

Justin Cooke:                     You can’t see it right now, Tim, but I’m nodding my head. I have a business partner myself and we joke about it’s like a marriage but possibly more difficult. It’s so true, being in a business partnership you’re going to have ups and downs and we say … Joe and I are yelling at each other and getting really frustrated with each other, but it can get dark. We’re still friends and we still have, I think a good quality of partnership, but there are times when it gets rough, especially when something’s failing like that. Out of curiosity, is there a nano tech trade show out there today?

Tim Bourquin:                    There is. I have no idea what it is and even back then there was a small one that we actually considered buying, which maybe we probably … we should have done that actually is what we should’ve done. We should’ve bought the one that was in there, kept all the people on board and done it from there, but I’m sure there is. It’s such a bad taste in my mouth, I don’t talk about it, I don’t read the paper, a nanotechnology article? I’m like no.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s crazy because now that’s like really starting to become a bigger deal. Maybe you were a little early with that too.

Tim Bourquin:                    Maybe. I think we were early, but I think mostly it was just stupid ego, thinking that we could do something when we had no knowledge of that industry whatsoever.

Justin Cooke:                     You go from that and you’re going to do a bunch of different businesses, a bunch of might be aggressive, but several, you start a business called traderinterviews.com, you start a mountain biking podcast and you’re really going after the things that you like. You do a podcast expo where you do, again like the trade show and offense cycle, this seems like more of a shotgun approach where you kind of like trying to figure out which one you liked and you had a real interest in or was it just you couldn’t help yourself

Tim Bourquin:                    A little of both, I went back … one of the good things I did was I said, “I’m going back to my roots. What do I know, what do I know about … What do I enjoy?” I enjoyed talking about online training, I still traded myself. I said, “Let’s go back to the roots.” At that point, podcasting was just getting its start, Endurance Planet or Endurance Radio as it was called then, actually started first and I learned about podcasting because all of my listeners were triathletes and marathon runners and they’re like, “I love your show but I’m not in front of my laptop. How do I take this with me out of my runs when I’m training for these triathlons?” I started researching it and three months earlier people let us talk about this term podcasting I’m like, this is perfect.

                                                That’s how I got into that, I sold Endurance Planet because I got tired of doing it and I wanted to focus on trader … I’m just losing focus again, trying to do too many things at once. I saw the most opportunity in trader interviews, but I also saw this podcasting thing, hey the trade show guy me is like, “Wait a minute, there’s a lot of new companies coming into this, people are asking how to do it. How do I get the recording equipment?” The tracer guy in me was like, “This is perfect. I know about this, I have a passion for podcasting, let’s start an expo for podcasters.” We did it at the same place I started the traders’ Expo in Ontario, California, which is in the middle of nowhere basically, I think we had like 16 hundred podcasters coming at that point.

                                                Everybody knew everybody, everybody knew who … they’d all listened to each other on the podcasts and so there it was, the next business idea. I want to say I fell into it, but I think you get the timing right, but you match that passion to what is happening at the time and things kind of fall into it that way. You’ve got to make yourself, this is a little philosophical, but you open yourself up to let those ideas come to you to figure out which ones you should work on. Does that make sense?

Justin Cooke:                     It does. It’s funny, you’re talking about the podcast community is kind of like everyone’s kind of doing a podcast and it’s grown so much that … what year is this that you were doing all this?

Tim Bourquin:                    This is like 2006, just getting into 2007.

Justin Cooke:                     We actually started our podcast in 2011 and I was really new to podcasting then, so I was a late bloomer to podcasting, so to speak. You were again a bit earlier with this and you were doing the podcast expo, you were doing traderinterviews.com, you ended up selling the podcast expo to BlogWorld and that’s when they became New Media Expo. Tell me a little bit about that, you’d been building this up, there’s a nice podcasting community and obviously you knew about BlogWorld being out there. How did that go down?

Tim Bourquin:                    BlogWorld came a year later, and I know the founders, I know Rick Calvert from the trade show business. We had actually met at a trade show event a couple of years earlier and he was really into political blogs. It was one of those things where I was always changing the name of the show every show we had because were changing so quickly. I think the first one was podcast expo, the second was podcast and portable media expo and the third one was podcast and new media expo, because we’re really just trying to find our way. It was one of those things that I woke up doing all the sales myself, my brother was just starting to get involved in the business with me at that point, and I woke up one day and I just was tired of it. I didn’t want to get on the phone that morning.

                                                This is what’s happened with all of my businesses is that I may have sold too early on a lot of these things, but I wake up, I literally … it’s almost like a switch. I don’t know what happens, but I wake up one morning and I’m like, “I’m not enjoying this.” Literally that morning I got Rick Calvert on the phone I said, “Rick, do you want to buy Podcast Expo?” It was part of me being tired of it. It was getting to the point where it was getting to that management phase where I’m no good. I am great at the startup idea, getting some momentum, that phase. I am terrible at the manage day to day incremental growth kind of thing.

Justin Cooke:                     We talked about this a little bit before the show, how there’s two different skill sets. Getting something up and running and getting some traction and getting it to a viable business requires a totally different skill set than trying to grow that business to scale that business long term. The fact that you know where your strengths are and you’re capitalizing on that, so what? If you’re selling too early, so what, Tim? Because you’re having success, why not stick to that piece that you’re great at? If someone else wants to come along, pick it up and expand it, good on them and if they’re great at that, fantastic, but why not stick with an area of business that you’re obviously being successful at, you’re having some success.

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, I agree. That’s what I think people, they almost wait too long to sell because they think, “I’m just going to grow this and grow this until it’s Facebook size.” The trouble is we hear about the Facebooks and the Instagrams and WhatsApps, and we hear about all those, that’s not the majority of small entrepreneurial niche websites. That’s like top 1%. The vast majority of us are never going to get there, but I’m okay with that because I’m okay building a website, selling it for 200, $300,000 in starting out, maybe selling it for $10,000, that’s okay. I may never make Instagram money but I’m okay with that.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, Tim, I want to build the next Facebook, but it’s going to have elements of WhatsApp and it’s going to be Instagram-ish. Well, good luck with that, that’s not the rest of us. There’s a guy named Rob Walling, he has an interesting podcast called Startups For The Rest Of Us and applies. We help people sell businesses at $70,000, $80,000, and they go, “Oh, what kind of exit is that?” Well, it’s a fantastic exit if you’re just starting to get the ball rolling with this, it’s awesome, right?

Tim Bourquin:                    Oh yeah. Oh yeah, that’s top 2%. People don’t realize that, they hear about the $1 billion exit to sell the Facebook. That’s another planet, man, if you make 10 bucks a day online, you’re in the top 10% of all people to make money online. The stories that we read, totally warp our sense of what reality is in this business.

Justin Cooke:                     Absolutely. You ended up selling traderinterviews.com, let’s talk about a little bit about that. It’s an interview show … was it a podcast?

Tim Bourquin:                    It was a podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     Okay, so you’re interviewing people, other traders and industry leaders, and you were charging for the interviews, payment plan or your financial approaches was kind of interesting. Can you talk to us about that just briefly?

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, and I think this is the business that is relatable to most everybody out there who is either starting from scratch or has a content site right now and they are looking to grow it and eventually sell it. I always think of the sales process is the last one thing you do to monetize that content. We started Trader Interviews and it was a free site, I started doing interviews weekly and then we went to twice a week and three times a week. At one point we were doing an interview every other day and I’m thinking, man. My thought back then was I’m going to get sponsors to sponsor each show for $1,000 a show and do five shows a week and have a nice kind of lifestyle business doing that, and then I’ll figure out what else I want to do.

                                                But I quickly realized, and this is kind of like lesson number 765 of starting a website, that the vast majority of us are never going to get the amount of traffic that we need to make any sort of real living with either AdSense or even going out and getting advertisers on your own. Especially these days you need so much traffic to make money and be an advertising play. Huffington post and those kinds of guys can do it because they have millions of visitors. Most of us are never going to get there, so our only choice is to be content play and that we sell the content, that’s where you can make money and not have millions of hits on your website.

Justin Cooke:                     You were charging a monthly price once, I think you had a lifetime membership, a monthly fee, and then someone could pay just 25 bucks for one interview and that was your introductory offer?

Tim Bourquin:                    We tried all kinds of stuff. I tried monthly membership, I tried an annual membership, I tried a lifetime membership and then we sold interviews on an individual basis. What we found out was in the trading space on a monthly basis, we were doing like a $39 membership. I think we tested between $39 to $49 to $79 and no matter what our price point was on monthly, we were only keeping people about five months. That seems like a short amount of time, but in the trading space, people fly in and out of this industry quickly. They either come in, they trade, they lose all their money because they’re not doing it right or they come and they lose interest in their gone.

                                                Five months is kind of average from a membership site and the online trading space, so 40 bucks times five months, that’s 200 bucks. That’s all we were making on people and what we found was that we did a lifetime membership for $1,500 and then discounted it twice a year, we put it on sale for 500 bucks, we made so much more money with that because people didn’t want to have to worry about the monthly membership. They knew it was a onetime thing, they getting lifetime access and so even though we could only sell them that one thing one time, we were making twice as much money on them by getting them in and making them a lifetime member, not having to worry about that monthly churn.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s so interesting because they still have the monthly membership option and they’re still choosing the lifetime, is that right?

Tim Bourquin:                    The way we tested it was we actually just throw out there like let’s just try and lifetime membership at some ridiculous amount of money, let’s make it 15 hundred bucks and offer it out there. We had a lot of people choose the $1,500 lifetime membership. They were like, “I just want to pay you once and be done with it, whenever content you put out after that would be great.” At this point we had a nice library of content, they knew that … For all intents and purposes, if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, that there was enough value in the library of recordings already there, that they could make that $1,500 back. Well, let’s face it, when you’re talking about lifetime membership, the first question is, well, dude is it really lifetime, does that mean that now you’re gonna have to do interviews for the rest of your life?

                                                The answer is no, because A, I knew that eventually if I wanted to sell, I could find a buyer who I’d then get them to service the existing lifetime members and then maybe come up with other products, and B, again, people forget it, they lose interest. I still continued to do interviews, but we found out lifetime members, we had very few that would come in and still access their membership maybe once a year, but 90% of them hadn’t come back within a year no matter what we did to try and get them to come back.

Justin Cooke:                     Tim, how dare you? In 2028, I want to log into this and see that you’re still doing it, how dare you, it says lifetime membership. I am holding you to it, man, holding you to it.

Tim Bourquin:                    That’s okay if they did too because when I sold it, one of the criteria was, and this made it a little bit harder to find a buyer, was look I’ve got these lifetime members, you have to promise me that you are going to continue to provide them content for the membership that they bought, and the buyer agreed to do that. He can sell them other products, he may come up with other things that are outside of those interviews, but he’s going to still continue to do the interviews giving them for free to the lifetime members and figure out a different way to monetize the new people that come in, that was part of the sales process.

Justin Cooke:                     When you sold the business, you had done 250,000 in revenue the previous year and then that current year, I don’t know what month it was, but you were working on about 500,000, you looked like you’re a new 500,000 that year. You ended up selling the business for 500,000, was that a cash deal? How did that work?

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, it’s a cash deal. The way we did it was … now let me back up, that’s some earn out. I get a piece also ongoing of some of the revenue that’s going to come in after the fact.

Justin Cooke:                     Oh, so you did like a seller hold back, you kept some equity in the business.

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, exactly. But one of those things where if I get 500,000 cash, I’m cool with that, I’m fine with that and it never turns into more than that. Hopefully it does, but I’m okay if it doesn’t. I think that was one of the points where I actually maybe did sell at the top for that, for what that site is at the moment. I was unwilling to spend any more time on it to create new products, to do more things for the members. Again, I was getting tired of it and it kind of showed in the interviews. I needed somebody with a fresh face and a fresh perspective and fresh enthusiasm to come in and pick up where I left off.

Justin Cooke:                     Our friend Tim Conley over at Fullest Venture was going through a similar kind of issue where he felt like he needed someone … he needs something fresh and the show and he did like a new cohost or something just because he felt like it wasn’t going as well as he thought it should. He didn’t feel like he was putting out the quality, the standard that he holds himself too, I get what you’re saying. You ended up exiting that business and then looking forward, when did you finally sell that business off, traderinterviews.com?

Tim Bourquin:                    This was last November.

Justin Cooke:                     Okay, so you sold this off last November and then you get into something really strange, which is, I think it’s a strange transition. I don’t know how this works, so I want to understand the transition you started afteroffers.com which is how I’ve recently heard of you. Tell us a little bit about why you started that off.

Tim Bourquin:                    I started After Offers because I wanted to figure out a new way to monetize the 95% of our email list on Trader Interviews that never became a member. We were converting about 5% of our free newsletter to paying members, which was pretty good in that industry. I’m not exactly sure what it is and in other industries, but in the trading space, I think if you’re converting 2% you’re doing really well. We were converting 5% so I was happy with that but I’m like, God, 95% of people who join our free newsletter never become members, how can I make money on those people? That’s where I thought, let me try it and see if I can bring in an advertising play on that.

                                                I knew this thing where after somebody joins your newsletter, for most people it is, “Hey, thanks for joining our newsletter, stay tuned for some great stuff.” It’s kind of a dead end page or it’s a generic A web or page or something like that. I thought, man, that person has just come to my website, said, “Hey, this is interesting stuff, let me join your newsletter.” And then I say, “Thanks dude, bye, bye.”

Justin Cooke:                     Take care, see you around.

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, “Have a nice day.” I thought, what a wasted opportunity. I had seen these and we’ve all probably seen them where you join like a subscription to a magazine or something and on their thank you page, it just says, “Hey, thanks for joining our newsletter. Here’s some other things you might be interested in.” A lot of it’s crap, it doesn’t match what you … You signed up for the New York Times subscription and you’re offered NAPA auto parts, how do they know I’m a car guy? I just thought that’s a great idea, but it’s done so badly right now. That could be done really well and we could sell basically email subscribers to other people who are in the same vertical so they get somebody who’s already joined a list in the same vertical that is interested in that. So they might be interested in their newsletter as well, we get paid every time they do. It’s still not selling something, it’s a way to monetize that other 95% but make it good for the advertiser as well.

Justin Cooke:                     Just to be clear, if I’m a publisher, say I’m in the financial space or whatever, and I’m publishing my blog post, someone signs up for my email list, they’re going to go to a page that then says, “Hey, you might also be interested in,” and it’s something very related. If they sign up for that email list, me as a publisher, I get paid?

Tim Bourquin:                    You got it, that’s exactly how it works.

Justin Cooke:                     What’s the reaction from like the publisher, from the people building the lists, some of the subscribers, have you had mostly positive feedback, any the negative feedback?

Tim Bourquin:                    I’ve had both. Here’s two reactions I typically get, first of all, if I approach a website owner in the online trading space, which is where the majority of our business is now, ’cause that’s where I have all my relationships from my past, most of those folks would say two reactions. One is, “Well, I just want to grow my blog to the point where I want to sell my own products and I just … I don’t have enough momentum yet.” It’s that old thing where I hear people say, “I want to wait until my site’s really good and then I’ll get into all that monetization stuff.” Some people I can convince, “Look man, don’t wait. You deserve to be compensated, you deserve to make some money.”

                                                Sometimes I’m successful at convincing them, sometimes not, that’s okay. The second reaction is, holy crap. I go, just try it man, put it on your site for a week. If you hate it, no problem, I won’t be pissed off, you can take it off. They put it off for a week and they see that they can actually monetize people right away, the moment somebody signs up for the list, they’ve made some money, whether it be a dollar or 50 cents or whatever, and they say, “I can take this money and then put it back into email marketing to grow my list even more. It’s this thing that feeds on itself.” For almost everybody who’s ever tried it, he has come back and said, “Wow, I wish I had started this earlier.”

Justin Cooke:                     Ii was interesting, Tim, I forget if it was you or your brother that reached out to us, but we get offers regularly through our contact forum or email, whatever, offering this, that, or the other and sometimes it’s not a good fit and sometimes the approach is horrible, but yours kind of stuck. As a person who looking to kind of grow our list, our email list for our business and build a broader, wider net and network, I was like, that seems like an absolute winner from my perspective or someone who’s willing to pay a very nominal amount for an email subscriber in a related niche, that’s fantastic.

                                                I could see it on the other hand where like especially in like a very competitive niche or industry where a publisher might be like, “Hell no, I’m not sharing my email subscribers with my competitors. What are you talking about? I’ve worked really hard for my email subscribers, why am I going to share for some nominal amount that you’re going to pay me? That seems silly.” Are you going after more bloggers like the real content guys and not the businesses because that would seem like a better approach because they don’t have the business anyway it’s just the blog?

Tim Bourquin:                    It’s both and I hear that all the time. You have to commit this … to understand the approach and be open to it, you have to come from it as … you can’t come at this as there’s a finite pie and if I give you half of my apple pie, I only have half left. There’s this idea that once somebody comes to my website and joins my newsletter, I don’t want to confuse them or miss direct them or tell them about Google, they might learn about my competitors. Most of the time I’m here I go, “Dude, just because they joined your newsletter does not mean you’re the only site they’re going to visit for the next two weeks.”

Justin Cooke:                     You don’t own them, you don’t have exclusive rights or access to that person.

Tim Bourquin:                    Right, they know. Guess what? There’s this thing called the world wide web, they know about all these other sites, they’re out there looking for information. I can understand that, we do exclude … if there’s a direct competitor, like this guy does exactly what I do, there’s no way I want to have him on my thank you page. Fine, we exclude that offer but if it’s complimentary, if it’s not exactly what they do, but still in that same kind of vertical and it could be complimentary to what they do, you don’t have to worry about sending them two other newsletters after they joined yours for two reasons. Number one, this is a very big world and if they don’t know about your competitors or other sites already, they will eventually, so you might as well monetize it and help them do that. And B, we’ve tested this for 18 months now with our own websites that sell our own products, it doesn’t affect conversion of their own product because they’re just joining another newsletter.

                                                My feeling is always look, if you have a good product and you have a good funnel, you’re going to sell them that. Just because they are introduced to a product that’s a little bit different, but in the same vertical, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to like you instantly and not come back to buy your stuff. People are torn in a lot of different directions these days, so keeping someone’s attention just exclusively for you just isn’t realistic.

Justin Cooke:                     Well, Tim, we’ve found real value in being a hub, sharing our competitors or other people that might be competing in one particular area, but being the one that introduces them to these competitors or whatever makes us a resource that’s extremely valuable to them ’cause they know that we’re happy to give them the best of options. They actually generally appreciate that and that’s viewed as a great introduction. They’ll come back to us because they know that we’ll tell them about other things that come out that are interesting to them too.

Tim Bourquin:                    If you have confidence in your product, have confidence in that product. If you have a good product, you shouldn’t be worried about what your competitor’s doing, what other people in the industry are doing, you should be learning from them. There’s a reason why people will have a restaurant put it in a high traffic area or there’s a reason why Macy’s and Nordstrom are in the mall together because that’s where the traffic is, so just by being in the same vicinity, you’re all benefiting from that.

Justin Cooke:                     There are probably some verticals that lend themselves better to afteroffers.com than others. We talked before the show, you said you were getting started in the online trading space because that makes sense, it’s people looking to make money and more easily monetizable. What niches are you or what verticals are you targeting today?

Tim Bourquin:                    We have internet marketing or the online business, the online entrepreneur space, which is what you guys are in, we do home improvement, we do gardening and we do travel right now. Those are the verticals that we’re in and so believe it or not, there are travel, cruise ships and cruise offers for travel bloggers, there is gardening offers for a gardening blog. The idea is this can be put into any vertical as long as we have both sides of it, that’s how it works.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s talk about that a little bit cause we have a similar problem I guess, challenge, opportunity, whatever you want to call it, where you’re trying to build a marketplace, you’re really facing two fronts. When you get into a new vertical, let’s say the Internet marketing or the online business thing, it’s the chicken and egg problem, you’ve got to get one first. Which one do you go after, do you got for the customers or the publishers first?

Tim Bourquin:                    I always thought that the most difficult part of this would be getting the people who want to grow their list to pay to do that, I always thought that’s going to be the hard part. Getting the website owners, there’s a ton of people out there that want to make money, that’s going to be the easy part. I’m going to have people falling all over me to get this side, it is the exact opposite. It is harder to get the website owner to understand it because even though the idea is not new, I didn’t invent this idea, this is an old idea, but it’s been done crappily, it’s not well understood. Even when we’ve set up demos and I’m showing people how it works and they finally see it to describe it, they’re like, “What the hell are you talking about? I have to give my subscribers to somebody else? That doesn’t sound good.”

                                                All right, so I say, here’s a demo. Let me just show you how it’s working on a live site and it once they see it, they’re like, okay, you know something clicks and they start to understand it but it’s definitely easier for us to get the people that want to grow the list because I think they understand or they’ve been doing it for a while enough that they’re getting their organic traffic, but they understand that they need to maybe supplement that. The authors are actually the easy part, it’s the chicken and the egg thing. We’ll have to put both sides together and try to bring them together instantaneously, but I’m always balancing the two.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s how we feel too from our perspective, you made it frictionless. I pay you money, you’re going to build my email list with relevant subscribers, done. Done, that’s really easy. I could see why it might be a bit more difficult with publishers. We’ve a similar thing where we have buyers and sellers and I always thought it’d be much easier to get sellers with websites to sell, because we’re making them money, they’re getting a nice little exit, and that the buyers would be the much more difficult group to find, the people that want to spend 50, 80, $100,000 on a website or an online business, and it’s the reverse. We have more buyers that want to spend their money than we do sellers, we don’t have enough qualified sellers and sites for sale. It’s funny when you start getting into it and digging a little deeper, you kind of find like where the value is, what the difficulties are.

Tim Bourquin:                    How do you guys handle that though? What do you guys do?

Justin Cooke:                     We’re figuring that out. We’ve been targeting both equally and now the buyers heavily outweigh the sellers so we’re redirecting our resources to sellers. We’ve been doing remarketing for both groups, and we’re going to target that specifically to sellers, we’re going to do more paid traffic for sellers. Then we’re a part of communities and like providing more value there and talking to sellers and I think changing our content a bit more to talk to sellers and bring them over to our side I think will help. That’s our focus.

Tim Bourquin:                    That’s fascinating to me too because I think there are a lot of people out there that don’t realize that last way to monetize your site is to sell it and it’s okay because they feel like it’s their baby, but you got to realize that you have valued it. To sell it is that one way that you can monetize it one last time and it’s okay to sell it, you’ve worked hard on it, there are other opportunities out there too. That’s probably your effort to do that.

Justin Cooke:                     It is, and it’s funny when … you know you’re in a marketplace, when you have people on both sides going, we have website buyers go, “Oh man, I can’t believe these guys are selling these businesses. I want to snatch up as many as possible.” And you have sellers ago, “No way, those bars are crazy. I’m happy to sell, walk away, go do something else.” On both ends of the spectrum, you have these people. I actually find myself similarly with afteroffers.com ’cause this is a list builder. I’m like, “Oh my God, these publishers are crazy, why are they giving away email subscribers for so cheap? Absolutely I’ll build my list.” I’m sure there are people on the other end going, “I haven’t made any money blogging. I’ve got this blog with like a thousand articles and I make like $40 a month with AdSense, I get all this traffic, I have nothing to do with it, hell yes, I’ll take some money for the subscribers.”

Tim Bourquin:                    I think that’s why it’s so easy once somebody tries our thing, and we send them the first check that they’ve ever made or the first … our check is the first one. They’ve gotten a check every month from ad sense it’s been like $10 and we send them a check for 150 even if they have just a few options and like, “Oh my God, how can I get more traffic?” I’m like, yeah, that’s the idea of build your list and you’ll make more money. The faster you build your list and the more effort you do to build your own business, the more money you get paid. In that sense it is frictionless for us.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, I think that’s really interesting and you know Tim, you know after the show I’m going to have to connect you to some people that I know that I think both from the publishing and the list building side I think may provide some value, but we’ll talk about that off this one.

Tim Bourquin:                    I’d love it, I’d love that.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s talk really quickly, we’re getting toward the end here, but I want to cover a couple of points. You did a little bit of doubling down where you kind of consolidated and really focused on one business, but then, and kind of like your sophomore when you’re doing trader interviews and the mountain biking podcasts and podcasts expo, it seems like you did more kind of the shotgun approach. Which do you think is more effective and when should you do either?

Tim Bourquin:                    I think you have to pick one thing and just do it and push hard and it’s a hard balance because there’s this balance of, what if I pick the wrong thing and it turns out that I work year of my life and it fails or I have so many interests, I have a hard time focusing on one thing. I think a lot of people, I see a lot of people out there, they’re struggling to pick one thing and run with it because they’re afraid of making a bad choice. The truth is, is that everything you try can make you money. It may not last as long as you think it will or you may sell it before you think it’s time, but you’ve got to remain focused. I’ve only recently in the last year and a half with After Offers, we sold off every other small website we had.

                                                We had other domains and other websites, we had little things going on, we had a website about reviewing pens, believe it or not. We finally just said, “This is it, After Offers is what I’m focusing on.” And we get approached a lot like, “Hey Tim, I think this is a great business. Why don’t you do this with me?” I have to say, you know what it is, it sounds like a great business, but I am 100% focus on this one business because this is the opportunity. I think it’s here and if I don’t dedicate 100% of my time to it, I’m going to start falling into those old traps of being too spread out and when you’re spread out, you miss opportunities in all of these things.

                                                For me, I think finding the one thing, you’re never going to be 100% sure that it’s the right business, you’re never going to be sure that it’s the best idea, but there is no best idea. There is one idea that you choose and you run with and you work as hard as you can on that. At some point if it doesn’t work out, that’s okay, you haven’t wasted time going back and then trying something else. It’s part of the process.

Justin Cooke:                     Ain’t that the truth, Tim. I talk to a bunch of younger entrepreneurs that are just starting to get a little bit of traction, just starting to kind of get into what they want to do and the bouncing around and they’re not terribly serious in one particular focus and it’s like look, you just kind of go to put your head down and do the work. Just do the work, don’t focus on anything else, don’t worry about anything else. If you don’t even believe in it, just pretend for now, just do it. Just hope that it will work out and get yourself to the depth.

Tim Bourquin:                    Right, ’cause the other way is worse. The other way of just like throwing spaghetti at the wall every which way and seeing what sticks, that doesn’t work either and you waste just as much time I think.

Justin Cooke:                     The other thing too, is once you get started getting a little bit of traction, and you talked about this, you just start getting offers and you start getting interest over here. A guy I really look up to Derek Sivers, sivers.org has a thing he says, “Hell yeah ,or no.” It’s either hell yes I want to do this, or no I got to pass. My business partner I, we do a quarterly strategy meeting and most of that strategy meeting, we talk about kind of longterm goals and we work backwards like an annual and then a quarterly goal and then what we’re doing over the next couple of months to hit it, but a lot of that strategy meeting is canceling stuff we’ve added in the last three months. We’re like, we thought this was cool. Nope, got to drop that, thought this was cool, nope, got to drop that.

                                                I think when you’re really starting to head down that path and you’re probably doing it now with After Offers, you just got to look for things to drop so that you can really focus in on your core.

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, and I think people the mistake to have if they’re not just focusing, they think that the work is buying the Ebook, taking the course, the research. That’s not the work, man. The work starts when you pick one of those things and start doing it and making it a business, reading the Ebook and putting it into place, that’s the work.

Justin Cooke:                     We’re getting psychological or whatever, now we’re getting philosophical, but do you think that some people read these books and they get that sense of accomplishment? Like they’ve read the book and they feel like, okay, yep, yep, got it, and then distracted squirrel? They look at something else and something else, they get that feeling of accomplishment after not having actually done anything?

Tim Bourquin:                    Absolutely. They mistake that kind of research or introduction to or learning for the work, and certainly learning is important, I’m not saying that it’s not, but it’s not the work. Until you choose the one thing, put the damn website up, start digging into it, that’s the work and just as research and I’m not sure what to choose yet and I’m taking a lot of them going to a lot of different seminars this year. That’s not work, man, you’re just wasting time until you start doing something.

Justin Cooke:                     Have you ever done this, Tim? I definitely have where like I’m working on a Saturday night and I’m doing something really mundane, it’s really lame but as an entrepreneur, I’m kind of like, I’m giddy inside because I know I’m doing the work that my competition might not be doing. They are watching a movie or whatever and I’m like, I’m doing this stuff, this is really boring, monotonous stuff that I know is important in our business, it has to be something important, but I know that this is the work that other people won’t do. I’m doing the things today that other people won’t do, so I can have what other people won’t have, that kind of thing.

Tim Bourquin:                    Entrepreneurship and owning websites and doing website business, I work from home, I love it. I’m not like stoked … People tell me that I should be stoked every morning in my passion and I just love getting up every morning and do my work. I’m here to tell you that there’s some days when I don’t feel like sitting down at my laptop. I like my business and I like what we’re doing, but I can’t do that every day. There’s some days that I’m like, man, this is boring today, I don’t like this. And that’s okay, it’s not like 100% getting woo, I’m on my way. That’s not the reality of online business.

Justin Cooke:                     We’re here in the Philippines and so we definitely have kind of an expat thing, we travel quite a bit, but we get asked, “Do you got your laptop on the beach, you’re sipping on fruity drinks every day and writing?” No man, honestly, laptop on the beach, it’s all sandy, it’s too distracting. We tried it and like that’s not great for work. My business partner wrote a post on like the AdSense lifestyle when we’re building small ads on sites and explained that it’s a regular routine. I’m sitting there, you think my days like this, it’s actually sitting at my desk on okay. Back to work. It’s funny what people’s impressions are and I still prefer it to working for the man of course. We’re down, but no, we’re not that down on it.

Tim Bourquin:                    I think the lesson is, is that people feel like they’ve made a wrong choice or that maybe this isn’t the right business if I’m not just totally stoked to be working on this every single day and it’s just not that way. Some days it’s just work, it is work. It’s not working for the man, but it’s still work and so it’s okay to go through those lows. If you’re not, I don’t think you’re human, something’s wrong with you.

Justin Cooke:                     Tim, thank you so much for being on the show man, I really appreciate it. this has been a fantastic interview. We’re going a little long, but I’m really, really excited to have you on the show and share you with our listeners. If someone wants to reach out to you or get in contact, what’s the best way to do that?

Tim Bourquin:                    They can email me directly. I give him my cell phone out too, I’ve given myself on out to my list of 20,000 people and so you’d be surprised, nobody calls me but you’re welcome to. My email is tim@afteroffers.com and I’m Tim Bourquin on Skype and if you … seriously, here’s my mobile number, (949) 677-4905. I will pick up, that’s my number.

Justin Cooke:                     No one calls, man, it’s right. Are you on the Twitters?

Tim Bourquin:                    I am on the Twitters. It’s one of those things where … trying to be focused, but I’m Tim Bourquin on Twitter as well. I don’t read a whole lot, but once in a while I throw something up there.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool man. Again-

Tim Bourquin:                    Linkedin, I love Linkedin. If you want to contact me on Linkedin, I love that.

Justin Cooke:                     Linkedin, I think we have contacts, man. Anyway, I really appreciate it. We’re customers of After Offers and we really appreciate the service you offer there. Thanks so much to be on the show, man.

Tim Bourquin:                    Yeah, thanks Justin, appreciate it.

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

Justin Cooke:                     I really appreciate Tim taking time to talk to us today. I thought it was a fantastic interview, the guys has done some really amazing things. Enough about that, let’s get back to Joe and I will talk about some tips, tricks and plans for the future.

Speaker 1:                           This is the Empire Flippers podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     All right buddy, so I got a great tip for the listeners this week. I’ve been reading a guy named Taylor, he’s got a blog over at taylorpearson.me. I think you’re reading him as well, right?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I’ve read a couple of his articles, commented, definitely some good stuff. He’s a good writer and he picks good topics.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, it’s a great blog on entrepreneurship. He talks about things like niche selection, but he also gets into personal development and even kind of the psychology behind being an entrepreneur, what that means and just how to pick markets, how to know things whether your business is a winner, how to stay focused and motivated on it. His writing style and the topic I think just really speaks to me at the last couple of months, I’ve been such a fan. If you get a chance I would definitely head over there. Obviously we’ll have a link to that in the show notes along with all the other things mentioned in this episode.

Speaker 6:                           That’s it for episode 91 of the Empire Flippers podcast. Thanks for being with us. Make sure to check us out on Twitter @empireflippers and we’ll see you next week.

Joe Magnotti:                    Bye, bye, everybody.

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

 

Photo Credit: @LAPDLambo on Instagram


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  1. Great show guys thanks for the mention. I loved Tim’s story. I laughed listening to you talk about working on Saturday night Justin. There’s a cigar bar in downtown SD and sometimes I like to go down there on Friday or Saturday night when everyone else is drinking and smoking and just JAM! Gets me super psyched.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Yeah, man – LOVING the content you’re putting out on the blog recently – really speaks to me.

      There’s a bar here in Davao called Business Class that I’ve been working at recently…knocking out work while everyone else is chatting and relaxing. I’ll normally join them later in the night, though. :-)

  2. Awesome interview guys, and I REALLY appreciate the mention. :) Keep it up, loving these interviews.

    – Eric

  3. Karl says:

    Great episode with a lot of golden information!

    Loved how the principle of how you think about how others aren’t willing to put that work in, that you might be doing on a Friday night or Monday morning. A tactic that really helps me push myself sometimes.

    Tim is awesome, if you’re reading this, you can expect a call from me soon! :D

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Karl!

      Yeah, man…I get giddy thinking about how we’re going to “crush” the competition because we’re willing to do what they won’t, hehe.

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