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EFP 124: The Rise of the Apprentice

Justin Cooke January 23, 2015

The concept of apprenticeships is far from new, having started primarily in the Middle Ages with tradesmen. When you think of apprentices today, you’ll likely envision manual labor: carpenters, electricians, and the like.

But there’s something different going on today – a rising trend of aspiring entrepreneurs looking for a new way to work.

Introducing the Apprenticeship Model

Gone are the days when you could rely on your employers to provide work for 25-30 years and a generous retirement. With the rise of the internet, specialization is allowed that was only dreamed of just 20 years ago.

In this episode, Joe and I will discuss the merits of the entrepreneurial apprentice movement and a provide a How-To when it comes to Finding, vetting, hiring, and training a new apprentice for your business.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week:

  • Employee, Contractor, or Apprentice – How to choose?
  • Preparing & Publishing the apprentice offer
  • How to get applicants for your apprenticeship
  • Funneling apprentice applicants
  • Pulling off a successful interview
  • Selecting & Hiring your new apprentice
  • Training & Expectations


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“Spend least amount of time at top of funnel and most amount of time at the bottom” – Justin – Tweet This!

“A cultural fit is more important with an apprentice” – Joe – Tweet This!

Have you ever hired an apprentice? Been an apprentice? We’d love to hear your comments!


Justin:                   Welcome to the Empire Podcast episode 124. We’re in the process of bringing our fourth apprentice hire here to Southeast Asia, and we want to discuss this growing trend. In this episode, we’ll cover the return of the apprenticeship, why you might want to consider an apprentice over an employee, and the details behind the process we use to bring apprentices into our business. You can find the [inaudible 00:00:20] and all links discussed in this episode at All right. Let’s do this.

Female:                Sick of listening to entrepreneurial advice from guys with day jobs? Want to hear about the real successes and failures that come with building an online empire? You are not alone. From San Diego to Tokyo, New York to Bangkok, join thousands of entrepreneurs and investors who are prioritizing wealth and personal freedom over the oppression of an office cubicle. Check out the Empire Podcast. Now your hosts Justin and Joe.

Justin:                   I’ve been going through our latest round of apprentice applicants, Joe, and if any of them think they’re in for a regular job with us, they’re in for a rude awakening, buddy.

Joe:                        Yeah. I was talking to some people about it, and it’s definitely an interesting position in which they have to be more flexible if they’ve never done anything like this. The training wheels come off and it’s really going to … It’s work, and it’s hard work, but it’s also a very different way of working.

Justin:                   Yeah, it’s definitely a different way of working. I think a lot of people that are used to traditional roles or traditional jobs are used to a traditional way of applying to them. So they kind of, “Here’s my resume and my LinkedIn profile,” and they go through those steps. I think, and especially for a company or business like ours where we have an apprenticeship in Southeast Asia, we’re going to be introducing you to not only a new city but a new country, I think there are a lot of things that go with that that don’t lead into a regular job.

                                I think that’s somewhat true for all apprenticeships because you’re bringing someone on that’s not just going to be an employee, and we’re going to get into some of the differences in this episode. But you’re bringing someone on that’s going to learn some of the things you’ve learned. It’s not going to be just a sit down, do my eight hours of work, and log out.

Joe:                        Well, that’s why I said apprenticeship. If they don’t learn anything out of an apprenticeship, then taking a reduced income position, even if they do get to come overseas, is not very valuable. I think that’s one of the biggest things. The other thing I would say, as we’ll talk about later, a cultural fit is more important with an apprentice than I think just some regular ole’ person that would be in a cubicle, especially because we’re a small company.

Justin:                   That’s absolutely true. I think what’s interesting about how this is all playing out is the internet is leveling the playing field. You hear that said. I think what it’s doing, it’s allowing for specialization. So allowing for specialization in products, it’s allowing for specialization in content, the types of content you’re consuming, the types of content that’s being distributed. Before, it was mass media only. Now you can really niche down on different types of podcasts you put out, for example.

                                So I think that is really opening it up to not just holding communication channels in the hands of a few small very very large companies. You have a lot of, I think, start-ups. You have a lot of mom and pop shops. You have a lot of businesses that are five-man teams, 15-man teams. Whereas there wasn’t as much of that before.

Joe:                        Yeah. I definitely think that with the specialization the internet has brought, there has been some gaps where before you wouldn’t be able to make enough money as a specialist, but now, because of the internet, you can.

Justin:                   I think it’s interesting. I was talking to my girlfriend about this the other day and we were saying that we like some sci-fi shows. There’s not a lot of money for the really niche kind of interesting sci-fi shows for ABC, CBS, NBC. They’re just not going to put some of those shows out. But with the proliferation of all the different cable channels and the internet, you’re starting to see some of these really interesting shows that aren’t getting the big budget distribution, but with CGI graphics and stuff, they’re able to do really cool stuff and make for interesting stories.

Joe:                        Yeah, some of the stuff that’s coming out on Amazon and Netflix is really interesting. Little off topic there, but yes. Awesome.

Justin:                   So back to apprenticeships, I think the word is out. I think most millennials, I think Gen Y, Gen X, they’re realizing that employment isn’t forever. I’m not going to take this job where they’re not going to be paying my retirement in 30, 40 years when we’re done working. It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean, definitely I think the financial crisis has turned people on to the fact that your job can be here today, gone tomorrow. And building not only a skill set but a personal brand and a network is much more valuable than anything else.

Justin:                   God, Joe, I absolutely agree with you on that. Absolutely agree with you on that. And I think that you’re seeing some of the younger crowd, I’d say the under 30 crowd is wise to that. Whereas guys our age, we’re slowly adapting. We’re realizing this is coming down the pipe. Whereas the younger people are like, “Yeah, of course this is the way it is. We’ve grown up with this, so we’re used to it.” It’s really interesting.

                                The reason we wanted to do this podcast, we wanted to discuss the roles of apprentices in our business, how we see them playing out, and then lay out some of the strategies and tactics we use to both hire our apprentices, go through the hiring process, the funnel, bringing them in, and then actually getting them up and trained. I think if the apprenticeship model appeals to you, this is going to be a great episode. I think there’s a lot of value for your five-man shops, ten-man shops, to start looking at the apprenticeship model.

Joe:                        Yeah, I don’t think it’s going to be gospel, but if you can pull away at least a couple of elements to your ability to hire an apprentice and train the apprentice and make a successful apprenticeship, this will be for you.

Justin:                   All right, buddy. It’s time to pay the bills with your featured listing of the week. What you got for us?

Joe:                        We’re talking about listing number 40139. It’s in the home and garden niche. Specifically it’s about a home cleaning tool, a very interesting home cleaning tool.

Justin:                   We talking robots here, man? What are we doing? Cleaning bots, cleaning maids?

Joe:                        Not quite cleaning bots. It’s a mop. I’ll give you that. It is definitely something you could probably turn into a drop-ship or a E-commerce site. Right now it’s monetized with Amazon and AdSense, but it’s a very brandable type of domain and site. It’s listed for just under 28,000 dollars. It makes just under 1,400 dollars a month, and the great thing is, it has no expenses and no real work to do. The seller hasn’t added much content at all in the last three, four months, so I really think that this is something that somebody could either stick in their portfolio, as I always say, and use as passive income.

                                But if you really wanted to hit the ground running and make this into a larger site, especially if you are in the home and garden niche, if you have a cleaning supply type company, you could re-use this traffic. Because it does get some pretty good page views. It gets about 20,000 page views a month, and I think that sort of traffic could be interesting to the right people.

Justin:                   Yeah, that is good traffic. You know what always amazed me with sites like this is when you look at the Amazon, AdSense blended sites, one usually beats out the other, and it’s almost always Amazon, because that’s kind of the primary goal of the site. I don’t know why it has AdSense on it. Why have AdSense at all? I’m sure, I’m guessing, I haven’t seen specifically with this site, but it’s probably a very small percentage of the earnings here, right?

Joe:                        Yeah, and you know what the weird thing is-

Justin:                   He’s losing clicks to that. That could go to Amazon Prime and make more money.

Joe:                        Absolutely. And some of the retargeting that happens with AdSense, you’re going to get ads on there that are just completely not relevant to the content. Now, they may be relevant to you because you visited Empire [inaudible 00:07:31] before and we’re retargeting you, or something like that. But I think you’re less likely to click those ads on a site like this.

                                So yeah, I think there’s a lot of opportunity here to convert it directly over to an Amazon site, or even an affiliate site. I bet you if you looked at specific affiliate site programs, this site gets enough traffic that if you dedicated yourself to one guy or one product, you might get a little bit more money than what Amazon would give you.

Justin:                   It’s interesting. If you do end up buying this site or buying a site this where it has Amazon and AdSense, do test out getting rid of AdSense, trying to clean up some of those holes to where your click users are going to Amazon. If you’re a seller considering selling with us, definitely test that out before you do a three-month mark so you can optimize your earnings and get full value.

Joe:                        Good advice.

Justin:                   All right. Enough about that. Let’s get into the heart of this week’s episode.

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

Justin:                   All right, Joe. We’re talking about the rise of the apprentice today.

Joe:                        By the way, rise of the Apprentice, that sounds like a Star Wars movie, doesn’t it?

Justin:                   It does. Like Terminator or something. The Rise of the Machines. I don’t know, man. Before we even get into this episode, I do want to mention a couple of things. I think the first point should be that this is not a slimy way or a sleazy way to get work for free or cheap. I’ve seen some people in our community, and digital online community, put out this apprenticeship where there’s no guaranteed earnings. It’s just like come out here and maybe you’ll end up with a job and I want you to work for free, and I don’t know how you’re going to pay for yourself but you get to work with me, kind of thing. I think that’s a really sleazy taking advantage approach.

Joe:                        Yeah, and I definitely … We’re going to talk about this in a little bit, but there has to be some value in it for them above and beyond the money as well.

Justin:                   Yeah, that’s the second point, so there’s got to be give and take. I think this is true with employees, like your regular line employees, but it’s especially true with apprentices that they need to get some value out of you. So when you’re actually going through the hiring process, that’s something you have to consider for the person you hire.

Joe:                        Right. That’s why we stopped calling them interns and started calling them apprentices. Intern is that guy that gets you coffee and sorts the paperwork and really he just does all the work that nobody else wants to do. The apprentice is somebody you actually show how to be a master of his craft. I think that’s a big distinction.

Justin:                   The third thing I think we want to mention, and this kind of goes along with number one, but is that you have to make this safe and less risky for the apprentice. And in our situation, I think this is doubly true. That we’re taking someone that grew up in wherever, Oklahoma or Idaho or wherever, and we’re saying we’re going to fly them halfway around the world and put them in a country and a culture they’re not used to.

                                They need to feel safe in that they know that they’ve got guaranteed money. It can’t be like we’re month to month or something with our business. They have to know that there is going to be some stability there. They have to know that they’re going to be able to land on the ground and have a place and be able to be comfortable and that type of thing.

Joe:                        Yeah, I know you’re not a big union fan, Justin, but it kind of reminds me of that. Apprenticeships in the olden days were part of unions, and that’s kind of the safety net that they had involved, that they weren’t going to be laid off, that they weren’t going to lose their job, that they were going to have to at least get up to a skill and a viable sort of income level that would be useful.

Justin:                   Unions, Joe? You’re such a communist, dude. I hate you. Unions, really?

Joe:                        Really.

Justin:                   You’re going unions on this?

Joe:                        I’m going.

Justin:                   I’m not a fan. I think it’s in the hands of the employer, and I think smart or sharp apprentices are going to avoid the ones that are obviously sketchy, and I personally wouldn’t steer anyone towards one I thought was just potential employer looking to take advantage. I want to get those out of the way, but we’re going to get into this.

                                I think the first thing when you’re considering bringing on an apprentice is is this an apprentice that you need, or do you need an employee, do you need a contract, and how do you determine the difference between the three. So we’re going to go through that really quickly. I think a contractor, we’ve talked about this in another episode, but is really good for one-off work or specialist work that you just don’t have someone on board to do but that they could do it for you over a two-week or six-month period and then kind of end it. Design work, for example, or a development project.

Joe:                        Yeah, I could easily see people trying the apprentice role for something that they had been unable to fill through a contractor, and that’s definitely the wrong thing to do. If you need a programmer, hire a contractor.

Justin:                   I think an employee is a good hire when you have the process mostly locked down, and you have SOPs in place, and really you just need to get the work done. It’s not work that can be automated. It needs a human’s touch. It needs someone’s ability to think critically about the project. But it has the basic guidelines already laid out. I think this is what leads into the apprentice role.

                                This is someone that is going to be able to step in and they’re going to be able to develop and go with the flow when it comes to process. As those processes are developed, they’re able to take ownership of a project, and they’re going to be able to take this and really run with it. You’re giving them a shot at mini-entrepreneurship. That’s important.

                                Generally, you’re going to be able to, or you’re going to have them work outside of defined guidelines of KPI, so you might not have those in place to start the project. Really, the reason that you’re going to put them in this ownership position that they’re going to be working on, developing the process. It’s not because you’re going to hand it to them and they’re going to roll with it, it’s because you’re going to be working on it, too, so you’re going to be involved in the process.

                                Not only are they going to be intimately familiar with the processes because they helped you come up with them, but they’re going to be able to see your process for creating them, your thought process for putting those together.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think that’s a great point. It’s an interesting way to look at it. I’m not sure I 100 percent agree, but I definitely see where you’re coming from, and it’s a good way to look at it and make sure that he’s learning something. Because if the apprentice is involved with those types of SOPs and coming up with the processes and that sort of KPI, then definitely he’s going to learn something at the end and he’s going to be able to run with it and help you be a better organization and be one of your better employees when you convert him from an apprentice to an employee.

                                And that should be the end goal. It should be to convert the apprentice into a stellar employee.

Justin:                   We’ve got that decided in terms of who we need to hire. We agree it’s an apprentice. Now we need to … Let’s say that we’ve already defined the role. We have the role played out and everything. Now we need to figure out how and where we’re going to publish the offer. The first thing I’ll mention here is that for us, it’s relatively easy. We’ve got a blog, we’ve got an audience of people who’ve been on for years, so we can put it out there and get people in our audience that will want to apply.

                                But I don’t think it’s impossible for people that have zero audience. So if I don’t have a blog or I don’t have a popular YouTube channel or podcast or whatever, I can still get it done. I think one of the ways I can do that is by going to other blogs that are in the industry, I can go to other industry websites, people that are in the space, and ask them if I can do a guest post or ask them to be able to put that up.

                                I don’t even think it has to necessarily be industry. At worst case, it can be a site where some of your potential apprentices might hang out. So it’s a blog about new ways to work, it’s a four-hour work week type blog where someone might be interested in heading down that road and they want some mentorship. They want to take on the apprentice role.

Joe:                        Yeah, totally agree, but I can see why people who don’t have an audience and don’t have a blog might not have those connections or might be wary of reaching out. They might not be the kind of people who do that. So you’ve got to put on your big boy pants and go out there and find the connections of people that you can work with that do have an audience where people who are hanging out that you would want to be apprentices. It’s definitely going to be something that the owner has to take an active measure in making sure it’s successful.

Justin:                   Yeah, so anyone in that position … You bring up a good point, Joe. Anyone that’s in that position that are maybe kind of freaked out about reaching out to someone, or they’re like, “I don’t know if they’d be interested in that,” keep this in mind. That if you have a blog, it’s a popular blog, you’ve got an audience, whatever, you’re always looking for good content. You’re always looking for ways that you can help your readers.

                                If I’m able to put a post up that’s able to give someone, let’s say, a life-changing position or a life-changing experience, I absolutely want to offer that position up to my readers. I think that’s really valuable, so I want that. So don’t feel like they’re going to have to do you a huge favor by putting it out there. I think there’s mutual benefit for the person that owns the blog and then for you, obviously, in getting your apprentice.

Joe:                        Good advice.

Justin:                   I think in the offer, you need to play up both the good and the bad. I think it needs to be awfully clear. You want to be direct, even probably more frank than you think might be necessary.

Joe:                        Needs to be fair because you don’t want them coming all this way, wherever that may be. Even if you’re in the States and they’re just going from one side of the country to the other, you don’t want them getting this knee-deep in your business only to find out that there were some big negatives that you hid under the carpet.

Justin:                   Yeah, so I think it helps to take an honest look at your business and are they going to have to do some crap job. If there are pieces of the job that are just now awe-inspiring, I think you should really lay that out. I also think, and this is a weird position to be in, but you have to balance. You have to both attract applicants, you want people to apply obviously, but you want to be somewhat discouraging, too. You want to discourage the applicants that you think might be the wrong fit.

                                That’s a tricky situation. We’ve had situations where people reach out to us after and they say, “I was going to apply, but I thought there was this,” and they misunderstood what I was saying because I was trying to discourage other people. So I think you have to carefully balance the two. Yes, you want a bunch of applications, but no, you don’t want a bunch of applications from the wrong people.

Joe:                        Yeah, that’s especially true, I think, if you’re in a large audience type of area. Whether it’s your audience or somebody else’s audience that you’re guest hosting on, and you’re appealing to a broad spectrum of people.

Justin:                   One of the things you can do in your publishing offer is you can use Easter eggs. Things like mention “Empire Flippers” in the title, mention whatever. Mention “Justin loves corn,” whatever, something, to make sure they actually read through the entire article and are following directions. I know Mark Manson did this for some of the apprenticeships or employee hires that he used.

                                I don’t use it for our apprenticeships. I just think there are other ways that we’re able to get that same thing accomplished. One of the things we use is heavier requirements. We have them fill out a bunch of information and short essays, a few paragraphs on information about themselves, we have them submit a video. So I think those. If they don’t include the video, if they don’t include that, that’s an easy no. We use the heavy requirements piece. You could also throw in Easter eggs if you want as well.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think the video thing, that’s really. You’ve got to do that because you can learn so much from the body language and just looking how someone prepares themselves. Did they do it as a selfie on their phone and just not even look like they got out of bed, or did they look like they wrote something down, they came up with a little bit of a script, they did some good video editing, they tried to make it polished. It makes a difference.

Justin:                   It’s funny you mention the get out of bed thing. We actually had someone one time during the interview that was in bed. That was in bed.

Joe:                        It is still amazing to me.

Justin:                   We’re pretty casual dudes, that’s cool. But you shouldn’t be in bed doing the interview. That’s a little odd. But that’s actually good. That’s an easy disqualification. And we’re going to get into that a little bit later. But I think, like you said, buddy, having a video is great. I think body language is really important.

                                The only last part I’ll mention is if you’re expecting a lot more applicants, let’s say you’re putting this on a very popular blog and you’re expecting a lot of applicants, use more Easter eggs, make the requirements even tougher, make them jump through some hoops, because that’s going to help you filter it down. If you’re not expecting many at all, you can loosen up those requirements so that you get more applicants.

                                Third thing that I’m going to talk about is marketing the offer. Let’s say that you got this published on your own blog or someone else’s, it’s out there and you’re accepting applicants. Well, just having it out there isn’t enough. You now need to get some attention. Get some people checking it out and interested in actually applying, and it’s not going to do it by itself. There are ways you can do this.

                                One of the first things I would say is look close to home. You can look at friends of friends. You can look at peers. You can ask your family if they know anyone that might be interested. Now, be very careful saying hiring family or friends. In fact, we have an unwritten rule where we generally don’t hire friends or family for either apprentice role or employee role. Maybe contractors. But we don’t hire them-

Joe:                        Yeah, I think that’s probably a pretty good rule to have. I’ve heard some nightmare stories, and I’d like to stick to that role, but definitely networking with friends and family. I think that’s a good idea. I forwarded our particular offer to my fraternity network, both the alumni and the undergrads, and maybe not so much that someone directly from my fraternity or from the undergrad network would apply. They could give it to other college-type people.

                                It’s a great gap year sort of just got out of college, I don’t want to go get a nine to five, let’s move to Vietnam and try something out.

Justin:                   Ooh, I don’t know about this gap year, man. I don’t want your gap year frat buddies coming out here. Whoa, Joe. We need to have a little conversation about this, buddy. No, I’m just teasing. I actually think that’s good you’re giving your frat brothers an opportunity, I think, to do this. I just hope it’s not gap year guys. But yeah, I think it’s cool.

Joe:                        And it’s not a frat. It’s a fraternity.

Justin:                   It’s a frat, basically. Frat boy. I’m just playing. One of the other things you can do that can be effective is you can put a post on Facebook on your own wall, and then basically promote that to the right targeted audience. I think that’s a fantastic way to get some attention to your apprenticeship.

Joe:                        I love this, because it’s so easy in Facebook because they have all that information. For people that are not familiar with Facebook ads and advertising, the amount of targeting that you can do there, it’s so much better than something like Google ad words where you can only just key off on a keyword. You can target by age, by geographical location, by interest, by a bunch of different factors, and they make your ad very targeted to the type of people that you think would be good for your apprenticeship.

Justin:                   Yeah, let’s say I want women age 28 to 50, I want men, let’s say older guys, I want a 40 to 60 year old guy. You can target whoever you want. You can target them by interests. So if it’s an E-commerce position, you can target them by an E-commerce interest. So I think yeah, Facebook is fantastic for this. So it’s going to help you narrow down your marketing toward the right demographic that you’re looking for.

                                I also think, and we’ve used this a lot for our blog and to help promote Empire Flippers when we were getting started, but I think you can do the same thing for marketing a position. Go to forms or communities where your avatar or perfect apprentice might hang out. So are they members of nomad communities, like in our case? Are they members of … Let’s say that you sale after market auto parts. Are they members of some auto forums and communities and stuff? Some of the really kind of hobbyist places. People there may need a job, and they may love to work in that industry and it’s something that they already love and are passionate about.

Joe:                        Yeah, this works very well in other aspects, so I’m sure it would work very well in the apprenticeship as well. It’s a slow burn, so just know that you’re going to have to find many different areas and keep working on posting and following up on the thread and that kind of thing.

Justin:                   A lot of times, these forums, it’s hard to find a community and then be like, “Hey, by the way, here’s my offer.” But a lot of times, they’ll have a specific section of the forum that is there for available jobs or you can even advertise if needed. Sometimes if your offer … Again, just like publishers, if you’re offering a job or a position or a career, a potential career, that would be interesting to their audience, there’s a value in them sharing that information, so they might be interested in letting you put that up there.

                                I also think with the marketing, you can actually be a little less balanced. Before, we were talking about make sure you plant the good and the bad. I think you’re a bit better off with the ads. You can be a bit more positive. You’re going to want to highlight the good. You can leave the bad for the job description, because really this is just about them clicking through and checking them out. That’s all you’re trying to get them to do.

Joe:                        Yeah, you’re definitely going to turn people off if you put the negative in the ad.

Justin:                   You’re like, “Yeah, here’s all the bad stuff that comes with this apprenticeship position.” Really, you just want it to peak their interest. It’s like a headline. You just want them to click through and start reading and then figure out more about it.

                                All right, man. So we’ve dug through marketing the offer. Let’s talk about the applicant funnel. We use this for really everything we do, Joe, and I think we learned this more than ten years ago now.

Joe:                        Yeah, I would say this is my favorite part, really, the applicant funnel, because it’s a great way to just get down to a key number of guys and really isolate the targets that you’re going to follow up with later on with the interview.

Justin:                   So the basic idea is you want to spend the least amount of your time at the top of funnel, the most amount of your time at the bottom of funnel. So as they come in, you’re starting to get these applicants in, your whole goal is to discount or remove them from the list. So you’re going to go with the quickest reasons to disqualify them.

                                So in our case, it would be where we explicitly say it requires a video and they don’t include a video. That literally takes me three seconds to look at that line item. They didn’t put in a video? They’re off. That’s it. They’re out. They’re not going to get the position. I’m going to start with there. I also want to look for people that are not available for the timeframe we need them in.

                                If we need them in the next couple of months and they say, “Oh, it’s going to be at least six months or more,” okay great, you’re out. That’s a quick and easy decision. Next, I would say this is a bit more tricky, but you want to start looking for things like lack of a particular skill. If you said that we need this skillset and then you had them write about the skillset and they say, “Hey, I actually don’t have any experience with this.” Well, okay, you can get rid of them, too.

                                People that … A fast one, a quick one, would be people that didn’t use the Easter egg. They didn’t find your Easter egg and use it. Obviously you can dump them right away. They’re not paying attention to the position.

Joe:                        Yeah, this top of the funnel stuff, Justin, it’s amazing. The guys I know that have tried the apprenticeship, they really struggle with this part. They’re trying to go through every applicant and find out their pluses and minuses instead of just quickly disqualifying and getting down to a core number of people that you can go ahead and be a little more picky about.

Justin:                   Yeah, like they see the video and they’re like, “Huh, maybe I should get on the phone with this guy to get something clarified.” No, if it’s not good, it’s out. It’s out. And move right down the funnel.

Joe:                        And you might miss a superstar, you might, but most likely you won’t.

Justin:                   Yeah, most likely you’re going to waste a hell of a lot of your time that could have been lost better training the person that wasn’t the perfect person for the position but was able to get out here a lot sooner and get to work. I think after that, after the Easter eggs and the no video included, you want to start disqualifying because they have a lack of experience with a particular skillset.

                                Let’s say that you said you need three years of customer service management experience, something like that, whatever. They did a little bit of maybe a low-level supervisor for a year and a half or something and you can start to determine, “Okay, maybe that’s not good enough.” I think you want to be careful here. If it’s a hard skill and they absolutely don’t have what’s required, yes, you can toss them. But if it’s close, you might want to leave them in based on some of the other information that’s provided.

Joe:                        Yeah, be flexible but be firm at the same time. That’s a tough balance to do, but I think as you look down the list of applicants, we’re getting more down the funnel now, you’ll be able to be flexible and decide which ones it applies to, which ones it doesn’t.

Justin:                   I think, when we’re getting down to it, this is before the interview still, but I think that you could start to, toward the end, cut for personality or culture and mismatches. If there’s someone in their video or someone in their written explanation of things that would just irk the shit out of you or you just couldn’t see yourself sitting down with a beer with for more than 15 minutes, then yeah, that’s a good time to cut. It’s fair, right?

Joe:                        Yeah. We’ve had some videos where he absolutely turned us off and told us … All the other checked boxes were checked, but the video just came in and we knew that this person wouldn’t be for us.

Justin:                   And this is someone that we’re going to be spending a lot of time with, and you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your apprentice as well, and you want to make sure that it’s someone that you dig, that you get along with, that you think that you can work with on a regular basis.

Joe:                        Heck, in the past, they’ve lived with us. So it’s something that you definitely have to make sure works well.

Justin:                   So we’ve covered the applicant funnel. Let’s get into the interview a little bit. I think this is the part where we really start to heavily lean towards culture and personality. We really want to make sure that this person is a fit within our business culture and then with you and I personally.

Joe:                        Yeah, and this is not stuff that you saw in the video, because obviously you would have discounted them before this. This is something that just can’t be scripted. You want to make sure to throw them off a little bit in the interview. You don’t want to just go down a list of questions that you ask to everybody. You want to make sure to keep things open-ended. There’s definitely some interview tricks that you can use to make sure you get interesting answers out of people.

Justin:                   One of the tricks I use is for the position, there’s generally some kind of personality trait that I consider that goes along with the position. So I’ll have, for that position, three to five personality traits, and then I will rate the interviewers based on that. So numbered one through five, five being the best, one being the least, and depending on how well I think they rate based on that personality trait.

                                Really, I keep in mind this is a snap judgment decision. This is only a short Skype interview, 15-20 minutes, but you have to have some way of deciding that. And some of them are pretty clear.

Joe:                        Yeah, that brings up an interesting point, Justin. Keeping things a little bit objective in a rating score, in a small spreadsheet. Especially when you get down to interview because really, you should only have about maximum ten people to interview for that. You should really make it objectified in terms of a number. So you make some categories, and then based on the skillsets and the interview, you assign some numbers to those, and that starts to give you an idea of comparison of applicants.

Justin:                   These personality traits, too, the three to five I come up with, let’s say that for example one of them’s empathy. I want to judge this person’s empathy. I’m going to ask questions that are designed around judging them on that trait. It can be a little tricky and a little less objective, I think, here. But really, you’re asking these subjective questions to make an objective decision and a numerical based decision based on that personality trait.

Joe:                        You’re such an empathetic guy.

Justin:                   So empathetic guy. The other thing, I think, that we like to judge is an excitement factor. Does this person give a shit? Does he or she care about what they’re doing, about applying for this role? Do they want it? Are they hungry for the role? Now, I don’t want them to close me necessarily. We’re not always hiring sales people where they have to ask for the deal, but I do want to get some sense that they’re interested, they’re really interested.

Joe:                        Yeah, that’s just not something you can teach. So if someone’s droning on in the interview, it’s going to be a sign of someone that may be difficult to work with later on.

Justin:                   Droning on in a way that they’re kind of aloof about the position or something. Aloofness is not great for us. One of the things that I know that you really look for Joe is are they trainable. How moldable are they? Or are they set in their ways? Are they convinced that their way is the best way?

Joe:                        I think this is especially important for an apprentice because it’s definitely something that they may not have the skillsets available, and it’s something that you’re going to have to really train them on. So you need to know whether it’s something … Do they listen? Do they pay attention? Is it something that you think you’re going to be able to work with and change to making perfect for the role?

Justin:                   It’s interesting to see whether or not they’re interviewing you, and they really should be, because you’re going to be mentoring them. They’re going to be your apprentice. They should ask you questions about not just what’s in it for them, but they should want to get a feel for how you work, how you think. If they’re not asking those questions, they’re just sitting passively, responding to your questions, that’s not a very good sign, too. It doesn’t give me an indication that they’re really interested, that they really want to find out about this role and whether they have any concept of they own their future.

                                I want them to have the concept in their head that, “Look, I determine my path and I want to make sure this is a good path for me.” If they’re passively sitting there just kind of accepting what I throw at them, that’s not the kind of person I want to work with.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think this is great advice for anyone going on an interview. If you’re not questioning the interviewer as well, you’re probably not going to have a good interview.

Justin:                   We like to look at the path that led up to them interviewing with us, too. Have they been out of college for a couple of years, took on a couple of jobs? Or has this person had a long career in, let’s say, traditional marketing and they’re now applying for a bookkeeping position? Does that not make sense? So have they been both in a trajectory and in an industry that’s given them skills and valuable skillsets that will lead them into the role with us?

Joe:                        Yeah, I remember for the apprentice position that Vincent got, we had someone apply who was involved in the NGO community in Washington, DC, which is such out of left field. She came from a very nice college background, and she just didn’t have any of the lead in stuff. She had some of the skillset stuff definitely to work with us.

Justin:                   Yeah, she was super sharp, too.

Joe:                        But the path in order to come out to the Philippines and start working for a small company that did outsourcing in buying and selling websites just didn’t make any sense.

Justin:                   Yeah, so it seemed to us like it was a gap year kind of thing. Like, “Sure, I’ll take a vacation for six months or a year and see what all this is about, but I’m not interested in heading in towards those types of businesses, the living and traveling abroad scenario.” It didn’t seem like she was on the path for that. We couldn’t wrap our heads around it.

                                The last part of the interview is that you are definitely going to pick who you need out of your interview, or the people that you’re interviewing. But I think you also need to keep their needs in mind. So you’re going to be able to tell much better when you’re talking in person, checking out their body language, and determining whether you’re going to be able to provide value for them.

                                This becomes important later on in terms of retaining them longer term, but looking at what you could help them with. Are they in a position where your skillsets and what you’re going to be able to teach them from a mentorship position, are you going to allow their skillsets and their growth, their trajectory, to bloom because of it?

Joe:                        Yeah, I think that’s an interesting point. And one thing we didn’t cover here that I think is something we should really bring up is personality-wise, if you find someone that’s negative about their history, extremely negative … We’ve mentioned this in other podcasts before about interviewing.

Justin:                   I love that. Easy no.

Joe:                        Yeah, if they’re negative about previous positions, previous people, previous companies, then they’re probably … It’s never 100 percent them, but the problem is usually with the person, especially if they have multiple negative experiences.

Justin:                   Keep in mind, the interview, again, is a funnel. It’s bottom of the funnel, but it’s a funnel all the same, and you’re you’re looking for reasons to disqualify. So yeah, if they’re negative about previous positions, it looks like they don’t take any responsibility. It’s not just how well they match up to those three to five character traits or personality type I’ve written about, but it’s also whether or not they’ve completely screwed themselves in some of their answers.

                                All right. So we’ve gone through the interview [inaudible 00:35:02]. Let’s talk about the hiring process. Now the first thing I want to mention here is something that we don’t actually do, but it’s generally better to hire in batches.

Joe:                        I would love to hire in batches. I would love to be able to hire two apprentices at a time.

Justin:                   I was talking to Mike about this the other day and he was saying, “Yeah, it’d be great if you guys could hire in batches,” and I’ll tell you, although we’re looking for one position for this apprenticeship position, I won’t make the same mistake that we did previously. I think the first apprentice position, there were at least two people that I really think we should have taken, and we stuck to our gun. We said, “No, it’s only one person. We have a position for one person. That’s it.”

                                I really think we should have got both people. I think that would have been a better move for our business. They were both great if we could have picked them both up. So yeah, there’s a cost that’s associated with that, too, and sometimes you just can’t afford … There’s not a position or role for two or three people. But if and when you can, hiring in two, three, four people is way better.

Joe:                        Yeah, especially with small companies, it’s not so much a financial thing. It may just be a bandwidth thing. You can’t bring on two people and really teach them the business, because … We’re going to get into some training expectations. But the amount of time that you’re going to have to put in with them.

Justin:                   It’s not double. With two people it’s not double. It’s maybe 130 percent-

Joe:                        Okay, it’s not double.

Justin:                   Well, if it were double, then you shouldn’t hire in batches. You should hire individually, Joe.

Joe:                        No, no. I agree with you there, but what I’m saying is it does take an extra amount of bandwidth. For the first one to two months, apprentices can be a little useless.

Justin:                   More than. A lot useless. And not just useless, but you’re spending a lot of your time, too, and it gets pretty expensive in terms of your time. So yeah, I think when you can hire in batches, I think that’s a better shot. And also, if you do have this position and just two or even three stellar people that you just have to pick up, be willing to go for it. Be willing to pick up an extra one or two people because honestly, if you get three people, it’s not like you’re going to spend three X the amount of time training them. You can do that. You can train them in batches as well.

                                When you’re hiring them, I think you should talk to your top pick first, so the person that you would like to select, because you want to make sure, obviously, that they’re selecting you, too. So you let them know, “Hey, look, we’d love to bring you out for the apprentice position. You’re the one that we want. We want to get this done,” and you talk to them.

                                They may even say yes there, but maybe it’s just kind of being nice, or they give you a soft yes. You want to give them a period of time, 48 hours or something, to think about it and be able to get back to you with a firm answer. And you want to make that timeline really short. So you don’t let the other applicants know until your top pick has confirmed.

Joe:                        Yeah, that is an important thing. You definitely want to make sure that you have other options, then your top pick. And by doing it this way, you’ll have that.

Justin:                   The last in hiring I want to mention is that you don’t want to burn any bridges. So you had a bunch of people jump through a whole bunch of hoops for you. They sent you a video, they filled out all this information about the apprenticeship. And whether they weren’t a good fit culturally, you just couldn’t see yourself having a couple of beers with them, they didn’t have the skillsets, they didn’t follow directions, for whatever reason, you want to let them off the hook lightly. And more importantly, especially the further down the value chain they go, you want to make sure that you’re able to hopefully offer up other opportunities that are similar or let them know of other opportunities that are around.

                                Whenever we do an apprenticeship and we have to say no ultimately, especially toward the end, to some really sharp people who just didn’t fit the bill or didn’t match it as closely as this other person, I always try to steer them towards other opportunities I think might be interesting, because I want them to get a good feeling with us. So leave it open-ended to where maybe they can come back and work with us or we work together in some other capacity.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think that’s really important. It is a small world out there and you want to make sure that people do the best. You could recommend them to somewhere else and they could wind up coming back to you later on saying, “Thank you so much for that position. By the way, I want to bring you some more business. I’ve recommended you guys for such you such thing.”

Justin:                   Or they become entrepreneurs themselves and you end up being a customer of theirs when they’re crushing it. You go work for them.

Joe:                        Exactly.

Justin:                   The last thing I want to talk about a little bit is training and some expectations. I think there are some expectations you need to understand. We talked about this. But work is going to get worse before it gets better.

Joe:                        This is absolutely true. You really need to prepare yourself for that. There’s not someone that’s going to come in day one and be able to just help your business.

Justin:                   Yeah, they’re not going to hit the ground running and be able to do things right away. It’s not just that, whether they’ll be able to, because maybe your business isn’t that complicated or the role isn’t that complicated. But you’re still going to have to sit down with them and give them some time, both in training them for the role, but also the mentorship piece that comes with this.

                                One of the things that I think helps with this is to mix or blend some of the more boring time consuming tasks with some of the higher level objectives. So yes, they’ve got to do some of the crap work, like we all do, in our businesses, but they do get a chance to spread their wings a little bit on projects that are a bit more open-ended and not that. There’s not a clear path to success there.

Joe:                        Yeah, and I think how you do that is by explaining what to do and the reasoning behind it. So even the boring tasks, you have to make sure they understand the 30,000 foot view where you can hire a VA to just go through A through Z, but you have to make the apprentice understand that A through Z, where it fits into the organization, how they’re going to be able to improve it later on, and why it’s critical that they understand and be able to do this process.

Justin:                   Yeah. With our business, okay, here are the steps that our individual agents right now will go through for the vetting process. Here’s what they pull. Here’s how you do it, but here’s why. Here’s why that’s important in the ultimate end of vetting process. This is why Joe needs to see this information, because he can make a determination on X, Y, or Z.

Joe:                        And the higher level objective there is he can improve the vetting process down the line. That’s going to be the mixture of the boring tasks with the higher level objectives.

Justin:                   The other thing you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to talk to your apprentice after they’re out there and you’re going to want to figure out what their goals are. Now you know what led them to be working with you as an apprentice, but you may now know what their two year, three year, five year plan is unless you were talking about that in the interview or when they were in the process of coming out.

                                I think sitting down with them and talking to them about their goals and what they want out of the apprenticeship and what they’re expecting and making sure that you’re delivering that and that it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, aside from finances. It’s important as well to make them feel happy. Ultimately … We were talking about this. The first couple months they’re useless, so you need to get a return on your apprentices.

                                By return, we’re not talking a five or six month thing. If they only stayed five or six months, Joe, it would be a bad ROI for us.

Joe:                        It would be, and that’s why I think the objective should be to convert them from an apprentice to an employee. But at the same time, they should have the ability to spread their wings and you shouldn’t see them as someone who … It’s not a failure if they move on to do their own thing. You want to make it enticing enough to stay with you long term as an employee, and you want to build enough of a strong relationship with them by evaluating their goals and helping them move to those goals.

                                If their goal in three to five years is to have their own business, then that’s something that you should probably try and help them set up by having good objectives and tasks within your company that’s going to help them run their own business later on. But know that, especially if you’re hiring in this sort of community, the ultimate objective might be to be their own boss one day.

Justin:                   All right, buddy. So that covers the rise of the apprenticeship. Let’s get into news and updates.

Female:                You’ve been listening to the Empire Podcast. Now some news and updates.

Justin:                   All right. First thing’s first, Joe. We’ve got a [Flippa 00:42:41] listing we want to talk about a little bit. I’d seen it before, but Dustin Overback mentioned this to me on Twitter the other day about the site for sale

Joe:                        Yeah, I really like the business. It’s pretty interesting.

Justin:                   It’s interesting how it went viral, but I remember I talked to you about this. I was like, “God, it would have been so cool to have that listing.” Because I’m thinking from a marketing perspective. I’m thinking, “Oh my god, they’re going to get so much attention.” You talk about press, Joe. You want to get press? We would have had that listing, we would have got just a ton of press. Then you reminded me that it’d be great and all, Justin, but it wouldn’t even pass our vetting process.

Joe:                        Yeah, it wouldn’t pass our vetting process, and operationally, I think it would be a nightmare to handle all the questions and stuff like that. Yeah, I think from a sales perspective as well, if we did sell it as a damaged sort of business, it would be-

Justin:                   Damaged? [inaudible 00:43:35]

Joe:                        Well, I think some of the underlying fundamentals are problematic. He can’t keep up with the number of orders right now.

Justin:                   That’s because he just threw this up and got a ridiculous amount of orders.

Joe:                        Right. I get that and I understand that, but other people don’t want to buy a damaged business. It becomes difficult to sell.

Justin:                   I’m guessing someone that bought this, though, isn’t going to be surprised or overwhelmed with the number of orders that’s already happened. My guess is that anyone who buys this is going to have to go into this knowing that they’re going to have to quickly fix that because they’ve got a bunch of people on a waiting list.

                                Let me tell you this. I guess the reason I’m coming at it from this approach and this attitude, Joe, is because I saw a whole bunch of just talk about this online and in the communities or whatever. There were a whole bunch of people that just took the cynical view that they’re, “There’s no value to this business. It’s not worth anything. They’re crazy. It’s only been a few days.”

                                I agree that it’s probably going to sell for more value than I could get for it, for sure. It’s going to be way more than I would pay for it because I couldn’t get the value out of it, but I think it’s not true to say it’s not valuable.

Joe:                        Yeah, it’s definitely valuable especially to the right people or the right company. I agree.

Justin:                   Say there’s a company out there right now and in terms of an acquisition, they buy this up because they do a lot of these joke offers, and this would be just one more product in a whole bunch of things they do that are very similar and kind of joke, viral products. So they would get attention, and they would get some attention to their other products. I think there would be huge value for someone like that.

Joe:                        Absolutely. Those people are out to lunch about that. But I think for Empire Flippers-

Justin:                   No.

Joe:                        -I don’t think it would have been a good listing.

Justin:                   I just think for your average investor, it’s very likely not a good purchase.

Joe:                        Yes.

Justin:                   I think you have to be a very specific person that can take this on. Someone looking for, “Oh, this site did so well. I can grow it from here,” they’re out of their mind. They’re like, “Okay, I’m going to get … Okay, they started here? Oh my god. Can you imagine how many glitter envelopes I’m going to be sending in 12 months?” I think that’s ridiculous. I think you’re really playing on the virality of this site and seeing if you can convert that elsewhere.

Joe:                        That’s right.

Justin:                   Something I want to mention, talking about all this apprentice stuff, we’ve actually got Vincent on his own, man. He’s starting his own entrepreneurial journey.

Joe:                        Spreading his own sings. And I love the name for his business. Really cool. Do love the name of the website. What he’s doing is awesome, too. We’re going to be a customer, and I’m very happy that he’s starting his entrepreneurial journey and that we kind of nurtured that.

Justin:                   I think so. What he’s doing is he’s going to take a Facebook lead generation approach. What he realized is that with us, with Facebook, sending people to our evaluation tool and potentially driving new sellers to our business was awfully valuable to us. He said, “Wow, I’m onto something here. For this price point it is awesome. I bet there are other people that can get value out of this, too.”

                                We’ve helped him in terms of reaching out to people in our community and telling them what he’s doing for us. I think that’s definitely helping him attract more clients. I think just being in our network has opened doors to people that he might not have known otherwise or wouldn’t have had access to, and it really opens doors for his new business. I think he’s going to do well. I’m not sure that this’ll be his end business, I’m not sure this is going to be the one he sticks with, but this is a great hustle and cash flow for him in the meantime.

Joe:                        Yeah, I’m not sure it’s the end all, be all either, but definitely we’re going to be a customer and I wish him the best of luck, and if we can help him be more successful in the future, please.

Justin:                   So I was, I don’t know, had one of those crazy ideas in this shower this week and I tweeted it out. I asked people if they’d be interested in all at having their purchases financed. Here’s the idea.

Joe:                        I hope you weren’t tweeting while you were in the shower.

Justin:                   No, not in the shower. I don’t have my cellphone in the shower. I actually got this idea, I think, from a reader or a customer. I forget his name. But he’d sent me this and he said, “Why don’t you guys offer financing, like the real estate market?” I was thinking to myself that’s actually kind of interesting.

                                So what if, Joe? I’m just going to throw this out there. It’s just a thought experiment. We’re not acting on this. But if anywhere between, let’s say, ten to 50 percent of the purchase could be financed. We have investors that would definitely, I think, be interested in a deal like this. They were able to finance anywhere from ten to 50 percent, they get priority share. So if the business were to sale for whatever reason, they’d get their money back first, so they’re in a primary position. They’re taking a primary position on the virtual real estate.

                                And they’re getting an anywhere from ten to 20 percent return on their money. I think there are investors that would be interested in that. I think there are potentially buyers that would be interested in that. I don’t know if the buyers would be a big enough return to be able to pay off the interest and have it make sense. I guess that’s the only question.

Joe:                        Yeah, I see what you’re saying. I also think there’s some complexities around collections because if it is a note, whether the site does well or not, they owe the money. So if the site declines in value and they walk away and they say, “Well, take the site back,” well, you still owe them money. It’s not a bankruptcy.

Justin:                   I think the site would have to be held in some kind of escrow until that’s paid off.

Joe:                        That’s fine. It’s like a car loan. When we repossess a car, you still owe them money.

Justin:                   Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joe:                        We’d have to go after people and collect in order to get the money back for the investor. So there’s definitely some complexities there that we’d have to iron out in this situation.

Justin:                   So here’s the deal. I don’t think we’re doing this. We’ve got enough on our plate. We’re not taking this one on. But I like the idea, and if you’re interested in the business idea, I think this is a really good one. Someone comes along, they want to buy a 100,000 dollar site, they’ve only got 70,000. They could try to borrow the other 30,000, or if you have a lender they can readily use … And you work with us, so you’ve got lenders on your site that are willing to put up the 30,000, and they’re going to take a primary position on the site and they go in on the deal with this person, I think there would be a lot of opportunity for that.

Joe:                        But Justin, I have to say, there’s plenty of programs out there. We’ve talked about BTCjam before, we’ve talked about Prosper, we’ve talked about Lending Club, where you could easily get a loan, a business loan, between ten and 20 percent up to 100 or even 200,000 dollars if you have good credit, and you don’t even have to put up any property or anything like that. It’s a personal loan.

Justin:                   I actually was thinking about this from the investor’s perspective. I see why it would be valuable to them. I think that from a buyer’s perspective, it wouldn’t be all of the qualification hoops to jump through, especially on lower loan to values or lower LTVs.

Joe:                        But right now, if someone wants to buy something in our marketplace and they don’t have the money but they have the skills to run it, I highly suggest you go to Prosper, you put an ad on Prosper, and you basically crowdfund a loan to go ahead and buy from Empire Flippers. Yes, I think this is available right now. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Justin:                   Yeah, but do you see how the difficulty though, with going to Prosper, what if I don’t get the loan. Not everyone that goes to Prosper and puts up their buy and suddenly gets a loan.

Joe:                        No, not everybody gets funded, but if you have a significantly good, well-written explanation and you have a good credit score, there should be no problem.

Justin:                   Yeah, it’s interesting. I don’t know. I still think there’s an opportunity there. If somebody wants to talk to me about that, and you have to set it up. We’re not doing anything with it. We’re not talking to the buyers and sellers, but if you want to set that up, talk to me, because I’d love to at least chat with you about it and share some thoughts.

Joe:                        Yeah, our bank already thinks we’re crazy enough with wiring money to Pakistan, so the idea of-

Justin:                   Yeah, that was a rough one. That was a rough one.

Joe:                        The idea of doing all these loans-

Justin:                   They didn’t like us. They were warning you. “Are you sure?” As if you were some little old lady with some catfish scam going on or something.

Joe:                        Yeah, I forget the name of the department in the US government, but they stopped the wire from going through, and I had to prove that it was an actual real person.

Justin:                   Empire Flippers funds terrorists. That’s the headline on that one. Holy shit. It’s crazy, man. It was a crazy deal. The other thing you want to mention, so you’ve got a little tip of the week for us, Joe. What you got, buddy?

Joe:                        Yeah, this is really off-topic, but I love this program that I just found over the weekend. It’s called Plex at Plex.Tv. If you do a lot of [torrent 00:51:37] downloads or you just have a huge video collection of TVs and movies from wherever, you took them from DVDs, that kind of thing, this goes ahead and pulls all the information from the internet, like movie posters, synopsis, trailers, all that kind of stuff and puts it in a neat, easy to access thing, so that you can play from your computer as a media server on any of your TVs.

                                Very interesting stuff, and I think if you have a large movie or TV collection, you should check it out. Plex.Tv.

Justin:                   Torrents, Joe? You do torrents? So you’re basically stealing food off the plates of Tom Cruise’s children’s tables. That’s what you’re doing. You’re stealing money from Tom Cruise. Very rude of you.

Joe:                        Like I said, maybe you bought the DVD and you ripped it from there. I don’t know.

Justin:                   All right, man. Let’s get into the listener’s shouts, or the indulgent ego boosting social approved segment. We’ve got a five-star review on iTunes from [inaudible 00:52:27] on January 17th. Said, “Fantastic insight on building a company and buying and selling websites. I just started listening to this podcast and I love it so far. You get to see the inner workings of a start-up and listen to many perspective. It’s particularly interesting to hear when Justin and Joe don’t agree and even admit when they’re wrong. Keep up the good work.”

                                Well, I’m actually never wrong, but we definitely disagree when you’re wrong.

Joe:                        Yes. I’m always wrong. You’re always right.

Justin:                   That’s how it works over here. No, I really appreciate the review. If you listen to this show or any of the other shows and found some value, please do head over to iTunes and give us a five-star review. We’ll possibility read it out on the show and we’ll appreciate it. Got a couple questions, Joe, on Twitter. Jackie [Bolin 00:53:07] of, she was wondering a couple of things. Number one, what’s good or not good to include in a website menu or sidebar?

                                Definitely some of the basic word press stuff that’s there. You want to remove it. I’d say for AdSense or Amazon sites, you don’t want to leave a whole bunch of opportunities for them to click away from your site where you’re not getting paid, so you really want to tighten up your funnel so there’s not a bunch of external links there.

Joe:                        Yeah. I’m going to go with a different answer here. I think, Jackie, you’re being a little too tactical here. You’re not thinking big picture. Your side bar, menu bar area doesn’t matter that much.

Justin:                   That’s probably true.

Joe:                        In terms of making your site into a successful money maker. Don’t focus on that kind of stuff.

Justin:                   The second question Jackie had was, “What’s the best way to get back links? Is it other blogs and websites? Should I be building out hub pages? Should I get blog comments? Should I use paid traffic?”

Joe:                        You know, I’d like to handle this one first because I’m going to say I listened to a great podcast from Spencer today about Claire-

Justin:                   Oh, it’s Claire. Yeah. Did you listen to that? I haven’t listened to it yet.

Joe:                        Yeah. We’ve sold some of her sites, and she doesn’t build back links. Jackie strikes me as a beginner, from the first question, so I would say she has to be really careful with back links and maybe doesn’t build any back links to begin with. Let’s build good content, let’s see how that works out for you, and then we can get into some of the tips, tricks, and use those kind of white hat blog comments, paid traffic, that kind of thing before getting into more gray hat, PBN area, where you can really screw up a site. Let’s make sure we can make it successful in a white hat sort of area, or with even out any back links at all, before we start turning into a more gray hat.

Justin:                   I agree, Joe, in general. You don’t want to start knocking out back links, especially if you’re new at that. I think that we’re a little out of the game in terms of building back links. We’re not so hot at what’s going on in current SEO. I think it’s a pretty good opportunity for us to bring on someone that can talk about SEO in 2015. We’ve got a great guy, so we’ll line that up for a future episode. Next couple of weeks, we’re going to get an SEO on to go through that for you, Jackie.

                                That’s it for episode 124 of the Empire Podcast. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at and make sure to follow us on Twitter @empireflippers. We’ll see you next week.

Joe:                        Bye bye, everybody.

Female:                Hope you enjoyed this episode of the Empire Podcast with Justin and Joe. Hit up for more. That’s Thanks for listening.



  • Tim Conley says:

    The glitter bomb biz has huge legal liabilities. The company is likely to get sued for damages and the person who hits a house with glitter could get criminally charged for vandalism.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey Tim,

      I usually scoff a bit when I hear “legal liabilities” with new businesses, but I do share your concern in this instance. Still – I think they have a much harder challenging turning the short-term press into a long-term asset. The legal issues are just icing on the cake here! (Or the turd, I guess)

  • Thanks for the GN mention, guys!

    Hope I wasn’t TOO useless in my first two months. 😉

    One thing I’d add to the episode is to encourage your other hires/apprentices to get to know the new hire and show him/her the ropes.

    When we first hired Mike, I caught him up to speed on a few of our processes while you guys were holding events in other countries.

    It’s one thing to have your boss catch you up, but having someone teach you who has been exactly where you are now brings something else to the table. Helps you get a good look at the company’s culture from another perspective and bonding among co-workers is always good.

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