EFP 153: 4 Ways To Own Your Market

Justin Cooke

March 18, 2016

You don’t have to be first, but it PAYS to be the best.

What are we talking about?

Market Dominance – How Do You Get There?

In today’s episode, Joe and I dig into four different ways you can own your market. Similar to the Google SERP’s, the spoils of war go to those at the top while the rest are left picking up the scraps.

If you’ve got competition you’d like to catch or smaller players nipping at your heels, this is the episode for you. Joe and I use our own experiences and real life examples to paint the picture – I think you’ll dig it!

Check Out This Week’s Episode:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week:

  • Educate Your Market
  • Niche Down
  • Building A Coalition
  • Draft The Leader (The Strike!)

Mentions:


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Spread the Love:

“Just stick with those that work and drop the rest.” – Justin – Tweet This!

“Niche down and focus on the most successful piece of your business.” – Joe – Tweet This!

“It’s much cheaper to acquire a customer in a smaller niche.” – Justin – Tweet This!

Have you found a way to own your market? Anything you’d like to share? Let us know below!

 

Justin:                   Welcome to the Empire podcast, episode 153.

                                Everyone knows that being number one in your industry brings the spoils of war, but how exactly do you get to that number one position? In this episode, Joe and I look at four ways you can completely own and dominate your market. You can find the show notes and all links discussed in this episode at empireflippers.com/own. All right, let’s do this.

Speaker 1:           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:                   All right, Joe. So, we always talk about making the pie bigger in your industry, but aren’t there are some benefits of stealing the pie from your competitors too?

Joe:                        There definitely is. So, I think that it’s nice to increase to pie and everybody’s slice gets better, but the more common way is definitely when some market share is transferred.

Justin:                   I can’t tell if you’re fired up about this or you sound depressed. I’m not sure, like … I know, obviously, when we talk about making the industry bigger and really kind of expanding it, and then … I can’t tell if your killer instinct’s kicking in about this episode, if you’re just kind of “eh.”

Joe:                        Are we on the episode right now or are you just doing it?

Justin:                   Oh, we’re on the episode.

Joe:                        [laughs]

Justin:                   It’s all going on the show, buddy. All going on the show.

Joe:                        No, my killer instinct is there. I definitely want to take it on, but I want to have that win-win philosophy all the time, but in reality I know that a lot of times it’s never quite exactly win-win. If that’s going to be the thing that takes you to the next level, then being competitive is something that makes business great.

Justin:                   So, it’s funny, the way that you say that, Joe … and we’ll get into the episode, we’re gonna get into all this … but I gotta dive on this a little bit. So, we talk about making the pie bigger, and do you think that’s just rah-rah bullshit, I say for the listeners, or do you actually believe it?

Joe:                        No, I actually believe it. And I wa-

Justin:                   You … it’s not just like, “Oh, this is sweet talk about making the industry better and stronger.” You don’t think it’s just sweet talk, but the real deal is cutting out your competitors? You don’t think that?

Joe:                        No. No, I don’t think that. I definitely want the pie to be bigger, and I want everyone’s section to get bigger as well. I want that to happen, but I just know that a lot of times in business, along with the pie getting bigger, sometimes other people’s portion gets bigger in disproportion to yours.

Justin:                   Yeah. All right, now that we’ve absolutely just crushed and trampled all over the pie now … gee … let’s get an episode, man.

                                So, really and ideally, I think, most people are trying to do both. They’re both trying to expand their market and they’re trying to gain market share. I think a really good way to think about this too is people are like, “Oh, well, if I go from like fourth in the niche to third, I’ll get a little bit better. Third to second, little bit better. Second to first, little bit better.” But that’s not the way it works. It’s not this linear kind of growth. Number one gets the spoils. It’s kind of like search engine rankings. If you’re ranked number one, you’re getting a ton of clicks. Number two gets quite a bit too. Number three’s pretty good. And then from there, it’s kind of crappy.

Joe:                        I love that analogy, actually. I think linking it to search engine positions is very interesting. If you’re number one in your market, you’re going to by far destroy number five. It’s not linear at all.

Justin:                   So we want to talk a little bit today about both sharing our own experiences in doing this, and then some of the other people in different markets, and kind of explain how you might be able to do it in your market if there’s a good fit. And there’s four specific ways we want to look at.

                                Before we do that, let’s get into our featured listing of the week. Whatcha got for us?

Joe:                        We’re talking about listing 40441 this week. Something a little bit different for the Empire Flippers. It’s an Android and iOS mobile application. It’s monetized through subscription download and advertisements. This is definitely the first time we’ve approached this part of the market. The seller is a good colleague of ours, we’ve worked together for a long time and know him a long time, and this is an interesting way to get into the mobile marketplace, if that’s what you’re thinking about doing.

                                Right now, the net profit is just over $3,700 a month, and we have it listed for just over $87,000. It’s a fairly hands-off business. There’s not really much support or anything like that. The app is totally built and is transferred to you, along with all the accounts that are associated with it and any recurring revenue.

Justin:                   Another thing I’ll mention is paid traffic. So, there’s a paid traffic strategy that goes along with this.

Joe:                        And so that’s the great thing about this app, is the way they acquire new customers is through this paid advertising. So you know it’s reproducible. It’s not just a fad or a launch that’s going to just peak and then go away. It’s reproducible, month after month.

Justin:                   So one of the things you mentioned about this is we know the guy, and we worked with him years and years ago at a company and have kind of kept up on him. He is the wearing-multiple-hats kind of entrepreneur. He’ll have his toes in one business and his hands in another. He has run a bunch of different businesses. Really interesting guy, got a really interesting back story. I’d love to have him on the podcast some time. I think he’d be a great guest.

                                But anyway, yeah, I love these. And he’s got a bunch of these apps available for sale with us. We’re kind of doing a test run. He’s able to create these relatively straightforward. There’s a process in terms of the traffic and running the businesses that I think is really unique, and it’s really interesting to see what our audience says about these types of businesses. If this is something they’re interested in, I’m sure we can get more.

Joe:                        Yeah, absolutely agree. This is not the only app that we have for sale right now. So there are a couple of others on our marketplace as well from the same seller in the same sort of theme, sports niche. And so, if this price doesn’t work for you, if you want something bigger, we have that. If you want something much smaller, we have that as well.

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

Speaker 1:           Now for the heart of this week’s episode.

Justin:                   All right, man. So we have four ways to own your market. We’re gonna go through each of these one by one. We’re gonna talk a little bit about kind of how it works, we’re gonna talk about why it works, and then we’re gonna talk about in what situations and where we see it working either through our business or through other businesses.

                                And the first one: the way to own your market is to educate your market. And by “educate,” we can provide the best, most useful educational content in your space. Be the leader on sharing information, sharing valuable information to your potential customers.

Joe:                        Yeah, this is just a way to make yourself an authority in [inaudible 00:06:52] If you educate them, and people know that what you’re saying is correct, and people point to you as the authority, it makes it so much easier to go ahead and make sales.

Justin:                   Now, one of the questions we get about this: “Well, I’m not an authority at everything in the niche” or “I don’t know every single thing about the niche. I’m not an expert in certain areas.” No problem. Ultimately, you can bring in experts where your expertise is weak. It doesn’t really matter because you’re still the source of information, you’re the one providing the information to your customers, to your potential customers. And ultimately, you want to make it so good that your competitors would look silly not to mention you. If they’re not linking to you, if they’re not at least begrudgingly sharing some of your information, they’re gonna look foolish.

Joe:                        Yeah, I love that point, Justin. I think that that’s a really good thing to bring up. If you’re going to tackle the niche this way, that’s a good way to think of it.

Justin:                   Now, you might be asking, “Well, do I do this through a blog, through video, through a podcast or social media? Like, which channel should I really explore?” And that may depend a little bit on your skillsets, but ideally, you are going to take a shotgun approach to these different channels. So, you’re gonna do a bunch of different channels until, ultimately, you’re gonna find out where more of your customers are coming from. You can stick with the ones that work and drop the rest. So that means podcasts, blog posts, guest posts, social media channels, and there are customers are gonna tell you where they’re finding you.

Joe:                        So, like that book, “Traction,” approach kind of thing. Do multiple things, pair them off and compete them against each other, and sticks with the ones that work.

Justin:                   So, why does the educate your market approach work? Well, it works because others buy from people they know, like and trust. And this is an opportunity for you to show off kind of your expertise, show off your trust and build trust in the marketplace. This is an opportunity for you to just showcase what you got, and customers and potential customers dig that.

Joe:                        I said this before, I’ll say it again: if you’re afraid of phone sales, you don’t like phone sales, your phone sales would be so much easier if you’re the educator of the marketplace. That’s very, very true.

Justin:                   And you might be asking, “Where does this work and what types of markets does this work?” Here’s where we’ve had some success and we’ve seen success: first off, you can look at fractured or secretive markets. What I mean by that is industries that, combined, make up quite a market, quite an industry, but there’s one company over here, one company over there. They’re all relatively small. There’s not, maybe, a market leader, and you can emerge by putting out amazing content and kind of putting them away in terms of being the best at content delivery and education in the space.

                                Another place you can do it is where the markets are secretive. So, if it’s like an info product type market, or people want to charge for information, flip the script. Right? Change the model, and give that information away for free that everyone else is hiding behind a paywall. This will endear you to customers or potential customers and piss off your competitors, honestly, because you’re the one giving it away for free when they’re trying to charge $19.95 for it or $2,000 for it or whatever.

                                This is really helpful too, I think, in situations where it’s a big purchase decision. Take us, for example, Empire Flippers. We’re selling $50,000, $200,000 websites. It’s not like I just pop in and click the “buy” button, right? So, I’m gonna want to know a bit more about you. I’m gonna want to see that you have some skills, you have some knowledge in the space and that you’re legitimate.

                                I mean, it’s easy, easy, easy … and we’ve seen this, Joe … there are other website brokers out there that kind of pop up a website, put a bunch of fake listings up and they’re like, “Hey, look. We’ve got all these listings.” Maybe two of them are real, but they’re just trying to get some traction, get some business in there. But the truth is, if you look through any of the content, any of the things they’ve said, it’s clear that they’re not actually doing much.

Joe:                        Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say, Justin. If your marketing and your content, especially your educational content, matches up, it makes the whole story make sense. And you can point people back to the beginning and say, “Well, remember when we said this? This is why we’re doing it this way, because of this, this and this.” And that makes the conversation with a customer, all the way from the beginning of the marketing info down to the sale, that much easier.

Justin:                   Another example of this working is when there are a lot of questions or a lot of decisions to be made. So, for example, if you’re selling a product and it has a bunch of add-ons, a bunch of kind of mix-and-match type things they can purchase with it … and the example I want to use was the trolling motors niche. Our buddy, Andrew, over at the eCommerceFuel, sold very publicly a trolling motor site, and we’ll link to this in the show notes, but he talked exactly kind of about the business and stuff. And the thing is, when people buy these motors, it’s a very hobby business, and there’s a lot of questions in terms of “what goes with what?” and “what size do I get?” and “how does it work?”

                                And so, by educating the market, giving them a ton of different options, and how this goes with that, it’s more interesting. Right? Like, I’d rather buy from you than even Amazon. Right? If I go to Amazon … they’ve got trolling motors on Amazon, but I’d rather buy from you because you’re telling me which motor goes with what and I feel more comfortable buying from you than one of the largest online retailers in the world.

Joe:                        Yeah, that’s always a good sign.

Justin:                   All right, our second way to own the market is to niche down, and basically what we mean here is, let’s say that you have an e-commerce business or, say, you have an FBA business, which we’re seeing a lot of recently. And you just got a ton of different products. You’re selling via Amazon, FBA. You got a ton of things out there. You got a couple of winners, you got a bunch that are so-so, and it’s just you’re not really getting there as well as you’d like. One of the things you could do is just drop everything else except for the ones that are kind of your core and really focus on your core products, your core services. And what this does is it allows you to really become expert in a much smaller market.

                                So, instead of being the household … in the household goods niche, I’m particularly good at this one household … this is what I provide. So it might be chandeliers or whatever it is.

Joe:                        Yeah. You know, I feel like this topic has been beat to death, niching down, but it is really important, especially if you have too many things going on at once. Niching down, focusing on the most successful piece can help.

Justin:                   And you might say, “Well, if I go too small, then I … ” Let’s say I do get to number one, then I cap out the market, and then I’m kind of screwed. Nope, not at all. What you can do is, once you’re number one, as we said before, the spoils of war come to you, so you’re getting a lot more than the other competitors, and then you can roll that extra cash flow into targeting parallel markets or something that’s very, very similar. So, start to reach up to that larger market, but if you handle it in a systematic and kind of programmic way … like you go after this niche, and then another parallel niche, and then another parallel niche, all of a sudden you own the larger industry in aggregate, especially-

Joe:                        Yeah, and it-

Justin:                   … especially if you can carry over that branding from one product to the next product to the next.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think it gives you a lot of experience too. Especially if you’re new, niching down makes it a lot easier to wrap your head around the business and then attack the other niches as you find success and learn what tactics, what strategies work and what don’t.

Justin:                   So, this works because it’s a lot cheaper. And we’ve mentioned this in a lot of our podcasts. It’s a lot cheaper to acquire a customer at a much smaller niche via paid traffic or content or whatever kind of marketing that you’re doing. It’s a lot cheaper to grab those customers. It’s a lot easier to become number one. So once you’re number one, you’ve got the cash flow, you can take that cash flow, leverage it, roll it in to the next product until you finally own that larger industry or market.

                                And if you’re asking where this works, for an example of this working, there are … and you can look around … there are just a gazillion SEO companies. I know … I personally know probably 50 people or more that have started and many of them failed with SEO companies. I see you laughing, Joe, so you’re with me on this.

Joe:                        I’m definitely with you on this. I mean, I can’t tell you how many SEO companies I’ve seen over the years by friends and colleagues and, heck, even been a part of.

Justin:                   Or website design agency, to give you another example. So-

Joe:                        Yeah.

Justin:                   … so instead of creating an SEO company, a much, much better approach would be to create an SEO company for chiropractors. Right? “I’m not an SEO company, I help chiropractors get more customers online,” like that’s what you do. And it’s a lot easier to become the expert with chiropractors than it is the expert SEO company in the world. Good luck with that.

                                And this is … you know, we’ve talked about this before, but this is a big failure of ours with the outsourcing company. We had an outsourcing company and we said, “Hey, we’re an outsourcing company and who do you handle?” Everybody, right? “Well, hire us, we’ll do a bunch of work for you and we’re great. And we’ve got American managers over here in the Philippines managing it directly,” and that was kind of our unique thing, but it was horrible because who were we competing with? We’re competing with a guy with a couple of people in his house that runs an outsourcing company, and we’re competing with the people … thousands of agents. Right? We were not specific at all, and I think that hurt us.

Joe:                        Yeah, and I definitely think customer selection hurt us too, because anyone who is … wants to be involved with someone who’s an expert at their business is not going to be involved with you as a generalist.

Justin:                   I think … you look at Virtual Staff Finder, he … that’s an interesting approach. It’s kind of this online hire of yea, but there are a gazillion of them, so what he went after was like the online kind of bloggers. Right? He went after the people, like the online entrepreneurs, which I think is even more specific in terms of a VA service.

                                All right, man. Number three. We’re talking about building a coalition. And here’s what we mean by this coalition. So, let’s say, again, that the industry is somewhat fractured, somewhat scattered, and you find a way to … number one, you could create a platform for your competitors to use or, number two, you could partner with specialists in parallel industries.

                                So, let’s talk about the first one first. By “platform,” you are an info … you’ve created an info product for, I don’t know, bloggers. And you want to sell it to bloggers. And you see there are a ton of other people out there that have these info products for bloggers. You could create the market where other people are offering … basically, just consolidate all the info products for bloggers into one place, bring all the bloggers there, and then all these … you know, everyone’s offering the info products on your platform. Now you’re gonna get a much smaller piece. You’re only getting a very small piece of that business, but you’ve now consolidated the market and made it easier for buyers to find the products they’re looking for.

Joe:                        Yeah. I mean, the cons I see to that argument are the two-sided marketplace issue, where you always have more suppliers or more customers, not enough suppliers, and getting that in balance, I think, long-term can definitely be an issue, but, at the same time, once you get that right, kind of owning the racetrack and everybody else has the horses on the racetrack, it’s a very valuable way to run your business.

Justin:                   So that’s interesting.

                                And the second way, I think, to build a coalition is you can partner with other people that are specialists. So, let’s say, for example, that I’m an SEO guy, I’ve got … I know another guy that does website design, and I know another person that does virtual staff services. So, one of the things we can do is kind of combine the three offers that we have into kind of one larger company that does “I do this for you, I do that for you.” And basically, you’re sharing customers. You want to look for people that have similar customers but you’re able to recommend them for other services that are gonna need. And this works best, I think, when do you do share those customers, when 50% or more of your customers are shared with these other people, these other specialists.

Joe:                        Yeah, I could see some sort of joint venture, where you sell large packages to people that cover all of your services, but you each individually provide those services. I think this would be for the fairly new entrepreneur. The better approach in the beginning wouldn’t take as much capital investment and, as long as you know the right people to joint venture with … ’cause I’ll stay away from the dirty “partner” word … but you will have good success.

Justin:                   I was actually thinking this would be better for someone with much more experience or kind of connection in the space. Why do you … I’m gonna argue with you, Joe … why do you think this is better for people that are brand new?

Joe:                        Well, I just think it’s better when compared to the creative platform for your competitors, because-

Justin:                   Oh, okay. Yes.

Joe:                        … just a lot of people, when they’re brand new, they think of that. “I have the best new thing,” and they don’t know anything about software development or they don’t know anything about the niche that they’re going into and they’re trying to build this platform, and it’s very capital intensive, it takes a long time before they start to see any money. And that’s a difficult role to [inaudible 00:19:41] especially as a new entrepreneur.

Justin:                   Yep, agreed. Partnering with specialists in very similar, parallel … not similar, but parallel industries is a lot better for someone brand new than just trying to create a platform where all these other people are, ’cause they have no connections to them, it’s very difficult to do. Totally agree with you.

                                All right, so let’s talk about why this works. As you mention, the double-sided marketplace can be a problem, but it also takes time to build trust in the industry. Right? And so, especially if they were previously competitors, and you’re setting up a platform for them all to work with you, that’s a challenging thing to do. So it’s gonna take some amount of time for them to trust you and see that you’re serious about your kind of approach.

                                An example of that would be like the Centurica guys. Like Justin Gilchrist has been in the industry for a long time, he was partnering with a guy that wasn’t … or that had done some brokering and stuff, so it was challenging for brokers to kind of want to work with them, because they were worried, “Well, you’re just gonna take my customers, you’re gonna cause me problems,” but over time that basically went away.

Joe:                        Yeah. The other thing I’m thinking is, if you have success with that initial coalition of specialists in parallel industries, maybe you guys can come together to create the platform as well, and that will show some trust, that it’s just not you building this platform but a coalition of people.

Justin:                   So, you know, the question “where does this work?” … this can work really well when you are already the market leader, or close to that, and you’re looking to consolidate competitors. So, if you’ve got a lot of smaller competitors that keep taking stabs at you, one of the things you can do is create a platform or allow them to use your platform to kind of build the company even bigger. It gives them some cash flow. They’re a much smaller competitor and they’re looking … they’re trying to take stabs at you, it’s a way for you to consolidate them and gives them cash flow, much needed cash flow … especially if they’re small, they might not have … and gives them kind of an opportunity to get their business out there and do some work.

                                I think it also works, again, when there are fractured markets or industries or there’s a lot of one-man bands. So, like I said before, if I am an SEO guy, I know a designer, I know a website builder, I know all these people that can kind of work together and provide a one-stop shop. That may be more interesting for customers than just the SEO guy, that I have to get to work with my designer, that has to do all these other things.

Joe:                        Yeah, that one-man band, that’s probably the most valuable position that I can see this working for.

Justin:                   So, an example of this working, at least in our industry, I think, is BizBuySell. So, that’s a company where they … people can list with them, they can list sites or just full-on businesses at BizBuySell directly, but it’s a place where they actually got a bunch of website brokers and just regular business brokers to submit their listings. So it is a place that we send all of our listings to and put on there as well. So they were able to kind of consolidate the market a bit by getting all of those listings. Now, I think they make less than individual brokerage companies do on their own, but they’re getting a piece of the whole pie, and I think that’s valuable.

                                All right, the fourth point I want to bring up is “draft the leader and then strike.” I think this is really interesting, and to explain this a little bit, it’s basically when you find a competitor in either the same or a parallel industry and you start promoting them. Maybe they have a slightly different product or service, maybe it’s more expensive, maybe it’s cheaper, but they have a much wider audience, and so you say, “Look, there’s value in bringing these guys business. I’m gonna bring them business, I’m gonna send customers to them to win their trust.”

Joe:                        Right. Well it comes from race car driving. Right? So, the second place guy is behind the first place guy, first place guy is doing all the work, pushing the air out of the way and spending more fuel, and he has to pit before the second place guy does. Second place guy passes him, wins the race. Right? And that’s kind of what we’re looking for her, I think, is have your major competitor do a lot of the work. Follow in their footsteps, and you stay close, but follow in their footsteps only to pass them right before the finish line when they’ve run out of gas.

Justin:                   Yeah, exactly, Joe. So the first thing, you gotta connect with them, to have some connection with them, and the best way to connect with them is to send them business. They may not want to talk to the competitor. They may be a little frightened in dealing with you if you’re not, but if you … over time, you’re gonna build up trust, you start sending them business, they’re gonna be down with that. And then eventually, over time, you’re gonna find a weakness, you’re gonna find a point of differentiation and you’re gonna start to exploit that to pass them.

                                And one of the reasons this works and one of the reasons they’re willing to do it is because you are providing them value. You’re bringing them deals, you’re bringing them customers, and it’s really hard to say “no” to that. So it’s a way for you to get your foot in the door.

                                In terms of where this works and under what situations it works best, I think generally it’ll work when you find someone that has a better position in the industry in terms of reach, in terms of audience, in terms of customers. They have … they’re just doing more business than you. But maybe they have a more expensive or a less expensive product. Maybe it’s higher or lower quality. The customers you have are not exactly the same customers, right? So, it’s like, “Look, I do … ” I don’t know … “I do this product from a hundred to $500. These are the products that I sell. If you want a thousand dollar or more of the same type of product at a much higher quality, I’ve got a recommendation. I recommend you go to these people.” So, the premium buyers, the people that are looking for the higher quality stuff, they go there. The lower quality stuff, they go to you. And then, over time, if you’ve sent them a few of those more expensive product customers, it’s totally fair for you to reach out to them, say, “Hey, I know a couple people have bought from you already. Happy to send you more. I know you guys don’t do products in the $100 to $500 range. Would you mind sending those customers to me?” And generally, that’s a good way to get that reciprocity going.

Joe:                        Yeah. I think this is one of the more advanced concepts that we talked about today, and definitely not something I would try if I was a fairly new entrepreneur. At the same time, I think it’ll work in industries like dropship or e-commerce where there might be a wide value in your niche between, like you were saying, the top end and the lower end. Especially if you’re attacking that lower end niche, high end people will always take those kind of free leads with some sort of reciprocal bonus.

Justin:                   We did this when we were starting off. With Empire Flippers, we pointed to Quiet Light Brokerage. That’s a brokerage that does like a million-plus deals. And eventually we worked our way out, started doing larger and larger sites, and we now have some of those listings ourselves. And now, we’re actually doing it to people that are just starting off. We have a guy that we recommend to people. You can go over to Dominic over at Human Proof Designs if you’re looking for a really cheap starter site, just to kind of test the waters, he’s your guy because we don’t sell anything less than a few thousand dollars. So … yeah, I think we can do it both up and down. Our market, I think it works for everyone.

                                All right, everybody ready for some news and updates?

Joe:                        I sure am.

Speaker 1:           You’ve been listening to the Empire podcast. Now, some news and updates.

Justin:                   All right, man. We got a few updates here. The first one: we’ve got a new hire. His name’s Greg. We actually hired him for the content manager position. We looked at a couple dozen people and narrowed it down to him. He’s in Alaska right now, working in the oil industry, and he’ll be joining us in Saigon in April. I’m really excited to get him out here and get him working. God knows we have enough work for him to do.

Joe:                        We definitely have enough work for him to do, but talk about a change of pace. All the way from Alaska to Vietnam.

Justin:                   We were telling him in the interview … we were like, “Look, we work pretty hard. It’s not like you’re just sitting on the beach, sipping on fruity drinks or whatever.” And he kind of looked at us funny, laughed a little bit. He’s like, “Yeah, I’m in the oil industry. We work pretty hard.” And I was like, “Oh, the work’s a little different, but yeah, I think you got the workin’ hard thing down.”

                                Another one, we hired a second guy. We were looking at this, and we got a bunch of applicants, and we said, “Oh my god, we really need people. I think there’s another person here that we can bring on board that would really help our company.” And so, we decided to bring Mike on for what looks like a new role we’re creating, which is basically a sales and marketing coordinator. They’re gonna go between marketing and sales. He’s gonna work in between marketing and sales and kind of bridge that gap.

Joe:                        Yeah, I loved Mike’s online presence and his interview was fantastic, so I’m looking forward to bringing him onto the team and getting started.

Justin:                   So you took a little trip with our listings manager, Andrew, and explored the Philippines a little bit. I’m not … not actually exploring the Philippines, you went down to meet our team in Davao. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?

Joe:                        Yeah, it was mostly work and a little play, but, yeah, we did a week-long training session with the crew and a couple of meet-ups and stuff like that. Definitely was great to get down there ’cause I haven’t seen our crew in almost a year. The last time I was down there was May of 2015, so, getting down there now in March is ten months away. And I want to do it more often, doing a couple of presentations, shoring up some of the SOPs and making sure that people have their T’s crossed and I’s dotted. It’s always a good thing.

Justin:                   So what did you do down there? I know that you did one-on-ones with the team. So you sat down with everyone, did one-on-one, asked for feedback on what we could do better, on what they think they could improve, that kind of thing, which is awesome. You also did some kind of team training on listings, on the sales process, and then you did a little karaoke or beach time. What’d you do there?

Joe:                        Yeah, we did a little bowling, a little karaoke, a little pool. But yeah, the training was mostly sales related, talking to them about the sales process, making sure they understood that, talking a little bit about getting on the phone, that kind of thing. So, you might … for those of you listeners who placed deposits or have questions before a deposit, you might hear from one of our girls down in Davao who will be calling you.

                                And then we went through a couple of different SOPs and new processes that we’ve introduced to make … to streamline the Empire Flippers experience a little bit.

Justin:                   Cool. I’m really excited about our meet-up next month in April in Saigon. Of course, we’re getting our whole management team together. We’ve got Greg coming out, our new hire. We’ve got Mike coming out, our other new hire. And we’re just gonna be tearing up the town, doing work, partying, having fun. It looks like we are gonna hit our quarterly bonus for Q1, it’s very likely, so we’re gonna have to bust out the pocket book, Joe, and spend a little money on the team, man. I know you hate that, you’re so cheap. [laughs]

Joe:                        Yeah, well, I don’t have a pocket book, I have a wallet, but yeah, I’ll bust my wallet out. We’ll get this trip done.

Justin:                   It’ll be fun, though. It’ll be fun.

                                All right, man, let’s do some listener shouts, also known as the “indulgent ego-boosting social proof segment.” First up, it’s not really a shout, it’s more of a question. It comes from Ed on Twitter. He said, “You guys sell a pure FBA business, no website in com, but $15,000 net per month through Amazon UK. Is that something you do? Your support guys weren’t sure.” I think you reached out to our support on the live chat, on the site, Joe, and they are a third-party company. So they can help kind of basically direct you or put you in the right direction, but answering detailed questions, yeah, not so much.

                                So, the answer, Ed, is yes. We can sell full-on Amazon FBA businesses. They don’t require a website. We’ve, I think, been positioning more and more into online business brokerage rather than just website sales, and so we’ve been doing more and more FBA services. We’re doing apps, so it’s not just kind of your traditional Amazon e-commerce Adsense type sites.

Joe:                        Yeah, definitely willing to sell FBA businesses. We have a couple of successful sales in the past couple of months and be interested to talk to you a little bit more, Ed.

Justin:                   We got a couple of great shouts on some blogs. First off, Josh over at passionintopaychecks.com did a whole study on how he built from scratch and then ultimately sold a site with us for $35,000. I’m gonna link to that in the show notes, but he goes through everything, starting up, getting it running, getting it traffic, getting it monetized. It’s really fantastic. [inaudible 00:32:05] I really highly recommend you check it out if you’re interested in that.

                                Also, John over at Authority Website Income did an $8 million case study into our listed sites. He looked at all the sites we have that are PBN versus no-PBN and talked about kind of the valuation differences, what that means for builders, whether you should build with a PBN or not build with a PBN, how much difference that makes for you financially. It’s really fascinating. I will recommend this one with a caveat that I went through it and there was some problems with the numbers. Like, he took a snapshot a year ago and then looked at a snapshot today and said “that’s a comparison of where the market’s going,” and I’m not sure that that’s fair because any one snapshot in time may not be indicative of change. Do you know what I mean?

Joe:                        And also, our marketplace has changed and our objectives have changed too, so … [crosstalk 00:32:56]

Justin:                   Yeah, two dots on a line … two dots doesn’t make a trend. Right? Like there’s not enough.

Joe:                        Yeah. Yeah, and I think John is a heavy analytical guy, so I’m looking forward to looking into that article, but in general, I would say, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, there are some pluses and minuses to a PBN. I’d be happy to talk to anyone out there who has questions about it from either side.

Justin:                   Another thing, we’ve got a nice mention over at marcoschwartz.com from Marco. He included us on an income report for a purchased site. I think his last income report was a little over $4,000 a month, so he’s been growing and growing and mentioned that the site he purchased from us, and just kind of doing updates in terms of how it’s doing. I just want to give Marco a shout-out, so thanks, Marco.

Joe:                        Thanks, Marco.

Justin:                   That’s it for episode 153, the Empire podcast. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show, and you can find the show notes for this episode and more at empireflippers.com/own, and make sure to follow us Twitter, @empireflippers. See you next week!

Joe:                        Bye-bye, everybody.

Speaker 1:           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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