Episode 157: Helping Convicted Felons Find Jobs

Podcasts

Justin Cooke

June 3, 2016

When you think of niche business ideas, do you think of convicted felons?

Neither do I, which makes this week’s podcast guest particularly interesting.

A Most Intriguing Job Hunter Niche – That Helps People Make Their Lives Better

Ron Stefanski created the site JobsForFelonsHub.com to help convicted felons begin the process of turning their lives around through gainful employment. A personal issue led him to the niche, finding there’s very little reliable information out there for job hunters…so he decided to do something about it.

Ron’s transparency is appreciated as we dive into everything: How he got started in the niche, how much traffic/revenue the site is pulling in, and the next steps to grow the niche out further. If you’ve been looking for a behind-the-scenes look at a niche business, this is a great episode for you.

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Check Out This Week’s Episode:

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Topics Discussed This Week:

  • Background/History
  • Building Jobsforfelonshub.com
  • What’s Next?

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“Trying to sort the mess of being a felon is a challenge.” – Justin – Tweet This!

What are your thoughts on the niche? Any advice or tips for Ron? Let us know below!

 

Justin:                                   Welcome to the Empire Podcast episode 157. You might not think targeting convicted felons as a niche business idea would be a good one, but listening to this episode might just change your mind. We sit down with Ron Stefanski to discuss how building the jobsforfelonshub.com niche sit launched his entrepreneurial journey. You can find the show notes and all links discussed in this episode at empireflippers.com/felons. All right, let’s do this.

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

Justin:                                   The prison systems have been in the news recently as a hot political issue. For profit prisons and the fact that convicted felons can’t vote have been covered heavily in the news. What they’re not talking about though is how hard it is for convicted felons to get a job once they’ve served their time and got out and that’s exactly what we’re going to be covering in the podcast today. Joe, this is a real problem. There aren’t a lot of great resources online. It might not be the first niche I would think of, in fact, I think there are some downsides to it, but as I thought more and more about it I think it is really interesting.

Joe:                                        Yeah, no, it’s a very interesting niche. I’m unsure of how you’re going to monetize it but I’d love to hear how he’s gone ahead and gone on this entrepreneurial journey and how successful he’s been.

Justin:                                   Well think about this. I mean, you have a really captive audience. You have a problem, right, if you’re a convicted felon, you get out of jail, the job opportunities to you are very limited. There’s still a bunch of places that ask what your criminal background looks like and if you’re getting out of prison you might not know what kind of jobs you can take. You’re wanting to turn your life around, your wanting to not head down the same path you were before, and so it becomes a real hassle in terms of what career paths are open to you, which ones are not. So trying to sort through that mess is a challenge so you have a captive audience in that these people are really looking for information. It affects their life in the short and long term so being able to speak to them, I think, is really valuable.

Joe:                                        Yeah, and also I imagine speaking to their families and their concerned loved ones and that sort of thing is probably a big part of it.

Justin:                                   Well that’s actually a big part and we get into this in the interview.t hat’s a big part of the site are family members that are coming to try to help him or her when they get out of prison to turn it around and help them try to find jobs and that kind of thing, so that’s actually a big part of the audience. We talk about on the show how he monetized it but I think there are a lot of opportunities to expand his monetization. I’ve talked to him since the interview and he’s kind of implemented some of these so it’d be nice to have him back on in the future.

                                                I’ve gotta say, one of the problems though is I would say in general, convicted felons probably don’t have that much money. So that’s kind of the initial problem I see, is they don’t have a lot of cash, but there are ways to, I think, monetize around the felons and the people that are looking to potentially hire a convicted felon. It’s just a really interesting industry. I actually mentioned this many months ago as a cool niche site, I think on Twitter or social media or something, I put jobsforfelonshub. Ron is a listener and so he reached out later, was like oh thank you so much for the mention, and I got to check in with him and kind of see how the business is doing, kind of where he’s been. He’s very very open in the interview so we talk about traffic, we talk about earnings, kind of what the trajectory’s been like, exactly how much he’s making today, how he makes his money. So if you’re looking for kind of a small business or a niche website case study I think this is a really good one. I think there’s a lot of potential to it too, I think this could be a low fi figure amongst business as he kind of expands it.

                                                We’re gonna dig into all the details, how he got started, how much it makes, his plan to expand the site and business and hopefully we’ll have a follow up with him in the future where he’s crushing it.

Joe:                                        Yeah, cool, I’m definitely hearing this kind of cool niche shows you that there’s a niche out there for everyone and sometimes you just have to think outside the box.

Justin:                                   All right man, before we do that, let’s get into the feature listing of the week. What cha got buddy?

Joe:                                        We’re talking about listing 40508. This is a business that’s in the gaming niche, specifically focuses on creating template sites for online communities. I’ll just leave it at that, but if you’re interested in the gaming niche at all, if you have a clan, you’re involved in those types of gaming things, you’ll know exactly what this business is. It’s a great business, has a recurring aspect to it, so I love it. We know the seller very well personally. We have it listed at just a little bit above $159 000 and it’s netting just short of $5 000 a month, about $4 800 a month. It’s got very study earnings over the last year. Had a little bit of a dip in October of last year but I think that’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s been around for almost seven years so I think that that’s something to really consider. It has a huge email list and a lot of lead generation coming in from SEO. You know, I can really see this as a passion project for someone that’s involved in gaming or someone that really has paid traffic skills or the type of skills that would lead them to expand into other areas that the seller hasn’t explored.

Justin:                                   So this kind of draws out my inner gaming dork, I’ve been holding that for a long time, but for anyone that’s involved in guilds and clans and those online communities that are apart of or inside of a game, a lot of times they have stuff that’s outside the game. They have websites, they have forums or boards or whatever, and this business effectively makes those forums or communities for those in the game groups and guilds and clans and that kind of thing. So really interesting. It’s been around a long time. I know the seller personally, I’ve hung out with him a bit. He’s a cool guy, business has been going for quite a while. I know that he’s moving on to some other projects, he has some other projects going that are really starting to take off, so I know that’s one of the reasons he’s looking to sell.

                                                I think someone in the gaming space has some opportunity here. Where I see big opportunity is with the email list. He has an email list of over 250 000 subscribers. The problem is they’re not worth a ton of money individually but if you’re good at split testing, if you can start to kind of better monetize that list, I think there’s a goldmine. Small tweaks and getting more of them to sign up for the paid part of the service, or the paid part of the platform, you can make a big difference to the bottom line.

Joe:                                        Yeah, agreed there. Definitely someone that has that sort of expertise or other sort of paid traffic expertise. I know that the seller wasn’t able to make those work and mostly relies on organic search. If you have any cross over possibilities, other products or services that you could offer to his current member base, I think that would be huge too. Because remember these are people that are willing to pay for a recurring subscription, so you know that they’re good for that.

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

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

Justin:                                   Today I’m really excited to talk to Ron Stefanski for this podcast interview. He runs a site called jobsforfelonshub.com and I think you mentioned a while back that I tweeted this out or something Ron?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I have another website and basically I was doing an authority website experiment and I had reached out to you on Twitter and I said hey Justin, check this out, and you had actually retweeted me. Like I said, it was, I don’t even know. It’s been like probably six months now so it was a while ago but yeah, you did it. At some point you did tweet out the experiment because I was blogging while I was doing the whole thing, so.

Justin:                                   Yeah, I’m sorry, I remember it being sent to me or you sent it to me on Twitter or something, I looked at it, and I was like wow. I kind of like the structure of the site and so you and I talked last week and you know, it was a great conversation. I was like oh, we should record this and it’d be great for our podcast, I think our listeners would really appreciate it, so I wanted to get you on the show, man. I wanted to talk to you and kind of dig into your background but more specifically kind of like how you built the site and what you learned from building the site and kind of what you’re gonna be working on next. Like what lessons you learned from that that you think will apply to future businesses that you do. So first off I should mention I heard you on another podcast and you’d mentioned that you left a six figure corporate job. What’s the deal there, man? Why’d you leave your job? Was it something you were just drawn to doing online business? Or what was the deal?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, well, I mean it comes down to, well, first off I’ve been in internet marketing in general for probably about eight years in corporate America is the amount of time that I was there. I was at a six figure job, I was a Digital Marketing Manager for an international company of schools, 10 different schools. I was at the corporate level so I was in charge of all the strategy. Everything was going fine and it was that safe paycheck that you get bi-weekly and the benefits and all that was nice, but basically what it came down to is at the end of the day I’ve always had that entrepreneurial itch. I mean, it’s been probably four years now while I was in corporate America I was always trying something on the side. A lot of failures there, some successes, but was always trying. Basically what ended up happening was I got to a point to where I had enough in my savings account and I finally had the bravery to decide that you know what, I really want to strike out on my own. I started to see some momentum with my own projects and at that point I decided you know what? I’m gonna give it a shot.

                                                I did it with a calculated risk, as I call it. I still teach at four different colleges, internet marketing and that sort of thing. Some people will completely jump from a corporate job with nothing to fall back on and kind of living on a prayer. You know, hopefully they have some money in the savings account. So I had a savings account, I had some jobs lined up and everything already, but yeah. Decided to take the leap and that’s why I left. It was just the itch, I couldn’t help it.

Justin:                                   I’ve heard about this, you know. There are two different types of people, right, in this situation. The one they make the leap with less money in their bank account, not really sure what they’re gonna do and they do that to kind of motivate themselves and to like really kick themselves in the ass a bit and do it. Honestly, I kind of consider myself more in that role. Then my business partner Joe, he’s more like look, I need to have some money in the bank, I need to at least be close to replacing my income and then I’ll feel comfortable to kind of transition. It might take a little longer but it’s slower and steadier and it just makes him feel more comfortable. Was that kind of the position you were in? Did you replace your income from the job or was it like you had enough to where I can feed myself and clothe myself and pay for my place?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, so I mean, like I said, calculated risks. I’m much more like Joe. I wasn’t replacing my income by any means, right, so by doing what I was doing I probably took a pay cut of like 60%, right, but I also had probably about 10 to 12 months of rent saved and that sort of thing, so something to fall back on there, and then I also had that side income coming from the teaching and I also had some consulting because I’ve never really had to go that paycheck to paycheck only because I’ve always worked in a safe corporate job and I always knew what was coming and always was saving. I’m more of the type that, like I said, calculated risk and make sure everything’s okay. I understand the idea of making that leap, and I know some people will do that and it works for some people, but to me, I’m entrepreneurial and I like the risk, but I don’t like that much risk.

Justin:                                   Gotcha.

Ron Stefanski:                   So yeah, that’s kinda why I did what I did.

Justin:                                   Let me ask you this. The job you had previously, you’re doing kind of internet marketing for a large publicly traded, or maybe not publicly traded, but large corporation, large organization. Were you very specific in that role and did any of the skills you learned transition into being an online entrepreneur?

Ron Stefanski:                   yeah, I mean, for me it was really an interesting position because, like I said, I was at the corporate level and I was a digital marketer and we had ten different schools, three of those were international, seven were national. Because of that what would happen is all the schools had their own marketing teams but basically I would be brought in when it’s hey, we need to figure out something new, or they needed some more direction or they had a lot of questions. So it was kind of a consultative role which was interesting because it was a full time job but a lot of times it’d be, I like the diversity, I’d be working on one project and then another school would come with a completely different angle, something completely new. So I liked doing that but for me that was kind of at the top end I guess you could say. You know, I had worked in internet marketing before, I had worked at a digital marketing agency for two years. I worked at an organic natural remedy type of online eCommerce website for about a year doing internet marketing there. I worked at a start up for a year.

                                                So yeah, for me, I mean, all that experience combined absolutely helps me so much when it comes to this stuff because that and teaching it I know, I’m not gonna say I know everything obviously and I’m sure there’s a lot of people better than me at certain areas, but I would say I’m one of those people that’s pretty good, really well rounded across all of them.

Justin:                                   What’s interesting is I would think that you skills would better translate to a multi million dollar company but like, you’d have to go out and learn okay, well, how do I do keyword research for a very small tiny niche? Those are new skills you’d have to learn that don’t necessarily apply to the job you have to do. You need to learn them from scratch. So tell em about your first project you worked on. Was it just a niche site, was it an Amazon affiliate site? What were you hoping to do?

Ron Stefanski:                   So my first project I ever worked on, which is still up by the way because I just think it’s hilarious, it’s unemploymentunderground.com and it was actually made when I was unemployed and that was all the way back in 2008 I created it. I mean, this was like my first ever try in internet marketing and websites and I created it and it basically was there to help people who were unemployed get jobs, which is ironic, because I was unemployed myself, trying to get a job but I figure you know what, I always wanted to try websites. So I built that, it didn’t really do that well, it made a little bit in ad sense and I kind of put it all off, right? I was like all right, well, that’s kinda it. I tried it, I got a full time job, this didn’t work out and then I came back to internet marketing about four years later with one hour professor and then that was kinda what I created from there.

Justin:                                   You said it didn’t make a lot, was it like 20 bucks a month? 100 bucks a month? Just not much.

Ron Stefanski:                   I mean, yeah, it was like 10 bucks a month maybe. This was-

Justin:                                   Once a year you get your ad sense payout, kind of thing.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I mean, it was like a thing where I created it because I just wanted to create a website. Actually what happened was I really wanted to create a website. I thought of the idea, I created it, and then I was like well that’s cool and then I found out about internet marketing from it. I was like oh, I’ve got to get people to the website now, you know what I mean? Like I created it, it’s like oh, you’ve gotta get people there. Then that’s actually how I discovered internet marketing in general and it was pretty much all self taught. When I was unemployed I actually lied on a resume to get into a entry level internet marketing job, told them that I had experience with my dads company, maybe not the best thing, but it worked. Then I did well by that company, I did really well with their Google ad words and their programs and optimize it to do really well, and it went from there.

Justin:                                   Cool. So you mention you’re still working as a professor teaching internet marketing at a couple of colleges and you mentioned on a different podcast that you weren’t the best student but you think you’re a better teacher, I think that’s kind of interesting. But my question is, we talked about like these calculated risks right, so one of things I was wondering about, when you said earlier that you’re still working as a professor now that you’re teaching internet marketing at a couple of other different colleges, I know you said that you like calculated risk, but I was wondering at this point, your business is growing, wouldn’t it make more sense for you to stop teaching and just focus on your online business? Why do you continue to teach?

Ron Stefanski:                   I guess I’m just hesitant to make that full leap is really the biggest thing right now. I mean, it comes down to bills because what it really is is that my online teaching, that pretty much covers most of my bills that I have, like month to month, it can kind of cover my cost of living right now. Then the money that I make from my online business I’m kind of pouring back into my online business. Yeah I have a savings account, could I take that risk and completely do it? Yes, but the truth is the teaching online and stuff, it doesn’t take a ton of time. I’ve been doing that for what, seven years now? So I’ve got it down to a science to where I’m really efficient with it and I’m very process oriented.

                                                So at the end of the week I maybe spend two, maybe three hours doing all that and grading and contributing in discussion boards so it really doesn’t take all that much time. Hourly it’s pretty good money so at this point it’s like well, I could keep doing it. Even if I did get out of, or I ended up doing really good with the business, I still think I would probably teach at a college or two just because I like the interaction with students. I like to teach people. It’s one of my passions, it’s why I’m in it, it’s not just for the money. So I think that’s a big part of it too.

Justin:                                   I totally get that and can respect that but I gotta tell you man, as a guy who’s done digital marketing for large organizations, who’s got some experience now as an entrepreneur, who’s kind of crossed the threshold in terms of is making a fair amount of money online, I think, I don’t know, I think you’re hitting a turning point, man. I’m gonna challenge you. By the end of this podcast you’re quitting your job, man, that’s it.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I mean, I’m not opposed to it, it just comes down to those expenses and I’m just, like I said, I’m more like Joe. I’m very very careful about the way that I do things because I hate that total risky type of thing. I don’t know, I’m just more like Joe.

Justin:                                   I get it, and I beat Joe up too, so no problem. Let’s talk a little about Jobs for Felons Hub. I like the hub at the end, but I love the niche, and I actually really like the site. So for anyone that’s familiar with Pat FLint’s Security Guard Training and there’s a whole bunch of other sites out there as kind of examples, I think this is a great example of that done well, the geo targeted content. I think if anyone’s looking for a content site that does lead gen, ads in space, I think this is an excellent one for them to model. So let’s talk about where it is today and then we’ll kind of go back to where you started. So in terms of traffic and earnings, where is the site at today?

Ron Stefanski:                   In terms of traffic and it’s moving a little bit because what happened was, I may have mentioned this when I talked to you last week, it went viral for a little bit, right? So the traffic kind of went crazy, there was like 13000 visits in a day and it all went viral through Facebook but I think it’s leveling out right at around 2000 ish a day and I say ish obviously. So it’s around 60000 people a month is what’s visiting it now. When it comes down to it’s earnings, it’s around 2000 ish. I get $1500 from Google Ad sense and then I get about $500 from Indeed.com, from their job search engine.

Justin:                                   Cool. It’s a quality site, and one of things you did with this is you went out and researched state by state and city by city kind of like where the jobs are, how felons are able to get jobs afterwards, and I think that’s interesting. It’s very similar to Pat Flint’s journey obviously but one of things I really like about it is there’s a huge need there, right? There are a ton of felons looking for jobs and there are gonna be a ton of people searching so it totally makes sense that a site like this is providing a real need in the market place. Did you see that when you created it or were you just kind of like goofing around with niches? What got you into this?

Ron Stefanski:                   Well, so yeah, I definitely did a lot of research into it. Basically my dad remarried and his wife, her son, had a record previously and he basically had said how hard it was to get a job and then after hearing that I was like oh, you know, this is someone who really needs help and I was like, you know, I wonder if there’s a website out there for this, right? So I started to do my research, and there was websites but bless them for what they do, obviously it’s a great cause, but the websites weren’t really that well done, I guess you could say. I mean, there’s quite a few competitors, there’s probably five to 10 other websites out there, but the way that they were built, I mean, you know it was the standard Word Press template. Just a lot of things that I looked at that I was like man, I could do this a lot better.

                                                Then I analyzed the key words, looked at the competition, and I saw that there was the opportunity and I thought you know what, I’m gonna give this a shot because my thinking was worst case scenario what am I doing? I’m really helping a lot of people, it would be kind of a feel good project, and I was hoping at the time, you know, when I first started it, I was hoping maybe I’ll make 500 bucks a month, you know. I was thinking that’d be pretty cool if I make 500 bucks a month. Obviously I’ve surpassed that but yeah, that’s why I created it. It was just to help people. Did a lot of research, saw the niche, thought hey, I could give it a shot, and I’ve been kind of blown away myself at what potential is there.

Justin:                                   What was the trajectory of the business? So you create the site, you put some content up there, you had some people do some of the research for you and start adding the content to it. Did it take off right away, did it take three months to kind of start rolling, like what was that like?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, so it was interesting. So, and I’ve actually got all these in my earning reports on One Hour Professor, I’m trying to think of the numbers but I think after a month, I think the first two months it was around like 50 bucks. I started to rank right away for some of the terms, just in the research we were doing. I started to rank for some terms and it wasn’t a huge amount, but I started to rank for some, and then I’m one of those people that if I start to see a glimmer of hope, I will grab onto it and I will milk it for everything it’s worth, right? Which I think is why the website’s where it’s at now but I started to see that and started to grow it. So it started out 50 bucks a month. It kind of was getting up to the two, $300 a month range just because it was getting a decent amount of traffic and all these different pages and then what ended up happening, like I said, it went on to Facebook. I basically found a group, a Facebook group, which is a good hint for anybody by the way, I didn’t even think of this myself, but what happened was I was on my Facebook profile, scrolling through pictures or whatever, and on the right side of Facebook it said hey you might be interested in this group.

                                                It was a group that was Humans or Felons? I think was the name of the group. There’s like 12 or 13000 people in there and it was just a group of felons and I was holy cow, you know? So I contacted the person who owned the group obviously, I dint want to just jump in, but I contacted the person that owned the group. Because the websites 100% free, so I said I created this free resources. Companies that hire felons and jobs for felons, yada yada, would it be okay if I shared it? And he said yeah, go ahead. I did, and then the day after that it kinda increased. Day after that it increased a little bit and then I don’t even know because it’s all on Facebook’s eco system, right? I don’t know exactly what happened, but something, someone, somewhere shared it and it just went viral real fast. So now that page that I shared has over 50000 shares on Facebook, so yeah.

Justin:                                   That’s pretty amazing. One thing I love about this and in terms of finding a niche or finding a niche idea as you said is you talk to someone that was just struggling, right? They told you a problem that’s out there and an entrepreneur I think whenever they hear about these kinds of problems, like someone’s like this sucks or I can’t believe it’s like this or this is ridiculous, right? Whenever someone says something like that you see opportunity, right?

                                                So you’re like okay, so someone’s having a problem. They’re a felon, they’re having a problem getting a job. There’s an opportunity there to build a business, to make money, there’s definitely an opportunity. So I think whenever any of our listeners are hearing that, when they hear oh this sucks or I’ve got a problem here or this never seems to work out the way I want it too, I think there’s opportunity. Now whether you can solve that problem or not is another one but this is obviously one you were able to solve.

                                                One of the other things I love about this niche is that it’s not just, I mean obviously there are Facebook groups and you got in with that Facebook group and that was helpful, but there are charities out there. There are other non-profits and stuff that if they saw that you had this amazing resource for them would be happy to link to you, would be happy to promote, so you have an opportunity to make money off of amazing link backs from these communities or these charities that are out there to help felons find jobs. That’s really cool.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, yeah, one of the things that we created on there and I had my VA do a lot of research, but we created pages of reentry programs. So they’ve got reentry programs by state. So state of Illinois, we have all these different reentry programs. So what we did right after we launched that was one of the first things I launched. Right after I launched I ended up taking that and I got contact information for every single website and we did email them and kind of let them know hey, here’s what we have going on and we did get a handful of links back from that. We actually had one person, it was really cool, they were already established. They shared our website with their email list, which was kinda crazy. We have a free guide that people can download and they really really liked that guide. We’ve done that, there’s actually a friend of mine who’s at a hospital, a large network of hospitals, and they have actually used the guide internally there because there’s a lot of people… It’s like domestic abuse and a lot of people deal with ex felons there so they have it in there as a resource.

                                                We’ve done quite a bit of networking with it. Quite honestly I think I could be doing more with it, especially now, because that was right when I started, right? It was like hey, you know, I’m brand new, and here’s a thing. So I think now if I were to go out I think now I’m more of an authority for sure. There’s a lot more content on there and it might be more successful [crosstalk 00:24:42].

Justin:                                   I think it’s probably worth revisiting. I mean, when we were talking last week that was one of the things that I was like oh my god, there’s so much opportunity for you to get some links and some love from those communities. I’m looking at the site right now, I’m trying to think of how it makes money. Obviously on the front end you’ve got a give me the guide, you’ve got a funnel, I give my email and you send me the guide. Is there an upsell on that? How’s that work?

Ron Stefanski:                   So there’s really, I mean, like I said it’s 100% free. So there’s not really much of an upsell. The thing that I do is I bring them back to the page. It’s the jobs for felons page which is a huge page that has all these different resources.

Justin:                                   Yeah, I’m looking at the site right now, yup.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, so there’s a bunch of different resources there and that page in itself actually makes a pretty good amount of money through Google ad sense. I looked actually the other day at my Google analytics and about 80% of the people who look at the site are on mobile. I feel like that’s skewed way towards mobile. Usually I see a 60 40 split, maybe 50 50 split, so I think it might just be because my demographic don’t really have computers. You know, I’m not really 100% sure, but that’s kind of what I’ve been thinking as why is it so high. So there’s that.

                                                So yeah, we send them back to there. The other thing is you’ve gotta remember if they go through Indeed and they go through a job search we have a list of the companies that hire felons. If they go through and they search for a job and they end up clicking on a sponsored link we make money there too. So in the email auto responder I do have the ebook, that guide that I was just talking about. I do have that and I have a pay what you want method, right, so I’m like hey pay a dollar, pay $50, whatever, but here’s a guide.

Justin:                                   Who do you use for that? Is there like a service that you use for the pay what you want?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I use Gumroad.

Justin:                                   Oh cool, okay.

Ron Stefanski:                   Is the one that I’m using, but I mean, I’ve sold like three of them. Like for whatever reason, I mean, even as a dollar, that was my thing. I mean, even as a dollar, you know, I just want something back because it cost me money to make it. But yeah, no, I mean for the most part I just drive them back to the site and I drive them to that jobs for felons page where they either purposely or accidentally, it doesn’t matter to me, but they click on one of those ads or we drive them back to hey here’s the job search, so.

Justin:                                   So let me ask you kind of your philosophy or what your thoughts are on balancing value versus money. I guess the first question to ask here is how much time or effort have you spent optimizing this? Like have you tried to optimize the page for clicks for getting paid?

Ron Stefanski:                   Oh yeah, yeah. It was actually a totally different design and what ended up happening was, like I said, when Facebook sent it viral I was up and I spent probably about three hours revising the page and redesigning it completely because I was like man, I gotta make more money from this, because now is the time, now is the time. So yeah, I have completely redesigned that page. I haven’t done multi variant or AB testing with the page itself just because I haven’t really had the time to really sit down and focus on that but for the most part yeah, I did definitely redesign it and put as many ad units as I can. In terms of the value versus the actual money making, I mean, to me there’s a ton of value on the site in terms of it’s free, right? So there’s a ton of value that people can get from it for free.

                                                They don’t really have to do anything and quite honestly this demographic, they don’t have that discretionary income. I mean, they do not have it. They have like $100 to their name if that. So it’s been really really tough. There are some people with support systems and those are the ones, they’ll actually give me a little bit of money like a contribution or donation type of thing but for the most part they don’t have a ton of money so for me it’s like there’s a lot of value already here.

Justin:                                   You can’t charge your audience, right? Like if they don’t have much money, it’s not [crosstalk 00:28:03]. So that’s one of the concerns I guess about getting into this, right? There’s two things. I mean one, the concern that maybe they don’t have that much money and I guess that’s an assumption that I don’t know is necessarily true. I mean you’re proving it true because it seems to be the case because they’re not buying eBooks or they’re not giving you much money for that giveaway or whatever, so you seem to be proving it true, but that’s an assumption that may not been, right? And the second one is what’s called the stage test, right? And here’s how I’d put it.

                                                If in three years, five years, you became the leading authority on jobs for felons, is that something you’d want to really speak about? Would you want to get on stage and talk about and could you talk with authority about it? And if you were in that situation where you were the leading expert in that would you want to do it? In many instances I would, like I would want to be onstage. I would want to talk about it and be the authority in that space. I don’t know, something that I’m a little hesitant about in front of speaking to felons. It just seems like kind of maybe, is that just a bias of mine or do you think there’s some legitimacy to that?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I mean, for me it’s kinda been one of the things that the website writes, so I’m okay with sharing it now, but one of the things is I’m just waiting for the day that somebody comes back and they yell because hey, you’re making money off of this website. Like hey, and I’ve never said it’s a non-profit, you know, I’ve never said that it’s not supposed to make money, but at the same time it’s a free resource, right? So I think that’s one thing that-

Justin:                                   Why does that worry you?

Ron Stefanski:                   It worries me because there’s another one called, it’s a forum, called prisontalk.com.

Justin:                                   Yeah.

Ron Stefanski:                   It’s a really big one and I’ve seen online because when I was doing my research I was just looking around and I saw some people just trashing the guy who owns it because he was making money from it. He wasn’t charging anything either, he was making some money from ads. I guess the mentality is oh, this should be just for the good of the people and out of the goodness of your heart and yeah, that’s there, but you gotta make a living, right? So it worries me a little bit because I think eventually that might happen if people hear that I’m making $2000 a month but at the same time I have to make a living too, you know, and I’ve put in a ton of money, a ton of hours, to do this so it’s something I guess I’ll deal with when it happens.

Justin:                                   Yeah that’s interesting. It’s never a concern of mine. Like we deal with people that have websites that make money and that want to sell them to people who want to buy websites and make money so everyone’s fully aware that the internet is monetized, like it’s not even a thought, but I could see how when you look at a place like Reddit or whatever where they’re like oh everything should be free or I can’t believe anyone makes any money, I kinda get it. Okay.

                                                So you worry that the visitors will at one point fight back and be like how dare you make money on ads.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I mean, it’s a ridiculous thing, right, because at the end of the day I could turn to them and say you know what guys, I mean, I have spent collectively probably over $100 myself, I’ve gotten a ton of different researchers working on the site, I’ve done a ton of stuff, right, so I think when they get upset I’ll have a pretty good rebuttal.

Justin:                                   Well, I gotta say, in talking to you both this time and last time, if anything I think you worry a little too much about that. I think you could make more money with the site by just aggressively going for it and making it a full on business. I think that the oh, I don’t want to charge them, I’ll let them pay what they want, and that’s probably, I think that’s a symptom of your worry about whether they’re gonna get mad at you for making money or not. I think, I don’t know, this is my opinion, but I think you should go for it a bit more. I think you’ve got a really good resource here and if some people complain, I mean, so what, you know what I mean?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, no, I don’t disagree. Actually, you know what, it’s funny. So in our conversation last week you were kinda like why don’t you get some lawyers to help with expungement and that sort of thing and I felt pretty stupid about it so I actually have reached out to a few different companies and I might have gotten one on the hook. I’m not really sure yet, we’re going back and forth in email, but he was willing. I mean, right now when it comes to clicks, it’s only about 20 cents per click, like through Google ad sense, that I get. He is paying 70 cents in Google display and I think he said he was paying 3.50 in text based ads. So I don’t know exactly what to charge him yet, but I’m going back and forth.

Justin:                                   How about this man, if you can find a way to get leads to lawyers, especially in specific areas because you’ve got this all geo targeted. If you can find ways to get leads to lawyers and you need to figure out what your audience will support and what kind of leads those lawyers want but there are companies out there that will take your leads for lawyers and be a middleman so you don’t have to reach out to all these lawyers directly, they’ll take and maybe they give you 40 bucks per lead and they’ll charge the lawyer 80 bucks per lead or whatever but they’ll do that for you I’m sure. So yeah, I mean, if you could get lawyer leads out of this, it’s gonna be ridiculously valuable, Ron. Seriously.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, yeah, I was gonna say if there’s actually resources because the one that I reached out to it is a dot com and they do expungements really easily, right, they make the whole process easy. So that could be one thing. The difficulty that I’ve had with lawyers is that the states regulate pretty heavily. So certain states they can buy leads, certain states they can’t buy leads, they can only buy advertising, and it’s just kind of a gray area I feel like in some state. Like in Illinois I know they can’t buy leads but you get to advertise so it’s kind of tough.

Justin:                                   Yeah, you’re gonna have to talk to one of those third party middlemen. If anyone listening to this knows who it is, please leave a comment in the show notes and we’ll take a look. I’ll look at this afterwards, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. What are you doing with the site now, like are you actively growing it in terms of content, are you looking for other ways to monetize or to bring in traffic, like what’s the game plan over the next six to 12 months? What are you doing?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, so I think, well, first things, you know. I’ve got a Facebook group which I’m growing which is nice because I’m kind of creating a community outside of just the website, right, I’m connecting people there and active in that Facebook group. That’s one part of it. Second part of it is I think I need to, like I said, when we talked a week ago it kinda hit me in the head. I think I need to find a better way to monetize. You know 1500 bucks from ad sense is great per month but I mean, even talking with that one guy, you know, because he was talking about doing display ads. Even if I went for 50 cents per click, that would be effectively what tripling, maybe quadrupling my income, so I basically have to figure out a better way to monetize.

                                                In terms of the content and whether or not I keep publishing I’ve always had a guest writer. It’s usually about two blog posts a week is what I’ve done. Every Tuesday and Thursday we publish them, but yeah. I have a guest writer and it’s actually funny. It was an ex felon. I posted because I have my own job board on there, it’s the only job board for felons I think on the internet, and I actually posted a job and this guy came through. Ex felon, he has a really really interesting academic background os I hired him on and he’s great. So yeah, he gives me two blog posts a week. I post them on Tuesdays and Thursdays, just look over them real quick then post them, and that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing. The other thing that I’m doing is creating another, I guess you could sort of call it like geo centric database. So we’ve right now got companies that hire felons and jobs for felons in city and state name. The other thing I’m going to do is I’m going to create a housing for felons, which is a gigantic need and a very difficult project.

Justin:                                   Yes, no, I totally get that. Yeah, because they ask them those questions, right, like have you ever been convicted of a felony, oh, we don’t want your type in our neighborhood. I could see that being a problem. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, so it’s really difficult and I mean that’s one of the things that I’m trying to get my hands around and the reason why, and this has not been done on the internet, but the reason why it hasn’t been done is because it is so difficult. I mean, because there’s just not that list anywhere, right? Also if you own a house, you don’t want to go telling everyone oh yeah, I rent to felons, because guess what the neighbors aren’t gonna be all that happy about it. Even if they’re rehabilitated, you know, so it’s a difficult thing and I’m trying to kind of get my head around it. We found a resource that has some of it, and another resource is the Department of Corrections for each state has some information so I’m gonna have someone actually calling them. So it’s a task but that’s gonna be a big one once we do it.

Justin:                                   Awesome, so I gotta ask a question. You know, most people are fairly careful with their niche. They don’t want other people to know what it is, or how much it makes, and they don’t want to get copied or whatever. Why are you more open to it? Do you feel that you’ve got like a head start? That it’s more of a pian in the butt to recreate than most people realize? What are you thinking?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I mean, you know, like I said I have a lot of experience in this internet marketing thing so I feel like I’m pretty knowledgeable, so that’s one part of it, but the second part of it is my website at this point has, I think it’s just about 2000 pages. It’s really really geo targeted, there’s a lot of things that I’ve done, and while this may on the surface look pretty easy to do, it’s not. This niche specifically there’s a lot of other websites out there. Like I said there’s five to 10 other websites and there’s also a lot of non-profits so it’s been pretty difficult. I feel like at this point I’ve really done a really good job in this particular niche and this particular industry and working to kind of beat the competitors and everything. So if someone else wanted to come after me and try they definitely could but I know how difficult it was to get to where I’m at and I feel like I’m pretty good at what I do [crosstalk 00:36:58]. Yeah, I mean, that’s really it. It’s like hey, if you beat me, and at the end of the day if they beat me at it and they’re better than me at it, then people are getting helped, right? But at the same time that’s money out of my pocket so let’s not do that, but you know.

Justin:                                   Oh yeah, [crosstalk 00:37:12] I got so stuck on the money for a bit, I was like oh yeah, we’re doing good here. That’s right. Okay, so what would this website, if you had to pick one or two things that you think was most effective, that really was kind of a home run or at least a good double, what would you say those things are?

Ron Stefanski:                   For me it’s the what I call keyword centric databases, right, and you’ve gotta be careful of those. But basically the main thing that got me a ton of traffic was there was already a list out there of companies that hire felons, okay? There was a list on multiple websites and it was companies that hire felons. So what I did is I basically said okay, I’m gonna take that list, I’m gonna do my own research to verify some stuff, and then I’m just gonna make the list better by giving more information about the company, and if it’s a good place to work, because I also, if you know Glassdoor.com.

Justin:                                   Yup.

Ron Stefanski:                   I also have the API in Glassdoor.com that pulls in the company ratings.

Justin:                                   How’d you get that?

Ron Stefanski:                   A developer, that’s a little bit further past me, but yeah. Glassdoor opens up their API.

Justin:                                   Oh cool.

Ron Stefanski:                   So they open it for anybody so I worked with a developer to get that done. So that’s one part of it but what I also did is after I did that is I thought you know what, and this was a really huge home run, is I was like these are all the companies that hire felons, what about the companies that don’t hire felons but people search do the companies hire felons, right? So what I had done is I had basically found a list of the, I think it was the top 750 companies that are out there, and I looked and the ones that hired felons and say that they do, you know, I had that list, and then I had all the companies that don’t hire felons. I knew that they didn’t hire felons so what I did was I built out a page for those basically saying you know, hey, they don’t hire felons, yada yada yada-

Justin:                                   But here are the one’s who do, yeah.

Ron Stefanski:                   Exactly. I did a pop up that basically took over the screen after about 10 seconds and say whoops, bummer, this company doesn’t hire felons, but we have a list of companies that do, click here. That was huge. That was really really big. That got a lot of traffic to me.

Justin:                                   That’s slick. Okay, so I’m trying to think of how our listeners could apply that but basically start looking for, I don’t know, look for things that you know aren’t available that people are searching for, instead send them to the next closest alternative, all right? I guess-

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, it comes down to right, you look at what’s really working and then you gotta kinda think outside the box and think okay, is there a way that I can expand on it?

Justin:                                   You know there are items that are out of stock or that are no longer sold, let’s say they’ve moved on to new models and it’s just not available anymore, you can still target those key words because people are still searching for them and send them to newer versions or whatever.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, and I think one of the cool things about it too, and I know that this helps with getting ranked and stuff, is that when they come to that page, they’re there, you give them 10 seconds, and then you give some kind of screen pop where we’re saying here’s the alternatives or whatever, then they click into a second page onto your website, right? So their time on the sites longer, they’re on more pages per session, so I think that helps too.

Justin:                                   Gotcha. All right, let’s talk about what’s next. I said at the top of the show we’re gonna have you quit your teaching jobs by the end of this, I don’t think that’s quite happening, but I do have to wonder. What would have to, like where would you have to be to do that? Like in terms of your risk reward matrix, like where would you have to be to be able to quit?

Ron Stefanski:                   Honestly I think my magic number is 10 grand a month. I don’t know why, I don’t have an honest answer for you, it’s just that’s my number, right? If I was making 10 grand month in my online entities I’d be like all right, let’s jump ship, but even so I honestly think that I would maybe teach at one of the schools just because I like that connection, I really like it. Like I said, it does make good money, but it’s just nice. There is actually a school that I’m at, and I’m not going to say any names obviously, there is one school that I wouldn’t miss that I have to deal with particularly, so there is one, but the other ones are okay. I think it just would get to that point to where, like I said, around 10 grand a month through online entities. I think that would be a time when I’d be like all right, you know what? I’m comfortable with jumping ship and I know that that might even be too late, but I’m just a cautious person. You know, ima cautious entrepreneur. Maybe I shouldn’t be, maybe that is a fault on my part, but that’s just telling.

Justin:                                   I think you could double down. I think you should be less cautious with monetizing your site, number one. I think if you’re less cautious there you’ll make more money. I think you could get jobs for felons up to 10 grand a month by the end of the year. I think that’s totally doable and I think you do it through lawyer leads and through some of the other things that we talked about in this show and also in our previous call. I think you can get up to 10 grand a month just the site but aside from the site, I know that you’re working on some other things, you’re looking at some other business models. What are you looking at? Are you looking like Amazon FBA? Have you ever tried eCommerce or information products? Like what else are you working on?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, so there’s a few different things. So first off I create courses like online courses and I have those on my One Hour Professor website but I also have those on Udemy and I kinda dual purpose those. It gives me the exposure to additional students so that’s one part that I like. Obviously with my background as a teacher, it’s a pretty good match.

Justin:                                   So you do Udemy courses and then you sell those both on onehourprofessor.com, which is kinda like your personal branding business marketing site, right?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yup, yeah, it’s like my home base.

Justin:                                   And then you also do just Udemy courses just straight up on Udemy, like what are these courses about? Like if I want to take one, what are they?

Ron Stefanski:                   Well the most recent one was, so while I created Jobs for Felons Hub I actually created a course as I was doing it. Like, every step of the process that I was taking I created a course with it because I was like you know what, this is gonna be really valuable. I was kinda betting on myself when I was doing it because I was like this website is just gonna have to be successful, you know, it’s like one of those things. So that’s one of them. I have an internet marketing basics course, just explaining the basics of it.

Justin:                                   I wonder if your site wasn’t more successful because you documented your process. Like you know when you’re preparing to teach something you have to spend more time, you have to really understand it, you have to really dig into it, and I wonder if your taking the time to document your processes, to really kind of get it down, actually made the site more successful and made you focus on it a bit more than you might have otherwise as a side project.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I think it could have, right, because it was almost like I had, I mean, I didn’t really at all, but it was like I had other people watching so I was like man, I’m gonna have to make sure this thing goes well, you know, there’s a lot of pressure. So I think it did but yeah. So that’s one thing that I do. I’m trying to replicate the Jobs for Felons Hub success in another niche and I won’t say which one that is because I don’t want people to compete with me right away but it’s a bigger niche, could be better. The other thing that I’m doing, or I want to do one day and you actually hit it on the head, I’d like to get into Amazon FBA and possibly even eCommerce after I’ve gotten kind of a pretty stable foundation laid.i like the idea of that a lot, I just haven’t done it yet because I’ve found some success here, so why pivot right now, you know?

Justin:                                   Let me ask you this. What would it take for you to sell your site or would you be like no way, I’m keeping the site, I’m never gonna give it up?

Ron Stefanski:                   You know it’s an interesting question. I think right now I wouldn’t really be willing because I think there is a lot of potential there. First from your 10 grand claim which I hope I can meet that, I really do, so that’s the one thing. But no, I mean, I’ve got some things that I’ve still got to build out on it. So right now it’s just like I don’t think it’s reached it’s full potential so at this point I wouldn’t. You know, I think down the road, it could be six to 12 months, whatever, after that income is coming in and maybe I’ve moved on to another project, maybe I’m making more money there. At that point I might be like all right, let’s sell this thing. I mean, I think like a 20 times multiple of earnings is pretty realistic usually, right?

Justin:                                   Yeah, I think you could get better than that, probably.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, I mean, that’s a lot of money.

Justin:                                   25 to 28x probably for the site. Another thing to is that right now you don’t see it because you’re not there, but let’s say that you continued doing what you’re doing and you didn’t get up to 10 grand a month, you got up to like four or five grand a month by the end of the year and you started an Amazon FBA business and that was just crushing it. An Amazon FBA is pretty capital intensive, right, so it requires a bunch of money. You want to get two containers out in your next shipment, you’re like let me sell this site so I can really double down on my FBA business that’s just absolutely crushing it. So I mean, it’s hard to say what position you’ll be in year from now, two years from now, but those are some of the reasons people are like oh, well, this other business is really taking off, this other one’s doing okay, but I should really double down on the one that’s crushing it, you know?

Ron Stefanski:                   Yeah, no, and if I was making the money, you know, if I was making more or whatever that would make perfect sense. Right now I’m using it to help fund my life which it’s not like I’m living the high life right now but I’m doing okay. So that’s one part of it. Yeah, that’s one part of it, and then just generally I mean the income that’s coming in, it’s just nice to have. Like I said, I’ve built this thing from scratch, right, so I don’t want to say I have the it’s my baby syndrome because at the same time I would let it go but I would just want to make sure that I was in a much better place financially, everything was going really really really well and then I’d be like all right, I can get rid of this thing, there’s no reason for me to hold on to it if I lost interest in it, but right now it really is pretty passive. I mean, I have that blogger a few times a week and I have a researcher doing a lot of work and I kind of sit behind the scenes and think of the big picture stuff. So it’s pretty easy now.

Justin:                                   Cool man, well you’ve documented your journey a bit over at onehourprofessor.com if people want to check it out. I mean, you’ve done income reports and I think you take a very similar approach to what we do in terms of being very honest with your successes and your failures and I think our listeners will find that valuable so obviously I’m gonna put a link to that in the show notes as well. Is there anything else I should ask you Ron, anything I missed in this interview that I should have covered?

Ron Stefanski:                   No, not necessarily. I mean, yeah, if people want to get in touch with me, onehourprofessor.com is a good place. I actually did, I give a free mini course for people along the lines of when I was creating the Jobs for Felons Hub, what I called authority website, kind of the first few steps and that. So they can go to onehourprofessor.com/empire and then they’ll be directed to the page where they can sign up and get that free mini course. 100% free, no questions asked, so.

Justin:                                   Awesome product, thanks for coming on the show, appreciate it.

Ron Stefanski:                   Yup, appreciate it, thanks.

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

Justin:                                   All right Joe, let’s talk some news and updates. First off buddy we had an amazing month in April. We did over $1000000 in sales. Not so hot in May man, what are we at? We’re about 300000 or so?

Joe:                                        Yeah, I think right now we’re just above 300000. $322000 for the month with 13 sales so it definitely was a little bit of a back tick there. You know, I’ve been delving into why that is, I just think that we didn’t do enough presentation. We didn’t get enough buyer seller conference calls so I’m pushing my sales team to do more of those and get me and Mike in front of more people to close more deals.

Justin:                                   It sucks man, two steps forward, one step back, so I think we’re headed in the right direction but it sucks to have this awesome month and then a bad one. You know, you and I were talking about this privately, I’ll mention it on the show though, is that for the first time in May I started having those anxious feelings again as an entrepreneur. It’s been a while, probably more than a year, where I started feeling not that our business is gonna fail or whatever but just that things were not heading down the right path and some things just feel broken. You know, we got just one little bit of bad news after another and it’s like all these things seem to be hitting and I just hadn’t felt that for a while and it’s a reminder, I guess, that you’re never safe from that, I guess, right?

Joe:                                        Yeah, I don’t think that ever goes away. Every entrepreneur that I talk to says that that’s constantly a fear but you know, I think you can channel that fear and use that fear to your advantage and that’s the way most people should use it.

Justin:                                   Yeah, it’s just surprising because it’s been a good while. Like we had a good long run where I didn’t have any of that and I was like maybe it’s gone. Yeah, no, not gone. Let’s talk a little bit about conferences, man. You and I have been back and forth on whether or not we thought attending conferences provided an ROI and we’re talking strictly about the numbers. Did we get enough sellers? Did we get enough buyers to make it worth attending the conference and you know, when we looked at the numbers previously we were like eh, we were like 50 50 on it and maybe. But beyond that, beyond the direct ROI, there’s a real branding opportunity. There’s a networking opportunity and I don’t mean in the weird way like network marketing, MLM stuff. I’m talking just connecting with other entrepreneurs or interesting people or finding synergies. Man, this really sounds bad. Finding synergies so that we can do business together. I think there’s just a ton of opportunity for that and I always feel like I walk away from a conference or get together like that having benefited.

Joe:                                        Yeah, no, I think that there’s a lot of benefits. I think if we were living in the states and it was a $300 plane ticket but $300 sort of ticket to the conference and maybe $100 hotel and you could do it for 1000 bucks it would be a no brainer but having to fly half way around the world and then travel in the US and try to string them together, that makes the costs a lot higher. So that’s definitely an obstacle, I think, for us.

Justin:                                   And the costs of not doing business during that time. So you fly halfway around the world, I mean, you’re losing at least a day to some travel, probably another day or two trying to catch up and be reasonable when you get there. So I mean you’re losing time which is another issue in addition to the cost. So I mean flying you and I to the US and back, it’s gonna cost us probably 10 grand total but we also are gonna be out for a week, right?

Joe:                                        Especially on a sales end, that momentum is so critical and the marketing end too. I mean, whenever you stop it’s hard to kind of restart the engine and that’s why I think making these trips sort of quick would be much better and ideal but I’m just not sure how to do that from Asia.

Justin:                                   It’s funny Joe because my point here was that we’re gonna start looking for a new conference to attend but you sound so negative about it I’m not sure I want to make that point now.

Joe:                                        No, I think we should, and I think we should try it at least once. I mean, if we did a road show in the US and did a number of conferences all at once and were able to work in between and then we kind of regrouped and see how it went, then we would be able to compare that for future reference.

Justin:                                   All right listeners, we need your help. We’re looking for conferences to go to that might be bunched together that we could all hit up while we’re in the US and we’d like to hear your opinion. So leave a message in the show notes, you can shoot us an email, you can send me a message on Twitter @empireflippers, whatever works best for you. We’d love to know where you think we should go in 2016 or even in 2017. I liked our workshops Joe and I think there’s a lot of things we can do in Southeast Asia. There are other events. You just did one in Manila, we’ve done workshops before throughout Southeast Asia, we’ve been to other smaller events in Southeast Asia.

                                                I think there are some things we can attend here. Not just that, we have a team, right? So we have a sales guy, we have marketing guys that we can send to some of these events maybe with one of us so that you and I aren’t stuck going all the time. I can attend one, you can attend a different one, just depending on what would be kind of a better fit and where people are at. So I think there are some opportunities out here and I’m gonna throw this out there buddy, but I really think that if we could do an event in Southeast Asia that would be awesome. We know the area really well, we could throw a pretty awesome party. We could get a bunch of interesting speakers, I think, and so I’ve bounced this around a bit. We don’t have anything in the plans or in the works and we haven’t said yes to this but I think that’d be a big opportunity for us to hang out with our people and bring them out to Southeast Asia and have a blast.

Joe:                                        Yeah, there’s a big opportunity and there’s also some big risks as well so I’m a little bit skeptical, I’m a little bit reserved, but I’d love to hear a plan for sure.

Justin:                                   Last point I want to bring up is our new guys named Greg and Mike are really getting up to speed. For any of our listeners if they haven’t checked out our blog in a while, empireflippers.com/blog, they should check it out. We’ve got a bunch of new ideas, a bunch of new concepts that were working on over there, and specifically on Wednesdays we publish posts that explain a particular business model. So we were doing FBA, we’re doing lead gen, we’re doing ad sense, we’re doing Amazon affiliate, we’re doing service based businesses, and we look at it from a buyer and a seller perspective in particular. So it explains the business model but it also goes into it through the lens of a buyer or a seller to kind of give kind of the Empire Flippers tweak. I think that’s really a popular series but I think it’s also really helpful, a useful bit, too.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I think, you know, you working personally with them for such a lengthy period of time has been very helpful. I’m itching to get them out here in Manila mid June and start working with them myself.

Justin:                                   Yeah, you want to get your claws into them, man. Start pushing the sales stuff on them. I know I was talking to Mike about this yesterday, Mike [inaudible 00:53:33] about going out there that I think that he actually should probably move a bit more into sales and learn some of what’s going on there, probably get on some calls with some depositors to kind of get a feel for how that goes. I think that’ll help his marketing efforts and really that’s the role we want for him is kinda that marketing sales liaison so I think that’ll be great for him.

Joe:                                        Agreed.

Justin:                                   All right man, let’s do some listener shouts also known as the indulgent ego boosting social proof segment. First up we got a five star iTunes review buddy.

Joe:                                        Hit me up man.

Justin:                                   It’s from Bard Bonen, said awesome podcast, five stars. Justin and Joe always deliver great content, I can’t have enough. I always learn something valuable every time. I just wish they would pump out more episodes on a regular basis, he says, like a weekly schedule smiley face. Come on guys, you can do this. He’s calling us out, man, we need to do more podcasts, I think is what he’s saying.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I like that. Thank you for doing that Bard, definitely we need to commit to a schedule.

Justin:                                   Just for you buddy, I think it’s our third week in a row, we’re hanging in there.

Joe:                                        We’re hanging in there.

Justin:                                   All right man, so we’ve got a tweet from bluesheepdog on Twitter. Says if selling Amazon site, is there a preferred way to set up affiliate links to make the transition easier? I have multiple sites under one account. What do you think Joe?

Joe:                                        Yeah, so I think the biggest thing here is to just have one tracking ID per site. The biggest problems we’ve seen is not that you have multiple sites under one account, that’s not a problem, it’s when you start using multiple codes on one site. So we had a seller recently that had 12 different tracking IDs for the same site because he was tracking the performance of different pages and stuff like that. He had a reason for it, but it made the accounting and picking through everything a nightmare because he also had other sites using other tracking IDs so buyers were very skeptical. When they looked at it they were concerned that he was putting those tracking IDs in other places and we really had to double and triple check everything and show and prove to the buyer that that wasn’t the case.

Justin:                                   So one tracking ID per site is ideal.

Joe:                                        That’s correct.

Justin:                                   Awesome, man. Well we got an interesting mention over from Josh over at passionintopaychecks.com. He’s been crushing it over on Reddit. He does these really long in depth posts on Reddit about his kind of business model in terms of buying sites, in terms of fixing them up, in terms of reselling them, and he’s got quite the following getting a ton of attention over on Reddit. I’m gonna put a link to that in the show notes, a link to his user name on Reddit in the show notes, so you can take a look at some of his threads. He’s been doing a really good job in getting traction over there and has been giving us some love as well.

Joe:                                        Cool.

Justin:                                   I had a fun interview with Chris Guthrie over at Sellercast about selling Amazon FBA businesses. He interviewed me, I prepped for it, did the interview, and he’s getting a lot of feedback saying they really appreciate the podcast so I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. If anyone wants to hear me kind of ramble on about selling or buying FBA businesses I’ll put that in the show notes so you can take a listen.

Joe:                                        Sellercast, what’s that all about?

Justin:                                   It’s a new podcast he has, or a new name for a podcast he has. You know, we were talking about it, you know we met him, Joe, in 2014 in Vegas. It was nice to finally meet him. I think, I was telling him on the show, I think he gave us our first interview when we were Ads and Slippers. We did, it wasn’t a podcast interview, but it was like for one of those insider series kind of round ups. Do you remember that? We did an interview with him, though, that was fun. It’s fun, I mean now five years later, we’re still talking and kind of watching each other’s businesses grow. So it was fun to kind of catch up with him but also talk about Amazon FBAs specifically.

Joe:                                        Cool.

Justin:                                   That’s it for episode 157 of the Empire Podcast. Thanks for sticking with us, we’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at empireflippers.com/felons and make sure to follow us on Twitter @empireflippers. See you next week.

Joe:                                        Bye bye everybody.

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

 


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  1. Jon says:

    Could you please explain a bit more why your Amazon account was closed, or why you think it was closed? This would be helpful to know for people who run Amazon sites. Also were you able to receive any support what so even from Amazon?

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