Author Archives: Taewoo Kim

About Taewoo Kim

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. You can follow him on his blog at FreshSuperCool.com or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.

How I Landed a $25k/mo Client with Cold Email

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I LOVE emails.

(And I’m sure ShoeMoney does too, otherwise he wouldn’t be building this kick ass PAR program.)

Never in the history of mankind has it been SOOOOO easy to connect with anyone on the planet.

I remember, when I used to flip houses in Philadelphia during the real estate BOOM times, I would send out 500-700 letters to home owners asking if they wanted to sell their dilapidated houses in West Philadelphia

Sidenote #1: In case you’re wondering how bad West Philly was … Will Smith left it and never came back to it. Remember the theme song from Fresh Prince?)

Sidenote #2: I DARE you not to play this fill in the blank game

In west Philadelphia born and _____
On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool
And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys who were _________
Started making trouble in my _______
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
She said ‘You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in _____’

(Now that song is stuck in your head, huh? Muahahaha)

ANYWAY… sorry, I digress.

It would cost anywhere between $.90 to $1.20 for ALL costs associated with it: ink, paper, stamp, envelope, and of course, labor.

Response rate? Anywhere between 0 to 2%. For a list of 500, that’s 10 responses. i.e.. $50 CPL at BEST. (I didn’t know any of this direct response marketing stuff back then). Of course, I’d have to “qualify” them.. and I would be lucky to get 1 do-able deal out of that.

Now, if I have a targeted list, I can send emails for FREE and get back response in hours, sometimes, minutes. Of course, I’m talking about large scale, mass email. With advent of social media (particularly LinkedIn -> here’s mine, feel free to add me), I can pretty much target ANYONE who has an email address.

So how on earth did I get this client that pays me $25k/mo?

Here’s the story

I normally send out probably anywhere between 20 to 50 cold emails a day.

Not spam. Emails to people who I want to build a relationship with. (That’s how I built relationship with Jeremy and hence, me writing here). Of course, my response rate isn’t super high.. it’s probably better than most cold emailers (as I’ve done cold emailing for a while), but still nothing compared to emailing someone you have existing relationship with or your email list.

One time, I wanted to see if this one big emailer would do JV stuff for my upcoming product.

Of course, I was just a blip in his radar.

He had a 100k+ list, and he was getting requests ALL day every day.

But I didn’t give up. I emailed him every other DAY asking him if he’s open to working with me.

I tried sending him everything… a free sample of my product, a free t-shirt, offer to mow his lawn (ok that was stupid because he lived in a condo), offer to do his laundry… I mean, EVERYTHING.

Here’s TWO things I added that got his attention

  1.  I sent him a link to my LinkedIn.. and for some odd reason, he looked at it
  2.  I said, “if you’re too busy, would you feel comfortable introducing me to someone else who might be interested?”

 

It turns out his brother is a recruiter in NYC that specializes in ad tech vertical. This emailer guy forwards my email to his brother.. then he forwards my profile to his client.

And that’s when I got a call from the owner of a company that specializes in brokering information product to very large advertisers throughout.. the GLOBE.

Strangely enough, he saw my blog post about some interesting re-targeting applications, and I guess it intrigued him because he randomly emailed me about how I did this and that.

To make the story short, he wanted me to take over some of his ad spend, as well as some of the lead generation campaigns he was running.

Voila!

Here”s what I learned:

 

1) Fill out your business social profiles

Yes, as much as I love privacy, I love getting inbound business opportunity leads.

Tell the world what you did, what you know, who you know, and of course, what you can do for them.

Why? Because people GOOGLE your name. And most likely, these social profiles WILL show up on the SERPs.

Remember copywriting stuff you do on landing pages?

Well, make sure to apply copywriting principals to your profiles and not just fill things out randomly.

 

2) Don’t Try to Sell Over Email

People get this wrong a LOT still to this day – they STILL try to sell over email.

If you are cold emailing people, don’t ask them to do you a favor. You haven’t built trust yet: why on earth is anyone going to give you anything when you haven’t presented any value?

Instead, go for the relationship. Go for the phone / skype call. Go for an in-person meeting.

I know you have good intentions , but guess what? You’re competing for his/her attention with every other person/company/spammer in his inbox.

 

3) Ask for Referrals

Marketing (and sales) is a numbers games.

Not everyone you communicate with is going to BUY your stuff.

So you should focus ONLY on people who are interested, right?

Wrong. The “dead” leads can be made profitable by ASKING for referrals.

Who do they know that might be interested?

Ask and you shall receive.

 

4) Stand out from the crowd by Giving Stuff Away

I’ve written this over and over again.

If you want someone’s trust, give away something FIRST before you ask for something.

Luckily for you and me, it’s not cash. Sure cash can work, but i’ve noticed people usually have their guard up when you offer straight up cash.

Giving stuff away is the GREATEST and surest way to build rapport with anyone.

In fact, I want to give you THIS in form of a giveaway contest. You should enter… like right NOW

 

 

Yelp Rapes Businesses

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How did Hitler massacre Jews?

Gas chambers.

How do some southern animal shelters get rid of unwanted dogs & cats?

Gas chambers.

yelp-bad-reviewsHow does Yelp rape businesses?

(Digital) gas chamber, a.k.a. Yelp.com

If you aren’t aware, Yelp (a local business review site) is the biggest & baddest “do evil” mother f*cking business of all time.

You thought cloaking was bad? Blackhat SEO? Pssh…that is kid’s play compared to what Yelp is doing to local businesses.

Let me get things straight: I am NOT for businesses that provide shitty service or that don’t innovate. Those businesses SHOULD die. Like an overgrown forest with too much vegetation that sucks the life out of the bare essence out, a BIG fire is actually a good thing so that the little plants (that bear more fruit and are better for the environment) can have the chance to grow.

Yelp, on the other hand, is like the black plague that grows and grows by leeching off of other businesses.

It is a win-lose. The only benefit is for their owners & shareholders.

Ever since I’ve been helping small business owners, particularly dentists, with marketing, I keep hearing about how their businesses are being affected by the negative reviews on Yelp: particularly… ANONYMOUS negative reviews.

And Yelp is quite powerful in terms of how potential customers behave. (infographic)

  • The study found that 93% of people who research a venue on Yelp tend to make purchases at those businesses if they feature positive reviews.
  • Research also discovered that businesses with a positive Yelp score, on average, earned $8,000 more per year than their competitors.
  • For businesses who advertise on Yelp, their social reach brings in an additional $23,000 in revenue each year.

If your reviews are bad, ah shit, tough luck.

Did you know:

1) Yelp has a Yelp review of itself?

2.5 stars.

Biggest complaints:

  • Removing reviews.
  • Small business owners getting extorted.
  • But the best: SPAM.

Here’s an interesting comment:

A good concept that’s significantly diminished by its narrow-focus, self-congratulatory echo-chamber effect and personal attacks by some of its fans of those who dare offer constructive criticism (so much for Yelp’s own review guidelines) .

Any entity that’s defended by argumentum ad hominem doesn’t deserve any stars.

And another:

Yelp, you have taken from me the best years of my life. You have used me for your own perverse ends, and you have taken advantage of my good faith for nothing but avarice and evil. You have betrayed my trust, broken my will, and beaten me down into a shattered husk of the man I used to be.

But this will end, this all shall pass. And you knew this day would come, Yelp. I have lain dormant for forty days, purifying myself in a molten vat of spite and righteous indignation, regenerating the body and mind you tried, but failed, to obliterate. And now, as I unfurl my new body and prepare for my rebirth as an angel of wrath and vengeance, I herald my approach, not to give you a chance for escape – because there is no chance – but so that you tremble and quake with your approaching doom.

Yelp, you have sown the wind, and now you shall reap the whirlwind.

And another:

Yelp, I thought you were different. I really did. Oh how you fooled me into believing you were a site that promoted local flavor and loyalty from your Yelpers, both employed and not.

Oh how you have betrayed me. How can you leave all your hard working freelancers hanging and hire an outsider to be OUR community organizer?! These are the people I have grown to know and trust in their reviews and have made Austin Yelp what it is today. Without them you would be nothing. At least half if not more of your Elite Austin squad is from them.

And from what I understand I cannot even delete my account in protest because you don’t allow it. How democratic and hip is that? All I have to say is, thanks for the free t-shirt bitches. I’m out.

And another:

Not to be a hater, but Yelp scares the shit out of me. My roommate is hopelessly addicted to it and has forgotten that there’s a garage downstairs that still needs to be organized.

“Hey guys, let’s go out to some cool [insert Yelp directory of person, place or thing] and WRITE ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS!!!”

Yeah, that’s what I strive for.

Okay, if someone can tell me what the odds of a guy hooking up with a girl via Yelp are higher than say, 1%, then okay, I might STFU and become a believer of this phenomenon.

But, the last thing I want to do is hook up with a girl with a documented opinion about EVERYTHING IN LIFE.

“Hi, my name is Barbie and I like to be an attention whore because it makes my boobs look bigger.”

Okay bitch, just take off your shirt.

The list goes on and on and on.

2) Yelp is a Hypocrite:

On their blog, they wrote

“Paid Reviews Don’t Have a Place on Yelp”

But how did Yelp grow in the first place?

Though Yelp strives to maintain the purity of its reviews, the company has in the past paid people to write them. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told The New York Times in 2007 that “there was a time in our earlier days where we experimented with paying for reviews directly in cities outside of San Francisco to help get the ball rolling in our otherwise empty site.”

3) You have to PAY to leave your good reviews on there

4) Their revenue model is extortion

You want your competitor’s ads to NOT show up on your profile? Sure, you can pay them to do that, too.

You just have to pay their extortion fee:

Rick Fonger, 62, decided a few years ago to end a career in journalism and move from Canada to Alhambra, where he opened a jewelry store.

“I’ve always been interested in gemstones and gemology,” he said. “It was just something I wanted to do.”

To give his shop, called 58 Facets Jewelry, a little social-media boost, Fonger spent about $300 a month advertising on Yelp. “It worked OK, not great,” he said.

After six months, he decided to shift his limited marketing budget to direct mail. He canceled his Yelp ad in February.

The very next day, Fonger said, a Yelp employee called to say she wanted to help. She pointed out that competitors’ ads were now appearing above the reviews for his store.

“She said that for $75 a month, she could make those ads go away,” Fonger recalled.

He responded that this sounded a lot like extortion.

“She said she could understand why I’d think that,” Fonger said. “But she said they do it to everyone.”

As if that makes it OK.

The list goes ON and ON.

The part that really pisses me off?

How they rate the reviews EQUALLY.

I could be one of their “elite” reviewers who has had an account for 7+ years with 150+ friends.

But my review will be weighted EQUALLY to some schmuck from some 3rd world country who created an account in 2 days with NO profile picture, NO other reviews, NO friends, and NO history whatsoever.

I feel really passionate about this because I personally know a handful of local business owners (who I am very close with)that get shafted by negative ANONYMOUS reviews.

No offense, but these loser Yelpers complain about everything: how they didn’t get extra ketchup, tourists who don’t understand how expensive stuff costs in big cities, loser women who complain that the server didn’t say thank you… completely useless comments they would never make in public if they were given a platform to stand on with a microphone.

As a business owner, I know what it’s like to have your DREAM shit on with these small minded idiots with this self-entitlement issues, as if the world should revolve around their pathetic lives. To them, I recommend a healthy dose of bitch slap and maybe getting neutered.

Though I am against government intervention in businesses, they should step in when businesses behave badly. My social science teacher used to say “Your fist ends where my nose begins”. Yelp’s fist reaches way too many noses. It’s time for government to step in.

Another? I hope Google replaces ALL Yelp reviews with Google+ reviews. Yes, I know Google isn’t some kind of protector of mankind, but at least their economic interest doesn’t lie in reviews as much as they are from their search PPC ads.

Conclusion

I recently starting leaving reviews ONLY for businesses I have had positive experience with. I am starting to exercise “if you ain’t got good stuff to say, keep your mouth shut.”  Will I complain? Sure… but only in extreme cases (1 in 50 MAYBE).

Other than that…

  1. I am starting a facebook page for small business owners who have been hurt by Yelp and would like to take some action.
  2. If you or your client is a victim of Yelp’s rape, I’d love to hear about your story in the comments.

How to Sell Globally Locally

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I grew up in Queens, NY. I hated that place at the time.

If midwest is the heart of America, Queens was definitely the anus of America.

Dirty, dangerous, crowded. Not quite the slums, but not quite what you would call pleasant either. I remember stories of muggings, thefts, in-home invasions, assault & battery, etc. were pretty darn common. If you ever visited NYC in the 80′s or the 90′s, you’d understand why people had their guard up all the time.

20 years later… I had this urge to re-visit where I grew up. And now, it’s changed 180 degrees. CLEAN streets, high rises everywhere, a lot less graffiti, and businesses are sprouting up like there’s no tomorrow. People are walking around streets that I would never have thought of walking around after the sun goes down. Starbucks shops everywhere, people actually saying sorry when they bump into each other… I mean, it’s like NIGHT and DAY.

There was this one particular place I used to frequent: Jackson Heights, NY where the Indian and Muslim immigrants have settled (you can get some amazing Indian food for less than $5).

As I was walking and just enjoying the view, this one guy handed me this flyer:


Here’s the transcription (with no edit)

Namaste!Namaste! to all people in New York. I am advertising this advert on behalf of Baba Narasimha. My name is Saraswati. My husband divorced me 7 years ago. I was a single parent taking care of two children. I had no happiness in life. I met with lot of pandits (Astro Spiritualists) but I did not get any solutions from them. As a last chance, I met Baba Narasimha. He changed my way of life using Indian Tantras, Mantras, Prayers, herbs, and roots along with supernatural prayers. Baba gave me few protections & told me to use after few days; I finally got my husband back and I am living a happy life now. I then referred my friend back to Baba Narasimha, her business was running slow. And her husband was suffering from illness. And her son lost his job. After she met with Baba, her business improved within days and her husband is living 70% healthy and her son got a new job.

Baba also offers services like Money problem, Love problem, Sexual problem, Court cases, Jealousy, Childless couples. He removes all kinds of Obeya, Voodoo, Black Magic, and gives protection. He will help you achieve happiness.

Baba is coming from Hanuman Temple south india with generation of experience. If you have visited many Pandits (Astro Spiritualists) and did not get solutions, I guide you to meet Baba Narasimha and change your life and get rid of all problems. I have recommended his services to many people and they were all satisfied.

I am putting this ad not for publicity but for people who have been disappointed with many pandiths & astrologists could get good results from Baba Narasimha.

Now, when I read this… my cynical mind thought

  1. ‘Who on earth still believes in this astrology crap?’
  2. ‘Oh right, this person is so happy with this Baba’s service that she’s spending money on his behalf to advertise his service? Come on Baba Narasimha… no need to lie.’
  3.  ‘What a bogus story. How on earth do you measure health in percentage?’

Then I remembered something.

When I used to attend junior high school here, I remember walking here with an Indian friend of mine. We used to get flyers (but written in Hindi) like this, and I remember asking him what it said. He’d say, “It’s some voodoo shit. Chuck it.” Of course, these flyers would not be given to me back then.

Instead of being sarcastic and ignoring it, the marketing curiosity light inside my head went off. I just stood on the street and observed this guy handing out flyers. In the 20 minutes that I stood there, I noticed that he handed these out SPECIFICALLY to non-Indians.

Then, I re-read the flyer. When I noticed what he was doing, my brain finally registered the basic components of his copywriting:

  • Story Telling – It doesn’t say “I’m AWESOME, BUY MY STUFF NOW”… it starts out with a story to get the reader engaged.
  • Social proof – Even though the person is made up, it “provides” 3rd party validation that he’s good.
  • Benefits not features – “He will help you achieve happiness”.
  • Taps into the primal desires of the brain – desire for wealth, sex, and social acceptance.

I did a little keyword research.

Notice how the trend for astrology & psychic is decreasing, while the eastern equivalents (karma & mantra), are taking off.

This guy realized there is no profit to be made by competing with every “guru” to the same Indian people in the SAME neighborhood. He realized non-Indians here are interested in this just as much AND there’s no competition.

He took the same stuff he did and just translated it into different languages and handed them out to different people.

Genius.

Takeaway

If you’re marketing, I’m sure you have target demographics (country, sex, language, needs/wants, etc.) that you’ve been going after. Why not make a small tweak and present it to a similar demographic in a different country? Hell, if you live in US, you don’t even have to leave the country.

Running affiliate campaigns? Try launching to hispanics in US.

Got SaaS or info products? If you have product market fit and people here want yours, the odds are that people in other countries want it too. Now, THAT’s growth hacking.

One a side note..

English, believe it or not, is more widely spoken than you think. In fact, it is THE standard language for international business no matter WHERE you go. Often in emerging countries, English is socially “mandated” and if you want a decent paying job, you pretty much have to learn it. On top of that, the “elites” in these countries are often educated in some form of English, or have studied abroad in a country where English is used majority of the time.

So if you are too lazy to localize your products or service, you can always target English speaking people in other countries. Traffic costs can be a FRACTION of what you pay in US.

Why Local Marketing is Scarier than Osama bin Laden

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Lately, I’ve been working more and more with local clients (thanks to this one blog post about lean startup dentist that went viral).

Some of them are what you’d consider the upper echelon in terms of income potential & educational achievements: dentists, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, etc etc.

One of them has so many initials (ex. John Smith, MD, MA, Ph.D) after them that their business cards look more like screenshots of Wheel of Fortune

Funny thing is.. no matter who you talk to, if they have never ever done marketing themselves, they think it happens overnight.

Yeap, even smart entrepreneurs are like new year’s resolution dieters when it comes to marketing.

They don’t realize that marketing is a freakin’ PROCESS, not an EVENT.

Here’s an email / phone exchange (summarized) between me and one of the doctors recently:

Dr.X: TaeWoo, I haven’t seen anyone send me any inquiries from the website. What’s going on? Are the ads running?

Me: Hey Dr.X. Yeah, it got uploaded last night, along with 17 a/b tests. You should see your website up and running on search engines, in couple of hours. A day at most.

<30 minutes later>

Dr.X: TaeWoo, where are the leads?

Me: Rest assure Dr.X…your ads are being reviewed. But like I said, give it time.

Dr.X: Ok, but my patience is wearing thin.

Me: -_-
<1 month later>

Dr.X: Ok, I’ve gotten about 15-20 new patients. This is not what i expected.

Me: I see… Dr.X, how many new patients were you getting from your health network?

Dr.X: Maybe 3 a month. During holidays, maybe 5.

Me: How about referrals from your existing clients?

Dr.X: I dunno. Maybe 5.

Me: Your TV ads?

Dr.X: We stopped that because it didn’t work.

Me: Your bench, radio, and all that other offline stuff?

Dr.X: Same. We stopped those. Don’t work.

Me: I see… <sharpening my assassin knife> …. and you’re getting 1 new patient ever other day from the campaigns I made for you.

Dr.X: Yeah, but this is the web. Shouldn’t i be getting like 100 a day?

Me: Let me give you an analogy. Local marketing is like going to the gym. Better it’s like a rat that fell into cream.

Dr.X: I don’t get it. What do rats have anything to do with online marketing?

Me: …..


 

Sidenote: Since I’m into personal motivation, there’s a fascinating study on rats & their will to live from Joel Osteen’s sermon

…  experiment that attempted to measure the power of attitude in rats. The researchers wanted to see how the rats’ attitudes affected their will to live. They put one rat in a large tub of water with high sides so it could not get out. Then they put the tub in a dark room. They timed how long the rat would keep swimming before it gave up. The rat lasted a little over three minutes. Then the researchers put another rat in the same tub, but this time they allowed a bright ray of light to shine into the room. That rat swam more than thirty-six hours, seven hundred times longer than the rat with no light.

Why was that? The rat with no light had no hope. When he looked ahead he saw only darkness. There wasn’t any reason to keep swimming. ….

 


As quirky as this email sounds, this is fairly common. They expect results overnight.

They think just because they have a fresh new website, that the traffic is gonna pour on and they’re gonna make millions.

If you’ve ever worked with customers who’ve never done any of this stuff, they almost always have these 3 traits.

1) They don’t want to invest in any media

Probably the biggest gripe? Local businesses don’t want to spend money or take the time to create media of their own.

Stock photos, stock web designs, stock everything.

And they wonder why their bounce rate is so damn high.

When I asked this plastic surgeon from upper west side, NYC (i.e. rich neighborhood) if he would get in front of camera, he squirmed like a high school teenage boy who I just told to go ask out that hot girl from class.

I don’t understand, because eventually wouldn’t these small business owners eventually be facing them in real life?

I mean, stock photos.. seriously? Some of these businesses spend over $200k in office design & renovation, but they can’t spend extra $2-5k to get a nice design of their website?

2) They think online marketing will solve their fundamental business problems

I will not lie. Some of the people that ask me for help have f*cked up businesses.

As much as I am tempted to take their money, I won’t because I know i’m fighting a losing battle.

Horrible ethics, zero morals, and even shittier customer service.

(yeah affiliates .. you know what i’m talking about).

No amount of marketing and smiling faces will solve their business.

Would Madoff be able to raise more money if he had the most kick ass marketers backing him?

Probably not. Here’s a little story.

CMO of a very large cleaning franchise company reached out to me.

I was ecstatic because they had HUNDREDS of locations, and wanted to test out my service for about a dozen locations. If I proved them, they would give me each and every location.

Yet, when I looked at the reviews of their franchisees, the problem became very obvious.

They didn’t have a marketing problem – they had a customer service problem.

One review I read said that one of their maids (i.e. franchisees) came two hours late without any notice, stole some small electronics, peed on their bathroom rug, and left the doors open after they left, which allowed their dogs to run away and get killed a couple of blocks away.

And their other franchisees didn’t look that much better either – 1 to 2 stars mostly, with occassional 3 and 3 1/2 stars.

On top of that, they apparently have a SLEW of class action lawsuits, not only from the customers, but from the franchisees themselves to the company headquarters.

3) They think “sales” is a dirty, 5-letter word

This is fairly common among people who’ve never done sales.

A hot new sales lead comes in and they let it sit there for hours, if not days.

Then they call back, thinking they’re gonna close them.

Even among dentists, the ones that understand the sales process are making a KILLING while the idiots are twiddling their thumbs wondering why their staff is idle.

What? Pick up the phone and actually TALK to the customer?

Yea, a foreign concept to some people.

 

Curious.. have you worked with businesses like these? If so, how did you deal with them?

Why Law of Attraction is For Rookies

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Ever watch the movie “The Secret”?

If you’re like me and every other dreamer on this planet, there’s 90% chance that you did.

If you haven’t, let me give you a 15 second summary.

If you want health, attract it by THINKING it. And the universe will somehow conspire a way to give you six pack… or at least a path to get you there.

If you want a good parking spot at a crowded mall parking lot, attract it by THINKING it. Somehow magically, a car near the entrance will pull out and you’ll get that rock star parking lot.

If you want wealth, attract it by THINKING it. And the universe will somehow conspire a way to give you million bucks.

Right.


Ok, i am not ragging on positive thinking.

Because if you can’t or don’t motivate yourself, who is going to do it for you?

The critics are always out to criticize your dreams… the naysayers are always trying to poo-poo on your business/product/service… so yes, positive thinking IS important.

But it becomes ridiculous when people start thinking that this is the only thing you gotta do.

 

 

Nice Concept, Here’s a Reality Check

I think as entrepreneurs, we look for things that are… well, self-serving.

Meaning, that if I’m in good mood, I tend to see things that are good in the world.

If I’m in bad mood, i look for what’s wrong. If we’re dreamers, we tend to look for things that are going to enhance what our dreams are.

I, for one, was a huge fan of law of attraction.

Think good things and good things will come.

But I noticed there’s something flawed with it.

Well, at least, how people interpret it.

Rich Dentist, Poor Dentist

I’ve been doing some dental marketing  and I have one customer who has the most vile mouth and probably one of the most negative outlook in terms of how he see’s the world. Yet this guy is doing 7 digit revenue with branches all over town.

According to law of attraction, he should’ve attracted nothing but anger, resentment, poverty, etc etc.

On a BIG contrast, I have a dentist friend who graduated from an ivy league dental school. He is one of the most morally correct, church going guys who never done anything bad in his life.

He even helps out with his parents who are struggling dry cleaners in NYC on weekends after working 60-70 hours a week at a clinic serving low-income medicare dental patients. (I even tried helping him buy a dental practice.)

Yet, he’s BARELY getting by.

Debt up to his eye balls, can barely eat out, etc. I know he’s a big believer of God (and law of attraction), … and I know he’s a very smart AND optimistic guy.. yet nothing is panning out for him.

So what’s the difference?

Did law of attraction not work?

Worse, did it work in REVERSE? Does he need the man by the river to give him a motivational talk?

(If you don’t get the reference, you’re either too young or you’ve never watched the funniest man in history of SNL.)

Use of Law of Effection, NOT Law of Attraction

MJ DeMarco (author of Millionaire Fast Lane) said it best… to get things in life, you cannot use law of attraction. Just by thinking it, it comes. If that were true, we’d all be rich, healthy/skinny, happy, etc etc. Instead, use law of effection.

Meaning… if you want a soulmate, you gotta EFFECT your way into finding one.

Imagine, if someone single who’s into law of attraction doesn’t feel confident about his ability to find his soulmate… the law of attraction would say that he would only draw in non-soulmates.. or no one at all.

How do you do this? Duh.

Go on lots of dates. Ask for referrals (just like you do with your dental clinics). Get on dating websites. Attend networking events. Go to church (if you want to date church goers). Hell, you can even do copywriting for your online dating profiles and do some A/B testing on it.

So do i believe that law of attraction is bull?

No. I think law of attraction.. correctly interpreted.. means that you SEE what your mind WANTS to see.

In another words, to have a positive outcome in life, you gotta have positive filter.

But did Michael Jordan become the best in basketball by having the most positive thinking?

No, he probably had the most practice out of anyone in the whole entire league.


(Hey Jeremy, see if you can get paid for this free Nike ad I just posted.)

Here are some of MJ’s nuggets of wisdom:

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot… when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.

My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.

Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

and my favorite one:

The key to success is failure 

He effected a changed in his life by taking action, deliberate practice, and of course, taking RISKS even if he failed again and again…

Takeaway

If you’re a marketer or an entrepreneur, don’t worry if you’re not feeling super good about your campaign, your product, your service… NO matter WHAT the law of attraction says and you’re worried that you’re gonna “attract” failure.

Get change by effecting it.

Wny Affiliates Make Best Entrepreneurs

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If you’re reading this, statistically speaking… you probably

  • weren’t very good at school
  • weren’t necessarily the cool kid
  • were somewhat of a dork / nerd
  • have the business ambition & energy of a NYC homeless crackhead looking for quick fix

Ok, that was a bad analogy. Couldn’t think of a good one, but you get the point.

If you are reading this blog, i’m sure your story is somewhat similar to Jeremy’s. In fact, that’s why I was drawn to this blog (and even guest posting here) because his story is very similar to mine.

Affiliates get BAD rep – in fact, I’ve heard on blogs that affiliates are the bottom of the marketing pole. The SCUMS of internet marketing that give internet marketing a bad name.

Totally understandable. Often affiliates are nameless faceless SUB-IDs of some shady networks promoting even shadier offers and sometimes downright illegal products that no one with 1/2 a souls would promote to their friends or family.

If you are one of those – hey, why not use that skill to advance humanity? I promise that you are NOT gonna die with all that cash. If you are one, and are completely disgusted by the dark side of affiliate marketing and do not engage in those activities, my hats off to you.

But regardless of your ethics barometer, I must say that affiliates are by far some of the best entrepreneurs I have come across.

Here’s why

1) Compete in Open Playing Field

Affiliates promote other people’s stuff. That’s their job.. and hence the title “affiliate”.

They have no competitive advantage per se – Anyone can promote the same stuff as they do, create (and even steal) people’s landing pages, no proprietary protection that investors ofen seek, no product that can call their “own”, and anyone can buy the same traffic source.. effectively “replicating” any successful marketing campaign.

But some THRIVE on that, like Charles Ngo and Malan Darras (both of whom I read routinely read). I don’t know how much money they make, but from the looks of it, they’re not starving.

Some might say that not having a product that has product market fit is a disadvantage: yet when I lived in San Jose, Silicon Valley was littered with startups with failed products (and failed dreams).

I’ve learned from personal failures that in business, distribution can make or break the business. If content is king, then distribution is God almighty.

Despite the lack of “competitive advantage”, affiliates do well because they learn & master the art of distribution , and that’s what they get paid for.

The affiliates that do well often transition to creating their own products & service, like Jeremy and his PAR Program.

2) Pivot Quickly

If you have ever done any paid marketing, you know that out of 10 things you try.. one might be a winner.

Often times, people who create products first (ready fire aim) fall in love with their baby, even though it’s a Frankenstein with lizard vomit all over it.

When they bring the product to market and have a rude awakening that no one wants it, they often fall into self pity and depression, and often times give up because they’ve used their 1-2 year runway on creating something that no one wants, because they create a solution to a non-existing problem.

Of course, affiliates are NO stranger to this. You put your hours and hours into a campaign only to be -100% for the next 3 days.

The ones that persist and keep launching campaigns are the ones that wise up, learn, and profit because they know others are making it work.

3) Learn the Art of Driving & Analyzing Traffic

If you started online marketing 10-15 years ago, you probably only knew about adwords and SEO.

Well, since then, there has been an EXPLOSION of traffic sources that are glad to take your money, and at much cheaper rates than say, search.

Since affiliate marketers have a much tighter restriction (i.e. their pay out is determined by the advertiser, where as the advertiser can pretty much charge whatever he/she feels like to the end customer), affiliates have to learn the art of “closing the sale”.

Usig pre-sell landing pages, maximizing creative CTR, multi-variate testing, channel optimization, etc etc. (i.e. “growth hacking“)

If you attend any entrepreneur “academy” of some sort, none of this stuff will be ever discussed? Why? I have no idea. My guess is that they’ve never done them.

But affiliates live and breathe this stuff 24×7.

So what’s the analogy?

Online marketer is to working out as (successful super) affiliate is to Arnold on Steroids

(… before he got all loose skinned)

4) Negotiate

Negotiating a payout bump for an affiliate offer can mean the world of difference, especially if your campaign is spending LOTS… only to break even.

Even a $1 bump can mean endless conversions for the advertiser (and yes, there are advertisers stupid enough to kill their own golden goose).

You’d be surprised how many “entrepreneurs” are so damn afraid of asking for what they deserve.

Well, I’m not exempt from this.

That one time I was able to generate $2k from 1 blog post (a very short consulting gig), I was going to ask a lower amount because somehow, I wasn’t sure if I was charging too much.

Then, I said to myself… “how stupid”… why de-value your work & service?

Remember, if you deliver value, CHARGE for value.

You don’t get paid what you’re worth.. you get paid what you ASK for.

5) Outsource / Leverage

Some of the most successful affiliates I’ve met are completely different from the one man shop affiliate guys.

They have a team – team of designers, programmers, media buyers, and even operations people.

Most entrepreneurs have a mindset of “i can do it all” and become good at nothing. (Yes, I do suffer from this and are now starting let things go.. things that I’m great at, but still hate doing).

There’s only 24 hours in a day, the affiliates that make the 99% of the income know that there’s no freakin’ possible way that they can do the work of 5-10 people by yourself.

Entrepreneurs fall into the trap of “do it yourself” and sometimes get pigeonholed.. or miss the “market” because they don’t have the time to look up.

Super affiliates seem to understand well that the only way to grow is to grow your team.

30k Fans, 1k Subscribers, 3 Huge Mistakes.

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The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success

- Bruce Feirstein

I don’t know what came over me when I had this idea.

I was at a dog park and i saw this lady that had this pet collar that looked like California driver’s license.

I thought.. hey this is pretty crazy but it might just work.

“How much did you pay for this?”

She replied, “$20″.

Holy hell. $20? For a piece of laminated photo with some custom information on it?

Of course, I knew about dogs at the time, because i had 3.

At that moment, I should’ve asked around .. or just look around and notice that among 20+ friends I knew that had dogs, no one had or even wanted this thing. That usual metal tag with name, ID, and phone number was good enough.

I believe in this stupid Silicon Valley “make a crazy product”… “build it and they will come” bull shit.

I thought “hmm.. dog lovers, big enough market, and a pretty crazy innovative product. maybe this can work”.

My competitors were getting sales by word of mouth and orders were taken manually, meaning you couldn’t see what the product looked like until you received it.

I knew Adwords and traffic buying like the back of my hand, and I’m a kick ass coder.

I thought I would corner the market by actually showing the finished product (most intensive jquery coding I’ve ever done)… then BAM, pour on adwords, let I take care of billing, and my partner (a local printshop that actually co-invested in this idea with me) would do the shipping, handling, and returns.

So did it work?

Let me answer that in form of a question.

Ever watch Willy the Coyote try to catch the Roadrunner while on roadskates with a jetpack, only to blast into the wall?

Then they play that “wah wah wah” sound effect?

I invested $60k of my profits from my affiliate marketing days into equipment I didn’t need, building relationship with suppliers I didn’t want to ever deal with, and of course, 3 months of my life coding away, and dumped additional $5k in adwords / media buying.

I made an amazing sale of $300.

Of course, I pivoted.

I wasnt sure if target market was off or my intuition was off, but I knew there was something with dog people.

So i started a blog, thinking that i would use inbound marketing to get some organic sales.

Back at the time, Facebook fanpages were novelty and of course, Facebook ads made it mindlessly easy to get fans.

I was getting fans at less than penny a fan. And I mean the GOOD traffic: 25+ US females. And hitting 33k Facebook fans was quite easy.

Of course, Facebook page reach was pretty phenomenal back then too. I would post about any dog picture, and I would get 60-70% reach (not anymore, and if you are still building your “asset” on someone else’s property, sooner or later you’re gonna wake up to a rude awakening of sharecropping).

I posted a story about this one dog named Patrick who was thrown down the garbage chute of 20 story building in NJ after starving & beating him for weeks.

That went viral. Probably gave me 300-400 email optins.

I posted a story bout how I lost & found my dog, only to have him found by a NHL hockey player. I used that story as link bait and got insane PR, including backlinks from CSN and NBC.

(Me and Joe Pavelski of San Jose Sharks)

That went viral. Gave me another 300+ optins.

All in all, I had the largest newsletter of my life up to that point – (I have a personal newsletter, which you should join!)

So how many sales came out of that?

Another couple of hundred bucks at best. After a year or so of hitting the brickwall so many times, my fumes ran out.

So what did I learn?

1) Targeting broad = Surest way to succeed and fail

I live US.

Everyone (well, there is no scientific basis for this claim but probably 90%+ either tolerates or) loves dogs. 2/3 of the people are fat. Most are 1 paycheck away from complete bankruptcy. Everyone wants a sports car. Gossip media is probably the most popular genre, next to shitty bad news.

Just because you are in a big market doesn’t mean there are schmucks waiting to give away their hard earned cash for your widget.

Why? Because no one cares.

If you have an innovative product or service, find a SMALL niche who cares about your stuff.

Let them amplify for your message with referrals, testimonials, and of course, free backlinks.

2) Test first. Build second.

Four Hour Work Week, Lean Startup, Business Model Generation…

All these books say the same thing OVER AND OVER.

Get the customer FIRST. Invest in engineering & do all that fun scaling stuff whe you actually DO have money coming in.

Remember, the world is FULL of people who’s good at doig all that non marketing / sales stuff. Most are afraid of failures and rejections. If you’re the entrepreneur, that’s your job.

It’s gonna sound crazy, but you can even apply lean startup methods to dentists.

3) Give people what they want, NOT what you want.

You are not Steve Jobs. I am not Elon Musk.

There are some entrepreneurs who can actually create a market that did not really exist (or wasn’t a very good one).

Meaning they can create stuff that people would actually want even if they had no idea those things existed. Why? Because they can somehow “create” the future and the 99% of us just walk into it.

It’s ok, you don’t have to be Musk/Jobs to be successful. Look at Sam Walton.

In fact, BE like Sam Walton. Figure out what the public is looking at and playing with, and sell that. (Yes, be a mercenary.)

Even in affiliate marketing, I was so resistant against doing health & beauty because quite frankly, I don’t know what middle aged women from the ‘burbs want. But little did I know, there was MORE money in weight loss than i imagined possible.

If you’re marketing someone else’s product or service, understand the market and give them what they want and need. (Assuming that the product or service is completely ethical & legitimate).

What Do You Think? Rate My Product Ideas

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rate_productsSometimes I get really BAD business ideas.

Sometimes, I get some brilliant business ideas and I get so passionate, yet they turn out to be total duds. Like selling SARS masks to virus infected countries.

Whatever it is, I’ve always wondered, where on how do good business ideas come from? (i.e. market acceptance AND profitable)

According to Entrepreneur magazine, “good ideas” can come if you

  • Ask yourself, “What’s next?”
  • Do something about what bugs you.
  • Look for new niches.
  • Apply your skills to an entirely new field.
  • Find a category lacking recent innovations.
  • Make a cheaper version of an existing product.
  • Talk to shoppers.
  • Play the mix and match game.

I agree with all, except

Do something about what bugs you.

What bugs you doesn’t mean it bugs other people. I am irritated that people don’t re-raack the weights after they’re done using them in gyms (which they should be going to at 6 AM), but no one else seems to care (or wants to go to gym at 6 AM). I am irritated that there are people still selling shady ringtones, subprime mortgages, and sugar water packaged as “magic bullet” weightloss supplements, but people still want them and there are plenty of people willing to trick them into buying them. In other words, entrepreneurs’ view of the world is quite flawed (especially if you’re an entrepreneur into self-development).

What’s even more flawed about this is that tens if not thousands of people in Silicon Valley are solving problems that don’t even exist, because they’ve trained their self to think that their supposed problems exist (TC dead pool), or that they were ahead of their time (Webvan).

Why? All these nerds (me included) listened to these Silicon Valley gurus that believe in this “build it and they will come” bullshit… or “solve your own problems” crap mantra. Ugh.
and

Make a cheaper version of an existing product.

I think that never works. Go shop at WalMart. There’s plenty of people trying to “one-up” on each other by “innovation of price”. By doing that, you enter the commodities market where the only way to “innovate” is to slash prices. Horrible horrible business. Look at Apple – they didn’t invite MP3 players, they didn’t invent the smart phone, they didn’t invent the computer, they didn’t invent the “app store”. They just took existing product, improved on it, and built a huge brand with perceived value.
So what exactly, make a good product … a good product?

According to Simon Sinek, good product come from good “why”.

So I totally came up with three ideas that have strong WHYs and how I think I can solve them.

1) Free Tour Guides

I was eating vegetarian orange “chicken” (tofu that looks like chicken) in Columbus Park, in the heart of NYC Chinatown.

I noticed there were tour guides giving tours to 20-30 tourists each. I noticed that this one particular tour guide was really a GREAT singer (he sang “Oh Maria” acapella style right before they ended). I talked to the guy and it turns out that he’s actually a “struggling” Broadway theater actor trying make some money doing tours since he lives in the area and knows a lot of history there.

So I had this idea: Uber for tour guides (i.e. mobile app). But they would all be free. These tour guide would make money by bringing them to souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment related places. (i.e. lead generatin)

Here’s my why

  • People want free tour guides
  • Local business owners are too busy to do marketing to tourists
  • Great job opportunity for locals

2) Crowdsourced “tanda”

Crowdfunding is not a new concept, and there are lots of platforms.

If you aren’t aware of what tanda is, it’s basically a lending circle where people that trust each other take turns “taking” a pot of money they regularly contribute to. Also called “rotating savings club”, it’s basically a way for people to get a lump sum of money to get cash instead of having to rely on banks or investors, usually to start a business.

A tanda may be managed in different ways. The way it usually works is a group of people that know each other get together to collect money (either weekly, monthly, yearly) to help each other financially. Participants can come up with any rules as long as they benefit the group. Usually there is an amount of money and number of people in the group that they all agree to in order to have cash right away. When they come to an agreement of who will be in the tanda and how much it will be (either weekly, monthly, yearly), they have to come up with the order of whom is going to receive the money. Participants can either raffle the numbers or make the decision in who needs the money most. It all depends on the group’s decisions.

As an example, a tanda is formed between ten friends and family. Each member gives US$100 every two weeks to the group’s organizer. At the end of the month, one participant gets the “pot”, $2000. This continues until each member has received the pot.

Here’s my why:

  • Minority (hispanic) population in US is on the rise
  • Traditional financing process sucks and are totally scammy (in my personal opinion)
  • People would rather invest in businesses from people they know & trust
  • Create businesses and jobs, or pay for medical bills (healthcare cost is now #1 reason for personal bankruptcy in US – source: NerdWallet)

 

3) “EmailPress” for WordPress for Email

Of course, since Im a marketer, i’m always looking for ways to make marketing tools better, especially email marketing.

Right now, sending emails is kinda expensive. With email service providers Amazon SES, SendGrid, etc., the physical cost of sending emails is practically zero. So why is everyone still on expensive email services like Constant Contact and MailChimp?

Because of the features they provide – it’s much more rich & user friendly, plus you don’t need engineers to create them.

So why not have a WordPress like platform that does all the basic “stuff” (lists, campaigns, autoresponders, interfact with SMTP services, etc.) but have their capabilities “extended” with 3rd party plugins, templates, etc.?

Here’s why

  • Cost of email is dropping, every day. The “real” value is in the content, analysis, and testing (which by the way, PAR does)
  • People shouldn’t have to be “stuck” to any one single provider of any sort, and data should be portable
  • Email industry is ripe for disruption: DIY and self-hosted is the disruptive model (in my opinion)

What do you think? Tell me what you think about these ideas in the comment box below.

5 Plugins to Turn Your WordPress into a Lead Generating Machine

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(Assuming you’re old enough to know what a record is…)

Ever hear what a broken record sounds like?

It repeats again and again and again. Quite annoying actually.

Ever hear what a broken record sounds like?

It repeats again and again and again. Quite annoying actually.

Ever hear what a broken record..

Ok, you get the point.

Ever since I started sharing with people about my experiences in marketing, the #1 most frequently asked question that never seems to die is… “how do I get more traffic?”

When I go to gym, gym newbies always ask me the same type of question: “how do I lose weight?”.

There is no magic. Eat less, move more.

Ain’t no magic in marketing either: create good content and share them. Earn links. Either that or pay for it.

Everyone wants the quick fix, magic bullet.

Well, if it was that easy, then I guess everyone would be rich and famous.

Ok, that’s not actionable.

Fine. I’ll tell you what.

There are quick tools you can do to your blog to make them generate more business leads for you.

If you have a wordpress blog (or any CMS really, but I’m a WP fan), there are quick & easy wordpress plugins that you can use right now to generate more busienss leads.

1) Non Closeable Javascript Popup

I’m sure you’ve seen those blogs, where this popup asks you to do something before you can read the content.

NY Times, Wall Street Journal, ShoeMoney, and even my blog… we use them because they are quite effective.

Some may say that they’re annoying and quite interruptive in user experience.

Hey, did you start a business blog to get a pat on the head or to improve your business?

I rest my case.

Options:

There are tons, but the  one that I like personally is Displet Pop. Free, easy to use.

2) Scroll Triggered Box

If your reader read your post from top to bottom, that means they are engaged.

When they get to the bottom of the post, that is the PERFECT time to ask them to do anything.

There are several options

- ask them to share your post on Facebook/Twitter
- ask them to subscribe to your email
- ask them to check out other posts

What works best? I don’t know, but I do prefer email optin because with email, you can send personalized messages and build relationship where as the other two actions are one time, fleeting actions.

Options: Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box is quite good. Free too.

3) Contact form to autoresponder

If someone is contacting you, the odds are that they’re “engaged” enough to warrant a relationship with you.

If you have an autoresponder (and if you don’t and you call yourself a marketer, please bang your head against the keyboard now), wouldn’t it be great if you can merge that contact info to that list so you can send him future messsages?

Options: If you use contact form 7 and mailchimp, I use the free plugin “CF7 AutoResponder Addon“. It’s free but it limits you to only 1 list and has no group functionality. Mailchimp for WP is free & very good as well.

4) Share My Quote

Believe it or not, copy/paste is STILL the most popular way of sharing content online, not those Like/Tweet buttons.

So wouldn’t it be great if you can actually get people to link to your site and give you credit too?

I wrote a wordpress plugin called Share My Quote that, when installed, gives you backlinks to your blog if someone decides to use copy/paste.

It works super well on sites that are heavy in text, like blogs, recipe sites, lyric sites, how-tos, quote sites, etc.

OptionsShare My Quote . It’s free. ;)

5) Call to Action after the content

Problem with scroll triggered box is that

  1. it doesn’t work on mobile, where most of the internet traffic is going to
  2. it doesn’t work on javascript disabled browsers
  3. the reader might not necessarily look at it if your most engaging content is not in same spatial arrangement

WordPress has “About Author” box that shows up there, but I like to add additional content where people can optin to my newsletter  by offering something.

BUT REMEMBER…

These are just tools.

Ain’t no tool gonna do a damn thing if the person using the tool is a complete turd.

If I gave someone the tools used by Michaelangelo to create the Statue of David, will he create the next historical master piece? Probably not.

Remember to hone your  marketing skills (hell there are so many free marketing resources for this, so why not take advantage of them?), not just install these tools and expect them to work wonders for you

PS: By the way… If you are having trouble with WordPress, I help with wordpress installation for free. Ah yes, the sound of free… the greatest music to anyone’s ears…

 

3 Sure Fire Ways to Get Bloggers to Ignore Your Emails

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Are you a blogger and gave gotten a random request from someone you don’t know asking you to link to their site?

Or better yet, asking if they can guest post?

Yet… when you read the post, it looks like it’s been written by a junior high school drop out in some 3rd world country?

Yeah, I get shit tons of that.

Shady affiliate networks, advertising platforms, finance products, insurance, viagra, dating site.. Ugh…

They rarely contribute any good articles.

And even if they DO write good stuff, they want a back link to some really shady looking site that I would never link to even if I get paid to do it.

Please, where on earth do these people learn their manners from?

Here’s the thing.

Most of you already know how this works… yet most of you choose to ignore the rules.

So, you still wanna get ignored?

No problem. Here’s how.

1) “Give Me, Give Me”

For example, do you go on a first date with a girl and ask her to come home with you THAT night?

There’s 99% chances that you won’t. On top of that, she’ll probabaly never call you again.

But even if you do succeed, do you really want to have a long term relationship with her? What makes you think you’re the 1st one she’s done this with? Yeah, probably not.

So either way, you really CAN’T win by asking for the close first. You have to give first. Get to know her.. build rapport, and heaven forbid, even give her something.

If you’re reaching out to a media person (journalist, blogger, youtuber, or some other social media maven) and you ask for something, you’re asking him/her to risk the very reputation he/she has built up to showcase you.

Stop talking “me me me”.

UGH.

Give me something first. Get my trust. Shit, write me a well thought article.

Have you noticed I blog on ShoeMoney a lot?

It’s because Jeremy trusts me because I’ve been writing for his blog for MONTHS.

2) Copy/Paste Job

Hello,

I am really satisfied with your blog content, your posts are really good and you are keeping it well. I would like to publish my post on your blog (as guest post) with my website link. Mostly I create about educational and student related subjects. Please let me know if you are recognizing guest posts and I’m ready to discuss my content, I guarantee it with unique and quality content.

Looking forward to get your reply.

Thank You

Yeah, if you’re a girl doing online dating, I’m sure you know Mr.Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V.

Shotgun approach, saying the same ol’ stuff to everyone in the neighborhood.

Seriously, if you go to networking events, do you say the SAME thing to everyone?

Remember telemarkters? They were NOTORIOUS for that.


Notice how I write?

This is how I talk.

And that’s why people read what I write.

If you’re gonna ask for someone to do a favor for you, be normal and talk normal.

3) Do You Even Know Who I Am?

Good morning FSC?

I wanted to commend you guys on the great piece about the 3 most overlooked A/B tests. I found it really interesting and insightful, then sent it on over to the marketing team I liked it so much, so thanks for the great read!

Anyway, I wanted to get in touch with you in order to pitch an article I’d like to write for Fresh Super Cool. I was thinking something in regards to how a business can improve its business’s online reputation through Instagram, because I think it hasn’t been touched on a ton yet.

Let me know what you think, I’d love to discuss the idea more and some of the specifics. Thanks for the time!

All the best

I have a freakin’ name.

If you go to my awesome marketing blog, I have my face plastered ALL over it.

Would a girl go home with you even if you don’t even know who she is?

Yeah, those are called prostitutes.

She’ll take your money and give you a nice fat genital herpes that make you pee fire every morning.

Do you want that? Me neither.

How to Master Stuff (Even If You Hate Doing It)

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For some kids, it’s soccer.

For some kids, it’s playing the piano.

No, not me.

For me, it was the abacus.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s bunch of beads you move around to signify digits. Believe it or not, you can do addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division.

Of course, I was a 7 year old kid and I wanted to go outside and play, not play with beads all day.

I hated it at first… when I first saw them, i thought maybe these kids had their brains eaten by zombies… staring down at them beads and moving them around endlessly.

But apparently, it was my mom who had her brains eaten because she actually took me to a private abacus school where apparently the Korean champions of abacus were born.

My mom didn’t think gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, taekwondo, track & field, or something manly & athletic.

No, she wanted me to a math nerd moving beads around.

Of course, I was 7 and my mom wasn’t about to let me practice democracy. So I did what she asked.

As much as I hated every moment of it, I was good at it.

I was the bead master… I remember the owner of that school would “use” me to get prospective parents who were interested in enrolling their kids to the school.

He would have this list of 20-30, 7 digit numbers that he’d have me add up. He would have his secretary use a digital calculator and have her “race” me while I calculate in my head. Of course, I would be done in a few seconds and spit out a number. We’d wait and see that my number matches the printout on the calculator.

The parents would be so fascinated that they would immediately sign up their kid, with the “promise” that their kid too would be a wiz once they learn this. (Now that I realize, I should’ve gotten a cut for doing this.)

So much so that the owner of the school thought I should enter the national competition. He would “train” me & let me practice without charging tuition to my parents. (Heck, we’d be giving the school free PR if we won.)

That summer was intense. Here’s what the schedule looked like (for 6 & 8 year olds)

  • Wake up at 8 AM
  • Wash, eat breakfast & get to school by 9 AM
  • Abacus from 9 AM to 12 AM
  • Come home by 12:15 PM, eat lunch, take nap.
  • Get to school by 1:30 PM.
  • Abacus from 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM
  • Come home by 6:15 PM, eat dinner.
  • Get to school by 7:00 PM
  • End 9 PM
  • Repeat following day.

Now, I did this EVERYDAY during every break from school.

Did i get good?

Yeap, I won.

My sister and I came in 1st and 2nd in a national compeition, and were eventually picked as candidates to compete in Japan (but my parents turned them down because they thought it was “too much”).

If you really thinkg about it, this is no different than anything in business.

1) Talent you’re born with. Skill is something you develop by hours and hours of beating on your craft.

Was I a talented math kid?

Believe it or not, not all Asian kids are good at match… let alone love it. I liked Gundam and Mazinger Z. I wanted to be the guy controlling 30 story tall robots, not crunch numbers.

I got good because I just did it over and over and over and over again, until it was second nature.

I hate writing, but now it comes natural to me because I’ve blog about marketing & growth hacking.

I blog regularly now I don’t really “think”. I just do.

2) Get a good mentor

If you read any story where a hero goes on a journey to save the girl, save a village, win some big prize, or a cause bigger than himself, you notice how there’s always some wise man who helps him along the journey

- Han Solo has Yoda
- Frodo had Gandalf
- Rocky Balboa had Mickey

When I did abacus, I had this crazy dude who would scream & rant about how I got some calculation wrong.  I was 6-7 years old for god’s sake, but this dude made me better by making me challenge myself, and tell me to keep trying when I felt hopeless.

When you’re on the path of entrepreneurship, it is TOUGH. Ups and downs, successes and failures… i don’t care what anyone says it’s tough as shit and things don’t necessarily get easier, the way you react to them just gets better. (It should, anyway).

How much easier would it be if you had someone who can shed some light and some wisdom during the hard times?

Not gonna lie, I personally struggle with this too because I noticed the ones that want to “help” have some ulterior motive when things are good, and vanish when you’re struggling.

If you don’t have a mentor, it’s ok. There’s the web – you can read about other people’s nuggets of wisdom, their trial & errors, their stories, and of course, their advices on their blogs, books, podcasts, etc. If they don’t mentor you personally, at least you get to see what’s going on in their minds.

(Take a look at Mr. T’s story… a TRUE story of rags to riches story.)

3) Fell? Get Back Up

This is so much easier said than done.

There are two kinds of pains in this world: the pain of discipline vs. pain of regret.

They both have pains… except one comes first but things get easier, whereas the other one it’s easier now but the eventual pain that you experience is much bigger and much longer lasting.

You have a choice.

Quit now and do easy stuff. Go eat cheeseburger, drink beer, and do whatever everyone else is doing.

Or, do what you know is right.. today.

Remember, you can always quit.

So why not quit tomorrow?

Do you have 2 arms and 2 legs? Then you have a reason to keep going.

Remember, it’s only a failure if you give up.

Why Nobody Reads Your Shitty Blog & 3 Ways to Fix It

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I had a dream.

And it was a dream like every other Asian American college kid in US had – going to medical school.

So I took the MCATs (the test for medical school). I was in 99 percentile for math/sciences. English, i was somewhere near “habla ingles?” level.

No matter how hard I tried, i just sucked at English in general.

I mean, seriously.. who in their right mind uses the word “cognizant”, “surreptitiously”, and “ostensibly” unless you’re one big douche bag? F*cking ETS people.

My writing was worse. I remember my 3rd year high school teacher asking me if my family couldn’t afford Hooked on Phonics when I was a kid.

It don’t matter.

I might not be the best writer on earth, but hell at least 24k people came to my blog past 12 months (and growing).

So that brings the point.. You don’t have to be the best writer on earth to write blogs that people want to read.

But why on earth do people read my or any blog? And how do you get people to read yours?

Let’s look at this blog (Shoemoney.com) where I’m guest blogging now.

Bottom line: if people read your blog, your influence goes up.

If your influence goes up, your reader listens to what you have to say, even if it maybe business in intent.

I don’t claim to be blogging guru, or some social media expert…. but I do have the facts to back up my statement.

1) Case Studies

I recently wrote about how I started a “zero risk” business that paid both a salary & profit share. Call it a spark of genius out of sheer creativity or extreme hunger, I had to figure out a way to make money without having the enter the dreaded corporate world again.

That story wasn’t wildly viral, but it did get read by bunch of lead generation and direct response marketing people who were competing with my previous solar lead generation company.

If you’re not just a “wantrepreneur” who’s just daydreaming and are actually making things happen, the odds are that you have some stories that you can share about what you did.

It doesn’t matter if you failed or not.

People just want to know what was going through your mind and what you learned.

2) Go Against the Grain

There are lots of stupid people in this world, and sometimes, those stupid people do stupid things together.

My ex-girlfriend entered this USANA health competition (because her USANA associate friend asked her to) where they ask you to lose weight/get toned and at the end of the month, they ask you to take before/after pic and get judged in front of live audience. Of course, it was a ploy to sell their completely useless sugar water products. (2008 acai anyone?)

She worked her ass off for 2 months and lost about 10 lbs (she weighed 115′ish before).. so that’s about 9% of body fat. Not only that, she had some insane muscle tone afterwards. (But NOT because of their product, but because she gave her best every day running, stretching, yoga-ing, lifting weights, etc etc.)

USANA is a network marketing company, and so of course, their associates entered.

I swear to god.. some of these jokers just basically sucked in their still-fat tummies and claimed that they lost weight.


(This is not from USANA, but illustrates the point).

How was the winner picked? By the how loud the audience claps.

Of course, who happened to be in the audience? Uplines, downlines, family, and friends members of these people that sell for USANA and happened to be in the competition.

The one person who ACTUALLY lost any kind of weight (my ex-gf) had only ME to cheer for her (her “friend” didn’t even show up).

So in the end, one of THEIRS won. And I blogged about how ridiculously childish this USANA competition is and that no one with 1/2 a brain should enter this thing, let alone spend money on it.

Granted my blog has nothing to do with weight loss, but I get shit tons of traffic on my blog about people looking for information on USANA… along with USANA associates sending me hate comments.

So if you do engage in this tactic, remember that this CAN backfire

  • don’t use this tactic too often because you’ll just be known as the guy that makes just enemies, not friends.
  • start fight with someone whose audience is the one you want to draw in because not all traffic quality is the same

3) Explain Really Tough Concepts

Online advertising is HARD.

I remember Facebook ads had only CPC and CPM.

Then they went crazy and added all kinds of ad options, and all the permutations that come with it.

CPC/M, optimized CPM, mobile only, feed only, interest targeting, audience extension, FBX, blah blah blah.

If you’re new to online advertising, this is confusing as hell. If you’re an expert in something, why not share what you know?

I wrote a blog post about the difference between CPC, CPM and optimized CPM, and Google gives me lots of traffic on that post, and i get quite a good number of email optins on it.


(past 7 days)

Curious..

What types of blog posts that you’ve seen that have worked well?

Share your ideas in the comment box below