How does a founder build a multimillion dollar business that sells education online?
The short answer is “by going after professionals who have money and a BIG need.” But you and I aren’t about short answers. We want details.
David Schnurman is the founder of FurtherEd. The company is built on the fact that lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers and other professionals have to continue their education. So it allows them to do it online.
David Schnurman, FurtherEd
David Schnurman is the CEO of FurtherEd. The company is built on the fact that lawyers accountants and other professionals have to continue their education. FurtherEd allows them to do it online.
This is the Mike Michalowicz course that David referred to.
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All right, let’s get started. Hey, there, Freedom Fighters. My name is Andrew Warner and I am the founder of mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. In this interview, I want to find out how does a founder build a multimillion dollar business that sells education online? The short answer is by going after professionals who actually have money and a big need. But you and I are not here for short answers. We can’t build our businesses on quick, short answers. We want details. That’s why I invited today’s guest here. His name is David Shnurman. He is the founder of FurtherEd. The company is built on the fact that lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers and other professionals have to continue their education. FurtherEd allows them to do that online. David, welcome.
David: Andrew, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be on your program. I’ve watched many of your interviews, so it’s very exciting to be in the hot seat.
Andrew: Well, thanks I’m glad you’re here. So what makes it the hot seat is that I ask questions like revenue right up front.
David: Yeah, but that’s not a hot seat question for me.
Andrew: I can see that, actually. Why isn’t it? You’re about to say to people what your revenue is with this business.
Andrew: Why is that not a hot-button question?
David: The challenge to execute a business, i.e. I find I’ve gone through many different levels in entrepreneurship and I’m very big on reading, and I actually had a show similar to yours that I started and was unable to continue because I’m busy in my business. I find ideas and sharing is the best way to grow. In the beginning I held so tight to my ideas I didn’t want to share anything because I was afraid someone would steal it. It is so difficult to execute something, that I find the more people I can share with, the more people I can open up to and tell them where I’m at and what we’re doing, the more I grow. And it’s always shown to be the truth. In certain situations, obviously, there’s certain knowledge and proprietary knowledge you have to keep. But in most situations, especially when I’m among entrepreneurs who are trying to grow, I like to share. So the question was as to the revenue, we’re about $6 million in revenue, but significantly I’m paced to grow much more than that in the next year or two.
Andrew: What sized profits do you guys do on that kind of revenue?
David: That is an interesting question. We’re very profitable, because we get contacted once or twice a month by investment banks or private equity fund. And generally when they’re looking to invest in a company, just in an FYI to entrepreneurs out there, they say the term 10-2. They’re looking for a company that has $10 million in growth; $2 million in EBIDA. We’re more than half of that on both levels, but we spend a lot of money on our culture, a lot of money on our infrastructure.
As a growing business, you don’t want to have as much profits because you want to be able to build the company. So you always have to make that decision – do I want to pay a dividend or do I want to reinvest the money? So right now I reinvest the money. We’re completely organically grown, too. We’ve never raised money.
Andrew: What is the expense in a company like this? I mean, I’m looking at your site and there’s software, but the software’s already built. Even though it’s being updated, it’s built. You’ve got videos, but in your case three-camera shoot. You don’t have this amateur operation that I have with just my webcam.
David: We’ve got seven cameras, but, yeah.
Andrew: Seven cameras?
David: Well, when we started, we have three robotic cameras we were talking about before the interview. We have a joystick that controls it. And then before we did that, we had bought those $4,000 HT in a Sony three- chip cameras, so we have lots of those as well. And we don’t use them as much as we used to, but when we go on location, we take those with us as well. So when we first were starting, every year right before the end of the year, my accountant would say, “Is there any expenses that you have to do now so you can pay less taxes?” And that’s when I’d usually buy a couple of cameras each time. So every year, I’d buy more and more cameras, but now we just… Now we luckily don’t have to wait the whole year to figure out what our profits are going to be. And we just buy what we need now.
Andrew: And you do that because you’re teaching people online, you want to keep it interesting. And you’re teaching law, you’re teaching accounting. You need all the help you can get in keeping things moving.
David: So the most important thing that I realized, and clearly you did, too, as I’m pointing to your microphone. My first camera that I had was a $200 camera that I got as a honeymoon present. But what I didn’t buy was a lapel microphone that connected it to the presenters. I literally would show up at law offices with a $200 camera. I was almost a little embarrassed, but I didn’t care. It was like this big, it was H.D. tape put in there. And in the first two years, that’s what I used for video equipment. And then, as we grew, I said, well you know, let’s get the quality better. Let’s start doing H.D. Let’s do different things. When your core business, we have 1300 hours of video content, you’ve got to keep growing in that area.
Andrew: I see. And that’s what you…
David: And I love it, that’s the creative side.
Andrew: You started out with just taking a camera into a law office and having a lawyer teach. And then you posted it online, and that’s what you were selling in the beginning?
David: Correct. So, I first started, in law school, a TV show called True NYC. And that was… I was the first one, believe it or not, that I knew. There was Venture Voice, which you may or may not know. There was me and Greg from Venture Voice. He was in video though. I was the only one. I paid $250 for a guy to build me a site where I could upload the videos. I used Dreamweaver to upload it and I started interviewing entrepreneurs. I actually had a public access TV show and then put it online.
The reason I did that was I would read books like “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, and all that help series. And I would love those books, I’d get a lot out of them and they made me get energized, but you really wouldn’t learn how to start a business. So I said, I’m sick of doing that. Let me talk to the entrepreneurs on the front lines and see what makes them different from me. Because I’d never started a business at that point and I wanted to know. That process is what led me to meet the web development company, Richard Panfield, which we can get into. That actually was my first web development company for the first three years. But, yes, to answer your question. I would just show up at the lawyers’ offices with the home camera, film, and that was the first two years of the business.
Andrew: I see. But it’s unrelated to what you’re doing now?
David: So, True NYC is unrelated, but I did the first continuing education. That’s completely what we’re doing now. And we, like I said, started with credit cards, essentially. And we’ve moved on from there. I’ve always been very lean. I don’t like to spend more money than I need to, especially on equipment. So, I let that go as long as I could. The reason I had to get a new camera is that the tape deck broke. So, I actually couldn’t use it anymore.
Andrew: All right, let’s break down the process that got you from a guy who didn’t know how to build a business and you were just reading Rich Dad Poor Dad and wondering how do I meet real entrepreneurs to learn from them, to a guy today who’s doing over a million in profit a year selling education online, and growing. It started, actually, in law school, you said? Why did you go to law school, a guy with such an entrepreneurial vision?
David: Yes. Before law school, I spent five years in the online advertiseing space. I went to G of U, graduated in 1999. I went to a company called 24/7 Media. It was during the height of the dot com era. It was the best transition from college because essentially, it was college. It was all 20-something-year-olds. Every night was another open bar. And I learned a lot in that space. I was in sales. For five years, I was in sales and I did really well. I went to several different companies because of a bunch of different transitions then. But at the end of the day, I was just sort of unsatisfied. I was just like, what’s next? What’s next? My dad’s a lawyer, he’s been in personal injury [??] his whole life, my whole life.
And all he ever wanted me to do was go to law school. So of course, that was the last thing I ever wanted to do. But after five years, I wanted to learn some more. I left the job I was at. It was right after 9/11, where I just sort of took a step back and said, what’s going on? I was literally right around the area. It was just a big moment and I left probably a few months later and became a real estate broker. I took the test; I started doing that. I really loved the studying of the test. And then I said if I loved this, maybe I’ll love going to law school because I love the thinking part. And then I felt more mature and I said I want to be a professional. I want to have a career. So, that’s how I ended up in law school. I wanted to have one thing for the rest of my life. I felt like I wanted to be more than just a sales person. I didn’t see my career changing with that. And so, that’s why I went to law school.
Andrew: And then there was an incident that made you cry.
David: Yes, that one was interesting. That was my second year of law school. In law school, you got to work at law firms for the summer to build up your resume. I was working as a bank attorney-disclosings.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a closing in New York. But in New York, everyone wants to close, and you have papers piled up this high, where you go through stuff.
The first week, they sent me on a closing. I was by myself, and they said, “Okay, do all of this”. Luckily, I figured it out, but it wasn’t my strength because it’s very detail-oriented. Lots of papers. I did it all summer, and I was supposed to stay there for the year, and I decided it’s not the right fit for me.
I told the attorney, whom I worked under, that I’m not going to stay. All of a sudden, he just followed me out. He said, “What do you think we hired you for?! This summer was a gift to you; it was to be here all year!”
And just told me he wasn’t going to give me a reference, he wasn’t going to let me pass [??], just really, really out of; I was in shock. I left on the spot, and I walked out, and I just started crying. And I was like, what just happened? I can’t believe what would happen. And I realized, based on the experience there, being an attorney is actually no different than a salesperson. The only difference is you have a degree.
But, the only way you’re going to grow as an attorney is if you can get clients, and you can have that personality, and you can grow. If not, you’re going to be in the back end doing something, [??], being an unhappy guy like that. And that’s when I made the decision, ‘I’m never going to put myself in a situation where somebody who is like that is screaming at me.’ So, that’s when I started True NYC.
Andrew: And True NYC was going to help you learn about entrepreneurship, by talking to real entrepreneurs?
David: Yeah, and my goal was to turn that into a full-time company, and make revenue, and be the mysurgery [SP] of 2001, or whatever. I can keep going; I’ll just go to the next question, I don’t want to just-
Andrew: I’m curious about the idea for where Further Ed came from.
David: Sure, up until six months ago, the name has been lowealign.com [SP], so the thirty second of the version: in 1999, my dad and his partner, who were personal injury attorneys, (this was when continuing education became mandatory in New York), and they decided to build a website. This was during pets.com; the whole dot com boom. They put a lot of money into it, they wanted to partner with a lot of other providers in other real estate, in accounting- and to build this big company, go public, make millions of dollars and retire. Nice dream.
Andrew: Unlike some of those other ideas that you mentioned, pets.com, for example, this was built on a solid idea. I mean the point, the realization was: lawyers’ need, in fact, it was required to get continued education, and why not do it online? It sounds like a sound idea, it sounds like an opportunity to pursue, right?
David: Sure, it was a very sound idea. Two things that they didn’t have going for them was when the market crashed. Again, they were thinking of going public in stock, and all that-nobody was doing deals [SP] anymore. And my dad actually didn’t like the whole going back and forth of that. And the second thing was, they were a little too ahead of the time. They were actually doing video in 1999, which I guess is not that long ago, but it felt like it. It’s 15 years, at this point.
Andrew: Think about it requiring people to use real media to watch their videos.
David: Exactly! Real media, and there’s still a lot of dial-up. There’s still audio; the fact, is, if they invested their time and energy into it the right way, then they probably could have made it grow. But, they made a decision to just go back to practicing law.
They had about 15 courses, and they kept them up there, and renewed them every year. My dad doesn’t like to throw anything out; he’s very entrepreneurial-minded in that sense. Luckily he didn’t, and we had the brand which had been there for 5 or 6 years. They were getting $ 5000, $10,000 a year in revenue. Not a lot, but they didn’t own the software, they didn’t own anything, they licensed all that out.
And I just said to myself in law school, if a company can make money without anybody paying attention to it, what would happen if one person put 100% of their energy into it? And so, I negotiated with them to sort of say, well, you have nothing- give me the brand and everything, and let me take that and start a new company and form a new [??] brand.
Before I graduated law school, I hired Richard Pansfield’s company, who[??], who is amazing. They built the company, a framework of it, and the first three years, they’d developed my company for us. And so, I graduated, took the bar, and on Day One: I was by myself, with two law student interns, who were my friends.
Andrew: And this is where the business started?
David: That’s where it started.
Andrew: How did you dad and his partner get customers, and get them to stick around even when he wasn’t paying attention to the business?
David: Google. Luckily, people would just- you know, it’s a very search- driven business. Mandatory continuing education, they’d find the site, and they would buy it. But, the way it was set up, you could only buy one course at a time. We didn’t even control the money. It went to another provider, and they would send us a check once a year. They were paying lots of money in hosting back then, for nothing, what you pay $7 for, they were paying $1000 a month, or whatever.
Andrew: Here’s what I got from the pre-interview questions that Jeremy asked you, Jeremy Weiss, our producer here.
David: He’s great.
Andrew: Isn’t he terrific?
David: I like him a lot.
Andrew: You can only buy one course at a time. There are no cart features. People had to re-enter their credit card information for each individual purchase. The site looked black. It looked narrow. Too many options on the home page. And you were one man doing everything. When you took it over from your dad, did you start from scratch or did you keep what was there.
David: We had to rebuild it because we didn’t control the site. I would not start a business where I was not in control of the business. It’s just not the right way to do it. So that’s what Richard Banthall [SP] did. We paid him $2500.
What we did was we took the basic framework of what the site was, so we didn’t have to think about that. We used that as a guide to build that basic framework. Everything we’ve done since then, we’ve built it in phases.
I could have built a cart. I could have done all these things, but it would have cost more money. As we made more money, we added new features. That’s how we built it up.
Andrew: What’s the first feature that you added?
David: The best [sic] feature that we added, I think I told Jeremy was bundles. I didn’t make it up. I saw one of the competitors did that. I was able to put all the courses into one bundle. You still had to do the credit card every time and all that stuff, but instead of buying a $40 course, you would buy a $300 course.
Andrew: You said, Richard, I need you to do everything here. We need to start over from scratch essentially, but the very first thing I’d like you to work on is creating bundles for me.
David: The first thing we did was build the site. To take it one step back, to give you a 30 second background, when I met Richard, he had something called [Start Up Business School] at the time. Through networking, someone else put me in touch with him.
Through that, he offered to build [TrueNYC] which is a site for free for me because he believed in what we were doing so much. So he and Alex built that. Then we started a relationship. Two years later, or a year later, we went to [LawLine].
He always says to me, “I should have invested in [LawLine].” I said, we’ll partner. We’ll build that up.
The fan just went on. Is that okay for sound?
Andrew: If you could turn it off, it would be helpful. I don’t hear it, but-
David: I have to get up to do it.
Andrew: Let’s go for it.
David: It just-
Andrew: Don’t sweat it. I don’t actually notice this stuff because I listen on the speakers . . .
David: I’m leaving the room for a sec.
Andrew: Go for it. But I know you guys in the audience, you hear it because you’re listening on earphones. I probably should have earphones in the interview, but I found that anything that says to the guest that this is an interview or I do it too much, then they’re way more aware of the fact that they’re being questioned.
David: I was out of the room the whole time you were talking.
Andrew: Yeah, I know. I was just trying to keep it going because I didn’t want to edit it anything out.
David: I’m sorry.
Andrew: I was saying that I find that I should wear earphones so that I can pick up on audio issues like that, but what I’m finding is the more I show the guest that this is an interview, the more it feels like an interview, the less relaxed they are, and the more cautious they are.
I have a mic that lets them know it’s an interview, but anything more than that I want to disappear, so that it feels like we’re chatting. I love it at the end where people go, “Damn, I can’t believe I said that to you. Do you edit?” I say no.
Andrew: [laughs] Going back, you’re saying that the first thing you asked him to do was redo the site.
David: Yes. The main thing for us that we needed, for me, was to get the money to us. The second thing was to build the bundle, so we could make more revenue.
Andrew: You wanted to take the shopping cart experience out of someone else’s hands and put your own shopping cart on the site.
David: 100%. We created an arrangement where one of their developers essentially worked for me two days a week. It was constant updates and upgrades. I loved that part. I was doing it with him. That was before- I don’t know how much you know about web site development. We were essentially developing it directly on our main site, so we would go down a lot.
There was no staging, no nothing. It was a lot of fun. For me, I was by myself. I loved that part of the business because you’re just thinking all day, and you’re coming up with product. The challenges came when customers called, and partnerships and other things. I was doing all of that at the same time.
Very soon, early on, I realized that I needed to start hiring or this is not going to last for too long.
Andrew: Let’s continue to break down the process. So, you’re developing a way to sell better, and you’re taking control of your software. Do you still need to create more videos?
David: The first thing I did was partner with two providers because I knew there’s only so many videos I can create in a short amount of time. So, I partnered with two established providers. You know Act As If? I made it act as if we were much bigger than we were, and within three months of starting this, I had 200 hours of content on the site.
Andrew: Because you went to a provider and said, “I’m going to pay you to create the videos for me.”
David: No, they already had the videos. I paid them a royalty when I sold them.
Andrew: I see.
David: And I said, “Look, we market the best. We’ve been doing this for a long time. We have the brand.” And everybody needs help with distribution, as you know, and so they said, “Okay, let’s give it a shot.” And, luckily, it worked out really well. At the same time, we built our own content. Got them accredited. A big part of our businesses, you know we’re in every state you can do online content, which is 43 states. Each state has different rules.
Andrew: Did you focus on New York first?
David: New York and Virginia.
Andrew: New York and Virginia. Why Virginia?
David: In Virginia, we happened to be there. We had a relationship there, and they really take their continuing legal education seriously, and we always did very well, so we really built up a market there. It was just sort of how we built it up, and that was, luckily for Virginia, that was what allowed us to be successful, because the first year their deadline was in October. I happened to really start this in August, so I put all my eggs in the Virginia basket and put all the money in marketing from credit cards there.
Andrew: I see.
David: And we did really well. They said, “Okay, this could work.” I remember very early on, we made ten thousand dollars in one month, and it was just me by myself. I remember I went out with my wife to the fanciest restaurant in New York, and said, “We’ve hit it. This is the big time. I can’t imagine how much bigger we’re going to get.” Ten thousand in one month. Unbelievable. Three months into it. We had a nice dinner, and of course, the rest is…
Andrew: Now you’re doing 500,000 a month.
David: Which is, as an entrepreneur, I’m sure you’ve gone through this yourself, you’re like, “Well, we should be much higher than that. Why is that all?” It’s hard to appreciate when you’ve gone, because you’re always thinking of the next step. I keep trying to appreciate it. Obviously, our expenses are much higher and we’re doing a lot more. We’re set up, our infrastructure, for growth, not for where we are today.
Andrew: So, when I record a course on [?], all I do is I find an entrepreneur who does something extremely well and I have him teach it. I don’t need to do accreditation. I don’t need to do big camera shoots. I just need them to show what they’re doing. For you, you have to get it accredited. You have to find the expert to teach it. You have to do much more. What was the original process for creating your first courses?
David: To me, you have more of a challenge than me. Our goal is to deliver continuing education to anyone, anywhere, anytime, so not just mandatory. Life-long learning.
Andrew: But mandatory’s terrific, because they’re required to sign up. You’ve got good customers coming in.
David: And thank God for that. You know, life-long learning is sort of what we all crave for. The reason I say you have the harder job, is you have to convince people where it’s not mandatory to actually buy. Me and you both know there’s a lot of great value in your content. The challenge is people think they don’t even have the time to watch it or use it, so you have to build that brand where they know that cool factor.
Andrew: So how did you create the first one.
David: The first what?
Andrew: The first courses.
David: So, I cold called attorneys.
Andrew: And you said, “Teach this topic that other attorneys need to learn.”
David: Yeah, what I would do is I would read the New York Law Journal, and I’d see somebody, let’s say, this wasn’t back then, just a topic, legalization of marijuana. This is a very interesting topic. We reached attorneys all across the country. As an attorney, the best thing you can do is be an expert in your field, as you know. Teaching a class and being a faculty member is the best way to do it. You’ll get exposure. You’ll get lots of opportunity, and we would love the opportunity for you to teach with us. Have you ever done this before? And attorneys like to talk. Attorneys and entrepreneurs like to talk. At that point, we didn’t have the challenge of finding the faculty.
Andrew: Who wrote the material for them to teach to make sure that you could get it accredited?
David: They are. We can’t be experts in every area. So, they write the materials. They put it together. In many, states, we’ve been doing this long enough, so we are actually becoming an accrediting body. We get audited, of course, but if we had to send it all to the state, it would be too much.
Andrew: What about in the beginning?
David: It was me. I’m an attorney.
Andrew: So you just looked it over and said, “This looks good to me? He’s an expert, so I can trust him? I’ve looked at it, so I feel good about it. It’s ready to put out there and people now have to take this as part of their legal requirement.”
David: Keep in mind in the beginning I had to actually send them out for approval.
Andrew: Oh, who did you send it to?
David: So . . . Every state is different.
David: In New York it’s the state regulators . . .
David: . . . Some states it’s bar associations, so that was some of the challenges. It wasn’t even easy for me to figure out who to send it to, but now that we’ve been doing it for so long, we’ve established credibility.
David: They say, OK, you know what you’re doing. We have now five programmer attorneys on staff. They review the content.
David: And that’s how we kind of figure out if it works.
Andrew: Are you paying lawyers to teach?
David: We don’t generally pay attorneys. It’s on a volunteer basis, the same way. You may question, why would they do it? The same way I’m talking to you today. One of the things I fundamentally believe and most of our faculty do is teaching is the best form of learning. In order for me to be able to tell you about my company and give it to you in a way you understand it and you actually get something out of it, I really have to know that topic really, really well. Every time I talk about it, in my head I’m cementing it a little bit more, so that’s how attorneys look at it as well.
Andrew: Yeah, and I talked to an entrepreneur yesterday that I wanted to come on and teach a course, and we were just going back and forth, and he said, “Well, if I had to go do this at a conference, it would cost me this much to get out there, this much time. All you need is an hour of set up and another hour to actually record it. Done.”
Andrew: But people ask me about this and are surprised that often the guests don’t ask to be paid, and it wouldn’t be ethical, I think, for me to pay you. Even TMZ doesn’t pay for interviews. What often happens is the opposite. People want to pay me to be interviewed, and I have to say that’s not right either.
David: At 100% it’s again a credibility thing. Once again, and I don’t want to intervene, but I didn’t realize you actually have people just talking and teaching classes, not just interviews as well.
Andrew: Yes, and for that what we do is, we used to do all screen casts where I would say, “If you’re good at something, just turn on your screen and walk me through,” but what I’ve realized is, is that it’s pretty laggy, so I have them do the screen shots, and that way I can also approve it beforehand, and we walk through it.
David: We should talk after this.
Andrew: I’ll show you the set up that we do, and I’d love to see your set up, too.
David: Yeah, perfect. Anybody else that wants to get involved, talk to us as well.
Andrew: Actually, I would love to have some kind of a group of people who all teach online just to see what software they’re using, to understand what issues they’re having, get some help. Maybe like a mastermind of that would be helpful.
David: Have you ever put your courses on “New To Me?” You interviewed “New To Me”, right? They seemed to have figured it out in terms of what they’ve done. Great product, great idea, and it looks really good.
David: Have you ever put your content on there?
Andrew: Yes, I was one of the first ones when they wanted to test out the idea of selling other people’s courses, and I just went over my books yesterday, and I saw that wow, I’m still getting money from that.
David: So you actually are making money from that?
Andrew: It’s nothing great. It’s just that I wanted them to be able to experiment, and so I said, “Here, take one of mine.” I didn’t expect to get anything out of it, but I’m glad that I did.
David: I’ll say this in the education space, I don’t know how familiar you are with linda.com, but they have become the forefront now that they’ve just raised $104,000,000.00. After doing that, I saw her speak recently at the Education Innovation Summit. It blew my socks off, because everyone thinks it’s an overnight success. The reason she has been so successful is because of her and the content. She had best-selling books ahead of time. They had live events, and the way they do that and their philosophy, but that has been what everybody in our business, and I consider us in the same business, with doing continuing and lifelong learning is, OK, look, somebody has proven you can be really successful because they just do web design and development, and stuff like that, without having that mandatory component.
Now, there’s lots of money trying to chase, and they’re calling themselves the linda.com of entrepreneurship, the linda.com of this. I don’t know if you’ve heard that, but there is a tremendous amount of opportunity in education and online education, and we’re all trying to figure it out. We’re in the top or the bottom of the first inning as people say.
Andrew: All right. OK. I see how you’re building content. I see how you’re building your software. Let’s talk about how you’re getting customers a little bit more. You said that you put your ad buys on your credit card. What were you doing in the beginning to get customers in the door. Where did you spend that money?
David: I speak a lot as well about how we started the company. We started as a marketing business that happened to sell educational products. I knew without having people know about you, it doesn’t really matter how good of a product it is. What we first started with was direct mail. We’d buy the list, and then we’d send it out. Google AdWords, we put it on there as well, and then email lists and doing our own email. That’s how we started, and then we constantly expanded that significantly. Now we do print, we do other online areas. Everywhere and anywhere you can reach or “e-reach” we work really hard to do that. We send millions of postcards a year, millions of emails a month. Every month, every year, it gets harder and harder because the space itself gets more and more crowded and the price goes lower and lower. A lot of bar associations look at us as the enemy because we’re the largest presence of these online providers that are providing lower-cost education. We are now that 35-person company and there are a lot of one-person companies who were me six years ago.
You have to constantly be innovating and figuring out how to keep growing. In my mind, if you’re not growing in this business, you’re slowly dying. I really try to look at us as a SAS-model as we evolve, a software-as-a- service model. A lot of people I know are in service businesses where they have a client, they have to work with them and all of our clients and customers are online buying and using our product. When we’re sleeping and when we’re doing other things, they’re using it and getting really good value out of it.
Andrew: So, I haven’t heard of a lot of entrepreneurs who would use direct mail, postcards, letters to get people online to buy from them. I guess it’s effective for you, but it doesn’t seem like an easy thing to figure out. How does a guy who has some experience selling banner ads at 24/7 and a law degree figure out how to do direct mail?
David: First of all, there’s nothing to figure out. You contact the Bar Association, you ask them if they have a list of attorneys whose deadlines are coming up. If they say, “yes” you pay them money and then you have to hire a company to print it and design it. It’s more about having the thought, “I’m going to do this and I’ll take the risk.” I’ll give my dad credit for that. My dad is a very optimistic, entrepreneurial person.
When I first started, he said “spend the money.” “Spend the money,” he said, “all advertising works, some just takes longer to mature.”
Andrew: It is hard because if I send out an email today and it doesn’t work out, or run a banner ad online and it doesn’t work out, I’ll know in the beginning of my experiment it doesn’t work out. I’ll be able to adjust an hour later, and see if my adjustment worked. I’ll be able to keep adjusting until I figure it out and then I blow it out. With direct mail you have to buy the list, then you have to go and have somebody send it and all that. How did you know what to say? Or was it just so easy back then because there wasn’t a lot of competition?
David: It wasn’t easy, we made mistakes, the first mailing that we did I went for the cheapest thing. It was a thin piece of paper, it was the ugliest thing you could think of, but it made money. We constantly make mistakes. I will say this, over the past six years, I know for me personally, it’s been harder and harder in direct mail. I think it’s just a direct result of people literally not looking at their mail.
I have bills that I don’t pay sometimes because I put it aside and I think, “Why are you still sending me mail?” I think, not just our industry, every industry is being hurt and it is costly. By the way, we track everything to the T, to answer your question, everything has a unique landing period in a unique area. I know if it’s done well and if it has, then I know I can spend more money. If I couldn’t track it, I probably would have been in trouble.
Andrew: If somebody’s listening to us and says, “I’ve heard a lot about Google Ads, I’ve heard a lot about banners of course, but I hadn’t heard anyone talk about doing direct mail to get customers to online businesses, I’d like to learn more.” Is there a place where you recommend they can go and learn more about it?
David: They can email me directly at David@FurtherEd.com, nobody ever takes up on that, maybe one person, but I will be happy to help anybody who wants to do it.
Andrew: You talked about optimism, but where is that note? There was a note here from your conversation with Jeremy where you said you had to learn optimism. There it is, “I program myself every day to be optimistic.” It was this one sentence that I just had to make really big on my screen to make sure to ask you about it.
David: I’m a big proponent of personal development books and audiobooks. I work with a coach. I’m reading different books right now. One of the books I give out to everyone is The Success Principles. The first principle is to take 100 percent responsibility for your life, and it’s a really big one that most people don’t do. I find the peaks where things are going well are not as good as they seem, and the bottoms are not as low as you think. I get caught up in it very often where I’ve very stressed, and feel like the world is falling apart. It’s usually on a very small issue.
Generally for me the biggest challenge is, it’s not about the business, it’s about other people. If you had asked me one of the biggest challenges of the company, it’s just managing people effectively. It’s something you constantly have to work on. For me, the biggest thing that I got out of it, in terms of my own mindset, is the frame of mind. This is also talking lots of books, talking The Secret, in life, you can’t control the weather, you can’t control politics, you can’t control your wife or your husband. You can’t control your employees or boss. The only thing you can control is how you think and how you feel.
It was huge for me when I realized the only thing you can control is how you think and how you feel, because I’d have an employee come in and I’d say, “OK, this is what I need you to do, and I need it done by tomorrow.” They would agree to it. The next day would happen, they wouldn’t do it. I said, “I must have said something wrong.” I would say it again, and it wouldn’t happen. Another person would come in and say it, it would be done in two hours. I realized, the only difference in this scenario was that person. It was they who decided if they wanted to do it or not, and that really helped my management skills.
Andrew: Let me see if I can understand this more. You’re saying, like most people, you have highs and lows.
Andrew: When you’re at a low, what goes through your head? What are you saying to yourself? Is it things like, “Why does nobody listen to me?”
No. First, a couple of things. One, I realized it gives you contrast because when you’re not in that space, you hear about celebrities who overdose or go crazy, and they’re stressed out, or whatever it is. You’re always thinking, “Don’t they realize that nobody cares?” This is just a joke, this is just gossip for us, and they’re taking it so seriously or if someone, unfortunately, commits suicide? You’re just thinking, “What could be so bad?” but when you’re in those moments, where everything’s so stressful, it allows me to realize, oh my God, the smallest of things, breaking a commitment to somebody that I didn’t mean to can really frustrate me. The biggest challenge is when somebody doesn’t believe in me and you get frustrated over that, or I’m not sure how to make the next step. It’s generally not being able to make a decision. It’s what leads to that a lot.
Andrew: So it’s, “I don’t know how to take the next step, I don’t know how to make this decision.” That kind of thing. We all have had that, especially entrepreneurs, because there is no clear path where you take this class then you take that class and you do this exactly right. The next thing you’re, boom, you’re a successful entrepreneur. When you get in that place, what do you do to get yourself out of it?
David: Many things. The biggest thing for me has been I journal almost every day. I work with a coach who is amazing and I recommend her to anyone, Kim Aides. Feel free to contact me about that. One of the things she does is, I journal and she actually sees the journals, then we speak once a month. When I write out my thoughts, oh my God, is clears so much of it, and most people don’t do that.
Andrew: What do you write that’s helpful?
David: If I can’t think of what to write first-off, I just do a transcript of what happened that day before, because too often you’re sitting down and you think “I don’t know what to write.” Great, don’t think about it. Just write down what happened. Then, once I do that, you start thinking, “OK, it breaks it down.” You start to add on, as a problem, how you feel and what you’re going through. I’m one of those people that starts connecting the dots. Once you start getting that down, when you’re typing or writing, you’re thinking a little bit slower. What always happens is the problem does not seem as challenging as you thought it was.
Andrew: If you see it on paper, you realize, “Oh, it’s not as big as I thought it was when it was just floating around in the back of my head.”
David: One hundred percent, because it’s organized.
Andrew: So now it’s less painful because you see it on paper. You still have to do something about it. What else do you write to help you figure out what to do about the problem?
David: A lot of times when I’m trying to make a decision, I’ll also create a checklist of “Yes-and-No’s.” This is a good reason for it, this is a good reason not to do it, and I’ll look at that as well. Ultimately, the last thing I do is I say, “OK, I’ll never have the answer here because that’s the world we’re in, but I can’t keep going forward. This is the decision I’m going to make.” As soon as you do that, you don’t care if it was right or wrong, it’s gone and you’ve moved forward.
The challenge as an entrepreneur, and this is one of the things I have to work with, you hear lots of people complaining about entrepreneurs, is when you make a decision, what happens if two days later you think, “Well, what did I just do?” and you’ve already told everyone about that decision? I’ve made a rule that any sort of big decisions or decent-sized decisions, I give myself now 24 hours to let it sit in on me, and I’ve found half of the things that I would have told people, I don’t tell them anymore.
As entrepreneurs, we have a lot of impulses, and that’s how we got our business started, that’s how we’re good, and we’re fun. Other people, especially employees in your company, they can’t handle that. That’s one thing that has helped me as well. I just take that time to absorb that, and I think when you’re quiet and you’re writing things down, I’m lucky to have an amazing wife who went out with the challenges in business. She’s much smarter than me, and she helps me work through anything. You realize as an entrepreneur how important a good partner is.
Andrew: Yeah, I had a friend who’s been wanting. . .
David: I’ve got to save this part for her . . .
David: I’ve got to save this part for her and send it.
Andrew: You should! I had a friend who just wanted to date and be with dumb women. I say be with because he didn’t want to marry them, but he wanted to be with them. Then, one day he heard as I was talking to Olivia about what was going on with me, he says, “Wait, this is a mistake I’ve made. I can’t talk to these women who I’m with because I intentionally didn’t want anyone who was going to challenge me.”
David: Yeah, yeah. Kelly challenges me, and I have 4-year-old twins, so they challenge me, too.
Andrew: All right, so them and Kim. Kim Ades, is that her last name?
David: No, Kelly. Kim, she’s a . . .
Andrew: A coach?
David: Yeah, A-d-e-s.
Andrew: A-d-e-s. A. D. E. S.
David: Pretty sure. It’s called Frame Of Mind coaching, if you Google it.
Andrew: I actually was typing this out, and I’m sure a lot of people in the audience were.
David: Yeah, Frame Of Mind Coaching is the best way to find her.
Andrew: I do that, too. I journal now this year almost every single day, and if there’s something I’m wrestling with I will put down what my concerns are about it. Just write them down in a list, and often that makes them start to go away, and then I start to question them, and that goes away.
David: Let me just throw one thing that Kim did when I first started working with her that was a game changer for me. It sort of the five year vision, the six month vision. You talk as if you’ve made it already, so you’re already there, and then you walk backwards to how you got there. Too often we try to predict how we’re going to get somewhere, and then we star to say, “Oh, well that’s not possible!” But, if you’re talking past tense, then that’s sort of how you realize where you want to get to, and that has helped me in my personal life and my business life as well, sort of achieve where we’re at.
Andrew: And it undoes a problem a lot of people have with their journals where they will just go into the darkest places. They will talk about everything that stinks in their lives, and just put it on there, and it allows them to just wallow in that frustration instead of finding a way to work themselves out of it.
David: I think what you focus on grows, and I really try to focus, and this is where you take ownership over things. Most people complain about things that they can control. This is what he talks about (?) Nobody complains about gravity. Plane crashes happen, things happen, people get hurt, you can’t control it, but most things you complain about, you complain to your husband, about your boss, you can complain to your boss about your husband, or whatever it is, so it’s a big part of taking . . . sorry for me preaching.
Andrew: No, I’m glad. I want to talk about this stuff, but I also want to talk about some of the business issues. You’re building this place up, you’re building up your business, and you’re hiring a sales team, and something happens. What happens?
David: Oh, yeah. So, we talked about direct mail, we talked about on line, and one of the things that always bothered me was, OK that’s great, but we’re still waiting for people to come to the site. How do I constantly reach out to them? I said, let me build a sales force. I knew I was smart enough to know I had no idea how to do it, and nor did I want to. Luckily enough, I found somebody who would consult for me in the beginning to build it, and he ended up hiring three or four people, smart guy, and then he became part of the infrastructure in that I asked well if he left, who was going to manage these people. I ended up hiring him full time.
Long story short, everyone has their own personal issues and there were things. We built up that whole sales force to 20 people in a completely different office. It actually brought him close to $1,000,000.00 in revenue, and then it sort of had diminishing returns, and it turns out that some of the top sales people were, in essence, stealing from us. Three or four, all the top people, under his wing.
David: Whether or not he knew about it, I didn’t care. He either knew or should have known, and I didn’t want to figure that out. I had too many things to worry about, so I had to fire about 4-5 people in one day, including him. At that time, I had already promoted him to COO because he was a smart guy. I needed a partner. I was just by myself literally, and he helped me manage the day-to-day, and it was a big moment for the company, and it was the best thing that could have happened to us, but it took a lot to sort of recombine everything and grow up from there.
Andrew: How was the sales department supposed to work? They were going to do outbound calls to lawyers?
David: We have sales departments again today, and they do outbound calls to attorneys, correct.
Andrew: OK. And they go by a list, and they have a process of calling them?
Andrew: When you say they stole from you, how did they steal from you?
David: It’s intricate, but, essentially, we were bringing customers in from one form of marketing, and before they could sign up, they would be able to get the leads and call them their own leads, so that they would get the commission on it. So, they were calling leads that weren’t theirs, essentially.
Andrew: You have an interesting model, where anyone that is listening to us can go to any one of your websites or find them all through furthered.com, click on, say, the one for accountants, the one for lawyers, and take, on lowellalign.com [SP], take a course for free. And they only pay if they want credit for it. How did you come up with that model?
David: It sounds corny, but, from my heart, but two things: One, we did it about a year and a half ago, two years ago, when Corciera [SP] was getting started, Adaxx[SP] was happening, lots of free contents going out there. I said to myself, a year before, we had a million courses completed on our site, to date. And I said, well, how do I get to 10 million courses? A million is great, but 10 million is even better.
And the only thing I could think about is, well, I know about half of our content is really relevant to businesses, entrepreneurs, HR professionals, individuals. Why don’t I just open up to the public and see what happens? As well as to attorneys. I’m so proud of our product, let me show them what we have.
So, we decided to open up the content for free. The only thing you have access to is the videos, you can’t access the materials or the audio files– just the videos. It worked out really well, because it showed our product, it showed our pride in it. And it really grew our customer base, significantly. The beauty is once we have somebody on the site, they’re generally happy with our product and they stay on long term.
Andrew: I see. And so, what happened to sales after you switched to that model?
David: It’s gone up. We’ve been going up for numbers of reasons. But, the thing that never happened as much, is getting into the consumer space, or the law school space. We haven’t been able to get there yet. It’s still on our radar, but, there’s such opportunity for digestible content for the public, and for law students who are trying to figure out what to do.
There’s Legal Zoom out there, there’s Rocket Lawyer, lots of content-based things people are using for legal content. So, you can log on with Facebook and all these things. I don’t know how much [??], we never really tracked that, but [??] into legal space, for sure. It’s in our back pocket, and still expanding to the next level.
Andrew: You mentioned linda.com. My interview with Linda from one of the early days on Mixergy [SP] is one of the best source of customers from you. People want to hear how she did it. They come to my site and she breaks it down.
And I remember my first question to her was, essentially, people don’t want to pay for education online, why are they paying for you? And it was, at the time, no one even believed it. That people would pay for education online, but they do if it’s done right.
What I’m wondering about you is what did you learn about teaching right online; keeping it entertaining, keeping it interesting enough for people to want to take it?
David: Couple things: One, when I first started the company in 2007, there are two philosophies that I’ve always had. One, I have always thought of us as bigger than CLE. I always knew we would be doing more legal [SP?] than that. Because of that, I always…
Andrew: CLE meaning, Continuing Legal Education.
David: Correct, thank you. I always thought of our product, on the technology side of it, is that it wasn’t mandatory that people buy this. So, that was the philosophy. So, I always thought bigger than where we were. So, we have built in so many great features.
Just to name a couple: smart notes. We have time-stamped notes that actually go right to the video. So lots of people take notes, and when they’re done, they can email to themselves; they’re all clickable and link- focused [SP]. The whole thing is once you watch a course, you don’t want to ever have to watch it again, you just want to have information that’s in there. So, we created features like that.
We created our custom playlist that have questions and answers. They’re easily swap-able videos and slides. All of these things, we’ve custom- built. Everything. So it’s a really easy feature. But, for me, I don’t think we’re anywhere where we need to be because of the challenges. At the end of the day, it’s hours and hours of video; [??] not interactive enough, and so that’s one of the challenges of our company today, is how do we build to the next level, that curriculum model, that model where we can really start to say, “Okay, you start here, I want practical knowledge, and you get here.” And the challenge is, when you have a deadline-driven business, and you’re trying to build a better content, they’re almost two separate things at the same time. I think that’s the future that we need to get to.
Andrew: So it is kind of talking heads at its most basic, but when done right, it doesn’t feel like it, and there are other elements. So, I want to understand some of those things that you do to make it feel less like that. One thing that I heard early on was multiple cameras, so that it feels like it’s constantly moving. Another thing is notes, so people are interacting and they can save their spots. What else are you doing?
David: First, it starts with the most fundamental thing: really good speakers. We go through a real process where we screen our speaker.
Andrew: What’s the process to make sure that someone’s interesting?
David: Very similar to you, we do pre-interviews. So, we do pre-interviews and we understand who they are and what they’re doing. Generally, most of our speakers have spoken before. From that process, you get a good sense of how it’s going to go, as you guys do as well, I’m sure. So from there, then we webcast all of our courses live. That came from a challenge. A lot of our innovations came from challenges. One of the states we were in said, “No longer can you do on-demand courses.” “You have to be live.” We’d never had it done before, so we built it ourselves, and it was awesome. And so now we do all of our courses live. We do 40 hours live a month.
Andrew: Why does live make it feel less like talking heads?
David: You can actually ask questions to the faculty.
Andrew: People are watching on line, they type in a question, and it feels real.
David: It feels real, and I think people like to know that it’s fresh content, and they also like a time. Just like employees on Clear Direction, they say “Okay, from two to 12 or whatever there’s this program,” so they like to know it’s very fresh content. They could ask the faculty a question if they want. So that really helps. And lastly, the practical reasons, in many states it’s mandatory. That’s just the practical area.
Andrew: But I can see how it helps.
David: It helps there. I’m going to stop there because I lost my train of thought. I don’t want to just keep talking.
Andrew: No, that was helpful. I wanted to see what you do to keep things interesting. It was Jason Freed, I think, of 37signals, who said that teaching is the new marketing, right? And so, if more of us are going to be marketing this way, we have to find ways to keep it interesting, and it’s not so easy to just look at a camera and keep things interesting.
David: A couple things about that. One, we have moved, or are moving from a service-based economy to an information-based economy. So, that’s one thing.
Two, you can listen. When I listen to stuff on YouTube, I listen to things online, I listen to everything at 1.2 to 1.5 times speed, because you can hear a lot faster than people can talk. So that’s why you can only listen to things for a few minutes. It’s very hard to watch long videos. We just are too busy. We can’t do it. So I think that’s the challenge that me and you, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how you’ve done it. Even when [?] they’ve broken that up, but I think the future of education is more of a collaborative model and formal learning, where, yes, there is this faculty member, but the thing is the 30 entrepreneurs watching this video at the same time or throughout the course have more knowledge than me or you put together, and if they can work together to collaborate, like the Wikipedia thought, or the open-source thing for PHP, or anything like that, that’s sort of where we need to get to. How we transform and make this more interesting, we’re all trying to figure it out.
Certainly, I don’t know if you know, of course Sarah, those aren’t so interesting. I mean, those are just literally lectures with quizzes, but they’re getting people to do it. We don’t even know how it’s going to look in a couple of year, because we can’t figure. We didn’t know this was going to exist, you know, the iPhone or whatever it is.
Andrew: You know what, for Linda, it’s, I’m not saying easier, but it’s more natural, because when you’re watching something on linda.com, you’re meant to use the software that you’re watching them demonstrate. For legal education, you can’t do something, and as you said, people think faster than they listen, than others talk, so it’s easy for viewers minds to wander. We need something for them to do.
David: With that said, I think everybody’s still not sure how Linda’s been so successful, because they’re not that much, I’ve seen some of their courses, they’re good, I haven’t watched too many, there’s lots of good content, but they’re good content is not that much different than other good content, so we’re all just sort of trying to figure that out, as well. Maybe it’s the marketing, Maybe it’s the brand, maybe it’s lots of different things. I think a lot of people had a wakeup call when they realized how much money they raised, and said, “Oh, wow! OK, there’s something to be said here.” But it’s inspiring to see that because what I love about this, and what I love about this conversation with me and you, and the reason and what I found out was true in NYC, is when you go to school, you go to college, you’re surrounded by people who just happen to be at the same school as you. Now, in this day and age, it’s very easy for us to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, with other people who love doing interviews and learning form people. That’s what the new form of learning is, because of information technology.
Andrew: Let me do a quick plug here, speaking of that, and then I want to ask you a personal question that I’ve been saving for the end.
Andrew: The plug is for Mixergy Premium. I mentioned earlier this is kind of an amateur operation. I record everything, including the courses, just using the webcam that’s built into my computer. I think it’s fairly simple to do something like this today. If you’re curious about how to set it up, I think the first thing to do is to go sign up to Mixergy Premium right now and just spy on me. See what I’m doing to build an online education site. What you’ll see is basically what we talked about today. I bring entrepreneurs on who have one skill that they’re exceptionally good at.
Maybe it’s writing content marketing, and so I got Leo from bufferapp.com to come and teach it. Maybe it’s about how to get traffic in by buying ads, so I got Max of What Runs Where to talk about how to do it. His whole software is about helping online marketers create better ads. As a favor to me I said, “Come teach this, and in return you’re going to get a big audience that’s going to watch you.”
If you go to mixergypremium.com right now and you sign up, you’ll see how my operation is set up, and I think you’ll be inspired once you see how simple it can be. If you’re ready to take it to the next level, one of the courses in mixergypremium.com is something I call interview your heroes. Interview Your Heroes, I’ve got to articulate my pitch a little bit better. The idea there is I started out by saying I want to interview the people who I admire, and I’m doing it right here. If you’re interested in doing something similar on your space, you can watch the Interview Your Heroes program, and you’ll see exactly how I do it. Everything from the mic’s that I use, to the recording software that I have, to how I ask the guests to help me promote it, and how I find guests who will help me get traffic. It’s all there at mixergypremium.com.
One last thing, Linda was one of my early interviewee’s, and I sat her down, and I said, “Look, everyone else is ragging on you for trying to sell an online education. I’m going to shut up and listen. I want to learn how you did it so I can do it myself.” What I learned from that interview is what’s helping me build Mixergy Premium. I urge you to go, and if you’re interested in this at all, go to mixergypremium.com, take my courses, watch how I build, take Interview Your Heroes, and watch that interview with Linda. I’m hoping you’ll do that, you’ll be inspired by David’s story, by my experience, and at some point you’ll achieve something just as big and exciting, and I’ll get to interview you.
Mixergypremium.com. I guarantee you’ll love it. And you know my guarantee is good, because you know guys like David would never trust me to sit here and do an interview here. He would kick my butt if I ever disappointed someone and didn’t give them their money back.
David: I would say that was awesome. You’re really good.
Andrew: Thank you.
David: The thing with anything, with any book, with any video, with anything you read, the experience is . . . EO, Entrepreneurs Organization, which I’m part of . . .
David: . . . the saying that we have is “own your own experience”, so your job is to provide good content and make it easy and organizable, but you can’t take that and help people get to the next level, they have to use that themselves. That’s the ownership part of it. That’s the best part is knowing that everyone who is watching and doing things like that has the ability to sort of make the next step.
My biggest challenge has always been when I was an intern in NYC, and that’s why I love to talk to you offline, is, “how do you translate entrepreneurship to an online. You can tell people how to do stuff, but ultimately to me the biggest thing is attitude. I think when you think of self-help you sort of poo-poo it because you think of all the scams, and you think of all the people out there, but I’ve realized so much of it is true, it’s all in the head. Everything else will work itself out. I think that’s the hardest part to really get out there. You can learn how to invest in real estate, but that’s mean you’re going to do it. That’s one of the things that is my mission in life is to sort of . . . a personal development-type program that’s geared towards entrepreneurs that are ready to do anything and helping them go out.
Andrew: I agree with you. When I’ve asked some entrepreneurs about it, people who listen to e for a long time will recognize this statement. I will ask an entrepreneur about the head game, about their self-talk, or their insecurities, and they’ll say things like, “What are you? Barbara Walters now? What are you? Dr. Phil?”, and they shut me down. And so I kept asking, and I keep asking, but I decided alright, if the interviewees aren’t going to help me then I’m just going to work with some people in the audience to figure this stuff out. I have a big enough audience that I can take a small subsection of them and we can experiment together. And we did, and we’ve made a lot of progress. What you talked about with your work with Kim sounds right in line with what we’ve been developing privately here…
Andrew: …at Mixergy. I mean, I’m wearing bracelets now right here. These are for meditation one of the experiments that we’re doing.
Andrew: To see if you could focus your mind on what you want and through meditation keep your mind from wandering to all the things you don’t want like what if David thinks I’m boring, what if no one comes to Mixergy Premium, what if I stunk with the way that I sign people up.
David: And the biggest part is all I’m thinking about is me not you. But you realize everyone’s just concerned about themselves. It makes it easier. Alright, do you work with the YAC at all?
Andrew: No I don’t.
David: Alright. We’ll talk offline.
Andrew: OK. I’d love it.
David: What’s my personal question?
Andrew: Personal question is you have a hard time giving up control and apparently especially in the air. You’re a flyer.
David: Oh no. I’m not a flyer. I mean…
Andrew: …You’re not obsessed with flying and flight?
David: Oh yes. Yes. Yes.
David: So, I’m not a pilot is what…
Andrew: …Oh OK. I misunderstood this note here.
David: So here’s the two cents, just the funny part about that is. So, yeah, I’ve paraglided solo. I’ve done skydiving. I’ve taken flying lessons. I still get a fear in airplanes. But I love flying because that’s the biggest fear and that’s the biggest freedom. I was talking to one of my friends who’s a therapist and I was telling her all about that. She was like, you realize what that’s about. I was like, no. She’s like, you’re giving up control to somebody else for that time. And I’m like, oh my God, that’s exactly what it is. Because if I was in the cockpit and I knew exactly what was going on I would feel better about it. And it’s just a really good analogy for entrepreneurs to think about. I want to write a book someday. I’ll share it now because I don’t know if I’ll ever write it, so if someone else does God bless them. Do you want to be the pilot or the passenger?
Andrew: In life?
David: In entrepreneurship. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of correlations between…
Andrew: …Can an entrepreneur be the passenger?
David: I guess to some extent. The way I know entrepreneurship is being the pilot, you know, sort of wanting to be that. But, yeah, you can be the passenger if you know what you do best at and let everyone else sort of take control from there. For me that’s been one of the areas where I fly all the time. You’re always well, this time I stop getting overconfident and maybe something’s going to happen. One of my goals is I hope to come back some day and say I am a pilot, I have a license, and that will be a lot of fun.
Andrew: I would love to hear that here on the follow up Mixergy interview. And since you mentioned the book I’ve got to tell you that the founder of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that’s competing with Google, he came on here. I asked him, I said what happened to the book that you were working on. He said I had to put it aside because DuckDuckGo is growing so much. Well, this guy in the audience, Justin Mares, heard that, e-mailed him, and said, I want to help you with the book. I think Justin at the time was still in school. They have written the book. I just got to see him in person here in San Francisco. The book’s already done. They sent it out to the editor. So, just because he said in the interview that he wants to finish this book or doesn’t have enough time to do it even though he wants to, the book ended up happening. So I…
Andrew: …hope people reach out to you.
David: I sent you a link. I don’t know if you can put it on the video. I interviewed Mike Michalowicz. If you haven’t interviewed him he should be your next person.
Andrew: I know him and I’ve got to get him back on.
David: OK. So he’s written two books. He did a course for me that’s free. He wrote about The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.
Andrew: What is it? Sorry? Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.
David: The first one is The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, and the second one is The Pumpkin Plan. He self-published it and did an amazing job selling lots of copies. He told me all the secrets on how he did it and some really good ones on how he grew the book and got a lot of people to use it. It was awesome. So, I’ll share that with you…
Andrew: …I’d love a link to that. I would like to listen to that, too.
David: Yeah. You’ll get a lot out of it.
Andrew: Alright. Cool.
Andrew: Alright. Send it over. Thank you so much for doing this. Again, guys, if you want to check out the website just to get an understanding of the business that we’ve been talking about it’s furthered.com. David, thank you so much for being a part of this.
David: Andrew, it’s been a pleasure, and I can’t wait until we do big things together. I can see the vision now.
Andrew: I would love it. I wish you weren’t in New York, or that I was in New York. I wish you were here in San Francisco. I was in New York…
David: …San Fran, New York, it’s good. We’ve got both coasts.
Andrew: We’ll make it work. Thank you all for being a part of it. Bye, guys.
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