Andrew: Hey, they’re freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. And I meet a lot of entrepreneurs in my audience, and I have rarely met an entrepreneur who is more persistent than today’s guest Dmitri drag alive boy, dude.
I when, when you and I first met, you were incredibly persistent in making sure that you were helping me, that you were showing me how I can improve my site. Every interaction I’ve ever had with you, Dimitri, where I said, this is what we’re thinking of doing. You follow it up with work to help me or help my team do what we’re doing better.
We started writing articles about chatbots. You said, let me show you how to do a better you work with me. You work with Tam fam on our team to make them even better. You gave us a framework for how to do well. The thing that I always wondered with you is how, how are you still married with kids? Are you still married?
Dmitry: I am still married. Yeah. Two kids, four and six.
Andrew: I don’t know how you’re able to do that and run the business and the business that you ran. It’s called. Just reach out, just reach out that IO is the domain. You came here to tell us that you sold the business. I want to find out about the challenges with the business, how you grew it, how you found somebody to buy the business, the way that you structured the sale, and then what you’re up to now.
And that’s what this interview is all about. We are going to talk about, you’re going to tell us how much you sold the business for right.
Dmitry: I’ll give you a very good range.
Andrew: Okay. You know what I’ll do the quick sponsor message. This interview is sponsored by HostGator. If you need a website, hosted, go to hostgator.com/mixergy, an Unbounce, which has a brand new report. That’s going to help you improve your conversion rates. They want you to go check it out for free at unbounced.com/cbr.
Give me the range what’d you sell. Just reach out for.
Dmitry: Between 700 and 900,000.
Andrew: And it’s not the whole business. It’s what percentage.
Dmitry: It’s 80%. Let’s say
Andrew: Somewhere around there. All right. The thing that I know about just reach out as this it’s for people who don’t have a PR company want to do PR on their own and need some structure and software to get it done. So you train them on how to do it. If they wanted to say, for example, do public relations via podcasting.
You showed them podcasters. They can reach out to you told them how popular the podcasters were. You made it easy for them to connect to the podcasters. Your software would allow them to send a message to the podcaster and they hopefully will land a spot being interviewed on a podcast, which will then send them traffic and also increase their page rank and be great for search engine optimization.
Same thing for if they wanted their content to appear on other people’s blogs, you allowed them to, uh, to find the right content sites and right. Publishers and reach out to them. That was the whole thing. And still is that just reach out is known for. Right.
Dmitry: Correct. Yeah. And basically get links to grow your SEO, to get traffic and convert that traffic to customers.
Andrew: And so how much revenue were you able to get this up to?
Dmitry: Two 5,300. We’ve had a year. So we’ve had years where it was 400 a year, 400,000, but two 5,300 was where it was at the last couple of years.
Andrew: Thing that I wonder is why wasn’t it more? You’re a guy who grows great content and knew how to rank knew how to get traffic you’re in the SAS space, right? Recurring revenue. Why do you think you didn’t do multiple times that 10 times that even.
Dmitry: Cause I was only working 15 hours a week or 20. I think everybody in my world. Is pushing like crazy to grow that revenue and they can kill themselves over it. They can not see their kids for two weeks and they can, they can achieve those numbers. They can go to a networking event and get on the podcast.
Talk about those numbers. Be proud of those numbers. To me, being with my kids was more important than. Some metric and some success factor would with a business. I just literally chose that.
Andrew: Well, why 15 hours could you go 40 hours, then three X the results, maybe even more than three X, the results and still have time with your kids. 40 hours is nine to five.
Dmitry: Yeah, no, like I felt like I needed to spend more time with the kids versus the business because my dad never spent any time with me. And maybe I was overcompensating for something. I don’t know. I was also by myself. I didn’t have a partner or a coach or anybody else to kind of guide me. So I was kind of lost for number of years doing this thing.
Like, I didn’t know. What to do what I
Andrew: did that last period feel like? What did that last period feel like? What do you mean? We were lost. Can you describe
Dmitry: Don’t know to do with the business. I built, uh, an app. I got a hundred people in it, 200 people in it, and then, you know, it, wasn’t working out for those people cause they, for some reason then know how to do PR. So I started teaching them how to do PR and I started figuring out how to do that and educate them.
And then I got more people in there and I got that part covered. But then. I was bleeding people because they were not engaged. And then I had to work on that part and I was kind of a little bit all over the place as a sole founder, without a team and trying to grow this, earn a living and, you know, um, sustain my family life as well.
Um, I was. Fresh off. Not saying no to Google about that other acquisition. Cause I, you know, I decided to not join Google. This was a previous interview that we had where a
Andrew: About how you had an opportunity to get a job, essentially, Google. High paying
Dmitry: well, I worked at a company. I helped scale it. I was the only marketer. Google came, acquired the company and said, Hey Dimitri, you can join.
If you’d like, And I’d before that even happened. I said, no, no, I’m going to go off on my own and I’m not going to have a job. So I had forgone that big paycheck. I was trying to build this, this tool on my own. It was just. Just try and put out fires. They, after day after day at the same time being very mindful, like, Oh, I got to spend more time with my, with my family.
I was essentially living like Patrick Burns said to me, once he’s the founder of overstock.com. He said, if you have to live six. Uh, months at a time, you knew you were going to die in six months. What would you be doing today? And I was kind of stuck in that mud mentality. Like I want to spend time with family, friends, be doing that.
Who cares if this thing isn’t going to scale, like everyone else,
Andrew: The first
Dmitry: a little lifestyle approach.
Andrew: when it was software and it wasn’t doing enough for you where it wasn’t doing enough for your customers and they were churning out, what did the software do?
Dmitry: It was just, uh, a quick search on Twitter to find journalists covering a specific topic and bloggers who would create a list. And then you could either tweet at them, or you could email a generic email address at their email at their website and say, Hey, I have something to pitch to you. I want to be on your show or, Hey, I want you to cover this or that.
And that’s where I was losing. A lot of people’s people are pitching all sorts of crappy things. And then I did AppSumo, which brought in a whole bunch of people who were not a good fit either because it
Andrew: Meaning AppSumo where you offer a deal. You give people a super low price and in return they get, you flooded with new customers. And then your, what you were seeing was they were just sending out junky messages to reporters. You were sending it out on your servers, or you’re feeding it into their email software.
Dmitry: I was at first doing my own servers because Gmail and Google Owasso would not give me permission to use their API. And it took me 16 months to get permission from Google to even do that, uh, to let my customers use their own Gmail account. Um, because Google is so strict with this, I had to find a higher security firm and it was just like crazy, crazy process.
Andrew: Okay. And so you were sending it on your server, which means that all that junk messages, all those junk emails were coming out on your reputation, right? Yeah.
Dmitry: They were on the domain itself and that’s where I have to clean house. So after I did, AppSumo, what I did is I literally paid people to leave or I refunded their $49. And I had, I said, Please leave my platform. You don’t have anything valuable that pitch bloggers and I’d sit there day after day after, day on Zendesk, literally PayPaling people $49 to week my
Andrew: it’s $49 that they paid, you didn’t get all the $49. You
Dmitry: I did. I only get like 20% of it, but I didn’t care. Like I just.
Andrew: willing to give them money more than lose money on why didn’t you switch to mail to, you know, mail to which allows them, as soon as they hit a button to use their own email software, to send a message.
Why don’t you do
Dmitry: I started, I started doing that. It was just a whole bunch of things. You know, I, I did absolute all a little too early and brought in a whole bunch of people that were not the best people we were trying to switch to let people use their own emails. Uh, and on top of it, people were and were not equipped to pitch.
They didn’t have anything good to pitch journalists, only one or 2% did. So it was just a little bit of a hot mess as it should be with a startup, you know?
Andrew: Okay. All right. And so you said I’m going to take this off of my mail servers. I’m going to take it off of my domain, worked with Google to let Google give you permission to send off of your customers Gmail accounts. Great. Who did all the software for that?
Dmitry: A partner, um, a friend of mine who runs, um, a software development firm and he came on and, um, helped out a lot. I also had, um, Just contractors from friends that would help me. Uh, yeah, there was, I had to manage a lot of my developers myself. I have a computer science degree, so I could kind of manage them.
I didn’t code. I coded the very first version of it a long time ago.
Andrew: Okay. All right. And so what, and then you said I have to teach them, it has to be lessons plus software. The lesson seemed to have done well for you, right?
Dmitry: Well, lessons did so independently. I still have that course PR converts and that’s still earns quite a bit of money for me. Um, so, um, Brian Dean kind of interviewed me on him, his course, and, um, that got me thinking that I should create my own course to teach people how to do PR. And then I had a, I have a blog called criminally prolific, and I have email subscribers on there.
And so I ended up. Uh, selling my course. And since that did so well, I sort of put that into the software and immediately showed people how to do PR and it’s filtered out people that didn’t want to do it. So that started cleaning house for me too, of people that were not a good fit.
Andrew: All right. And then you, you started adding more features the ability to search for content creators. I think it started with blogging, right?
Dmitry: Bloggers and we added podcasters. Uh, we started adding journalists based on specific topics as well. And then we got into SEO, which is my world is backlinks. And. Backlink building based on say, broken links. So the tool would find broken links on any given topic and tell you, Hey, here’s a broken link about marketing tactics for small businesses.
You have a blog post on your side, on this topic, email this person and ask them to change this broken link. And it started getting more specific that way. Here’s a podcast episode about. Uh, selling your company to an SEO agency, you might be interested to pitch this person because that’s the topic you covered on your site recently, or something like that.
Andrew: Got it. I’d find those broken links, links to podcasts that are done. I find a podcast episode that fits that I send the founder that I send the article a writer, a note saying, Hey, you’re sending people to a broken link. You might want to try mine. And hopefully I get some links. That’s your software there’s software that does this.
This makes a ton of sense. What’s the limitation. Why didn’t it do one to do better?
Dmitry: Well, I think positioning was something that I kind of consistently went back and forth on who do I go after? Do I go after people that are just doing PR and it could be a communications person in the company, maybe it could be a person who is an SEO person. Who’s
Andrew: Uh, right, right.
Dmitry: So I, I changed the positioning a lot throughout the years.
And so we had a whole bunch of different. People that were using it at different times. And I think now that it’s kind of a slanted towards the CEO, people we’ve seen the growth of the new person ever is running. It has a very specific focus. This is for content marketers who are doing SEO for companies out there for brands.
And so now it’s very much positioned the right way.
Andrew: Meanwhile, you talked last time. You and I did an interview about the pain of thinking. I could have been working for Google. I could have had it more stability that keep you up at night. I know that for me when I don’t worry during the day, but one o’clock one 15 in the morning. I, my mind starts going into, what about this?
What about that?
Dmitry: Yeah. Um, a little bit, I, I don’t regret not taking the Google offer cause I knew talking to friends who are working there, they’re just kind of. Chilling on the shelf there they’re just mentally checked out and I would be so unsatisfied with myself. Um, and I expect more of myself, so I always need to be doing something.
I think, you know, in terms of stability, it was just a crazy time in my life. Like I wanted to spend a ton of time with my kids and I needed to speak Russian to them. If I spent, uh, two days working full time and not speak Russian to them, when they come back, I can see them talking English to each other.
So that’s immediate feedback to me saying, dad, You haven’t been spending that much time with us. You’ve been working on your, on your, on your startup, uh, and we’re missing the language and, you know, and so I constantly got that feedback. I wanted more time. And so I just made a very conscious choice. You know, I’m going to spend way more time with the kids while they still want to, and the teenagers, and they’re going to hang out with me all the time, try and to do that now.
And. Who else I’ll probably build another startup or a company later on.
Andrew: I think you were working all the time. I didn’t realize you were just doing 15 hours a week. I get text messages from you. That were super persistent. I think the only reason we stayed in touch is because you’re super persistent. I’m terrible at staying in touch. Was it just like geared towards me and a couple of other people.
Is that where you spent most of your time, just kind of obsessing on a few people or, or what happened?
Dmitry: When I meet people, I like, and I think we could help each other genuinely not, you know, and I, I wanna help them out. I help them out and I continue building relationships. I don’t build relationships with everybody. I try and respond and help as much as I can. I do time box my work. And right now I’m very strict on say like 10 to four and that’s it.
And then I’m with the kids. And so, yeah, I mean, um, I try and work less to be with the kids. That’s a big part of my life,
Andrew: What’s the deal with your dad? He didn’t spend much time with you
Dmitry: Not at all. I, this was in Russia. I grew up in Russia. I came here when I was 11. Um, he was not a warm, fuzzy kind of guy. Just kind of was off on his own, almost that then.
Andrew: mean, or just off on his own.
Dmitry: Just offer his own. He wasn’t mean he was just, he was oblivious to everything and he he’d go to sleep every day at 11 o’clock, 11:00 PM. And like, you know, one day I had a double sided pneumonia. My sister had to go to the hospital. I had to go to hospital. He was like 11 o’clock. Well, I guess I’ll see you guys tomorrow.
Andrew: And then it was
Dmitry: then he went
Andrew: mom to handle it.
Dmitry: And my mom took us through the hospital and then like he woke up and the next day just started. And I was like, you know, he slept on the couch in the living room and my mom slept in the other room, um, on a fold-out armchair. And my, and I slept in the corner in the, in the living room and.
And I never really spoke to him. He’d get up. He’d do his weird yoga and then he’d leave and he’d drink a ton too. He still drinks a ton.
Andrew: and, and so did you, do, do you remember doing anything to try to get his attention and then still not having it work? What’d you do.
Dmitry: Yeah. I would strike up conversations with him about. Like leaving and going to America, because that was really exciting for me. And he didn’t want to go. And he found America is, uh, twisted and messed up that people are just too attracted to money and cheap crap from. China and they don’t value community and family the same way the East does.
And so he said, it’s just poison. And I’d be like, really? I heard good things about us. Like they have Snickers bars and cause Snickers bus was a big deal in nineties, like half of his salary for a month with biases, Snickers bar in the nineties. And
Andrew: would he actually buy the Snickers bar?
Dmitry: Cause they’re so expensive. They would be sold in these like, like big, um, there there’s these little like stab and grab kind of things.
And so you you’d really got give cash. And we, when we got a Snickers bar, we like cut it in these small pieces and you can have a little piece every day or something like that. It was a big tree, almost two weeks worth of a paycheck, you know, for one Snickers bar,
Andrew: Why would he spend that much money on a Snickers bar?
Dmitry: Well, my dad did, it was like a very special thing, like for a birthday or a big holiday thing.
Like instead of a gift, you know,
Andrew: Okay. And so when you got to America, he did he come with you?
Dmitry: he stayed there. He’s never been here. He’s never, we left the 93 and first 10 years we just sent letters back and forth. I only saw him five years ago. It was the last, the first time I saw him, like on the video.
Andrew: Oh, on video, not again. In person five years ago. First time you saw him on video.
Dmitry: Yeah. And 2006, I saw him once in person, I flew back there and, and, and, uh, we met and
Dmitry: I call him sometimes, but he’s very different from everything here.
It’s hard to talk to him.
Andrew: How was it to see your dad after all that? Were you full of resentment or were you still eager to be loved and see affection?
Dmitry: Man, I just, weren’t the, I went back to just kind of see the country and see where I grew up and it all looked kind of gray to me, you know, it’s nice, but it’s nothing that I would go back to, uh, seek out constantly. It was a nice trip back, like. I bring my kids when they’re 10 or 11 or 12. And we go to St.
Petersburg, not Moscow. And we go and do the cultural stuff. I think that’s what I probably do more of hanging out with my dad. Like it was okay. Like we don’t have that much in common. You know, his, he likes to listen to Russian songs about criminals and jail and drink vodka. I’m the biggest lightweight I get drunk off of one beer.
I do not like rushing out last ons. And, and so we, we don’t really agree on politics or anything. So I dunno, that leaves very few choices for our conversation.
Andrew: All right. A few months ago, decided you were going to sell, just reach out in a moment. We’ll come back and talk about what you did on, uh, Nathan, Latka his YouTube channel to try to sell it. I want to know how well that worked out and, and then how you structured your sale first, uh, you know, Unbounce, right?
Dmitry: Yeah. Yeah, yeah,
Andrew: They allow people to create landing pages. One of the things that they realized over at unbalances, they’ve got all this insight into what’s working in landing pages and specifically for each industry, what’s working for landing pages and they said, you know, why don’t we just come out with this report that will help allow people to see what’s working, allow themselves to benchmark against people who are similar to them and successful, and then just get ideas for how to improve.
And so that’s what they created. That’s what they’re offering for free right now. It’s called the conversion benchmark report. Check out how easy it is to go to the URL. It’s unbounced.com/c B R C for conversion B for benchmark R for report conversion benchmark report. It’s at unbounced.com/cbr. Of course we’ll include a link and I’m grateful to them for sponsoring.
You decided to sell it because you wanted a little bit, actually. Why, why do you want to sell.
Dmitry: So I got past all those hurdles and problems and, uh, I built the business. That was a complete lifestyle business. I was not scaling to 500,000 and a million. Because I just didn’t have a team. It was just me and a couple of contractors. And then I had five or six contractors, but it was a total lifestyle business.
I was spending five hours a week probably running it and it was earning 20 K a month or something like that. So I could get capital. Scale it higher people definitely didn’t want to do that. That’s just way more time that I wanted to allow myself to work because again, my focus was my family hanging out with them, with my kids, teaching them Russian, doing math with them, that kind of stuff.
And so I was like, well, I could bring on a partner and have him run it or her running. And that would take more time off my plate and they would kind of scale it. I could also, you know, hire my own team and keep working on it. But I, it was just a lifestyle business for me, you know? And so I thought. Why not try and find somebody that would maybe take it to the next level.
I knew that right now in my life, it was not what I wanted to do.
Andrew: The tool for selling a business. Now the popular marketplace is, um, micro acquire. Did you go to micro acquire?
Dmitry: I did. So Andrew emailed me cold email me, Andrew , uh, probably not saying his last name correctly, but he met cold email me three or four times. We got on the call and he said, Hey, I’m going to help you do this and sell. And I listed on there and I got all sorts of people contacting me. I got like. 60 or 70 people like I want to buy your business.
Andrew: And they were just kind of goofballs.
Dmitry: A lot of them were I where he says, he, you know, he worked with me, we disqualified in band, the number of them, and some of them were pretty good, but I, majority of these people are financial buyers. They they’re going to go in, they’re going to say Dimitri, you’re earning 300,000 a year. Like I’m not going to give you $800,000 for this business.
There’s no way because look at your churn rate or look at your growth. Your growth went down last year. It was 400. This time is 300. I don’t see big growth here. I don’t see sexy numbers, you know, and I need my, my numbers to be looking like this. And so I don’t see a big. Big reason for me to offer that kind of price for 70%, 80% of the business.
Like there’s no way. Right? And so I needed a strategic buyer who knew kind of the space and knew and have complimentary products that they could maybe marry it with. And I just, you know, I became a rhodium weekend. There’s a community that really like, it’s a community of people that buy and sell businesses.
Andrew: it called?
Dmitry: Rodeo weekend rhodium weekend. Yep. And there’s a guy named Chris Gates who runs it. It’s a private group on Facebook and they do an in-person thing. And, um, Vegas. And they invited me to Vegas. They put me up in four seasons and I did one of the major talks at the event. And I met a whole bunch of people there and they kind of helped me a lot through this process of navigating and finding the right buyer and running a process.
Andrew: Before we get into what worked for you. Let’s talk about Nathan Latka. Nathan Latka. He has, what is the event? What is the show called? Where he brings somebody on to sell their
Dmitry: Deal or bust? I think.
Andrew: dealer bus. I was on it. The premise is you come out as an entrepreneur and try to sell your business to three buyers.
And then he often will have three people who will come in and just prod things along. I was one of those three people in the past where I just went into the entrepreneur and did my interview thing with them for a few minutes to pull out information and to also give the buyer some time to think about whether they want to do it.
You said yes to him makes it’s obvious. Why? Because you’re trying to sell it. You want to drum up some interest, right? Did you expect that you would sell right there on dealer bus?
Dmitry: No, and I was very apprehensive. I said, listen, man, I’m a little scared of you. I’ve listened to your podcast interviews. I know
Andrew: he’s kinda just,
Dmitry: Yeah, you just hammer, hammer people to death. And I I’m a lifestyle guy or running a lifestyle business. You’re going to kill me. You’re going to look at my numbers and say, you know, this is complete trash.
The only man come to my show and he’s like, no, no, you know, I’ll be super nice. Everything will be great. And you know, the ligament, let me see your numbers. And he looked at it. He was like, Oh, it looks good. It looks fine. I was like, all right, we’ll go to the shot.
Andrew: was he nice?
Dmitry: He was nice. Uh, the people he brought on were not a fit at all, but it was, it was fine.
Like, I, I kind of, I thought they they’d know a little bit about my industry a little more, but yeah, he was, he wasn’t nice. And he kind of moderated well, um, there was
Andrew: that I did when I was on, when I was on, when I was on, I found out who, because he doesn’t want anyone to know who’s selling the business until the show starts. I found out who it was. He might’ve even told me. And then I went out and I reached out to people in the space and I said, tell me about this business.
Tell me about this person. And I just wanted to get as much insight as I could so that I wasn’t just doing the, figure it out questions, but bring more insight into it. It’s a lot to ask for people to sit there and not have enough background and then ask the right questions that will lead to a sale. But he did it.
He pushed you to give as much information as possible about your numbers because he wants to show the buyers. One of the buyers. I don’t know if we should say who it is if you talk to them privately, but one of the buyers in private was sending you messages saying I’m interested and they wanted to, they want to potentially buy why didn’t that work out without saying who it was, what was up
Dmitry: it was funny, cause this was one of the judges or one of the people that was on the panel.
Andrew: Oh, not one of the buyers, one of the people on the panel, who’s supposed to drive things along. Okay.
Dmitry: He was, he was like, kind of talking, but then when he was not, he was like private chatting me and, uh, in a locker, he picked up on it and he’s like, Hey, what are you doing? Are you like chatting with somebody? He’s like, yeah, I’m actually chatting with Dimitri trying to see if I could do like a private deal or something.
And it just kinda exploded a few more laughing. It was kind of funny.
Andrew: So then we can say who it is, who was it? It was not
Dmitry: That not Alison, he was, uh, licensed. Yeah. He was like a subject matter expert. I think that, that he brought in. Cause he has like the people that are like the serious buyers and then he has like experts. They’re going to come in and tell you kind of like what you should be doing with your business
Andrew: He’s an SEO person. He’s a marketer. He’s a content person. He’s done more, but all that comes in and it’s useful. Why didn’t he end up buying it? Not offered it. That’s money.
Dmitry: Oh, he just wanted to do seller financing, which I, I think Ryan called was a big fan of that. There’s a whole bunch of people out there
Andrew: How does seller financing work?
Dmitry: Just the seller finances, the deal it’s like basically they take money out of the company revenue on a five-year basis ten-year basis and pay you your proceeds.
And that’s how you sell the business. So you say, Hey, I walk away, but they
Andrew: it. And Nat gives you a percentage of the sales that come in until you hit some magical number and then he doesn’t have to pay you that amount anymore. And what you want is more certainty. You don’t want him to not have enough invested in the business, but still magically produce enough revenue for you to get your exit.
Faster and more dependably than you can yourself. All right. I get, I get that. Um, and I think it was even Nathan Latka who talked about doing stuff like that in the past. I, I get it. I, so that wasn’t a good D w that didn’t lead to a sale, but it did lead to customers. How many customers you get from that?
Dmitry: 30 and 50 customers and a lot go was very honest about it. He’s like, listen, when you come on. You should probably come on for this aspect. You know, people watch the show, they probably want to do some outreach, do get their SEO going and get links, get publicity and they’ll sign up. So about 30 to 50, I think came in, tried it out, signed up, and that was great.
And the, some, a little bit of an influx of customers. So.
Andrew: That’s solid. How much revenue are we looking at from that? What’s the monthly on it.
Dmitry: I probably jumped by like a grand or I don’t know, like 1300 I’ll have to look cause we had promotions going
Andrew: Okay. Your, your minimum is a hundred dollars a month.
Andrew: So I was thinking it’d be more,
Dmitry: it’s like, it could be even less 79, but you do have prepaid for a year. And, uh,
Andrew: say a hundred, a hundred a month at 40 people. That’s $4,000.
Dmitry: Right. We have different pricing then I think I’ll have to double check, but that maybe it was a little more, I just remember sticking from it. Cause people signed up. Th, this is what, what typically works is like people sign up three months down the road. They’re like, I don’t have time to do this. Um, maybe I’ll cancel and come back or maybe I’ll find somebody else to do and come back.
Andrew: All right, we’re going to come back and find out, um, how you ended up getting the business sold. But first, my second sponsor is a company called HostGator falls, new website, Dimitri. You’ve done websites on WordPress now for a long time, you have. Of course set up on a WordPress site. What’s the course.
Dmitry: PR that converts.
So basically the same type of thing that anyone can get at hostgator.com/mixergy. Right now you have the same type of hosting package. You’re using a competitor. Um, but frankly, I’m not so married to HostGator, even though they’re a sponsor that I say that everyone else thinks hosting should just work, should be dependable.
And let you focus on your business. The interesting thing for me is what did you build? And HostGator will do that dependable, good price. And I’ll let you focus on your business. What’s, uh, what’s the model that you’ve got going on for yours, for your course and your content on your WordPress site
Dmitry: So I have two different installs, a WordPress. I have one for the landing page that converts people to buy the course. And then I have another WordPress install for the backend where I have all my videos, all the content. So I have two WordPress sites
Andrew: Okay. How’s that doing? Revenue wise?
Dmitry: It’s great. Uh, so, you know, I do these launches, so whenever I send an email out, I will get people in the door.
So if I’ll do like a sequence of say four or five, I could probably do 60 grand, 80 grand of. Revenues from that sequence to my email list, but I haven’t been doing that lately a lot, but what happens is the page itself now gets 2000 visits per month, just organically because it’s been mentioned different places.
And so every week there’ll be one or two people that converts through and that’s, you know, $2,300 a pop or a thousand dollars a pop. And so. Between 1,020 2300 2,900 different packages, but it’s pretty cool. Like every week now, two or three people would come in organically, check it out, convert
Andrew: What’s the course on
Dmitry: PR and SEO.
Andrew: PR and SEO. So
Dmitry: the list.
Andrew: you’re teaching people how to do this. You have WordPress installed. Um, All possible on HostGator. Let’s get people a few tools. So you, number one, if you want to copy what Dimitri is doing, you need WordPress host. Gator makes it easy to install WordPress within a few minutes.
You’ll have your website up and running on the WordPress platform. HostGator will host it. Give me a few plugins or tools that have helped you with WordPress for creating
Dmitry: Well, Zippy courses, Zippy courses.
Dmitry: That I use that for the actual course to host that that’s been phenomenal. I didn’t have to build any new software. I just could literally use. Of course, I use something, a lick link whisper, which is a great tool to interlink your internal pages and show Google, which pages are most important.
So you can basically use the tool to get your internal linking in order. Um, There’s a whole bunch of other ones that I use, like, you know, SEO plugins, but those are like some of the main ones for this setup.
Andrew: All right, go get your webs. Right? You’ll get the lowest possible price. If you use my URL, it’s hostgator.com/mixergy. Just go sign up, experiment, play, and don’t be afraid to even discard it. The idea is you get in there, you try it out. And then once, you know, once you experience it, once you start, the momentum is built up and you can continue and build something phenomenal.
hostgator.com/mixergy. All right. How’d you end up finding your actual customer. The buyer of the business.
Dmitry: buyer, uh, it was, he reached out, uh, think, I don’t know where he saw me. I think he’s been following my stuff. He saw articles and he might’ve seen me on micro require before. Uh, and he just kind of. An SEO guy who runs SEO stuff. Um, an SEO SAS called SEO jet, which is another tool that allows you to, um, analyze your anchor text and improve your SEO rankings, um, anchor texts on all the links pointing to you.
And so, um, he reached out and he was just the perfect conversation started. It was not kind of. Why is your revenue, you know, not growing tenfold or what do you project your revenues will be or what? It was not about metrics so much. He looked at the metrics, but it was more about, you know, where, what do you want to do with the tools strategically?
Do you want to pivot into the SEO world? Do you want to keep going with the PR focus on the targeting? And I’m like, Oh, It’s like a refreshing way to start a conversation. And we just kind of clicked, like I think in terms of fit, he really wanted to run something like this. I wanted to step away. So the conversation progressed naturally as this isn’t like 70 other people that I talked to, it was always kind of just a little push back, pushy.
I don’t mind it, but I don’t. And you just get a bad gut feeling. Most of the times with these needs, people who buy and sell businesses.
Andrew: This, it seems like they’re there to almost knock you down, make you feel bad that you’re not good enough. So that you’ll just be so hating your own business that you want to give it up.
Dmitry: Yeah, it felt like that many times I talked in England with this guy, it took about five months for us to reach the deal and get everything done. And before that it was about a year that I talked to a lot of people and we did these processes for two or three months. They would go back and forth with you.
And they then really dig deep into all these things, trying to interview your customers and your product. And they tried to use it and they would know how to use it and you know, all sorts of things. And then they basically tell you what’s wrong with it. And eventually they’d just pass and leave and you’d feel kind of crappy afterwards, but.
Life goes on.
Andrew: You know, I had an experience once. I don’t think I ever revealed the name of the potential buyer. I’m going to say it. Now. We were running an online greeting card company. My brother and I in our, in my twenties and American greeting came in and said, we’re interested in buying. We see how many, how many people are using your online greeting cards.
We want to capitalize on it. And we think we can convert some of them into buying paper, greeting cards, or signing up for our. A greeting card service that will then transition them into paying customers. American greetings. I said, this seems like a perfect fit. We’re doing 400. I think thousand, uh, greeting card sent a day.
You’re not in this space. Great. I remember going over to their office. I remember talking to them, showing them our numbers, getting to know the team, getting in on team meetings, seeing the special things that they had around the office that were American greetings. Like, and if you’ve ever gone to, I don’t know where they sell, but they sell in these little mom and pop stores.
You see American greeting as a product everywhere. It’s a, it’s a national brand. It feels special to be invited inside the company. To hear them, tell you to hear them, tell me about how they aren’t doing as well as just as good a job as I am and how, how they admire what we do. And then at the end, when it was time for them to finally put up an offer, the offer was we’re going to take the money essentially out of your bank account to pay you for the business.
And I was so like stunned by that. That, uh, I didn’t even know what to say. And I went back to my brother and I said, I think it makes sense to do this. I think we should do it. And my brother had who hadn’t gone to any of these meetings, hadn’t gone through this whole distortion, this mental distortion said, are you out of your mind?
Why don’t we just take the money out of the business and close it out for what they’re talking about? And I said, well, because. I don’t know. I have no answer for that. This is just a dragged out process that at the end, I just want to kill myself and be, and give them a carcass.
Dmitry: Yeah. I felt like that a little bit with Kasama. I am that the conversation is a little earlier, but yeah, a couple of them were just, I also dealt with a couple of brokers, which is the worst thing you can do when you’re trying to sell, um, and no disrespect to the brokers or anything. It’s just. You cannot work with a broker.
Andrew: Why what’s the issue with the brokers? I’ve been watching that there’s an issue with the brokers and micro acquire micro acquire does a, an online platform, a marketplace where you could basically go and buy and sell your business. I see them battling each
Dmitry: Like a prostitute. Uh, and this is my pimp who is kind of like bringing me around and the pimp knows. The right people to talk to, but I, for some reason, don’t, and I really shouldn’t say certain things and he should, or she should just like, it was like this layer of complexity where they also take an, you know, a percentage of this, uh, transaction.
And on top of it, they want to be paid for their consulting. Some of them do some of them don’t but
Andrew: of them want to be paid for consulting you to set up your company so you could sell it. They’re basically they see someone who’s frail and they say, let’s see what we could get. And. I maybe I’m generalizing that. I wouldn’t say that everyone, I don’t want to be cynical about it, but there is a situation where they have an incentive to be nicer to the buyer than to the seller, because the buyers are often buying a lot of companies or at least to the person who’s, who’s very active with them and less of the person who’s brand new.
You are lunch for somebody who they have to feed on a regular basis. They want that person to keep coming back to them. Um,
Dmitry: it’s just a lot of times it just doesn’t line up. Like most of the end, even if a person is really nice to you and they’re like, I see this working out, I really want to move forward. This is a perfect fit. And you think in your mind, this is perfect. Amazing. And then when it comes to like actual money, it’s like, Oh, I, I thought it would be like this versus that.
And I’m like, no, and you waste all this time and energy, you know? So I learned over the time to just bring up main parts first. And then if we agree on the money aspect, we can continue talking.
Andrew: So you just go into your numbers. That was what you decided to do, go into your numbers. If we agree that this is where you want to buy, then we can talk about the details of how to make this right. But if it’s not the right price for you, let’s move on. That was your way
Dmitry: Right. I harp on it too much. Like if they’re like, why didn’t you justify that now creation? I usually say I don’t need to justify I’m the founder I’ve been running it for seven years. This is the number that I want to sell at. If you’re not interested in that number, that’s fine. You know, like if that range doesn’t work for you, you know, and then there’ll be like, okay, well probably not.
And I’d be like, all right, well, and so I could tell them roughly, like what w what it’s making, but I wouldn’t really need to back it up too much. My valuation of it.
Andrew: How did you, um, how did you decide that you wanted to keep a percentage of the business, instead of saying I’m just going to move on.
Dmitry: so as a lifestyle business, I see it selling when somebody proper comes along and just they’re their kids, 40, 60 hours a week, hammering their head against the wall and, and, and scaling it and then eventually selling it. So I do see, you know, I’ve had big companies in my space come to me and say, Hey, Why don’t we talk about this and I was just too young, you know, as a company to really talk to them and I didn’t want to, so I see this reselling and I was like, I want it to be completely stock sale.
Cause I wanted to pay. I’m a big tip for anybody running a business wants to get it acquired. There’s something called small business qualified stock. And if you, if you’re a C Corp, you incorporate a C Corp, you hold your shares for five years or more. And you’re a qualified small business stock. You pay no taxes to the federal, uh, at all.
Uh, but you have to be a small business C Corp qualified stock, and you have to hold actually and issue your shares to yourself and hold them for five years plus. So, um, you know, I definitely wanted this to be a stock sale, which is really hard to orchestrate in
Andrew: Let me say why? I think that one of the reasons why businesses don’t want to do a stock sale, they want to do an asset sale, stock sales. They buy all the stock of the business and outwards. Some of the stock and asset sale is they just buy the assets, like the name of the company. The email lists, the whatever, the ongoing recurring revenue, the reason that businesses prefer to buy that is if I understand it right, one big one is they don’t want any, any unknowns to pop up with an asset sale.
If you happen to have a liability that you didn’t tell them about, they have to, because they own the business. They have a stock sale. They have to then pay off that debt. Even if they, even, if you didn’t disclose it, it’s on them. They own the business, right? And they don’t want that. They don’t want all those liabilities.
They just want the asset, you deal with the headache. Right?
Dmitry: But, uh, with tax wise, it’s a big, significant difference. You know, if you issued yourself, your stock and you held it for, if it’s long-term gains, you know, long-term capital gains, you’re paying like 15%, 20% instead of your ordinary income federal tax. And if it’s a qualified small business, C Corp.
You’re paying no taxes at all on the sale to the federal government. At least you’re probably paying something at state level. Um, but yeah, for
Andrew: idea. I’m looking this up right now on Investopedia qualified small business stock, Q S B S um, refers to shares of a qualified small business, uh, as defined by the internal revenue code. Um, it’s a C corporation whose gross assets valued at the original cost. Do not exceed $50 million on and immediately after, uh, it stock issuance.
Dmitry: Yeah. Um, I have this guy ever only arise. The, and I have his card right here. See, um, this guy used to be a auditor and IRS, but now he’s a tax expert that advises people on tax issues. So he’s a perfect person to have in your Rolodex because. Questions like this. He’s the guy at IRS who used to audit people.
So he basically knows how the IRS tax code is designed and works. So I run everything by him and I’m like, listen, man, how do I, what kind of taxes am I going to have to pay on the sale?
Andrew: So then why didn’t you, why didn’t you want to sell the whole thing? Just move on. It seems like what you’re saying is you believed that there was much more upside than you can tap into you. Believe that if somebody else had. Had an incentive, a financial incentive to make this work. If they had enough experience, if they had enough synergy with their current business, they could grow it.
And you wanted to see that belief come through and you’re willing to keep some investment in the business so that it would pay off the way you expect. That’s your goal? Am I right?
Dmitry: Yep. That’s correct. Yeah. And I’m also the face of the company I’m known for it. Um, but people kind of synonymous just reach out Dimitri. They’ve heard about me through it and we both agree that it’s good to keep that name on it. And so
Andrew: Meaning your name on the business.
Dmitry: Yep. And so for that, we decided, Hey, why don’t we just make me a partial owner?
This new person will run the business, invest into it, have his team continue scaling it. And when it gets acquired, you know, we both have an upsell upside.
Andrew: Okay. All right. That makes sense. You sold, how did life change afterwards? Were you able to take some space?
Dmitry: Yeah. Uh, I started focusing more on my courses and my blogs. I, um, we started Russian school of mathematics with my son and he is kicking butt at first grade math
Andrew: Russian school of mathematics.
Dmitry: It’s it’s like an online and in person class once a week where, um, you just do math and it’s in a playful way. So he’s in first grade, he’s doing equations with, um, algebraic equations and that’s like fun for him because they make it.
Playful. And they, they take things out of nature and, you know, it’s kind of cool the way they teach math. And so I do that stuff with them. I love it. And I’m not running, just reach out instead. I’m just doing a bunch of math and my son and, uh, and Ray’s Russian is so good. He’s reading and writing in Russian as well.
So I’m spending a ton of time with that and yeah, my course PR to converts. I’m doing better. Cause I have time to dedicate, grow and traffic to the site. I bought a blog. I’ve been scaling my, my three, a couple blogs that I’m running. Um, so life is good. I’m just doing work on the house. Um, just really being like a family man, you know?
Andrew: revenue per revenue pressures no more on you, right. You’re there to help, but you’re, you’re not the person responsible for doing it. That’s got to feel good. And now you bought a, what was the other site that you bought?
Dmitry: Small biz.tools. I bought redesigned and relaunched that, and it went from 10 clicks a day in October of last year to 500. And they are clicks, meaning uniques coming to the site now. And so a site that review small business tools, small biz, that tools, and it’s been a great, it’s just been great process redesigning that.
Andrew: Oh, the site looks really good. Is this just a template?
Dmitry: Well it’s, um, I built the template, designed it on my own and, um, relaunched it. Um, it, um, you know, I, I am getting pretty good, like a couple of sponsors now that I work with for the site, still working on scaling traffic for it, hitting the right keywords. Um, I have a phenomenal writer who I work with. And the guy’s just amazing.
The guy, he wrote 37 signals blog. If you’ve ever heard the 37 signals, um, he wrote their books. He was their employee number one. And now he’s a consultant like a writer, Matt, Matt, Ruby.
Andrew: Matt Ruby helped write the books with them. I thought they wrote it themselves. The two
Dmitry: Well, he helped me. He was there in employee number one. So he helped them write those books. Um, and so, so yeah, he, um, he was there. Writer, basically, I
Andrew: their, the writing
Dmitry: he’s really good at taking very boring subjects and making that really interesting and exciting for readers. And so, yeah, he is working with me on the blog and he does work for me.
Andrew: Oh, look at this. Um, I guess. There’s a tweet here, uh, from David Heinemeier Hansson the creator of base camp co-creator says base camp was created in 2004, by just four people, three of them still work here, but at Matt Ruby upgraded to become a standup comedian, here’s his full, special available free.
Dmitry: He is good too. He’s very funny. He’s in New York
Andrew: plays, I’m going to have to mute.
Um, I’m just adding this to my, to my playlist on
Dmitry: Oh, you should definitely listen to it. He’s just, he has a very funny newsletter called the rooster and it’s just hilarious. Like he cracks me up all the time. He has a newsletter about what I would, uh, how things changed. You know, I know back in the day I never had to. Uh, wait for anything. Like, I always waited for things.
I was patient. I never was reminded of things I forgot. And he has like a whole funny bit about all these things. Good guy.
Andrew: All right. I’m saving this over to my playlist. Let’s close it out here. Was, do you really believe that it was all worth it? Think of all the nights that you work? Think about all I sometimes wonder too with entrepreneurship who needs it. If you had a good job, like your friends at Google, you could work.
Good hours, maybe Google demands more time than other businesses, but you could have just worked on marketing at a company like Zurich, where you were working for a long time. Right? Gotten your recognition, gotten a paycheck, no agita. Spend time with your kids. Instead you took on all this risk. You took on all this anxiety and all this worry.
Was it worth it?
Dmitry: I think totally it changed. It shaped me into who I am now. I think a, put a name, my name out there. Definitely as a, as a subject matter expert, a I built. A business of my own. And I think I helped South tons of people figuring out how to do PR and continue helping them, how to do PR CEO. And I think. I interviewed Philip Rosedale years ago.
And he told me if you were new, you were never going to make a penny out of this business at all. Would you do this again? And if the answer is yes, then, then you should be doing it. And if the answer is no, well, I agree, we want an exit or I really needed an X amount of money or whatever it is, then you should really reconsider.
And I tried to live up to it. I as much as I could. And I think that’s why, like, I’ll still help our customers out on just reach out. If I have time, you know, I’ll still help people out for free if I have time, because I’m really passionate about helping people figure out PR figure out SEO. And I feel like that’s like my mission in life or vision for life is just helping people connect.
And get PR going and get a CEO and I probably continue to do it even now. So it was worth it. I feel like. Definitely.
Andrew: All right. I think the best way for people to follow up with you is to go to criminally prolific.com. I right. You got your contact information, your email address, the whole thing up on there,
Andrew: and then they, they could read some of the articles that have been doing well for you.
Dmitry: Or a PR that converts net com there’s also a chat box there and find online. I can chat with them. He ordered converts.
Andrew: I don’t buy it 15 hours a week is all your talk is all you’re working.
Andrew: buy it. You’re only working 15 hours a week. If you’re, if you’re online, you’ll chat with people there and you can squeeze that all into your 15 hours.
Dmitry: yes. Uh, the chat is really an email. So when people had chat or we get an email and I use, hey.com. And so I don’t get to all of them, you know? So if you put a chat in just, you might hear from me in 24 hours or 48 hours, but I really time-box myself. There’s no way for me not to do that, Andrew. So at 9:00 AM, I have to bring my daughter to school.
I come home, I have to do a workout and eat. And then I work and a two 30, I have to pick her up. Like today my wife is picking her up and she has to go to yoga right now. And she’s a little bit pissed at me, They usually cause for it. But like, She’s usually I pick her up at two 30 and then when I pick her up, that’s it like she’s a four year old and I have a six old here too.
So my wife picks up the six-year-old I pick up her and the only time I can work is after nine and I’m not doing that.
Andrew: You mean after 9:00 PM when they’re in bed
Dmitry: Yeah. So I kind of built my life around this now, so there’s no way out of it. Now I have to keep doing this until they go middle school or something.
Andrew: All right. Thanks for doing this. 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. That’s the, that’s the site that I use that service I use to host my site. Um, and then the second. If you want to know how to improve your conversions, there’s a report that I want you to check out.
Go to, and again, it’s free. Go to unbounced.com/c B R Dimitri. Thanks so much for doing this. Congratulations
Dmitry: Thanks for having me.
Andrew: that thanks. Bye everyone.