ShoeMoney: “I’m the guy who blurs the lines of ethics, morals, and legality.” – with Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy Schoemaker, who is known as “Shoemoney,” is an entrepreneur, writer and hustler.

As you’ll see in this interview he made his early money working an angle at Best Buy and went on to build several companies, including NextPimp, which allowed people to pimp their mobile phones.

He tells his story in an incredibly engaging autobiography called Nothing’s Changed But My Change, which I encourage you to read because it’s full of well-written stories about things founders never talk about, like the way Jeremy put one over on an insurance company.

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About Jeremy Schoemaker


Jeremy Schoemaker, aka “Shoemoney,” is a serial entrepreneur made famous by running one of the highest-trafficked websites in the world, Shoemoney.com, and by being a pioneer in the world of internet marketing dating back to the early 2000′s.

In January 2013, he published his autobiography, called ‘Nothing’s Changed But My Change: The Shoemoney Story.”

Raw transcript


Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

Andrew: Hey guys, you’re about to watch one of my most inspiring interviews
about a fat guy. He was on unemployment, but he wanted to get into online
marketing. He had no money. He was unemployed or maybe (?). He decided that
he was meant for it. Anyway, you’re going to see the story of how he went
from nothing into building this multi-million dollar company. I am editing
this interview quickly because I want to get it out there. Other people
apparently are going to post articles, and apparently he’s gotten other
bloggers to write about it. Instead of running an ad (?), instead I’m going
to say my interviews are always sponsored by Scott Edward Walker of Walker
Corporate Law. He’s a lawyer that I’ve known for years. I used him recently
when I’ve needed an agreement written, Walker Corporate Law.

This interview is also sponsored by Grasshopper.com. That’s where you want
to go when you want a virtual phone number that will actually follow people
wherever you are. You can hire people. You can add extensions. I know many
of you know about Google Voice, but what happens when you start hiring
people and that phone number from Google Voice is on everyone’s phone and
now they’re calling you and you want to find a way to get them to call your
office so that the calls go to multiple people. Well, if you need that, you
need grasshopper.com. All right. Let’s get started with the program.

Hey there freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of
Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. Today I’ve got Jeremy
Schoemaker who’s known online as Schoemoney. He is an entrepreneur, a
writer, and a hustler. And as you’ll see in this interview, he made his
early money by working a really interesting angle at Best Buy. And he went
on to build several companies, several, what you might call, legitimate
companies, including Net Pimp which allowed people to pimp their mobile
phones. He tells his story in an incredibly engaging book that I can’t rave
about enough. The book is called “Nothing’s Changed But My Change.” The
reason I rave about it is because he’s a damn good storyteller and he does
what I wish more of my interviewees would do, which is open up about the
stuff you should be embarrassed about. Half the book this guy should be
hiding in shame from admitting, but I love that part of the book. Jeremy,
welcome.

Jeremy: Thanks, Andrew. I really appreciate you having me on again. It’s a
real honor.

Andrew: You made your first million. Was it from Next Pimp?

Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah. That was my first huge hit. It was a fun project. I was
on unemployment and started getting six figure checks from Google.

Andrew: The idea came to you from something that you were trying to do with
your own phone. What was that?

Jeremy: Yeah. Originally, I just wanted to put a picture of my girlfriend
on my phone, on my next cell phone, and this was early 2000 when that was a
very interesting thing to do and a very hard thing to do. It had to be in a
certain format, an exact size, whatever, whatever, without getting too
geeky. So I figured out how to do it. I posted it on a place called (?). At
the time it was the Internet cell phone thing. And so I started getting all
these emails, people sending me pictures, like can you do it for me? I was
like, sure. And then it started to be like hundreds a day. So I was like,
I’ve got to figure out a way to programmatically do this. So I did, I made
a website for it where people could upload any photo and it would format it
correctly for their phone. And then, ring tones shortly followed and it did
the same thing. You could upload any audio file and convert it for your
phone. Then it just occurred to me one day I should allow people to let
them store them and share them with others. I called it categorize. Now
it’s tagging and all this stuff. This is way pre-YouTube, pre all this
stuff. So that’s how my first site started. The site just blew up.

Within about the second year of it running I found myself on unemployment
and the site was getting 100 to 200,000 unique visitors a day, depending on
if it was on the front page of DIgg or different various things. Google
calls me up and tells me to put this code on my page. It had been a couple
of months, and I’d go to the bank and I’ve got an unemployment check and a
six figure Google check.

Andrew: First check was for how much?

Jeremy: The first check was for, I think, about $55,000, but there were
issues in getting it because I had registered with the wrong address and
then I’d moved and stuff. So I actually go the $100,000 one before I got
the other one. So that was actually my first check. And so I got off of
unemployment because obviously I saw subsequent checks. If you want to see
an interesting look on a teller’s face is when you show up and you’ve got a
history of non-sufficient funds and bounced checks and they’re not sure if
they should call the cops or bring out the president to meet you.

Andrew: Do you remember opening up that check and how it felt to look at
something that was for more than ten bucks, or more than unemployment,
whatever amount they were giving you?

Jeremy: It was so surreal. I mean, it was literally so surreal. I
absolutely couldn’t believe it. I remember being in a chat room and showing
people the stats the first day that it crossed like $4000 in a day. I was
having so much fun with it. It was like I wasn’t real money. I would say in
the chat room, “Whoever can guess the closest to today’s earnings without
going over, I’ll give you 10%.” And it was just stupid things like that. It
was just fun. I’m in my underwear in my basement having fun. Even when I
got the check, I immediately had my mother-in-law take a picture of me with
it, and that’s the famous one that’s around.

Luckily, Google didn’t not send out checks after that month, ironically,
for anything over $10,000. So I had her take a picture because I couldn’t
believe it. I thought any minute the door’s going to get busted down and
the Google police are going to say, “Hey, you didn’t earn this. There’s a
big problem. There’s a big mistake. We need the money back,” and I was
like, I want a picture of this so that I can write a book someday, maybe,
about how to make money with Google. That was my plan. I had zero
confidence that this was going to last because I didn’t really have much
success before that.

Andrew: You didn’t. In fact, were you still fat at the time when that first
check came in?

Jeremy: I was still at that time.

Andrew: You were. And you grew up fat. You say in the book that you weren’t
dating. Do you remember wanting to approach girls in high school and not
even being able to talk to them? Or do you remember the reaction they gave
you when you did talk?

Jeremy: Oh, absolutely. I was every girl’s best friend and was just the
friend, the cute guy, the friend guy, “I like you as a friend,” all that
stuff, just constantly.

Andrew: So how does that influence you? To be that person?

Jeremy: It’s a huge advantage, actually, growing up with that mentality and
always having to be better at everything because people assume you’re this
lazy kid, with all the stereotypes that go with people being fat. But then
on the other end, you’re so much more hardened for when people come at you
in a negative way because people on the Internet talk smack about everyone.
Kids are pretty cruel when you’re growing up. I think it actually gives me
a little advantage, as well.

Andrew: You actually told me before we started this interview, and I think
it’s OK for me to bring up, that friends who you mentioned in the book from
back in those days when you were the heavy set loser, they saw their names
in the book and they did what?

Jeremy: There was a girl, specifically, who was really upset because I told
the story about how I was just infatuated with her and I bought her a dog
that she wanted thinking that she would see how much I loved her and she
traded the dog for a bag of pot and how upsetting that was. Well, she
didn’t like that, and so she’s threatening to sue me. There’s another girl
that I talk about who’s got several kids and on welfare and I talk about
how she’s totally fine – and this was another girl that I totally adored -
and it’s just, “How’s that working out for you now?”

Andrew: And she’s now on welfare, you said?

Jeremy: Oh, yeah. Her and her husband both have lived off the government.
Actually, in the book I say they should write a book someday, if they’re
reading this, called “How You Paid for my Life” about how the American tax
payers have covered all their bills ever.

Andrew: You’ve come a long way. You started out with these people. One of
the things, Jeremy, I love that you open up about is what you did to some
of these people. You say, this is a direct quote from the book, about the
story I’m about to ask you about, you said that it was your “first lesson
in how to exploit people’s passions for profit.” Is that what you do?
Exploit people’s passions for profit?

Jeremy: Absolutely. I know it sounds very aggressive, but at the same time
if you look at the most popular ways to make money on the Internet, what do
we really do? We get people to envision themselves losing weight. We get
people to have gym memberships. You’ve got teeth whitening. Weight loss is
the biggest industry money-wise. You’ve just got all these things, and
really those are just passions. Religion is one of the riches businesses in
the world, and it’s just all these people’s passions.

Seth Godin wrote a book, many books, that kind of talk about it. He’s not
as direct as me, but he did say all marketers are liars. He talks about
that. People never buy a product for what it actually does, it’s the story
they tell themselves on what it’s going to do for them. So when you can -
and exploit is a strong word but it’s what it is – when you basically find
different angles to let people see what a product or service is going to do
for them, then in my opinion you’re exploiting people’s passions to make
money.

Andrew: What about this: that as marketers it’s very easy to measure
success of your marketing? If you’re a good copywriter, you know instantly
that you’re a good copywriter and how well it worked because you see the
sales and you get to compare yourselves for this copy with sales for
previous and so on. There isn’t as much…

Andrew: …with sales for previous and so on. There isn’t as much passion,
as much instant measurability for giving people results, for seeing if they
could, five years later, have lost 100 pounds because of something they’ve
read from you, or ten years later have built a successful business, so we
neglect the product and focus on the marketing, don’t we? I say, ‘we’. I
would like to be that good.

Jeremy: It’s depressing at times. I had a discussion about this with my
wife the other night. It was about, not the exact question, but it’s true.
I talked about how I’ve created a lot of products, I’ve had a lot of
services and the one thing that really is depressing to me is my products.
If I would have been as successful as I would have wanted them to be, I
would have had to sink to a level that I’m not comfortable with as a
marketer. It really disturbed me because I had such a better product but it
really didn’t matter. Then at the end of the day you see the consumption
ratio of your products. If you look at the models, a gym membership’s a
great example. If everyone actually used their gym membership, the gym
would be out of business. They oversell it something like 3000% of
something like that is a successful gym. The one thing that you can count
on is that any time something actually requires work that 90% of the people
who purchase the product aren’t going to use it. My wife has three
different mixers under the shelf in our kitchen that she never uses.

Andrew: But then we’re dis-incentivized as marketers, as business owners,
going outside of the online marketing space, even, to gym memberships. You
gave an example of a company that has a dis-incentive to have you go and
use their product. We’re dis-incentivized as marketers, as entrepreneurs
when it comes to creating a better product because focus on a better
product means less focus and time away from the marketing. Focus on a
better product means that more people are spending time with your current
product and not waiting for your next product which is going to save their
lives.

Jeremy: Right. I think that’s the difference between a lot of fly-by-night
marketers and a lot of people who have done very well. In my thing, I
believe in value and really giving away value and so through my blog I’ve
built a following, through forums and helping people I’ve built a following
and trust and value. So I even say if you want to see this in action, you
should get on my newsletter list and, obviously that sounds ‘marketing’ but
you’ll buy something from me. The simple fact is that – and people will
probably laugh when they see this – but I’m telling you, because I give you
so much overwhelming value that by the time I put something out, you know
it’s going to be great and you actually feel like you owe me. The market
has changed and now it’s really the price of free. Everything is almost
like a loss-leader now to get you in. It’s almost like the old days of, if
you look at Time Life Books or some of the old models of Columbia House: 9
cents for 9 CDs and you get your CDs and it’s awesome and you sign up for
another account and then your parents get these bills.

I got a little bit away, but basically I’m able to sell product after
product after product to people who have followed me because they know that
they are a really good value. The thing is that not many of them actually
consume them, but they’ll keep buying them. That’s the cold, hard truth
behind it. If anyone tells you different, they’re lying to you. If the
people who make the Magic Bullet tell you that everyone who buys it uses it
every day, they’re totally lying to you. Anyway, my point is that, again
the sad part of it is, even thought you give people value, the product does
exactly what you promised, the consumption rate is going to be extremely
low, but people will continue to buy from you as long as you continue to
give them value and open up their eyes to things they didn’t think about.

Andrew: What were your revenues in 2012?

Jeremy: 2012 was a tough year for me because I actually had to completely
refocus the company and actually decide to run a really, really legitimate
company. It was the first year ever that my company was very close, revenue-
wise. I think we over $1 million in revenue, but our expenses were so much
because I not only put a lot of revenue into our new company that we just
launched called the Par Program, which helps a lot of big businesses out,
but I wasn’t trying to make any money. All of the streams of revenue had
stopped or dwindled and then I was dumping, pouring money into this new
company, creating it, hiring people, and all that. So 2012 wasn’t the
greatest thing, but I really had to look at what I was doing, stop the fly-
by-night company stuff and mentality and go back to what I did with Auction
Ads, which is a company that I launched and sold four months later. But I
shouldn’t have sold that company. It was kind of a confidence level, kind
of a lack of education. I sold it for a (?) of what I should have got, and
even the people that bought it told me “If you would have held out you
could have got, like three times more.” And I just, I just was like bird
in the hand, gone, you know, give me this. So it was, you know, and it’s
taken that evolution of the kid who barely graduated high school, no
education in business, no education in this, and all of a sudden, you know,
you create a multi-million dollar business that’s doing $2 million a month
in revenue and somebody (?) they want to buy it, you’re just like, you know
“What will you give me?”, you know?

Andrew: That’s Auction Ads is the business that was doing multi-millions.
I’m going to come back to that to see how you’ve evolved as an
entrepreneur, but where you learned your business seems to be, your
approach to business seems to be in school, that reference that I made
earlier about exploiting people’s passions, that had to do with this
business you had selling baseball cards.

Jeremy: Yeah.

Andrew: Can you tell people how that worked?

Jeremy: Yeah, so I did a lot of things as a kid, and that’s kind of where
the title of the book comes from, Nothing’s Changed but My Change ’cause I
still have the same mentality, right? But as a kid you don’t have the
resources that you have, I have now, right?

So, you know, as a kid I saw there was a, the Fleer, I actually have the
Billy Ripken card right here, which if you can see it, on the bottom of the
bat it says f-face. It was, like, a very famous card. It was, like, the
biggest error ever. But it was actually this, I believe it’s ’89 Fleer set
that has, like, the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie, like, Gary Sheffield rookie,
had like, all these amazing cards that were super high-priced. So they
came in these wax packs, so what I did was, is you could actually take an
iron and a wet rag and you could steam them and the wax would melt and you
could open them, pull out the good cards, put in the shit cards, then you
could take them to school and sell the packs, right? Then you would (?) a
couple little (?) around who you would actually load up packs for and they
would be like “Oh my God, I just got this card”, you know “and this card.”
So then you’d have people come up and, you know, it is kind of the whole
thing. I mean, people envisioned themselves being that person and doing
this kind of stuff. And of course that was really sketchy, but, you know,
it was an angle I saw and, you know, I did a lot. I was always a hustler
as a young kid, always able to make money doing various things.

Andrew: The insurance thing, what was that? How’d you make money there?

Jeremy: So, yeah. That actually was for a friend. I came up with, and I
have to say, like, it was, the part that makes the most sense was, so
basically he had bought this car stereo for like three grand or something
like that and so I came up with this thing and I was like “You know”, and I
actually had had my car broken into like two months before that, and so I
said “You know, if we were to stash, like, and stage something, you know,
like your car got broke into” and, ’cause he kind of had a broken family.
He was living with his girlfriend at the time whose parents were very well-
respected in the community. And I said “You know what I bet would work
flawlessly would be to, you know, stage a break-in on your car, put all the
shit in someone’s garage and”, can I cuss by the way? Sorry.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jeremy: Bleep it out.

Andrew: You got to be yourself.

Jeremy: All right. Yeah so, and “We’ll break your dash and, you know,
everything, but then what we’ll do is you’ll get up in the middle of the
night and hit your car alarm. And so what that’ll do is, you know then,
her parents who are good, upstanding citizens will find the car, the cops
come, she’ll tell the cops what they”, you know “so you’re leveraging their
credibility, right? So it’s not you that reported it, it’s them that
reported it, right?” And I have to say, that was pretty brilliant. I
mean, it’s, it is what it is, but I mean, I’m a little partial, but I
thought that was sweet.

Andrew: Kind of like affiliate marketing.

Jeremy: Right.

Andrew: (?) affiliate opportunity out there and, sorry, what were you
going to say? And it’s whatever other people say about it, it’s on them.

Jeremy: Right. And so now it’s kind of the same thing. Like, you apply
that logic of, you know, it’s just think about, like, even my stuff today,
if I can get a testimonial from somebody else it’s so much more powerful
than I say it myself, right? I mean, it’s pretty much exactly the same
thing without the illegal side of it. OK. So if I can get, like, Andrew
to talk about my book, right, it’s more powerful than if I stand up here
and do an interview with myself, right, because I’m leveraging your
credibility.

Andrew: Yeah. That’s one of the benefits, by the way, of doing interviews
with people who are new. They are really complimentary because they’re so
grateful to you for even doing the interview and then you end up getting
this really big promotion. In this case I only said it because I freaking
love the book. I think it’s well-written, I like the asides, I like how
you suddenly disappear from the story and go off to tell me another story,
but I don’t want to make this about the book. I don’t want to make this a
promotion of the book. I want to talk about how you got to where you were,
and there’s one other story that I talked about at the top of the interview
that I’d like to talk about here now in more depth, which is the Best Buy
story. You work at Best Buy doing what?

Jeremy: So I worked in the car audio department.

Andrew: Yep.

Jeremy: And home audio too, you know, we both kind of shared both things,
and I’m sure what you’re going to want to talk about is actually the kind
of angle that I discovered and actually-

Andrew: With the speakers.

Jeremy: Right.

Andrew: Yeah. I don’t want to know about how you sold the speakers. I
want to know about the angle you had on selling speakers.

Jeremy: Yeah. So I’m sitting there one day, I actually loved these
speakers but they were $400, and one day I’m , Best Buy used to have a
policy where anything was 5% over their cost, right? Some things in
electronics, these things were marked up a lot, you know, so I’m going
through the manual one day and I stumble across these speakers and I see
they’re, like, a fraction of, and the actual pricing is in the book, but I
think it was something like a third of what they actually were selling for.
So I noticed, like “Wow, this is an enormous market imbalance and I’m
wondering if I could purchase them at my employee cost and then, you know,
have a friend return them, you know, if I could get full store credit of
the $300, you know, what they sold for.” So that was, so that basically
answers your question. I mean, you want me to…

Andrew: So that’s what you did. You got the speakers at the employee
discount rate of $75, you went to a friend who bought the same speakers at
$300 plus and you said “Alright, you have the receipt, or you got this, say
you got it as a gift, take my speakers that I paid $75 for, return them,
get $300 plus from Best Buy, and we can pocket the money” and you did this
10 times until you got caught.

Jeremy: Yeah, I did it a lot.

Andrew: More than ten.

Jeremy: It was actually, like, they, so we didn’t get any cash out of it.
It was just an exchange, right? So, like, I would, like, buy the speakers
at my employee cost, I’d give them to you, I don’t even have to tell you
how much it was, and just say “No receipt, no nothing, take these back,
tell them I gave them to use as a gift, not me, you got them as a gift, and
they’ll give you store credit.”

Andrew: I see.

Jeremy: So, yeah, I did that a lot of times, many, many times, at many
different Best Buy stores, and it worked very, very well. I had the most
pimped out basement ever.

Andrew: So it wasn’t even about the money, it was just about the
satisfaction of having done it and the trophies it seems to me, about, from
having done it.

Jeremy: It was, you know, and the big thing was I got to hook up all my
friends, right? And, you know, I mean, you know, the essence of happiness
which someone, to quote somebody said, you know “The essence of happiness
is really making all of the people you love around you happy.” You know,
it’s really, like, true happiness. And I think, I mean, without getting
all, but that was like an opportunity where I did see an angle and I did
hook up all my friends ’cause I was like “Hey, get me this and you can have
whatever’s leftover to get whatever you want” and so everyone was like
“This is the greatest thing ever.” And, you know, Best Buy didn’t like it
and I got arrested for it and whatnot but was found, well they…

Andrew: Why reveal this? Why start out your autobiography by telling
story after story of the scams essentially that you ran as a kid? Doesn’t
that take away your credibility at the time that you’re about to go after
bigger businesses?

Jeremy: I don’t think so. I mean, all the business that we work with, you
know, now we work with some really big name clients with our new company,
and they know my story. I mean, I’ve gone out with them. We’ve gone out
and, you know, they were kids once too. They made dumb mistakes as well,
and I, you know, I’ve always done very, very well by being brutally honest,
and I think if you’re going to write a biography you, that’s what the point
is, you know? It’s you, you have a unique story, and everyone out there
does, so, I mean, the same things, that’s why the title, Nothing’s Changed
but My Changes, is really, like, I have the exact same mind set and I think
in order to understand how I got to where I am you have to see the pieces
of the puzzle that actually makes my mind tick.

Andrew: But there’s also a benefit to it. Like, if you tell me about a
scam that you pulled we’re in on it together, so now we’ve gotten this
sense of Jeremy being the guy who knows things that other people don’t know
and Jeremy brings me into his world so we’re closer. There’s some kind of
psychology there that you’re playing, that you’re working here. What is
that? Help me understand it.

Jeremy: Yeah, so it really boils down. So let’s take the criminal aspect
out of it, and let’s just look at what it is and what you can learn from
it. So, in the case of the Best Buy thing, simple case of a market
imbalance, right? Just, that’s it. You buy one thing for X, you sell it
for X, there’s a huge gap there. Those things exist every day. I know
people that are buying on eBay Canada and selling on eBay US. I mean, I
know people buying at Slick Deals and selling it in their local Craigslist.
Whatever. There’s a market imbalance everywhere. It’s just seeing the
angle of it.

Andrew: Gotcha.

Jeremy: OK. So that’s a lesson there. If you look at the lesson, again,
with the car stereo deal, that was simply seeing an angle of leveraging
someone else’s credibility, because you’re a 16-year old, and they’re going
to be like, “Uh. If I would have called that in and reported that as
stolen, I would have been the number one suspect, but because these
upstanding people did it…’, and that’s just it. In every one of the
things I talk about, what you can really take away is a lot of… I think
it’s eye-opening. Let’s not think about, I mean, you can take away what you
want. I hope the person takes away from it that, “Wow, that was really
smart. That angle, applied in a legitimate way, is what’s made him so
successful today.”

Andrew: You say at the beginning of your book that you’re a great copy
writer, and you really frickin’ are. I want to know what that is. What can
you teach us quickly about becoming a good copy writer, and I’m
anticipating the response that you might have to me, which is, ‘There is no
simple way. You have to work at it,’ but I’ve got to tell you, in
everything in life, there is a way. If someone were to ask me, “Andrew, how
can I become a better interviewer?” I would tell them, “Think about what
you really need to know from this person who you’re about to interview. Be
really selfish, and you’re going to start asking questions that are useful
for other people. If you start thinking about what the audience is going to
want, you’re always going to get it a little bit wrong.” So, for writing
good copy, do you have a short cut, or, not a short cut. What’s one thing
that you can teach us that works that quickly?

Jeremy: Yeah. I can give you a massive short cut, from my experience over
the years. I have had to work at it and learn over the years. I think a big
thing is that I have no major education in English or writing. If you read
a lot of, even my sales stuff, there’s a lot of grammar mistakes, and it’s
not written perfect, and my sentences run on forever, and what not. But
here’s the basic structure of it. There are three things that I talk about
a lot, and it’s basically the three P’s, that any time you ever write copy
for anything, you have to do. Number one is the pain. You have to make
people feel pain. What are they missing out on? “Right now, you’re getting
ripped off because of x.” Right? Then you have to show them the potential.
You talk about, “What if there was a product that did this? Wouldn’t that
be awesome? And this, and this.” And then you have to give them the proof,
which is, “Well, Jimmy Bob bought it, and here’s what he has to say.”
Again, leveraging their credibility. You never say, “Here’s what it’ll do
for you. Here’s what I’m telling you to do.” You also want to, this is
probably one of the biggest tips, and I don’t know that I even put this in
the book about the copy writing part, but basically, you definitely want
to… people have no attention span anymore. So, if you write a book, and I
had issues formatting with my editor, because she wanted to take out a lot
of the bold and stuff, but basically, you need to be able to skim a thing,
scroll really slowly, and tell everything that it’s about. You do that by
using bold, and using highlighted text, and changing colors, because just
like television, where they switch camera angles every so many seconds, you
have to do that. How do you do that in text? Well, you do that just by
using bold and breaking it up, using bullet points every time you can, and
you just constantly keep mixing it up. Those are the secrets.

Andrew: I see. Camera angles. So, pain, potential, proof. Look for
different camera angles, or the equivalent of them in writing, which is
bold, big letters, bullet points, et cetera, and then there’s something
else, which is storytelling. You are so good at storytelling. As I said,
that’s what I loved about this book. You also said that that’s what helped
you sell, going back even to when you worked at Sears. How? Most people’s
stories, Jeremy, are so frickin’ boring, that once they launch into them,
after two sentences you want to tune away. I always, when I want to tell
stories, I feel like no one’s going to pay attention. They’re going to be
bored by stories. They want facts. They want results. How do I keep my
stories as entertaining as yours?

Jeremy: I think it’s by following those three P’s. When I sold washers and
dryers, the biggest thing was selling what we referred to as ‘the cheese’,
which is the extended warranty. I made ten times more off of an extended
warranty, selling it, than I do the actually washer and dryer. I also get a
big kickback from the credit card stuff, but specifically, the warranty is,
you have to start selling from the story from the beginning. You tell them
this story about, “Hey. I’m just going to tell you, before you even look at
a washer and dryer, I just had this happen to me, where my whole thing
completely flooded, and it was,” you know. You just engage them in this
whole thing, and it could be bullshit. Whatever. This is, as a kid selling
these things. So, they’re automatically envisioning this pain that is
happening to them. You’ve got to be polarizing. You’ve got to reveal some
things about you. If you’re just a normal, you have to give all the
details.

As you know, in my book, there’s not much left, right? That’s, I think, the
big difference. Now, how do you do that in selling a product? I’ll give you
an example, last week, that I sold $30,000 worth of this guy’s product.
What I did was, I said, this is an amazing way to sell a product. I said,
the model forever has been to do this big product launch and all that
stuff. Well, this guy has taken the model from, I don’t know if you know
who Amy [SP] Street is and how they sell music, but basically every time
somebody buys one it increases by a penny. Well, this guy launched a tool
which he sold for $1,000, but he did the same model. So, he charged $9.00
and increased it by a penny every time it goes. So, I just said to my
people, forget about the fact that he sells this thing for $2,000 for a
second. It’s the greatest product ever.

Andrew: What is he selling for $2,000, the tool that allows you to up your
price by a penny every time someone buys?

Jeremy: No. No, that was his pricing …

Andrew: That was his pricing mechanism.

Jeremy: The actual tool suite is a keyword rock star [??]. It makes banners
that look amazing in no time at all.

Andrew: Got you.

Jeremy: You upload and it’s got all these preset things. It does flash
banners, Facebook ads, and it’s just like hit a button, you’ve got all this
stuff, it’s ready to go. Don’t go to the keyword site, but go to my blog
and buy from there.

So, anyway, I tell this magical story about, wow, this model is amazing.
I’m interested to see how he does, but also this is an amazing product, and
you can go here to buy it. Well, I sold like a bazillion of those.
Literally, my commissions were like five figure commissions off of that.
Nobody ever suspected a sale was trying to be made, because I’m telling
this story, and I’m giving value. People were like that is a really
interesting model. Then I followed that up four days later and I said here
are the results from that. I said, look, this thing is priced now at $20.
He decided to freeze it there. He sold well over 1,000, probably closer to
2,000 of his product, but why did he do it? I told this magical story about
why he did it. Well, because the product is so amazing, he’s building value
with people and he knows he can sell them. So, I’m instilling all of …

Andrew: What’s the pain that you started telling, when you were trying to
get people’s attention and sensitize them to their own pain? What’s the
pain that you told?

Jeremy: The pain is how much are you paying a graphic designer to make
these. Look at how much this costs to outsource. How long does it take you
to make these yourself? You’re talking about how much is your time worth,
versus a $9.00 product that’s going to do all of this for you. Again, it’s
envisioning the end goal, not what you’re going to have to do. You don’t
tell them how much work it takes, ever. That’s marketing 101. Nothing takes
work. Everything is just done for you. People are going to think I’m the
biggest dirt bag ever, but I’m just honest.

I sold a ton of them and nobody ever once said, you’re using an affiliate
link, you’re doing this, or you’re doing this. Nobody spotted a rat. I made
[??] good money from it.

Andrew: That was $30,000 from one blog post?

Jeremy: Yeah, blog post and I mailed my newsletter, too, but I got more
from the blog post.

Andrew: How big is your list now? Oh, I’m sorry, go on.

Jeremy: The list is probably, of active people, it’s 150,000 total, but I
[??] a lot. I would say now it’s about 30,000 very active people. People
can have giant lists, but you know, whatever.

The whole thing, the whole pain, and what if there was this tool that could
do it for you, well there is. Here’s what people are saying about it. I
actually made a video of myself using it. So, there’s massive proof. Like,
let me just walk you through how awesome this thing is, and I have to tell
you it’s an awesome thing. So, it’s just like I click a button and
everything is done for you. That’s it, very simple.

Andrew: I see. I’ve seen you do that before actually. It’s just screen
flow. Show your screen, talk, and explain the product.

Jeremy: This method, I’m not even going to name my new company, because I
don’t want people to think I’m plugging that. What I’m doing now is taking
the mentality of how I copy write, how we give value, and connect with
users. My new company does that for big brands. I’m talking big brands that
we do like Blu Electronic Cigarettes [SP]. We have some State Farm
Insurance of Nebraska we’re working with. There are all kinds of companies
that are coming to us for this. We haven’t even marketed yet, because
people know I’m pretty good at what we do, and we’ve sold millions through
email marketing. We know how to build a relationship and sell products
without ever saying go buy this. It’s all through that, giving people
value, pointing out all the press you get, talking about the pain of how
much money you’re losing by not having this product.

Andrew: We talked about the early things that you did to generate money and
to get electronics for yourself and your friends. And then we talked about
Next Pimp. But in between those two there was another business which was
reselling computer parts. Where did you get these computer parts? How did
you get them?

Jeremy: I was lead security engineer for Wells Fargo at the time. Part of
that job was when Wells Fargo would purchase a chain of banks the first
thing is they’d go in and then they’d rip out the infrastructure. Every
must go, right? I would be the person a lot of times that would go and look
at all this equipment and be like, “OK. All this stuff. All this stuff.” I
mean, I’m talking telephones, everything. I’d have to call this company
called Redemtech and they’re still in business. And I got to know them very
well and I said, “What do you guys do with these computers? I mean, these
things can’t be…” I mean, sometimes they were like six month old
computers.

He said, “Well, we have to incinerate the hard drives to Wells Fargo
security standards and all this stuff. And then we sell them by the pound.”
And I was like, “Where do I buy them?” He’s like, “Just on the website.” So
I went on there and I’d buy them and part them out and resell them on eBay.
Sometimes sell them whole and made a huge, huge profit off of that.

Andrew: How much was huge at the time?

Jeremy: It was probably like hundreds of percentage of margin… Some
things I would buy that were a couple hundred dollars and it would sell for
thousands. Some things you’d make like 20-30% margin but most of the time I
was quadrupling at a min… (??) 1:34 my money. So that was very, very
lucrative.

Andrew: It’s a great photo in the book, “Nothing’s Changed But My Change.”
There’s a great photo in the book of you surrounded by computer boxes. You
are fat.

Jeremy: Oh.

Andrew: You’ve got this screwdriver. You are taking things apart and it’s
kind of cool, too, because there’s this sense of this guy who’s making
something, who’s turning this garbage into gold.

Jeremy: Yeah, at that time I was probably in between 420 and 450 pounds.
When you’re that fat there’s not much accuracy on scales. When I actually
had weight loss surgery they were actually measuring… But anyway, so yeah
I’m surrounded. That was my life every weekend. I was such a hustler that I
would sit at Wells Fargo and I would order the computers so that the semi
would be delivered by the time I could bust ass out of there and get to
Omaha, Nebraska. So from Des Moines, Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska, a two and a
half hour drive. I would be there to get the computers, start ripping them
apart. Paid local neighbors to help me rip them apart, part them out, get
them all done, get them on eBay, get them all on the front porch for FedEx
to pick up the ones that had sold the week before. I mean, it was a hustle.
It was a lot of work.

Andrew: How weren’t you embarrassed to be with your wife at the time? The
woman who you ended up marrying?

Jeremy: How what? What was that?

Andrew: Were you embarrassed to be with her? I mean, sexually embarrassed
to be with her but also just like to be a guy with her?

Jeremy: Yeah, I mean, 420 pounds doesn’t give you a lot of confidence,
right? You know, my wife was so intimidating because as a girl when I met
her… In the book it’s really detailed about how I wrote a script that
spammed every girl within a 40 mile radius on Yahoo Dating and actually met
one that about raped me. Which, in a good way if that’s possible.

So it was like that really gave me a lot more confidence but I was like,
you know here’s this girl, she’s beautiful. She’s about to go to residency
for anesthesia. She’s going to make big money. And here I am voted like
Least Likely Ever To Do Anything and it was extremely intimidating
professionally, sexually, every which way. I think I talk about in the bed,
well I know I talk about the first time we got in bed together and we’re
making out and she says, “Do you still have your pants on?” And I was like,
“I do actually.”

Andrew: Because she looked down and she couldn’t see? Or because you were
embarrassed?

Jeremy: It was kind of like a combination of both. I was just so
embarrassed because I was so overweight and didn’t have any confidence at
all that I was just like, “Yeah, not sure how this is going to go.” You
know? It was a… I was a real Casanova.

Andrew: Could you… This is going way too far. Could you wipe your own
butt, or did you need one of those tools?

Jeremy: I could but I had to stand up.

Andrew: Really?

Jeremy: True story.

Andrew: So most guys at that point would be with someone, with anyone who
would take them because they don’t have enough confidence to get the right
girl.

Jeremy: They make tools? They do make tools to wipe your…? Because, I
mean…

Andrew: Yes.

Jeremy: They make tools to wipe your own… That is amazing.

Andrew: People are big.

Jeremy: That was one of the… You know when you lose that much weight, and
I didn’t, I’m sorry to kind of cut you off.

Andrew: Do it.

Jeremy: When you lose that much weight, like 240 pounds, the quality of
life is so different. I mean it’s just, I mean, some people think, like
“Oh, I bet”, you have no fucking clue. I mean, like, everything from, just
everything is such a different quality of life. I mean, just walking down
the street not having people look at you weird. Just, like, getting food
and not having people stare at you. Like, you know, but then also, like,
realizing how to wipe your ass sitting down, like, that’s pretty freaking
cool, you know? I mean, just like, that sounds stupid, but when you lose
240 pounds there’s a lot of different stuff. Being able to run, I mean, I
know you’re a runner, but, I mean, I’m just saying, like, I remember, like,
everywhere I went, I sound like Forest Gump, “I was running” because I
thought it was the coolest thing.

Andrew: You could actually feel how much lighter you are.

Jeremy: I could run like the wind. So, I mean, yeah, go ahead.

Andrew: No, that’s all. So, but what I was going to ask is about that,
that most guys in that situation would have such an inferiority complex
they would date anyone would have them, a girl who’s really not worthy of
them, but who would take them, and then later on when things go well, they
trade up. You were with someone who, I saw the photo, she looks great.
She’s a doctor, a real doctor, didn’t just get her degree online. She is a
personable person. So how did you do that, how, because confidence is a
big part of success, a big part of life and when the evidence around you
says you shouldn’t be confident and you are confident, I want to study
that. How did you do that?

Jeremy: It was, honestly, it was her. I mean, you know, I didn’t have
very many people that believed in me, you know?

Andrew: So what did she see in you that you would believe in?

Jeremy: That was, I mean, we talk about that and I ask her that question
even now, and it’s just like, she’s just like “I just, you were just such a
genuine and loving person and I knew, like, more than anything, you know,
like, you had that.” And she’s like “Those are qualities that people, you
know, like, people meet”, like, I almost used somebody who was close to me
as an example. That would have been really bad. But basically, like,
people meet somebody, right, and they’re an absolute jerk, OK? But they’re
hot, right? You know, they’re very whatever. So they get married and they
get divorced and everyone’s like “Gosh, he was such a jerk” and it’s like
“He’s the same guy you married.” Everyone expects someone to change.
People don’t freaking change, right?

Nothing’s changed but my change, OK? So, but it’s true. Like, you don’t
really change the inner workings of a person. And so when she met me she
was like “I was able to see through all that and I knew that you were a
really good person, a good-hearted person, and you would be a great person
that I’d want to father my children” and at that time I was just like, I
mean, it wasn’t like, it wasn’t-

Andrew: Because you can paint the blue skies, because you can show her
what you can do in the future because you were a dreamer, even back then,
who can show your dreams to her.

Jeremy: Yeah, I mean, she was enthralled by, like, we had such intelligent
conversation and she was just amazed at, like, the shit I would come up
with and the inventions and ideas I had and, you know, just everything
before I even did them, you know? And she was fascinated with a lot of the
different stuff that we could do, so…

Andrew: That’s a really good test, that if you put this stuff out there
and the person tells you, the person you’re interested in, tells you how
ridiculous you are, you’re probably not with the right person. But if they
believe in it in a way that even overwhelms your own doubts then I think
you’re with someone who’s really good for you in life. Alright, so let’s
continue now with the narrative and, actually, we talked about, well, why
don’t we talk just a little bit more about, why am I blanking on the name,
I’m actually looking at my notes. Was it, it was called Auction Ads.

Jeremy: Yeah.

Andrew: Just, you, that was an idea that, how do you sum this up for
people who don’t know it? What’s a simple way to explain it?

Jeremy: Yeah, so think of Google AdSense, the ads on websites, but showing
items on eBay. That’s the-

Andrew: Right. And if I put it up on my website showing items on eBay it
would reflect what was on my site so the ads would be relevant.

Jeremy: Yep.

Andrew: And if someone clicked and bought it I’d get a commission. And
what you did that was different was you gave me the commission quickly,
where if I worked directly with eBay they’d say “Sucka, you’d better wait
60 days because we want to make sure that you’re legit.”

Jeremy: Right.

Andrew: And you can do that. I’m telling your whole story for you. You
can do that because you had a way of sniffing out who was B. S-ing because
you had a, you knew how to B. S. so you knew how to spot the B. S-ers. You
said earlier, and I wanted to get back to it, that you had the idea but you
didn’t see how big it could get. What was missing from you that kept you
from holding onto it, from thinking bigger?

Jeremy: So, yeah, so Auction Ads, I mean within, by the fourth month we
were doing about $2 million a month in revenue and we had 25,000 active
people. It was myself and a $20 an hour programmer, and that was it in the
entire company. And I was working out of my basement. Now anyone in their
right mind would have been like “OK, time to bring in a CEO, maybe time to
raise capital or consult with someone, time to do all this stuff”, and
instead, like, I, it was a confidence thing again, you know? I was just
like “Oh”, you know “Where’s my way out of this?” because my customer
support was basically “If you can’t figure it out you’re an idiot.” You
know, I mean, I would actually respond like that. You know, and so,
basically, I mean, that doesn’t work for a successful company. But it was
growing and it was growing though because, I mean, like I was only in like
part four of my 10 part marketing plan, and when we launched Auction Ads
there was eight other people doing exactly what we were doing but they
weren’t willing and this is a big part of my company motto and myself is
“You have to be willing to do what others are not” and sometimes that’s
ethics, morals, legals, whatever, or just freaking putting it out there. I
mean, like you said, I was paying people net zero when I was, didn’t get
paid for 60 days. So at the end I was floating millions of dollars of my
own money hoping eBay’s going to pay me and hoping I did do all of the
security things right.

Also, a thing I did, I saw an angle of, like “What if we just gave” and
this has been copied a million times sense, and there’s also something I
did with the book that is going to be copied a million time too, but I
basically said, you know “OK, our minimum payout’s $10. What if we gave
our publishers $5 if they signed up and put the code on their website right
now?” because the hardest thing is to get people to change, right? The
hardest thing is to get people to actually do it and put the code on their
website. I knew they were going to make more than they were with AdSense,
OK, but to get people to actually do it. So that’s how we got so many
active publishers is because we did that and, see, the thing was, since our
minimum payout was $10, if this person was a waste of time then we never
had to pay them. If they would make over 10 bucks and our margins were
there and we knew they were going to make up and the sky was going to be
the limit. So there are other things that I did that other people wouldn’t
be willing to do too.

Andrew: And at the time, you just mentioned you were working out of your
basement. I remember reading you back then, I remember reading people talk
about you back then. You were, like, the Richie Rich of the marketing
world. Meanwhile you were in a basement. So how do you project this, were
you just projecting this sense of success that you hadn’t yet lived up to?

Jeremy: I think so. I think it was like almost like a self-fulfilling
prophecy I guess. Like, I had always envisioned, like since I, when I
started making money and starting seeing like “Oh my God, there’s all
these, all these people are doing this wrong”, you know? And like “There’s
so much potential in what these people are doing.” I think, you know,
really I did just kind of foresee, like, a lot of stuff. I’ve made some
big mistakes in the last, like, two or three years. I think a lot of it
was getting out of the basement, right? ‘Cause I thought that’s what
you’re supposed to do. You’re not, you know, you can’t have a legitimate
business and make millions and millions of dollars from your basement in
your underwear. My wife used to say “My husband makes million in his
underwear. Imagine if he put on pants”, you know? But that’s the kind of
thing is, like, you know, my father-in-law is an old-school Wall Street
tycoon. You know, I want to impress him and all these people around me and
I want to have a real business, so I did that.

I hired a bunch of employees that didn’t really do much except, you know,
play Starcraft and shit all day because that was fun and I had all these
streams of revenue coming in. So I basically supported that for years and
kept looking at different things, and so, you know, it’s been a real
experience and education for me to, like, actually learn to run a business,
you know, and that’s one of the things why last year was a very difficult
year and very difficult in actually, like, seeing financials and actually,
like, not just never, I cared about financials. I knew I was bringing in
so much money that it didn’t matter, but last year when my overhead monthly
approached, you know, $100,000 a month it was like “Wow”, you know, like
these streams of revenue I had coming in for the last, you know, since like
2003 from properties I’d set up back then still were coming in. I mean,
they still come in, but they weren’t, you know, I wasn’t doing anything new
and I was paying all these people and I had all this overhead, so, it was
really, I really had to change my model last year.

Andrew: At one point did you control, how much of Facebook ads did you
control at one point?

Jeremy: Oh my gosh. We were doing, we were the biggest and largest
advertiser on the Facebook, on the self-serve Facebook platform. We were
spending $90-$120,000 a day.

Andrew: Running affiliate deals?

Jeremy: Yeah.

Andrew: And? Were you also representing other offers for them?

Jeremy: No, we were, we were spending, I mean we were spending money, to
convert to their offers, and we were doing this mostly through Zeus at the
time who was, you know (?) funded. And so they were doing wires all the
time back and forth because we have to turn around, I mean, when you’re
spending that much money, first of all, my credit card at the time had a
$40,000 limit, so I was prepaying American Express every day, right-

Andrew: So that you can buy ads on Facebook and use those ads to run
affiliate deals for insurance, for Netflix, for whatever you could come up
with.

Jeremy: Yeah. We mostly just completely annihilated the dating industry.
I mean, nobody could compete with us.

Andrew: Because you were buying so many.

Jeremy: Well, we were buying so much and we were running so hard and heavy
that if someone wanted to compete with us, because, I mean, it takes a
while to get it dialed in right? So everyone thinks “I’ll just copy what
he’s doing.” Well, it doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to start, stop
ads. I mean, I have full time employees, like, four full time employees
doing nothing but uploading new ads and starting them in different
countries, stopping them, you know, testing other ones. I mean, there’s a
lot of work. You can’t just copy and paste someone else’s work, because,
believe me, I had people try.

Andrew: But-

Jeremy: I used to challenge everybody. I would be very open, like, people
would tell me I’m crazy because I would open my Facebook account and I
would say “Look, here’s exactly this ad, here’s exactly”, like people would
lose their mind when they see I paid a nickel for clicks on Facebook and
they’re paying $1.50. And they’re like “How the hell did you do that?” and
I’m like “Well, first of all, you’ve got to find a girl with a big rack,
right, who looks like a soccer mom and is like looking over the side, has
got white teeth”, I mean, I could tell you exactly, and it’s funny, people
stole that exact one that I had and I was fine with it because I had
already moved on to some other ones, but I’m like “Here’s exactly what I
did. I’ll show you everything. I’ll show you how much, what territories,
everything.” And I’ve always, I’ve always been open to share things.

Andrew: But I wanted to check on you a few months back to say “Is Jeremy
really legitimate or is this all stories?” because you say in the book
“It’s true if you believe it” so I think “Well, maybe it’s not true. Maybe
he’s just putting one over on me. And I think I’m with him on how he’s
cheating the rest of the world, but he’s cheating me.” No, I talked to a
well-respected entrepreneur, I asked him, he told me a little bit about
your business, but he also mentioned something which I wish I followed up
on which is basically that Facebook gave you their ads for a while, that
you were reselling ads for others.

Jeremy: No?

Andrew: No. Were you placing ads for others?

Jeremy: Well he was saying what, that I was reselling…

Andrew: Ad for, reselling Facebook ads. I wish I could tell you who this
is.

Jeremy: I’m sure what that means. No, no. It’s fine. I mean, I’m not
sure what that means.

Andrew: OK.

Jeremy: I mean, I’m sure I probably was. I’m just not sure what reselling
Facebook ads, like, I was buying other peoples ads and reselling them or…

Andrew: Selling ads on behalf of Facebook. No? OK.

Jeremy: No. I mean, we was, I was on, like, their board where I would fly
in to Palo Alto and we would talk about, you know, like they can help me
spend more money. Now they’re freaking asshole, right, now that they’re
public and you know now they’ve got their exchange and their external
network and everything. Three of my accounts that were spending hundreds
of thousands of dollars a day got banned that haven’t been used for years
all because they had the same credit card on every account, which Facebook
set up for me. Right. OK. Anyway, that’s my little rant on those son of
a bucks.
But, so then a Facebook employee tells me “Oh, just create another
account.” I’m like “Why don’t you just unban the ones I have five years
history advertising on?” “Well, just make a new one.” “OK.” So anyway,
but-

Andrew: And did you?

Jeremy: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jeremy: Oh yeah. I have several accounts. So, you know, we still will do
pay per click, but now we manage other people’s money. And I don’t know if
that’s what they were talking about or not.

Andrew: No. I’ll follow up. You’re going to be back for another
interview, and this time when I talk to people about you I’m going to dig
in. I’m in San Francisco. One of the benefits is we have drinks with
people where they just open up about it. You would be amazed by how much
people will open up about their companies, what their bosses are making.

Jeremy: Why do you take, why do you think I take a lot of our clients,
CEOs and stuff, to strip clubs and stuff? You want to see somebody open
up, take them to a strip club.

Andrew: Oh, even better.

Jeremy: Get them hammered.

Andrew: I had, what is this, Travis, one of my past interviewees sent me
this, what is it, Glenlivett 21?

Jeremy: Very good. Very nice.

Andrew: The really good stuff. I intend to use it here in the office,
bring people in for private conversations.

Jeremy: Very nice.

Andrew: What-

Jeremy: I do want to answer your question though.

Andrew: Oh, go ahead, please.

Jeremy: Because a lot of, like, you tell about, like, you know, market,
you know, basically like you, I want people to make up their own mind, I
just, here’s my experience and here’s my story, right? And even at the
beginning of the book, it’s the first part, I quote, you know Charles
Dickens and I say “I’m not going to tell this story how it happened. I’m
going to tell you how I remember it.” You know, and that’s the biggest
thing is that, you know, feel free to talk to Facebook or any of these
companies and verify everything. Talk to Media Whiz, the company that
bought Auction Ads, you know, talk to whoever, but the thing is, is like, I
want you to take away is like, there’s still excellent value. If
everything was made up, right, there’s so many people, I go to every
conference and there’s so many people that come up to me and they’re like
“Dude, you wrote this one thing and because of that, like, now” and they’ll
bring their kids, “and I brought Timmy and he’s not allowed to come into
the conference but would you mind going outside and taking a picture with
my kid?” I mean, like, ICanHazCheeseburger, which you know Neil and you
know Ben and you know those guys, right?

Andrew: Yep.

Jeremy: So the actual founder’s a kid from Hawaii, came up to me at
PubCon, the founders and said they started that site inspired by my AdSense
track.

Andrew: Oh really?

Jeremy: That’s exactly true. Vaynerchuck used to reach out to me as this
little hustler on (?) all the time: How do I do this, how do I do this?
Let’s take away everything. Say I’m just lying about anything I’ve ever
done and Google’s lying when they put me on stage and all this other stuff
and boil it down to you still have to work. It doesn’t matter in your life
if everything I’ve said is a lie or not, but you still have gotten a lot of
value out of things that I’ve said over the years.

Andrew: Just to be clear, I checked it out and I got some really positive
feedback. We wouldn’t be doing this interview otherwise, so I wasn’t saying
that you weren’t.

Jeremy: That’s what I said. I’m leveraging your credibility.

Andrew: What are you doing with the book that other people are going to
copy? What’s the marketing tactic that everyone else is going to steal?

Jeremy: So I…

Andrew: I’m sorry. One more thing about that. I do check out some people
who don’t check out. And there are people out there who are absolute
scammers, who are so good at promoting themselves, people who get funded,
who investors then have an incentive to promote them the way that they
promote themselves, who claim that they are founders of other companies and
they know they weren’t. I’ve verified it. I’ve wanted to write these posts,
but it’s just not me so I don’t do it but we have to keep checking.
Sometimes they’re wrong, but I have to keep checking so I get it right more
than I get it wrong.

Jeremy: That makes you, you.

Andrew: There are so many people who you think are legitimate who are
faking. They say on their bios, ‘I founded this company,’ and they have the
company name. They’re introduced by investors at investor events. They’re
introduced by conference organizers who have an incentive to promote the
speaker because if they have a great speaker then they have a great event
that people are excited to go see and tell their friends that they saw this
great speaker. And they’re bullshit. Let’s get back to the promotion. What
are you doing to promote?

Jeremy: OK. So, and mark my words, I came up with this. If anyone’s ever
heard of this for a book before, let me know. I told every company. I put
it out there in my list, and I did it in between Christmas and New Year, a
stupid time to do it but the book’s about to come out and I’m sitting there
thinking I wanted to do something marketing-wise that’s going to generate a
lot of buzz. So I put out thing and I said, “If your company sends me
$2500…” At first I was going to sell the book, but then all the royalties
went to Amazon, so then I said, “You send me $2500 and I’ll put your
company and a link to your company’s website in the book.” I had 20
companies do it.

Andrew: So 20 companies gave you $2500 to have their logo and their URL in
the back. How much of that did you get to keep?

Jeremy: It’s all going to charity.

Andrew: It’s all going to charity.

Jeremy: It’s all going to charity. It’s split up between two local Lincoln
charities and the Avon Foundation which is the Affiliate Marketers Give
Back main charity.

Andrew: I see. Is there any promotion on their part, too, that they want to
promote the book because they’re in there?

Jeremy: Well, of course.

Andrew: All right.

Jeremy: It’s such a win-win because they buy a bunch of copies for everyone
in their thing. Think of it as almost like a self-fulfilling thing.
Companies are in there but then they also want companies to know they’re in
there. So they’ll buy a bunch and give them to friends saying, “Look! Here
I am in the back.” So I’ve had a company who’s in the back, Marketing
Ninjas, buy 300 copies. I’ve had Max Bounty, who’s doing… By the way,
this is brilliant, too. I shouldn’t say my ideas are brilliant. It sounds
so cocky.

Andrew: It is.

Jeremy: Basically I said to a company, ‘I’m just going to offer this. You
buy hundreds of copies of my books to give away to Affiliate Summit next
week, I’ll sit at your booth and sign them. The greatest publicity. Their
booth will be the biggest and they were giving them away for donations.
Because it’s for Affiliate Summit’s favorite charity they’re going to want
to help. So because it’s this booth for this affiliate company, they’re
going to email out to all their affiliates “Come to my booth and get
Shoemaker’s thing.” So it’s just there are all these little angles and low-
hanging fruit that people don’t think about. It works every which way for
everybody, including myself.

Andrew: The book is full of these stories. I have them here on the list of
things that I want to talk about but I didn’t get to, so if you guys are
getting the book – and I don’t mean to promote but I’m going to promote it
because I like good stuff. I like good books. Jeremy, one of my other
problems here is many authors have nothing to say. They will puff it out
and I’ll sometimes get sucked into their stories because I agree to do the
interview before I see the book. Then I’ll freak because I see the book,
there’s not enough in there, there’s no real substance to it and I have to
find a way to say no, which hurts me. So when a book is good, I like to
tell the audience that it’s good. The stories that I didn’t get to that I
hope people read are the ones about free SEO report and the one about
standing up on stage and making a sell with an audience member, what you
did with Craig’s List to get a sell within a few minutes.

One final thing, Jeremy. You’re a great salesman. You know Mixergy Premium
has hundreds of interviews with proven entrepreneurs. What’s one thing I
could do to do a good sales pitch right now for it, right at this point of
this interview?

Jeremy: Well, I think people are drastically missing out. They’re
drastically missing out from not hearing from people who have real
experience. You investigate these people. You know these people. These
people aren’t coming on to give a sales pitch or talk about a theory.
You’re the no-spin zone of whatever. So if people want to learn from people
who have real experience and are sharing real stuff, there’s no better
place than from you.

Andrew: All right. I’m going to work on the three P’s, too, on one of my
future promotions for it.

Jeremy: Well, you have to fill in the paint a little bit. What if there was
this guy and all he had was people with experience? Well, that’s here.

Andrew: All right. I’m going to attempt that. I’m going to use the three
P’s.

Jeremy: You’re listening to Jeremy Shoemaker, so there you go. There’s your
proof.

Andrew: Yes. Can I use you as social proof in the future?

Jeremy: Whatever you want to do.

Andrew: I will use you for so many things. All right, my man, thank you so
much for doing this interview. The website is shoemoney.com where you can
find the book and you can see the articles we’ve been talking about and you
can see this interesting post about why a mutual friend of ours apparently
is a loser – Francisco Dao. I wanted to bring that up, but I didn’t get a
chance to. I’ll leave that for people to go see. Do you really mean that?

Jeremy: What? About him being a loser?

Andrew: Yes.

Jeremy: Well, yeah. If you read the post he’s a total. You know the point I
make about it.

Andrew: All right. I’m going to leave that for people to check out.

Jeremy: Yeah.

Andrew: Thank you so much for doing this interview, and thank you all for
being a part of it.

Sponsors I mentioned

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  • Cam

    Lmfao, did he just explain his insurance fraud on Mixergy and then spin it as a lesson?

  • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

    Amazing, I remember reading ShoeMoney’s blog religiously when I started with my first online projects in ’08/09. Thanks for this Andrew & Jeremy! Will get the book :)

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I hope he didn’t feel that he needed to justify anything here.

    I want people to be open. Judgement kills understanding.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Really?! Religious?

  • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

    Yes, ShoeMoney and Joel Comm – don’t judge me ;)

  • http://www.myjobsit.com/ Mike Kawula

    Andrew & Jeremy absolutely Phenomenal! Good Copy is King – Hear it over & over from all your Guest Andrew! This Rocked! Look forward to reading the book this weekend!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jer-Ayles-Ayler/100003197978984 Jer Ayles Ayler

    Simply a wonderful, honest, no-holds barred piece. I only wish the interview was longer. I will get the book. Been following ShoeMoney for years! I’ve been a Premium member a long time as well. “A brilliant” investment if I do say so myself! Thanks, Andrew!
    Jer – Trihouse

  • http://www.facebook.com/jiri.krewinkel Jiri Krewinkel

    Great interview Andrew. I like how you sometimes go into relationships with women and confidence, it would be cool if you maybe went in a little deeper on these topics with male entrepreneurs since it really helps paint a clearer picture of how they view life.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterMoxon Pete Moxon

    Lol, great interview, great story, but the question… Could you wipe you own butt? That is a question for an Out-takes video.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    There are no out-takes on Mixergy. I keep it all in!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    You’ll be shocked by what he reveals in the book.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Over and over and over.

  • eliteearners

    Love how he talked about the WSO! lol – I couldn’t get near the leader board once you mailed! haha

  • http://www.facebook.com/zacjohnson Zac Johnson

    Excellent interview, I was intrigued the whole time. Always great to watch two people I know very well hash it out and share real life stories that inspire all of us! Congrats on both of your success over the years!

  • Zach

    I appreciate openness- at the same time interviewing/promoting a guy who frauded his classmates, frauded an insurance company and then frauded an employer and then says I have always had success with being brutally honest is a joke. I love Mixergy and have been a premium subscriber for I think it is going on 2 years now – but more interviews along this line would have me cancel my membership. I appreciate interviews with people who are working hard to try and build a business and come with lessons to learn – even if I don’t agree with everything they have done. At the same time if a guy’s main lessons to offer are based off of a series of frauds he pulled off- writes a book saying nothing has changed but my change and then wants to promote himself as a guy that adds value and you interview him as someone who has something meaningful to contribute to the entrepreneurial community, I feel like that tarnishes your brand. Other people on here may have loved it, but as a paying customer and fan of yours I want you to hear more than just one viewpoint with stuff like this.

  • http://www.jeffalytics.com/ Jeffsauer

    Put me in that boat as well. He has been a great inspiration to many who were just getting established in the industry

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks Zac, but where’s your interview?

    I’ve known you back in the Bradford & Reed days and you still won’t say yes to an interview? Why not?

  • http://twitter.com/LouisSayers Louis Sayers

    At the beginning of last year I also became a paying subscriber.

    I understand where you’re coming from – no we shouldn’t be idolizing this guy’s attempts at fraud.

    At the same time to not listen to what he has to say and threaten to ‘leave mixergy’ seems to be over the top and closed minded.

    Even if you don’t like what he did, he’s still got things that he can teach us, and it’s pretty amazing that he’s so brutally honest about what he’s done.

    You may not like Hitler either – but it doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a great leader, or that there aren’t things that we can learn from what he did.

  • yaelgrauer

    Hitler was a great leader? Wow. Um, I just don’t know what to say.

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

    Consider his “frauds” as hustle. I bet there are entrepreneurs who you admire who didn’t “confess” their hustle because they might have been at the edge of what’s legal.

    We may have no idea of the less legit things they’ve done but that made them who they are today and we admire them.

    Just think of Richard Branson – he wasn’t paying import taxes for a while and got away with it until he went to jail… :-) But we love the guy, right?

    You’re too righteous. Relax and take the hustle as the main lesson. If you don’t, others will overhustle you. Seriously.

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

    That’s why Mixergy is the real deal, unlike the embellished PR stories.

    I love the way Andrew asks these non-business questions. I really think they add value coz a lot of entrepreneurs starting out may be in really strange and difficult personal situations (I know I was).

    So hearing about someone who made millions while he wasn’t able to wipe his ass that’s pretty damn inspiring. Makes you question: what the hell is holding me back then?

    Thanks for being a great interviewer, Andrew! And thanks for wearing my MTB jersey Jeremy!

    http://www.shoemoney.com/2010/04/16/highball

  • Zach

    You are entitled to your opinion- I am simply voicing that IMO, a guy who seems proud about moving from fraud to fraud to fraud and is featured in Mixergy tarnishes the brand. Where is the line between this and featuring someone who has done well running drugs or sex trafficking, or Bernie Madoff types- isn’t it all just hustle?

  • Zach

    @twitter-18857503:disqus – Like I said before- You are entitled to your opinion. I just wanted to communicate that I have both been a paying subscriber and actively referred Mixergy Premium to several business colleagues. I am not threatening- but am being honest in that the reason I enjoy/pay money to/ and refer Mixergy to others is that I think the interviews provide legit value from legit businessmen. Continued featuring of people like Shoemoney would cause me not to find as much value in Mixergy and I wanted to let Andrew know that. Its not a threat- he can do what he wants to do, I just want to give honest customer feedback.

    Additionally, how do you know he is being brutally honest- his stories go from fraud to fraud to fraud- why do you think he is not frauding with the stories in the book or in this interview?

    I am great with learning from people who are different than me and do things that I wouldn’t do. There are tons of Mixergy interviews like that that I have listened to… but I think at some point you draw the line when what is being promoted is scamming customers, scamming companies, scamming employers etc. I don’t want to waste my time listening to “how to scam stories” I want to listen to valuable input that is going to teach me how to build a business that I can be proud of.

  • Travis

    The “too much information” style of this interview is great! Andrew, thanks for asking the questions that help us get to know, not only the person and his experiences, but his thought processes along the way. (The embarrassing things, the fears, the excitement etc) And then also mixing in strategy (such as the quick copywriting lessons)
    Your interviews are my favorite, and thanks for posting so frequently, thats a big deal.

  • http://twitter.com/LouisSayers Louis Sayers

    yes he was a great leader – he lead a whole country to do terrible things. He was not a great person, but yes he was a great leader.

  • yaelgrauer

    Very unfortunate use of language.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks for being a member. You’re helping to build this site.

    This won’t be the focus of the site you and I are so passionate about, but I’m trying to avoid the MCI problem.

    Around the year 2000, while I admired the cowboys at MCI, the people at AT&T were scratching their heads trying to figure out why they were working so hard and still getting their butts kicked by MCI/WorldCom. In 2002, the same thought occurred to accountants inside WorldCom. At night, they secretly audited their company’s books and discovered fraud. The rest is history.

    Shoe is obviously no Bernard Ebbers, but my point is that we need to know what’s going on inside companies.

    What do you think?

  • http://www.zoomis.com/ Daman Bahner

    Andrew, I’ve got a lot of love for both you and @Shoemoney – but wow! I bow to the balls you had asking some of the questions you asked here. Andrew: “Could you wipe your own ass?”

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks!

  • Zach

    I hear what you are trying to accomplish re MCI. I understand that if we interviewed every founder and they answered honestly, there is probably some grey area in each of their startups- that is what it is.

    Its just that Shoemoney comes off as proud about his history of outright fraud at multiple levels. And while Mixergy is a place where its great to have founders be real about their past and their ups and downs – to me having guys like Shoemoney on is the equivalent of having Lance Armstrong to gloat about how he built his brand on deceit- Just not something I want to listen to, nor the value that I have associated with Mixergy to bring.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks for understanding, Zach.

    I’ll always be curious about non-traditional approaches to business, but this won’t become a site like those affiliate message boards.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/dylan.watkins.9619 Dylan Watkins

    Loved the Interview Andrew.

    Shoe-money doesn’t pretend to be morally perfect (Unlike most politicians)

    So at least we are getting the real him and that is what I tune in for.

    Real stories from entrepreneurs on how the decisions of their past lead them down a road of eventual success…hopefully :-D

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  • Rafael Chaves

    Thanks for ‘saying’ out loud what hopefully many were thinking to themselves. I kept cringing during the first part of the interview hoping at some point it would turn around. It never really did, other for the bit he admits that stuff was wrong. It just made me feel a bit dirty for being an aspiring entrepreneur. It may really be that I don’t have it in me.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Okay. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Grace

    Wow!!! Interesting!!! This guy is awesome. Guys check him out here too… http://bcf5c416j42k6m2hu8f3tl3m5t.hop.clickbank.net/