You know all those impolite things you’re dying to say but hold back because they might hurt someone’s feelings or prevent you from making some business deal?
Timothy Sykes says them…loudly…with a sly grin.
Grab this interview and see how Tim turned that attitude into a $3.5 million a year business that includes a collection of financial sites which spun off of the following he built at TimothySykes.com, his blog and stock-picking site.
(After you watch this interview, go catch Tim’s history on Mixergy: Tim Sykes builds his brand, Tim Sykes insults his customers and hits $1.3 million, and Tim Sykes admits failure.)
Timothy Sykes is an investor who blogs about his trades and teaches investing at TimothySykes.com. You can see some of his products here. He’s also the founder of Investimonials, where you can review anything financial, and of Profit.ly, where you can show your investments as you make them.
You can try Investimonials by rating Mixergy, here.
Andrew: Three messages before we get started. If you’re a tech entrepreneur don’t you have unique legal needs that the average lawyer can’t help you with? That’s why you need Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. If you read his articles on Venture Beat you know that he can help you with issues like raising money or issuing stock options or even deciding whether to form a corporation. Scott Edward Walker is the entrepreneur’s lawyer. See him at WalkerCorporateLaw.com.</div>
And do you remember when I interviewed Sarah Sutton Fell about how thousands of people pay for her job site. Look at the biggest point that she made. She said that she has a phone number on every page of her site, because, and here’s a stat, 95% of the people who call end up buying. Most people though don’t call her, but seeing a real number increases their confidence in her and they buy. So try this. Go to grasshopper.com and get a phone number that will make your company sound professional. Add it to your site and see what happens. Grasshopper.com.
And remember Patrick Buckley who I interviewed? He came up with an idea for an iPad case. He built a store to sell it and in a few months he generated about a million dollars in sales. Well the platform he used is Shopify. If you have an idea to sell anything, set up your store on Shopify.com because Shopify stores are designed to increase sales. Plus, Shopify makes it easy to set up a beautiful store and manage it. Shopify.com. Here’s your program.
Hey there Freedom Fighters, my name is Andrew Warner, I’m the found of Mixergy.com. Home of the ambitious upstart, the place where proven entrepreneurs come to tell you how they did it. So, big question for this interview is, what do you do if you’re in a profitable business that doesn’t seem to scale?
Last time Timothy Sykes was on Mixergy he talked about how blogging, well blogging about stocks, brought him over $1.3 million in 2010. But he also admitted that he had a bunch of failures and he realized that blogging doesn’t scale and he tried to branch out into other sites including Investimonials and Profit.ly. I invited him back to find out how 2011 turned out for him and to see what he learned. So, Tim, welcome back.
Timothy: Thanks for having me!
Andrew: Last time we did the interview around this same time of year and announced your previous year’s revenues. Can you give the similar announcement today? How much money did you generate in sales in 2011?
Timothy: Yeah, I’m proud to say we nearly tripled all the way up to $3.5 million for 2011. So it was a very much needed growth period because I don’t like staying constant, that’s just boring to me.
Andrew: And profits?
Timothy: Profits of about 1.5 million. So, the margins have dipped a little bit. But now, you know, 2010 was a kind of disappointing year where I tried to grow these free websites. And 2011, the first half was pretty much all free and it was kind of steady all the way up until summer, and then we started launching premium services on top of those free websites. So it took a little while but now we have a scaleable framework and profits are on the rise, so. I’m here to kind of, I don’t know….
Andrew: See how it happened.
Timothy:….inspire all these people that think that there’s no hope with free websites. So it’s not just yourself.
Andrew: So last time you told me 1.3 million in revenue and 1 million profit. You said it’s a high margin business. Now it’s 3.5 million and 1.5 million profit. Margins have taken a hit, but overall growth is up. You also told me before we started the interview that you were depressed last time you did the interview. The headline on that interview, was, do you remember what it was?
Timothy: It was like, Mr. Confidence has lost his confidence or something like that.
Andrew: Yeah, you are the guy who when I think about who is super confident, you’re the guy who comes to mind. Because you’re confident, you take people on online, you tell them that you know what stocks are going to fail. You take on these big CEOs. Even in private e-mail conversations you take them on. I’ve sent you e-mails that I’ve, e-mail exchanges that I’ve had with entrepreneurs who are running penny stocks, and you fought them kind of in the e-mail. So you take on everybody and here you were. Tell me, were you really depressed or were you just putting on a show for entertainment?
Timothy: First of all, shout out to Sanjay Sabnani who refused to debate me when I said that his stock was a pump and dump. His stock is down 90%. So suck on that, Sanjay. Second of all.
Andrew: This is a past Mixergy interviewee. That’s one of several who you’ve said I will do an interview with you on Mixergy, and none have taken you up on it.
Timothy: Well, because they’re pump and dumps. That’s why they can’t debate me. I got a cease and desist in the last year from Justin Bieber’s company. That stock is down 90% plus. I took on Bieber, I was on the front page of MSN for that. No, but, taking on people that’s not what I live for that’s just kind of what seems to happen.
I was depressed because when you make a million dollars a year, pretty much out of the blue, which is now what I’ve done for the second time in my life. You think the sky is the limit and now for the second time in my life, after you make a million for, this time… I’ve been making like a million dollars each of the past few years but it hasn’t been growing and I’m working my butt off. You can compare my face to last year and it’s gotten fatter. I just started getting healthy again.
This whole interview should be about scale and its really amazing just like Sanjay Sabnani’s company CrowdGather, he was on your show and when I was calling it a pump and dump his revenues were up like 300% year over year and he’s like were going to take over all the online forums it’s going to keep growing. Now if you look at his latest earnings, they’re flat and they’re not even earnings, he loses nearly a million dollars a quarter but the revenue growth is flat and that’s what happened to me in between the last interview where yeah, I’m making a million a year, but there’s more to life that just making a million a year and working 18 hour days every day.
So it took me a little while but I think I’ve discovered what that is and that’s basically taking advantage of the internet. The affiliates, the fact that so many people want to get in on this, you can’t just be a one man show anymore. It’s kind of like early in the hedge fund there were one man hedge funds that everyone was like wow, he’s managing a billion dollars out of his apartment. The hedge fund world has gotten institutionalized, which is better for the markets and I think that’s what’s happening with the internet too where you can just be a one man shop anymore. No offense to you.
Timothy: So I actually don’t know what happened with Sanjay’s company so I had no background on it, but I do know that basically what you do online is take on companies the way that you just talked about Sanjay’s company, you take on industries, you take on trends and you also teach. Where does the revenue come from?
Yeah! So you know I mean the big thing that my number one customer acquisition method is calling a company like a scam or a pump and dump, or basically pointing out all these red flags that the company doesn’t want you to know it. I deal with public companies like Sanjay’s CRWG you can pull up a stock chart, it’s hideous. I did it with Justin Bieber’s company. I do it with private companies, I took on Kevin rose in Digg, and I called Digg a pump and dump, and I was right about that unfortunately. Did I just lose sound?
Andrew: For people who don’t know Tim Sykes, where does Tim’s revenue come from? What are you selling? Where’s the money coming in and then I want to know why you took the risk that you took last year that made you a little depressed as you discussed here, and then how you shot the business back up? You were saying to me a lot of people in the audience probably have business’ that aren’t scaling, aren’t moving past a certain number. We’re going to tell your story so that they can learn how they can move past that whatever that wall is, whatever that ceiling is. But what are you making money on?
Timothy: Yea so, I mean I always make money trading; I’m still the number one ranked trader out of 60,000 on Covestor that’s what drives everything. But at first I was just selling DVD’s, and DVD’s they got torrented. The only time that I would really have a big DVD sale was when I would discount 50 to 75 percent that got old very quickly. Soon I moved into newsletters and I started with one newsletter, just basically saying my trade alerts and my watch list. Then I took another step and I created video lessons so now I have over 500 video lessons. That’s 99.95 a month as opposed to 49.95 a month.
And now I do webinars and I do private coaching so now I sell stuff all the way from 50 dollars a month all the way up to 1500 dollars a month if you want really intense private coaching. I always do seminars, but now in the last year the difference for between 1.5 and 3.5 million is basically two things. Number one I never really got along with the whole affiliate world, because a lot of their stock stuff is just scams, like the 4x stuff is all scams. Terrible reviews terrible performance, I can’t promote that. I wanted them to promote me, but in the affiliate world you have to promote them, and they promote you back and I refused to do that.
Luckily, I found a savior, his name is Frodo of Wealth Insider Alliance, and I call him Frodo because he has little pointy ears, but his real name is Jason Cox. And he has his whole affiliate network and so he manages my penny stock newsletter, which is a longer term newsletter which I tried to do on my own but couldn’t. But with the support of affiliates, it did over a million dollars in sales in 2011, which is awesome. I take a much smaller cut because you have the affiliates and then also Profit.ly which in 2010 when we created it, it was basically just a website to report your trades, you know transparency and all that crap. 2011 we turned a premium all the people who were the best traders we began creating premium newsletters around.
Just modeling my own success with others and we’re crowd sourcing for other guru’s and now the reason why we delayed this interview a few days because we had a huge sale at the end of the year in first two weeks of January. We are doing nearly 300 thousand dollars a month all of a sudden managing other peoples and taking a cut because we know how to market. We know how to manage and do customer support.
Andrew: Wait, last year 2011, what portion of your revenue came from you personally selling educational products and alerts on what stocks to buy and sell and what portion came from Profit.ly where we will talk in a moment about what that is?
Timothy: So, Profit.ly just ramped up in October, November and December. So I think we did close to a million dollars in three months. Maybe like 750 thousand, so, the biggest thing . . .
Andrew: So 25 to 35% comes from non-Tim Sykes products?
Timothy: Yes, correct. But now in January we are already in the first two weeks of this year, Profit.ly is two thirds because we have done nearly 200 thousand dollars in two weeks and 150 thousand of that is from Profit.ly.
Andrew: Let’s slow this down and just go step by step into what happened and how you made a business. I’m watching on the outside or if person who is listing to us watching on the outside and revenues are flat and they are getting frustrated and they don’t know what to do. I want them to learn from your experience.
So, one of the things that you said that you wanted to do was take this big audience that you had and this mailing list that you had and this credibility that you had in this space and to create different websites that would run without you. One of them was Investimonials, where people could basically rate in a very, yell in a not calm like way, financial institutions, financial products I’m guessing, everything that’s related to finance. The other one was Profit.ly, which is like twitter for the stock trades that people made. Let’s talk about Investimonials. What did you do with Investimonials?
Timothy: Absolutely nothing. That’s on to do list of 2011. What I see it becoming, you know it keeps getting more and more reviews. It gets 2,000 unique visitors a day all from Google SEO. We have nearly 20 thousand reviews on financial products. So, we keep adding products, we keep adding reviews. No monetization, we make like 5,000 dollars a month. So it’s like Mixergy.
Even Mixergy is doing more.
I’m sorry I know.
How sad is that. So but, . . .
Timothy: You went premium, I’m proud of that. That’s awesome, you deserve it. All this stuff shouldn’t be free. People have been taking advantage of you. I don’t like it.
Andrew: They are very supportive right now. And you’re right, I’m glad that I went premium. So, what you did if I understand you right, you said look, I have too much going on to focus on Profit.ly, Investimonials and more products for timothysykes.com so I am just going to say that Investimonials will run on your own for awhile and accept the advertising revenue that comes in but I’m not going to spend more money hiring developers, fixing and rethinking the product.
Instead, you spent time, I see you nodding so that’s true, instead you spent some time on Profit.ly. Last time that you and I saw each other in person you were driving through DC. We got together for dinner. We drank a little bit and you said I am driving all the way down to Florida and I am going to talk to this developer who I am working on Profit.ly with and we are going to figure out a way to make this work. What did you do to make Profit.ly work?
Timothy: So, that’s exactly true. I have too many companies; you can’t focus on everything all at once. Investimonials is more of a long-term play, SEO play. Profit.ly, I was driving down to Florida to meet my programmer, Mike Mosseri and I gave him 45% of the company. And I said just program your little Jewish, Egyptian butt off. So, I actually moved in next door to him, two doors down.
He’s newly married, his wife, I apologize Courtney, congrats on your upcoming baby, his last name is Mosseri, and I wanted to name him Moses Mosseri but she’s not liking it. I basically moved down there for three months, and we created all this stuff with Profit.ly. We intended to actually just sell data. Where you upload all your trades and we will point out what day of the week are you best at trading, what time, what’s your ideal position size. We basically data mine. So that was the first premier product we created. We have a few hundred people but it never really took off. So, another time I drove for like two months. I like driving, it clears my mind.
Andrew: Before you go to the next time that you drove up, why didn’t that take off as an idea?
Timothy: I think it is just because most people don’t have enough trades. My main customer base, they’re just getting into trading. They hear my story about turning a few thousand into a few million. This product is very useful, you have analytic galore. I learned that I should only be trading four months out of the year. The rest of the time I actually stink. It’s very useful but you need to have thousands of trades. I don’t think people are there for it yet and we haven’t really been great at attracting really veteran traders. They are not into the social media yet. We have kind of pushed that aside and I went driving again, kind of soul searching and we started saying we have all these people uploading their trades, some of them are very good. Some of them have turned a few thousand into a few million. I met with these guys, Biorunup [sp] both working normal jobs. One guy’s a pharmacist, one guy’s a cop. Both of them are trading part-time. Each of them turned a few thousand into over 200,000 in a few months. We said, look, let’s create products around you. So I created DVD’s around them, didn’t really take off. But now, I had an epiphany. Like let me create my timothysykes.com kind of guru model around other upcoming gurus who have….
Andrew: But part of that is. And by the way, what was the model. The model was some kind of hip hop reference when you had, when you were trying to figure out how to go from being a one man operation to being a leader of others. What was the model? Who was the guy who you were modeling yourself after?
Timothy: So, you know Jay Z or Doctor Dre, where they both started as rappers. One actually started out as a crack dealer. But rappers turned producers turned product manufacturers. Doctor Dre, obviouly with his Beats audio became huge, and Jay Z now does everything. So that’s kind of the model. And I think that many traders and stock market people, and anybody, like, you solidify yourself as an expert in a category, and then you start trying to take on other products.
No longer do you just need to get sponsored. The previous model was, okay do very well and get sponsored and have logos all over your fucking clothing and your car and stuff like that. You don’t need to do that. In this world, you can actually create your own products. And you learn from what you do. Like, as a guru I’ve always had problems hosting a trade, sending out an e-mail, sending a text message, then an IM and in the chat room and on Twitter. I used to have to log on to five different websites.
So on Profit.ly we created a back-end for gurus so that with one click you can spread out all of your information and you don’t have to…
Andrew: Well, why didn’t videos work? You know, theses guys are the best within Profit.ly. They’ve got a good reputation. You have an audience that you can send to them. You’re getting a cut of their sales. Why didn’t videos work? That’s what worked for you, isn’t it?
Timothy: But you see the internet evolves. It’s just like my own DVD sales have dropped dramatically. DVDs aren’t the future. The future is premium content and subscriptions and recurring billing. So I kind of made the right step in managing other people. I made the wrong step in focusing on the DVD. So now we’re managing this other guy saying, Lucci, he trades options. He turned 5,000 into 2 million. We have a newsletter, boom he’s our first guy. He goes from making $3,000 a month over $30,000 a month while we’re managing him and his life is easier, he doesn’t have to do customer support.
Now we just launched this guy, PriPromo. He’s an ex-stock promoter. I used to hate him. And guess what? He went from making $10,000 a month to now $60,000 a month. So we’re taking these little brands and just making them bigger because I have experience now. I have four years as a guru. So we own the product. We take a piece of the “rappers, the stars” and we’re like Def Jam records and Beats Audio all combined.
Andrew: I see. So you just realized that the product can’t be videos because people aren’t buying videos, they’re torrenting [SP] it and getting it for free. Instead the product has to be these e-mail newsletters where they have to be timely. If you’ve gotten it from a friend by the time you got it from a friend, it’s too late because the trade is gone.
Timothy: That’s it.
Andrew: And if one of these guys tanks it’s fine because you have another guy out, because you have a big line up of people.
Timothy: Yeah, and so we created the fastest software out there. So you get e-mailed and alerted text, IM, all sorts of ways, so we’re just the most efficient software out there for anybody alerting.
Andrew: Does Mike still get, what was it, 45% of your business?
Timothy: 45%. You know, I made the mistake with Investimonials. I only gave the programmers and the marketers like 10 and 5% because I was like, no I’m going to be a greedy Jew. And with Mike I was like, you know what, Investimonials didn’t really take off so let me give him a huge chunk of the company and we’ll make it work. I still have majority control but now he’s so invested and he’s been an amazing programmer and partner.
Andrew: So you also told me last time that the people that you hired to take over and to code up your site just weren’t invested emotionally in the business. They weren’t really producing. What did you do beyond giving Mike money? What did you do to make the site work? I mean, what am I trying to figure out? How the product evolved, how you guys created the product? Did you guys use the lean start up methodology to create it? Do you just throw crap on the wall and see what works? Do you create gold and then if nobody likes it, you create another product that you feel like that is gold?
Timothy: Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t money. I mean, Profit.ly wasn’t earning money at all for, I mean he has 45% of the company. But what’s 45% of a company that makes no money?
Andrew: What’s the process that you guys went through to develop the software is what I’m trying to ask.
Timothy: So the step one was creating the data. When that failed with our launch we kind of said, what else do we have? Then, we started going into other gurus. So we had multiple ideas when we built the website, and we kind of refined them and we went with what works. And now with the gurus, just launching one guru every few weeks, it’s working far better than I ever hoped.
But, you know, the biggest thing was me going down there, spending three months in Boca f***ing Raton, Florida. Which I’m not a fan of, I’m sorry. But you know that, right next to him, every day 9:00 until 9:00 at night. His wife getting angry, his dog barking up a storm. You know, that showed commitment. And that showed that I was committed to this company rather than just timothysykes.com or Investimonials. So you need to show a time commitment and a percentage commitment.
The money doesn’t have to come right away. The money helps now but even now I’m always bugging him and it’s not the same since I’m up in New York and he’s down in Florida. So in a perfect world he comes up to New York. But now, he forgot to wear a condom and his wife is pregnant.
Andrew: Why do you . . . [laughs]. I love the Timothy Sykes attitude and I know my audience does, too. People were raving about it. There was one interview where you called your customers idiots. And people were raving about that interview and the attitude that you expressed in there. And I just can’t help smiling every time you throw out one of these bombs in these interviews.
Tim: Well, you have to be honest. A, it’s fun; B, it’s true; and C, if you’re dishonest, you’re like one of these fake affiliate people being like, ‘Oh, so nice to meet you.’ Do you notice how polite people are on social networks? It’s because they were f**king losers in high school and they’ve never had any friends. And this is their first time where they feel powerful. And guess what? Those are the most manipulative sons of b**ches because they are bitter. They are bitter about their whole life.
Andrew: And so they’re nice in public but they’re bitter and back-stabby.
Tim: And they’re manipulative and dangerous. So, I don’t know if you know, I ended up suing Stocktwits. Because Howard Lindzon, I was a big fan of his Darch and I sold him Chartley for Stocktwits and I was an investor in Stocktwits. And he just turned out to be manipulative, unethical, and just a bastard. And if you look at his reputation online it’s great because he’s so cheery. But you have to watch out for those cheery people.
So I’m never going to make the mistake. If you know, if you see what I am, you know I’m going to tell the truth, you don’t want to f**k me over. Because I will write a blog post. And I’m writing a long blog post about Howard Lindzon exposing how unethical he has been with us.
Andrew: I got a note here to talk to you about Howard Lindzon. As long as you brought him up, let me ask you this, in this context. What about this? You’re not part of the club of entrepreneurs, of people who talk to each other, who give each other inside information, who help each other out.
Because you’re the guy who calls people out, because you’re the guy who’s going to rant about Howard Lindzon and be as open in public as you can, you’re not going to enter that club where they take care of each other. And you’re going to be on the outside where they work together to get you. And I don’t know what’s the situation with Howard Lindzon. We’ll find out. But in a philosophical way, aren’t you doing damage to yourself by being this way?
Tim: Yes. I was just on the phone the other night. I went to the Tim Ferriss conference and I got into a kind of squabble with one of the attendees. And everyone is so polite and here I am coming in. We talked, we worked it out. Tim Ferriss has a great brand. All the people that came to his conference, they were great. But I’m not afraid to go up against this and I never have. So, yes, I’m hurting myself by not being in the club. But I think that there needs to be more people who go against the grain.
You know, if you look up short selling penny stocks, most people think it’s fraudulent or illegal. I’m the only one who has done it and who has promoted it. You have this whole group of maybe 300 or 500 stock promoters and people like Sanjay, a CEO saying these companies are great. Then if you look at the statistics they’re just wrong. And no one is taking the other end because it’s not fun to be alone and you do want to be in the club.
I invested in Stocktwits because there were over two dozen financial bloggers and I wanted to be in the club. And I was, temporarily, until they f**ked me over, and then I realized the club isn’t what it’s supposed to be. You know. It’s not a real club. It’s a fake f**king club and that’s why I have to be this way. I want to be popular but I’d much rather be honest. And that’s what I am.
Andrew: Let me put this out there. I don’t know what’s up with Sanjay. But I’m going to open this up to him and any penny stock entrepreneur . . .
Tim: He’s just one example. He’s one example out of hundreds of punks.
Andrew: So let me say this. Any stock entrepreneur who Tim Sykes has ranted about, has criticized publicly, whatever, if you want to come on here, I would love to have you and Tim, open invitation, you and Tim coming on and talking about what he wrote. Because I would like to see what response they have to the accusations you make about the way that they, as you say, pump and dump their stocks.
Tim: They won’t do it. They’ll have to go to jail. They can’t admit guilt, you know. They’re going to take the fifth. Sanjay’s company CrowdGather, it’s a fine company. They have forums, right? They manage lots of forums all over the internet. Unfortunately, the ads suck. And somebody, we don’t know who, spent over half a million dollars sending out promotional e-mails that basically lied saying they were the next Twitter, that they were going to get acquired by Google and Yahoo, that they were going to take over discussions. So when you have these lying propaganda piece of s**t e-mails, it’s impossible for Sanjay to admit his knowledge of it, his involvement in it. And, you know, this happens time and again. So any time you have these promotional e-mails that are full of lies, it’s so easy . . .
Andrew: He had a good response. And I forget what it was, via e-mail. If he or anyone else wants to have that conversation publicly, I’d love to have them come in and openly invite them here, but this does hurt you. What’s the deal with Howard Lindzon?
Timothy: So sold them Chart.ly. Adarsh and I were stupid Internet entrepreneurs. We didn’t just license in the technology or anything, we just saw Chart.ly as where you can upload charts to Twitter. We got a TechCrunch article right away. The traffic was just soaring. The bandwidth was soaring because people are uploading these giant picture files and we were just like wait a minute, this whole business model, they’re just going to upload shit loads of pictures and we didn’t have any VC background or anything.
I was an investor in StockTwits so I was like hey, let’s sell it to StockTwits and so we did and we kept 50% of the revenue and over 2-1/2 years or 2 years we got paid about $800 in revenue and I was like, how is this possible? Chart.ly is 30%, or now it’s down to 20%, but it’s a sizable position in this StockTwits, which is very popular and the answer is that they never went premium.
They wanted to create a whole free network and basically he tried to buy us for $6000. He said look, this company will never make any money, we’ll buy you out for $6000. I said fuck that, StockTwits is getting valued at $20-30 million. We’re 20-30% of your company’s traffic and you’re going to try and buy us out for $6000? So we sued him and I settled the lawsuit. This is the only reason why I can talk to him because they settled for $40,000. I spent basically $45,000 in legal fees. I’ve got so much stuff going on. I don’t want to waste my time with [??].
Andrew: What’s the mistake that you made? Beyond if you might tell us that it’s making you deal with Howard Lindzon, but what could someone else who is facing this kind of a sale to someone like Howard Lindzon do to protect themselves?
Timothy: Have more confidence in your product. When something takes off so quickly you’ve got to say you know what, this has a chance at becoming one of those Internet superstars. Most software, most tools don’t have that chance, but when you have such an initial positive reaction, go for it. And it’s the same thing with Profit.ly, like we didn’t have that initial reaction with the data set, so we still sell it, but we don’t really promote it. We had a huge reaction to managing other gurus, so we went with it.
Andrew: So you’re saying, don’t look for the sale as some kind of nirvana that lets you cross a finish line, it’s not necessarily that. What about this though? Chart.ly, you guys sold it before you even built it. Howard Lindzon or StockTwits had the right to take it over before you guys even built it, so it’s not like you built it, it was successful and you said what do we do now? Do we run it ourselves or sell it?
Timothy: So I pitched it to him in his office in Arizona and we built it and we made the mistake of them owning the URL, so he’s like yeah you can take it, but we own the Chart.ly name. It was just supposed to be a closed partnership and once we got to know how Howard operates where, it’s not just me, he screwed over multiple people. Wait for this blog post. It’s going to be exciting. I have to get it reviewed legally though.
Once you have a really bad relationship you’re kind of screwed and then the question is how do you get out of it? How do you get what you think you’re entitled to? I thought Chart.ly was worth several hundred thousand to several million and multiple lawyers agreed that Howard definitely did not act in good faith, so it’s a good faith provision that’s tough in court.
He’s got $8 million in funding, he’s got rich people. I just don’t have time to deal with that, so I had to focus and cut my losses, just like a trade. Chart.ly is a great product, he’s done great things with it, but he should add a premium product and he doesn’t want to because he wants to pitch StockTwits as the Facebook of finance and it’s very manipulative. He says that he has hundreds of thousands of users.
In my blog post I’m going to show that no, they probably have about between 20-30 thousands users, but they’re using Internet marketing tactics. That’s what I hate, when stock market people, Internet people, affiliates, they use these tactics and they try and hide the truth.
Andrew: What do you mean? I understand if you’re saying he has a big audience, but he’s not monetizing it because he doesn’t want to sell premium products to them, he wants to sell advertising against them. I understand that, but you’re smiling, what?
Timothy: Well here’s the thing. Remember when Twitter first launched they had like a little Twitter ad box in the top right-hand corner and it promoted certain Twitter things.
Andrew: Certain Twitter tools.
Timothy: Projects. Right. So StockTwits was one of them. When it was up there it was getting 1000 followers a day. I know, I was an investor and it was great, but it wasn’t real people that were interested, they were just clicking anything on Twitter. So now StockTwits has 150,000 users, but they’re not actual users, they’re just followers.
Andrew: Just Twitter followers.
Andrew: Oh, I see.
Timothy: Yes, and you can [??] that are followers to, and so in every interview he says we have a community of over 100,000 people and that’s bullshit and it kills me because I pride myself on honesty. And if you do have a community of 100,000 users, we don’t even have that. Profit.ly only has 10,000 users, and we’re doing, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. Stock Twits, I’m outside of the club now, so I don’t know how much they’re doing. But I can tell you, they don’t have the numbers that they claim. And they’re using internet vernacular. So they’re saying you know, number of users, so if they can quote that to Bloomberg or somebody it makes it look like they’re popular, but we as internet marketers know the truth. It’s just Twitter followers. It’s not actual users.
Andrew: What about this. If you are in the club and you’re not the guy criticizing the club. When they’re looking to buy someone out just to give the impression that they have a bigger audience, they buy one of the club members. If you’re in the club then they help you out in other ways. You’re not getting any of that. You’re saying, screw that I’m going to go for profits, I’m going to go for my won products, I’m going to piss on them.
Timothy: Yeah, and it’s kind of scary but it’s kind of cool too. Because you know, I do know that my company is so profitable and I know that now. You know, for a while they could just dismiss me like, oh he’s that kid who makes a million a year. Maybe he’ll go to a million and a half. Now I have a scaleable model and I’m saying watch the fuck out. Because 2012, you know, we could do 10 million in sales and 3 or 4 million in profits and then it’s like, oh wait a minute anybody can be a guru. And now we start ideally pulling people away from the shady trading industry.
You know, in the stock market people are very kind of introverted. I was introverted before I had a reality show. Now I’m working on another show, A&E, so this could be get, could be pretty interesting now. And it’s exciting to change industries. You know, fuck being bought out. I have enough money. All I do is spend money on sushi and wine anyways. You know, in the….
Andrew: What else do you spend money on? Are you dating? You’re in New York. Don’t even flip the camera because I love the angle, you’ll show your apartment. I knew you were going to.
Timothy: That’s Central Park.
Andrew: That’s Central Park.
Timothy: And it’s very nice. I don’t spend a lot of money. It gets old. Remember I’ve been a millionaire for nearly a decade now. I’ve had phases where I spend. I traveled. You know in 2010 I was overseas for nine months. I still made a million dollars.
Andrew: You had a girlfriend back then. Now you’re single in New York City with a hot apartment and a steady profit margin. You’re not enjoying it?
Timothy: Oh, I’m definitely enjoying it. I’m enjoying the quest for building a beautiful product in changing industries. There’s something that can be said about changing industries and trying revolutionary things and making lots of people’s lives better. Sure I’m going to take a profit, sure I’m going to enjoy my life. But nothing drives you more than the quest. And I think there’s a lot of people out there that, whether you’re a musician or an artist or in finance or a writer, you want to change industries. I know from, like, just so many people that I’ve met at different conferences, these are the truly passionate people. And so it’s like, do I really want to sell out? What would I do with like if I had like $50 million? I’d be bored. I want to matter and I want to create useful products and it’s a great feeling. It’s much better than money.
Andrew: I remember when I lived in New York City I’d see these guys that were doing well with their businesses and they’d tell me that over the weekend they’d go horseback riding and like race Jay Z or someone of that caliber. Or they would at night take a girl to their house in the Hamptons and light up the fireplace and enjoy the fact that they’re on the beach, or whatever the hell it was. You don’t do any of that?
Timothy: I mean, I definitely splurge, sometimes.
Andrew: How. We’ll get back to your story in a minute. But let’s just show that there’s some kind of fun in Tim’s life beyond chasing these guys.
Timothy: So I threw a party for my Vegas conference. We had nearly 200 people sign up this year for Vegas. And you know, it was a typical conference. We had 12 speakers, everyone sharing their trading strategy. And I was like, you know what, fuck it, it’s Vegas. So I set aside pretty much all the profits from the conference which was about $30,000 and I threw a party. So I threw a $30,000 party and that was my biggest splurge lately, and it was fun. It was very fun, everyone had a great time.
Andrew: It’s still work related though. There was nothing crazy non-work like.
Timothy: We had pictures and video but the conference attendees made us delete some of them. So there’s no visual proof that this happened. You know, everything does come down to work related. Now I’m working with this broker called SureTrader down in the Bahamas. So I’m going down to the Bahamas in a few weeks. You know, work for me is what I love. I still go to Sushi Asuda, Sushi of Gardi, I love sushi. I’m over the bottle phase.
I don’t care if I race Jay Z. I met him, he’s a nice guy, but you know, I don’t like fast cars, I don’t like danger. So you got to choose what you want in life. You know, I’m liquid. I don’t know real estate. So if any of you people have any interesting start ups, send them my way. I’ve started investing in other start ups, scambook.com, saveacall.com. So you’ve got to do what you….
Andrew: What does rent on your apartment go for?
Timothy: $6300 a month.
Andrew: $6300 a month, oh that’s not too bad.
Timothy: For a thousand square feet. Well, I go between New York and Connecticut. All the offices are in Connecticut. We’ve increased staff from just. We had five people…
Andrew: You know what though? I’ve got to tell you, I used. I remember when my parents used to have Thanksgiving dinner with all my relatives and I had no interest in any of the conversations that were going on there. And I said, what the hell am I going to do with my life. I would drive out, right outside of where your apartment is right now, I would look up at the buildings and I would think, screw it, I’ve got to build something big. I’ve got to be in this game with those people who are living up there, and you’ve got that apartment right now.
Timothy: so I’ve got a great deal. But let me just you somebody who doesn’t have a great deal. Ow, you can’t see it maybe, it’s dark out. But right there, one of these buildings. Wait, that one. There’s an heiress and she just paid $88 million for that place. So I’m in like this awesome place, I have this awesome deal, I’m never going to leave this place.
Andrew: Is it rent controlled?
Timothy: No, it’s just old. You know, did you ever see Wall Street or Wall Street II?
Timothy: You know, remember the real estate broker lady who’s selling stuff to Charlie Sheen and she’s in the second one. She’s like, I can get you a better one on the…
Andrew: The smoker.
Timothy: She lives in this building.
Andrew: Hooooo, cool.
Timothy: She’s still alive. She’s so old, like, you know. And so there’s definitely older people. I’m not in the cool $88 million dollar penthouse, but I have the same view as them. So I’m just getting a better Jewish deal.
Andrew: All right, let’s continue with the narrative because I drive people crazy sometimes when I get off base, but I’ve got to find out about your personality. I’ve got to find out about what’s going on in your life. And if I can sneak a peek behind the scenes then I want it. I want to know how much your rent is, I want to know how much your t-shirt costs. Everything I can.
Timothy: This was a James Purse sale, I got it for $95. It should be $165.
Andrew: All right, so.
Timothy: No transparency, mother f***er. (inaudible) and try it.
Andrew: So, you and Mike finally hit on an idea that works. You got the gurus. But the audience, the people who have the cash who are going to buy these guru’s products, who are going to first fall in love with them and then trust them and buy their products. How do you get those people? How do you get those users, those customers?
Timothy: Yeah, you know we don’t have that many customers. We’re doing a few million off a base of roughly 2000 paying customers. It’s just making good calls, being right. Like on Sanjay’s company, on Justin Bieber’s. You know I get a lot of death threats and a lot of e-mails saying, you’re wrong this company is real. And then three months later when the stock crashes they’re like, I just lost 20 grand, I should have listened to you. Let me subscribe for $200 a month.
Andrew: So it’s just 2000 people who’ve subscribed to follow these gurus and you who end up being customers who end up kicking off, what was it you said, $300,000?
Timothy: Well I mean, yeah. Like roughly a few million dollars a year but it comes out to, do the math. We’re charging anywhere between 50 and, you know I’m at 1500 a month as my high point. But I don’t have many people. Most people are paying about a hundred to two hundred dollars a month. And that’s the good source of revenue. So you get good information for so cheap and it saves you thousands if not tens of thousands. That’s a good business model for everybody.
Andrew: All right, so then the other thing you said last time. Let’s go back now to timothysykes.com where you got the bulk of your revenue. You were, the last time you were here I asked you about affiliates and you said, I don’t really like affiliates, I don’t even make that much money from them, it’s not for me. And then what got you to be open minded about it? Was it that affiliate conference you went to? I’m looking through your transcript here to find the exact statement. But you tell me, what turned you around?
Timothy: Yeah, one word, Frodo. You know, this guy Jason Cox with his little pointy snippet ears, they’re even pointier than yours. If you ever meet Jason Cox in person. Everyone calls him Frodo. It stuck. It’s so dead on. And so I was like alright let me try my long term newsletter. I wanted a different newsletter. And so he paid me 30 grand up front, I was like no risk, new newsletter. Sure let’s try it. And he got all these affiliates, he did this whole launch, he did all these nice videos. And that was really huge for me.
Andrew: It’s because he said, I want to create a product with you. He didn’t just turn to his affiliates and say, look this guy Tim Sykes has these products, I’ll give you a share of it.
Timothy: He, what he was doing was looking for gurus. Kind of like what I’m doing now for Profit.ly. He wanted to create these giant launches. And we met actually at the trading expo. I got kicked out of the trading expo. I was trying to expose this scam this guy Oliver Velez who stole money from one of my customers. So I had my laptop and I went into his presentation, I was like, I’m the Scam hunter! I’m going to hide over here. And they shut down my laptop and this guy was like, holy shit, this guy you know, he goes above and beyond.
I haven’t been invited back to the trading expo since. That was like a year and a half ago now. And it took a few months to build a launch because you know you have the pre sale videos. You get the affiliates all agreeing to mail out. Many affiliates that mailed out are mailing out for penny stock promotions. So they didn’t necessarily want to promote me because, you know, I’m on the opposite side. But you know, if everyone can make money and that’s kind of what’s happening. I do go along sometimes, too. I’m just much better at showing it. He got me into this whole world and that kind of gave me the insight of, ‘Wait a minute. Affiliates are useful. They get the word out there. More importantly, from just him building this $1 million newsletter for me, lots of people came to timothysykes.com who didn’t necessarily want my long term newsletter. They were exposed to my story. And that’s huge. So that led to even more sales. So you just throw yourself out there and if you have quality products, they stick.
Andrew: How much were you making last year, I mean, in 2010 from affiliate sales?
Timothy: I don’t know. Maybe $20,000. Maybe $30,000. It was like nothing.
Andrew: Yeah. I did a blog post about him where he had a nice 50,000. Maybe it was 30,000 and that’s what you said last year. Maybe it was $30,000.
Andrew: And in 2011 how much from affiliates.
Timothy: But, you see, including Jason’s Frodo launch, affiliates out of those million, they made over half a million. Or roughly half a million. So they had like 40 percent. We did 1.2, to be exact.
Andrew: And you get 40 percent of that? So you have to split it with him?
Timothy: Yeah. So now affiliates are huge and we’re just starting to grow the profit of the affiliate program, too. We just paid out $30,000 in commissions for December 2011 alone. So affiliates going forward are going to be making half a million or a million a year, as opposed to just 30,000 a year. So I realize the value of affiliates. I’m actually doing a Click Bank launch, too. So we’ll see how well that goes.
Andrew: Will you sell your own products on Click Bank without him, without Jason?
Timothy: Correct. He just manages my long term newsletter. I have multiple newsletters . . .
Andrew: But he also created the product, right? He also found the affiliates and he also convinced them to sign up?
Timothy: Correct. It’s just my pics and my videos. Like, it’s my content. He’s just creating the framework. And that’s kind of what we’re doing now for Profit.ly. We’re kind of becoming Frodo’s.
Andrew: So is that where you got the idea for Profit.ly being this place where you package other people’s content and sell it for them?
Timothy: I’m sure it was an influence. I’ve been writing two books for awhile. I’ve been writing this book, “Blog Millionaire”. At the time I made three million from blogging. Now it’s more like six million. So I’ve always wanted to teach other people. Now I’ve created “Upsellanomics”. So he was definitely an influence but I understand the value in experience. You know, once you have experience as a guru, as a trader, whatever, you just save other people time and money. It’s just too good of a business model not to try out every angle.
Andrew: All right. What about You to Me [sounds like]. That’s a website where anyone who sells can sell their stuff, right? Sorry, anyone can sell educational material. What kind of revenue did you get from selling your stuff on You to Me?
Timothy: Well, I have all my DVDs up on You to Me. [??] is an amazing entrepreneur. It’s even cheaper than my normal DVDs. But we did a few thousand dollars. I really am so sure that DVDs are not the future. It’s video lessons and real time content.
Andrew: But he wasn’t selling DVDs. He was selling video lessons, right? He was ripping them and . . .
Timothy: You rip the DVDs and turn them into video lessons. But they are still long video lessons. My DVDs, I have over 104 hours worth of content. On Profit.ly the video lessons are up to 15 minutes each. So they’re quick snippets, like get a little piece of knowledge for the day. I’m definitely influenced by Frodo and You to Me and all this stuff. I see what works and what doesn’t.
Andrew: So long form doesn’t work. But short form, 15 minutes, what else works to sell to people?
Timothy: You know, like when you have a giant profit. Or more importantly, actually, surprisingly when I have a giant loss. Even though I made over $300,000 in trading in 2011, I was trading with the fever and I lost probably $40,000 in one day. And all the people I talk shit about, they all spread that. And that was my single most popular trade, my biggest loss of the year. And the next day I made back about $30,000. So I had all of these people. I was feeling bad overall, but I was up on the month. All these people hitting on me and I totally turned it around on them in their face. And that was my biggest day ever. So, surprisingly, if you just keep making big profits, people don’t believe you. That’s the internet. Everyone makes big profits on the internet, right? Everyone is profit, profit, profit. There’s no risk, we’re all happy. F*ck that.
If you show a big loss and you show that you’re honest, and then especially when you have the podium, the platform, the spotlight is on and your face is all red. I did a video lesson while I had the fever. I was like, ‘I shouldn’t be trading. Oh, my God.’ People maybe thought that I was faking. When you have a big loss and oh, yeah, you have a fever. Go f*ck yourself. I actually did have a fever and I did a video lesson so you could hear how bad I sounded. I was right about the stock, but don’t trade when you have a fever.
And so I did a video lesson on it and that was the gist of it. So that really helps, and also reviews, even though Investimonials is not doing any business, whenever somebody says, ‘I love what you’re doing/I have what you’re doing,’ I say post it on Investimonials! So I have over 1,000 reviews of my products, and ideally in 2012, we turn it into a kind of Trip Advisor and Expedia relationship. You know, Trip Advisor was just spun-off from Expedia, but up until now, Trip Advisor has been a huge source of Expedia profits. Because people look at the reviews on Trip Advisor, and then they buy, they book the trip on Expedia.
So I think that people will review stuff on Investimonials and then buy it on Profit.ly.
Andrew Warner: I did a search for your name in my inbox to see how our conversation evolved and became this interview. And I found all these e-mails that you send out to your newsletter (and one of my spy e-mail addresses gets it), including ‘My latest music video and the 60%-off sale ends tonight!’ Just four lines of text, not the most wowing y, but that’s what’s in your e-mail.
The next one is: ‘Can you do me a favor? Please do me this huge favor! Please help me out by retweeting this. I actually want to win. Or go here, and vote for Profit.ly directly. Please?!’ And then: ‘P.S. Tomorrow you are, Today and tomorrow you are, tomorrow are your . . . ‘
Andrew: Oh, I see. There’s a typo here. ‘ . . . are your last two days with the link,’ etcetera. We keep studying copywriting; I’m watching a lot of people who sell online study copywriting like it’s back in the old infomercial or ad copy, newspaper days. There’s no copywriting here – how do you sell it? What do you know that all these other guys who are focusing on copywriting are missing?
Timothy: You know, I think that I’m just real. I send out a bunch of e-mails when I have these sales. We’ve had this sale going on; it was supposed to end. It was supposed to be December 15th through December 25th — it was like a holiday sale — and then it got extended, it got extended. So it turned out to be a month: December 15th to January 15th, and during that sale we did nearly $300,000–$400,000. Because every single e-mail, like that explicit music video, where I’m basically, I spoofed the Cee Lo song, ‘F*** You.’ And I was like: ‘I see you lyin’ on Twitter ’bout your track record, and I’m like, F*** You!’
So we spoofed that whole song in a music video, which is nice, it’s fun, but it’s kind of irrelevant and useless. But it was a way to get people to open the e-mail and then we say, here’s the sale.
I think most copywriters focus too much on the end prize, and they don’t give anything to the users, to the customers. A lot of copywriters try and instill fear, like: Are you missing out on your retirement savings? Here’s a tax loophole!’ So they try and get people to click, and I’m just straight up-front.
I say, OK, ‘Here’s some good content that I’ve worked hard to create, and here’s your f***in’ sale! Take advantage of it!’
Andrew: There’s a lot about the sale (the sale, I’m looking at December 31st). What about this? Is it maybe that you’re not maximizing your e-mail list; that if you had different copy you’d be doing more? But you can’t focus on copywriting and focus on creating the content, and focus on Profit.ly?
Timothy: I just have so much going on, I look at my e-mails as like my Twitter stream, where I’m just trying to update you. We don’t have a big list. My e-mail list is like 38,000 people. Most people, they don’t like it; like, they unsubscribe. I only have 16,000 Twitter followers because I spam them to death with offers.
You know, when a sale is up I go on SocialOomph and I set up like 10 f***in’ tweets that day. I’m like: 5 hours left! 3 hours left! What are you going to do — watch Titanic, or save 60%??’
So you know, those kinds of things make me less popular, but you either want to follow or you don’t. I don’t have time for all this long-form copywriting. I leave that to people like Frodo and the affiliates. Maybe I’ll do that in 2012, but this works! You know, when you make millions of dollars a year, you know you’re doing something right.
The biggest sales copy that we can have it just being right on our stock calls. I was up over 50% last year. Like, if you don’t want to follow me, fine, then you’ll just miss out. I was up 50% in 2010.
Once customers can see your performance — and we’re actually going to create a new newsletter on Profit.ly called ‘Upselleconomics [SP]’ (which I told you about), where you’re going to be able to track the performance of affiliate products. So it’s not just going to be for stock traders; we’re going to cut through the bullshit in the affiliate world and see who are actually the biggest affiliates, what are they promoting and how.
Andrew Warner: How are you getting new people in the door? I used to watch you in the early days, and you were following ProBlogger and learning from them; you were following John Chow. And when John Chow said, ‘I tried this bar at the top of my site to get e-mail address,’ BOOM — you had one on your website and you offered some free book. And I said, let me see what he’s offering. It was just a clear minimal viable product, as we say now, but you were trying it. You don’t seem to be trying new things to get new members, or I’m missing it.
Timothy: We’re so overwhelmed with new members every day.
Andrew: How, how do you get so overwhelmed with new members instead of having to fight to get them the way everyone else does.
Timothy: Because again I’m posting how I make my money every single day. You can see every single trade that I make. You can see every single trade that my gurus make. So that does the work for us. We don’t need to keep selling. We just have to show that we’re real day in and day out. Sometimes we….
Andrew: But why would anyone? I understand if I knew you I’d want to follow you and see, what is Tim up to today? Is he doing a video, is he buying a new stock, can he help me pay off my mortgage? I’d want to know that. But there’d be no incentive for me to go around this office here and say, hey you should be checking out Tim Sykes site, you should be checking out what Tim Sykes traded today. So how do you grow?
Timothy: There’s actually a negative incentive because the more people that use a strategy, the less effective it is. So that’s why affiliates really never works for me. We don’t necessarily grow. You know, I’ve obviously been spending money on SEO. I spend over 10,000 dollars a month, that’s my biggest expensive. I work with AJ Kumar and Sujan Patel over at SingleGrind, you know them?
Timothy: And they’ve done fantastic. So we get a few more SEO hits or whatever. But literally the biggest seller is people just realizing that we’re real. And that takes a while. So you might come to Profit.ly and be like, ahhh Sykes has a big mouth or whatever. Or, you know, it doesn’t matter what your attitude is. But if you check it out one day and then you see it like a month later and I’ve made money because I pretty much make money every month trading, you start wanting to check back again and again. We leave like these little cookies. And people are too curious, traders are too curious. 90% of traders lose money. And you have to remember, very few people that I know of are showing every trade every single day, good and bad. So it is such a huge sales thing. If I was in another industry, I wouldn’t know. You know, I don’t know how it works. But we’re going to try it with affiliate marketing in 2012 so we’ll see if you can see the actual affiliate dollars coming in. No different then showing a trade. Now you can confirm an affiliate sale. We’ll see how that goes.
Andrew: All right. Before I go and ask you the next set of questions let me make sure that I understand what you did this year that helped you grow. First thing you did was you cut off investimonials. You said I’ve got to focus on what I could focus on, I can’t do everything. The second thing is you just kept hunting around with Profit.ly. You focused in on it, you sat down with Mike, what’s his name, Mosseri?
Andrew: Mosseri. You focused…
Timothy: The Egyptian magician, call him that.
Andrew: The Egyptian magician. You focused in on the product with him and you just kept testing, singing testing until you found a model that worked. That got you more revenue. With your own product you found the affiliate connection through Jason Cox. What else did you do this year that helped you just blow past the ceiling that you had before?
Timothy: I really focused on content. I made 500 fucking video lessons, all short and so instead of doing these. You know I refined. Instead of doing these big DVD’s. The only DVD we produced in 2011 was a DVD of the conference. Which sold well but in previous years I would spend most of my time working and refining these huge, you know, six to twelve to fifteen hour instructional DVD guides. And just no more. Short little video lessons. Thank god for screener, I’ll tell you. That software has changed my life because now I can do these little videos, boom, no more Camtasia.
You just have to kind of listen to your audience. And so the audience wants more trades, more real time stuff, more chat room related stuff, and then quick little videos.
Andrew: What do you mean by more chat room related stuff?
Timothy: So on Profit.ly every guru, you know you get video lessons, watch lists, trade alerts, and a chat room. And the chat room has become kind of like the meeting place. So in my chat room in 2010 I might have had like 80 people. I was like, shut the fuck up, stop talking during the day. You should focus on only the good patterns. But traders are degenerates. They have nothing to do all day. They need a meeting place, so I hired basically one of my top students, Michael Goode, to become my chat room moderator in 2011. And he keeps the degenerates in order a little bit. You know, they’re like jackals. They’re like the hyenas in the Lion King, like bleh bleh bleh. They’re like that. So he has to monitor them. I still come in and I ream them out and I say, why are you fucking trading research in motion? You know, don’t you know that Jim Kramer’s ugly and he’s only right 30% of the time? Stop watching CNBC, stuff like that.
Andrew: So they get access to the chat room where they all get to talk. They get to talk to Michael Goode and they get to talk to you and that’s a big value for them.
Timothy: And, yes, and now you know other gurus have their own chat rooms. So the other day we just hit a new high. We created our own chat room software. Because parachat, tinychat, bad people. They weren’t upgrading their features, we had chat issues. So we created our own…
Andrew: What was wrong with tinychat? I used to use them, I loved them.
Timothy: Mike Mosseri talked to him about programming. Because he used appcelerator and we created an awesome chat product. So now in the chat it also goes out to your text message. So it’s multifunctional. It’s not just a little chat room. There’s no point in, you know, this is the biggest thing I learned in 2011. When you post content you want to hit as many channels as possible. And you want to be as efficient as possible. If you’re copying something into a, on a blog post, then you have to manually link it into your chat room? That’s an extra step that you don’t need.
So we kind of mixed everything in there. So now the chat room is almost like a Twitter feed. And soon in 2012. Right now each newsletter has their own chat room. 2012 we’re going to merge it all. And so depending on how many newsletters you subscribe to, that’s how big your chat room is going to be. So that should be pretty cool. We just focus on what we see people using the most of.
Andrew: I’m looking here at your e-mails for the disclaimer that you have on the bottom of all your e-mails so I can make sure to read a disclaimer here in this interview. Something like Tim Sykes ideas are all his and I think for entertainment purpose…. Oh there it is, this is it, this is long. Why don’t you have this disclaimer in the e-mails that you send out to your newsletter? This is three paragraphs. I’m just going to say, everything that Tim said here is his responsibility, sue him.
Timothy: We’ve updated the disclaimer now on every trade alert and piece of content. Not in like marketing messages but in actual stock market related content. Because I’m not a financial advisor. You know, I make fun of these companies that pump themselves up and in their disclaimer they’re conflicted. You know, I’m taking advantage of the same rule. I’m not conflicted, but I also, you can’t come after me because you know, I will take credit if you make money and if you lose money, sayonara. The good news is that I’m winning most of the time.
Andrew: You say this publicly. I will take credit if you make money based on what I teach you, and if you don’t, sayonara.
Timothy: yeah, I say, you know. Well, they can post their trades on Profit.ly. You can see 5,000 plus in my student trades. We don’t like delete trades. Everyone can show their track record. It’s tough to lose money when my number one rule is to cut losses quickly. But you know, there are scam artists out there who teach trading and 4X and claim to be real traders and the people lose everything. Do you know about 4X trading? Have you ever tried 4X?
Andrew: I know 4X trading but I don’t know it nearly well enough to argue with anyone about it.
Timothy: No, no, so I don’t know it at all. But I do know the industry statistics. Five out of six 4X traders blow up their entire accounts within six months. So all I have to do is basically, I don’t trade 4X, but it’s similar statistics with penny stocks because they’re considered so risky. All I have to do is keep people in the game, and they’re so thankful. Because without, and if they ignore me, I get a lot of people.
Probably out of the 2,000 subscribers we have, well I only have like 1,500. The other gurus start to have a few hundred. But, out of the 1,500 that I have about a hundred or two hundred of them have cancelled in the past. Lost thousands or tens of thousands and they were like, you know what? The real world is a lot more pricey than your newsletter. So, that’s the best you know sales testimonial right there, when they come back. Even though they are poorer which is kind of sad.
Andrew: So I think we’ve talked about how to break through a ceiling here. We’ve watched how you did it. What about someone who’s just getting started as a blogger. Someone who’s just getting started in online businesses. What advice do you have for them?
Timothy: So this is my new newsletter, upsellonomics, upsellonomics.com. We just actually launched it today in preparation for Mixergy. It’s basically going to teach you from A to Z like what you have to do. I mean, I wish I had known all this stuff. Just like with trading. I wish I had known all this stuff when I began. So we’re going to give you a framework. Basically you need a free blog. You need, what did you call it, a minimally viable product?
Andrew: Minimal viable product, right.
Timothy: Is that a term, the MVP? So you need an MVP to get people on an e-mail list. For the first two years I didn’t even have an e-mail list. 95% of my sales happen through e-mail. You know, because that’s how you grab people.
Andrew: I used to think e-mail was old and tired. And just through doing these interviews and so many different people tell me about e-mail that I finally said, alright, I’ve got to really pay attention to it.
Timothy: So yeah, you need an e-mail list. So if you’re a blogger you need to reach out to your people. And you should have some free content. You can’t just have a sales page. You know, that might have worked five years ago, even three or two years ago if you have the best copywriters and you lure them in like, what is that, I want to call that manipulative guy out but I can’t even remember his name. You know, they’re master copywriters and they just make you think, oh my god, I need this product so badly. And you don’t need any product so badly. It’s all bullshit, it’s all marketing. But I think that…
Andrew: So, what you’re saying is this. The product you’re creating is an e-mail newsletter. You’re not selling access to a website, you’re not selling access to software, videos, all that? It’s just an e-mail newsletter, that’s what people are getting. And through this e-mail newsletter that they pay for you’re going to teach them how to build the kind of blog empire that you launched over at timothysykes.com. That’s the idea here, right?
Timothy: Yeah, well we’ll have a free website, and video lessons are so intricate, they’re so key. Because you can do little screen shots and you can say, okay sign up or AWeber here. Here’s a little button that you need to press that you might not know.
Andrew: Okay, so, and then what you’re teaching is, get a website up where you give out free content, have a landing page where you collect e-mail addresses, what else?
Timothy: Yeah, I mean that’s the gist of it. But aside from just collecting e-mail addresses you need to have some expert information, you know? I mean, I’m an expert in penny stocks and now I think I’m an expert in blogging. So you need to plan out everything ahead of time. I never did this.
Andrew: Like what? Give me more of the tactics of how to do this. Blow my audience’s mind. They already know that they need a website. They probably have 20 different websites through postures, WordPress, everything else. What else do they need to know?
Timothy: You think I’m prepared for this? We just launched this.
Andrew: But you’ve been doing this for years and it’s your product. What are you thinking?
Timothy: I understand that. But in my mind I need to. You know I have four years of blogging now in my mind. And I have to segregate what are the best, most important lessons, and where would I start? If I talk about lessons that I learned right when I started, that’s useless. Number one thing, e-mail lists. Number two, Twitter feed. Merge that with your Facebook group. Get everything going together.
Andrew: With your Facebook group. What do you do with your Facebook group?
Timothy: So get as many likes as possible. It’s stupid but the social proof works.
Andrew: What else?
Timothy: I always ask people like, do you like this? I just did a webinar where I did nothing but swear the entire time, and I just tried it out. And that’s what my latest e-mail is. And people love it, people love me swearing. I was like, should I be nicer or not? And it’s created this whole little conversation on my Facebook group wall and that, you know, obviously when you post on somebody’s wall, their followers can see you. So you tap in a little bit. I’ve used Covestor in a huge way where I’ve been the number one ranked trader on Covestor. They just changed their website yesterday and they got rid of the whole personal track records.
Andrew: No, they hid it. No I see it right here. In preparation for this interview since I knew that you were going to say that you were top of Covestor, I wanted to double check it. I’ve got the link here. I don’t even know how to tell people how to go to it. It’s search.covestor.com/?riskscoremin=1&risk. Whatever it’s there, but. And there you are at the top of it. But, yeah, they’ve hidden it.
Timothy: So, they’ve had two things. So before they used to track my think or swim account and you could track like, like you could sign up for Covestor. Now they’ve whittled it down kind of like what we’re doing with Profit.ly and they only have 188 gurus. I’m still number one because I was up 57% last year. But having that kind of credibility, where you’re number one or an award or something. You know, so if you can get an award, and I know this sounds so stupid. But if you can apply for an award. That’s why I said please nominate me for a Shorty award. These little awards. I was here with my private coaching the other day. Oh wait, I think I have it, hold on. Let me show you one thing.
Andrew: Okay. So this is the e-mail I was talking about a moment ago, you’re saying. The one where you say, please do me a huge flavor, please help me out by re-tweeting this. The tweet that you were asking people to send out was that they nominate Profit.ly for a Shorty award. Okay, so.
Timothy: Correct. So this was my award for, I don’t know if you can see it, mpact. I was invited to the White House for this to speak about one of, you know, I’m one of the top 100 firms owned by people under the age of 30. I was number eight. And this little glass thing came when, I was, I had this thing called inner circle where I teach people privately in my place. They come over here. And I, you know, I didn’t even really care, I was just opening it. And they all stood up and clapped, and I was like what? Awards matter. So if you can get an award in an industry, it’s so much credibility.
All you’re doing is looking for credibility. Because the internet has so many people trying to show you stuff. And so once you get credibility they’re going to try you not. Because if you have a product for 50 or 100 or 200 dollars, there’s very little risk for them. And then once you get them as a customer it’s your job to keep them happy and say, okay, how much did the pay, let me try and give them more value. Then you get testimonials. And you should show those testimonials somewhere because then….
Andrew: Before we get to testimonials, what’s the first product that a blogger should create? And first of all, actually I should back up even further. You’re saying, don’t run ads, create your own products and sell it. That’s what you’ve been telling me for years. So how do they create their first product? What should that be and what form should it take?
Timothy: Well if it’s in the stock market you should have your trades. You should show your trade alerts. If it’s somebody like you or you know any other industry where it’s not around real time information you should have video lessons. Those are just the most obvious. Whether you create like an auto responder. If you go to timothysykes.com/sevenfigurelessons, we have 20 free videos that basically show people, you know, all the basics of how I trade, how I create watch lists, all sorts of stuff. And in each e-mail you also have, okay here’s the free video. And at the bottom here’s premium content. As you see as what I do with my marketing e-mails where I say, okay, here’s my explicit lyric music video. Oh yeah, the sale is over tonight.” So never waste an e-mail with just giving away free content. I would always say free and premium.
Andrew: At the very least, you always have, I’ve been looking through your e-mails. You always have a PS, there’s a great price on something that you need to change. It will be your newsletter for life and 5, 10 I’s in life.
Timothy: Yes. Yes. So always, always use PS in e-mails, by the way. That gets the highest click rates.
Andrew: That shocks me, but I get it because when I look at e-mails I get tired of reading at some point and I scroll to the bottom and see the PS.
Timothy: That’s a good point. So that’s if your content is shitty, so if it’s like, shitty content up at top, like yeah “I scrolled through it, I don’t want to get to PS.” But if you have good content on top you want to see what PS because it might be important. So it’s important not to just give out crap and, you know, keep it simple. Like, if you look at my copywriting this has really worked.
I learned this from Michael Dunlop over at Income Diary. This skinny little fucker earns so much money and he just has a few words and then you have the main link listed twice. So, you know, and then Frank Kern also who’s a master with video selling. You basically can subscribe to all these top internet marketers and then just kind of see what works for them and if it works for you. Guess what? Most likely it will. They’ve refined it over time so you can piggy-back it.
Andrew: And so the product you’re saying just to sell is -I thought we lost my audio there-. The product you’re telling people to sell is videos and e-mail newsletter. What else should they be selling in this product?
Timothy: Premium content. So you can have, like, a premium membership, a, you know WP member or wish list where-
Andrew: Oh, I see. Where every post that they have there’s free stuff but there’s also some super-special members-only stuff.
Timothy: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you should always have free stuff just to get people for Google SEO is good but then if people like that they say “You know what? I want something more expensive.” And I’m not saying create something that’s like $5000 or $10,000. You don’t have that credibility. Start small. I mean, I started at $29.95 a month and my lowest product is still $50 a month. Actually we’re going to raise that to $100 a month just because there’s so much content. Once you create a premium library, you know. You have so many interviews. I have so many video lessons. It becomes worth more after a while because then it’s like, “You know what? I have six hundred video lessons,” which I probably will next month. That’s worth more than $100, so I’m going to up it to $200.
Andrew: What about this? You said earlier in the interview that if you’re going to sell something you want to sell something that’s timely, that has an expiration value so people can’t share it online and give it away for free. How can someone outside the stock market create a product that’s timely, has that expiration?
Timothy: Yeah, I mean, useful information doesn’t have to be timely. I mean, you can be a plumber and show an amazing way to fix your plumbing and that’s an amazing video lesson. Or like, you know, if there was like an expert handyman he had this whole likeyouknowpremiumhandyman.com and he had, like, a thousand tips on everything from flooring to walling to cabinets. That’s not timely, but I would definitely pay. Well, I wouldn’t because I’m a, you know, I’m a Jew, I can’t do anything. I always just hire out. But if I was like a handyman and I wanted to do that or, you know, anybody. People who wanted to run in Central Park and maybe you’re a runner, and would say “Here are the 100 best spots in America to run. Here’s a great list.”
And so maybe you sell a one-time product for $9.95. You know, it’s different for every single sector but the key is that you’re creating some cheap premium content. You know, my marketing guy Zack Westfall, who’s actually going to partner with me on Upsellonomics, I mean. He’s taught me so much and it’s just about framing the value of a product. You know, if someone’s paying a few hundred dollars for something they should make a few thousand. They’re happy. Even if you charge $200 for a product and they make $300, guess what? They’re in the black. They’re happy. How many products out there can you say that? Most of the products that you get will either break or fail or, you know, you might enjoy them for a little bit and then they’ll get old. If you can keep delivering value.
You know, if I created that if was a runner and I created that hypothetical hundred places to run in America. I would come out and say, “You know what? Next year, as a treat, here’s 100 free places to run in Europe.” And you keep giving upsells and then eventually you can package them all together. When I made 15 DVDs I didn’t know that I would package them all together for a $5000 package but sometimes we do. Because then, you have everything. So what if you create ten guides in the next three years of places to run in Asia and Europe and you sell it as a package for $100? Then you’ve just created your own upsell. It’s beautiful.
Andrew: Where do they get their audience?
Timothy: You know, you’ve got to just try to get credibility out there. So hit up message boards like where someone, you post a link say “Here’s a hundred, you know.” You don’t give away 100 free places to run but maybe you give away, do a blog post with seven good places to run. Then at the bottom you say, ‘Here’s a hundred new place to run.’ So then with your three blog posts with seven, you hit up some message boards and you create a debate. Some people might say, ‘I don’t like running in New Mexico, it’s too dry’. Then you say, ‘Well, it’s fucking beautiful, so fuck you!” And you start a little message board war.
Andrew: Pick fights, that’s one of the things that I’ve learned from you. You’re one of the only people who’s going to teach others to pick fights this way in order to get an audience.
Tim: Hate marketing works very well. You know, there are good reporters when I used to seek press, now I don’t care. Press is irrelevant, by the way. It’s good to have a few press logos on your website but, you know, I’ve been on CNN, at 8 p.m., debating God, sex, and greed with a porn star and a rabbi, and I didn’t sell one book. So press is overrated but if you want to get in contact with reporters -everyone’s so used to sucking up to them – e-mail a reporter and be like, “Yo, your last article sucked!’ You’ll get a response. It’s pretty surprising how hate marketing can cut through the bullshit because everyone else is such a wannabe. And they actually respect you, if you make points. Hate marketing, just for the “hate” sake of it, is useless.
But if I say, “Hey, Sanjay Sabnani, I think you’re going to fucking hell because you just pumped and dumped this stock. Guess what? I’m right’. And he comes back with nothing and I post it all over the message boards. He still comes back with nothing because he knows I’m right. And it’s good to be right and angry. That’s what I like. Don’t be wrong and angry, then people just dismiss you.
Andrew: I’m friends with Sanjay. I’d like to think that my friendship will keep me from getting sued for anything that you’ve said here in this interview. You’re not worried about being sued?
Timothy: I mean, I’ve gotten a few cease and desist letters but when you have clear evidence, it would be irresponsible of me not to share this information. I don’t know if Sanjay was involved or not but the fact that, you know, he went on your show and tried to promote his stock. Michael Arrington [SP] wrote a blog post about him.
Andrew: He didn’t try to promote his stock. He talked about how he built up… I think it was how he raised money by going -I think, this has been so long, how he raised money by doing the reverse IPO. I think that’s what it was.
Timothy: Yeah, yeah, a reverse merger. That’s a major red flag. The biggest thing is that no CEO in their right mind would allow a promotion that says that they’re going to be bought out by Google, or Yahoo, or Twitter. He knew about those mailers, he did nothing. He was happy because it helped the stock price go up. So I don’t know if he was implicit, if he was, you know, involved in it but I do know that he’s ignored my requests and I’ve said a whole bunch of nasty stuff, I’ve never gotten a cease and desist letter, so I have to assume that it’s true. Assume the worst of people in penny stocks and think that you’ll be right a lot of the time.
Andrew: How crowd gatherer raised money via the public market instead of, I think, it was instead of, venture capital.
Andrew: So that was the thrust of the interview there.
Timothy: So you can frame anything nicely but when those manipulative mailers get out there, there’s no turning back. You know, you should investigate.
Andrew: You know, when we had a quiet dinner, and it was just a block and a half away from my office here, and I remember thinking, he and I are just going to talk about, like we might talk about marketing or we might, ‘No, you talk just like this, about stock market and about these guys who are cheating’, and I thought, ‘This guy’s just…’ I thought you believed it. Until that moment, I thought it was all marketing. Until that moment, because it was just the two of us, until that moment I said, ‘This guy’s just into marketing and making money online’.
Timothy: Yeah. I mean, again, if you can make money in something that you believe in, that is the dream. If you make money in something that you don’t believe in, that’s why you’re going to sell out because you’re like, ‘You know what? I made 20 million, or I made 5 million, I’m out’. I will always be doing this, no matter what form I have. If I do sell [??] or whatever. I do love it.
And you obviously love interviewing, so I think you should always do it. I think that a key component to success is blogging because if I get an e-mail with some, you know, inaccurate information where someone says, ‘You know what, Tim, this is a good company’. I feel compelled, I don’t care what I’m doing, if I’m on my iPhone, or whatever, I write back to them. And that’s been a huge part of my success, where people are like, ‘Wow! You e-mail back within a few seconds’. I get over 2,000 e-mails a day but if something is wrong and there is something that I can do to fix it, and it really irks me, I get on it. And people can sense that.
Andrew: All right. There’s so much that I want to know here. What about what tools you use? Here’s why I ask about that: You once told me a story about how you got an e-mail from the same person over and over again and as you looked at his e-mail -and you’ve been responding to him, just like you responded to this random person, and you said, ‘Wait. I’ve been e-mailing you five times or 50 billion times’, whatever the number was, ‘and you haven’t bought anything from me. Buy something from me’. And he bought. But how did you know that he didn’t buy something from you as you were looking at his e-mail?
Timothy: So Highrise is a major part of my business, where we tag everybody. Do you use Highrise? Do you know Highrise?
Andrew: I do have a Highrise account. I’m not using it the way you are. I’m not sure how to get this kind of value out of it.
Timothy: Well, [??]. We’ll configure your Highrise correctly. It’s basically where you tag everybody, whoever e-mails you, and we tag them when they purchase something. So, OK, you bought my penny stocking DVD. OK, you’re a Lucci [SP] Alert subscriber. OK, this guy is interested in my . . .
Andrew: Do you manually tag it or your system tags them somehow?
Timothy Manually. This is why my staff is over a dozen people now. So we have people that go in and tag every product. So we have this master database, this master list, of customers and we can see. So we know how to respond. So sometimes, someone is marked as urgent. If they’ve spent $5,000 with us and they have whatever, we get to them right away, as opposed to somebody who’s never bought. And they have this complicated question, and it’s like . . .
Andrew: So it’s all tagged in High Rise manually. When you’re looking at your e-mail, how do you see that this person has bought or hasn’t bought?
Timothy: We use Zendesk for our customer support and High Rise and Zendesk integrate.
Andrew: I see.
Timothy So, when someone hits us on Zendesk, it automatically in the bottom right hand corner has their High Rise information if they’re in our system. If they’re not then sometimes I go to High Rise, the main website, and I double check. But I always look to see their past. And even if they’re not in High Rise, maybe they’ll just have e-mailed me. But every single e-mail when I respond I also bcc drop box. And that’s part of High Rise so they go in there.
Andrew: You mean you bcc your drop box on High Rise?
Andrew: Yeah. So it automatically gets added to their High Rise account and that way you can keep track of it that way.
Andrew: OK. When I asked you about High Rise you said sign up to Upsellanomics [SP]. My sense is, you don’t know what’s going to be fully included in this. You’re waiting for guys like me to go, ‘How the hell do you do this one thing?’ And you go, ‘I’ll create a video and then everyone else will do it.’ Or are you waiting for someone to complain and go, ‘OK, Mr. Big Mouth. You told me I could make money but I don’t even know how to get an e-mail list going.’ And you’re like, ‘All right. I’ll set up an e-mail video.’ That’s what you practice.
Timothy 100 percent accurate. So my business is very easy because I’ll make a video lesson. Sure I talk about my trades, and my lessons, and my mistakes. But most of the most useful questions are like, ‘OK. I see three questions on the same day.’ Then I make a video lesson. So you need customers to help guide you. And it’s fantastic when they can do that.
So sometimes I see something. I mention something in my blog post, like I did the video where I swore. And lots of people started e-mailing me and being like, ‘Tim, I love this.’ So I started swearing more and people liked it even more. So you can definitely use your customers as guinea pigs and test it out. Upsellanomics, I can probably spend a whole day with you and get your whole blog set up and give you all the main pointers. But you’ll still have questions. So me and Zack, who’s my main marketer, we’ll have a whole list of a hundred video lessons. Everything from setting up your e-mail feed, to twitter feeds, to basically just getting your content out there and how to frame content.
Back in 2010 when I was really just bored and desperate for growth, I had the goal . . . I forget what the software is called. It’s keyword ‘auto link’ on WordPress. So like if I mentioned (?) alerts, it automatically links to the sales page. So my goal was to write an entire blog post where I would use every single keyword that would link to a product. That gets old fast. That’s not a sustainable business. But by linking to products in every single e-mail, you don’t know what posts people are going to come up on in Google. I try to mention at least three products in every blog post. But I know that can get annoying. Sometimes when I have so many products, sometimes I rub it in. Sometimes I’m like, ‘You can get my Ten Fundamentals DVD, or Ten Fundamentals Part 2, or Ten Tactics, or Ten (?).’
Andrew: I’ve seen.
Timothy: I specifically piss people off. Because I’m pissed off that they’re not watching them all. Some of even my best students, they don’t have time to watch 104 hours and they don’t do it. And they have these questions. So a lot of the time, when people ask me questions, I’m like, ‘I would answer that question if I didn’t already answer it in Ten Tactics.’ And I link to that.
Andrew: [laughs] All right. Let me go quickly . . .
Timothy: They’re like, ‘It’s a one word answer. Why can’t you just answer me?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, why should I repeat myself. Now you’re making me repeat myself. Now I’m even more pissed. Buy two Ten Tactics.’
Andrew: [laughs] All right. A lot of interviewees lately have been saying, ‘Andrew, I’m selling so much on your interview. I’d like to give you an affiliate cut.’ I don’t take affiliate cuts. What I want to know is that if people hear about this product, and go end up buying because they heard about it on Mixergy, that you take good care of them. That if they ask you a question that they’ll get answered somehow. And that does happen.
Andrew: And they’re not going to come back and say, ‘Andrew, you jerk. You introduced me to Tim Sykes and this guy’s got nothing.’
Timothy: No. Well, it’s a beautiful thing. So, there’s also answers.timothysykes.com. You know, timothysykes.com/faqs. We’ll have the same thing with . . . If we gave away everything, then there’s no business. And I understand that’s social networking and, “Ooo, let me get 500,000 followers,” and that’s fine, but that’s not me. Like, I’m going to piss some people off because I’m going to say, “Look, we’ll answer your question, but it’s in this product.”
Andrew: All right. Let me do a quick plug, and then I’ve got to ask you a question that I think most people would never want you to answer about them. All right, the plug is for Mixergy Premium. I’m looking here at an e-mail from Jason Croft, and when people send me an e-mail and I read it here in an interview, I want you to know the full names so that you can go and confirm that I’m not just making this e-mail up. Unsolicited e-mail from Jason Croft, who says, “Andrew, I’m a new premium member, and I flippin’ love it. My head is about to explode with all the ideas and info I’m getting, in a good way, of course. Thanks so much for doing what you’re doing.”
And then he does something that he learned in one of the courses in Mixergy Premium. Mixergy Premium, by the way, Tim and everyone else who’s watching, in addition to getting hundreds of past interviews like this one and the original interviews I did with Tim, what you get is courses taught by top entrepreneurs.
Nancy Duarte, the woman who taught Al Gore how to give a presentation that won an Oscar? She comes to Mixergy and she teaches my audience, our premium members, how to tell a story. She’s a founder of a company that teaches people how to create presentations. She comes here and she teaches it. Who else do we have? Why am I thinking of all these different people’s names? The founder of whatrunswhere.com, Max Teitelbaum, comes on here, and he says, this is how I buy ads on the cheap and then I convert them into profitable affiliate leads, but this is how I buy them. He turns on his computer screen and he walks people step by step through how to do it. Ruben, the found of ID Sketch–you’re shaking your head. Why?
Timothy: I have so many ideas on how to give you a better pitch. You don’t mention these gurus. The only reason why I’m mentioning people in this interview is because I’m going to send them this interview I’m going to be, like, “Hey, I mentioned you. You should send it out to your crowd.” You don’t up-sell people by mentioning useless stuff like this. Up-selling is all about testimonials. What are people going to get out of it? Buying websites, buying ads on some . . . fuck that. That’s too technical. How much money am I going to make? How much time is it going to save me? Why should I upgrade to Mixergy Premium? You need to keep it simple. You’re wondering, who else should I mention? That’s not going to make me want to subscribe.
Andrew: What’s going to make you want to subscribe? You know what? That’s what I was going to ask you afterwards. You reamed me out for not having my own product and not selling something in the past. Now, I’ve got it, it’s going very well. Tell me how to take it to the next level. What am I doing wrong here in the presentation?
Timothy: We’re an hour and 20 minutes into this interview. You think, how many fucking people are going to sit around and wait for this? Come on. You’re missing 90% of your audience. You better plug them in the beginning and in the middle, multiple times throughout the interview. Very few people are going to stick around this entire time, if you look at your [??]
Andrew: What about the integrity of the interview? Forcing an ad into the conversation means that I’m not focusing on how do I give people the most value or the most stuff out of . . .
Timothy: It’s not an ad, it’s product placement.
Timothy: It’s like having, you know, I’m going to drink some water. Oh, I could use some Poland Springs right now. Oh, it’s so good. Oh, I tripped. You know, you can do it subtly, but product placement is a giant business and it’s irresponsible of you to wait this long to try and talk about your baby and then talk about it wrong. Come on, man.
Andrew: How do I talk about it right, then? Beyond sticking it in earlier, what else do I do, should I do?
Timothy: Well, you should bring it up in the natural conversation. Whenever I mention Tim Alerts, when I say my premium newsletter has 2,000 subscribers, you should say, well, Mixergy Premium only has a thousand, so maybe I could use that. Just mention it somehow naturally, any time I bring up a premium subscription. I’ve talked about this a lot. If you go back, yo, Indian transcribers, how many times did I bring up my premium newsletters? The answer is probably 42 [??] how high. You need to need to fucking mention your stuff in there.
Andrew: I see. Just keep bring . . .
Timothy: Not all the time. Just bring it up naturally, like compare and contrast. When I say, oh, I have 500 video lessons, how many video lessons do you have?
Andrew: All right, that’s a good point, because people do want to hear another perspective on what you’re talking about. If what you’re talking about worked for me, then I should talk about it. If it didn’t work for me, then I could bring that up too and find out why you think it didn’t work.
Timothy: I don’t even know how many video lessons you have. I know from your website how many guests you’ve had on, and I see the little thumbnails of the people’s heads, but those people’s heads should only be customers’ people’s heads. And when I click over each, when I hover over each little head, it should be a little written testimonial. That would sell a lot better than the actual guest. The only reason why . . .
Andrew: Testimonials from people.
Andrew: So, replace that right margin with testimonials.
Timothy: Correct. There’s no reason to feature these random people that you have on your show. That’s like me featuring my gurus. I definitely will promote my gurus, but I promote them by how they’ve done for customers. So, you’re just looking at it a little bit the wrong way. The only reason why I mention my gurus in this interview is because I’m going to send this to them and be like, “Ha ha, Zak, you see I mentioned you.” You know? Zak Westphal is not a sales points for “upsellenomics.” When we create these successful blogs, when I’ve turned a guru from 3,000 into 30,000 a month. That’s a mother fucking testimonial. I should create motherfuckingtestimonials.com. That’s a long name, but maybe I should
Andrew: What else. What else could I . … What else now that you’re watching from the outside and being honest, what else do you see that I should be doing differently?
Timothy: So you need specials. You need an autoresponder. I saw your little interstitial where you have an e-mail and very small you have like continue on to Mixergy. I’ll have that too, but I, when you sign up for my e-mail you get seven free video lessons so you have a framework. Do you have seven free video lessons?
Andrew: I think we give people seven interviews or something like that.
Timothy: I didn’t see that in your interstitial. You need to say here is some free mother fucking content.
Andrew: Oh, you’re saying to get their e-mail address I need to say, give me, I see okay.
Timothy: Say, look, I’m going to give you this stuff.
Timothy: Because there’s, I didn’t want to sign up. Because maybe you’ll say okay, I envisioned, you know, in the split second when I saw your interstitial, I’m going to get maybe some premium interviews and then some free ones. I didn’t know anything would be free. You need free in big letters. Remember, most people are poor. Especially affiliate marketers because they do a lot of coke and they’re liars and they get sued. You know, you just need to give a little more, and you’re focusing on the wrong things. Focus on the testimonials. Obviously you read one testimonial. But there should be a graphic that pops up. I don’t remember what that testimonial said because you read it kind of fast. You know. We should put your stuff on Investimonials. We’re actually starting to rank non-financial stuff, too. So…
Andrew: I see how you’re doing it. You bring up Investimonials like this, and now we get….
Timothy: No, no, no, no. I’m not even bringing it up. I’m not evening bringing it up. I’m just saying how we’re going to start to do this. And like with affiliate, you know, we’re going to start to give affiliate like a clearing house on Profit.ly. It’s not just about the stock market. We want to legitimize affiliate networking. Because, again, you say oh yeah I had to launch it, it did a million dollars. What does that mean these days? People, you know, you have to cut it in half, give half to the copywriters, half to the affiliates. A million dollar launch you’re left with like 50,000 dollars. That’s not that impressive. What are you going to buy, a fucking house in like Reno?
Andrew: Is that really what they end up with? A million dollar launch gets that little?
Timothy: Well, no, I’m just, I’m exaggerating. Like on my 1.1 million or 1.2 million for penny stock millionaire I made like a quarter of a million. So, yes, I didn’t not get that huge of a cut. I think Profit.ly’s business model is more efficient because we don’t have copywriters. We cut out that 40% and it goes straight to the gurus. So gurus are making between 40 and 70% as opposed to 10 or 20%.
Andrew: Tim, what’s your incentive for doing these interviews? Why do you do Mixergy interviews? Your audience isn’t here, we don’t talk about stocks. You’re smiling, why? Be honest.
Timothy: Because I try different stuff man. Like, who knows.
Andrew: Did it work for you before?
Timothy: No, not really. But I also like you and I think that you have a drinking problem and you need to confront it. You know, stuff like that. No, I’m just kidding about that. But, no, you never know who your audience is. Maybe there are some of your stock traders, I’m also trying to grow my affiliate program. I did an interview, for example, I don’t know if I brought it up in past interviews, with Blackcardsource.com. It’s American Express black cards. And I did this totally bullshit interview. I didn’t have a black card, I’ve always been too cheap. I’m not going to pay $2,500. I have a plum card. But they were like, okay, do you know anybody who has a black card? I was like, yeah, I can think of a few people. I don’t. I don’t hang out with those people. But I made it up and I said, I know all these people. They only use their black card while cutting up coke off stripper’s breast. And the whole interview is just a spoof and it has gotten me over half a million views to my website. Because they click, they’re like, who the hell is this guy?
So if you type in like blackamexcardtimothysykes on Google, you can read this. And it’s the most outrageous interview and so sometimes I do try to give outrageous interviews. Do I want to talk shit about everybody? No. But guess what, it’s the truth. When I say the truth. I’m not just going to lie to anybody. I’m not going to say, you know what, Howard Lindzon treated me fairly. No, I think he was very unethical to me. Was it illegal or not? I’m not a lawyer. But I do know that I settled the lawsuit and I’m tired of not talking about it, because this is what I do. I talk about these things and I warn people and when they get screwed over later they come back to me….
Andrew: I’m surprised they didn’t require you not to talk about them when you signed the agreement.
Timothy: That’s the only reason why I settled the lawsuit. Because I got my lawyers fees back, I lost like 5 grand on the whole thing. But I specifically made sure that I could talk about. And I have this whole post, and again he’s a business guy and I understand he’s just looking out for his business. But I still think it’s kind of nasty. And given how most affiliates are like this, where you meet them online and they’re so nice, and in business they’re just not.
And so in my business I’ve specifically made it to be not so necessarily nice with interviews, but just true to my word. In that way, you know we had a problem with infusionsoft, which powers Profit.ly, we couldn’t add new products. And no one was replying back to our e-mails. They did an upgrade on a Friday night, we have our sale going on, we’re doing 10, 20 thousand dollars a day. I’m like what the fuck? So I tweet them. You know at first they don’t know who I am. And then we start going back and forth and now we have cell phones of many infusion soft people and they’re responding.
And it is huge because our entire Profit.ly framework is based on infusion soft. So it works to communicate and it works to be honest, you know. I wasn’t like sugar coating it. I wasn’t like hey infusion soft, your software is great but I have a question. I think their software is great but I said, hey infusion, and I cc’ed their CEO and infusion soft and I was like, can you guys stop fucking ditching your e-mails, like talk to us. And they got back to us.
Andrew: All right. This has been an exceptionally long interview but I couldn’t cut it short, and you talk so fast that those transcribers, wherever in the world they are, they’re going to have to get paid overtime for this.
Timothy: Pay them $3 an hour instead of $2 an hour.
Andrew: Transcribers, thanks for doing this interview. Tim, thank you. Where do we send people? Do we send them to Profit.ly? Do we send them to timothysykes.com your blog where they can see how you’re marketing? Can we send them to upsellonomics.com.
Timothy: No, no. Just go to Mixergy.com. You guys have so much good content. You don’t need to come to my websites. You’re going to come to my websites eventually so I don’t need to plug them or anything. You know, I’ve mentioned. I think I’ve mentioned each of my websites ten times. So you don’t need like a closing plug, you know. Like if you an interview correctly you don’t need a closing plug because it’s already ingrained in their minds.
Andrew: I love it. All right, the closing plug then, because I didn’t do my plugs correctly during the interview, is go to Mixergy.com and click that premium link so that you can get all these courses. Jason Kroft, thank you for that testimonial and Tim thanks for the advice. Thank you all for watching. Bye.
Walker Corporate Law – Scott Edward Walker is the lawyer entrepreneurs turn to when they want to raise money or sell their companies, but if you’re just getting started, his firm will help you launch properly. Watch this video to learn about him.
Grasshopper – Don’t make the mistake of comparing Grasshopper with other phone services. Check out their features and you’ll see why Grasshopper isn’t just a phone number, it’s the virtual phone system that entrepreneurs (like me) love.
Shopify – Remember the interview I did about how the founder of DODOCase sold about $1 mil worth of iPad cases in a few months? He used Shopify. It’s dead simple and very effective. To get a longer free trial, use this code: Mixergy