Buying and selling online businesses

Joining me is someone who told me this idea they had about buying, building, and selling multiple underdeveloped content side.

At the time, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea because it felt like spreading spreading oneself too thin.

Turns out I was wrong.

Rohit Gandrakota is the founder of Earn with Authority, which buys and builds online businesses.

The podcast is in all major apps, just search for Mixergy.
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Rohit Gandrakota

Rohit Gandrakota

Earn with Authority

Rohit Gandrakota is the founder of Earn with Authority, which buys and builds online businesses.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses for an audience of real entrepreneurs who are determined, ambitious. And just frankly, just love this stuff. Um, joining me is someone who was in the audience and who I’ve gotten to know over the years and who a few years ago said, Andrew, what do you think of the idea of me buying a few sites and.

Improving them and making more money than they made on their own and building this collection. And I said, I think that’s just too, you’re just spreading your energy around too many things. Why not just pick one and focus? And I don’t remember if he responded back to me, but I do know that he decided to go off anyway and do it.

And then he’d started checking in with me from, from time to time and say, Andrew, this idea that you didn’t think was going to work, here’s how well it’s doing this idea that you didn’t think it’s going to work. Here’s how well it’s doing. And the numbers just kept getting better and better and better and better.

And I’m in awe. I’m amazed and impressed. And I invited him here to talk about how he did it. His name is Rohit

I didn’t pronounce that right. Road, gun ricotta. I realized before this call that I don’t really see your last name, but Rowan is very common first name. And I’ve said it, last name is not. Um, but

Rohit: It’s a, it’s a, it’s a difficult for my friends from India to pronounce it. So

Andrew: even for India.

Rohit: yeah, even for Indians, it’s a difficult, last name. It’s only for Starbucks employees. Why I don’t get along with.

Andrew: All right. And what he did was tell me if I’ve got this. He bought a content site.

Rohit: Yes. Yeah. So the, the bond that You didn’t believe is that you can just buy something off the shelf insights like empire flippers, right?

Andrew: No, I, I thought that part made sense. Maybe if you get one and then improve it, but you specifically said lots and I have a problem personally, with, with spreading focus too far. And so in me, it’s just me. Obviously people have made it work, but I like just doing one thing focused all the way. What you did though, was if I understand it, right, you bought content sites, all very similar, similar model behind every one of these businesses of improving the content, making it more search engine optimized, and I’m running ads, largely affiliate ads on them, and you’d make more money than they made when, when they were running before you, and sometimes you’d sell them.

Is that the.

Rohit: Yeah, that’s exactly the model, mostly affiliate, uh, it’s not really ads, right? It’s uh, um, you know what I felt to a product which when they buy, you can make a cut of the.

revenue, uh, which is I feel slightly more level than ad, uh, which is just display.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, you’re right, because Amazon does not change their payouts very often others don’t and, and, and the model is pretty straightforward. Tell people about a product. If they want to buy it, they go buy it. Wire cutter kind of does that, that model to write the New York times review site. Alright.

There are

Rohit: it’s more, uh, more revenue per visitor, right? You make a one 50 to 200. I mean, that’s kind of like a hard one metric to look at. What is the revenue per visitor with revenue per thousand MREs that the current site is making and, Uh, if, it is know that 1 50, 200 responsible.

So everybody’s making 50, we know that there is a two, three X opportunity.

Andrew: and when they make 50, $50 per thousand hits,

Rohit: Yeah.

Andrew: what are, what are they doing differently from what you’re doing? Is it that they’re running ads and you’re switching affiliates or.

Rohit: Uh, that is possible. Uh, they’re running ads on ads. 50 is like the extreme case. That is the best case scenario. So you know that immediately by switching it’s possible, they just didn’t optimize their site. Well, they have a fleet links to down in the trenches that not enough people are clicking on it. So just by changing the design of all the pages, we can probably increase it from 50 to a hundred.

Let’s say they’re making. And I can get it to you all night. You can go up to a hundred.

Andrew: Okay. I should say that there are challenges with this business. We’ll talk about what the revenue is. So things are going well, but there are challenges. And so he shifting his attention now to a services business. It’s called automation, engineered.io. And what they do is, you know, there’s some people that.

Using Zapier and air table and other tools, no code tools, largely they automate their businesses. So, well, the things just work with fewer people, but what he does at automation engineer is he’s, he will do that for businesses. He’ll automate the way that they work. And if you’re really into systems and automations, you, you get why this is exciting.

Let’s talk revenue. How are you doing revenue wise with these businesses that you’ve been buying?

Rohit: So in 2020 last year we did 1.4 million

Andrew: 1.4 million last year. How much of that is profit?

Rohit: Uh, so the book profit is like 700 K. Um, but, uh, which means that we spent our sound educated, right. Um, out of the 700 K almost like 500 K spent on new projects. Right. Not on sustaining. So if I were to like list my business, I don’t know if you’re familiar with like add backs and all.

So the expenses for running the business that around 300 K 1.9 million, but that is not. On the books. Right? So it’s lower than

Andrew: you take some of that profit. You invested in new ideas. You and I have talked about a crypto, a set of ideas that you’re interested in. We’ve obviously talked about automation, engineer and others, and that’s where you’re putting your money right now.

Rohit: yes, exactly.

Andrew: You did have a job, though. What was the problem with the job that you had?

Rohit: Oh, my God, it does no problem. I was loving my job. I allowed my team, everything was going great. I was asked to take a new role in my job and I was glad, and it was a difficult decision to stay focused on the business or the focus on the job, everything, both of them I love. And after they took my new role there, they gave me a promotion.

My title changed from like senior manager to director. And I was like all excited. And I went on a vacation right after that. And my manager went on a vacation. So it was one month before I talked to him and I came back after a month and they told me it was a mistake that they never intended to promote me.

So I, I, it was disheartening. I’m usually good with, uh, Uh, pushing through small obstacles, but in this case, I just could not get myself to work. So I would park my car in the parking lot and I don’t want to go walk into my office at all. And it’s just, I mean, something internally changed and it was so hard for me to convince myself to work.

And that is when I said, I mean, I, I mentally quit at that instant. Right. So there’s nothing wrong with my job. It’s just that incident that made me lose my motivation to work for a company.

Andrew: And meanwhile, you’d been doing a podcast called breaking borders, breaking the borders, right. Interviewing people, understanding things about the world beyond the one that you’d grown up going, uh, going for. And what were you learning? What was, what was it that was shaping the way you were thinking about what you could do?

Rohit: Um, I have to thank you so much. Bye. But Andrew, because it was from your interviewer scores that I actually started. Gaining conference interviewing the first three. I mean, I’m so excited for the book that you’re releasing, to be honest, I want to so read it from end to end. Uh, so first five interviews or whatever, I’d be like this little needy internal, uh, right.

Like asking questions. And from the 10th interview on, after you interviewed her support. In fact, after the first week, I loved it so much. I reached out to your team. Give me access to all the, all the modules and you, you obliged, right? You actually gave me an, I went through doll interviewed. So I learned, like I met like two types of people, right?

One set of people who are exceptional, who are just, whose thinking is changes you as a person, there’s one guy called like Karen Bajaj. He sold the company for. $300 million just last year. This was after I interviewed him. Right. When I interviewed him, he was just writing books and stuff. Um, and, uh, the VA was thinking, was this next level?

Right? So people like that inspired me. And there’s this guy, Patricia, he was running a venture fund for immigrants and he told me one statement. He said, Uh, like just focus on the business, don’t worry about immigration. So I was on an immigration on a visa, which no, where it was not allowed to work on your own business and all that.

Right. He said, uh, focused on the business and immigration will take care of itself. And if your lawyer says, uh, he can’t do it, get another lawyer. Right. Like, don’t take their word for it.

Andrew: That’s the mindset shift. That’s the mindset shift that I’ve seen, that someone said to you, if the lawyer tells you something’s not possible, get a new lawyer. So it’s not no longer you saying these experts know, but you now getting to pick the experts who get you the results that you want instead of taking what they’re telling you.

And so you started seeing all this, meanwhile, you are looking around for different ideas. How did you meet Josh?

Rohit: Yeah. Josh?

is my business back then, and that was a broadcasting at that time. And I was listening to a lot of podcasts also. So I randomly podcast on. Um, on, on, on, on some podcast, I can’t remember right. Know where Josh was on and he said, I’m looking for investors. So at this time I was not really sure at this time, actually I wanted to, uh, like I had this fascination to do an MBA always.

And that was about the time, right? Like I did my masters. I was working in the corporate world for five years and it was a perfect time. But when I talked to MBA folks, they said it was not like useful. Like most of the immigrants I talk to. Uh, kind of regretted the decision or, I mean, not regret is a strong word, but almost all of them said if they were to go back, they wouldn’t do it.

Which made me question that decision. So I said, uh, I mean, I saw this from Tim Ferriss and others that let me do a real FMB, right? Like, uh, you cost me $200,000. I’ll take $50,000 in English and other businesses. Uh, and at the time I came up with some pamphlets and all, and also heard this podcast where this guy said, I’m looking for.

So this guy, Josh, he said, he’s looking for investors. And he’s like a child prodigy bought his first sight when he was like, he started building sites from 13. He sold X boxes when he was eight. And he like, he’s just a genius guy. Right. So I started working with him and I realized he does not need an investor.

He actually needs the business partner. I was whatever is in his. Uh, it goes away after he moves onto a new project. I will, with my corporate experience, I was like a manager at that time. So I was already building teams and building processes and, you know, managing a team to do things independently and stuff like that.

So all I did was for a year almost, I took everything in his head and put it into soapies, which is where, like the foundation of automation engineer. Right. I was so Passionate about that stuff already in my corporate life. And it, the exact same thing in

Andrew: Passionate about SLPs.

Rohit: Passionate about business processes and SOP is, is, uh, uh, eBay, right?

Like you first try to, Uh eliminate things. I mean, we have this principle of eliminate automate delegate. Like you try to figure out a way to not do something, right. It can we get rid of it?

Andrew: Give me an example of an SOP standard operating procedure. Right? That’s what, that’s what it’s called. This is where you document a process. What is it that you would document.

Rohit: Yeah. So this is like the third step, right? Is what I’m saying. You try to eliminate, if you can’t automate you automate through Zacchaeus and stuff, you can’t do that. Then that is when you delegate, you make a detail, uh, process. So for example, like right. Writing outlines for a new article, there is, uh, one type of article for which.

Eh, outline, which is 20 pages long. And we built a macro, which, uh, which pops up a screen, which are the selections, which are the sections you want to select and a VA select sections using some logic. And it automatically generates, eh, outline, which we send off to the writers. Right? So it’s a mixture of automation and.

Uh, a standard operating procedure, which shows based on the topic, how to pick, uh, which sections to, uh, include in the article.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And so you document it, can you give me an example of something that he did it back then, that you came in and documented and helped out or that he would have moved on past, but you helped systemize and organize

Rohit: Um, uploading, uh, articles. It takes an hour to upload one article because you need to get the right media, right. Everything

Andrew: a WordPress site. Oh, because you need to get the image. It’s not just uploading it. You’re saying it’s putting it all together.

Rohit: Putting your talk together to take an hour. Often writing is done. He’s done just to publish. And, uh, we wrote detailed instructions on put this yet. Don’t put more than two paragraphs without image or fiberglass without image. And try to break it up this way. Sections should be H one. This should be H two and they should all look good at the end of it.

all.

We have a different person who’s like slightly higher level who like verifies this work. So that’s an SOP that we do, right? Like we have like over a hundred soapies at this stage when we buy a site.

Andrew: So what you’re saying is he would have moved on, it would have been a drag to keep doing all the work. And so he wouldn’t have continued you instead of saying, let’s move on. You see. Systemize, this let’s delegate it, that it’s automated. Let’s find a way to make it work. And that’s the part that you brought in then the two of you, I guess, 20, 20 16, you found a business on Flippa in the welding space.

So this is a blog, right? It sounds like a WordPress blog.

Rohit: Yeah.

Andrew: It was doing how much money.

Rohit: it was. I mean, it was less than 500 bucks actually to buy the site. It was not earning any money. It was just having a few hundred visitors. Uh, we bought it for dirt cheap and I think one of us paid for it and we didn’t even transfer the money. Right. And we started putting a content on the site, which six months later it was making.

500 a month. Uh, and it was an extremely profitable militia at that time. Now it’s not so anymore, but at that time there were so many people searching for welding content and no one was writing about it. So the first article we wrote started ranking. So we wrote about MIG welders, welders, like, like I don’t even know gas,

Andrew: Have you ever welded anything in your life?

Rohit: No.

Andrew: No. So how’d, you know, how’d, you know what to write what to say?

Rohit: Uh, we don’t know what the right, but we don’t, we know what to write about, which is the most important aspect. Right. So we do like detailed keyword research and we’ll know what is related to welding that people are searching for. And then we look at the competition out there. The best degree, that is something that people are searching for.

And we know that there is demand for it, right? There are like thousand searches per month, let’s say. Uh, and, uh, the, the, the competition on best welders is a very poorly written article or very low domain ranking site. So I know that I can do better than this, just in terms of visuals, if not for the information also, right.

Uh, I can do way better than what I see here. So I. Into that topic. I write about it. It’s a kind of like a mixture of art and science. You have the data and also you need to figure out like these, we bought Indonesia. We have no idea about like building, for example. So we want to know big welding is connected to TIG welding.

So we look at the side, which are written by this passion net people to see what are the other topics that are writing about. And we do the research on those topics as well. And we find just in topics and.

Andrew: So basically you’re doing book reports on the topics that you see the internet is looking for information on. Book reports, meaning like, um, maybe it’s not a book report, but where you’re doing research assignments, you’re going out and saying, what can I learn online? Put it together in an article that fits what our people are looking for added on the site.

And then for welding, I’m assuming you can’t do Amazon affiliate program. Can you

Rohit: Yeah. Yeah. There are a thousand dollar welders that are sold on Amazon. We did only Amazon actually to start

Andrew: and then people were buying these thousand dollar welding tools. They

Rohit: Yeah, They were buying it just by reading an article. It blew my mind to write or to write like the first month or so we made like $7. We sold like a one $40 product or something. Uh it’s it’s just mind blowing. And yes, six months later, we were.

routinely selling thousand dollar products on Amazon, through our fleet.

Andrew: And was it you mostly writing in the beginning until you found someone to delegate it to.

Rohit: No, that does a part, right? Like I did not know how to.

write. And I started off with not doing the work ourselves. Right. So. I brought a team of three people, like one VA, one project manager. These people were actually working on my podcast at the time. So I just said, I’ll pay you through my podcast, but just work on this also.

And, uh, and the writers you just hired a writer is the only expense that you would have, which me and my partner would share, but we would go out there to Upwork and find actual people. I mean, at that time,

Andrew: you found the best writers.

Rohit: Yes, Upwork, uh, uh, free up. I don’t know if you know, it’s like another freelancing software, which, uh, had decent writers at the time.

Um, yeah.

Andrew: What’s your process for finding good writers? You give them a test.

Rohit: So back then we didn’t have glasses, but I mean, good writers, right? So that is a part we changed mostly. Now. We, uh, uh, no, what we do is we hired like the experts of the experts on Upwork or anywhere that we can find and have them review other writers. But these experts work at like $500 an hour. We can’t afford to use them for writing.

It takes for us. Right. Not telling that’s a $2,000 article. There’s just no, But, uh, we find writers also through Upwork and other places we use also content agencies like content refined and few other places. And when the content comes back, we have the experts kind of a seed. And so we know who is a better writer who is kind of knowledgeable

Andrew: so you use, you use the most expensive writers to help you figure out who the cheaper writers are, who are really good.

Rohit: Yes,

Andrew: Ah, okay. They submit the same article for the same topic. And then you send it over or is it always a different article?

Rohit: Uh, usually if I am, if I have three or four writers, they all like the same article in the first and second rounds. And actually they don’t even know that there are rounds going on. Right. So we just, that is like one of. SOP support hiring, right? We just, uh, give them real work. We trust them from Deva and we never interview.

We give them a real word and they keep dropping people along the way. And in three or four iterations of working all, always find the best.

Andrew: Okay.

All right. And so.

Rohit: And I, and the beauty of this process is that, uh, it eliminates, uh, false positives, obviously that people who sound really well, but they don’t do good work, but also pints false negatives because people lose sound terrible, but they do amazing work.

This false negatives are the biggest discovery because they can never get another job. Right. I mean, not I’m happy if they’re able to find another job, but they interview terribly there. Their application is very. And these people have stuck with us for a long, um,

Andrew: saying by giving people real work, you’re finding that you sometimes find people who are good at the job, but suck it the whole interview process. And so they’re not going to be going out and finding a lot of other jobs there. They’re easier to keep. All right. Let me take a moment. Talk about my first sponsor it’s SEMrush, uh, which actually they’re great for all online marketing, but let me ask you this since they’re also good for search engine optimization.

Do you have one tip for somebody who’s new to search engine optimization that they can go to SEMrush and try or anywhere else?

Rohit: Yeah. Uh, do you mostly use Asian, but even in sandwich, you can try to focus on like the long tail, which means that don’t try to go after best, uh, uh, TIG welders, right? Best degraders for doors, best big for windows. Right? Like trying to find all the long tail keywords and, uh, make a subset of the keywords that are connected. And make an optical doc,

Andrew: Uh, so multiple keywords that all seem to fit into the same article and go with that. Okay. Whether you’re using SEMrush or, uh, or other tools and our other tools for. I think that makes sense. If anyone does want to try SEMrush and you’ve seen that many of my guests use them, um, I’m gonna let you use them for free right now.

All you have to do is go to mixergy.com/semrush. That’s M I X E R G y.com/s C M R U S H. And you can just use it for free, explore it and see if it’s a good fit. If it is great, continue, can pay if it’s not move on. All right. Um, how do you know which sites to buy.

Rohit: Um, so one is, uh, the upside potential by if you just want to flip it, right? I mean, we never flip the side, but the revenue per thousand visitors, what is the range of here? If it is at one 50 bucks, 200 bucks, we are not going to buy the site because there is no, there’s no margin in. Right. Like if things don’t work out or all our growth opportunities, don’t pan out, there is nothing to give.

Right. So we are looking for side, which is under monetized. We’ll have ugly sides. It’s like you buy.

ugly houses, right? Yeah. Ugly sites. I love it.

Andrew: And what makes it ugly is obviously the looks, but also you’re saying they don’t put their ads at the right spot. They don’t know how to monetize their articles. That’s what you’re looking for because there you’re saying, even if we don’t increase traffic at all, we can increase revenue.

Rohit: Yes, that’s right. The best ugly sides are the ones which are not complete in the sense that are, it’s a passion project for someone. And they wrote about a hundred topics they’re passionate about, and they’re getting so much revenue. There are these other 200 topics that they can write about with generates two times revenue.

Right. But they just never touched it because they think not many, like they’re not looking at it from demand angle. Right. They’re looking at it from supply angle so that those are the best

Andrew: meaning they’re looking at what do they care about? And if the one subsection is what they care about, great. And then they forget the rest I’m looking for example at, so we agreed before the interview started that we wouldn’t give, uh, the specific domains out and I’ll ask you why in a moment, but I’m looking at one for HVAC.

I could see that somebody with. I’m an HVAC business. Why would I want to write about fans, you know, little fans that people put on their desk, but you say, you know, there’s enough of a demand for it. Let’s write a few articles on fans. People can go into Amazon and pop a fan into their shopping cart and if they buy anything else along the way, we also make money from that.

Rohit: Yeah. Even verse they would have written an informational article about fans, right? They will write details about, uh, or mechanics or fan and stuff like that, but they never light in a fleet article about facts. Right? You are already ranking for informational content on fans. It’s so easy to rank for a flight pattern for fans because Google already sees you as.

Andrew: Uh,

Rohit: so we add the, Uh,

this thing on the fence, uh, the affiliate pointed on the fence and boom, it makes like two times more.

Andrew: Okay. I see. And then you’ve got like another one, another one, another, one of the other things that you do there is you will then link out to specific fan brands. Like there’s KraftMaid, there’s Emerson, et cetera. And so you’ll start writing pages for each one of those, and then you’ll start ranking for that.

Okay. So I see a little bit of how the machine works. Why are we not telling people what these domains are?

Rohit: Uh, someone can copy it entirely and, uh, it will take an ear for Google to take them down or whatever light. And, uh, I don’t want it to

Andrew: has that happened?

Rohit: yeah, it actually happened. So we listed a site on empire flippers, which never sold it was on there for a year and it never sold. And six months later we had 20 copies.

And they bought domains, which have not been connected to the niche. It was an outdoor niche site. And the bought this website called, uh, related to SQL, which had the high domain authority and started writing like copycatting the content. Exactly. And we had to hire a lawyer and takes and take down notices, DMC complaints.

And it was an outside, took a hit, right? Like we went from in a month, we went from. Uh, like making like a 50 K in revenue to 30 gain revenue, just because the competition part of right. Like we also had other hits, so it was just a drastic drop that happened?

And, Uh,

after that, the complaints and all that things started improving, but it was just a nightmare to deal with it.

So, which is why I don’t tell the domain names publicly.

Andrew: So one of the problems that happened as we were talking, things are going good and then things weren’t. And one of those problems that made things go less well is Google changed their algorithm. What happened internally for you?

Rohit: Yeah.

So Google changes I’ll go to them. And, uh, or what night things changed. Right. And it impacted our. Like one side at a time. So suddenly aside making five K a month makes back a hundred and, uh, which is, and All that, that takes it would be okay. So this happened intermittently like every six months or so some drastic happens.

I mean, like beginner’s luck the first one, one and half year, nothing happened. Every Google update, we, this, I pause to change, but after the first one, Every six months or so aside making PICA drops was zero. And, uh, uh, then we realized that, uh, uh, at the end of the day, we are not like the experts in this industry, right?

Like in this niche, we are not there. Here are like, let’s say for welding or HVAC or outdoors, we are not here to push the envelope of knowledge in these niches. Right. We are here to make money more or less. So we wanted to. Yeah, do work that we are proud of, that we are proud of sharing with other people, right?

Like I’m not ashamed of sharing what I’m working on. It’s just, it’s acceptable, but I’m not proud of building a building site. Right. Like I’m not available by trade. So I really want it to do things that I’m proud of. And, uh, I also thought that doing that will kind of immune us from Google updates and where we have more concrete.

We have a better relationship with people who are coming to our site, who are working with us and so on. So we really want it. Do things that we are passionate about, that we are proud of, that we can, uh, keep doing for 10 years. right.

Andrew: Let me take a moment. Talk about my second sponsor is HostGator in the context of what you’ve done. Do you think somebody can go to HostGator where you can host a WordPress site and start building a site from scratch on a topic? Or do you think it needs to be something that already exists?

Rohit: You can start building things from scratch, but it has to be a digitally under done, uh, niche. Right? Uh, for example, like crypto is a great example. Uh, if you go to SEMrush and look for crypto related keywords, there is so much out there where there’s huge demand, but not enough supply. So I would absolutely create a crypto site from scratch.

Andrew: Got it. Pick a topic that’s brand new and then write content just about that topic as you’re doing it, think about, um, what people are looking for, not just, what are you passionate about writing about and then monetization. Do you think something like crypto could be monetized with Amazon? It doesn’t seem like it.

Rohit: Yeah, probably cannot be done with Amazon, but it’s a monetizeable attacks. So you can make 50 to a hundred bucks for a thousand visitors, not Monday to Monday, which is, and we can make it profitable even at that range.

Andrew: You think maybe there’s

Rohit: but, uh, it will offset with a significantly higher traffic, right? Like crypto will get two, three times more traffic than.

Yeah, product related, uh, site. So though you’re making less per visitor, you’ll have three times more visitors. So

Andrew: crypto site that you think what’s a topic in crypto that you think would be interesting.

Rohit: Ah, crypto dashboards. So there is so much information out there that I often find, uh, uh, I often see gaps in figuring out how to get certain amount of data. For example, like curve is a protocol on crypto, which, uh, has gives you the fees generated evenly distributed to all its, uh, co-taught. So I just want to know the percentage.

What is all the fees generated today? How much of it is went to the users? There is no way to look at that. So if I build an information site on content like this, for every protocol, I think that can do decently well.

Andrew: Uh, got it. All right. Listen to people, whether it’s this idea or any of the other ones that I’ve used in the ads for HostGator, if you need a website hosted, if I’d suggest you go to HostGator. And the reason that I like HostGator is it’s a dependable company been around for years. Their stuff just works.

It’s inexpensive. And in fact, if you use my URL, you’re going to get an even lower price than they ordinarily charge. Here’s the URL, hostgator.com/mixergy. I hosted mixer G on HostGator, and then I moved on and forgot about it. Cause it just works. All right, HostGator. Thank you so much for sponsoring.

Rohit: My podcast is, to learn a horse Gator. And I signed up with that exact link.

Andrew: it’s just works. Right? I think, I think we can get carried away with, uh, with hosting companies. I think when you’re getting started, get started easy and then if you’re not happy, you can, you can migrate away. All right. Um, let’s, let’s switch off then to the next thing for you. You started saying I need something that’s going to be long-term that I don’t have to worry about what Google is doing.

Why did you decide to do automation?

Rohit: We looked at all the topics that we, uh, um, Uh, be to get it from a different angle, right. We don’t care whether it’s, it will make money or not. What am I most passionate about? And it’s automation, uh, operational excellence is something that I’ve done in my corporate life that I do in my business. Like managing operations. automation?

is a part of it is just, uh, something that I’m very, very passionate about. So that’s why I chose that as a nation. It does not diminish like its highest rate. So it’s just, if someone talks to me about. Uh, so basically my corporate job, I was working on how to move product through an assembly line as fast and as efficiently and as much volume as possible.

And now I use the exact same thing. It’s supposed to figure out how to move information to a business is the process, right? There is so many similarities that, uh, it was a huge advantage, but operational, uh, uh, experts are not coming to the information world at all right.

Andrew: Really wait, but when you say automation experts, aren’t you talking about the people who are doing, what is it?

Rohit: Operation experts

Andrew: Oh, operation experts.

Rohit: yeah.

So people who are working in the factories in China and Japan and I mean, yeah, those people are not coming to information well, but it’s the same.

Andrew: Okay. And so you have that experience. You decide I’ve been doing this for all these content businesses. That’s how I run so many businesses, so many sites without going nuts. What’s a,

Rohit: Yeah, just, I mean, I don’t think I haven’t mentioned we how many sites, so we run about 40. Overall, I don’t think I even mentioned in this interest so far, we’ve got about 40 sites and in the prime, we were, uh, publishing 400 articles and months. Right. Which is like 20 articles, 15 articles a day. And, uh, uh, with a,

team of 20 people or so, and, uh, like about.com was publishing, uh, 4,000 articles at that time.

I remember with, uh, like 4,000 people or something. Right. So. Publishing 10% with 1% of the people. I mean, I think that is the nature of any startup in general. Uh, but there’s also some advantage of automation and all these operations, uh, expertise in there.

Andrew: Okay. And so who’s the first customer.

Rohit: It was an education company. They are. Uh, they’re building, uh, worksheets on, uh, which help primary educators, um, studying primary school teachers, uh, educators. So they are, uh, what generating, able to generate only one or two, uh, what sheets per week. And we increased it to almost like 20. So. Yeah, nice gate.

It was this dumb where it integrates with their content management system and, uh, all the instructions are sent over to specific people and they also get published onto the site. They eventually sell their worksheets and so on and they didn’t think it was scalable to that extent. Right. Just something as simple as building the wall sheets for the primary school teachers.

Andrew: It’s a, where does the content come from for the worksheets?

Rohit: From that. So that is one of the things that we have built. Right. So the teacher didn’t have to do all of it. So we hired. A designer from Philippines who can do 80% of the work. So the teacher, instead of creating the worksheet, she was now creating the template and that template is used by the designer to build 21.

Andrew: Okay.

Rohit: let’s say it’s a, it’s an alphabet tracing, a template is made. And the, Uh the designer makes a to Z capital and small. So there are 52, what you smell from just one template. Right? So that teachers work was scalable to like 50 times,

Andrew: it.

Rohit: Uh, now, so with, uh, almost the same cost, I mean, there maybe added a cost of like 500 a month, but the grading, like 50 times more, I mean, it’s only zero to 20.

We don’t go beyond 20. So on an average, at least 20, 30 times increased throughput.

Andrew: How do you, how do you get clients considering that the work is the same, but the clients are so diverse. And I don’t know that people are looking for this. Are they.

Rohit: Uh, Yeah.

so there, there are clients looking for this on Upwork and stuff like that, where we apply. And, uh, we also have a. Oh, but still connections. We know businesses. And then we know that people, we know that people are very heavily optimized and all. So when we know that we want to do it like people these days, right?

Like we have a portfolio of YouTube sites, which you helped automate as well, which was just a connection or whatever. So there are people looking for it, but not, uh, uh, not like lighting skill or anything. Right. So. One to two inquiries every week, sort of a thing. And we probably get like a client every month sort of thing.

So it’s not, it’s not as in demand as you, you are right in that sense that there’s not a ton of people looking for it, but we also want to how they say we want to improve it further. Right. We started with services because consulting the easiest way to see profitable. But we are creating content on the site.

Automation is needed because that’s our expertise as well. So we are writing, we are looking at writing detailed guides on how to integrate with Zapier, how to build systems and stuff like that, which also drives content. And we are also actually planning to build a course on how to work with VAs or how to, you know, how to build a.

Basically. So there are like growth plans or whatever, along the way. But, uh, we started with consulting because it was the biggest, fastest, easiest, and most profitable to start with.

Andrew: Yeah, I think that makes sense. I think, um, I think also what we’re finding is there are a lot of people who go to the tools that you’ve mentioned. No, what they could do, and then realize it’s going to be murdered to do it on their own. So you go to air table. I did that. I went, you know what I wanted, I just wanted all the highlights in my Kindle book to be tagged properly and organized in a spreadsheet.

I got like twenty-five percent of the way there and realized how powerful it was at 75. I got stumped. And then I went out to look for somebody who can do it. And I think the same things happen for work where you’ll find, you’ll find that you could do something and then somewhere you get stuck. And that’s when you reach out for the, for the automation

Rohit: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, you’re right. I forgot about the main source of regeneration, which is answering community questions on a table. Like we constantly answer difficult questions and stuff like that. And people often reach out asking, Hey, you seem so knowledgeable. Like you answered like whatever, 150 questions.

Uh, so we wanted to hire you. So that has been helpful as well.

Andrew: All right. And on the content sites, it seems like you’re starting to switch from just doing articles to doing dashboards and things that are more automated. Right.

Rohit: Yeah, it’s not automation is not the reason why we are doing it. It’s more the, like the technicality of billing, all that, uh, keeps the competition low in a, in a way. Right. So even

Andrew: write an article and put up a word press site on a topic about crypto, but it’s really hard for somebody to figure out how to get a dashboard that updates properly and adds all the data sources. That’s what you’re thinking.

Rohit: Yeah, that’s exactly right, because it took me 20 hours of learning Dallas, go to gym and figure out the basics. Right. Even on the, like the HVAC side with a building, like calculators and stuff like that, which require you to use the HTML code and stuff like that. Significantly harder to replicate. So there is some value add there more than liking a hiding agenda writer and writing about content.

Andrew: All right. Let me close out with this. At one point I was watching you on Facebook. You would just, basically, it seemed like you were traipsing all over the world. Were you taking a year off? What were you up to?

Rohit: Yeah. Yeah, I did take a year off in 2016, so I only had two hours per day to?

work on my business. So I would wake up one hour before my wife and sleep one hour after her. And in those two hours I had to manage. And that business in the beginning stages. So that’s why I was forced to like work with VA project manager and writer and not do all the work.

And I took, Uh, from September, 2016 to September, 2017, I just took a year off and traveled in south America in Europe for three months, Southeast Asia for three months. And even in India, I was in the past now Eugene doing yoga teacher training. I had. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I wouldn’t pay it for anything, which also probably changed my perspective about life overall.

Andrew: Do you still keep that vibe going now that you’re back at daily?

Rohit: Yeah.

It’s been four years since he came back and we are sort of on like a mini vacation, right? Not as well. I’m kind of taking time away and not working on as much on the business. Uh, but it’s hard. So I found that it’s not like there is no balance, right. It’s not possible to do it sustain for a long time.

So I’m much more in and out kind of guy. So what about for like three years, four years, whatever. And take time off and explore and be at peace and probably jump back in.

Andrew: Yeah.

Rohit: Oh, the past night is, uh, uh, meditation. Uh, course for 10 days you are in silence. You’re not talking to everybody and you’re meditating for 12 hours a day. You’re not allowed any inputs, including like writing nothing is allowed. So you’re just your own thoughts. So you go so deep into your psyche that you know, that someone being slabbed is, so it always ended so much anger in you because you.

It happened to me. I slapped my friend as a kid, which I was very ashamed of. Right. So this happened like what, 20 years ago. Right? So all these things boil to the surface because you are not taking fish inputs and you can work deeply on your internal issues. Uh, and that seems like a long time to come in, but like I’ve never had so much growth in such a short period of time,

Andrew: 10 days. No external stimulus,

Rohit: Yes.

Andrew: no, no phone.

Rohit: No phony obvious you not, not even a book, no writing, no reading. Any books,

Andrew: Yeah. Wow. We.

Rohit: but it’s thoughtful. It’s it’s so powerful.

Andrew: All right. The website for anyone who wants to follow up with you is automation, engineer.io. Are you, are you available? Like if they have a question about a tool that they’re using, since you’re in the community with us, can they contact.

Rohit: absolutely. Yeah. I can just email me too. We’ll hit that automation engineer.io and will answer you.

Andrew: All right, roll it at automation, engineer.io. Right now he’ll answer you. Who knows maybe in the future, that thing will be automated and you’ll have somebody on your team automatically answer. But for now we get direct action access to you. Thanks so much. Congratulations on doing all this.

Rohit: Yeah.

thanks, Andrew. It’s been a, almost a dream come almost. It’s absolutely a dream come true to be on, et cetera. Right? Like when I was listening to your interviews back in 20 15, 20 14, I was like one day, one day, I’ll build a business and I want to actually have Andrew interview me and not, uh, uh, your podcast asset has been a huge, huge inspiration, uh, for both kinds of people.

One is. Like Samoans and all who were absolutely brilliant. And also other people who are like just regular and have done great things. So That inspires me. Right. So, yeah.

Andrew: is one of the best things about just hooking up a mic to my computer all those years ago and starting it starting to interview people it’s been great. And I’m glad that you and I have stayed together, stayed in touch for this whole length of time. Cool. Thank you. Thanks everyone. And remember it’s, uh, automation, engineer.io, and I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen the first, if you need a website, hosted, go to hostgator.com/mixergy.

And the second, when you’re ready to get a SEO software for free, go to mixergy.com/semrush. Thank you. And show it. See it.

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