Seems Jason Sadler is slowly building I Wear Your Shirt into an ad network where companies buy ads on tshirts worn by social networking mavens.
Jason was incredibly open about the money he’s earning and paying out in this business. (I don’t know why he lets me ask some of the questions I whipped out in this interview, but I’m incredibly grateful that he does.)
In summary, it started out as just him in 2009. In 2010, he recruited a friend who got paid to wear shirts. And in 2011, he’s growing to 5 people. If you want to join him, click here. If you want to learn how he’s doing it, grab the interview!
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Here’s the program.
Andrew Warner: Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. How can a guy build a business based on wearing t-shirts? Joining me is Jason Sadler of iWearYourShirt. I first interviewed him in 2009, when he charged companies to wear their t-shirts on line. He charged them a buck if he wore their shirt on January 2nd, $2 if they wanted him to wear their shirts on January 2nd. Wait, $1 for January 1st, $2 for January 2nd, $3 January 3rd, and so on, easy as that. In 2010, he doubled his prices by getting a friend to join him, and 2011, he’s got something bigger going on. Jason, welcome. What’s the bigger thing that you’re up to?
Jason Sadler: We’ve got five people in 2011. You’ll notice that the shirt is a bland shirt today. I was taking a bath for my sponsor earlier today on live video. One of the many random things I get into. It is in the dryer but I do have it. Yeah, 2011 is growing to five people. We’ve hired three of those people. I will be coming back, obviously. I am the t-shirt wearing pioneer, if you will. It’s a lot of fun. We’ve got one more spot to fill.
Andrew: How are people getting to wear t-shirts with you?
Jason: It’s, obviously, a very interesting job to hire for. You want to wear t-shirts for a living? You can’t really just submit a piece of paper that says I’m good at it. We’ve set up a hiring process on our iWearYourShirt.com. You can go right to the homepage and get a link or iWearYourShirt.com/hiring. You create a 3 minute YouTube video or less. Tell us why you’re fun. Tell us why you’d be good at t-shirt wearing. What makes you creative? That you could . . .
Andrew: Tell us why you’d be good at t-shirt wearing?
Jason: Well, yeah, I mean, because, you know, a lot of people . . . it’s a skill.
Andrew: People can’t wear t-shirts?
Jason: You look like you’d do a great job.
Andrew: Look at me, yeah, I’m doing it great.
Jason: Yeah, but yeah, I mean, YouTube, it is really just to show people’s personality because we can’t meet everybody. It’s been a really fun process. We’ve had over 100 people submit videos in the past two months. It’s crazy. We’re really trying to see what people’s social networks are on Twitter and Facebook and their friends. See what communities they have. But we’ve also hired people who don’t have very much of a community. We just like their personality, and we think they’d be a good brand advocate for all these companies we wear shirts for.
Andrew: I saw one of the applicants, DeAndre, I think his name was.
Andrew: Man, that guy put a lot of work into his video. It looked stunning. The production was better than anything that I’ve ever done here on Mixergy. Is that the kind of person that you’re looking for?
Jason: It’s a good mix of that. It’s funny, we’ve got the DeAndre’s of the world and then we have the guy Neil who we just hired. His video wasn’t super polished. It was funny, for sure. That’s really what got us with the hire of Neil. His personality was great. It just felt very natural, very kind of homegrown style. Whereas you’ve got the opposite of DeAndre who, he’s out there, he’s in your face. He’s jumping forward in the video, he’s coming back, he’s doing, you know. It’s really cool to see a different mix of people. We can’t forget about Angela, who’s very, very hilarious but also an attractive female. So we finally have a female t-shirt wearer as well.
Andrew: What do you pay for something like that?
Jason: This was a big thing for me because, you know, my first year just the calendar sales alone of all those days made almost $70 grand. It was really trying to figure out what would be a fair salary for a marketing job or social media job. We’re starting people off at $35,000. It’s not a salary because people are contractors, they’re not employees. We’re also going to have bonuses built in. If people do a great job and make amazing videos that get some attention or just have really, really good days, we built in some incentives up to 50K. Really great job. I think anybody could do it. Moms, dads, grandmas, kids that are still in college, we’re looking for anybody who’s just fun and would fill a t-shirt well.
Andrew: They need to do this 365 days a year?
Jason: Yeah. You know, it’s, when I originally thought of this, I was like, “All right, maybe I should take off weekends.” I was like, that’s a lot of days I’m going to miss out on being able to promote companies. For some companies, those are big days for them. Weekends mean a lot for them. I looked at the hours of what a typical person could work. I think it’s about four to six hours a day in actual work of filming the video, editing the video, putting it out there, taking some photos, and then the rest of the day is what you do already. You interact on Facebook and Twitter. It’s not really that big of a deal. Only working those four to five hours a day, you actually work nine hours less in a year than you would if you worked a nine to five job only during the week.
Andrew: Still, you know what, this is, this is something that I’ve never understood about you and also admired the hell out of because of. You’re working seven days a week. You can’t take a day off. You can’t say, hey, you know what I’m just exhausted or I want to play hookey or I want to just watch TV or I’m dating somebody who needs my attention all day. You haven’t done that now in two years, right?
Jason: Yeah, I’m, as of this video, I think I’m 705 days of not taking a day off.
Jason: I’ve been sick twice, but to me it doesn’t feel like work. I get up every morning and I get out of bed and I stretch, and I’m like, “All right. What story do I get to tell today?” For me that’s what’s really cool is days like . . .
Andrew: That’s hard though. You’re not just standing up and doing videos. You’re coming up with stories that are built around these products that don’t feel like advertising. It feels like you’ve written out a little sitcom that goes on for a minute almost, with you being the sole player very often.
Jason: It is, it’s interesting. It’s something that a lot of people couldn’t do. There are a lot of people out there that say, “I need my weekends.” You know, I need my Thanksgiving to my family and my Christmas to my family or whatever holiday you celebrate and that’s one of the things to this job. The other thing too, is that all our sponsors, I would say the majority of our sponsors, are not needy. They’re all like, we’re paying people to wear t-shirts. We know it’s going to be fun. That’s we’re looking for is fun, interesting stuff. We know that some people are going, you know, some people might get sick. They might have other obligations. As long as everything’s known upfront, that stuff tends to work itself out pretty easily.
Andrew: I want to get into how you do that, because I admire it and I want to learn from how you keep on going day in and day out. But first I got to count your money. So, let’s see, five people are going to be wearing t-shirts. Four of them are not you, the fifth is you?
Andrew: Okay, so you’re getting paid $70,000, no, yeah, roughly $70,000 in advertising per person, you’re giving them 35, that means you get 35 back from them times 4, that means $140,000 is what you’re going to get from them. That might go down if you have to give them bonuses and hopefully you’ll have to do that, right?
Jason: We also have monthly sponsors which are 5K a pop. We’ve got, obviously, 12 of those. Then we’ve got our proud partner. This year I’m sponsored by Jockey and Lucky Brand and Black Socks are other companies that are year-long partnerships. We’ve got that stuff. I also do speaking as you do as well. That stuff pays some of the bills. It’s very interesting. It’s not like there’s a whole ton of money in the bank, but there’s a good amount of money in the bank for wearing t-shirts which I’m very happy about.
Andrew: Monthly sponsorship is $5,000. You get $60,000 that goes straight to you. The proud partners, as you mentioned, I think it’s Underground Printing, Jockey.com, Lucky Brand, you mentioned those. What does that go for?
Jason: This year those were 12K spots. Next year, it’s kind of a feeling out of which sponsor is which. I wanted to set those up at four spots available for 20K each. We’re really trying to find brands that will and I want it to be a good fit. I don’t want to just take someone’s money. I want it to work throughout the whole year. I think like an underwear deal makes sense for us. People are like, “Oh, we don’t see underwear.” Yeah, but we can do a lot of really fun stuff with it.
Andrew: Yeah, and these are really nice brands. When I saw Jockey.com as I researched you today, I said, wow, that’s so impressive that this guy’s able to bring in big brands. Lucky Brand, I didn’t know Underground Printing, but now I do because of you.
Jason: Appreciate it. Yeah, I mean, you look at someone like Jockey, you know they signed Tim Tebow about the same time that we talked about our deal. I just laughed because I was like, all right, way opposite ends of the spectrum on, you know, professional athlete and a t-shirt wearing guy. They’re a progressive brand. They really understand social media. That’s what we look to align ourselves with.
Andrew: The $5,000 a month, that’s for the pre-roll ads that you have before you do the video for the sponsor?
Jason: Yeah, we have the pre-roll ads, they also get mentioned on live video every day. You’ll have five people mentioning on live video. Five Twitter accounts mentioning it, five Facebook accounts, and then we tend to do some integrated stuff depending on what the sponsor wants and what they’re doing.
Andrew: By the way, that’s always well done too. It’s a short ad, like, maybe five seconds. It’s clever, it gets my attention. The one that I saw most recently is LifeLock, you come on and say, “Well, my social security number is 097-6, well, I’m not going to tell you but I do have LifeLock.” That got my attention
Jason: Yeah, I mean that’s the thing. We try to do something, that’s, listen I know I’m an advertisement, right, that’s my job. I want it to feel like, hey, this can be interesting. It can be fun at the same time.
Andrew: Yep, and what else. Also, YouTube has ads on your videos. I’m guessing that you guys share revenue on that?
Jason: Yeah, we have a partnership with YouTube. We also have a partnership with Ustream, because we do now two hours of content today, we do three hours of content next year because everyone will be doing a 30 minute show. I’ll do an hour long show. We do have some stuff, but listen, that’s not even paying hosting bills for the moment.
Andrew: T-shirts, I saw that you’re selling t-shirts too.
Jason: Yeah, we’ve got the one black, iWearYourShirt shirt that we sold all this year. Next year we’re going to do limited edition colors each month. Then we’re also going to have maybe some beanies, maybe a sweatshirt or two. Try to keep it really limited edition stuff because we’ve got a hardcore audience. I want them to feel like they’ve got something really unique. Cool stuff.
Andrew: That’s something that I don’t get. I get the rest of it. T-shirts, why do people want a iWearYourShirt t-shirt?
Jason: You know, it’s funny, I think it’s just they, you know, I’ll get people that e-mail me all the time. They’re like, “I’m so excited. I got your shirt.” I kind of scratch my head too. I’m like, “Why do people want to walk around with iWearYourShirt shirt?” But a lot of these people get what I’m doing. They’re, like, I don’t want to wear a Gap shirt or I don’t want to wear a company’s branded shirt because I’m paying them to advertise for them. I want to wear something I believe in or that I like or that I’m a part of. So that’s . . .
Andrew: So, what is it they believe in with you? What is this big mission that they say I stand for what Jason stands for.
Jason: A lot of it has to do with social media. It’s just the power of being able to reach a lot of people, talk to a lot of people about things. A lot of it’s just like innovation. It’s doing something authentic, unique, hardworking, and also just really interesting. A lot of people say, “I bought the shirt. I wanted to support you. I wear it, and I get asked about it all the time.” What is iWearYourShirt.com? They tell them and people are like, “Wait, what? This is crazy.” It gets a couple of fun questions asked, but it’s also a nice t-shirt. We pick out really good quality stuff. It’s good.
Andrew: You’re the one who introduced me to a lot of social media ideas. When I first interviewed you and you said at the end of my videos, throughout my work I say, “Guys, what do you think of what I’m doing, give me some feedback.” I said, hey, you know what, I’ve seen this in other places but it’s finally now starting to stick. That’s how he’s improving. He’s really working with his community. I started asking for feedback, and I started talking to my audience in a different way. You’re one of the pioneers. You’re one of the people who really drove it home for me.
Jason: You know, it’s funny because if you don’t ask for that at the end of a video, you don’t get it. If you ask for it, you get it. It’s such a simple thing to think about. All I said at the end of the video was, “Hey, leave a comment below. Give me your thoughts.” People do it. If you don’t say it, it’s not like you’re leading someone along, but if you don’t say, it just doesn’t trigger anything for them. I feel like, I’ve obviously heard it somewhere before I thought of it. I always ask for feedback, because I always want to know good or bad what people think.
Andrew: Before I move on past the revenue portion of my outline here, I’ve got to understand why. Why did you last time let me ask you about your revenue and reveal then. Maybe last time it was a little more open. This time, why do you put up with this? Why don’t you say, “Andrew, screw off. I’m not asking you how much money you have in your pocket.”
Jason: You know, my calendar has a price tag on it, right there. You can see, monthly sponsors are $5,000, days are sold at $5 per day plus $5 each day. It’s easy enough. I’m a very transparent person. I believe in transparency with companies. I don’t really care. If at the end of the day, someone really wants to know how much money the company is making that’s great. They obviously don’t see the books. My mom does all that. She’s very good, thankfully. I just don’t mind.
Andrew: What’s the long-term . . .
Jason: But how much are you making?
Andrew: What do I get? I get $650 per sponsor in the videos. I do three at a time. I have six for the month. People can do the math on that. I also have some other smaller revenue sources on the side and they’re all marked on there.
Jason: You’ve got some good sponsors too, by the way. I’ll shout those out. Because I think you use Shopify as well?
Jason: They’re a great a company. We use them for our calendar. It’s a great company.
Andrew: I noticed that actually. If I go and I buy a date, it’s not your software I realized recently. It’s Shopify that’s organizing the whole thing for you.
Jason: Yeah, we just recently used them for the 2011 calendar. It’s been great. It’s just so simple. They get it. It’s easy and when you have a good company that’s got a good technology, it’s well worth any amount of money that you pay for it.
Andrew: So, what’s the long-term vision? What are you trying to do with iWearYourShirt?
Jason: I really want to make a new way for people to advertise on the Web. You’ve got billboards, you’ve got print, you’ve got TV ads, you’ve got direct campaigns, you’ve got banner ads. I want iWearYourShirt to be a place where you can come and say, “All right. I’m going to pay 15, 20, 50 people to wear my shirt. It’s going cost me $2,000 for the day.” That may sound like a lot of money for one day’s advertising, but all those people are connected through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Ustream, all these channels. You’re reaching hundreds of thousands of people a day.
I’ll give you a quick example. We wore shirts for Nissan a month ago. They sent us a car, the Nissan Juke which is great. But on their day we did a hash tag contest to win some prizes. We had people comment on Facebook. The overall impressions across all sources in one day were 270,000 impressions. That’s all of our followers on Twitter, Facebook, the traffic, the people that we reached, and some estimates there. They paid $800. $800 for that. I know one person who bought a Nissan Juke. You just made so much money through such a simple way of doing things. I would like to continue to do that and provide amazing value. A lot of companies don’t see that type of return, obviously. But the content lives on forever, and I think social media content is really big. A YouTube video, as you probably know, costs a lot of money to get made. When you can get one — you can get five through iWearYourShirt.com next for $1,000 — that alone is worth the price. I think there’s a lot of value in just that stuff and also kind of the niche advertising.
Andrew: I’ve seen people use your video as their about me videos on their site. That does cost a lot of money.
Jason: It does. I’ve looked at having videos made for us. It’s like, “I don’t have time to make a promo video for us. I’m going to have a company do it.” They come back with a $10,000 estimate. I’m like, I’ll go get the flip cam and I’ll go do it myself. It doesn’t make sense to me.
Andrew: Is the idea though that eventually if sponsors want to sponsor Mixergy instead of doing a pre-roll or maybe in addition to it, they could say Andrew’s just wearing a blank t-shirt everyday. We’ll pay money to put our logo on his t-shirt.
Jason: Why not? Why not the back drop that you’ve got behind you? Why not something that’s, like, visually stimulating to someone? So it’s not just you saying something, because anybody can read anything, as you well know in advertising. But it’s you, you’re like, I’m supporting, like, I want to wear this shirt, because I like this company or I like this brand or it’s just an interesting way to do it.
Andrew: All right, let’s get into the mechanics of it. How long does it take you to write one of your spots?
Jason: In a typical day, I’ll write the blog post in the morning, which probably takes about an half hour to an hour depending on if they’ve given me information or I have to go get it myself. You know, if there’s a promotion going on. A YouTube video, I don’t ever pre-script. I don’t ever pre-film. I’m sitting there thinking about, all right, how can I do something fun or funny or interesting? What have they told me they want me to say? That typically takes about three to four hours from thinking, filming, editing, uploading, all that stuff. The live video show’s about an hour each day. The rest of it’s just hours spent on Twitter and Facebook. But that to me doesn’t feel like work, that’s just talking to people. In a good day, probably spend six hours of work. You know, sitting and working. The rest of those hours that I’m up, 10 to 12 hours, is talking and being an idiot, being funny and just trying to have fun.
Andrew: I’ve seen you on Ustream. I don’t watch Ustream as often. It’s just like watching a guy at home interact with his friends. I feel like I’m kind of spying on you with your friends when I’m in there sometimes.
Jason: You know, it’s funny I get a lot people that e-mail me and they’re like, “I’ve been watching on Ustream for months and I feel like a creep.” I’m like, “Get in the chat and say hello.” Everybody, especially people that are known like yourself, when they say, “Hey, what’s up. It’s Andrew from Mixergy,” people are like, “Oh, hey, what’s up Andrew?” You know, blah, blah, and it sparks conversation. A lot of people have sat back for a long time and not said anything because someone does say something about you. They do talk about you live and people can hear it. There is a little bit of nervousness I guess for some people, but I want everyone to chat in there.
Andrew: What have you learned about writing a new video every day?
Jason: It’s tough.
Andrew: What have you learned by writing a new video everyday? What have you learned about keeping people engaged?
Jason: It’s tough. A lot of things work for an audience, but don’t work for a sponsor. A sponsor wants, they think they want a certain thing. You do that, you put it out there, and then people aren’t interested in watching it, because they’re like, I want you to talk about X, Y, and Z. I could come back and tell them, “I don’t think that’s going to be fun. I don’t think our audience is going to watch.” The video gets maybe a couple of hundred views instead of a couple of thousand. They’re like, “Why didn’t it get all these views?” Because you held my hand through the whole thing. You’ve got to let me be me. I think that’s what we’re really going to push next year. You’ve got to let people be who they are. You’ve got to let people embrace their personalities and what they’re doing. If people are watching these videos, they’re hearing about your brand, so whether you want them to say the exact point or not, you’re still getting your brand out there.
Andrew: I see what you mean. When I watch the videos, I prefer watching you going to a grocery store and just happen to have a t-shirt on much more than just teaching me for 10 minutes about the brand.
Jason: I much more enjoy that as well, because I want it to be out, not even out but free flowing. I want it to feel like, hey, we’re doing something, some kind of commercial but it still feels like us. It doesn’t feel like it was a written or scripted item.
Andrew: What about if you can do whatever you want, how do you keep people’s interest for more than half a minute or minute and half, that seems to be the limit on YouTube videos?
Jason: It’s a tough one, especially because a lot of these companies have so much good stuff to talk about, and I’ll tell you I end up filming triple what I end up editing every day just by nature of not wanting to go film again if I mess something up. These companies have such great things to say. I’m even trying, I’ll watch the video and I’m like, “Man, I can’t even get through three minutes of this, and I filmed all this and I thought it was all funny.” It really is just a learning curve on trying to, you know, what’s working, what kind of stuff you can fill in, and using a lot of different visual elements. If you just stand in front of a camera, don’t move, you can be hilarious; it still gets boring to people. You’ve got to mix it up. You’ve got to have different shots and different things to look at. That stuff all helps.
Andrew: I see that there are a lot of shots in your videos. Is it still just you with one flip cam?
Jason: You know it. I’ve upgraded to the Ultra HD. We worked with Kodak a couple of months ago. We might move to some Kodak products in 2011, which would be good because their products are amazing. It’s just me, a tripod, and a camera.
Andrew: Just you, a tripod, and a camera, and then you edit using what?
Jason: iMovie still. I did get Final Cut for everybody. We’re actually buying everybody laptops next year that gets hired. Everyone gets laptops, they get cameras, they get tripods, all that stuff. I’m giving everybody iMovie and Final Cut. It’s up to them on what they want to use. If they want us to pay to have them learn Final Cut, we’ll do that for sure. I still don’t use it. I like iMovie. I like the simplicity of it. It gets the job done.
Andrew: Yeah, you know what? I’ve thought about using Final Cut. But when you have to crank stuff out every day, you need a simple, quick solution.
Jason: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: When we were in our first interview, I did the editing for it. Now I’ve got Joe who edits my videos, does a great job with it. Who’s doing your video editing? Is it still you?
Jason: That’s me every day. I’ve thought about getting someone, especially who’s better, to help edit everything. I just know that the time it would take for me to communicate with them on the shots that I used, the effects if I have any, the text, anything like that, it would take me the same amount of time just to do it. Honestly, it’s kind of a therapeutic time for me, because I can not look at e-mail, I can not look at Twitter. I can just kind of close everything else off, put my headphones on, cut everything together, try to make it interesting, and have that time just to think.
Andrew: Who coordinates with sponsors?
Jason: I usually do all that myself. You know, managing the whole e-mail inbox every day. I have hired Heather who’s my right-hand gal, as she calls herself. She’s basically managing all the clients next year as far as getting logos. We’re printing everyone’s t-shirts next year. We’re getting a high-res logo, getting their t-shirt color, anything that they want printed on it besides that. She’ll do all the talking points, the video ideas, and then getting all that stuff to the t-shirt wearers as well. She’s got a lot on her plate. I’ll send her stuff and like can you help me find X, Y, and Z and she’ll help out.
Andrew: Is that because it was taking too long to get t-shirts from sponsors?
Jason: Yeah, a great example is I don’t have, it’s Wednesday now, I don’t have Friday’s shirt. They’ve known about it for eight months. They bought the day eight months ago. You know, it’s just the nature of people sitting, waiting. Even t-shirt companies, you know, “Oh, I forgot.” Or, “I was going to put it in the mail” or whatever. I just want to take care of that. I also want like a style of shirt that fits well. We get a lot of crappy fitting shirts that are like, you don’t necessarily want to go out in public because you’re like, ugh, this shirt does not fit me well. We want to pick shirts that fit the people well, print the logos well and I think it will work.
Andrew: I see. Yeah, I’ve seen you actually on days when you didn’t get the t-shirt you’ll write out their name on your chest or on a t-shirt.
Jason: Yeah, so.
Andrew: It’s funny to watch at first, but I guess it gets tiring on your end to have to keep coming up with stuff like that.
Jason: It does and that’s my brand, right. My brand is t-shirts. My brand is putting on a t-shirt. Why not give me a high quality t-shirt? Why not give me a t-shirt that looks good on me? I’m a big athletic guy. I don’t need a small shirt. I just would look silly.
Andrew: So, now, in addition to paying the video people and paying for their video equipment, you’re going to be paying for their t-shirts too?
Jason: Yeah, so we charge a $20 t-shirt fee every day that it’s sold, but the t-shirts are probably going to end up costing us double that to get them printed. I wanted to say, “Hey, you’re never going to get t-shirts printed for 20 bucks.” It’s a small expense for us. We can cut our expenses in half. Our t-shirt printer, Underground Printing, they’re great. If anything comes up last minute or we have sponsors that are going to do that next year no matter what. They’re awesome to work with. I feel like we’re paying for customer service not really for t-shirts, which is worth it for me.
Andrew: Who’s doing it? Who can get that kind of quality done quickly?
Jason: Underground Printing. They’re the company.
Andrew: Oh, yeah, right. These are the people who are your proud sponsors.
Jason: Yup, we’ve used them this year. They’re coming on board again for next year.
Andrew: All right. Let’s see what other questions I had. You ever get recognized? You ever walk out in the street and somebody say “‘Hey, it’s the t-shirt guy. I’m wearing your t-shirt.”
Jason: I do and I travel about two weeks out of the month every month now, speaking, consulting, or going to the sponsor’s location and doing something fun. A week ago, I was flying up to New York City, got on the plane and walked by two people that were kind of pointing and looking at me and they were like, “T-shirt guy?” I was like, yup. They were like, cool. I just kept on going back to my seat. I get that every once in a while. A lot of times I actually get tweeted at. They’re like, were you just at X, Y, Z? I’ll respond back yeah. They’ll be like, “Oh, I saw you.” I say, “Well, don’t be a creep. Come and say hello.” It’s weird, but it’s also kind of fun at the same time.
Andrew: It feels great, but something like that happened to me recently. I was packing to come home to D.C. I took a box that I had just added duct tape to it. I said that’s it, I’m too tired to actually pack this thing. I go out to dinner and the founder of ties.com happens to be there with his girlfriend or his wife or someone. He starts talking to me, and I realize someone’s going to see me at the airport with this duct taped box that looks so ghetto. I went home and I wrapped it all up properly. You ever feel like this is just too much. They’re seeing me on Ustream. They’re seeing me on the street. I need to hide in a closet somewhere by myself.
Jason: No, I think it’s still new enough that I don’t mind.
Jason: I think at some point it might get a little taxing. I’ll tell you, I don’t consider, I’m not going to compare myself to any celebrity. I can see how celebrities get really tired of being asked for autographs, being asked for, you know, I can see that. For me, I hope to never get to that point. I don’t ever want to feel like a celebrity. I don’t really care to be branded as a celebrity. I just like talking to people. I really like people. So it works well for me.
Andrew: What about dating? You dating anyone who has to put up with this?
Jason: I am, I am. I got a girlfriend now. We’ve been together for actually six months today, so happy sixth month anniversary Carol. She’s super tolerant. She’s really funny, which is great, and supportive. That’s huge for me. She knows my schedule is hectic. I don’t have a regular job. I’m actually going to fly up and help her move in a weekend. We have to split up the trip because it’s so long that it would take up part of my day. Those are the types of things that you have to deal with, but having a supportive significant other definitely helps.
Andrew: When you fly out to see any sponsor, who pays for that? Is that you?
Jason: No, I have everything paid for now. Travel expenses are paid for. The one thing next year that I’m going to do, it feels weird to call it this but an appearance fee. It’s really just for my time. You know this. Your time is almost worth more than almost anything else these days. It’s just pay for my flight, pay for the hotel, and $500 to come out and do something just because it helps me. I know I’m going to be missing out on at least two, three, four, maybe five hours of flying somewhere. I have to recoup that money somehow that I can’t be doing my daily grind of answering e-mails and all that other stuff. Companies seem to be fine with it. They realize that. They’re like, “Oh, yeah, you’re time is worth money. We want you here. It’s exciting. It’s going to build a lot of buzz for us. It’s worth it.” It hasn’t seemed to be too much trouble. I guess I should have gone a little higher with the price.
Andrew: You do have to charge because you end up paying for things that you don’t realize you need to. Suddenly there’s a long taxi ride or another . . .
Jason: Could be anything, a meal somewhere that you didn’t get a receipt for or anything, it all adds up that’s for sure.
Andrew: Speaking of, one of the things I admired about you when I first started watching is the way that you eat. I haven’t paid attention to that. You’re a guy who’s fit, who eats well. You still keeping up with that?
Jason: I was just snacking on some Cadbury mini-eggs. It tends to go up and down. I did just start P90X about a month ago. It’s definitely a life curve, like anybody else you go up and down. I wanted to attack it now. I made a video for this on my personal blog that’s start the New Year’s resolutions now. I want to practice what I preach. I’ve actually started to get better in eating a little bit. I’m doing some working out so that when New Year’s comes around, I’m not a resolutioner like everybody else. It’s like, “Oh, I’ve got to get back in shape.” I’m actually trying to get ahead of the game.
Andrew: I like that. You should give that a name like a pre-solution.
Jason: Yeah, pre-solution, let’s do it.
Andrew: How do you keep going on days when you just don’t want to come in? I’m seeing you now. You must be exhausted. It’s 6:30, it’s 7:00 right now. What do you use to keep yourself motivated and keep yourself going?
Jason: You know, I’m not a big caffeine guy. I don’t drink a lot of coffee. I don’t drink a lot of soda. I think I’ve got a natural high that keeps me going. Like I said, I look forward to . . . today was a great day. Joyful Bath Company was the shirt of the day. They sent a bunch of bath salts and soaps and they were doing giveaways on Twitter. It makes it so easy because they’re communicating all day. They’re having so much fun with it. They’re sending e-mails of how great this is. They never thought t-shirt wearing would be such a fun thing to advertise with. For me that’s fuel to the fire. That’s my energy, that’s my caffeine. It just makes tomorrow, you know, I just want to have fun again. That stuff makes it really easy. Having a supportive community that all day long is interacting and I don’t feel like I’m just yelling out to nobody. They’re all talking to me. That stuff just keeps me going as well.
Andrew: I see so many people who want to do that. Who maybe love doing it for themselves on Twitter and Facebook but they can’t get paid doing it. I can see why somebody who does this full time or has a passion for social media and engaging and building a personal brand would want to jump in and wear t-shirts like you do.
Jason: I think that’s the big thing, right? The whole thing for me right now is obviously trying to find that last person that we’re hiring. I don’t want anybody to feel like they don’t stand a chance because there’s only two weeks left. We could hire someone who just puts up a video the day before. If they are just really awesome and really feel like they’d be a good fit. Having the community helps, it’s great to have someone who has a community. I don’t look at this as having to be a full-time job, but I would like it to be a full-time job for people. I think it pays enough. I think that if someone’s really doing a great job that means that they’ll continue to be part of my brand and a part of my company. Maybe they get their own speaking gigs. Maybe they’ll get their own sponsors for certain things and I think that could work out well.
Andrew: I see. How have you been going about getting new sponsors?
Jason: It’s the same thing I told you last time, it’s just organic. It’s word of mouth. I still haven’t done press, not press but I haven’t done PR. I don’t pay a marketing company. I don’t do anything like that. It’s just been organic. I’ve been very fortunate in that the story keeps evolving, as it grows each year, as it gets more interesting as we work with big companies. We worked with Pizza Hut a couple of weeks ago. CNBC wanted to talk about that. Why would Pizza Hut want to pay people to wear t-shirts? It’s just very interesting. I think when you have interesting things to talk about, you’ll get media attention. That media attention helps get other clients to you. Today’s a great example again because the lady was so happy she’s going to go and tell everybody how much fun she had. I’m sure she has someone who follows her or is a part of her network who wants to advertise something. That’s really been how it’s been going, 210 days sold already in 2011.
Jason: We’re just cruising right along.
Andrew: How does Pizza Hut find you? What did they do that they end up on your site?
Jason: Their PR company found us. I don’t remember exactly where or what the trail of bread crumbs was for it. Their PR company contacted us and said, “Hey, we’re working on behalf of Pizza Hut. We’d love to hire you guys,” and kind of test us out. We’re hoping that there’s something bigger for next year. We’d love work with Pizza Hut every single month next year and doing a partnership deal. Who doesn’t want to eat pizza on live video or something? I think there are some unique angles for that. We’re also talking to some other big brands who found us really just through Twitter and Facebook and the other things we’re doing.
Andrew: Yeah, what I found with these bigger brands is they may not be fully immersed in this world, but they have a PR agency or someone in their company who is.
Jason: Yeah, and when you are, I don’t remember what Nissan is now, the 63rd largest company in the world or something like that, they’ve got eyes and ears everywhere, right. They’re looking around for unique angles. The money’s not the big thing. It’s letting someone else talk about their brand. I think that’s what’s really cool about some of these Fortune 500s is that they’re willing to let someone else, because that goes much further than them continuing to talk about their own brand.
Andrew: What’s happening with Evan? Why isn’t Evan coming back next year?
Jason: He’s lazy. He’s been awesome. It’s really amazing. He’s got one month left of t-shirt wearing. I think it’s been a growing process for him because he never was out in front of the camera and now he has been for a year. I think if you asked him two months ago, he was ready to be done. He was tired of the 365, and he has a lot of other stuff going on that he does on the side. Now he’s kind of, he’s getting sad. He’s like, “This is so much fun. I look back at all the videos I’ve made, all the people I’ve connected with now, the audience I have.” He went from 1,000 Twitter followers to I think almost 7,000 now. He’s built his own little community as well. But he and I both decided that we need fresh faces, number one. He’s got enough work on the side that he doesn’t need to do it. He also wants to be behind the scenes to try to get us some of that unique PR stuff. Try to push some of those angles. That is his background. Trying to work on that and really just being a helping hand and a part of the brand. I like at him as more of a partner in iWearYourShirt, than ever an employee. Yeah, he’s been awesome, and I think he’s ready to not wear a shirt at the beach as well.
Andrew: Has he missed a day?
Jason: No, not at all. He was sick twice this year, as well, just sent me a text message in the morning. Dude I’m really sick. I would tell everybody, he would tell everybody and just kind of push through.
Andrew: I see, just get on there and continue.
Andrew: I find that because I do my interviews every day, no weekends, but every weekday, I get better and better at and I also get better at letting go. If today’s interview I asked a bad question or we didn’t have the rapport that I see we’re having right now, in the past, I would be obsessed over it. Now I have to let it go or else I can’t get to tomorrow. You find anything like that? How have you grown?
Jason: Absolutely. There’s definitely days when it’s like, “Man, this video is not what I want it to be.” This live video show didn’t have as many viewers as I wanted. But then I look at the whole picture. I’m sure you do the same thing. It’s like, “What have I done?” I’ve worked with 700 plus brands now. I’ve kind of come up on a thousand, I think our 1,000th YouTube video is today. You look at stuff like that. We’ve created 1,000 YouTube videos. We’ve almost been viewed 2 million times on YouTube. That’s insane. Okay, so one video only got 100 views or one video wasn’t really funny. You let it go, you really do, because you can’t obsess over that stuff. You have to think about going forward, being creative and unique and continuing on.
Andrew: Also the fact that you’ve committed publicly to doing one a day, I’ve got to believe that that keeps you going too.
Jason: Absolutely. I’ll bring up the girlfriend thing. My girlfriend knows, she’s, like, “Hey, let’s get your video done early so we can go to a movie later.” It’s like, I guess I don’t think of life like that. I know it has to happen at some point, but hey, that makes sense. Let’s get it done. Trying to fit it in a schedule but know that you have to do that.
Andrew: What was your best, most popular video?
Jason: Our most popular video, I can tell you because I know. Last July or June, I wore a shirt from Massage Envy. I gave my buddy Bobby a massage. It doesn’t get creepy, but it actually just creeped over the 100,000 view mark on YouTube. You know, no promotion from us. It just has been very organic viewership and a lot of really weird comments on it. That’s the most viewed one.
Andrew: Is that because certain keywords like massage seem to be very popular on YouTube?
Jason: Well, the title was “Two Guys – One Massage.” I’m not going to give all credit to that, but that definitely had something to do with it.
Andrew: I see. So, what’s today’s sponsor again?
Jason: Today is Joyful Bath Company and I apologize to Rochelle, because the shirt is in the dryer right now. It’s soaked.
Andrew: That’s because you gave it your all. That’s because you couldn’t just walk around wearing a t-shirt. You had to go into a bathtub with the t-shirt.
Jason: It’s true. I was on live video for an hour in a bathtub with bath salts and soaps.
Andrew: In a t-shirt. Maybe the video for YouTube for that should be “Two Guys – One Tub.”
Jason: I know. Well, we did that last year. This year it’s a little bit different. We kind of did some man on the street stuff, and I actually was in the grocery store earlier. That’s the other thing. We have to split up our video contents. We don’t ever get overlap on stuff.
Andrew: What do you mean by that?
Jason: If I know I’m going to go to a grocery store to do something like that, I always tell Evan, “Hey, this is what I am planning on doing for my video.” He’s like, “Okay, I’m not going to go and do the same thing.” So we never end up with two very similar videos.
Andrew: Oh, gotcha, okay. How about the most surprisingly weak? One that you thought should do well but didn’t do it.
Jason: Let’s see. We’ve had a couple bigger brands stuff that I just thought organic keywords would have done well. I’m trying to think. You know, we’ve done a lot of top ten lists things that I just thought would’ve been really funnier. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head directly. We just did one for Angry Birds that I thought would’ve been, we wore a shirt for them last week. I thought it would’ve gotten a lot of viewership quickly, because it was a really fun video. I did this weird workout montage. It hasn’t gotten the pick up that it gets, but that massage video didn’t get picked up for six months. Then all of a sudden, boom, 300 to 400 views a day.
Andrew: Oh, wow.
Jason: You never know and YouTube is a very funny animal.
Andrew: I saw that you had IdeaPaint on recently. Did you have to, was that in your house that you had that wall painted with IdeaPaint so you could go and write on it?
Jason: Yeah. I’d show it to you now but I’m in Canada traveling. Yeah, I have a room with my wall that’s dedicated to my live video show. I have a whole wall that was painted by my buddy, Verick. He painted a characterture of me, a liger, a megaman, a Where’s Waldo, like all this fun stuff. Then we have an IdeaPaint board that we always play Pictionary on Sundays on live video.
Andrew: I see, okay. You guys paid to put that up on the wall? He did all the work for it, and now you’ve got something that you can use in your videos.
Jason: It’s a fantastic way for me to say, “Our proud partner, IdeaPaint, I’m using.” I’m standing in front of a product.
Andrew: Oh, yeah, right. IdeaPaint is one of the “proud partners.” I see now. I see the connection.
Jason: Yep. Putting it all together.
Andrew: Why do you go, I know you’ve got to run so I won’t go much longer, but why do you go for 10 minutes in the videos? How did you come up with, how do you know how long you need to go?
Jason: It’s just a lot of trial and error. It’s coming up with different things. I think you were talking about yesterday’s video was a long one. We don’t have anything that’s set. You know, we don’t have anything that’s 100% set. We kind of try to mix it up, but I do try to stay, for the YouTube videos, like you said a little bit shorter. For the live video shows next year, we’re really trying to feel it out. I think we’re going to do 30 minute shows, but we could do that for a week and it will suck. How do we know? We haven’t done it before. We haven’t had five people doing back-to-back live shows. I’m completely flexible with it, as long as we’re putting out the content, that’s what we’re selling on iWearYourShirt. So I want to make sure that content gets out and just make sure people are consuming it.
Andrew: Okay, all right. Before we get into what people need to do if they want to be a part of this, how about one piece of advice for any other online entrepreneur who’s just slogging it out day after day after day the way that you’ve done so well?
Jason: All right. Well, I’ll give you two because I think that one is very apparent right now. No one is the next Groupon. Stop trying to model your business after being bought by Google for $6 billion or potentially. I think what a lot of people are thinking of things, you don’t need that idea of grandeur. It’s great to have goals. That’s not going to happen. It doesn’t ever happen, right. Keep yourself focused on what you’re doing, which leads me to my next, my personal mantra — focus more, do less. You can always do tons of things. Do one thing really, really well. Focus on doing that one thing well. Give it time. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, as you know. Focus, focus, focus.
Andrew: What was it that was tempting you? What could you have gone away from your focus to do?
Jason: I get a lot of people that e-mail that want me to do social media consulting. I could do a lot of that stuff. The only time that I do it, I have two clients right now that I work with. It’s for a bigger price. It’s not something that I have a lot of time for. It’s when companies are really, really getting on me. We have to have you do this. We believe in what you’re doing. We want to support you and we want you to help us. That’s the stuff that I’ve tried to push away and it’s hard to say no. I’m sure you know that very well. Learning to say no is a very tough thing in business.
Andrew: If you weren’t, if you didn’t say no, if you took the easy way and said yes and collected more money, what would happen?
Jason: Everything would fail, because you have enough time in the day for everything. You don’t have enough time to do videos really well, interact with an audience really well, answer your e-mails really well. I think answering e-mail is a fine art. Getting and talking to people and communication is very tough, and you need to spend adequate amount of time on it. If I wasn’t doing that, everything would fail.
Andrew: I’m going to suggest that people watch you, and then I’ll turn it over to you so you suggest that they come in . . . or say whatever you want, maybe come and join you. I have to say this. I’ve now watched Jason for about two years. Anytime that I feel like, who cares, I can’t keep going every day, I go and check up on Jason on Facebook. He’s still at it. Then I say maybe he missed a day or maybe something’s different and he’s no longer doing it daily, he’s doing it weekly, he’s come up with some other system. No, he’s done it every single day. That to me sometimes motivates me and gets me going on days when nothing else will work. It’s such an inspiration to see that you keep going and going. So freakin’ consistently. I urge anyone out there, if you’re working and you have to keep going every day, check out iWearYourShirt. Even if you don’t care about the shirt and you think the whole thing is a gimmick, it’s silly or whatever, the inspiration of watching a guy do it every single day so well and put so much of himself in it when most people wouldn’t notice that he didn’t get in a tub. The sponsor wouldn’t complain that he didn’t get in a tub today. You and I if we were watching wouldn’t complain. He just goes and does even more, even more than you expect. That’s the inspiration for me.
Thanks for inspiring me. How can people be a part of this? How can they hopefully join up with you and inspire others too?
Jason: Join the community first and foremost. Follow me on Twitter at iWearYourShirts. Find me on Facebook. Unfortunately I’ve outgrown the Facebook friends of 5,000, so I have a fan page now that we’re going to transition to in 2011, which stinks but it’s something you have to do. Come to iWearYourShirt.com, check out the brands, ask any questions, and I’ll be [inaudible 43:20] put a YouTube video together, go to iWearYourShirt.com/hiring and two weeks until we hire the last person. December 15th is that deadline.
I want to thank you, Andrew, I’ve said this many times. I’ve been here once before, I love your interview style. You’re one of the people that I love watching the interviews for, because you ask the questions that don’t always get asked. I feel like I answer the same questions over and over and over again. It’s so refreshing to not get the same questions. It’s refreshing to get the different angles. I encourage my viewers, who will probably watch this, to go watch some of the other videos. You’ve interviewed some really awesome people. Keep doing what you do. Definitely hit me up when you need someone to interview, because I’ve got a lot of great people in my network that I know could use it. If you do run low on contacts, which I know you won’t, always have someone interesting I’m sure I can connect you with.
Andrew: I can always use them. It’s iWearYourShirt.com/hiring. And iWearYourShirt.com and of course, whatever social network you’re on, you’re going to bump into iWearYourShirt. I urge you to check out iWearYourShirt.com and then go connect to the rest from there.
Jason: Perfect. Thank you so much. I appreciate the time.
Andrew: Jason, thanks for doing it. Guys, thank you all for watching, and I’m going to steal Jason’s idea one more time and say come back to Mixergy and give me your feedback. I got better in this interview than I was in the first one because of feedback like yours. Come back and give it to me. Thanks, Jason.
Jason: All right. Take care.
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