HearAndPlay.com: Turning $70 Into A Multimillion Dollar Instruction Web Site – with Jermaine Griggs

Update: based on the comments we’re getting, Jermaine sent this PDF about Automation.

How does a high school senior from the inner city turn $70 into a multimillion dollar instruction web site?

Jermaine Griggs is the founder of HearAndPlay.com, which trains musicians to play by ear, trains them to play by ear with online music lessons and piano video tutorials.

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About Jermaine Griggs

Jermaine Griggs is the founder of HearAndPlay.com, which trains musicians to play by ear, trains them to play by ear with online music lessons and piano video tutorials.

Raw transcript


Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

Andrew: Three questions before I fire you up with another great interview.

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All right. Let’s get started.

Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart, the place where over 700 proven entrepreneurs, admired entrepreneurs have come here to tell you their story so you can learn from them, be inspired by them and hopefully, not hopefully, and go out there, built your own success story and hopefully comes in at this place, hopefully you’ll come back here and do an interview with me after you do, so that you can teach others what you’ve learned as you built your business.

And in this interview, I want to find out how does a high school senior from the inner city turn $70 bucks into a multimillion dollar instruction website? Jermaine Griggs, the man you see on your screen, he is the founder of HereAndPlay.com, which trains musicians to play by ear, trains them to play by ear with online music lessons and piano video tutorials.

Jermaine, welcome.

Jermaine: Thank you, Andrew. Pleasure to be here.

Andrew: It’s an inspiring story and people are going to watch in this interview, step by step, as you built this up but, I want them to know a little bit about you starting with where you came from. Can you tell them about that story where -, about the sneakers that you wanted your mom to buy for you?

Jermaine: Well, absolutely. I grew up in the inner city in Long Beach so I won’t say it was a war zone, but I won’t say we had green manicured grass, either. And, you know, we didn’t have the luxuries that my other friends had and one story that comes to mind was when I wanted these new Nike shoes by a football player named Rod Woodson.

All my friends had them. We went to Target and we found a rip-off, I didn’t know it was a rip-off. They looked just like those shoes. They were by Zoe. Some people don’t know what I’m talking about. And I remember I put those shoes on, I was so proud because I had the Rod Woodsons, so to speak and the next day I went to school and I got, I got the experience of a lifetime. All my friends, they laughed and poked fun at me.

I don’t know if I ran to the corner and cry, but I felt like crying and that was a learning point for me. There were many things like that but that’s something that 15 years later I still remember like it was brand new. [??] feel about changing things.

Andrew: I see that. Because of that, you said “I don’t want to have to be laughed at. I want the things that I want including what, really, today, looking back, is a pretty small thing.” They’re the sneakers that you loved.

Jermaine: Right, right. Yeah. Absolutely.

Andrew: And you’ve come a long way. We’re going to hear the whole story here but, as a sneak peak, can you tell people about the honeymoon that you took your wife on?

Jermaine: Absolutely. So we now juxtapose that story of being in so much want and so naive as a 12 year old to, you know, 13, 14 years later, now being on the honeymoon of our dreams, you know, on that small boat coming up to a private island in Fiji, where only 15 couples are invited and I remember, my wife who’s was my High School sweetheart, looking at me and saying “This is the life” and that was another moment on the other side of the tracks now, with blue glistening water, fishes and coral. I don’t even know how to swim and they’re talking snorkeling.

And so we just, compare that beginning to, and I won’t say this is the end. My Grandma said, “We’re not where we want to be, but, we got to be thankful we’re not what we used to be.” That story, is what keeps me fueling and going for the prize.

Andrew: And the two of you were 22 years old, and, financially the business at that year, hit a mile stone. Do you remember which one I’m talking about?

Jermaine: Absolutely. That was the year that we hit seven figures. And, incredible, I haven’t started with $70, and haven’t taking no capital or not even knowing that those avenues existed. Venture Capital? If you would have told me that back then, what is that?

If I didn’t make money, I didn’t survive. So, I [??] take that $70, and turned it into something, and turned it into something else and being there just a few years later, having a external reward for that hard work was just mind boggling.

Andrew: Well, congratulations. I want to hear how you did it. And this is the kind of story that we don’t hear much in the tech world. I mean, you and I talked about before the interview started. I said, “What’s a win for you in this interview?” And you said, “Andrew, your audience. Maybe I might get some people who will end up signing up for music [??] year. But, basically, it’s an audience of entrepreneurs. I’m here to help them, but I don’t have an ulterior motive in this. We even had to set up your Skype together, because you said you’re so web 1.0 that you don’t even like Skype. You use other, you use, what was it? You use MSN.

Jermaine: I use MSN. I’m your guy, up until two years ago, still using Frontpage. All that stuff that got me started when I was 17, I’m loyal to it, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. So, Facebook, Twitter, yeah, I’m there, but, you know, I don’t count on it.

Andrew: Jeremy Weiss, our producer actually sent me links to the way back, to the internet way back machine to show me what your site looked like. I could see the front page influence on it. Today, can you say what you told Jeremy Weiss, our producer, what your revenues were? Is that public, or was that something the two of you talked about in private?

Jermaine: It’s private, but, I don’t mind sharing it. So, since inception, we well hit the eight figure mark. Per year, that looks like about three and a half million dollars this year will do. We get about 15,000 subscribers a month. Now, our total listings is about three hundred thousand musicians that played by ear. And, out of that revenue, 10,000 paying subscribers is like our life blood, is our base in our various training centers. And, we [??] to keep going.

Andrew: When someone pays ten, when, excuse me, when the 10,000 people are paying you a subscription fee, what are they getting access to?

Jermaine: Well, we have three different programs. One of them is our CD of the month program, selling old school, like in the mail. Like, shipped CD in the mail. And, so, you’ll get that. That’s for $19 a month. Our gospel music training center is another aspect of our continuity. And, that’s a training center where you log in weekly and get piano lessons in the Christian market. And, we also have a jazz intensive training center, where you log in and you get the same in the jazz arena. And, those range from $30 to $40 a month as well.

Andrew: All right. OK, so, let’s go back in time and find out how you built up this business starting with the, the seventh grade.

Jermaine: Absolutely.

Andrew: What happened in the seventh grade, and why is that important for this…

Jermaine: I have to be honest…

Andrew:..for this story?

Jermaine:…I didn’t tell Jeremy this, but, to be honest it started before then. Like when I was seven I was your, your kid knocking on doors and selling greeting cards. And, my Grandma won this piano off The Price is Right, and, it would later become a very key part of my success. But, in the seventh grade, I remember, you know, just being, you know, so into what I wanted to be into. And, I, I remember, I brought home the report card with four or five F’s, like out of six or seven grades.

And, I remember being sat down by every family member I had, and saying, “You need to make a change. I know you’re this kid that likes to sell stuff, and, you, your passionate about what your passionate about. But, you got to get this, this school work, and you got to get focused, because there’s only a few options for you at this rate.” And, they weren’t having it. And, so that’s when i really saddled down, and, and, started to not only be this unfocused kid into all these things. I, I remember selling Avon, I remember selling, and I signed up, the lady knocks on our door, “I want to talk to your mom.” I said, “No, you’re here to talk to me.”

Mom signed up in my down line, Grandma and her down line, Grandpa. I mean, I had all this stuff going on, and, and at this point, this was the turning point, because, they sat me down and said, “You need to get your grades together.” And, that’s what I did.

Andrew: You know, Jermaine, I’m wondering why business? Why selling Avon? Which, really for a kid, you’re going to get laughed at when you’re becoming the Avon lady as a, as a kid. Why…

Jermaine: Right.

Andrew: …did that grab you, as opposed to say, “Taking up writing fiction, which would transport you to a new place.” Versus, taking up, I don’t know, I don’t know what else. It could be painting, why business?

Jermaine: Well, for me, selling, it was something about selling. Like, when I was seven, me and my next door neighbor in the projects, I would later learn that’s what you call them, because I didn’t know I was living in projects. But we would tie rope to our bikes with a wagon and charge kids 25 cents to get from one part of the complex to the other. I mean, I just loved to sell. I remember Olympia sales club in the back of National Geographic, it was like a kids’ selling organization. They gave you $2 an item. I signed up to that and went to work, knocking on doors. Avon would come at about 12 years old, answering an ad in the penny saver. And it said, I don’t think it said Avon, but I think it said something like $10,000 a month selling, and I had no reservations about selling so I called the number. I was one of the most popular reps in my local community. Wonder kid, right? It was fun.

So to answer your question, it wouldn’t go into high school because, you’re right, I’d start getting teased by the brothers. “What do you want to do, you want to sell my mom some perfume? Get out of here!” So obviously pure play was the natural next step but I can’t take back those moments because those made me what I am today. I’m not scared to sell. Maybe that’s why I’m stuck in 1.0 because a lot of 2.0, there’s this reservation about just selling. I can sell. That’s a big part of my success and it started 20 years ago.

Andrew: I loved selling even as a kid. I’d read business books about selling, I would fantasize about selling, it was a passion of mine too and I thought I was the only one who was into it. I would’ve loved to known you back then. To recognize, first of all, that I’m not crazy, and second to have someone to bounce ideas off of. (?)

Jermaine: Right.

Andrew: If you were to share with me what you learned back then about selling, what were some of those early lessons that you picked up about sales?

Jermaine: Something that is with me until today is that the sale doesn’t start until they say no. So many people are scared of rejection and as soon as they get the word no, they turn around and they walk away and weep and wallow. For me, no was a great words because, as I would later learn through Brian Tracy and a lot of other bigger sales professionals that it takes 7 exposures for someone to consider your offer and how many times you really have to follow up with folks. But back then, I understood that if they said no, that was just their way of telling me that I didn’t do my job. Because I know they need greeting cards. And I know I have the best greeting cards. I know they’re not Scrooges and celebrating holidays with family and friends, you need my cards. And I got cards.

Andrew: So what’s the craziest thing you sold as a kid?

Jermaine: Avon tops the list for sure. Because then there was like, perfume, all kinds of stuff. But I don’t know, that’s a hard question. There are just so many things that I sold. Oh, okay, here’s one. In the early days of the internet, now this is when I was like 10, there were those letters where you have to put your name on the list and send it to like, 5000…so I got my grandfather to give me like, $1000, I told him that we were going to be rich. Just send this letter and put our name on the list and everybody is going to be sending us a dollar. So I’m embarrassed by that one. That’s like the beginning days.

Andrew: And he let you do it?

Jermaine: He let me do it! I think I still owe that man to this day. Because we got like $1 back. It was definitely a loss. But that was probably the craziest. I was just naive. You’ve got skeptical people that miss their opportunities because they’re not open enough to trying and then there’s people like me, a little gullible, but we try things and then one thing works and here we are. This is me.

Andrew: Jermaine, I already love you. We’ve only been talking for like 20 minutes, 15 minutes here, and this is incredible. I feel so much of your story feels like it was my story and I forgot about some of these crazy things that I did and would fantasize about. It was fun. Those were the fun parts of childhood for me. The rest really stunk and that’s why I wanted to do really well at sales so that I could get out of the rest of it. What was it that stunk for you, beyond not being able to buy sneakers?

Jermaine: I’ve always been a little different. So here I am in the inner city, the imagery that we see on TV, a lot of that is not far fetched from where I grew up. But we had a very church loving family that sheltered me and my sister. So here I am in the inner city, but I’m church boy, so I didn’t get along with my neighbors there. I felt a little different. Barber shops didn’t feel right to me. And then, you know, on the other side of the tracks I can’t relate to my friends with the white picketed fence in the suburbs. It just so happened was in a magnet program. So a lot of the kids from the suburbs came to the inner city because our city was just that good. So when I go over there I felt like I didn’t fit in in the suburbs. I’m so sheltered here I don’t fit in. So for me it was this, I’m not surprised that I have a contrary view because I’ve always had to go against the grain. And I’ve always had to do the opposite. When kids were partying in college I was working on my first book, “300 Pages, The Secrets of Playing Piano by Ear”. (?) you know.

Andrew: That was in college?

Jermaine: That was in college.

Andrew: Let’s take a step back for a moment and talk about this girl that you met back when you were a teenager. How did you meet her?

Jermaine: Well, I actually attribute my ability to play piano by ear because after I got all those bad grades I really got myself together and started getting involved in school, and I started this choir. A high school gospel choir my freshman year or so. And these three girls walk in. And one of them has this long beautiful Pocahontas hair. My says that I’ve always been attracted to those kinds of girls and, because I wasn’t reading sheet music I had the opportunity to keep looking up staring at her. Because when you play by ear you don’t have to read, you just listening and playing, it’s the best thing in the world, and our eyes met.

We started talking, long story short. That was 1998, 1999, ’99 to be exact. And here we are 12, 13 years later married with three kids under 6. And I’ve never had any other girlfriend. That was like my first true real girlfriend at 15, and she’s the same one that we had that realization that wow, we kind of made it. So it’s been great to share that journey together.

Andrew: Was she inspired by these little businesses that you started? What was her reaction to them when you said, you know what, I think I’m going to write a book and sell it about how to play piano by ear, or when you said something else? What was her reaction to all of that?

Jermaine: You know, surprisingly she was very supportive because when you’re that innovative at that age, family already had it set up what I was supposed to do right. I was supposed to be like the next Johnny Cochran. I had a knack for speaking and I went to school undergraduate a for law and criminology and this was the path that everybody lay out for me. But here we were working on these books on how to play piano. And she was in the copy shops with me. Our dates consisted of going to copy shops, copying these 300 page books, binding them. Going to the post office, waiting in line with our little carts and those were the glory days. And then going Micky D’s afterward. And she doesn’t cease to remind me of those days, when I get a little, you know on her nerves. She’ll remind me of those days, and but she was very supportive and very inspired and she said my ambition, even though I was like that little nerdy boy who didn’t fit in. She said that my ambition made me look very good to her. So ambition goes along way.

Andrew: And you know what though. Most people wouldn’t have related to that. I remember even sitting around thinking what are all these people going to do after school. Like after they’re done with their school day and some of them would go sneak off. I went to school in Brooklyn they’d sneak off to Sheeps Meadow in Central Park. To do what, sit around Sheeps Meadow and do what? What the hell’s the point? Why don’t you go and start selling something on the street. Or just go and talk about this book on sales that you read, or try a mail order or something. Or even do one of the chain letters, do something, but just sitting around would drive me freaking nuts. And it’s really hard in that environment to find someone that relates to this because most people would go, dude you’re weird, (?) have a drink. Which is the exact opposite of what I wanted.

Jermaine: Right, I felt that way (?) and I feel that way now. I don’t know how old you are Andrew. I think we’re about the same age, and it’s that way now. My buddies from old still haven’t figured it out. So we’re always dealing with that, and people want to party now and I guess figure things out later, but I learned at an early age I want to figure it out now. And if I have to party later, that’s, OK. Because I’m going to be partying big when I do party. And you’re going to be working. It’s just flipping the model of what we’ve been sold.

Andrew: It has happened, and you know what, frankly, those parties back in high school most of them were a big disappointment. Even the people that were the coolest kids in the class, they’re a big disappointment they’re always waiting for something to happen. Same thing I believe to this day, most people who go out like with a lottery ticket in mind. If the lottery pays off then they’re going to have a good night, not a great night but a good night. Chances are though, the lottery is not going to pay off, they’re just going to have another night that’s not going to be rememorable. I don’t want to live my life like that, I want something bigger. Alright, I’m now making this interview about me instead of you because I’m so excited to hear your story.

Jermaine: It’s good, it’s good. I know we planned it. I knew we would get off the script because, you know, we’re very natural together and your story is a bit the same as mine and, you know, I’m really enjoying this.

Andrew: Well, thank you. Yeah, this interview means a whole lot to me all of a sudden. What was next? So now you had this idea, you knew that you could play, how do you get started with that?

Jermaine: Well, I kind of got pulled into it. Parents were asking me to teach their kids. So, you got to imagine this little boy at churches playing the piano and like holding it down with like expertise and professionalism, so people would always come up to me and, who taught you how to play? How do you do that? And I, you know, I taught myself. You know, on my grandma’s piano. I didn’t tell them she won it on Price is Right, but she did, with Bob Barker. Bob Barker has a lot to do with this, too, so, you know.

And so, I started teaching kids and back then I didn’t know what leverage meant, the way I know now, but I knew that if I documented what I was teaching these people, cause I was teaching the same thing. Like, how I learned how to play the scales and chords and stuff. So I started putting them in books, like these little pamphlets that I made naturally so that I wouldn’t have to do all this work over and over, you know. You already know the type of person I am, I’m just, I got to be moving and doing stuff so doing the same thing, you know, quickly, I got disinterested in that. But those books did go on to be the basis of my primary product of Peer and Play just two years later.

Andrew: That’s an early taste of the kind of automation that you ended up employing later on, which we will get to later on in the interview. You love books, I’m looking over your shoulder as many people who are watching us are, and we’re seeing just a big collection of books. From the beginning, one of your challenges was, well, did you go to business school to learn how to build a business?

Jermaine: No. No, ironically while this was happening I was studying law. Wade vs Roe and stuff like that.

Andrew: And you are learning business on your own, including Corey Rudle?

Jermaine: Yep.

Andrew: I wonder if people even still know him the way that we did in the beginning. And frankly, I didn’t even know. I don’t think I took his course. I met him at a conference once a few years ago, but who’s Corey and what influence did he have on you?

Jermaine: Well, first of all, Corey is not with us anymore, he passed away in 2005.

Andrew: In a terrible accident.

Jermaine: Terrible race accident, but prior to that, he was like to me the King of Web 1.0 internet marketing. I mean, he combined mail order and direct response with the internet and many people might be familiar with Dan Kennedy. He was like the internet version of Dan Kennedy, Direct Mail. And he had a site called InternetMarketing.com. It’s still in existence today but InternetMarketing.com, I stumbled into that searching for how to grow my business, how to advertise, how to market. This is in college because we were only selling at that point like ten books a month and I came across his website and I remember this long page. It was what we call a sales letter.

Regardless of what you think about sales letters now, this was what I stumbled upon and I read that thing like twenty times. Whatever he wrote in there, the magic that he had in that print, that selling, made me feel so good I had to keep reading. I took out my debit card, probably only had $200 on it, and bought his $200 course and started really studying in print, how to copyright, how to capture people’s attention in ten seconds or less, because that’s all you got. Attention, interest, desire, action, all these concepts that prior to that I was just swimming around, businessman, natural functions and that kind of stuff. But now this is the first time that I actually sat down and started studying this and seeing the process of selling and how to do it effectively online, so it was a big turning point for me.

Andrew: Yeah, I feel like people like you are just deliberate about the way that they build their business where someone else might see that and say it’s $200 for some guy whose got this long ass sales letter, I don’t care, I’m just going to move on to something more fun. You just wanted to learn and just pick up on it. Who else did you learn from?

Jermaine: Well, back then it was Corey Rudle [SP] I remember Think and Grow Rich. I remember stumbling upon that and it wasn’t from selling but that just really gave me the motivation to hold onto my dream and he talked about burning desire. And I got to read that in that book because evidently I already had that. I had this burning desire where I don’t know but even to this day I think about my business all the time. Sometimes I have to turn my brain off. It’s not, I find a lot of people, they read my story or find out about me here or there, or my buddies and they want to start something but they don’t really feel it or live it. Like they read the book because I tell them to read the book but they don’t really want to read the book.

But for me, marketing is fun, everything I read I enjoy, it’s not what I have to do. It’s what I live and I think that makes the difference, that passion. So back then, to be honest, it was Corey and it was Napoleon Heel, to get me started on this path. And then obviously since then I have a number of books that I absolutely love and re-read as much as I can.

Andrew: I have the Nightingale, I love the book by Napoleon Heel, but I also had the Nightingale Conan collection of his speeches and in one of them he said, a burning desire, he had this old time voice. And I clicked it on my computer and I set up a loop so that while I was sleeping it would just keep playing in the background to remind myself that I just need to keep firing that desire because that was important and that was what was going to get me out of my little hell hole. My little hell hole was, by the way, nothing like yours. It sounds like you had it tougher but you moved on past it. For me, my little hell hole was just not even being able to relate to people. It was having this stupid runny nose and I’m now still dealing with. It was all those, all the little things that I guess you can t really break out of in high school. Now, I could clearly break out of just about anything, except for my runny nose.

Jermaine: Absolutely. You mentioned burning desire. I mean, all those guys sound the same from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Maybe it’s how the recordings are made or something but they all sound like that, burning desire, burning desire. But, it’s funny, there’s an app now that loops adieu so you can talk to it and it’ll loop items just like you do and I do the same thing, even now.

Andrew: You do now?

Jermaine: I have a quote or something I read that just really pulls it by the rapple, I will record it and just loop it over and over and just get that osmosis.

Andrew: Why are you doing it now? Just like while you’re going to sleep or your walking around and you have it on your ear phones?

Jermaine: Yeah, as I’m going to sleep, as I’m driving. Because, you know, regardless of how much money you make or how successful you are, you still got those things that mentally are holding you back or those things telling you, you can’t get to the next level or those little things gnawing at you. So I’ll record the opposite and just brainwash myself until I believe it, you know. And so, this is very important, mind set. And it’s a constant improvement. It’s like Conzin [SP], you know, constant improvement.

Andrew: You know, it sounds ridiculous to people who it’s a new concept to, but I’ve got to tell you that for a long time I had the other kind, the negative loops in my mind. You know, not loops literally playing on a record, but negative. For example, it would be running is exhausting. It takes to long to prep to go running, was something that just kept playing in my head. And it wasn’t until I noticed it, and I remember, I was in Argentina, living there for a year.

I had a lot of time to evaluate my thoughts and where I was going in my live and what I was thinking intentionally and what I was thinking just because it was in there. I said, wait a minute, it takes no time to run, I don’t have to get a bike, I don’t have to go to the gym. I just toss my sneakers on and, you know, change into shorts. I don’t even have to change my t-shirt and I’m out for a run. And I had to just recognize that that negative thing was in my head all the time and once I solved it, I started running more. I ran into work today. I did four days of running.

Recently, I did a marathon. I’ve done more marathons than I can count, literally. And hopefully this Friday I’ll get to do a marathon on my own and on Saturday a marathon back. I’m going to run 26 miles to the hotel, 26 miles home. Once you get to pick-up on this stuff it changes your life and that’s why you want to learn more. And that’s why learning I think for business is different than say learning anything else. I’m trying to come up with an example, but it’s better than learning say math. Because you can use it, you can see results in your own life and you can suddenly start to see that things change. You have these super powers.

And that’s my goal with these interviews and with the courses on Mixergy. I want to give people that kind of super power, that if they pick up on one little thing from this interview and it can have the kind of impact that you and I have seen in our lives, then not only will it change their lives but it will excite them to get more and more and more.

Jermaine: Absolutely. And that one little thing is compounded on another little thing.

Andrew: Yes. Yes.

Jermaine: You’re running 26 miles now, you know, and now that’s your starting point. It’s just amazing and that personal growth and that business growth, that’s what I seek and just happens its fun to me too. You know, it’s not something I have to do, it’s something I love to do and these books, I can’t say I’ve read all of them but, you know, people collect DVD’s, people collect model airplanes, people collect, I collect books and read a certain number of them as well, as good an amount as I can. But, I totally agree with you, I feel it. I haven’t gotten the running thing yet.

Andrew: You got to love it. Running is not for people who don’t love it. I said that you started the business with $70. where did the $70 come from and what were you using the $70 for?

Jermaine: Well, as I retell the story in my head, the $70 must have come from a church gig, because you know I’d get $50 here, $25 there, they call it the love offering. Let’s take up a collection for our musician, our young 15 year old, so you know, that’s the only way the money would’ve come from. From a gig or a piano student or something like that, but $70 was a big deal to me. I gave my mom it and she gave me her debit card number and I went to NetworkSolutions.

Now, it’s all about GoDaddy and stuff like that. But it was $70 in August 2000, I registered that domain name. I asked myself, what is it that I do? And I had enough since to have a very descriptive domain name. I’m sure I could’ve come up with some fanciful name like Kajoo or something but it was just simple HearandPlay and it was available and that’s been my thing ever since, HearandPlay. That’s what we do. I haven’t done SeeandPlay because I don’t believe in See and Play, you know, my niche is Hear and Play and it opens itself to extensions. Hear and Play piano, Hear and Play guitar, Hear and Play organ and we have moved that way. So, that was my start.

Andrew: I’m going to ask you in a moment how you got traffic to this website because I know that you used gorilla style marketing to do it. But first, what did that website look like? And Jeremy included on Archive.org, anyone who wants to go back in time can see it for themselves. I’ve got the link to it but for people who don’t, can you describe what your first version looked like, how you built it?

Jermaine: Right, right. So, you know, I figured out I had to learn HTML. I didn’t know anything but, you know, I figured out how to do three tables so it was like this three table site and it had these black bars all over the place. Probably inspired from somewhere. I mean, really web quality not even 1.0, .9, you know. And everybody knows Microsoft Word Art, right, you know, back in the day we used to do flyers in Word Art and it would be like these rainbow looking things.

So, I just made one in there and learned how to print my screen so just printed my screen and used that logo I literally made in Microsoft as my web site, it was purple. And it was a mess and when I look back, way back, in archives, I mean, the beauty of it just having gotten started it was very powerful. But I’m embarrassed by how it looked, it was nothing pretty. A lot of sites starts today yards above me, image wise and design wise. But it was a start and that’s all that mattered, it got better as I got smarter and more enlightened and it got better. And the power is in the starting.

Andrew: Why weren’t you too embarrassed by that to launch. Why didn’t you think, hey, you know what, I got into business to be a businessman, like my heroes. I don’t know who they were for you, maybe Rupert Murdock or Donald Trump, or whoever happened to have been the big shot when we were kids. They wouldn’t have had something that didn’t look beautiful. Why didn’t you compare yourself to this dream that got you into business in the first place and say, I’m not there yet, I’ll wait till I can improve the design first, I’ll wait till I can improve the architecture of the site, et cetera?

Jermaine: Well, to be honest, for me I didn’t know what I didn’t know, you know. I can’t tell you. It probably looked good to me. I remember showing people so I wasn’t that embarrassed then, it’s only looking back. So when I was in it, I think I was just happy to have accomplished something on my own, having started from nothing and learned how to do this thing. I can’t really sit back and tell you I thought it was ugly when I was there, you know, two years from now things I’m doing today I’m probably going to be embarrassed of. So it’s all about growth but for me it was just getting started. I’ll tell you one thing, a long sales page, I knew that was ugly and, you know, because Corey Rudle said you need to sell your benefits and your advantages and your features and act like your writing to a friend and if it’s twenty pages, so be it.

Now that was something I knew, OK, how’s that going to fly. And I showed my roommates and they’re like, dude, no one’s ever going to read that, no one’s ever going to buy your stuff. And so I did juxtapose that against the 3-D website. But it was just a willingness to trust a person that had gone before me and not try to reinvent the wheel. Plus, to be honest with you, Andrew, when I was a kid I got on somebody’s list so I was used to getting those long letters in the mail, so I knew they had, because I would read them as a kid.

Andrew: You mean those, the paper letters that came in the mail?

Jermaine: The paper, yes.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Jermaine: I don’t know how I got on the list but in all that I answered, I’m sure I got on many. So yeah, I was familiar with reading these long, you know, form advertisements. But applying it to my innocent Piano By Ear niche and making it work for me. I was doubtful but I was willing to try. And I think that’s it. A lot of people want to get things perfect, they want to get things right and I’m guilty of this. I wanted to write a book a long time ago about my experience and I wrote like the first three pages and then I said “You know, I’m so busy. I want to make sure it’s right. I want to make sure I put the right structures in place and I got all zen and, you know, peaceful”.

And somebody reminded me that it’s never going to be the right time. It’s never going to be, everything’s never going to be perfect so you just got to do it, get started. That is better than perfect. I realize that’s only one part of the philosophy. Other people think otherwise but for me, done was better than perfect and we can course-correct, you know. The rocket is shut out but it course-corrects to its target as it flies.

I’m that rocket and I’m still course-correcting.

Andrew: How long was your first sales letter?

Jermaine: It printed out, I think it was like 22 pages.

Andrew: So, you went longer than a dozen. It was long.

Jermaine: Oh, it was long. It had pictures and stuff but it was like “Dear Musician, if you’re like most people”. I remember the first line “you’re like most people, you’re probably struggling to play piano. You might be at a point where you want to give up and you feel like other people have the gift and you don’t.”

[??] really wants to play music, they love music with all their heart but can’t seem to figure it out. I talked to him, from my heart and it worked. One day, particularly, changed my life, after I changed over my website. One day.

Andrew: After you changed over. What was the day?

Jermaine: March 2nd, 2002.

Andrew: What happened?

Jermaine: It’s starting to get blurry. March 1st or March 2nd but I think it was March 2nd, 2002. I’m getting old, you guys.

But March 2nd, I released my website and this was coming from, before it was like a book of the book on my brown carpet.

Andrew: Oh, the website had a photo of your book on your brown carpet saying “This is what you get if you give me money, after reading my long ass-webpage”. Yes, OK.

Jermaine: No, before that. It wasn’t long before that. It was just the books and four sentences. [??] to play, A-Z, 300 pages or whatever. Because that’s what I thought, I was to catalog [??], just a small little description of my book.

Andrew: So, I’m sorry, just to be clear. The first version of your sales page had just a picture of your book, the one that people were going to get if they paid you, on your brown carpet with a couple of lines and a button that let people buy.

That’s the first version. Then you changed to what?

Jermaine: This 20-page, radically different. People talk about testing and this was like, the total opposite of what I had.

Like, man, is this going to work? It wasn’t like just changing a header from red to blue or left line versus center. I believe forest-tree, branches-leaves in your test. You can test big stuff, you can test minuscule stuff. Branches and leaves. Well, this one was a forest move. This was huge.

And so we [??]-over. I said we. I, I [??] over, I was using AOL at the time as well and I remember sending up an email, you’re going to ask me about traffic but I built up a list of about 700 gorilla-style marketing, [??] on message forms and stuff like that.

Andrew: We’ll come back to that in a moment.

Jermaine: Yeah. We’ll come back to that but started a Yahoo Group. I had 700 members and as the moderator, I had privileges to send email. Sent an email saying we’ve updated the site. Discover the secrets of playing piano by ear, you know, headline and I woke up the next day with a box full of sales. That day we would do $1,100 in sales, on that day.

I skipped every class I had, I had Psychology. I called my girlfriend Sara at the time, who’s my wife now, and I said “Babe, we got to go do this books because [??], which is about 13 or so sales, And every time AOL said “You got mail”, I was hearing “You got Money, You got Money, You got Money”. New order confirmation, new order confirmation, new order and it was just, even now, we make money and we have [??] and those days come in but they don’t hit me as much. You kind of get used to it, even a nice 6-figure day.

You’re happy, and you have fun but that day, having gone from hardly anything in the bank to now $1,100 on it’s way to me, that was just amazing. I remember heart palpitations, I was so excited, telling my roommates and they’re like “Dude, you have $1,100?” I was like “Yeah, man.” Just telling the whole world. I was soon becoming a Loan Officer.

But that was the day and that was just one change I was willing to make that went against the grain a little bit. And ever since then, I haven’t been scared to go against the grain.

Andrew: How did you get people in the early days? How did you get customers?

Jermaine: OK. Well, I figured that there’s a ratio between time and money, or at least getting it. I didn’t have money so obviously it was time. So, I’d become a moderator, I remember, of every piano music form I could find and I would go to work with the time that I had, answer questions and using my signature to promote my site. You know, the more free lessons I had over here at Play.com but I made sure I really answered their questions if I knew, if it was in my knowledge base to answer I would go for it. And I remember just having a bookmark folder of every site and every week, like every Saturday morning, I would just call it doing my duties.

Every Saturday morning I would go one by one and try to post at least five times in those message boards. Some of them just had straight out places that you could advertise. Other ones I would just be that person in the forum helping out, you know, giving and hoping that it would come back to me. And soon, you know, thousand visits a month. We did the Yahoo! Directory. I’m still paying for that. I don’t even know if that still works. I’m still paying for that same listing, I think they give me for $70 a month. I mean, ten years of that, you know, from day one. And every time my card expired going in. I think it’s just a ritual for me now, you know, and we’re in Demas. I remember, About.com, Soon would keep the scene and participating there. FreeForAll link pages, adding my website to every search engine, every directory, you know, just gorilla style, just everywhere I could find to put my website I just put it out there and built a list, you know, built a Yahoo group as well. And you know, you got some natural leaders from Yahoo! group and sent my own visitors and that would be the beginning of my little 700 member list that would field this growth and give me the money to do the real stuff later.

Andrew: Back then, if you were on AOL, you could see people’s screen names and know that if you attach an @aol.com to their screen names that you’d have their email address, so would you go into chat groups with musicians and do that so that you could build up the first portion of your list?

Jermaine: No, I wasn’t that smart. I mean, I was like quasi-spam but I didn’t even know that. No, they would legitimately come to me but I would just go to all the newsgroups and post and just make sure everywhere I posted I’d advertise here at Play.com. I mean, those are the days of email forums and you know, when you say something it goes out to everybody, newsgroups, bulletin boards.

Andrew: I see. So if you participate in those newsgroups, in those list serves, the email went out to everybody.

Jermaine: Yeah, right.

Andrew: And so your sig line went out to everybody.

Jermaine: Absolutely.

Andrew: And you got them to come back to your site and give you their email address.

Jermaine: Eventually, yep, they’d come to my site. It took me two years to get 700 people and for many people listening 700 people doesn’t sound like a lot but when I think about it it was that same 700 people that gave me that $1100 in that one day. I’m not saying it was $1100 a day, it would taper down to $200 the next day, $300 the next day, $100. Off that same 700 people. So my conversions, I haven’t done the math or, you know, didn’t know to do the math back then, but my conversions had to be insane for a 700 person list to give me $8,000, that first real month after changing the website. I mean, my visitor values, talk about values and stuff, I mean were pretty high. I wish I had that kind of value know, I’d be a very rich man. If I was able to do what I did.

Andrew: But that’s all you had. You only had 700 people up to that. Now it suddenly seems small to me. After two years?

Jermaine: After, well yeah, we struggled for a long time, I mean, you know, from the 2000. August 6th, 2000 to March 2nd, 2002, that’s that spamming, we were just swimming around and doing what I thought worked and, you know, and those are the beginning days. Then I bought Corey’s stuff and that’s when we really started converting these folks and then soon after that we joined GoTo.com, remember, it turned into OverClick which turned into Yahoo!.

Andrew: Sure, yeah.

Jermaine: Overture, yeah. Yahoo! Search Marketing and now AdCenter. I mean, those are the glory days where like for five cents and no competition, you know, so that $8,000 I made, I soon fuel it into Paperclip and that sent me tens of thousands of visitors for, you know, pennies on the dollar and so now we were really cranking. That $8,000 soon turned into $15,000, you know. Then we’d form an affiliate program. So at this stage it was like everything I learned was golden because I was that kid not scared to put into action. Did first, thought about it later. Corey or whatever I read said you need to have an affiliate program, a two tier program at that, like Amazon.

We started that and that began to fuel more visits. And we only paid when we made a sale, so that was just like, you know, that was very cool. PaperClick and then we started learning SEO, you know, figured out how to, you know, get our pages to the top. Then I remember hiring a service, EasyRankings, back then, you know because now I shifted to the time from the money. Time got me here, you know, the gorilla stuff, but now that I had a little bit of money coming in, I just fueled that back into very non-sexy, just regular styles of advertising, but for me it was about the conversion. The conversion did it all.

Andrew: What did you do to increase conversion?

Jermaine: Well, for my conversions I was always testing different headlines from the beginning. I mean A/B split testing before Google, I mean, this was the days of, what did we use? I don’t know if it was AdTracker.com, it escapes me right now. But old school service that you install on your server and it just cycles your pages and tells you how many visitors and how many sales, or how many times the cookies been hit. So we did a lot of that.

Andrew: What’s one thing that, I’m sorry, go ahead. What else did you do?

Jermaine: No. No. It was just a lot of testing and tweeking and benefits and swapping out bullet points. Now it’s all about video, so we do the same thing, quite frankly, with video. Back then it was this long sales page and tweeking and incremental growth.

Andrew: And now video is what sells.

Jermaine: Yeah, video. I mean, people still do sales pages. It’s like church rag, like it’s so hot.

Andrew: What is a church rag? You and I, you were using it a lot before we started and then you stopped. What’s a church rag?

Jermaine: Well, like this, I’ve become known for this when I speak on stages, like every event I bring this up with me because I’m a sweater, I’m very dynamic and people laugh in the beginning and I’m like, hey, this is my church rag, I might get excited, I might throw it at you. Cause they know that we’re going to have a good time. If they’re not going to have a good time then I’m not going to have a good time so, now, you know. I just pat my head with it. It’s what the preachers growing up…

Andrew: Because they would get so hopped up on their message and talking so fast and getting so passionate that they would have to keep mopping their forehead.

Jermaine: [??] And yeah, so this is my church rag and there’s a lot of history, there’s a lot of history in that rag. But yeah, those were the days, you know, one part of it was traffic but I think that my conversion, I don’t even think it was anything magical other than following the formula that was laid out to me and applying it to the niche that hadn’t seen that kind of stuff so you can almost, you can bring something common place to a new place and be innovative, you know.

Innovation is not just coming up with something new out of the sky, sometimes it’s just taking something from one industry or place to another place. And I think that’s part of it as well, you know, bringing that to piano players. You had to read twenty page sales letters to buy my stuff and once I knew it worked, people would tell me you should get rid of that long stuff, you’re missing out on a lot. I said, baby, you have no idea, cause I’ve been there and if you saw what my bank account looked like you wouldn’t be advising me of what works and what doesn’t. I know what works and those were the days. Those were the days where $200,000, I remember 2002, we’d go on to almost hit $200,000 that year, like starting in March, like $8,000 here, $15,000 here, $18,000 here.

Then I’d get smart and come out with my second product. You know, built a list of 5,000 people and they’re waiting for my next product. So that, I remember just different, for me, I don’t know how people who get venture capital money do it. I have no experience in that realm. But for me there was clear barriers that we just popped through. I remember hanging out in the $10,000 range and that was just what I was used to. never hit a two, you know. I was always the dollar sign and the one and then remember coming out with another product and that put is in the two’s and we never went back down to the one’s, you know. It was the second product and that compound effect. And then I remember hitting the three’s, the $30,000, and never going back. You know sometimes we’d go to $29,000, so it was just clear that I measured it by these five figure leaps. And then it was six, you know, what do you call it, not decimals, but six figures.

Andrew: Six figures, yes.

Jermaine: It was just organic growth. And the weird thing is now that I’ve studied business models and stuff like that, I didn’t know any other way. What other way do you grow a business. I didn’t understand that back then. And yes, we grew at our own pace. You wouldn’t call us the fastest growing by no means. But you’d call me happy. You’d call me free, and you call me doing business on my own terms. That’s what you would call me.

Andrew: I remember when I broke through a million in the bank. I called up Citibank’s automated system. We were with Citibank at the time, just to hear the automated system say it. Then I’d hang up and call again, and again, and again. Did you do anything like that?

Jermaine: Absolutely. There was not a day I wouldn’t get out the bed and call 1-800-644-2767, that’s Bank of America. I don’t do it anymore, because you can just do it on your iPhone and I don’t even just do it because I’m not as excited anymore, but back then everyday I would, because it was a cash flow driven business. And I didn’t even think I needed accountants. I paid the guy, but I knew what my profit was, what I had in the bank. What I made minus what I spent. It was kind of like what I had in the bank, plus a few expenditures and do-dads, but it was very simple math. There was no way to mess it up.

Andrew: For me this was Bradford and Reed days. After we hit that it took me a long freaking time I felt to hit that mark, and then after we did, at some point we also took a rough fall. Not terrible, god knows we did, OK. But it was a period there that suddenly all my advertisers, this was all and ad based business, were going out of business. Suddenly my revenues were drying up, but my expenses were still fixed. Did you have a big fall like that at all? Even if you got back up, or was it just all once you hit it, up, up, up, up?

Jermaine: I’d be lying if I said it was always up, up, up. We definitely went through cycles. And my glory days, I call them, from about 2002 to 2006, 2007 was up, up, up, we like doubled year-over-year. And then around 2008 I guess, this was a shared sentiment, we all kind of went through something. That bubble burst and people were like, dude, I can’t spend this kind of money I’m spending or imagine you have a mortgage to pay or buy piano lessons. I think I’m a little lower on that list. And I started to see sales really dry up and I remember in November was my worst sales ever. I think it was November 2008. I also believe that difficulties in times like this. What do they say, necessity is the mother of invention right.

Well, up until this point I heard Dan Kennedy and all these guys talking about the need for continuity income, recurring income. But I was such a hotshot, I was making millions of dollars one time sales, fifty dollars at a time. Sixty dollar course, fifty dollar course. Forty dollar course, up until that point, you know, knock, knock, worst month ever in our seven figure history and guess how long it took me to start the training center? One month from that point.

Andrew: One month. How do you launch a training center in one month? Tell me how do you get that going in one month a continuity service?

Jermaine: It’s called seeing the light, and it’s called seeing if we have a few more bad months like this taking away cash flow and reserves it won’t be pretty, and we had seen nothing but growth from there so it was born out of necessity. The great thing is I had assets. All of us, or most of us have assets that are untapped. My assets was a group of customers into the hundreds of thousands or subscribers at least that liked me, trusted me that have looked to me learn gospel and Christian and jazz music, and for whatever reason wasn’t coming back to buy my DVDs but I still had that trust there, and so I remember, as soon as I saw the balance sheet or whatever for that month.

I said we have to start this recurring thing and the month after that I got on the phone with my designer. I said I need a hub to be able to place these videos weekly in and I want some social interaction and he got to work and bid it, and we got that together and on the other end I started an official launch. And it didn’t take long, because all I did was I said it’s been a while since you guys have seen a product of mine. I think last released my latest product three years ago. Well I’ve got something big brewing. You’re going to be able to see us regularly, and it’s going to be one of the biggest things we’ve ever done. I just got the buzz going even before the center was ready, even before we had the concert because I got the buzz going. And I’d say in about a month’s time you’ll see what we’ve been working on. People are dying to know and that was the change of a big shift in our strategy, going monthly and now you can’t sell me against it. That model has flipped. Now it’s all the monthly stuff that’s our main thing and the product sales is like our icing on the cake.

Andrew: And so, you built the software yourself. Are you able to code up a recurring revenue site, the software for it in a month? Or did you use off the shelf shoftware for it?

Jermaine: No. No. E-commerce and stuff, and Serve the Office. I’ve never taken on that.

Andrew: You don’t build anything, you just use, what software do you use for it?

Jermaine: Back then it was a site called OneShoppingCart.com, which handled my returning billing, my ad trackers, my customer/client relationship. Now I use infusion software, which I’m their marketer of the year. I mean, I joined that site and figured that thing out so fast.

Andrew: What does it take to be their marketer of the year? I mean, is it because take a share of your revenue so they know that you’ve marketed more than anyone else?

Jermaine: They don’t know even know, they don’t do it by revenue. I think they’re just looking for people that are really harnessing the power of their platform, using soft foods in a big machine and there’s so much to it and most people probably don’t do 10% of it’s power and here I am having implemented it in 2009 and using 89% of its functionality. Like there isn’t a part of that system that I’m not using from sending out birthday cards or sending out Starbucks cards to my customers. I mean, we’re doing all sorts of relationship building things that come easy with an automation platform like InfusionTalk.

So it’s not really, it’s just using it and coming up with innovative ways to use it. That’s what it took and it didn’t hurt that I did double my net profit my first year with them, so, you know, it’s been a wonderful ride there. But I still moved to them to manage my automation, so when you’re card declines it’s automatically hitting you, it’s emailing you, you can log in and update your card. All that’s handled through them. I don’t have to touch that. The credit card link point, what do you call it? Gateway is acting up, they’re handling all of that. I’m never been an advocate of taking on too much if you don’t have to. If it’s something core in your business you have to do and an off the shelf platform can’t handle and it’s core to what you do, fine. But if your selling stuff like me, you know, I think we complicate stuff too much. People come to me with an idea, it’s for proprietary. I said, child, I did your thing in 2002, just get started, put up a PayPal link and see if your going to make money. What are you complicating for?

Andrew: I say that, too. I got a phone call just the other day from someone who I guess is not a member but somehow got my phone number and she told me about the software she’s building and how she has a developer actually building it for. And basically she needs a WordPress website, which she has, and she needs some kind of membership thing and PayPal will do that for you when you’re getting started but for some reason people don’t want that. They want something more sophisticated. She wasn’t happy with WordPress’ page layout, she needed the two column design for PayPal, I mean excuse me, for WordPress page so that she could have her list be not in one long line but in two nice table columns. Why do you think people reject your world view and my world view, which is just friggin’ launch it and you can approve it later if it works or kill it if it doesn’t?

Jermaine: You know, that’s a question I oftentimes ask myself. I don’t know, maybe we’re just conditioned young. We got to go through, what, twelve years of school and four years of college and four or six more years to be, I mean, life tells us that. I mean, just what we’ve been through tell us life is complicated and you got to to do all these steps and you got to go through this process and that process and I don’t know. I’m contrarian to the point that I find the quickest way there, the shortest path there and if it proves to be viable, then we can back up and change the layout.

I’ll tell you a quick story, my first course was shot with my barbershop’s brother, I mean my barber’s brother in the hood. He’s like yeah man, my brother can help you shoot this, he’s got some nice Sony cameras. We didn’t even have a tri-pod. We didn’t have two cameras, so every time I talked he’d come up and shoot my face. And then every time I’d play the piano, he’d come down and shoot the piano. I mean, you can get sick watching my commercial, you can learn but you might be a little dizzy. But you know what, customers later would tell me that was the most revolutionary program. The system that I taught them. You know, regardless of the quality or how it was, it was what I was getting across. And later I would re-do that in HD or whatever I had to do. Once it had sold half a million dollars, it’s very easy to re-do.

So I’m a proponent of getting started and done is better than perfect. I know there’s opposing views on that but you try to sit around making it perfect and it will never happen or you’ll miss the opportunity altogether waiting. There’s probably many Facebooks that sat around trying to make it perfect. I was a part of many different (?).

Andrew: I had memberships on many, too. I’m thinking, my head’s down, not because I’m not paying attention, but because I had to take a note on that. That’s such a perfect example, you and your barber’s brother with that camera moving it around from your head to the keys to the head, perfect. What else did you…

Jermaine: Overhead, and…

Andrew: How do you justify creating a recurring membership program where people have to pay month after month to play, when you’ve already created a program before that teaches them how to play? Why do they have to keep paying month after month for that?
Jermaine: Great question. Well, first of all, I like to pick a market that has these four P’s. Passion, I believe the market has to be passionate about what they’re doing. Not just a quick (?) thing where you never have to see your customers again. Positivity, I know you can make money in pain but I prefer positivity. Progression, you know, golf, when you can work on your swing, but you can always be working on your swing. It’s not something you ever get to a destination or a plateau. Somebody’s always better, and patience. Those are my four Ps. So inside this market, think about learning music, even if you’re the great, they had insecurity. The greats that we hear. They didn’t think they were so great. They kept practicing, they kept going. So I never sold it, I think, this is the end all be all.

This 101 course will get you started in Christian music or jazz music, this will cover worship or slower music, so always two compartments of the big goal. And I always, I don’t know how I learned this, but I always broke it up. So where somebody had an all comprehensive course and promised the world, I never had that. I used the college model of 101, 201, 301, and always made my stuff like that. So even when it came time to sell an ongoing training program, exactly, I sold it like this. I said, you probably bought our past courses, you had 101 and you’re doing great with your hands, you might’ve bought jazz 101 and you’re doing great with your blues.

Well, now is the time to saddle down and commit ongoing to this process because playing music is not a destination, it’s a journey and we’re always learning. The minute we stop learning is the minute that we fail or somebody passes us up. So I sold this ongoing training and the benefit and the need. And people know that. When you hire a piano teacher, I don’t think you hire a piano teacher for two weeks and expect to be playing Beethoven. People are grade 1, grade 2, grade 7, grade 12. So there’s progression already built into the market so it’s not hard to offer something when people already understand that progression and patience is a pretty real thing.

Andrew: I was starting to worry here. I wrote a note to myself saying, “Andrew, do you have a lack of skepticism in this interview”, because I was getting carried away, I was telling you I loved you all of a sudden, ready to propose to you. If we both weren’t married, maybe I would have. So I said, let’s just Google one more time. Now, I’ve had you research before we did this.

You talked to Jeremy, our producers, and you were recommended by someone in the audience, unfortunately via Twitter so I can’t go back and find that, but I’ve been Googling just now and it’s all there. You’re there, you’ve got the reputation. Anyway, all I’m saying is to the audience, if you’re worried I got carried away, I was worried just like you were and I’ve been looking one more time just to confirm that I didn’t get too carried away. Let me say this, before I ask you one final question.

Jermaine: Sure.

Andrew: And I want to say this to the audience, including you, that if you’re as passionate as I am about learning and seeing these results in your business, and if you’re passionate about business, not just hanging out and watching TV and if you’re not just listening to this because, I don’t know, someone accidentally put it on your iPod or you accidentally clicked around on iTunes. But if you’re really into this and you want to take it to the next level, I want to recommend mixergypremium.com. That’s where I bring in real entrepreneurs to teach you how they built their businesses and based on this interview, I’m going to suggest if you’re already a premium member then you check out these three courses.

We’ve talked about creating an information product. We’ve got Greg Roulette, who created how to create your profitable information product on mixergypremium.com. Take that and you’re going to find out how to do it. He does this for dozens, actually maybe even hundreds of clients, and he walked us through the process if you want to do it yourself. Create an information product on, maybe not playing piano as that’s been cornered, but anything else that you’re passionate about. You will learn how to discover that passion, how to package it and how to create your product. If you want to learn how to do a profitable launch, we talked a couple times about doing that, check our Sean [SP] Melarkey’s launch course. He is the guy from Inspired Media. He’s going to walk you through how to get that hype going before you launch and how to make sure you get sales when you do.

Finally, there is one other person whose products I love, and he came here to do a course — Clay Collins. He did a session on pre-selling and how to sell even before you launch. It’s all about how to create a sales process and how to think about your business in a methodical way that will get you results. Lots of people have taken these courses, and actually Clay told me that because of the course that he offered on Mixergy people have gone to his site and signed up for his stuff, so I’m grateful to you guys for doing that, but I’m glad, too, that you’re seeing the results for yourself. Instead of saying, “Andrew, I want my money back”, you’re saying, “Hey, who is this Clay Collins? I want to learn more from him” and you go out and do that. It’s all on MixergyPremium.com. If you’re already a member, I don’t want your money, you just need to go in and take these sessions. If you’re not, I hope you join us and become a member. MixergyPremium.com. Thousands of people have joined, and I hope you’ll join us, too.

Jermaine: You are a good salesman.

Andrew: What do you think? I should have made that 15 pages.

Jermaine: You’re smoking. That was great. Did you memorize that, or was that just you?

Andrew: I was just riffing as I went through this, and to be honest, I was second-guessing the way that I said it because I realized I’ve got Jermaine here, and Jermaine is probably looking for social proof. Did I have the social proof ready? No, I didn’t pull up the social proof. Jermaine is probably aware of anchoring. Did I price anchor? No, I should have. Let me try this. If you get one good idea from this, I guarantee it’s going to be worth at least $1000.00 for your business, just one good idea, and these courses are packed with dozens of ideas, each of them. If you don’t get one, come back to me, and I’ll give you your money back. If you don’t $1000.00 worth of value out of this, then I will give you your money back. How’s that? That’s not the best way to anchor. It’s not so easy when you’re just kind of riffing, is it?

Jermaine: No, that’s good. You’ve got it, and you’re fun. That’s Joe Sugarman. You have many of his triggers there. That’s a good book for people who want to understand the in’s and out’s of selling psychology.

Andrew: Joe Sugarman.

Jermaine: Joe Sugarman’s triggers, Robert Childini’s [SP] influence. There are many more, but those are really good.

Andrew: Yes. In addition to them, I’m also going to recommend my friend, Dane Maxwell, who taught “How To Do Copywriting” also available on Mixergy. I keep using Dane Maxwell. Once people take Dane Maxwell’s course on Mixergy they start to see that I use so many of his tactics in the way that I present stuff on the site that it’s almost like they read into me, and they can figure me out. Back to you. This isn’t about me. I had to get a plug in there for Mixergy because I’m really excited about the results people are getting from it. I used to not even talk about it because I was unsure about it, but once I started getting results I talked a little bit more, the more people signed up, then I got excited and then I started more. Now I’m all hopped up, and I could pretty much do a whole two hours on why people should join, but that’s not what this interview is about. This interview is about Jermaine Griggs.

You’ve done it, and there was something, Jermaine, that you wanted, and you were able to get. Could you tell the audience about that? You told Jeremy about this, if you remember.

Jermaine: I remember, tangible I guess, having started where I started. Obviously, there were material things that we could not get as kids or weren’t exposed to. I remember watching a movie with Samuel Jackson trading lanes or something like that, road rage. I forgot who had it, but I think the lawyer had a Mercedes CLK. I just loved the way it looked with two doors, and it was even an old-school one for that time. Now, they’re all different, but I remember saying, “I’m going to get that car. That’s going to be the car I’m going to get.” I remember at the end of 2003 that came true. I got that car, and then I started reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, and said, “I did it in the wrong order.” I did the do-dad first. Then I invested in my first home at the beginning of 2004. I was 21 then. It was here in Orange County closer to where I went to school, and those were the days when I actually saw the fruits of my labor finally coming to fruition. Those were great times. Fast-forward now, and we’re just living our dream, and we’re very grateful. It’s been a long journey. We’re not where we want to be, but far, far from where we used to be.

Andrew: I’m glad you took a moment out to do this interview with me, to set up Skype and to be patient as we set up all the technology here to make sure it works and to spend an hour with Jeremy and to trust us to look into your background with Ari and Andrea who researched you. All this goes into these interviews, and it takes a lot of your time, and I know you’re busy, and I appreciate that you were willing to do that. Thanks for doing this interview.

Jermaine: Absolutely. My pleasure, and if you want me back for automation and stuff. We didn’t talk about . . .

Andrew: You would come back and do a session on automation?

Jermaine: I would, because it gets deep. I don’t want you guys to think I’m just this airy-fairytale story. We get deep in automation and follow-up marketing. Now, to take it to the level we’ve been and to automate it and have 103 employees, there is definitely a science to that, and I would love to.

Andrew: I tell you what, hang on with me after I say good-bye to the audience, and then I want to talk to you and see how we can bring you back up and help you teach this to the audience. That’s an area that I saw on my research that we spent a little bit of time on, but not enough. Guys, I’m going to say this. Go check out hereandplay.com. You’re not even going to be a blip on his sales numbers, so it’s not about Jermaine getting any results from this, it’s about you seeing all the things we talked about in action. If you get a chance, maybe even go back to the archive.org archive and look at the website and see how it evolved. If you’re into music, of course sign up.

More than anything else I hope people will do what I just did a moment ago and will do again, find a way to say thank you to Jermaine. If you get anything out of any of these interviews, the best thing you can do is to just reach out to the entrepreneur and say, you know what? I learned a lot from you, and one day I hope to make you as proud as Napoleon Hill might have been, Jermaine, of you had you gone back and told him about it if he was alive. Basically, just say thank you.

I’m going to say it right now, Jermaine. You can hear the excitement in my voice as I did this interview with you. I appreciate you telling your story, and thank you for being a part of it.

Sponsors I mentioned

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Revolution Productions – Do you have a great product, but people aren’t trying it? You might have too much text on your site. Video, more than text, helps people understand what you’ve created and convinces them to buy it. I recommend you go to Revolution-Productions.com. When you do, talk directly to the founder, Anish Patel, and tell him I sent you. He’ll make sure you have a great video that convinces people to buy your product.

  • Drew Giovannoli

    Great story highlighting that it’s not the VC funding that creates success, its the determination in your business and the commitment to learning that gets you there. I would love to have a beer with you two, one of the most friendly fun interviews I’ve listened to. Have him back for a masters class on automation.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I had a lot of fun recording this one.

    And I learned a lot.

  • Alex

    Inspirational interview, thanks!

  • http://www.learningwithleslie.com/ Leslie Samuel

    Dude, Andrew. Man! I LOVED this interview and I’ll tell you why. Yes, it was actionable, inspiring and all that. However, there was more passion in this one than I’ve heard in the other interviews that I heard. I could hear it so much in the audio that I had to come back to watch some of the video just to see how that passion translated.

    Jermaine, thanks for sharing your story. It has motivated me to really continue doing what I’m doing, and not just continue – but also take it to the next level. AWESOME stuff!

  • Jacob

    I love this site, but can’t handle not having a volume bar on the video.  Please get a volume bar!!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I listened to him on mile 20 of one of my long runs, and he fired me up and kept me running.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Very inspiring!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I’ll ask Joe to do it on future interviews.

    He already has some in the can, so we can’t change those, but we can do this in the future.

    This is what I’m sending him: http://www.evernote.com/shard/s2/sh/be38f9a0-b7a4-45b5-97bc-f844b6cf4161/d1557012ee6975fe533053245f602d38

  • Jacob

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks for telling me. I had no idea it was an issue.

  • http://twitter.com/cspritch76 cspritch76

    Wow, that interview brings back memories!  I was always the kid with the wrong shoes and the wrong clothes.  Even when I worked my paper route, mowed my lawns, and bought the “right” shoes, it didn’t help much.  Growing up with diversity, the way Jermaine Griggs, Andrew Warner, and Chris Pritchard did, is not the way anyone would choose to do it.

    But, it’s that diversity that really drives us to do so well later on.  It has to be better than the washed up high school quarterback who longs for a time machine to get back to his glory days, like in Napoleon Dynamite.

    Thanks for the great interview guys!

  • http://twitter.com/SolarixInnova Jeff Tan

    Great Great Interview! Can’t wait for the Masterclass following up with this!

  • http://www.getthephoneringing.com/ Jeff Wilson

    Love the story and the hustle. Hustle goes a loooong way. Thanks to you both!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Glad you related to that.

    It’s nice to see I wasn’t the only one.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Yes!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    We haven’t locked it in, but I’ll work on it. I want it too.

  • David Chou

    One of the best and most passionate interviews so far! It really got me excited pumped up. Definitely, an interview that I will be listening to repeatedly.

    Good to hear I’m not the only person who listens repeatedly to information to get it burned into my brain. Andrew, you need to have Jermaine back for a masters class on automation. 

  • Dale Morgan

    This one sizzled with excitement, fun and learning. Thanks guys!

  • Mark

    Great interview!!! Thanks to both of you for sharing and giving back …priceless!

    Jermaine – please come back to do the course!!

    All the best!
    Mark

  • Anonymous

    Great interview Jermaine/Andrew!  I’m glad I’m a premium member b/c I can’t wait for the course on automation (Yes, I heard it mentioned at the end of the interview!)…  

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I agree. I’m working on getting him back.

    I love how organized his thought process is. I always admire people who are that mentally organized.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks for saying that!

  • Anniereese96

    Hey Andrew,
    This was one of the BEST interviews ever!  I am so inspired because he started with no connections, no venture capital, just a burning desire to make things happen. He comes across as such a genuinely nice guy with such a positive, infectious energy.

    Also, his love for  his wife & kids is just beautiful.  Too many guys, once they get a little success, dump their wife & have kids here there, everywhere. So not only is Jermaine a great role model for business, he’s a great role model as a husband & father.

    Thanks Andrew & Jermaine!

  • http://www.nastyclamps.com/ Matthew G. Monroe

    Andrew and Jermaine:  What I love – LOVE – about this interview is the obvious chemistry between the two of you AND the obvious friendship that develops during the course of the discussion.  There was an energy to this interview that was palpable.  And because of your comradery, because of your shared interests, and because of your desire to share knowledge, there was a willingness – almost a need – for both of you to dig deep.  This is, without a doubt, my favorite Mixergy interview of all time, and I hope that Jermaine comes back again soon. 

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    If there was a Hall of Fame, he’d be all over it.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks!

    As you saw, I got as excited about it as you are.

  • Anonymous

    One of the best!!!!!!!!! interviews Andrew. This interview encompassed a multitude of valuable info relevant to a lot of entrepreneurial inquiries I’m still experiencing. I just want to say “thank you” for this interview …. amazing

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Starks/84102985 Charlie Starks

         I have been loitering in the shadows on Mixergy.com for over a year. I was pretty inspired by most interviews within that time frame. I got a chance to hear Barbara Corcoran’s interview and it has been my favorite “go-to” interview when telling my friends about Mixergy and the quality of the media put out by these amazing entrepreneurs and Andrew. Jermaine Griggs has blown my previous Mixergy experiences out of the water. 
         This interview has had a huge impact on me. Just listening to Jermaine’s passion, I have had the cloak of fear ripped off of my perception of sales and the art of selling. I listened to this interview twice in a row because the story and the experiences hit home for me. As soon as I got home, I signed up for Mixergy premium because of the references mentioned in the interview.  I appreciate the interview Andrew, and rest assured Mr. Griggs will know how much I loved his story!

  • http://SonicTruths.net Christopher Sutton

    Wow! I have listened to a lot of Mixergy interviews and this one truly stands out as one of the most inspiring and uplifting of them all…

    My tiny startup is in the online music education area too, so it was particularly fantastic for me to get an insight into how one of the big names in the field achieved his success.

    Thanks so much, Andrew, for finding such a terrific interviewee and asking all the right questions. And thanks to Jermaine for being so open and honest about his journey!

    Definitely one I’ll be listening to again. (and again…)

  • http://SonicTruths.net Christopher Sutton

    Wow! I have listened to a lot of Mixergy interviews and this one truly stands out as one of the most inspiring and uplifting of them all…

    My tiny startup is in the online music education area too, so it was particularly fantastic for me to get an insight into how one of the big names in the field achieved his success.

    Thanks so much, Andrew, for finding such a terrific interviewee and asking all the right questions. And thanks to Jermaine for being so open and honest about his journey!

    Definitely one I’ll be listening to again. (and again…)

  • Docsta

    Thank you Jermaine for taking the time to share your journey with us and congratulations on your success – it sounds like you’ve earned it – and I hope you return to Mixergy soon.

    Great interview Andrew. It’s so refreshing to hear from ‘real’ people who didn’t graduate from Harvard, don’t live in the ‘valley’ and didn’t get a gazzillion dollars in VC cash. You know, like most of us :-)

  • Docsta

    Thank you Jermaine for taking the time to share your journey with us and congratulations on your success – it sounds like you’ve earned it – and I hope you return to Mixergy soon.

    Great interview Andrew. It’s so refreshing to hear from ‘real’ people who didn’t graduate from Harvard, don’t live in the ‘valley’ and didn’t get a gazzillion dollars in VC cash. You know, like most of us :-)

  • Dimitris Sotirakopoulos

    What a fantastic and inspirational story. Thanks Jermaine for sharing your story. What I takeaway from this interview is the importance of belief. It’s evident that Jermaine believed in his greeting cards and in his approach to learning music. It seems to me that his strong belief gave him the courage and enthusiasm to be the success that he is. 

  • Dimitris Sotirakopoulos

    What a fantastic and inspirational story. Thanks Jermaine for sharing your story. What I takeaway from this interview is the importance of belief. It’s evident that Jermaine believed in his greeting cards and in his approach to learning music. It seems to me that his strong belief gave him the courage and enthusiasm to be the success that he is. 

  • http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @AndrewWarner:disqus please please please do more interviews like this. Interviews where the Entrepreneur completely bootstrapped their business and did not get any funding and are able to scale their business past the million dollar mark. I feel we can learn a lot more from interviews like this. I LOVE IT! @realhearandplay:disqus your story is inspiring and made my day!

  • http://www.HireYourVirtualAssistant.com Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @AndrewWarner:disqus please get Jermaine to do a course on Business Automation because I think his insights on this will be priceless!

  • http://www.highballblog.com/ Constantin Gabor

    Yeah! Awesome story! “Done is better than perfect” what a great mantra. 
    I’m pumped. :-)

    Thanks!

  • http://www.ecommercefuel.com/ Andrew Youderian

    Great interview, Andrew!  Love Jermaine’s story and energy.

    One thing that really stuck out to me was the effect a targeted sales / landing page had on his business.  I think as entrepreneurs, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of a strong targeted, benefit-filled message.  Improving our product or investing in additional in-bound marketing efforts are important, but I think often we should be crafting our message and TESTING what works best for the best ROI on our time/money.
    Been a listener now for about 6 months and have really enjoyed your interviews.  Keep up the great work!

  • Anonymous

    +1 to that, I’d love to hear a course with this guy. Great interview!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I’ll look for more guys. Good call.

  • james

    Hey Andrew, 

    Really incredible interview!! Jermaine is such a positive and inspiring person it was a true pleasure to listen to him. 

    I also loved the sense of camaraderie that you two shared, the interview was dynamic, engaging and incredibly authentic.  I felt as if I could have listened to you and Jermaine all day. 

    The energy that you both shared was fantastic as you both opened up about your experiences, successes and failures. 

    You are doing an incredible job with Mixergy and the addition of someone like Jermaine to the list of interviews was fantastic!

    Jermaine thanks again for sharing your story and Andrew thank you for creating such as positive environment and inviting people like Jermaine to be part of it. 

    Thanks Andrew and Jermaine!

  • http://twitter.com/chrisbrisson Chris Brisson

    Great interview Andrew. He’s a tough guy to talk too eh? haha Jermaines awesome!

    He’s always been on the cutting edge and using amazing personalization strategies and using all types of multi-channel marketing: sms, voice, direct mail, postcards, email, teleseminars, webinars, and everything in between. 

    Ask Jermaine about Nitty Gritty back in 07′ – hands down one of the best trainings of it’s time and still holds true today. Get your hands on that. Good good stuff.You guys rock :) 

  • http://collaborable.com/ Eric Ingram

    You can’t help but love Jermaine, awesome interview. Good inspiration for bootstrapping entrepreneurs.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks!

  • Dbilbrey

    Love this interview. Both because of Jermaine, great guy and great story. But I also loved how much you enjoyed doing the interview. It really came through and created a fantastic interview. I am inspired!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000490523393 Tarek Demiati

    In 2012, Zig Ziglar still speaks with that old voice from the earlu 1900’s ;-) 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBpVZ5hPFRs

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000490523393 Tarek Demiati

    Just another Awesome Interview!

  • http://www.localrebirth.com/ Al C.

    one of the best interviews so far.  thanks andrew!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks.

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