If you try an experiment with me, I’ll tell you a secret. If you go to FreshBooks.com and create a brand new account and of course refer to Mixergy when they ask how you heard about them. If you go to FreshBooks and create an account and send me an invoice, my email address is email@example.com. If you use FreshBooks to send me an invoice, I will respond and tell you how much money I made with this ad.
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Go to FreshBooks.com, create your account. Try it out, try it out on me. Send me an invoice and if you do, I’ll reveal the secret to you.
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Here’s your program.
Andrew Warner: Hey everyone. I’m Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart, the place where successful entrepreneurs come to teach you how they did it, how they built their businesses.
So how do you build an education-based business online? Joining me is Chris Dunn. He is the founder of Emini Academy, which creates software and trains professional day traders to use a specific daytrading strategy. I invited him here to find out how he built up his company and to learn about how he sells online. Welcome Chris.
Chris Dunn: Hey Andrew.
Andrew: So, Chris, what kind of revenue can you make training people in this whole day trading strategy?
Chris: What kind of revenue can you make?
Andrew: Rephrasing my question, what kind of revenue did you earn last year?
Chris: Last year we did about $1.5 million, and this year we’re on pace to do about three times that.
Andrew: And are all your sales online?
Andrew: All right. My focus for this interview isn’t so much about the day trading strategy itself, but I do want to understand what you’re trading? What specifically are you teaching people to trade?
Chris: Well, I trade futures and currencies. I guess a simple way to explain that is if you’re trading currencies, you’re speculating on the value of one currency like the dollar over another like the Euro or the Aussie dollar.
Andrew: Okay. I always imagined that traders had this really anxious lifestyle, that they couldn’t stop at, what time is it now, on the Eastern time zone it’s 2:00, that they couldn’t stop at 2:00 to do an interview with me. What kind of lifestyle do you have?
Chris: Well, I typically trade about an hour to an hour and a half a day in the morning session, so from about 9:30 Eastern to about 11:00, and then I have the rest of the day to do whatever. The beauty about what we do is it’s leveraged. It’s leveraged money, but it’s also leveraged time because you have some people that trade stocks and they’re up searching from 6:00, 7:00 in the morning up until close around 4:00 Eastern. I tried that for a little bit, but the lifestyle just really wasn’t what I wanted, so that’s where the currency trading came in.
Andrew: The person who introduced us is Timothy Sykes who came here to talk about how he trades. I asked him the same question I’m going to ask you. Why do you teach people how to trade instead of just quietly doing your own trades and making a profit using what you’re teaching other people to do? Why share it?
Chris: Well, I actually traded for about six years on my own. Sitting in my house, just kind of doing my own thing and that gets old. After you start talking to the dog more than ten minutes a day, you need that human interaction. The way that this whole thing started was back around 2006, I had a couple of buddies, we were trading together. This was either right when Skype came out or a little before Skype, back in the AIM days. We were just helping each other and developing our own strategies and then before we knew it, a lot of people were looking for a way to work from home and not kill themselves and so trading became really popular. When something works in the trading world it spreads like wildfire.
That’s kind of how the Emini Academy sprung out, was just out of accident really. Just having people attracted to us, seeing what we were doing.
Andrew: So even if they want to learn what you’re doing, there are a lot of people in New York who are walking around successful, everyone wants to learn what they’re doing. They’re too busy doing it to teach it. Even if they’re asking you to, you’re making a conscious decision to teach. Why teach instead of do?
Chris: Well, I do, that’s the thing. I trade every day. In the morning and sometimes the afternoon. The teaching part of it doesn’t get in the way of it. There are some people that just put on hotel seminars and stuff like that, but we’re actually trading every day. I sit here and trade. So the teaching doesn’t get in the way of that.
The same with Tim. He was at my house the other day. He was researching his strategy for like five hours and then did some videos at night, so you have that flexibility. It’s not really like a one or the other choice.
Andrew: What kind of lifestyle do you have? What is your life like?
Chris: I guess an average day would be to come in about 9:00 Eastern, trade for about an hour, hour and a half, after noon do a couple classes, talk to a couple students and then get on with it. We travel a lot, that’s one thing that I really like to do. We actually do a lot of company trips. We’ve taken everybody down to Costa Rica, we went to Argentina for a month. We just got back actually from Australia and getting ready to plan a Europe trip. It really gives you the flexibility to work from wherever as long as you have a high speed connection.
Andrew: All right. I think you were surprised earlier when I told you I was spying you by calling up your company and just talking to people there. I was talking to Andrea who is one of the salespeople at Emini Academy and asked if you were in the office and what you were doing and she said, “No, he doesn’t come to the office.” Is that right? Where do you work?
Chris: I’m in my house right now. We’re pretty mobile. We have everybody that works from home. Again, that flexibility to be where you want and work whenever you want.
Andrew: How many people in the office?
Chris: We have nine full-time people.
Andrew: Okay. Where is the office?
Chris: Actually it’s virtual. Andrea is in her own office. Everybody is virtual.
Andrew: I see. The receptionist, when she put me through to someone, I thought she was just finding someone around the office I should talk to.
Chris: We have a full-time service that answers the phone 24/7, so it really does feel like we have a big office, but the reality is I’m sitting here in my pajama shirt, so I had to put on a regular T-shirt for this interview. Again, you could be anywhere.
Andrew: Interesting. She was really good, the receptionist. And she’s not one of the nine full-time people?
Chris: No, we have an outsource company. They have probably 300 people sitting in an office, and they know exactly what to say to our customers.
Andrew: So she did really good then. Interesting. Here’s another thing that I’ve been wondering. I’m in a T-shirt here because you’re in a T-shirt. I said, you know, just go comfortable. When I watch you in T-shirts in some videos online, I say, can I really take this guy as my teacher? Is he really the success that I’m aspiring to be and that I’m learning from? Why T-shirts and not allow yourself to just be seen in button down shirts and jackets in the look that people look up to in the trading world?
Chris: The trading world is real stuffy. You have a lot of people that want this Wall Street portrayal, and I am who I am, I do what I do and if you like me, great, if you don’t there’s somebody else I’m sure that can help you and teach you.
I’ve had people tell me in the past, “You’re so young. How can you know and how can you be credible?” I say, “Look, here’s what I do. Take a look at it. If you like it, great. If not I’m sure there’s some 60-year-old guy in a suit that will help you too.” It’s just not me though.
Andrew: All right. How old are you?
Chris: I’m 26.
Andrew: 26. That is very young my friend. All right, Chris, lets find out how you got here. From what I understand from talking to Andrea you used to be in the mortgage industry. What were you doing there?
Chris: That was actually back in high school. I was doing loans back in the refi boom at the turn of the century, and that’s actually where I got into trading. I was in the mortgage office and there was a guy sitting across from me who was trading and he said, “Chris, come check this thing out.” This was right when people were starting to get high speed connections to their homes, and so I saw that and that’s kind of what spun that in, but I got my start in business in the mortgage world.
Andrew: Okay. You got your start in business in high school in the mortgage world. At some point you transition towards trading futures and currencies. How did it start?
Chris: Well, I think it was the end of 2001 or 2002, somewhere around there. I opened my first $5,000 account, and in about two weeks I blew it out. Looking back, I had no clue what I was doing. You hear of these late night infomercials, get rich quick on trading stocks, so that’s what I tried to do and I saw a couple of other guys that were actually trading currencies at the time. I gave that a shot, blew that account out, like two weeks, $5,000, and that was a big deal back then.
Andrew: So you were trading for stocks and blew that out and then futures and blew that out?
Chris: It was kind of position trading stocks, not really day trading stocks, but just trying to pick good companies and hope that they go up. This was kind of right at the end of the tech bubble, so I knew that the buy and hold thing just didn’t quite work and that was proven to me by my own results.
I got into the day trading with the futures and the currencies and it was nice, it was real fast paced, it was exiting, but it’s a professional’s game. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to get creamed.
After I lost that $5,000, I kind of walked away with my tail between my legs and it took me a good three to four years to really be able to transition into it full time.
Andrew: So what were you doing in the three to four years?
Chris: Going from the refi boom into the housing boom. I was in real estate. I did some mortgages with home builders, also did some flipping. Trading in the interim or at least learning how to trade during that time.
Andrew: And so how did you learn how to trade then?
Chris: It took I would say, probably a good 2,000 to 3,000 hours of practice in the market, every day hitting it. My fiancee now, we kind of look back and laugh. We’d stay up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, just testing ideas.
Andrew: Putting your own money in and testing ideas?
Chris: Yes. Trading real money and also trading on simulation, which is just testing ideas and running algorithms and a whole bunch of boring stuff.
Andrew: Tell me a story of one of the big failures.
Chris: One of the big failures.
Andrew: Yes, in this learning period. I know we all remember them.
Chris: Right. I’ll tell you my biggest failure was actually in high school. This was about the time that I was getting into trading. They had this contest, it was for a scholarship, and you were basically trading paper money at school. I thought I knew what I was doing. I was the one doing all the extra work outside of school. It was basically just picking stocks, and I picked the wrong stocks. It was like some home builder stocks and they crashed the next day, and anyway, I ended up in last place. That was failure number one and there were consecutive failures.
Andrew: How about another one? One where you lost real money.
Chris: We have what we call revenge trading days where let’s say you start off and you’re all positive and you’re trading and you have a good trade and you get a bad trade and you get a little frustrated. What happens is you can start chasing the market or just making emotional decisions, and when that happens, it’s all downhill. I think my biggest loss in a day was about $11,000, which is a pretty sizable thing. There are traders that lose a lot more than that, but to me that was probably the most devastating thing that’s ever happened.
Andrew: What did you take away from that?
Chris: Don’t chase the market and be disciplined. If you try to beat the market thinking you’re slick and you can just go in and throw money around and you’re going to make a million dollars, you’ll get punished. That’s why our company does so well, is that we give a real value. Traders go out and they try to do it on their own and they figure out that this isn’t as easy as playing a video game. You have to know what you’re doing.
Andrew: What’s the highest that you made before you started teaching?
Chris: Back in 2008, when the market was just crashing, everybody was screaming bloody murder, but on the other side of that, the day traders were clearing up, because you had a whole lot of volatility, so there was one day that I made 54 points on the S&P 500, that was a five-figure win, bigger than the loss.
Andrew: How much of a five-figure win?
Chris: It was in the mid 20s.
Andrew: Mid 20s, one day. At your height, how much did you bank from trading?
Chris: Like a year?
Andrew: No, like the height in the back account.
Andrew: $600,000 from trading, wow.
Chris: It’s really leverage, $600,000 just investing in stock isn’t a lot of money, but when you’re dealing in currencies and futures and leveraged derivatives, that can be quite a bit.
Andrew: What year was this?
Chris: 2008, when the stuff was in the fan.
Andrew: So you end up with about half a million dollars in the bank. That’s got to feel great. What do you do to celebrate that accomplishment?
Chris: What did we do? We travel, that’s my thing. Some people like Ferraris and huge houses. I just like going out and experiencing stuff. For example, we just went great white shark diving down in Australia. We spent an extra week down there just to get to this little remote island in the middle of nowhere. So that’s my celebration, stuff like that. In three weeks, I’m going to Bhutan, the country between India and China. I’m going there for a couple of weeks to go hiking in the mountains. That’s my reward.
Andrew: That’s why we’re doing this interview in April instead of earlier because you were in Australia at the time I proposed doing this interview. How many days out of the year would you say that you’re traveling?
Chris: This year is going to be a little bit less because we’re planning a wedding, but usually it’s about four months, either on the road or in some kind of area.
Andrew: When you say we, it’s just you and your fiancee who were traveling?
Chris: Well, it depends. In Australia, it was just us that went down there. When we went to Australia, we had a couple of teammates, and then when we went to Costa Rica, we took everybody.
Andrew: I asked Tim this too. How do you work when you’re traveling so much? That’s not an easy, light travel schedule.
Chris: Well, it depends on what work is defined as. Trading an hour and a half a day, that’s not hard. Managing and growing a business, that can be difficult when you’re on the road. I typically work in sprints, where from February until now, so the past 90 days, I’ve just been hitting it pretty hard. Implementing new projects, rolling out upgraded software, putting together a trading team, and then I plan around these extended mini-retirements like Tim Ferriss says. It’s not a constant work flow. I think the biggest thing is just to schedule the time so you can get away and then have an awesome staff that can carry the load while you’re gone.
Andrew: Okay. This is what the nine people do?
Andrew: What else do I want to know about how you did this? You’re building up your confidence, you’re building up your trades, apparently people are coming to you and they’re asking to learn. What’s the first thing that you do to get yourself on this track of teaching people online how to trade?
Chris: What was the first step? I had a couple of friends that came to me and at the time I was just kind of helping them out and they said, “Hey, what if we put something together and actually start teaching people? I know three or four people that would really want to do this and they’d pay to do it.” I think we threw up a horrible, horrible website and said, “Hey, listen, if you’re a futures trader and you want to see what we do, we have a trading room. Come check us out.” From that, word kind of spread. Again, when something works in the trading world, it really spreads like wildfire. It really wasn’t that difficult to get the momentum building.
Andrew: So you said, we have a trading room, come and watch us live in person?
Chris: Yeah, I guess I should clarify. Kind of like a webinar type format where you can just log in sitting from your home and see how we trade. You can actually hear either myself or one of my other traders say, “All right guys, so you can see here on the chart we’re looking for the market to run up. Here’s where we get in and then it plays out and you see what the other traders in the trading room are doing.” They post their charts. It’s a real interactive, live environment when you’re just sitting in your house or on the beach or wherever.
Andrew: I see. Are they actually able to watch you? Is there video involved?
Chris: Yeah, sometimes we’ll turn the video on. Usually it’s like a screen capture so you can actually see my screen and my charts, and then usually I have a headset and talk into the mic.
Andrew: So you started off with that. How did you get people to sign up, beyond your friends?
Chris: We said, well look, if you want to come into our room we’ll charge you this much to be a part of our group. At the time, I was just doing one-on-one coaching. I didn’t have a course or videos or anything like that. As it grew, I quickly found out that this isn’t scalable. I only have so many hours in the day in the afternoon, so I put together a course, put together some videos. and then we took some of our better students and turned them into coaches and then from there it just kind of scaled out.
Andrew: Did you have a framework, or what were you teaching people back then when it was just you doing one-on-one?
Chris: My framework is a specific approach to trading so there’s a lot of theory. You can go to the Barnes & Noble and buy a book on trading and it’ll teach you what types of orders there are, what types of indicators you have, and a lot of really good information, but what I do and what I trade is a very specific strategy. When somebody comes in, I’m like, all right, I want to get you from wherever you are today to a point of consistency, consistent results in the shortest period of time, and I guess the best way I found to do that is to teach very specific rules-based setups where there’s not a whole lot of guessing involved.
Andrew: Did you have that at the beginning?
Andrew: So what did you have at the beginning when it was just you teaching?
Chris: I had a whole lot of courses and books and probably started out the same way a lot of people probably do, spent probably $30,000 my first year on education and everything else that was out there, and so from those experiences I learned I found the holes and the gaps and the needs that people really had that weren’t being met by all this other stuff.
Andrew: Let me see if I understand this. People are coming to you to learn from you. You’re buying all these courses so that you can learn yourself, and you’re taking what you’re learning and adding more of your own experiences and teaching that one-on-one. Do I have that right?
Chris: Most of my learning happened in ’02 to ’05. That’s when I had my strategy and my framework and everything built out and I guess the teaching probably came a couple years after that.
Andrew: Okay. So somewhere around ’07 is when you started actually teaching people?
Andrew: So you thought you were doing really well yourself. You said, “I’ve gotten an understanding of how I got here, I’m going to teach it.” What was the original feedback in the beginning?
Chris: The feedback is, wow this isn’t as easy as I thought, and I said, I told you so. We learned a lot about the way that people learn and the way that they interpret the market. The more I learned about people and the way that people learn, the better I was able to structure the education, and so now we have this step-by-step program that takes somebody who knows nothing and can turn them into a master trader.
Andrew: Do you have an example of that? Of something that will help me understand how people learn differently from the way you expected them to learn?
Chris: A lot of people think they can read a book and start making money in the market. In theory, that’s true. But what really happens is you learn something and you look for these conditions to enter the market and it takes practice to develop the skill of actually executing that. There’s a lot of things when you’re trading that come into your market and into your mind that you don’t really think about, like emotions like fear and greed, like wanting to make more money or afraid to lose money. Until you experience that and practice that, it’s going to be really hard to be a true professional trader.
Andrew: So how do you get them to practice that?
Chris: We have what’s called a market replay tool where they can basically download data from yesterday’s market and they can actually press play and act as if they are trading it with real money, but it’s a practice. They can get real time feedback on their results. They can look at that and say here’s the trades I took, here’s the result. It’s fake money, but it’s helping me go through that process and develop the skill of pressing the button at the right time.
Andrew: And this is your software?
Chris: Well, the strategy is mine. We use a platform called Ninja Trader that is open to a lot of traders, and we have a strategy that kind of plugs into that.
Andrew: All right. So you’re doing one-on-one coaching. You realize that coaching doesn’t scale. What is the very first product that you create after that realization?
Chris: Well, I said I need to structure the education somehow. I said, “Well what are the steps that somebody would need to learn this?” Say they know nothing, so start with the basics, then show them the individual parts of the charting software and what they do and then bring it together how they correlate and then the skill development stuff. So what is the progression that somebody would need to go through? I wrote that out and spent about 90 days on actually writing out a 12-chapter curriculum that takes somebody through all that.
Andrew: So you spent 90 days writing this 12-chapter curriculum with without selling it, you just produced it and then you started selling it?
Chris: I had the coaching students so as I’d put a lesson together, I’d roll it out to them and get feedback and questions, and then I’d take that and work that back into the updated version so it was a couple year progression through that after I rolled out the first one to what I have now, learning not only new strategies and improving the strategy, but learning how people learn.
Andrew: What’s the medium that you used for the first set of lessons?
Chris: It’s like a member’s area content, like modulated content with videos and test, examples, pictures.
Andrew: So the very first product that you created was a membership site that trickled out content as people progressed through it?
Andrew: So you put it out and you used, I guess, aMember, right?
Chris: Actually aWeber was the front end and aMember was the back end.
Andrew: So you had a membership site, you’re starting to add modules to it. Your one-on-one students would go through the process and you’d get a sense of how well they were doing. When it was time to roll it out beyond the people who you knew one-on-one, how did you find those first few customers?
Chris: We did Google Ads, like pay per click and I think that was actually it.
Andrew: How much did you charge for it?
Chris: At first it was about $2,500.
Andrew: $2,500 to go through this whole course?
Andrew: And how well did Google Ads work for that?
Chris: It converted very well. I know some of our best students that are still in the room today and doing very well. I look back at their logs and I find out that that’s where they came from. It was definitely and still is a profitable source.
Andrew: $2,500 to go through this one time and then once you pay that you can stay in the room for as long as you want?
Chris: I think back then it was 90 days or maybe six months.
Andrew: 90 days for $2,500?
Andrew: Did you have any hesitation about charging so much money or any questions about it?
Chris: No. Actually it’s significantly higher today.
Andrew: How much is it now?
Chris: We start at about $5,500.
Andrew: $5,500, which somebody has to pay. All right. That brings me to the sales process. To get someone from a Google Ad to instantly convert to $2,500, that doesn’t seem possible. Is that the flow that you created when you first started?
Chris: The first time I set up the Google Ads, we drove them to, basically a sales page that gave information, one sale actually. What we found is for a price point like that you have to demonstrate, you have to show the potential of what your education or the system or whatever it is can do.
What we did is we said, look, come check us out. Come into our trading room for five days. So they opted in, they started getting e-mails and free content and then they come into the room and they watch what’s going on and they figure out, wow this is the real deal. This is the real thing. They can see what other students are doing. They can see what we’re talking about. They see in real time how it works.
Andrew: So the sales funnel was they come to you from Google Ads. They see some kind of offer where they give in their e-mail address. You trickle e-mails to them and let them have access to the trading room for five days, and after that they have to have to pay and after the five days are over, that’s when they pull out their credit card for the first time?
Andrew: Is that the way you set it up at first or did you evolve into that?
Chris: I’ve tested a lot of different things. Limited membership content, webinars as one-time events, free trials. Pretty much everything that’s out there as an option as a sales funnel, I’ve tried it. The one thing I haven’t done though is put out a lower priced product. I know a really effective model is to start out with something low and work your way up. I just don’t want to sell anything that’s crap or that is just theory that somebody can go get in Barnes & Noble. That’s kind of where I start. Our flagship product is product, that’s all we have. We do live events, but it’s not a real deep funnel that has upsell after upsell.
Andrew: I see. All right. So how do you get people to give you their e-mail address in that second step of the funnel? What’s the offer?
Chris: The offer is free content. Learn first why so many traders don’t make it and how you can get around that and then get kind of an inside look at what we do and then figure out if it’s something that you’d like to do.
Andrew: It’s a webinar format though right?
Chris: In our sales process we have webinars, drip-fed content and that trial where they can actually come into a room and even get the software and play with the software and see how it works.
Andrew: What I’m wondering is, how do you amaze people in such a short period of time? How do you make sure that they have such a strong experience within the five days that they end up giving you their credit card and letting you charge them $5,500?
Chris: Well, when you have something that shows the potential to make that in a day, it’s not really difficult.
Andrew: How do you give them confidence that they can make that much in a day, that you can show them how to make that much in a day?
Chris: Well, you can tell somebody something and they may or may not believe you, but when they experience it themselves, it’s a lot more powerful. When they come into the room and they have the software and they know that all it takes is one or two trades to make that, and they look at the market and they say, okay, today we had six trades over the past hour, four of them were winners, two were losses, your net result is X. It doesn’t take that long to see when you have this kind of consistency, that $5,500, if you’re teaching somebody how to scrub windows that might be a market mismatch. When you have something that can give that potential in a couple of hours, all of a sudden that dollar amount doesn’t seem that bad.
Andrew: Do I understand this right? You’re taking them through the process and showing them using your software that that’s how much they would make, did I get that right?
Chris: Yeah. What they do is they actually download the software, and say they come in on a Monday and go through Friday, they have five days to actually look at the software, trade the software, not that they should be trading with their own money because they don’t know what they’re doing, but they can look back and say, look if I took these trades and I was trading with this amount of money, here’s the result.
Andrew: I see. What did you learn about setting up a sales process? What would you teach someone like, let’s say a more experienced person. If Tim Sykes were sitting here on my side of the camera and he said, “Chris, show me what you’ve learned. Teach me what I could do better.”
Chris: I don’t know. Tim has an awesome sales process. I guess one of my biggest lessons would be just to really just give stuff that grabs hold of them. I think it’s easy to look at competition and look at what everybody else is doing and try to copy that, but if you really understand who your prospect is, who your ideal person is and you speak directly to that, I found that the media or the medium that you deliver that content really doesn’t matter if the message is right and you really have an awesome product. I’ve split-tested so many different things, and at the end of the day it’s just about the content really.
Andrew: How do you know who your right prospect is? What have you done to figure out who that person is?
Chris: Number one, survey your list, or if you’re just getting started, whoever you know in the industry. I actually surveyed about 10,000 traders and asked them a couple of questions. Number one, what are your two biggest frustrations with trading? What is it that keeps you awake at night? Number two, if you could ask me any two questions, what would they be? What have you tried that has worked? What have you tried that hasn’t worked? Why do you think you’re not at the level you want to be?
Andrew: And what do they say when you ask them that last question? Why aren’t you at the level you want to be at?
Chris: A lot of times it has to do with either their technical knowledge. They just don’t know what they’re doing, or they haven’t developed the skill to be able to do it. There’s a lot of people that sell trading systems, and you’ve seen the 4X robots and again, that’s not what I do, but you have a lot of systems and stuff out there and the thing that people don’t get is it takes a skill to actually implement that. So that’s what people find out is, number one, I really don’t know as much as I think I do and number two, I haven’t developed the skill to actually implement it.
Andrew: Do you charge people the $5,500 all at once or do you charge it over time?
Chris: We break it up into payments.
Andrew: Okay. From what I understand a lot of the people who buy these types of products are people who just need to make the mortgage right now.
Andrew: Is that what you’re saying?
Chris: I turn people away. There’s a lot of biz offers or business opportunity seekers that chase the latest thing. That’s where you see the 4X trading robots or make a million dollars while sitting on your hands, that kind of gimicky stuff. I turn those people away from the get-go. On all my videos, all my landing pages I say look, most traders lose money. This stuff doesn’t work. If you believe in this stuff, we’re not for you. If you’re scraping your last $100 together and you try and trade, you’re going to lose that.
Andrew: How do you say that to them? Where on the site do you say that?
Chris: We say it in our landing pages, like on my main landing page the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, hey, if you have the desire to trade and make a full-time income and you think you can do this, here’s the reality and just let them know up front that, look, trading is not something that happens overnight. It takes a little bit of time and you have to have these things in place.
Andrew: “A lot of people think they can just take a day trading course or buy trading software and begin making money the very next day. Though our experience is helping thousands of traders, we found a missing link that’s crucial to your success. That missing link is skill development and live market execution. Because trading is a performance activity, you must take time to sharpen your skills with real-time trading execution. It’s not enough to just acquire some knowledge. The real power comes when you take the knowledge and apply it to a live market.” That’s what we’re talking about right there.
Chris: That’s it.
Andrew: How many customers did you have last year?
Chris: Last year we had two or three hundred.
Andrew: Two or three hundred customers.
Andrew: And is it all coming from Google Ads at this point?
Chris: No, we have affiliate partners. We’re in a couple of magazines, starting to do offline. A lot through just organic search as well. We’ve had our SEO rankings really kick butt in the last six months.
Andrew: So what’s the number one channel? The number one source for customers for you right now?
Chris: Number one is actually right now, referrals.
Andrew: Referrals. And number two?
Chris: Organic search.
Andrew: Organic search, really?
Chris: And we’re not even in the top one or two spots.
Andrew: And number three?
Chris: Yeah, we’re sitting around three to five.
Andrew: No, I’m sorry, the third biggest place for traffic for you guys, for customers?
Chris: Oh. Affiliates.
Andrew: So, the search engines, are they sending you traffic to the blog entries, is that where it’s going?
Chris: Going to the home page, blog entries, YouTube, actually YouTube is a huge, huge thing for us right now.
Andrew: I see. How are you using YouTube?
Chris: We have sponsored videos for all the major keywords and we also just have organic videos. I’ll do market recap videos to talk about what happened in the market that day and that drives a ton of traffic.
Andrew: How does sponsored videos lead to customers?
Chris: The same thing as pay per click. You have a Google pay per click ad, somebody clicks, that goes to a landing page.
Andrew: Oh, so it comes to your website, that’s where people play the video?
Chris: Well, if they go to YouTube, you’ll see like, do a search for daytrading and I think I’m the first video there. It’ll say sponsored video and you have all the organics. It works just like Google Search. On YouTube if you do a search ,you’ll see it, it looks scary how close it is. If they do something and they see our promoted video or sponsored video or whatever that is, they watch the video. If they like what I have to say, then they go to this site.
Andrew: Gotcha. So they have to watch the video there and then if they like it, then they come to your site.
Chris: Yeah. Then they usually read the description or the link below that and that will forward them to the site.
Andrew: That’s a lot of effort for somebody to have to watch a video and then also find the link and then go over to your site. What do you do to make sure that they take that path, that they don’t just stop at the video and move on, but they find the link, click it and go to your site?
Chris: You give them a really strong offer. In my videos, what I do is I identify who my person is and who my person isn’t. Kind of anti-hype. If you’re looking for this, this isn’t for you, but if you’re looking for this, this is for you. Here’s a big thing on the inside, behind the landing page or whatever, you’re going to get this benefit or this thing and if it’s the right fit for them they’ll take it, if not that’s fine too.
Andrew: I do see the sponsored videos. What was the search, the keyword that you said you come up 4 high?
Chris: If it’s turned on right now, really it could be anything, day trading or Emini trading.
Andrew: Let’s try Emini trading. What’s Emini by the way?
Chris: It stands for electronically traded futures, so E stands for electronically traded, meaning there’s no trading pit and mini means it’s a portion of the size that the regular contracts are traded at the exchange.
Andrew: Finally, is there one piece of actionable advice that you could give other people that want to build a business online? Selling, education, teaching, creating some software or educational-based products?
Andrew: Hit me.
Chris: Identify what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. For example, even though I’m a nerd and I like tech stuff, I’m not a programmer and I’m not a details guy, so figure out what you’re good at and get rid of everything else. That will catapult you way faster and if there were just a few things that I implemented earlier it would’ve probably had a different result. Just find out what you’re good at and stick to it and forget about everything else.
Andrew: All right. I have to dig in a little bit about that. What was it that you discovered that you weren’t good at that you started passing on? What’s the first thing that you passed on to someone else?
Chris: Admin? Day to day tracking and reporting and stuff like that.
Andrew: How did you find your first admin person?
Chris: My fiancee actually.
Andrew: Oh really?
Andrew: You had your fiancee do the admin work, things like what?
Chris: Customer service, answering questions, doing financial reporting, tracking pay per click and anything like that that you just have to manage kind of day-by-day.
Andrew: All right. What’s the next thing that you passed on?
Chris: The next thing was sales. Although I don’t really think I ever did sales, but when we started hiring salespeople, that was just an extra way to get one-on-one communication because when you’re selling high ticket items people usually want to talk to somebody on the phone just to have that connection.
Andrew: All right. I get that. How many salespeople do you have now?
Chris: Right now we just have one actually.
Andrew: And did I talk to her? Is she the one I talked to?
Andrew: Yeah. All right. How did you find her?
Chris: She is actually my future mother-in-law.
Chris: I’ve got like a little family business, and I’ll tell you that’s the best way to go. Some people say they don’t like working with family members, but if you can, it’s a lot better because they care about your business. We’ve had employees that really just don’t care.
Andrew: She did say she knew you for a long time. How long did she know you?
Chris: She was actually the one that got me into the mortgage business way back in the day, back in high school, so she’s the best salesperson I know. It’s great to have her on board.
Andrew: So you said, if anyone needs a salesperson I’m going to send the phone calls to your cell phone, you close them or you at least talk to them and teach them about the products.
Chris: Exactly. I’m reachable. I’m not behind some kind of curtain or anything. It is good to have somebody there that can constantly answer questions and get people the resources they need.
Andrew: How many hours a day does she have to do sales?
Chris: I don’t know. We should probably ask her.
Andrew: It may even be less than one hour, no?
Chris: Yeah, it’s a couple hours. Her title is Education Counselor, so she works with people and once they get involved or they’re doing a free trial, just answering their questions and making sure they have all the information they need to either make a decision to get into it, or stay on the path that we set up for them.
Andrew: What else does she do beyond this?
Chris: I guess go out on the boat.
Andrew: So she doesn’t do mortgage or anything else anymore.
Chris: No. She’s full-time with us. Everybody who works with us is full-time.
Andrew: Well, thanks for doing the interview. The website as I understand it right is EminiAcademy.com, right?
Chris: That’s right. That’s right. Thanks a lot Andrew.
Andrew: All right. Chris Dunn, thanks for doing the interview. Thank you all for watching.
After the interview, Chris’s lawyer asked me to add this to his interview. I guess this means I asked some good questions.
RISK DISCLOSURE STATEMENT AND DISCLAIMER: COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING INVOLVES SIGNIFICANT RISK OF LOSS AND IS NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. THE HIGH DEGREE OF LEVERAGE THAT IS OFTEN OBTAINABLE IN FUTURES TRADING CAN WORK AGAINST YOU AS WELL AS FOR YOU. THE USE OF LEVERAGE CAN LEAD TO LARGE LOSSES AS WELL AS GAINS. PAST RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. TESTIMONIALS ALSO ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE SUCCESS AND HAVE NOT BEEN INDEPENDENTLY VERIFIED. HYPOTHETICAL RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS. PLEASE CAREFULLY READ THE FULL DISCLAIMER AT HTTP://WWW.EMINIACADEMY.COM/DISCLAIMER.
About Chris Dunn
Chris Dunn is the founder of Emini Academy, which creates software and trains professional day traders to use a specific day trading strategy.