What can happen when a startup isn’t strictly legal? – with Daniel Vitiello

This is the story of an entrepreneur who built a $100,000 a month repair business and then got busted by the cops.

Daniel Vitiello founded United Phone Repair. You know how painful it is when you drop your phone and it cracks? Well, Daniel’s business helped fix those broken phones. So why was Apple upset with him? You’ll find out.

Today he runs iRevive, which creates a water damage repair kit that can be used by anyone whose phone was dropped in water.

Watch the FULL program


About Daniel Vitiello

Daniel Vitiello is the founder of United Phone Repair offering iPhone repair service.

Raw transcript


Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. And I’m smiling because I realized that I’ve got this thing that I go through before just before we officially start. I take that deep breath and then I let it go. And I was smiling because I know today’s guest and I just realized he’s watching me do this, this little ritual of mine. And now I’m all fired up for you people. And here is what I got for you today.

I have for you a story of an entrepreneur who built a $100,000 a month business repairing phones and then it got shut down by the cops, thanks to Apple. Daniel Vitello founded United Phone Repair. You know how painful it is when you drop you phone, crack the screen, or otherwise break it? Well, Daniel’s business helped people fix their phones and get them repaired.

So why was Apple upset with him? Well you’re going to find out in this interview. You’re also going to find out about his new business, the one he runs right now which is called iRevived and it helps people who have water damaged phones get their phones come back to life. That’s what we have in store for you today.

And it’s all thanks to my buddy, Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. If you’re an entrepreneur and you need a lawyer check out WalkerCorporateLawyer.com or just email my buddy, Scott. Say Scott@WalkerCorporateLawyer.com. Andrew said, ‘Hi.’ Alright. Let’s get down to business, Daniel. Welcome.

Daniel: Yeah, thanks for having me. I can’t believe I’m finally here.

Andrew: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to this one. So you had a phone and what happened to it?

Daniel: I was getting out of my Jeep and it just fell off my lap and hit the ground and shattered. At the time, I think it was an iPhone 3GS and I was one of the kids who was learning about jail breaking and unlocking the iPhones before I even owned one. So whenever it broke, I did what I always do is just go to YouTube and try and look up how to fix it.

So I ordered the parts on eBay and fixed it. And then I kind of got the idea a couple of days later, maybe some other people are breaking their phones and I could help them do this.

Andrew: You really just went to YouTube, looked at videos, you took your phone apart based on what some guy on YouTube told you to do and you repaired it with parts that some other guy on eBay sent you?

Daniel: Exactly, I’ve always been a tinkerer, taking apart electronics or working on cars and stuff. So when I saw the process, it looked like it was just undoing screws and disconnecting the connectors and it was pretty straight forward. So I went ahead and gave it a shot myself but it was pretty scary the first time I was prying apart my iPhone which was like my baby.

Andrew: And it worked out? The phone worked out after you did it?

Daniel: Yeah, it worked.

Daniel: Okay. So I’m wondering then about you. What kind of person can actually take his phone apart and make it work? And I realized that you were this kind of person growing up. I heard from Jeremy who did the pre- interview with you that you made rubber bugs. And I said, “I have to ask him. How old were you when you were doing this and what does it mean to make rubber bugs?”

Daniel: Oh man, I don’t know. That was probably one of my first entrepreneurial endeavors was I think they were called creepy crawlys. And there were these little metal molds that you would squeeze the skew [SP] into and then put it this little oven which was basically a box with a light bulb underneath it. And then you’d bake them for 30 minutes and you could pull out these rubber bugs. And I would set up my display in front of the house. And people are driving by and instead of a lemonade stand, I had a rubber bug stand.

Andrew: You were selling them?

Daniel: Yeah.

Andrew: So this part of tinkering and playing with frankly geeky things and selling was in you right from the start you feel like?

Daniel: Yeah, I’ve kind of always had those entrepreneurial tendencies.

Andrew: I’ve got a very unsentimental personality. I love just tossing things away from my past and freeing myself for the future because I hate being weighed down by things. But I love now that I can scan in old notebooks because well just this morning because a past guest said that he loved writing things in notebooks.

I went back and I found scans of my old notebooks to see what was I thinking of as a kid. And to see that what I was thinking of as a kid was essentially what I’m doing today. It was thoughts about who can I do biographies about if I had a magazine. What kind of questions would I ask entrepreneurs if I got to see them?

It was this whole passion that didn’t get expressed until I got to do this. And to just go back and re-connect and say, “Yes. This is what I was meant to do. This interest is something I’ve had in me forever.” It helped me get re-ignited and it helped me think again about the way I want to do this work here, to bring it back to where the core was, not what I happened to be doing today or what fire I have to put out today. You feel that too? Do you have one of those creepy crawlers?

Brian: I don’t have one, no. What I do have though is I used to also make keychain necklaces out of beads with the string and so we’d make little gecko keychain necklaces and then I’d sell them to all my dad’s co-workers at the zoo and we still have some of those laying around.

Andrew: What is it about selling? I understand as a kid playing with stuff, and the reason I ask this is so the audience doesn’t think that I just get carried away asking people about just who they are. Yeah I do like finding out about the person, and I think the audience needs to know that to, but the reason I’m asking is before we started I said, “What would you tell your 18-year-old self?” And your number you said?

Daniel: Yeah, I said that I would tell them to always be selling.

Andrew: Always be selling. And even sell sooner is what you would tell yourself. And here you’re a person who was selling pretty soon. So what was it about selling that you were so passionate about that to this day you think that is the key for me?

Daniel: I think it’s a matter, I just have one memory that sticks in my mind, I really wanted this model truck. You know this model truck that you had to build it, it wasn’t something that was built it was one of those kits.

And at that time my parents for giving me a one dollar a day allowance, for a week, to get this model truck. I was just raised in a way where, and it wasn’t just an allowance of one dollars a week for nothing, I was having to do chores. So I was raised in a way of being able to put together by selling or putting together some output to then generate income to then receive whatever I wanted to get.

Andrew: What about the metal business cards you had, the magnetic business cards? Do you have any of those?

Daniel: Yeah, oh yeah. Those are still on my fridge home.

Andrew: You do?

Daniel: Oh yeah.

Andrew: And why do you – first of all, what are they?

Daniel: So what they are is, whenever I had a long business we would go door-to-door trying to sell lawn service to the entire subdivision. What I saw other lawn companies doing, was leaving a paper flyer or rubber banding it to the handle and whenever they would do that to our house it was always annoying and we always just threw them away immediately.

So my idea instead was whenever I was looking at one of the business card websites, I saw they have these magnetic business cards. And I knew from our own house that we had we some magnetic business cards from like a lawyer or a doctor and they were just stuck on our fridge. We would use them to hold up papers or paintings.

So I looked at the price they weren’t that much more, so what we started doing was taking the magnetic business cards and putting them on the outside of their mailbox after we knocked on their door and they weren’t home. And that worked out really well, we had people call us months later who had taken them in, put them on their fridge, and one week they don’t want to mow their lawn and would just give us a call.

Andrew: Warren Buffet has over showed, and I think still to this day, the graduation certificate that he got from Dale Carnegie and I believe it’s a reminder of what he learned about speaking in public and what he learned about human relations. There’s a reason why we keep things like that, those keepsakes from the past. Why do you think you still have that magnet on your fridge?

Daniel: It definitely does remind you of the past times and of what it was like just starting out. Another reason is that my parents are big supporters of me so they probably keep it on the fridge just because they are proud of me and stuff.

Andrew: So this isn’t your fridge here at home now today, this is your fridge at your parent’s place?

Daniel: No, not my one here in San Francisco.

Andrew: Alright, and here’s the thing that gets me, one last thing about this past business before we go back to the repair business. What gets me is you were going for it and then you had a problem with your partner. Which is such a basic thing, but this is, I think, what separates the winners from everyone else, so what was he doing? I don’t want to rag on him but I’ve seen this happen with partnerships in the past, I don’t get it, I don’t get people like this. What did he do?

Daniel He’s the one who got me started in a the law business in the first place and his older brother was doing it. His older brother went to college and he started and he started and he had a few of his old accounts, but he wasn’t really growing and selling it in the way that I wanted to.

I joined in and helped him at first and kind of was just getting paid, and we decided to partner up and we doubled the number of accounts we had the first the time that we went and started selling. It was going pretty well in the beginning, but it got to the point where I would want to start work early in the morning so it wasn’t 100? out in Texas where we have to be mowing and it would be maybe like 90? in the morning.

We just ran into this problem of not agreeing on how much work we wanted to put into. So that kind slowed us apart, so we did end up actually splitting the accounts, and I took the new accounts that I had got on and he stayed with his old accounts. Then I continued on in my own direction.

Andrew: But part of the reason was he did not want to wake up early.

Daniel: Right.

Andrew: You would wake up before the sun, before it got hot…

Daniel: Well we would agree, we would say we are going to start at seven and then it would be seven and I would be ready to go and I’d still be waiting for him to show up and it made me an hour or two later.

Andrew: That is the thing that made me feel like a weirdo when I was a kid because I would have been willing to do it and everyone else would have acted like I was a weirdo because kids should sleep in, kids should just come on relax. You only have your childhood once, you know.

Daniel: Right.

Andrew: And no one would ever say that if my passion was singing. They wouldn’t say what do you have to wake up in the morning and sing for. Relax you only have your childhood once, go watch video games. But if you want to go and do your business they’ll say that. If you want to go shovel snow, that’s what we used to do in New York when I grew up. Okay so getting back to this business of yours. You crack your phone, you fix it. Now I understand the guy who fixes it and where that comes from. Now I understand the guy who decides he is going to sell this service or parts because that’s what they were thinking right from the start. Where do you go to sell this new discovery that you have, that you can fix iPhones?

Daniel: Craigslist.

Andrew: Just go to Craigslist. That’s where everyone goes to sell the first thing.

Daniel: That’s right. I think that Craigslist is an amazing tool. And almost immediately I looked at the ways people were selling on Craigslist and then thought of ways to differentiate myself. And so one of the first things I did was instead of just typing on the text of here it is and here’s my phone number here’s our services, what I did was I went into Photoshop and I created a flier that you would see in the hallway or something.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: With some nice images on it, a colored background. And so I would take the html tag and put that in the Craigslist body and then also put a keyword bank of other keywords underneath that so…

Andrew: When people search…

Daniel: …that no matter what anyone typed in it would come up in a search.

Andrew: Yeah.

Daniel: So I was fixing the phones in my parents dining room and posting on Craigslist up to ten times a day. Sending phone verification accounts to all my friends, different phone numbers.

Andrew: What do you mean phone verification accounts?

Daniel: Craigslist has this policy where..

Andrew: Oh.

Daniel: …they try and reduce the spam so you have to have a PVA account and so to be able to post multiple times per day I would have to verify some other accounts with other numbers.

Andrew: I see and that’s how you could post so often. What were you selling it for?

Daniel: The three G I was doing the repair for forty dollars and the three GS was fifty dollars.

Andrew: That’s a really good price.

Daniel: Yeah.

Andrew: And these people would just come to your house?

Daniel: Yeah. I mean sometimes they wouldn’t know it was a house before they got there and they would call from outside and they would be like is this a house that I’m coming to. But yea even to this day right now people still come to Rockwall iPhone repair at the house.

Andrew: Come to where?

Daniel: To Rockwall iPhone repair. That was the name of the first…

Andrew: Oh I see.

Daniel: It was in Rockwall, Texas.

Andrew: Gotcha, okay.

Daniel: Yeah.

Andrew: Are people still coming to your house right now to have you repair their iPhones?

Daniel: Not me. No I only actually repaired iPhones for about a month, month and a half.

Andrew: Okay. And then what happened back then?

Daniel: So what happened then was, I had been doing the business for about a month and I was just looking around online and I saw this guy in New York on MSNBC and they did a story on him. He was going around fixing iPhones at doctors’ offices and meeting people at their work to fix their phones. And I thought if that’s a news story that they could do on him up there, then maybe I should have a news story on me down here in Texas.

So that evening I sent a press release to all the major news stations basically just saying college student fixes iPhones and kind of pitched a little because the news likes talking about Apple and stuff and the next week NBC gave me a call and said hey are you still interested in doing a story and I said yes. And so that evening Omni iPhones.

Andrew: Wow. And then what did that do to your business?

Daniel: So I knew the next day was crazy. We had people calling us from all over the area wanting their phones fixed.

Andrew: Wow.

Daniel: But what I didn’t expect to happen was people were also calling me saying hey can you help me start the same business you’re running.

Andrew: You mean just strangers outside in the city who said I want to do this too?

Daniel: Exactly. And it was all different kinds of people too, there’s men, women, old, young, people calling…they had seen my little set up on my dining room table and they for some reason decided to call me and say could you teach me how to do that. And that thought had never crossed my mind before.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: What I decided to was that I was going back to college, back to school in two weeks. I started telling…

Andrew: So you keep can’t have people come to your house.

Daniel: So what?

Andrew: You can’t have, you can’t have people keep coming to your parents’ house if you’re going to be away at college. Your time is limited, right?

Daniel: Right. My parents just took over Rockwall iPhone once I left.

Andrew: Oh, really? You mean they were doing the repairs…

Daniel: They kept running it. They do the repairs today.

Andrew: To this day this business goes on?

Daniel: Yeah. They’re actually opening up a retail store next month.

Andrew: Oh, I didn’t realize that. Wow.

Daniel: Yeah, but they’ve been doing them out of the house to this day.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: These people were calling me. They were saying can you help me do what you’re doing and I just started saying yes. I started telling people, I’m having a seminar this weekend. It’s 500 bucks, if you want to sign up, just show up at this time.

Seven people decided to come that weekend. I spent that week putting together the outline of this course I was going to teach. I had a doctor who was in his 70s, I had just these two women, one dad who was late 40s. It’s really cool that they all came out and that day I just took them through the process of doing the screen repair for the phone and then gave them ten screens of their own so they could now go start making some money.

Andrew: Before we continue with this story, what do I take away from this? Is this a situation where, unless my phone happens to break, which leads me to repair it at the optimal time in the iPhones evolution I can’t take anything away from this interview? Or is there something else that another entrepreneur can take away from this and say ah-ha, just like Daniel did I could do. Just like he did X, I could do X.

Daniel: Yeah, so I think what it is, is it’s the first lesson would be to, not be afraid or to even just take that Hail Mary throw, right? Send the emails out to someone who is, you know, something you think is almost impossible. I never thought that a news station would actually come out and do a story on me. Just by, if you throw enough passes one of them is bound to be caught.

Andrew: I see.

Daniel: I think the second thing is to be able to recognize unexpected opportunities and then pursue them. Whenever, like I said, whenever I was starting I never had imagined being, or doing this as, teaching other people how to run a business.

I remember one day, after I’d been getting these calls and I had some people scheduled for the seminar. I was pacing around on the back porch talking to my dad and I already started to envision this whole grand plan of having all these different iPhone repair stores and I would be the one bringing in parts from China and distributing them to all of the stores and that’s how I can make money now. This would play into my whole dream of the four-hour work week where I don’t actually have to do a service of fixing the phones, but instead I could create this info product which would teach people to fix the phones then start their own business.

Andrew: I see and that’s not the direction that it went, but before we go with the direction that it went in. The other take away that I have from this is, what you said before, sell. Most people, maybe even me included. If I were selling repairs and people came in and said show me how to do it. I would say, screw that, what am I going to teach the competition? You said, would you pay for it and then you charged, and that’s a big thing. So you started teaching them. I think your first goal was to make $300 a day. How long did it take you to get to that?

Daniel: I was doing that the first month. I mean, before…

Andrew: Within a month you were making 300 bucks a day.

Daniel: It was while I was fixing the phones. You just have to keep in mind I only actually was working as the tech fixing the phones for about a month and a half. It was every single day, but there was a good number of days that I would make it over the, because with $50 a repair, that’s only 6 phones and then you could upsell them on, you know, if they need a new battery, or if they need a case or any other kind of certain unlocking, jail breaking.

Andrew: I’m guessing you got all the equipment from eBay. I shouldn’t call it equipment, all the parts from eBay.

Daniel: That’s where I started off, was eBay and then I remember there was an eBay supplier, because eBay charges fees whenever you do a transaction. There was one I had bought from a couple of times and then he contacted me and was like, hey if you want to buy from me directly I can give you better prices.” And so I started buying from him directly, and not too much longer after that was when I placed my first order from China.

Andrew: Before we get into that, how much did you charge people who came to your house for your seminar to learn how to build a business like this?

Daniel: Five hundred dollars each.

Andrew: Five hundred bucks apiece? Seven people showed up. So you were really starting to bring in money here.

Daniel: Yeah, it was about seven hours for the total seminar, so it was a pretty good hourly rate. That was a fun thing I liked to do whenever I was first starting was always try and calculate everything into how much I was making per hour. But even then, after that first seminar, some people may have thought, “Okay, we have to set up more live in person seminars.” But I was the total opposite.

I was like, I don’t want to spend my time doing seminars in person, having to travel around to different cities to teach people this. You know, I was going the direction of, “How could I automate this to something where it’s, I build it once and then can have a lot of different people go through the course?”

Andrew: Next up was selling the kits. How did you get into selling kits?

Daniel: So at first I was going to make it an eBook, and I figured for an eBook I could sell it for around a couple hundred dollars, you know, two hundred dollars. But then what I decided instead was what if I turned it into this thing where it’s everything you need to start a business?

So not only the instructions of how to do everything, but also include some parts, and not just some parts but enough parts where you can make back the entire purchase price of the kit. As well as your tools, and then a website. We’ll even post them on Craigslist for you and create your Craigslist ads and create your business cards.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: So everything I could think of where, I wanted to give people no reason to be able to say, “I couldn’t do this business.” I wanted to be sending customers knocking on their door and remove any idea of risk because they’re going to turn a profit when they buy this kit.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: So I went to Elance and hired a designer in Poland to build the first version of the website for maybe around a thousand dollars. And that was to do everything, from logo to home page to creating the member back end for me to start putting the content in.

Andrew: Oh I see, so once they paid not only do they get the physical stuff, the parts and all the ads, et cetera, but you even give them a membership site where if they needed anything they could come in and talk to you. Wow, this is a lot.

Daniel: Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew: Because you couldn’t just give them the data for selling and repairing the current phones. Your idea was you were going to keep teaching them and keep selling them parts.

Daniel: Exactly.

Andrew: Got it. And that’s why the membership site.

Daniel: Yep. Because you know there’s a new phone, a new iPhone that comes out once a year. So I didn’t want people to feel like, “Oh, am I going to have to buy something else whenever.” And actually what we did do was we said the first year was free. The first year was included with the kit, and then we were going to start charging monthly for membership to the site for the cost of producing the new guides and stuff. But we never actually started charging people.

Andrew: Never got to that because of what’s coming up.

Daniel: Right.

Andrew: Your parents’ site is built on Joomla. Why Joomla? This is Rockwalliphone.com.

Daniel: Yeah. So that site hasn’t been updated in quite a while. Rockwall iPhone, so that was the site that I had whenever I first started the company and I knew I wanted a website and I didn’t know web development or I didn’t know about any kind of web design. So what I did was it was on I think the bodybuilding forums. I found this guy for a hundred dollars and he built me that website.

Andrew: Oh really?

Daniel: Yep.

Andrew: That’s a good looking site. I bet it’s a theme, but it’s a good looking site. The one thing that I wish you would have done is, if you do a search, if you Google “Rockwall iPhone repairs,” Rockwall is the name in there but the description says, “Joomla! The dynamic portal engine and content management system.” So that part he didn’t change, but it’s a small change.

Daniel: Yeah, the description part.

Andrew: And at that point, this new business that we’re talking about, where you were teaching people how to build their business, you were giving them the parts and the ads and so on, that wasn’t Rockwall?

Daniel: No, that was all under the brand United iPhone Repair.

Andrew: Got it. Okay. And this was United because we’re all together to repair phones.

Daniel: Exactly, and it was going to be the whole group of all the companies across the world.

Andrew: Was it it United iPhone Repair or United Phone Repair?

Daniel: So, what’s kind of interesting is that I knew the word iPhone is trademarked, so when I first started the business we were only doing iPhones. We didn’t even try to focus on, because there’s hundreds of different androids, so you would have had to carry, the iPhone, it’s like the 80/20 rule, right? That’s where 80% of the money and repairs were, for 20% of the devices. So whenever I incorporated, I made the name United Phone Repair, LLC. But the first website and all the branding early on was United iPhone Repair.

Andrew: I see, okay. And then eventually you got into other phones?

Daniel: No, not really. We sold some parts for other phones, but never had a lot of the guides up for them.

Andrew: Oh, okay. I could have sworn I saw something for Android when I looked around. And the site isn’t up now but I did look around the archived versions of it. So, life is good at this point. Do you do anything to celebrate, to spend the money that you’re making?

Daniel: So, I mean, everything I was making early on I was putting back into building it, to hiring the web designers, do hiring the SCO guy, to buying parts to start selling to these people. In August I went back to school and from August to December, I spent that time putting together the course and writing a few articles for other business op websites.

One night, I was going to school at Texas Tech, which is Lubbock, Texas, way out in the middle of nowhere, and I was driving back to, this is one my favorite things to do, I was driving back in the middle of the night, listening to Richard Branson’s audiobook, Losing My Virginity, and for some reason at the moment, just listening to his story about how he got started early on and how he decided to stop school and just pursue Virgin.

That was the moment for that I decided, you know what? I’m going to go into this business full time and drop out of college at the end of this semester.

Andrew: And your parents? How did they react?

Daniel: And so then that first January. They were amazing, they were really supportive. While I was in college they had been running Rockwall iPhone Repair while I was there and whenever I got back in January, that’s when it really stepped up. That was when I had the first $10,000 a month month. You’re going from under $2,000 before in December, November December, to committing to it full-time and really seeing some results.

Andrew: I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can speak for myself and say that one of the biggest mistakes I made with my life was finishing college, or even attending, even going to day one. If I wanted some classes, and there were some that I liked, I should have just signed up for those classes.

Paying $20,000 to go and take a biology class, I got nothing out of it. And that was one of the more serious classes. I had a buddy of mine who was taking the same business classes I was and for one of the required classes, required components, or I don’t even know what you can call this, he took a circus class. How are you going to take . . .

Daniel: I took an acting class, Intro to Acting . . .

Andrew: Intro to Acting?

Daniel: Yeah. You have to have a fine arts credit.

Andrew: That’s what it must have been, like a fine arts credit. Aw, kiss my tuchus. That is a waste of time. I might as well go and sign up for an art class outside, but not pay $20,000 for this.

Daniel: I definitely agree. Especially now, with what online education has become.

Andrew: Yes. I would even have just gone and taken a crappy job somewhere and earned very little instead of going to college. Alright. I’m going to do a quick plug here. It shouldn’t even be that quick, it should be good for Walker Corporate Law. Scott Edward Walker is a startup lawyer. Do you have any legal tips for entrepreneurs out there? That the one that we’re going to get to later one, but how about one for building a business? Instead of plugging Scott, I figure we’ll learn something.

Daniel: Because of you I have contacted Scott several times. And he’s always been extremely attentive in responding to whatever questions I’ve sent him. I think I’ve even talked with one of his associates on the phone before. My legal advice would be, in the very beginning, to not worry about it very much.

I incorporated by just going through Texas’s website myself, incorporated and this was several months after I had started actually running the business, so . . .

Andrew: So people were just sending you cash directly to your account?

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: Focus on selling, and then once you have some traction then I think some people build up in their mind that there’s this big hurdle they have to overcome by incorporating, getting legal docs set up and accounting structure and all these things before they can even attempt at selling, and I think that barrier is not really there.

Andrew: I have to tell you, I am one of those people. And maybe early on I wouldn’t have been that, and I wasn’t, but I’m one of those people who, as soon as I think I’m going to go do anything business-related, I go and get my paper done. Because I want to insulate myself. I want the company to be its own entity, and if there’s a problem where, I don’t know what, maybe we were doing parties for Mixergy events, I figure if someone trips and falls, that’s fricking Mixergy’s headache. That’s not coming back to me.

Daniel: Yeah.

Andrew: I even did it before I got a name, before the name Mixergy. I said, I know I could just get my LLC under a name, and then I’ll get a DBA under the real name, but first I need the entity, and so the entity, and it’s ridiculous whenever it comes up in conversation with ADP for payroll or whatever, it’s the Andrew Warner Company, L.L.C. But I figure, screw it, it’s there, and then everyone else knows me as my DBA, Mixergy. My checkbook says Mixergy.

Daniel: Right.

Andrew: I hate that I even have a checkbook, but, Mixergy. But the other thing you said is pretty cool, you’re right. One of the criteria I have when I look at a lawyer is, is he respected enough by the people he passes me on to, because not everything I need is going to be done by the same lawyer. I needed some contest rules set up. Scott’s not creating contest rules for me. But will he be able to pass me on to someone who can do it for me, and will that person take Scott seriously enough to respond to Scott’s email?

That’s a big question, and yes, of course he did know someone, and yes, of course that person took it seriously and responded to me quickly. Right, because at that point, they don’t know me. What, are they going to make a lot of money creating my contest rules? No. But they respect Scott, and that’s what’s important. To have a lawyer that people respect. All right, I’ve got to get off my soapbox.

This is about you, not about me, so I’m going to close out by saying, thank you Scott for doing this interview and for that referral, and for everyone else go to walkercorporatelaw.com if you need a lawyer. How do you get the supplies? How do you figure out where to get all the tools and all the parts that you need in order to sell them?

Daniel: Right, so like I said, at first it was on eBay-

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: …and then just through searching online, I came across Ali Baba and started going through some of the supplies on Ali Baba. But I think even before that, I remember getting emails just out of the blue from these Chinese suppliers and they would send me, in very broken English, a total list of what parts they have and how much they are.

And so I started replying to them, because I’m like, “Wow, these parts are so much cheaper than they are buying them from a supplier in the U.S.” And what I’ve come to realize is, they somehow look for any company that has the word iPhone in the domain, and then they will start just spamming them emails. I still get emails to this day on some of those accounts.

Andrew: Were those parts good?

Daniel: Yeah, the first company I ordered from I was lucky. And I remember I was so nervous to Western Union some person in China 3000 dollars, I think the first order we sent over there was, and there’s no escrow, or place you could report it if they scammed you and didn’t send you anything, but it makes sense because these companies want your return business. They want you to place an order again next week or next month. So I always had very good results with the service there.

Andrew: Okay. I’m looking here at the notes, and one of the things you told Jeremy was finding quality suppliers was an issue, but it doesn’t sound like it was then.

Daniel: Well, I never got scammed. But there were different qualities. So in [??] they have the original quality which is what goes into the iPhones, and then there’s a timeline trailing after a phone comes out that they start making other factories that will also start producing the parts as Grade A or Grade B or knockoffs, all the way down the chain.

So there were some times where we would order a batch of LCDs and then none of them would work. They’d look fine, but when you plug them in they would just be white with lines all over them and stuff. So your suppliers were your closely guarded secret from your other competitors who also supply parts because you find one that gives you good prices and good service and gives you quality parts, which basically means that they just test them before they send them to you.

Andrew: I see.

Daniel: That’s pretty important.

Andrew: Let me speak to the audience for a moment. This is why I do a pre- interview. You weren’t hiding anything, right? It just didn’t occur to you while we were talking. That’s why we do a pre-interview, we do research. I know for most other interviewers this isn’t a big deal. Who cares that the part didn’t come out right in the grand scheme of things? I’ll tell you who cares, I care. I care because for a little bit of extra work on our part we can actually end up with a quality product for people, right?

Daniel: Yep.

Andrew: And this is maybe not a make or break question, but how many make or break questions, I mean make or break in the sense that it makes or breaks our understanding on an entrepreneur. How many of those make or break questions do other interviewers allow to go out there and be answered with the wrong answer. Not because the person is cheating, just because we forget.

That’s critical to me. Got to get it right because I think most other sites that do interviews with entrepreneurs they’re not really speaking to entrepreneurs, most of them. I think who they’re speaking to wannabes and wannabes don’t care about anything, what they care about is is this story exciting or not? They don’t care about the details, they don’t want to know that you got it from China, they want to know that you bought a car. Did you buy a car?

Daniel: I did.

Andrew: What car did you get?

Daniel: I bought a, so this was towards the end of 2011, but I bought a 370Z that had a bunch of work done to it. That was kind of like, but afterwards, I realized it wasn’t what it built it up to be in my mind.

Andrew: You mean, the car wasn’t?

Daniel: So I think kind of like you, I’ve realized now that those things aren’t the root of happiness. I had a lot of fun in the car, I went to the track and raced it, learned with the pro drivers sitting in the passenger seat next to me coaching me through the whole thing. I had a lot of fun but I don’t know. I think once I sold it I wasn’t sad or didn’t really miss it or anything. It became almost a burden having to take care of it and stuff.

Andrew: I get that. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to move to Argentina, I didn’t want to own a car and deal with all the headaches involved, I’ll just use cabs. I’m still like that. I heard you got banned from eBay for life. How do you get banned from eBay?

Daniel: This was probably in July, I think it was on July 4th actually. I was running this business full-time since January and in July I decided to go for a 40 day backpacking trip through Europe with one of my friends. And I had set up to have, at this point I was still shipping most of the orders also. But one of the guys who bought one of my startup kits, he also ran an other online business selling e-cigarettes.

So he had a warehouse set up where he had his inventory and all his shipping set up. And so I struck a deal with him where I could just move all my inventory to his warehouse and he would take care of all the orders while I was gone.

Andrew: Oh, that’s great.

Daniel: Well, one of the products that I had made was called a proximity sensor modification. And what that was was a piece of black electrical tape about that big with two holes in it. And whenever someone would do a screen replacement on the early fours, whenever you would put your phone back up to your face the proximity sensor wouldn’t work, so you would cheek dial people.

And I was just searching online and found this forum that was I think some kind of overseas forum and I saw this picture where they had made a piece of electrical tape with two dots and they said that that fixed it. So I tried it, it worked, and then I was like this is a product. So I just ran Photo Shop, marked up a little thing, put like a little red box around it and a picture of where it goes on the phone and started selling these proximity modification sensors for $5.00.

Andrew: And this was just black electrical tape with two holes in them?

Daniel: Yeah, I had a two by four and I would roll out a strip of electrical tape, then I would take my nail and nail holes in it. And then I would cut with an Exacto Knife and cut them out. That’s how the first batch was made. After that I just sent an issue of it to my supplier in China and they printed off 10,000.

But, so the problem was I was selling these on eBay and we ran out of stock. And a couple more had shipped, or a couple more had been purchased and we couldn’t ship them. Parker was the guy’s name who was doing the shipping and the warehouse for me, he didn’t have the template I had or really want to mess with making them, so these eBay orders went unfulfilled for a couple weeks.

Andrew: Oh.

Daniel: And that’s why eBay then said…I had very limited internet connection as I was traveling and most the time when I was off I was spending time just answering emails or checking all the other stuff, I didn’t really have time to go back and take care of this eBay case specifically because it was a five dollar sticker, not that big of a deal. I ended up refunding…the people got refunded through eBay’s system they have where it does the…

Anyway when we got back I found out eBay banned me and I’m calling their support trying to explain to them I’m paying you guys thousands of dollars a month in fees. It was just two cases or whatever and they didn’t want…They were sitting there reading from a script word for word reading me the same thing over and over again of we can’t do anything, I’m sorry, you’re not allowed to sell on here…

Andrew: How much of your business was coming from eBay?

Daniel: A small…probably ten percent.

Andrew: Okay. What about the colored faces. Apple comes out with their specific colors but they’re some people online who sell green or red face plates and backs. Did you do that?

Daniel: Yep. So you know when these suppliers would send us the inventory list, you’re always scrolling through looking for what’s cool, what people buy, and I saw these colored glass, so it’s not the sticker or anything that goes over your phone but it’s the actual glass screen and the glass back for the four and the four s.

And some of these factories who were making the grade A or grade B parts, instead of using black or white paint underneath the glass they started using colored paint. And I thought wow these look really cool. The first color choices were pretty bad. I think the first colors were red, white, baby blue, and maybe a pink. I ordered some of those and they started selling really well.

Andrew: Yeah. What was the hot color?

Daniel: The hot color was red at first and then we had a royal blue that sold really well and the pink and baby blue would do alright but…Yea I think there was about eight or nine different colors in all once everything got going.

Andrew: At this point was Apple calling you at all?

Daniel: No.

Andrew: No.

Daniel: We never heard anything from Apple.

Andrew: They’re not saying hey this is an issue? No one’s bothering you, you’re just growing and you’re thinking I’m doing a good job here, I’m helping the community. Just like the case makers, just like the guy who created the Dodo [sp] case who I interviewed.

Daniel: Exactly. I kind of looked at it as if you had bought a car and you decided you wanted to change out the bumper or put a spoiler on it or something, you’re just modifying your existing property that you already own.

Andrew: Next big milestone was based on YouTube. What did you do on YouTube?

Daniel: So YouTube I found was a really good way to acquire leads. And what I was doing at first was I was just creating my repair videos and then uploading them to YouTube and then what had I learned from watching some Mixergy videos is you need to build a list. Have an email list of people you can start marketing to.

And so one strategy I started to use was, I would upload the first half or three fourths of the repair process and then I would put up a screen that says to get the rest of this video go subscribe to the list at my website.

Andrew: That worked on YouTube for repair?

Daniel: Yeah. That was an…

Andrew: Wow.

Daniel: …incredible…we were getting so many people. I remembered the one video I think did the best was changing out the headphone jack flex cable on the three GS because there was no other YouTube videos out there to do it and it was one of the hardest repairs to do. I had put together a really good video where it was zoomed in, and I walked through and narrated the entire process and it was edited so the boring parts were sped up and that helped my build almost eight thousand list in six months. Eight thousand email list.

Andrew: Wow. How much did you do at that point?

Daniel: Let’s see. So in…I think during July and August I was around thirty thousand.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: And the month I got back around fifty. I don’t have my notes so…

Andrew: I’ve got the notes here. You’re so good in addition to the pre- interview, and in addition to the research that we did I’ve got your timeline here that you sent out ahead of time which was really helpful. I wish other entrepreneurs were able to do that. Did you do that all from memory?

Daniel: No. I went back actually and just pulled up some of my old bank statements and I used to make these huge documents of to do lists of things I wanted to do and where I currently was and where I wanted to get to in six months. So that’s a nice snapshot of where I was at different times of making this.

Andrew: So you would sit and write down over the next six months, I’d like to make $100 a day and then after that over the next six months I’d like to get to 100,000 in a month, something like that.

Daniel: Yeah, or I would list out. I’d be like, right now I have x number of YouTube subscribers, x number of email subscribers, this is my monthly revenue, this is my daily traffic and put all that down and then say, here’s where I want to get it in six months or here’s where I want to get in a year.

Andrew: That’s pretty freaking cool. 83,000 per month, that’s where you were after YouTube videos. That was a big milestone for you.

Daniel: Oh yeah, no and 83,000 a month was a big number for me because that annualized is a million a year. So that was kind of the one I’ve been wanting to hit for a long time.

Andrew: Oh, and YouTube didn’t get you to that.

Daniel: YouTube definitely played a part in it, but I’ve been doing YouTube marketing, like doing the YouTube videos from as early. . . That’s how I was teaching [??] early on.

Andrew: I see, okay. And how do you hide the second part of the video? Do you not host it on YouTube or do you host it there, but make it private?

Daniel: Yeah, make it private.

Andrew: That’s what it is. And you embed it on your site and as long as it’s private no one can see it.

Daniel: Or I think I would put the link to it in the email so whenever there was a subscriber to the list it would just send them the link to the private video.

Andrew: I should at this point say, guys go check out MixergyPremium.com. That’s where we have courses taught by. . . You’re nodding, why?

Daniel: I’ve been a member of Mixergy Premium for, I think as soon as it came out. The value of the Mixergy course is whenever I was building this business and I would run onto a problem of how do I build an email list or how do I create a video sales letter or how do I do SEO or hire someone. I would go to Mixergy Premium and learn from someone who’s done it really well. So I definitely am a big supporter.

Andrew: Thanks. You know that’s the key, I want to make sure that people who are teaching anything have really done it well and I’m careful not to alienate people who offer to teach, but when I see what they want to teach they haven’t yet done it. It’s very tough to find someone who’s done it and is willing to teach it, like for video. And then when they’re willing to teach it, but. . .

Here I’ll give you an example. The guys from Simple Pick-up, they’ve got something like 100 million views on YouTube for videos.

Daniel: Yeah.

Andrew: They weren’t especially eager to talk about how they did it. And one of the things I don’t do in interviews is edit, but for courses I will edit stuff out because I think it’s important that we teach not that we get the story out in a way that endangers the host.

Anyway, the Simple Pick-up guys told me what their revenues were in the interview and were revealing something and then they came back afterwards and said, ‘Look, we’re freaking out here. Can you please edit this stuff out?’ And, we did. But the important part there, the reason I’m saying it is these guys proved themselves. They do huge numbers.

They don?t go around everywhere to conferences to talk about how they do big numbers because all they?re into is, how do you do videos that will attract eyeballs and bring people in to their business where they teach men how to meet women. One of the people who worked here at Mixergy, Sanjay Gupta, happened to know them. He worked on it, he made it happen and they came in to teach.

So one of over 100 courses that are available to you if you?re a member of Mixergy Premium, go to MixergyPremium.com. I guarantee you?ll love it. If you don?t love it, I?m right here, I?ll give you a refund. And Daniel, thank you for being a member for so long and for saying that.

Daniel: Yeah, of course.

Andrew: So what’s the problem here? Everything seems okay. Well, to get to the problem you were sitting at your warehouse, at some point you actually ended up with a warehouse, it’s a real business, real people are buying, real people are happy and then a guy comes and knocks on your door and what does he say?

Daniel: So yeah, we had been in the warehouse for about a month and the day before that this happened eBay had just taken down all of our listings. We had gotten another eBay account and we were selling on there, and they took down all of our listings and it was due to copyright and they said because whenever we had the picture of the back, on the back of the iPhone there’s an Apple logo, and we weren’t allowed to show the Apple logo in our listings.

So I actually had a photographer coming over that day to take new photos without the Apple logos in one of our parts. And so I was sitting there waiting for the photographer to arrive in my office, which was right at the front of the warehouse, and I hear the front door open, we had some customers in the back, we had a couple people at the time who were working full time just shipping orders and I hear someone open the front door and he goes, ‘Police!’

And at first I was kind of like, “That’s kind of weird.” And so I just look to the door on my office and I see this police officer walk up and I recognized his face, he had been in the warehouse earlier that week, buying some parts. He and his buddy came in, they bought some pink iPhone backs. We just kind of talked with him for a while. It was just friendly conversation.

And, so I remembered him and, so like in my head, I was like, he must have just been messing around and wants to come buy some more parts. So, I get up and go over to him to shake his hand and that’s when he grabs me and handcuffs me. And so, then I realize what is going on and, at that time I can look out the door to the front door of the warehouse, and there are about a dozen other cops coming behind him.

And, that’s when I realized that they, you know, they were coming in to because of the Apple logos that were on the parts that we were selling.

Andrew: I’m on eBay right now. I see a guy who is selling iPhone…here’s the back cover. It’s gold and says “iPhone, 24 carat gold edition,” on the actual back of the iPhone part with an Apple logo on it. EBay can shut them down.

Daniel: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: Right? You don’t need…but they just happened to pick on you. Why did they pick you?

Daniel: Still don’t really know. You know, it’s not like we were…it’s like you said, we were not custom producing these parts and we were the only one’s selling them. These things were literally being just forced out of Ashenzin [SP]. And, what I do know, the one thing that we were doing that most other people weren’t doing is advertising with Google ad words.

So I don’t know if that’s one of the reasons or if…I don’t really know. They didn’t know who our supplier was so it’s not like they followed us from the supplier to us. The supplier that I used to buy from still does business in China. I know people who still order from him.

So I never really got an answer as far as…you know, in the police reports it said that they had found us online. At first they placed an order from us online and we shipped them the parts. And then they came in and bought them in person. But I’m not really sure. Just bad luck.

Andrew: I guess. And if you could do this again, is there anything that you’d do differently? Can you do anything to avoid getting caught like this?

Daniel: Yeah. It’s a…There’s definitely gray areas because you have these big companies, like iFixit and iCrack Too, they still sell the black and the white backs with the logos on them. So, there’s a question there of is it that Apple just wants to maintain the look of their devices of being the black and the white or do they really care about the logo being used. And it is not the logo being used on different devices. Just the logo being used in a way that they didn’t intend to. But I don’t really know.

Andrew: But iFixed it, iFix It does sell Apple parts for or parts for fixing Apple products, right That’s their business.

Daniel: Yep.

Andrew: And their parts do still have the logo?

Daniel: Yep.

Andrew: And as I understand it, their suppliers are the same suppliers as yours. Right? We’re not talking about some mystery supplier that they have in their factory that only produces for them. I wonder if it’s the size. If it’s that you’re a small guy but big enough to pay attention to but small enough that you’re not going to fight back.

Daniel: Yeah. And that is something that I don’t really know. Like I said, it was something where, at that point, it had grown pretty quickly. I hadn’t ever gotten to a real stability point. I mean, we were setting up our accounting system to link with our inventory system and link with the website. Just getting everything meshed together.

So, it was still…we didn’t really have a chance to where…at that point, I was…when they came in and seized all the inventory, I was terrified. I didn’t even really think about “Okay, can we fight this or what else is going on?”

Andrew: So what did you do?

Daniel: So, I mean, I was sitting in handcuffs for a while. I was just nice to them. I was nice to the cops. Like, I knew that they were doing what they had to do. So, I told them my supplier, I told them everything that they wanted to know. And they ended up not arresting me that day.

Andrew: Not arresting you?

Daniel: No, not that day. I had to go back later and formally turn myself in. But then, they took my phone, took all our computers. So, I mean, the first thing that I did was go home and call my parents from my IPad using Google iVoice and they bought me a new iPhone. So I was only like an hour without a iPhone.

Andrew: Good.

Daniel: And, then called a lawyer and talking about what…where we needed to go from there. And within the next week or so, I was like “Okay, what do we have to do different?” And, so I started looking at placing custom orders for backs without logos on them. And then a couple of weeks after that I started a license to print fraternity and sorority logos, custom, onto the backs instead of the Apple logo. So, still is not quite giving up on it yet.

Andrew: And then what happened?

Daniel: Then the fraternity and sorority box didn’t sell as well as I had initially imagined and, I just kind of lost a, I lost, like a fire for that business. It was being heavily saturated. The, there were more and more competitors moving into the space and I started to think about, you know, what else, what else I wanted to do.

Andrew: I see, and this was Apple. I mean if it’s going to eBay and your local cops. Only one, well not only one; but, Apple’s probably behind it right?

Daniel: Yeah, I talked to the Apple private investigator, who…

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: He’s contracted out by Apple to come and find me, and he’s the one who brought the case to the Dallas Ice, or Federal Ice, Dallas Sheriff’s Department and, he led the investigation and basically, you know, put it in their lap.

Andrew: I’m so curious. I hope that someone out there can help me understand why this happened. What’s going on? What did Daniel do differently? I still don’t get it. I’m on these competitor sites. I won’t call them out, but their doing essentially what you’re doing. I don’t actually see photos of the back here on one side. If I went to another I bet I can find it. I definitely saw it on eBay.

Daniel: Yeah, I think the words gotten around about the backs.

Andrew: Sorry?

Daniel: I said, I think the words gotten around about the backs.

Andrew: I see, so people just don’t show it online. So, if you don’t show it online, but you do mail a back that has a logo on it you’re okay.

Daniel: It seemed, that’s what I’ve come to understand and I have, after this happened, I did talk to some other people and had heard other, a similar thing happening to some other small warehouses, but…

Andrew: When they ship it the back that they will send me, if my iPhone breaks, the back that they’ll send me will have the Apple logo on it. But, they just won’t advertise it online. That you think is the difference?

Daniel: You’ll be able to find those for sure, yeah.

Andrew: This is unreal. You know what? So, I searched for United Phone Repair online. One of the links that I came up with was, first of all you have incredible testimonial. The page was just full of testimonials of entrepreneurs who are building their business, right? In fact I think it was a few on the homepage and then there was a link to another collection of them. You are fantastic with that.

Daniel: Yeah, I think there was a big credibility factor and even getting some customers to do testimonial videos was a huge factor in, because when people start considering should I do this business or not, they’re going to really start digging in to anything out there about your company. You know, when they start discovering these other real people who have gone through your process and are now running a successful business. I think that that was a big factor.

Andrew: I actually can’t see the videos because, I guess, that they were taken off of YouTube. What did you do to get a solid testimonial from someone? What did you do to guide them so that their testimonials are useful?

Daniel: I basically just said. I would typically give them some incentive for making the video. So I’d say, you know, like a hundred dollar credit at our store. I would say if you can just record a 60-second video saying about your experience going through, or with United iPhone Repair. Just say anything that, that you feel like someone would find useful if they were considering starting a business themselves. So I leave it pretty open ended.

Andrew: I see a text. I see video. Getting back to what I found. Better Business Bureau gave you an F. Why?

Daniel: I ended up selling this business. After, and it was, it’s kind of funny. The guy that I sold the business to was the first guy who ever bought one of my startup kits online.

Andrew: Oh wow.

Daniel: I’m not sure if had like an order that came in and it wasn’t shipped and then someone filed a complaint with the BBB or you know. I remember. I can definitely remember, at least, one time where, you know, some complaint came in from the BBB of someone saying they had bought something and then they wanted a return or refund and they never got it and then there’s just, something had been lost and the lack of organization there.

Andrew: And this was after you?

Daniel: Yeah, so I don’t know. Whenever I sold it we were still in good standing with the BBB.

Andrew: Actually here I see it. It’s two delivery issues one problem with product or service. So three people can result in an F? Wow. And then you ended up in a new business. Actually, did you take some time in between?

Daniel: Yeah, so I went and well, yeah, I did take some time. So I sold the business. I went and did this thing called Project Getaway in Bali and hung out with 20 other internet entrepreneurs for a month in a nice villa, just relaxing.

Andrew: Just the Brotherhood?

Daniel: No, this is something completely different. This is Project Getaway.

Andrew: All right. The Brotherhood. That sounds like something out of “Oz,” that TV show. So what happened there?

Daniel: So that was the first time I actually hung out with other entrepreneurs. I was doing this in Dallas. I didn’t know anyone else entrepreneurial really growing up and it was just kind of eye-opening for me to kind of finally be around other people who have the same mindset and care about the same things and have the same work ethic. So that’s when I just realized I want more of that.

Andrew: And so what did that lead you to, to get more of that mindset and more of that attitude?

Daniel: So while I was there, I did meet someone in the Brotherhood. And for everyone watching, the Brotherhood is a group of entrepreneurs who also are very big into personal development and stuff. So he invited me there. I went to Mexico and hung out with a bunch of those guys and then I decided, you know what, I want to be somewhere entrepreneurial.

So I decided to move to Boulder, Colorado, which is the highest density of entrepreneurs anywhere in the nation. It was between there and San Francisco, and winter was coming up, and I liked skiing and snowboarding so I decided to make the move to Boulder in January.

Andrew: Okay. And then is that when you launched iRevive?

Daniel: No, iRevive launched, I think, in March.

Andrew: Oh no, you launched that while you were running the other business.

Daniel: I think it launched in March of 2011.

Andrew: Okay, while you were running United iPhone Repair.

Daniel: Exactly.

Andrew: And it was a separate business?

Daniel: So I launched it not as a separate business, it was all in the same business, but I launched it with a different product name. So it had its own product name and brand and it had its own website. But I did sell iRevive, almost all of the initial sales were through United iPhone’s store.

Andrew: Okay. And now it’s a separate thing and you still run it.

Daniel: Mm-hmm. Yep.

Andrew: To use Tim Ferriss’ language, it’s your muse. It gives you enough money that you can now think about other things.

Daniel: Exactly. So the sales from iRevive, since it was a standalone website and I had some other YouTube videos for that, it went with stuff that, even though the big iPhone repair business was no longer doing as well. Even after I sold it, I still kept iRevive as my little income generator. And that’s been a definite blessing to have.

Andrew: Yeah? Did you get to keep any of the money from United Home Repair?

Daniel: Yeah. So they seized inventory, which was a very large amount of inventory, but they didn’t seize my bank account or assets or anything like that.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: Besides the money that I had to pay for lawyer fees and everything else.

Andrew: Did you end up with more than $50,000 at the end of it?

Daniel: Yeah. It was around there.

Andrew: Okay. And you’re still now living off of iRevive?

Daniel: Yeah.

Andrew: What are you doing right with iRevive? I want to learn from that. Because if this is something that’s producing revenue on an ongoing basis, I know it’s something that the audience is going to be into. What are you doing right?

Daniel: So one big thing, one of the big mistakes whenever I first launched iRevive was I didn’t use an eCommerce platform like Shopify. I use Big Commerce, personally. And we had this janky eCommerce system where half the people who tried to place an order, it wouldn’t take their credit card through. So I think the first thing is to just have a really solid eCommerce platform where the flow of going through the checkout process is smooth and there’s no friction. There’s nothing that’s going to break.

Andrew: Okay.

Daniel: And then the second thing with iRevive is all of the traffic is driven to the website from our YouTube videos.

Andrew: Sorry, I just went to the site and the video played.

Daniel: Yeah. So all the traffic’s driven from the YouTube videos. The titles are optimized so that when people are searching “How to fix a wet iPhone4,” our iRevive video is showing up in the Google search results.

Andrew: Is that where most of your orders are coming from, most of your traffic?

Daniel: All the traffic comes from there. I don’t think we rank for any keywords.

Andrew: In fact, I did a search for your name in Google and someone else came up first.

Daniel: For iRevive? Yeah. Did you type iRevive?

Andrew: So it’s not just that, it’s all about YouTube.

Daniel: a hundred percent on YouTube. Yeah.

Andrew: Wow, it’s impressive. Alright. I think I’ve got everything here from the story. Here’s the thing, you’re now at a place, you happen to come over for scotch the other night here at the office. That was really great. We had a really great conversation. You told me about how you’re programming and learning so much and you’re getting ready to start something new.

But I kind of feel like you’re at a place, where I don’t even know if you’re up for doing this. You’re at a place where you could be a mentor to someone who’s really building something worthwhile. Not somebody who’s trying to figure it out. Not someone who’s just trying to waste your time.

But I feel like if someone has something, I feel like you’d be such a good mentor because you have a little bit of time, you have a lot of experience and I feel like you would be revived by listening to someone who has something magical who’s doing well. I just don’t know how to make that request to the audience in a way that makes sense to you. What do you think?

Daniel: I definitely love helping people. I went and I was a mentor at Start-up Week in Santa Barbara, a couple weeks ago. But I’m not sure exactly what the question is.

Andrew: The question is, how do I put you in touch with someone in the audience who has an idea that’s worth putting you in touch with? Who has enough experience for you not to be teaching them the ABCs, but for you to be more of a mentor and learn from them, too. And I just don’t know exactly how to do that.

Daniel: Yeah, I mean, anyone that’s watching right now, feel free to reach out to me and I’ll put my contact information or a link to something in the details on your site.

Andrew: Alright. You just want to come back to the comments and you put it in there and if people want to reach out to you in the comments? Fair?

Daniel: Yep.

Andrew: Alright, I like that. One last thing, we got to really spend time at dinner where I did a dinner around the True Mind process. This whole thing about killing the inner critic and exposing and strengthening that inner core, the part of who we really are. What do you think of that? I want feedback from you because I feel like you were a part of it and I think that there’s a lot that I could learn from you.

Daniel: Yeah, I thought that the dinner was great. What True Mind all comes down to is I’ve spent a lot of time just reading a lot of information about psychology, and a long part of my days are spent reading inspirational stuff, personal development stuff. I think True Mind has its core set in… By reinforcing the fundamentals of…

Reprogramming your brain is what it really comes down to. You’re first identifying that you’re having certain thoughts which you don’t have to have, that you may not even want to have. Then we’ve proven, in a bunch of different studies, that it’s possible to reverse those thoughts.

Daniel: Do you feel comfortable saying what those inner thoughts are, for you? The ones that you’d want to squash? If it’s personal, I totally understand. Basically, we’re over time anyway so I don’t want to take up too much time. But do you feel comfortable giving one of those thoughts out?

Daniel: Sure. Whenever we were at dinner in your house and we’re all around the little circle, I was thinking. Whenever I heard Dane Maxwell talk about limiting beliefs, I’ve never really had those. Recently, I’ve started to become better at identifying them and I think the one for me was I’d spent the last year trying to find a technical co-founder. I had these different ideas for these businesses.

And I moved to Boulder and I was like, “I’m going to find a technical co- founder and we’re going to start this business and it’s going to be great.” But here I am a year later and I still don’t have a technical co-founder who we’re working on building this vision.

So I started to have these thoughts creeping in my mind of, “Can you really be someone who’s going to want people to follow them? Or start working with them? Or believe in your vision and then help you build it?” So I think the mind I used was collaboration makes me feel limitless. That was my True Mind thought.

Andrew: But you still haven’t.- even though you’ve built a successful business, even though you’ve proven you can do it, in your head you’re thinking why would anyone want to partner with me, why would a technical co- founder want to join up now?

Daniel: Oh, I can give you plenty of reasons why I think they would. But after doing it for a year, of going through this process and going to events, and putting myself out there it still just wasn’t happening. To me it made sense, but the validation of the outside world I wasn’t receiving, it wasn’t aligning with the way that I thought it would go.

Andrew: And that’s the part that really messes without brains. Where if we don’t get the results that we expect, and we’re putting it out there and we say, “What’s wrong with me? I talk to an entrepreneur.” We say, “Everyone always says that an investor doesn’t really care about the idea, they care about the team.” “Oh and they’re rejecting me and my idea. They’re rejecting me as a person.” And so that was tough for him and I get what you’re saying.

Daniel: But since, just really quick, the dinner. And I don’t do this every single day but this definitely is something that comes up in my mind, this whole, the true mind thing. Within the last, I think 10 days or almost two weeks ago, whenever I was home for Christmas I reconnected with one of my best friends from college, I mean sorry from high school, and we started throwing around this idea with personal data that I’ve had and for the last 10 days him and I have been working late into the night both on Google hangouts.

Learning that we both taught ourselves how to program and we’re now building out the first version of this application. So I don’t know if there’s actually connection there, but I have been collaborating very closely with someone and I’m really excited about where it’s going now.

Andrew: Oh, I love hearing that. Well congratulations. It’s a huge turnaround. Again I don’t know exactly what the connection is and I don’t want to say, just because it is that, but if there is any part of the true mind process and that dinner helped, then I’m really proud. In fact, even if there wasn’t and I’m really proud to hear that. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you. And thanks for doing this interview and to anyone in the audience, find a way to connect with Daniel.

Daniel: Yeah, please reach out to me.

Andrew: Do you have a website we can hand out? They should Google you, because then they can find out about the petition. Sorry?

Daniel: danielvitiello.com. And you can find my social profiles on there and stuff

Andrew: Awesome, thank you all for being part of it! Bye guys!

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  • Sam Parr

    Possibly the best interview I’ve seen on Mixergy. Awesome!

  • http://www.pascalwagner.com/ Pascal Wagner

    Great Video. Love hearing your story every time.

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  • Eduardo P.

    @ min 35:17 – 36:18, that is the reason why I think Mixergy premium it’s a great INVESTMENT.

    @Daniel, thanks for your story! Even when you might already found your technical co-founder with your highschool friend, have you thought about taking your idea to ycombinator or kickstarter to get more exposure and maybe finding future co-founders?

  • http://www.BackersHub.com/ Dwight from BackersHub

    Awesomeeeeee interview!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/brucewang1/ Bruce Wang

    Daniel, thanks for the amazing interview, and thanks to Andrew, we have been able to get valuable thoughts and ideas.

    Next time when you need some help dealing business with people from China, please let me know.

    Here is my profile:
    BTW: I just moved to New York, and still looking for a HR related job, if you know someone who might be interested in my background, please let me know.

    Thank you and Andrew and all my dear co-audience, the request applied to you all.:)

    Have a great night ladies and gentlemen!

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/brucewang1/

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