How an intrapreneur bounced back from failure

This is the story of a failed INTRApreneur who bounced back by starting a digital agency.

I invited today’s guest on because he knows how to get clients. Robert Coorey is the author of Feed a Starving Crowd, which offers more than 200 hot and fresh marketing strategies to help you find hungry customers.

Robert Coorey

Robert Coorey

Feed a Starving Crowd

Robert Coorey is the best-selling author of Feed a Starving Crowd. 

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. I know my audience, they’re so freaking driven and what I’ve got for you today is the story of a failed entrepreneur who bounced back by starting a digital agency as an intrapreneur. We’ll talk about what that means soon. I invited him here to talk about how he did it, how he got clients and what he’s up to today. Robert Coorey is the founder of E-Web Global Marketing, a high-end performance digital marketing agency. He’s also the author of “Feed A Starving Crowd” which offers more than 200 hot and fresh marketing strategies to help you find hungry customers because hungry customers are the ones that you want who are willing to buy from you.

This whole interview here is frankly paid for by a company called Toptal. If you’re looking for a developer and you want the best, not just the best in the field but also the best fit for your culture, for the way that you work, I want you to go to toptal.com. Because people complain about the way I pronounce things, I’m going to spell it out, T-O-P-T-A-L.COM. You know how good they are? I invited a few entrepreneurs over to my house for dinner, including the founder of Toptal. I introduced him to people and it came out that he was a founder of Toptal. Two of these guys said that they applied to be developers for Toptal and they were rejected, and these are top people. I won’t even mention their names because I don’t want them to feel embarrassed. But it goes to show that Toptal wants the best of the best, people who are serious about their craft and are going to be good fits for you. I promise that you’re going to love them and you know how I can say that? Because they guarantee their work. Go to toptal.com. If you’re not happy after you start working with the person, well, check out their refund policy, I think you’ll be very proud. But you’re not going to ask for a refund, you’re going to be happy with them. Boy, I’m talking too much about Toptal because I love them, T-O-P-T-A-L.COM. Thank you for sponsoring us. Robert, welcome to Mixergy.

Robert: Thanks for having me, Andrew.

Andrew: Dude, you are going Hollywood, I mean, literally flying to Southern California, to Los Angeles to do a show. Before I get into the business, tell me about that. What is this new show you’re going to do, you’re doing, you recorded?

Robert: Yeah, we’ve recorded the show so we’ve done the pilot episode. It’s been picked up by a Hollywood production house and it’s called “Feed A Starving Crowd.” The show is all about turning a failing business around in 30 days. So we go in, we find a business that’s about to go bankrupt, we turn them around in 30 days and here’s the thing, it’s using little to no cash.

Andrew: So little, right, because I’ve seen the Gordon Ramsay thing. He will walk into a restaurant that looks like garbage. He’ll actually pull out garbage out of their refrigerators, say, “What is this?” and curse and everyone will hate him and then a commercial goes out and then you see a brand new scene. His people are fixing up the whole restaurant. They’re redesigning the decor. They’re doing things that would cost 100,000, 200,000, these little store owners couldn’t do and that’s why things turn around, I feel. You’re saying no money. It’s just going to be you and your ideas are going to turn these businesses around.

Robert: Yep, hard work, roll up our sleeves and get in there and do stuff. I think, you know, if you go into any business and you spend a few hundred thousand dollars, then most of them are going to go pretty good after that but the average mom and dad running a small business haven’t got, well, they’re not going to get that kind of a check. And so this is really showing entrepreneurs what you can do to turn your business around without spending any money.

Andrew: What I should be asking you is how do you differentiate yourself from all the other shows. I should be asking all kinds of stuff about the show. Here’s what I care about more. How did you get it? Because I know there’s someone in my audience going, “I want to be on television because it will help my brand, it’ll help my business, it’ll help my ego, it’ll help me get girls, it’ll help me get guys. I don’t know what it is but we want that. We don’t want to celebrate your success, we want it for ourselves.” So what did you do to get on this show? And then I’ll get into my main idea here which is how you built the digital agency.

Robert: Yeah, so when I did my book launch a bit over 12 months ago now, I made sure I got the hands in of one of the influential people. And so one of those people was a Hollywood producer who was living in Australia at the time. And so I asked her could she help me with a trailer for the book and she said, “Look, the trailer that you’ve got is fine, Robert. You don’t need me to help you with that, but what I can help you with is actually turning this into a show.” I didn’t really see myself as a TV star at the time but I thought, let’s give it a go and see how it all ends up. So we put together a pilot episode. We went to Long Beach in August of last year, filmed it and then went back again in September, pitched it to all the production houses. We got a deal signed with a production house in October last year.

Andrew: You mean, they paid to put the show on, you just funded it?

Robert: No, we funded it first. So we actually funded the pilot episode in August and …

Andrew: Meaning you or is it the producer?

Robert: Myself, Gary and Andrew, they’re co-presenters. So we all paid to get it out, to put it on and it wasn’t cheap. It was a lot of money and so, yeah, but the thing is now it’s been picked up by …

Andrew: How much?

Robert: I’m not sure if I can say but it’s well over six figures.

Andrew: Well over six figures to get it done. So we’re talking about somewhere under 200,000 but over 100.

Robert: Maybe a bit north of that.

Andrew: Okay. Oh wow! ll right. So that’s a lot of money and Gary is the guy who’s founded …

Robert: Serious investment.

Andrew: Gary is the guy who founded ewebmarketing.com which you incubated your business that we’ll talk about through.

Robert: That’s right.

Andrew: Okay, all right. What else did I want to find out about that? So basically you’re now, you’ve got this pilot and it’s time for you to shop it around to get it on television. You don’t have a network, you have a $200,000-plus video.

Robert: That’s correct.

Andrew: Okay. All right.

Robert: And the deal signed with a production company which is the main thing.

Andrew: Oh, what’s the production company deal?

Robert: So the production company now formats the show into a salable format and then they take it to the networks from there and sell it.

Andrew: I see.

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: So you know why one of the reasons why I’m interested in this is one of my past guest, Tim Sykes, gets himself on television. I know people watch him on television. He gets customers for his site because of it and I know that it gets him fans, but I feel that more people don’t even see him on TV but know him as a guy who was on TV. And that gives him tremendous credibility, tremendous swagger, tremendous confidence. And as a result, it helps grow his business, helps grow his reputation, helps grow the fat wad of dollars or hundred dollar bills that he keeps in his wallet to show off to people. And so that’s why I was curious about it.

Robert: All right.

Andrew: Yeah, go ahead.

Robert: Yeah, definitely. Like what I would say is that, yeah, like while we haven’t got a financial return on investment as of yet, the personal branding and the branding for the company is fantastic and so that’s helped about …

Andrew: It already helped the company?

Robert: Sorry?

Andrew: It already helped the company even though it’s not on TV yet?

Robert: Oh absolutely, because we talk about the experience that we’re having with it the whole way through and it just, you know, I can’t put a specific number on how much it’s generated back to our company but I know that it’s been huge.

Andrew: All right. Let’s go on to the rest of your story. You started a business called Vippo in 2010. What was Vippo?

Robert: Vippo was a video production business.

Andrew: Okay.

Robert: And so it was a genius idea of mine where I thought because YouTube was starting to become more prevalent and online video was all the rage and people were starting to put it on all their websites, I thought, well, you know what, I can start a video production business. I’ll go to different businesses. I’ll get them to make online videos, and I’ll stick them on their website and it’ll be easy because everyone needs video. That was the hypothesis anyway, didn’t work out that good.

Andrew: All right. Tell me about the problem with it? When did you realize actually that there was a problem?

Robert: So I realized there was a serious problem when I filed my tax return after 12 months in the business, and I managed $32,000 in revenue for the whole year. And I worked more than full-time, pretty much all day, all night on the business for 12 months. My wife worked all day, all night in the business for 12 months and we end up with $32,000.

Andrew: 32,000 bucks. That is very painful. Wow, that is very painful.

Robert: It wasn’t a good year.

Andrew: Do you remember the first customer that you got?

Robert: I do. It was a little party shop. It was a friend of the family and I said, “Look, I’m just starting this new video business. Can I come in and shoot some videos for you?” He said, “How much does the video cost?” I said, “$500” and I said, “Well, you can have a three pack for $1500” and he signed on for it. He just paid me, and we did videos for him. I didn’t make a whole lot of profit out of that because after you pay the video person and the editor and then my own time to kind of micro-manage it and watch it all. So I think really with that business it wasn’t scalable, and it was really hard to find clients in the first place. The profit margins were really low, wasn’t scalable, I was busting my guts …

Andrew: What part wasn’t scalable? Was getting customers not scalable or was fulfilling the orders for customers not scalable?

Robert: I think, I should go back. With the business the way the way that it was, the way that I was running it, it wasn’t scalable because I was the super-doer. I was the salesperson, I was the accountant, I was the operations manager, I was the producer, you know. So I did every single part of that business, and there wasn’t enough revenue there for me to scale it out and to hire staff into different functions. And then also I think even once I did get a bit of scale, all of the profit would have been sucked up by employee costs. I think that business really needs, at least, $1,000,000 of revenue to make it, you know, to be able to put the people in place to make it scalable and to get the profit that you need. So the way that I was running it, you know, with $32,000 after 12 months, that was never going to happen.

Andrew: The beeping that you heard was me doing a search for the word “Vippo” on your LinkedIn profile and Google just kept, bup, bup, bup bup. It doesn’t show up. Why not?

Robert: I just didn’t think it was relevant to have it on there anymore because it was a time in my life where I started something without doing any product market research. The website’s not up any more, the business doesn’t exist anymore. I didn’t really feel the need to have it on there.

Andrew: What would you have done differently if you could have taken a trip back in history to fix this thing?

Robert: What I would have done is if I really wanted to be in the video business, which I realized I didn’t like by end of the 12 months, but if I did want to be in that business I should have joined another company and worked in there as sales and business development. Because they would have already had the infrastructure and all the systems in place to deliver which would have been more scalable. And I could have focused on what I was good on which is selling and marketing. So if I had my time again, I would have got maybe a commission only job or a base salary and commission, run it from there, do the stuff I enjoy and outsource the parts I didn’t like. So that’s how I could have done it.

Andrew: We’re talking about basically the thing that you ended up, the format that you ended up taking on at the job that you had up until recently which is E-Web Marketing. You’re saying, “Why start this as your own business? Go partner with someone who already has the business, the infrastructure, the people, the finances to pull this off.” You tell them that you would have told them, “I want to create this division for you. It’s not going to cost you much because you have the resources. I’ll make the phone calls, I’ll get the customers and I’ll make this thing.” That’s what you want?

Robert: That’s it and it’s less risk for you as the intrapreneur which is what we discussed. And it’s good for the business because it doesn’t cost them any money to get started. It’s an extra revenue center so it’s a win-win for everyone. It’s less risk, it’s better, it’s just all better.

Andrew: You know what, intrapreneur is one of the words that I learned in college, never heard before. I’ve never heard anyone use it afterwards really except in a Mixergy interview where I used it first and then they used it but the concept makes sense. I remember learning it and saying look, there are people within companies, this is the way that we were taught, people in companies who basically go off and start a whole new thing, like a start-up that’s wholly owned by the company. But is independently operated and is run like a startup so that it’s nimble, so that it can do things that the bigger organization can’t. And the person who runs it is very much like an entrepreneur, who has a board of directors which is, a board of directors is essentially of one, the person who’s managing the division and they go off. Here’s my question to you and this is where before the interview started I was giving you a hard time and …

Robert: You gave me a real hard time, Andrew. I was packing it over here.

Andrew: Yeah, you did. You said, “You know Andrew, if you don’t want me, I’m going to take a step back. I don’t have to do this interview. I don’t need you. I got my coffee, I got my television show, I got my Hollywood, I don’t need you.” Right?

Robert: It’s all good. I had …

Andrew: Did that feel so jerky to you that you really wanted to walk away? When you said before the interview, “I could walk away,” did you feel like, “Good, I want to walk away. If you’re not going to treat me with respect, if you’re going to challenge me before we even start, I don’t need this?”

Robert: I’m happy to be here, Andrew. You’re a good person. I’m really happy to share this with your audience.

Andrew: No, be open. Did you feel a little bit like, hey, Andrew does not value me enough. Why is he challenging me before the interview started?

Robert: Not at all. I think that your job as interviewer were to ask hard questions because if you just ask me nice and fluffy and easy questions, well that’s going to pretty boring for your audience. I think that’s your job.

Andrew: So let me ask you this then. Why intrapreneurial? Why go and create something that then someone else will take and own? Why not say to yourself, “You know what, I’m taking all the risk here or I’m doing all the work. I’ll get somebody to fund it and maybe they are 50% owners, probably less, but I do the work and I own a significant stake. And if I leave I still get to own a piece of it because I’m the one who founded it.” Why not take that entrepreneurial role instead of the intrapreneurial part that you prefer?

Robert: Yeah, that’s a good point. So I actually did that with this latest iteration of my business “Feed A Starving Crowd.” But I’ll get to that at the end, but with this particular, so the first time I did this with Gary and E-Web Marketing, what I did there, when Vippo failed, you know, I’ve been an overachiever all my life, you know. I’ve really, I was a top sales person here at Xerox here in Australia. You know, I’ve done a lot of really good things. MBA by the age of 28, like I’ve really overachieved my whole life and for me to start something out that didn’t work was pretty brutal and I didn’t say it publicly at the time but I was pretty low. Like, I mean, I’ve never experienced failure before like that and so I wasn’t really in the position … I had the finances if I wanted to, but mentally I wasn’t in the position to go take another risk and to spend another 12 months doing something that might not work. So I really wanted to shortcut that process, get a win under my sleeve and just take the easier route of working with an existing company where I could add value and get some runs on the board really quickly.

Andrew: You know what, that’s something I could relate to and I remember there was period in my life where I did that and it was so therapeutic. But also it reminded me of what drive I had inside me, of how good I could be when I have a clear path and I know I’m in a right place. I worked for a guy name Paul Sorbera, he just gave me, he gave me a lot of confidence, he gave me direction. I felt like I’m not the only one who’s really hungry to do stuff. He would walk into the office listening to motivational audio and just get fired up and say, “Andrew, I think you should listen to this. Wait until you see how fired up you’ll be” and it worked. I’m still charged up to this day. I still use what he taught me. I see. So you’re saying you were just feeling so low. Can you talk to me a little bit about that, and I’ll tell you why I want to hear a little bit about the low part. I feel we all experience that lowness. We all experience a sense of, “I thought I was invincible. I thought I was the best. I thought there was something special and now I just took a setback and maybe it means I’m nothing or maybe I’m not what I thought I was and what does the world need.” If we hear it through you, we’ll start to see ourselves in that story. So what was the low for you? What did it feel like? What were you thinking?

Robert: Look, to be honest I was more embarrassed then of what people would think because I was out there for 12 months plugging video, plugging Vippo, saying you need to be doing this. And then one day I just took the website off and stopped the business and stopped offering it and then people would ask for the few months after that, “How’s Vippo going?” And I had to kind of say, you know, “It’s not really working anymore and I’m not really running that business as a priority. But hey, I’m doing this new thing now and it’s really good.” So for me that was embarrassing and I suppose it was pride and if I had my time again I really should have partnered with a business like I did with E-Web Marketing once I started that internal role up. It’s pretty rough. There’s no real, there’s no other way to say it.

Andrew: Was there one person who was especially tough to tell? Or especially you were eager not to have that person hear it?

Robert: Do you know it was really my wife because we built this, not a very small company, but we built it together from scratch at the start. And so for us to have that conversation where we said we’re going to wind it down, that was tough. My parents were delighted. They were like, “This is a great decision. That business was hopeless. You were doing nothing, and you didn’t even know it.

Andrew: Sometimes that’s even worse. I want to go back in time and prove you wrong for saying it was hopeless. I was right even historically. Even though I know I was wrong, I want to show them that I was right. Did you feel that?

Robert: No, I didn’t really because I knew deep down they were right. It was hopeless, you know, and once I filed that tax return, I’m like, “This is ridiculous.” You know, I had a six-figure job in corporate and then I went to this and at corporate I was cruising. Even though I was overachieving, I didn’t find it that difficult. So, yeah, it was a tough time, it was brutal. I’m really happy though that Gary believed me in at E-Web marketing and gave me the opportunity because that got me back on my feet.

Andrew: Let me ask you about one more thing about your wife. Here’s the way that I felt, that I had a big setback, the early version of Mixergy was a huge failure with software, I spent a lot of money, it didn’t go right. And I remember I was dating my wife before I knew it was a failure and to have to have her see that this was a failure and to have to have her see that Mixergy and the early versions of the interview stuff where I wasn’t selling really and it wasn’t doing well, to have her see that that was a failure was so humiliating and partially because if she has a problem, I was the person and still am the person who goes, “Well, you can do this and you can do that, and here there’s other things you can do.” And if I’m a failure, then I’m a failure and why would you want to listen to a failure give you advice? Why would you want to come to a failure and tell him about your problems and hope that he could help him and so that was painful. Did you have any of that?

Robert: Definitely. I felt like, you know, is this going to impact my future reputation?

Andrew: Right.

Robert: Is no one going to care about me anymore? Yeah, so absolutely. All those things were playing in my mind. Thankfully, most successful people that I know have had some sort of failure at some stage, and I’ve realized that over time. But when you’re in the middle of it, it’s kind of like when you’re in MBA school they teach you how to deal with a crisis. And so theoretically you know what it’s all about and you know how to do it but until you’re in that crisis and it’s all hitting you like a ton of bricks, it’s very, very different and it’s, you know, nothing can prepare you for that until you’re in it.

Andrew: All right, and then you were starting to talk about Gary. Gary is Gary Ng, I think I’m pronouncing his name right, right?

Robert: Yes, that’s correct.

Andrew: He is the founder of ewebmarketing.com. They do SEO, pay-per-click, all kinds of online marketing. He founded the company in 1998. How did you meet Gary?

Robert: I met Gary through LinkedIn. When I was running Vippo, I messaged out to LinkedIn and said, “Look, I think a lot of your clients could use my video services. Can we get together and talk about synergies?” So, and I was really fortunate that Gary said, “Yes, I can see that you’ve got a really good energy about you.” He referred me some clients which was really nice and he introduced me to his whole team and he told his team, “If your clients need video, go give it, you know, go see Rob and his team over there.” And so I built that great relationship with him, and one thing that I really liked about Gary was the culture that he built at E-Web Marketing. So, you know, it’s won Best Place To Work In Australia a number of times now and it’s kind of like a Google office. There’s like a sleeping room in there. There’s ping-pong tables, pool, you know, there’s even an office dog. So it’s a lovely place to work. The people are fantastic. It’s a young, fresh, kind of hip, happening place, and I actually thought that that was a great place that I wanted to work once I finish up Vippo.

Andrew: And was it tough to approach him and say, was it tough to approach him?

Robert: Very tough because I had to admit to him that Vippo was a failure even though on the outside no one would have any idea that it was a failure. No one saw my financials and so I said, look, I took him out to lunch, wore a good suit and pants which I never used to do. I’m more of a jeans and shirt guy and yeah, I said, “Look, I’m going to wind down Vippo and I want to look for some opportunities to work with you at E-Web Marketing.” But I didn’t want to do it as an employee, I really wanted to do as setting up my own division and having that own business run itself with my own profit and loss.

Andrew: Interesting. So I wouldn’t have the guts to walk in to someone and say, “I want to work for you and I want to have my own profit and loss statement at your business, my own autonomy. Open it up and basically fund this thing for me.” What made you feel comfortable asking him for that? How did you know he would say yes?

Robert: Well, I thought that it wouldn’t require him to invest. It wasn’t a huge risk for him, and there was a huge upside. So because it was a new division, I could borrow some staff that were already in the business and get some more asset utilization, so to speak. And also on top of that, I thought that I could ramp up quite quickly because I did have good relationships from the people I worked with at Vippo, and I thought once I had a marketing agency behind me where I could offer marketing services, we could ramp this thing up quite fast.

Andrew: What’s an example of a service that you envisioned you could do right away for a client?

Robert: I felt that from the video business, after I realized that even though I wasn’t selling it very well, I still saw how powerful it was. And I still saw how doing a presentation too and people seeing your visuals through the internet was just phenomenally powerful and converting really high. And so one example of a service I really wanted to revive was webinars because I felt that if you can have your audience captive for an hour and you can really get your message across, even if you’re not selling or only just selling at the end for a few minutes, that was fantastic. And it doesn’t matter where they were around the world you could speak to them and I thought even though webinars are a bit saturated these days, a few years ago it wasn’t the case. And, you know, even though people were doing it back then, they weren’t anywhere near as prevalent as they are now. So, you know, for some of the first webinars that we did, we even called them online seminars just because my wife and parents even didn’t even know what … I think even today they would hardly know what a webinar is if I didn’t tell them what it was. So, yeah, webinars was the first thing that I really wanted to get into.

Andrew: I see. So you say, I’m going to bring a webinar here and through a webinar we’ll capture email addresses of people who are interested in watching. We’ll have the full attention of the audience because it’s not a recording, they’re there watching in real time and we’ll sell them, Okay. And who’s the customer? What kind of customer did you envision going after?

Robert: Well, when I first started with E-Web, there was two types of customers. Those were the startup businesses and the existing businesses and so we …

Andrew: You mean, E-Web had those customers.

Robert: E-Web had those customers. Absolutely. Yeah, and so there was two separate webinars that we ran to start with. The first one was how to get a new business started and off the ground, and the second one was how to grow an existing business a lot faster. And so there was two separate messages for those two separate audiences, and the funny thing was the existing businesses went a lot better that I think that looking back it was quite logical why because, you know, E-Web had the facilities in place and had a much higher price point so the startups just weren’t able to pay a monthly fee for having an agency do their work, but the existing businesses, of course, like they were much more likely to take it on.

Andrew: I’ve got a note here from your pre-interview with our producers where you said that you wanted to take equity in client’s businesses. That’s another gutsy step.

Robert: Yeah, definitely. So the division I started at E-Web Marketing was called E-Web Global Marketing. And so the whole premise behind that business was actually to go to a client’s business, take some equity in their business, and do things on a performance basis. And so the way that we structured it was different for each client. One client, we actually started up a brand new business with them and had a 50/50 stake. Another one we did a 60/40 stake and another one we didn’t have any stake in their business but we got paid per lead so we only got paid when we actually performed.

Andrew: It’s amazing that they would give you a stake in the business for doing their marketing and that’s ongoing. It means once you stop doing their marketing you still own a stake in their business?

Robert: Absolutely.

Andrew: Wow. One of the problems you had now that you had this vision, you had to get started, one of the problems you had was you were scrambling because you didn’t have processes in place. What processes got you all confused internally?

Robert: So when we did the first partnership with one of the businesses, the thing was even though I was good at doing the different parts of the marketing, I didn’t have a whole holistic process for, “Hey, here’s how you manage the online business properly like a business.” It was kind of all hobbled together, like, “Oh yeah, we’ll build a fresh website or we’ll do some copyrighting or run this webinar” but the thing was this business was actually selling day-to-day. They had an e-commerce store. They were making sales everyday. So we didn’t have any processes for, as an example, do we check the analytics every morning and make sure that the sales are kind of about right or check the stock levels of things that are going through it and things like that, just like real simple stuff to run an online business that any experienced e-commerce person would do. But, of course, E-Web Marketing was predominantly just a marketing agency where you’d get a small piece of a little project every once in a while. To actually take over a whole business and to run that, yeah, that was a big learning curve but gee, we learned quick.

Andrew: You mentioned first client and you didn’t have all the stuff in place. I’m curious about how you got your customers. In fact, one of the interesting things for me was when you and Gary sat down to talk, you said, “Here’s the number of clients that we need in order to make this successful” which is something that I almost feel like if you did it in Vippo it would have helped you, right?

Robert: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Definitely.

Andrew: How many customers did you need to make this business work?

Robert: I told Gary we need three big customers, three big whales, just three.

Andrew: And…

Robert: Just three. Three solid whales and rather than having like 100 small clients, if we just pick up three really good clients, do a really good deal with them so we get paid well once we perform, then that’d be more than enough to keep the business going.

Andrew: How big is a whale?

Robert: I would call a whale, at least, six figures of revenue for a business, so, at least, $100,000.

Andrew: So they need to do at least 100,000 in business themselves a year?

Robert: No, E-Web Global Marketing would need to get $100,000 of revenue from that client as a fee.

Andrew: Ah, Okay.

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: So how big would their revenue need to be before you got that started with them for them to be a whale for you?

Robert: Look, really they were only doing about 20,000 or 30,000 a month so about 250,000 to 350,000 at a minimum because otherwise …

Andrew: That’s not even that much.

Robert: That’s not much.

Andrew: So they’re doing about a quarter million in revenue and you’d need to do 100,000 of that revenue yourselves.

Robert: That’s right. So it means we’d need to ramp it up fast.

Andrew: Oh wow.

Robert: Yeah. Most of the people we worked with were infopreneurs so they’re people selling courses, training, seminars, books, things like that. So those things have, especially if they’re digital, the profit margins are very high. Once you’ve created it, there’s not a whole lot of extra cost if you put more people into a membership site, as an example.

Andrew: Okay. So just a handful of new customers gets you going. What do you do to get your first customer here?

Robert: This was the fun part. Gary had a really good relationship with a nutritionist who was very successful over a long period of time and she actually came in to do a talk to E-Web Marketing about health and looking after yourself and doing exercise, eating the right foods and things like that. After that talk, I said to Gary, “Look, this can be our first client. This person would be phenomenal using the strategies that we’ll do. Let’s talk to them and get it started up.” And so we, yeah, we had a few conversations and then I remember the very first conversation we had with the nutritionist’s husband who was running the business, the CEO, he said, “Look, so you’re asking me for half of the business just to some marketing for us. Is that what you’re saying?” “Yeah, pretty much. That’s what we’re saying” and, “So what are you going to do for that, for half of the business?” and so I put together an action plan. I said we’ll do this and this and this and this, we’ll do a product launch, a new website, copy, ongoing traffic, ongoing revenue, things like that. We’ll run it like a solid business, we’ll scale it up, and that’s what we’re going to do. It did take a while to come through because that’s a big decision. It’s definitely not an easy decision to give somebody else half your business, not at all.

Andrew: That’s shocking. What do you think it was that tipped her over because it’s …?

Robert: I think that we had common values and that we shared, yeah, I think they could trust that, yeah, they could see that I was a good person and they would trust that no matter what it would take I’d work really hard to make them successful, which I did. You know, I worked.

Andrew: Do you feel like she was a little desperate at the time, that she was a hungry customer because otherwise she wouldn’t be willing to give up so much?

Robert: No, I don’t think they were desperate. I think they had a really good solid local business. They were doing well over six figures. They had an already existing staff. I think what they wanted to do was to ramp out fast. And so the advantage for them was that we were going to fund that ramping up part because we were equity partners in the business, any of the marketing activities would be funded by us. So it was less …

Andrew: I see.

Robert: Yeah, so it was less [inaudible 00:30:14] otherwise they might have had to invest $50, 100, 200,000 in marketing with no real guaranteed returns. So with this new methodology, we would fund that extra growth but we’d take, you know, a good cut on it as we went through.

Andrew: Wow, that’s pretty impressive. So you did that. What did you do for her to get her new customers?

Robert: The biggest thing was we did four big product launches in that year, and we did a lot of other things as well. We revamped the website, we did the copy, we did the shopping cart, all that kind of stuff, but the biggest thing was the four massive product launches. So every three months we did a product launch. The very first one was the most successful which we’re going to do an interview about next week, the training course.

Andrew: Yeah.

Robert: We almost broke the world record for the most number of people in a webinar so that was …

Andrew: I want to stop and just tell people, we are going to teach your methods, what you did for her and others that allowed you to get half of their businesses and then grow their businesses so that they were bigger, you are going to teach on Mixergy. We’re going to have you come back to teach that, and I want to be absolutely clear because I want people to come and watch and be a part of it. I’m sorry, so go ahead and we’ll link to it once it’s up.

Robert: Thank you. So yeah, that was huge and the way that we did that, and we’ll go into a lot more detail the next time, but essentially it was really, really intelligent copyrighting. Because my client had spent so much time seeing women one-on-one, she absolutely knew what their pain points were. She knew this market cold and so we knew exactly the biggest ten pain points that women were having with their health that my client could fix up. By promising the answers to that in this webinar, that’s how we got those. You know, I can show the specific tactics later, exactly how we did it in terms of the traffic and the conversion and things like that. But essentially at a high level, we found the starving crowd, we fed the crowd what they needed to be fed and that’s the main reason why so many people came.

Andrew: What’s the big challenge then in the business? It sounds like once you had this partnership with Gary and you launched your own division that he helped feed you customers, you knew what to do. Actually, how did you even know what to do for those customers? How did you know about the product launches, etc?

Robert: Look, I’ve been a student of all the online markets for a long time so I knew conceptually exactly what needed to be done. I didn’t have a whole lot of experience in actually executing it. I’m being really honest. The first time I did that product, I’ve never ever done a webinar product launch before. That first one we did almost broke the world record.

Andrew: Yeah, you’re such a gutsy person who, I was actually quickly, if people saw my eye move it’s because I went right back to your LinkedIn profile to see. I don’t see anything that he did before that did that, because I see Intercol which is a government, you worked for the government. You don’t have this. You worked for National Australia Bank. So you’re saying you just were a student of info marketers online. You said, “Ah, this is what they do. They do product launches. I see all this other stuff, I’m going to do it too.”

Robert: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Andrew: And I’m going to take a piece of the business that I do it for. All right. So product launches to her own customers? Did you also start buying some ads to help grow the audience?

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: You did. Okay.

Robert: Both. Half of it came from the existing list and half of the people came from paid traffic.

Andrew: All right. So then going back to the question that I interrupted when I asked, I interrupt myself, not just my guests but were there any challenges here or once you figured out this model and you partnered up with Gary, it just took off?

Robert: Oh, there’s always challenges.

Andrew: What’s the biggest one?

Robert: No business is ever rosy, you know that. There’s always challenges. I think that there were a number of challenges. One of them was with some of the businesses that we were working with, even though the revenue was coming in, the setup costs still took a long time to come back. So, for example, with one of my clients we spent over six figures initially, doing the website, getting the copy done, running traffic, video production, all that kind of stuff. And so that did take a number of months to pay back. So that’s, yeah, even though we did these big product launches, for the first two or three of them they were just paying back the setup costs. So these things weren’t overnight successes, by no stretch of the imagination. So yeah, cash flow was a challenge. Of course, it was a new division and it had to self-fund itself. Yeah, it wasn’t easy. We really had to hustle in those first six months to make it work.

Andrew: Cash flow. How far down had you gotten with cash flow?

Robert: It was over six figures. Yeah, so it was over six figures investment for that first one for sure.

Andrew: What about when you’re partnering up with someone else and they care about their audience a lot and they want you to care about their marketing? And you want that, you want that friction but it’s a challenge. They care a lot about their audience. You care a lot about marketing, that means you want to email their audience more. They want to protect their audience from getting emailed too much. Did you have that?

Robert: Absolutely. Yeah, definitely. With all our clients there’s always that level of, look it’s our job as the marketer to try and move that line as much as we can to be able to be a bit more professional. And actually as the expert when you care about your audience, you want to be a bit careful about how you protect your lists. And so there was a lot of times where we had to come to a negotiation at a middle ground where obviously we couldn’t email them maybe as aggressively or as often as we wanted to. But then they’re probably moving their comfort level a bit, you know, they’re all stretching a bit as well, they had to meet in the middle. I think any kind of publishing company or marketing company would have that same challenge and that’s very normal, but it’s still doesn’t make it easier at the time when you’ve got this grand vision for how you want the whole launch to go. And you have to cut out half of the emails, for example, or tons of messaging so it’s not as strong.

Andrew: You know, I was just thinking and then thinking do I say or not and then I said, “You know what, I say everything that comes to my mind and Robert’s cool with it.” Part of the thing that I think you have that other guys who market your way don’t have is you have class. You have this element of elegance to you. I’m listening to you and it comes from your accent and comes from the fact that you have a sport jacket that doesn’t look … Mine is a very typical sport jacket, yours has some style to it. Is that worked on or is that something that comes naturally or is that something that you practiced?

Robert: I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my wife, you know. I think part of her …

Andrew: She dressed you up. What did you look like before her then?

Robert: Oh, you don’t want to see the photos. It’s embarrassing.

Andrew: Really? Were you wearing cargo pants?

Robert: I had the worst clothes and I thought I was well dressed as well, that’s the funny thing. And then she came along, was like, “Rob, we got to fix this all up” and then she …

Andrew: And she took you out. Do you remember a time when she took you out and said, “We’re getting a new wardrobe for you” and you resisted it the way that your marketing clients resisted?

Robert: She was more subtle than that. She was kind of like spoon-feeding me. So like, “Oh Rob, I got you this shirt today” or “Rob, I got you these new pants today” and so she didn’t do the whole thing in one big hit because that would have freaked me out. And so she was very smart with the way that she approached it. It was like baby steps, eating an elephant one bite at a time. I do have her to thank.

Andrew: Yeah. A lot of times I’ve worked with stylists who will take me out shopping. The best one that I ever found was a woman in L.A. I hired her before I ever even got to L.A. I said this is a part of my life where I’m just going to get to enjoy and work on myself, and I get there and she pushes me to try things and I don’t do it. And I say, “It’s not you, it just doesn’t feel comfortable.” The next time, after she got to know me she says, “All right, let’s not meet at the store. Meet me at the restaurant.” We met at the restaurant and she said, “All right, I ordered you two shots. I want you to have these two shots while we talk about what we do.” I had the shots, I loosened up, she took me out and I was like throwing money here, throwing money there. I remember she got me this one jacket that had all kinds of extra sewing on it. It was a really funky jacket. I really resisted it and it became the best jacket I had. I wore it for years because it just felt right to see it and to wear it but not at first. At first it was too shocking because it wasn’t traditional.

Robert: Well, you and me have similar builds. We’re not huge guys, we’re quite thin. And when you’re a thin person, if you wear looser clothing it kind of looks like a bed sheet and just doesn’t really fit you that well. And a lot of the clothes I was wearing before were too loose for me and so it just didn’t look good. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m not a stylist so I don’t know how to describe it any better than that, but I know looking back it’s like, I can’t believe I was wearing that kind of stuff. But, you know, maybe in a few years time I might look back at what I’m wearing now and be like, “Why was I wearing that?” But I think she’s done a good job.

Andrew: But now you’re fine. I’m taking a look at you, you’re looking good. I think for me the problem is different from that. My problem is that I am very much of an analytical person. I don’t have space in my head for a lot of nuance and so t-shirt traditionally works. All right, great, I’ll wear that. There’s like some list of things that are acceptable in my head, and I don’t know to just loosen up and blur my vision a little bit and be open to new clothes. Very tough. Fortunately, I should say in conversations, I can work outside the lines. I can just be myself. I can do that in person and I can do it here in the interview though you can decide for yourself after it’s over. That’s changed. That’s something that I need to work on, or I should bring Elise to … I actually have thought about flying Elise to San Francisco or me flying to L.A. just to do this stylist work, and then I thought one session’s not going to do it and that’s going to get out of control. Is this the best interview you’ve had so far? I know you’ve done a lot of interviews around your book, “Feed A Starving Crowd,” but is this the best interview?

Robert: Oh, the best by far.

Andrew: By far.

Robert: By miles. You know, if this how all the interviews are, yours is there. It’s off the screen.

Andrew: You know, the cool thing is you and I met through Robert Toff and the reason I met him is he went on Facebook and he just ripped into all the things that were wrong with Mixergy. I said, I like this guy because the way he was thinking about what was wrong is not just trolly, he had logic to it. So I got on a call with him, he gave me a bunch of suggestions for what to do and he said, “I probably shouldn’t have written publicly the way it did.” I said, “No, I love it. That’s the world I want to live in. Be that open with me” and we’ve had a good conversation, good friendship since then.

Robert: I like Rob, he’s a straight shooter and he’s very good at what he does as well.

Andrew: Yeah, I like him too for that same reason. All right. So you’re building this whole thing up. Before we started you said, “Andrew, you should know I’m not with the business anymore.” Why leave the business if it’s going so well?

Robert: Great point. What happened was I got the business to a stage where we put, like at the start it was a circus, we didn’t have any processes or systems. I put all those processes and systems in place. So I managed all the subcontractors, any time we brought on a new client we did X, Y and Z in order and it got to a stage where my team could actually run the campaigns without needing me. And we’ve ran a half million dollar advertising campaign where I was in Hollywood and the team just ran it. That’s how good and well-oiled the machine was. So because the campaigns were so successful, in 2013 I started writing a book, “Feed A Starving Crowd,” and I published it in the start of, when was it, it was February 2014, so almost over a year ago now and that book’s just been a real success. I’ve got a Facebook group around it. We’ve got the TV show happening around the book and things like that. That book needs a lot more of my time and attention, and it’s its own little business. And so what we decided to do was to spin that off into a new business. I purchased the IP from Gary. Gary’s still a minority shareholder in that business as well and that’s where my focus is because I really want to …

Andrew: What do you mean you purchased the IP from Gary? What IP did you need to purchase from Gary to do the book and to build a business around it?

Robert: I wrote the book while I was an employee at E-Web Marketing and so E=Web actually owned the IP for my book and my course and my Facebook group and all that kind of stuff. So I did what you said. I actually, you know, put my money where my mouth was, found the business, got a bigger stake in it and now I’m funding it all myself and it’s growing itself.

Andrew: Why did E-Web want to own a book? How did that fit in with their strategy?

Robert: Because it would help generate new clients for the business. So by having me as a thought leader and putting myself out there, it would absolutely lead to new inquiries and new clients.

Andrew: I see. And you were blogging on their site too as a way of getting new clients, and this book was a way of extending the writing that you were doing. Got it. And then you went back and you bought it from him. How much did you pay him to buy the book?

Robert: That’s confidential but it wasn’t cheap.

Andrew: I bet. Did you pay him up front or did you over time?

Robert: Over time.

Andrew: You know what’s interesting about Gary is he, on his LinkedIn page, first of all everywhere I see him he’s smiling, happy. His t-shirt says …

Robert: He’s very happy. Well, the whole business is about happiness, success and fun. That’s the tagline so he’s a very happy guy.

Andrew: That’s what the t-shirt says, happiness, success and fun, which ordinarily you’d think this is just a happy-go-lucky guy, probably doesn’t really get business. Meanwhile, he gets business, he gets everyone else’s business he gets it so much.

Robert: It’s a weight class 50, the weight class, it’s a huge business, He’s done really well.

Andrew: What kind of revenues are they doing?

Robert: That’s confidential as well. It’s a private company so I don’t think it’s fair for me to, you know …

Andrew: Is it public knowledge whether he’s doing more than 10 million with the business or not?

Robert: Look, if whatever’s published in the papers is published but, yeah, it’s really not my place to say, Andrew.

Andrew: All right. Fair enough. I can see that’s where I was actually getting you a little uncomfortable. What about what’s his name? Brian Tracy. How did you get Brian Tracy to give you a quote? I know that that carries a lot of weight in the self-help community.

Robert: A lot of people have told me they’ve picked up my book because of Brian Tracy’s testimonial. So I’m really grateful that I was able to get that. To be honest, it was really, Okay, it was strategic. What I did was I looked at a lot of the other marketing books and business books out there. I looked at who was writing the forewords and who was also writing the testimonials for them, and I did notice that Brian is quite amenable to writing testimonials for books. I knew that he did it, and I actually knew two of the authors who he’s written a testimonial for.

So I approached them and I said, “How did you get Brian to give the testimonial for you?” and they said, “Look, we just wrote to him” and so I thought, okay, I’m just going to write in to him. So I wrote in to him, didn’t get anything back. And then I wrote in, again. I name-dropped the two people that had wrote and they said to contact you and didn’t get to hear back. And then I actually had an assistant and I said, “Listen, this is what I need you to do. These are the 20 people I want to get a testimonial from, go out there and go get me these testimonials” and Brian was one of them. She was very persistent and she actually got the testimonial for me by doing the same thing I did, just inquiring through the website that, maybe because she was, I don’t know, more persistent or a different person or maybe the first ones got spammed out because of email. I have no idea what happened but actually …

Andrew: She just kept following up until she got that…

Robert: Following up. And so the assistant said, “You know what, Brian would be delighted to write a testimonial for this book.” Well, “please send it through.” So I was just like, “What about the three emails that I sent before? How come, you know, the first time that she approaches that it works?” So I really, and they didn’t make any mention that they’d seen three approaches from me before either. So I’ve got a feeling maybe they got lost, you know, in this internet space.

Andrew: Maybe. He probably gets a ton of requests from a ton of people. He probably didn’t notice or maybe it just got, like you said, it went into spam because of all the emails he gets and boom, one gets through and you’re in.

Robert: So it is persistence and it’s definitely worth persisting for because it just adds so much weight to the book to have a big name testimonial.

Andrew: You know, I just like the way you work. I like your openness about it too and one of the things that I’m noticing is that you are an entrepreneur at heart. In fact, I’m looking here at my notes and I see that when you were 16 you had a DJ business. What was the DJ business at 16?

Robert: Well, I was one of the first people to get a CD burner. When I was 16 they weren’t that common. And so when I got that I was starting to acquire a good music collection when most of my friends just couldn’t because you had to go pay $30 for the CD at the store and most people just weren’t doing that. And so because of that people were starting to ask me to play music at parties or bring my music collection to all the parties. So I did that for a while. I thought, okay, I could actually get paid to do this. And so one day I actually hired some equipment and I did a job for free, but it cost $100 to hire the equipment. And everybody loved all the music that I played and my dad actually paid for the $100. So he said, “Look, I’m going to invest in your DJ business, Rob” and so he paid for it and I said, “Don’t, let’s not do the $100. That’s too much money. Let’s just do it for $50. Let’s get the small speakers.” He said, “Nah, get the good ones, this is an investment in your business.”

Andrew: Wow.

Robert: And after that people started to hire me more and more and it got to the stage where I had a few gigs, but it wasn’t very solid and I thought, “Let’s try an ad in the Yellow Pages. Let’s really hit this out of the park.” So the Yellow Pages rep came, it was $1000 to put an ad in the Yellow Pages.

Andrew: Okay.

Robert: And my other job at the time was stacking shelves for $8 an hour at the local supermarket. So, you know, I don’t know how many hours that is, maybe 120 hours or something like that, so it’s a lot of hours of work to pay back this ad if I didn’t get any jobs from it. But I was charging $250 for a gig at the time, so I thought if I get four gigs then this ad pays for itself. Anyway, I put the ad out, the Yellow Pages comes out and I get my first phone call. And so someone’s like, “Is this DJ Rob? Yep, this is DJ Rob. Are you available on October the whatever the day is? And I’m like, “Oh, I just need to check. I’m pretty busy.” So I just put them on mute and obviously I had a lot of white space on the calendar, but I didn’t want them to know that. I’d come back and say, “Look, you know, I do have some availability. What date were you looking at?” and so we worked out the date.

Long story short, they paid a deposit on the phone with their credit card. I was 16 and when they paid the deposit it kind of dawned on me that, you know, I just wrote something on a piece of paper. It got printed in a big book. This person doesn’t know me from a bar of soap, and they’ve called me up and paid me money on the phone. And it was kind of surreal and it still is a bit surreal today. Like when people order my stuff on the internet, it’s like, they’ve never met me before and they don’t know me from a bar of soap and they still order. And it just blew me away at the time, and it still does blows me away to a smaller extent today because I’ve seen it a lot more, but it still does blow me away that people trust you that much.

Andrew: I know. It still does for me too and it’s so exciting, and it just feels like there’s a world of possibility then. If they’re already doing it like this and I’m just getting started, imagine how much better it could be and how many more people will buy as I improve. All right, one way of improving is to get the book, “Feed A Starving Crowd.” You know what I like about your book, there’s a lot. One of them is that somewhere in the beginning of the book you have a list of reasons to read this book. The marketing that you employ within the book is smart too. I guess you’re thinking some people are going to sample it, and I need to win them over because they’re already invested a little bit. I just need to get them to want to read the whole book and buy it if they haven’t, right? Is that actually in the book or is that in the sample that I read?

Robert: Look, I put a lot of thought into that book landing page. All the marketing around the book. Do you know Ryan LeVeck?

Andrew: Yeah.

Robert: Yeah, he’s a friend of mine. He says, “Look, I’m playing chess, not checkers” and that phrase really resonates with me. It’s kind of like checkers is kind of trying to do what everyone else is doing and trying it a little bit better. But chess is like, “Look, this is what the overall map looks like and I’m going to be quite strategic about this, and I’m going to put my pieces in this position” and things like that and look what other moves the guys are making and be different. And so I really want to make sure that I use a lot of marketing to sell my book. If you look at all the other books out there that people are doing, I would say a very, very high percentage of them have this little crappy landing page with a photo of the book and your name and email and there’s no information about the book. And they’ll say, “You know what, this book landing page converts at 60%.”But you know what, people don’t know what they’re even getting. It’s just a photo of a book and a name and email, and I would question how good are those email addresses anyway even though you’ve got them in your database. And so before anybody gets my book, they’d better read all the copy and then know what it’s all about by the time they get it and they’re more likely to consume it, be a fan, etc, etc. So that’s the reason why I put so much effort into that book landing page.

Andrew: I think there was marketing actually in the book itself, that if I passed the book that I got to a friend, there is a link to a page with resources where they can go and then you have another opportunity to connect with them, not just through me. But you’re right, the landing page itself, not only is it beautifully designed and there are lots of marketing elements to this and anyone who wants to check it out can go to feedastarvingcrowd.com. But not only that, you offer it for free too, the book. All people have to do is give you their name and email addresses if they want the digital version of the book.

Robert: Yeah, that was strategic as well. So what I found was at the start I was charging for it and it converted at 2%. Every 100 people that come to my website, 2% would buy the book, 98% would bounce off and that drove me crazy because I knew that once the book was in the hands of the people, they would love it. And I thought, well why don’t I give away the eBook for free just to see what happens, and with no optimization at all it was converting at 40%. So four out of every 10 people went and took the book. That made me a lot happier because the whole aim for the book is really to cross over all our services and causes and things like that. Now it can even convert up to 60% from Facebook ads which is cold traffic if the ad’s targeted correctly.

Andrew: Sixty percent. They give you their email address and my guess is, yes, some of them end up buying the paper book which costs $9 for shipping worldwide but that’s not the moneymaker. The online training that goes along with it, that if someone reads the book and says, “Hey, this is so good and this guy Coorey is a pisser. He’s interesting. I like the way he thinks about marketing. I don’t want to give him half my business. but I do want him to teach me.” They could pay a few dollars, and they could learn from you.

Robert: That’s the idea and then I’ve got private consulting for clients on top of that which is where most of my revenue comes from. And so that’s kind of my business model. I’ve got the book, I’ve got the course and I’ve got private clients. It’s very, very simple.

Andrew: All right. I asked you about Gary’s money and you said, “I can’t tell you about Gary’s money. Ask Gary.” I’m going to ask you about you. What kind of revenue are you pulling in with this new business, “Feed A Starving Crowd?”

Robert: We’ve cracked six figures which is good. We only started in November officially. So we’ve already hit our first six figures of revenue which is really good and, you know, all new businesses take time to grow. This is not going to be a million dollar business in five minutes. I’m building for the long-term and …

Andrew: So we’re talking about roughly four months, you’re doing $100,000 already?

Robert: Yeah, which is great. I think that’s a great result.

Andrew: Yeah.

Robert: We’re going to continue. We’ve a got a lot of momentum, a really strong database, a great community. I’ve got 3000 people in our Facebook group. I’ve got fantastic relationships with a lot of people in the community, and a lot of people are really happy to help me promote my work as well. So the future’s very promising.

Andrew: Rob Toff, you paying him anything?

Robert: Yeah, I do. I pay him to do my content marketing.

Andrew: I keep calling him Toof, Toff. What do you pay Rob for?

Robert: Am I allowed to say what I pay my contractors on national, you know, international media?

Andrew: People do it all the time.

Robert: [Laughter]

Andrew: I don’t edit anything out so it creates a sense of danger. Live dangerously, my friend. You already got the jacket. It seems to go along with like a martini glass. You look like you’re living dangerously, live dangerously. Rob will be okay. He’s the one who on Facebook ripped into me, and I love him for it and we started a relationship. What do you pay Rob and what does he do for you?

Robert: Look, I pay Rob to do my content marketing so what he did for me was he took my book, he turned it into a series of really good blog articles and then he helped me with distribution of them across the internet. So that was great. I recorded 20 videos and he helped me with distribution of them as well. So Rob’s really good at taking content that you already have and kind of reworking it into a lot of different formats so that it appears that you’re kind of everywhere on the internet.

Andrew: Okay.

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: I think you can say that.

Robert: And it’s not cheap. It’s really cheap, it’s not cheap at all to hire him and so I think, you know, it might be unfair for me to say what his price is because if he wants to charge people a different price, either less or more, then he’s kind of stuck to the price that I say on this program.

Andrew: No, he’s not but I get it. But that’s the problems with working with real marketers, that they know how to market themselves, they charge top dollar but, at least, they deliver. Let me see actually. Looks like you’re getting traffic from podcasts.LeadPages.net. This is according to Similarweb. Those guys do …

Robert: Yeah, LeadPages have been great, yeah, send me a lot of good traffic. We did an interview with them about the landing page. Of course, they liked it so much and I ended up even making a format, like a template of my landing page for LeadPages so people can get all that extra hard work I put into making it fantastic, you can buy for, I think it’s 20 bucks on LeadPages now.

Andrew: Your [inaudible 00:54:58] I can buy on LeadPages?

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: They took my best one too.

Robert: Yeah. I put it there. I’m happy that it’s getting out there because it means it forces me to raise the bar and then make even a brand new landing page on top of that that’s going to be even better again.

Andrew: But I see, Robert, what you’re saying is you were interviewed by LeadPages for their own internal podcasts because they have an audience of their users and their customers, many of them went to that site and found out about your podcast and then found out about your book and they ended up buying.

Robert: That’s correct.

Andrew: All right, and then archive.today is sending you traffic. What selfeducation.biz?

Robert: I don’t know. I’ve got no idea.

Andrew: Let’s see, it’s selfeducation.biz. Apparently you’re getting some traffic from there too. I don’t know them. It’s just a thought.

Robert: Those are good people if they’re sending me traffic.

Andrew: They must be fantastic people. All right, obviously I’ve asked you about everything. I’ve pushed you, I pushed your buttons before the interview started. I pushed you in the interview and I think we’ve got a good interview here. I think I’m proud of this interview.I’m proud that we didn’t do one of these fluffy things that I can’t stand when I’m listening. I want to ask you the tough questions and if you want to answer, great, if you don’t then fine.

Robert: Yeah, and look, I think that’s why you’ve got such a great audience because you ask the questions that nobody else is willing to ask.

Andrew: How about the most challenging and the best question I asked you before we started? Do you remember what that is?

Robert: You’ve asked me so many hard questions, Andrew, I can’t keep track of all of them.

Andrew: Here is the best one. I said, “After this interview is done, will you tell your audience via email that we did this interview so that they could come watch because I’m going to be promoting you and I could use the help to promote the interview? I want it to be one of the top interviews on the site” and you said, “Yes.”

Robert: I said, “Absolutely” and I think that the “Feed A Starving Crowd” audience would love to check this out because this is the deepest behind-the-scenes that they would have seen on how the business actually works and how I got to where I got to today. So I think it’s a great story to share.

Andrew: All right. I’m proud to have them listen to this. I’m proud to have you on here. It’s good to meet you. Congratulations. I hope you go Hollywood for one big, first of all because you’re a nice guy, but number two, if you go Hollywood all of your audience is going to come to Google you and then they’re going to end up on my interview site. And then they’re going to listen to the interview and go, “This guy is either a jerk” and then won’t listen to me anymore or some of them will go, “This is the guy that I’ve been waiting for. He asks aggressive questions, brings smart people on like Robert. I want to watch more of him.” So I really hope you do well. Help me out by letting me know when the show is on so that I can help promote it.

Robert: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: All right, for everyone else who’s out there, go to feedastarvingcrowd.com. Apparently a lot of other people are copying the layout of his site and I can understand why. Go check it out and be one of the first to learn from his design. Really honored to have you on here and I’m looking forward to having you back on.

Robert: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Cool. Thank you all for being a part of it. Bye everyone.Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. I know my audience, they’re so freaking driven and what I’ve got for you today is the story of a failed entrepreneur who bounced back by starting a digital agency as an intrapreneur. We’ll talk about what that means soon. I invited him here to talk about how he did it, how he got clients and what he’s up to today. Robert Coorey is the founder of E-Web Global Marketing, a high-end performance digital marketing agency. He’s also the author of “Feed A Starving Crowd” which offers more than 200 hot and fresh marketing strategies to help you find hungry customers because hungry customers are the ones that you want who are willing to buy from you.

This whole interview here is frankly paid for by a company called Toptal. If you’re looking for a developer and you want the best, not just the best in the field but also the best fit for your culture, for the way that you work, I want you to go to toptal.com. Because people complain about the way I pronounce things, I’m going to spell it out, T-O-P-T-A-L.COM. You know how good they are? I invited a few entrepreneurs over to my house for dinner, including the founder of Toptal. I introduced him to people and it came out that he was a founder of Toptal. Two of these guys said that they applied to be developers for Toptal and they were rejected, and these are top people. I won’t even mention their names because I don’t want them to feel embarrassed. But it goes to show that Toptal wants the best of the best, people who are serious about their craft and are going to be good fits for you. I promise that you’re going to love them and you know how I can say that? Because they guarantee their work. Go to toptal.com. If you’re not happy after you start working with the person, well, check out their refund policy, I think you’ll be very proud. But you’re not going to ask for a refund, you’re going to be happy with them. Boy, I’m talking too much about Toptal because I love them, T-O-P-T-A-L.COM. Thank you for sponsoring us. Robert, welcome to Mixergy.

Robert: Thanks for having me, Andrew.

Andrew: Dude, you are going Hollywood, I mean, literally flying to Southern California, to Los Angeles to do a show. Before I get into the business, tell me about that. What is this new show you’re going to do, you’re doing, you recorded?

Robert: Yeah, we’ve recorded the show so we’ve done the pilot episode. It’s been picked up by a Hollywood production house and it’s called “Feed A Starving Crowd.” The show is all about turning a failing business around in 30 days. So we go in, we find a business that’s about to go bankrupt, we turn them around in 30 days and here’s the thing, it’s using little to no cash.

Andrew: So little, right, because I’ve seen the Gordon Ramsay thing. He will walk into a restaurant that looks like garbage. He’ll actually pull out garbage out of their refrigerators, say, “What is this?” and curse and everyone will hate him and then a commercial goes out and then you see a brand new scene. His people are fixing up the whole restaurant. They’re redesigning the decor. They’re doing things that would cost 100,000, 200,000, these little store owners couldn’t do and that’s why things turn around, I feel. You’re saying no money. It’s just going to be you and your ideas are going to turn these businesses around.

Robert: Yep, hard work, roll up our sleeves and get in there and do stuff. I think, you know, if you go into any business and you spend a few hundred thousand dollars, then most of them are going to go pretty good after that but the average mom and dad running a small business haven’t got, well, they’re not going to get that kind of a check. And so this is really showing entrepreneurs what you can do to turn your business around without spending any money.

Andrew: What I should be asking you is how do you differentiate yourself from all the other shows. I should be asking all kinds of stuff about the show. Here’s what I care about more. How did you get it? Because I know there’s someone in my audience going, “I want to be on television because it will help my brand, it’ll help my business, it’ll help my ego, it’ll help me get girls, it’ll help me get guys. I don’t know what it is but we want that. We don’t want to celebrate your success, we want it for ourselves.” So what did you do to get on this show? And then I’ll get into my main idea here which is how you built the digital agency.

Robert: Yeah, so when I did my book launch a bit over 12 months ago now, I made sure I got the hands in of one of the influential people. And so one of those people was a Hollywood producer who was living in Australia at the time. And so I asked her could she help me with a trailer for the book and she said, “Look, the trailer that you’ve got is fine, Robert. You don’t need me to help you with that, but what I can help you with is actually turning this into a show.” I didn’t really see myself as a TV star at the time but I thought, let’s give it a go and see how it all ends up. So we put together a pilot episode. We went to Long Beach in August of last year, filmed it and then went back again in September, pitched it to all the production houses. We got a deal signed with a production house in October last year.

Andrew: You mean, they paid to put the show on, you just funded it?

Robert: No, we funded it first. So we actually funded the pilot episode in August and …

Andrew: Meaning you or is it the producer?

Robert: Myself, Gary and Andrew, they’re co-presenters. So we all paid to get it out, to put it on and it wasn’t cheap. It was a lot of money and so, yeah, but the thing is now it’s been picked up by …

Andrew: How much?

Robert: I’m not sure if I can say but it’s well over six figures.

Andrew: Well over six figures to get it done. So we’re talking about somewhere under 200,000 but over 100.

Robert: Maybe a bit north of that.

Andrew: Okay. Oh wow! ll right. So that’s a lot of money and Gary is the guy who’s founded …

Robert: Serious investment.

Andrew: Gary is the guy who founded ewebmarketing.com which you incubated your business that we’ll talk about through.

Robert: That’s right.

Andrew: Okay, all right. What else did I want to find out about that? So basically you’re now, you’ve got this pilot and it’s time for you to shop it around to get it on television. You don’t have a network, you have a $200,000-plus video.

Robert: That’s correct.

Andrew: Okay. All right.

Robert: And the deal signed with a production company which is the main thing.

Andrew: Oh, what’s the production company deal?

Robert: So the production company now formats the show into a salable format and then they take it to the networks from there and sell it.

Andrew: I see.

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: So you know why one of the reasons why I’m interested in this is one of my past guest, Tim Sykes, gets himself on television. I know people watch him on television. He gets customers for his site because of it and I know that it gets him fans, but I feel that more people don’t even see him on TV but know him as a guy who was on TV. And that gives him tremendous credibility, tremendous swagger, tremendous confidence. And as a result, it helps grow his business, helps grow his reputation, helps grow the fat wad of dollars or hundred dollar bills that he keeps in his wallet to show off to people. And so that’s why I was curious about it.

Robert: All right.

Andrew: Yeah, go ahead.

Robert: Yeah, definitely. Like what I would say is that, yeah, like while we haven’t got a financial return on investment as of yet, the personal branding and the branding for the company is fantastic and so that’s helped about …

Andrew: It already helped the company?

Robert: Sorry?

Andrew: It already helped the company even though it’s not on TV yet?

Robert: Oh absolutely, because we talk about the experience that we’re having with it the whole way through and it just, you know, I can’t put a specific number on how much it’s generated back to our company but I know that it’s been huge.

Andrew: All right. Let’s go on to the rest of your story. You started a business called Vippo in 2010. What was Vippo?

Robert: Vippo was a video production business.

Andrew: Okay.

Robert: And so it was a genius idea of mine where I thought because YouTube was starting to become more prevalent and online video was all the rage and people were starting to put it on all their websites, I thought, well, you know what, I can start a video production business. I’ll go to different businesses. I’ll get them to make online videos, and I’ll stick them on their website and it’ll be easy because everyone needs video. That was the hypothesis anyway, didn’t work out that good.

Andrew: All right. Tell me about the problem with it? When did you realize actually that there was a problem?

Robert: So I realized there was a serious problem when I filed my tax return after 12 months in the business, and I managed $32,000 in revenue for the whole year. And I worked more than full-time, pretty much all day, all night on the business for 12 months. My wife worked all day, all night in the business for 12 months and we end up with $32,000.

Andrew: 32,000 bucks. That is very painful. Wow, that is very painful.

Robert: It wasn’t a good year.

Andrew: Do you remember the first customer that you got?

Robert: I do. It was a little party shop. It was a friend of the family and I said, “Look, I’m just starting this new video business. Can I come in and shoot some videos for you?” He said, “How much does the video cost?” I said, “$500” and I said, “Well, you can have a three pack for $1500” and he signed on for it. He just paid me, and we did videos for him. I didn’t make a whole lot of profit out of that because after you pay the video person and the editor and then my own time to kind of micro-manage it and watch it all. So I think really with that business it wasn’t scalable, and it was really hard to find clients in the first place. The profit margins were really low, wasn’t scalable, I was busting my guts …

Andrew: What part wasn’t scalable? Was getting customers not scalable or was fulfilling the orders for customers not scalable?

Robert: I think, I should go back. With the business the way the way that it was, the way that I was running it, it wasn’t scalable because I was the super-doer. I was the salesperson, I was the accountant, I was the operations manager, I was the producer, you know. So I did every single part of that business, and there wasn’t enough revenue there for me to scale it out and to hire staff into different functions. And then also I think even once I did get a bit of scale, all of the profit would have been sucked up by employee costs. I think that business really needs, at least, $1,000,000 of revenue to make it, you know, to be able to put the people in place to make it scalable and to get the profit that you need. So the way that I was running it, you know, with $32,000 after 12 months, that was never going to happen.

Andrew: The beeping that you heard was me doing a search for the word “Vippo” on your LinkedIn profile and Google just kept, bup, bup, bup bup. It doesn’t show up. Why not?

Robert: I just didn’t think it was relevant to have it on there anymore because it was a time in my life where I started something without doing any product market research. The website’s not up any more, the business doesn’t exist anymore. I didn’t really feel the need to have it on there.

Andrew: What would you have done differently if you could have taken a trip back in history to fix this thing?

Robert: What I would have done is if I really wanted to be in the video business, which I realized I didn’t like by end of the 12 months, but if I did want to be in that business I should have joined another company and worked in there as sales and business development. Because they would have already had the infrastructure and all the systems in place to deliver which would have been more scalable. And I could have focused on what I was good on which is selling and marketing. So if I had my time again, I would have got maybe a commission only job or a base salary and commission, run it from there, do the stuff I enjoy and outsource the parts I didn’t like. So that’s how I could have done it.

Andrew: We’re talking about basically the thing that you ended up, the format that you ended up taking on at the job that you had up until recently which is E-Web Marketing. You’re saying, “Why start this as your own business? Go partner with someone who already has the business, the infrastructure, the people, the finances to pull this off.” You tell them that you would have told them, “I want to create this division for you. It’s not going to cost you much because you have the resources. I’ll make the phone calls, I’ll get the customers and I’ll make this thing.” That’s what you want?

Robert: That’s it and it’s less risk for you as the intrapreneur which is what we discussed. And it’s good for the business because it doesn’t cost them any money to get started. It’s an extra revenue center so it’s a win-win for everyone. It’s less risk, it’s better, it’s just all better.

Andrew: You know what, intrapreneur is one of the words that I learned in college, never heard before. I’ve never heard anyone use it afterwards really except in a Mixergy interview where I used it first and then they used it but the concept makes sense. I remember learning it and saying look, there are people within companies, this is the way that we were taught, people in companies who basically go off and start a whole new thing, like a start-up that’s wholly owned by the company. But is independently operated and is run like a startup so that it’s nimble, so that it can do things that the bigger organization can’t. And the person who runs it is very much like an entrepreneur, who has a board of directors which is, a board of directors is essentially of one, the person who’s managing the division and they go off. Here’s my question to you and this is where before the interview started I was giving you a hard time and …

Robert: You gave me a real hard time, Andrew. I was packing it over here.

Andrew: Yeah, you did. You said, “You know Andrew, if you don’t want me, I’m going to take a step back. I don’t have to do this interview. I don’t need you. I got my coffee, I got my television show, I got my Hollywood, I don’t need you.” Right?

Robert: It’s all good. I had …

Andrew: Did that feel so jerky to you that you really wanted to walk away? When you said before the interview, “I could walk away,” did you feel like, “Good, I want to walk away. If you’re not going to treat me with respect, if you’re going to challenge me before we even start, I don’t need this?”

Robert: I’m happy to be here, Andrew. You’re a good person. I’m really happy to share this with your audience.

Andrew: No, be open. Did you feel a little bit like, hey, Andrew does not value me enough. Why is he challenging me before the interview started?

Robert: Not at all. I think that your job as interviewer were to ask hard questions because if you just ask me nice and fluffy and easy questions, well that’s going to pretty boring for your audience. I think that’s your job.

Andrew: So let me ask you this then. Why intrapreneurial? Why go and create something that then someone else will take and own? Why not say to yourself, “You know what, I’m taking all the risk here or I’m doing all the work. I’ll get somebody to fund it and maybe they are 50% owners, probably less, but I do the work and I own a significant stake. And if I leave I still get to own a piece of it because I’m the one who founded it.” Why not take that entrepreneurial role instead of the intrapreneurial part that you prefer?

Robert: Yeah, that’s a good point. So I actually did that with this latest iteration of my business “Feed A Starving Crowd.” But I’ll get to that at the end, but with this particular, so the first time I did this with Gary and E-Web Marketing, what I did there, when Vippo failed, you know, I’ve been an overachiever all my life, you know. I’ve really, I was a top sales person here at Xerox here in Australia. You know, I’ve done a lot of really good things. MBA by the age of 28, like I’ve really overachieved my whole life and for me to start something out that didn’t work was pretty brutal and I didn’t say it publicly at the time but I was pretty low. Like, I mean, I’ve never experienced failure before like that and so I wasn’t really in the position … I had the finances if I wanted to, but mentally I wasn’t in the position to go take another risk and to spend another 12 months doing something that might not work. So I really wanted to shortcut that process, get a win under my sleeve and just take the easier route of working with an existing company where I could add value and get some runs on the board really quickly.

Andrew: You know what, that’s something I could relate to and I remember there was period in my life where I did that and it was so therapeutic. But also it reminded me of what drive I had inside me, of how good I could be when I have a clear path and I know I’m in a right place. I worked for a guy name Paul Sorbera, he just gave me, he gave me a lot of confidence, he gave me direction. I felt like I’m not the only one who’s really hungry to do stuff. He would walk into the office listening to motivational audio and just get fired up and say, “Andrew, I think you should listen to this. Wait until you see how fired up you’ll be” and it worked. I’m still charged up to this day. I still use what he taught me. I see. So you’re saying you were just feeling so low. Can you talk to me a little bit about that, and I’ll tell you why I want to hear a little bit about the low part. I feel we all experience that lowness. We all experience a sense of, “I thought I was invincible. I thought I was the best. I thought there was something special and now I just took a setback and maybe it means I’m nothing or maybe I’m not what I thought I was and what does the world need.” If we hear it through you, we’ll start to see ourselves in that story. So what was the low for you? What did it feel like? What were you thinking?

Robert: Look, to be honest I was more embarrassed then of what people would think because I was out there for 12 months plugging video, plugging Vippo, saying you need to be doing this. And then one day I just took the website off and stopped the business and stopped offering it and then people would ask for the few months after that, “How’s Vippo going?” And I had to kind of say, you know, “It’s not really working anymore and I’m not really running that business as a priority. But hey, I’m doing this new thing now and it’s really good.” So for me that was embarrassing and I suppose it was pride and if I had my time again I really should have partnered with a business like I did with E-Web Marketing once I started that internal role up. It’s pretty rough. There’s no real, there’s no other way to say it.

Andrew: Was there one person who was especially tough to tell? Or especially you were eager not to have that person hear it?

Robert: Do you know it was really my wife because we built this, not a very small company, but we built it together from scratch at the start. And so for us to have that conversation where we said we’re going to wind it down, that was tough. My parents were delighted. They were like, “This is a great decision. That business was hopeless. You were doing nothing, and you didn’t even know it.

Andrew: Sometimes that’s even worse. I want to go back in time and prove you wrong for saying it was hopeless. I was right even historically. Even though I know I was wrong, I want to show them that I was right. Did you feel that?

Robert: No, I didn’t really because I knew deep down they were right. It was hopeless, you know, and once I filed that tax return, I’m like, “This is ridiculous.” You know, I had a six-figure job in corporate and then I went to this and at corporate I was cruising. Even though I was overachieving, I didn’t find it that difficult. So, yeah, it was a tough time, it was brutal. I’m really happy though that Gary believed me in at E-Web marketing and gave me the opportunity because that got me back on my feet.

Andrew: Let me ask you about one more thing about your wife. Here’s the way that I felt, that I had a big setback, the early version of Mixergy was a huge failure with software, I spent a lot of money, it didn’t go right. And I remember I was dating my wife before I knew it was a failure and to have to have her see that this was a failure and to have to have her see that Mixergy and the early versions of the interview stuff where I wasn’t selling really and it wasn’t doing well, to have her see that that was a failure was so humiliating and partially because if she has a problem, I was the person and still am the person who goes, “Well, you can do this and you can do that, and here there’s other things you can do.” And if I’m a failure, then I’m a failure and why would you want to listen to a failure give you advice? Why would you want to come to a failure and tell him about your problems and hope that he could help him and so that was painful. Did you have any of that?

Robert: Definitely. I felt like, you know, is this going to impact my future reputation?

Andrew: Right.

Robert: Is no one going to care about me anymore? Yeah, so absolutely. All those things were playing in my mind. Thankfully, most successful people that I know have had some sort of failure at some stage, and I’ve realized that over time. But when you’re in the middle of it, it’s kind of like when you’re in MBA school they teach you how to deal with a crisis. And so theoretically you know what it’s all about and you know how to do it but until you’re in that crisis and it’s all hitting you like a ton of bricks, it’s very, very different and it’s, you know, nothing can prepare you for that until you’re in it.

Andrew: All right, and then you were starting to talk about Gary. Gary is Gary Ng, I think I’m pronouncing his name right, right?

Robert: Yes, that’s correct.

Andrew: He is the founder of ewebmarketing.com. They do SEO, pay-per-click, all kinds of online marketing. He founded the company in 1998. How did you meet Gary?

Robert: I met Gary through LinkedIn. When I was running Vippo, I messaged out to LinkedIn and said, “Look, I think a lot of your clients could use my video services. Can we get together and talk about synergies?” So, and I was really fortunate that Gary said, “Yes, I can see that you’ve got a really good energy about you.” He referred me some clients which was really nice and he introduced me to his whole team and he told his team, “If your clients need video, go give it, you know, go see Rob and his team over there.” And so I built that great relationship with him, and one thing that I really liked about Gary was the culture that he built at E-Web Marketing. So, you know, it’s won Best Place To Work In Australia a number of times now and it’s kind of like a Google office. There’s like a sleeping room in there. There’s ping-pong tables, pool, you know, there’s even an office dog. So it’s a lovely place to work. The people are fantastic. It’s a young, fresh, kind of hip, happening place, and I actually thought that that was a great place that I wanted to work once I finish up Vippo.

Andrew: And was it tough to approach him and say, was it tough to approach him?

Robert: Very tough because I had to admit to him that Vippo was a failure even though on the outside no one would have any idea that it was a failure. No one saw my financials and so I said, look, I took him out to lunch, wore a good suit and pants which I never used to do. I’m more of a jeans and shirt guy and yeah, I said, “Look, I’m going to wind down Vippo and I want to look for some opportunities to work with you at E-Web Marketing.” But I didn’t want to do it as an employee, I really wanted to do as setting up my own division and having that own business run itself with my own profit and loss.

Andrew: Interesting. So I wouldn’t have the guts to walk in to someone and say, “I want to work for you and I want to have my own profit and loss statement at your business, my own autonomy. Open it up and basically fund this thing for me.” What made you feel comfortable asking him for that? How did you know he would say yes?

Robert: Well, I thought that it wouldn’t require him to invest. It wasn’t a huge risk for him, and there was a huge upside. So because it was a new division, I could borrow some staff that were already in the business and get some more asset utilization, so to speak. And also on top of that, I thought that I could ramp up quite quickly because I did have good relationships from the people I worked with at Vippo, and I thought once I had a marketing agency behind me where I could offer marketing services, we could ramp this thing up quite fast.

Andrew: What’s an example of a service that you envisioned you could do right away for a client?

Robert: I felt that from the video business, after I realized that even though I wasn’t selling it very well, I still saw how powerful it was. And I still saw how doing a presentation too and people seeing your visuals through the internet was just phenomenally powerful and converting really high. And so one example of a service I really wanted to revive was webinars because I felt that if you can have your audience captive for an hour and you can really get your message across, even if you’re not selling or only just selling at the end for a few minutes, that was fantastic. And it doesn’t matter where they were around the world you could speak to them and I thought even though webinars are a bit saturated these days, a few years ago it wasn’t the case. And, you know, even though people were doing it back then, they weren’t anywhere near as prevalent as they are now. So, you know, for some of the first webinars that we did, we even called them online seminars just because my wife and parents even didn’t even know what … I think even today they would hardly know what a webinar is if I didn’t tell them what it was. So, yeah, webinars was the first thing that I really wanted to get into.

Andrew: I see. So you say, I’m going to bring a webinar here and through a webinar we’ll capture email addresses of people who are interested in watching. We’ll have the full attention of the audience because it’s not a recording, they’re there watching in real time and we’ll sell them, Okay. And who’s the customer? What kind of customer did you envision going after?

Robert: Well, when I first started with E-Web, there was two types of customers. Those were the startup businesses and the existing businesses and so we …

Andrew: You mean, E-Web had those customers.

Robert: E-Web had those customers. Absolutely. Yeah, and so there was two separate webinars that we ran to start with. The first one was how to get a new business started and off the ground, and the second one was how to grow an existing business a lot faster. And so there was two separate messages for those two separate audiences, and the funny thing was the existing businesses went a lot better that I think that looking back it was quite logical why because, you know, E-Web had the facilities in place and had a much higher price point so the startups just weren’t able to pay a monthly fee for having an agency do their work, but the existing businesses, of course, like they were much more likely to take it on.

Andrew: I’ve got a note here from your pre-interview with our producers where you said that you wanted to take equity in client’s businesses. That’s another gutsy step.

Robert: Yeah, definitely. So the division I started at E-Web Marketing was called E-Web Global Marketing. And so the whole premise behind that business was actually to go to a client’s business, take some equity in their business, and do things on a performance basis. And so the way that we structured it was different for each client. One client, we actually started up a brand new business with them and had a 50/50 stake. Another one we did a 60/40 stake and another one we didn’t have any stake in their business but we got paid per lead so we only got paid when we actually performed.

Andrew: It’s amazing that they would give you a stake in the business for doing their marketing and that’s ongoing. It means once you stop doing their marketing you still own a stake in their business?

Robert: Absolutely.

Andrew: Wow. One of the problems you had now that you had this vision, you had to get started, one of the problems you had was you were scrambling because you didn’t have processes in place. What processes got you all confused internally?

Robert: So when we did the first partnership with one of the businesses, the thing was even though I was good at doing the different parts of the marketing, I didn’t have a whole holistic process for, “Hey, here’s how you manage the online business properly like a business.” It was kind of all hobbled together, like, “Oh yeah, we’ll build a fresh website or we’ll do some copyrighting or run this webinar” but the thing was this business was actually selling day-to-day. They had an e-commerce store. They were making sales everyday. So we didn’t have any processes for, as an example, do we check the analytics every morning and make sure that the sales are kind of about right or check the stock levels of things that are going through it and things like that, just like real simple stuff to run an online business that any experienced e-commerce person would do. But, of course, E-Web Marketing was predominantly just a marketing agency where you’d get a small piece of a little project every once in a while. To actually take over a whole business and to run that, yeah, that was a big learning curve but gee, we learned quick.

Andrew: You mentioned first client and you didn’t have all the stuff in place. I’m curious about how you got your customers. In fact, one of the interesting things for me was when you and Gary sat down to talk, you said, “Here’s the number of clients that we need in order to make this successful” which is something that I almost feel like if you did it in Vippo it would have helped you, right?

Robert: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Definitely.

Andrew: How many customers did you need to make this business work?

Robert: I told Gary we need three big customers, three big whales, just three.

Andrew: And…

Robert: Just three. Three solid whales and rather than having like 100 small clients, if we just pick up three really good clients, do a really good deal with them so we get paid well once we perform, then that’d be more than enough to keep the business going.

Andrew: How big is a whale?

Robert: I would call a whale, at least, six figures of revenue for a business, so, at least, $100,000.

Andrew: So they need to do at least 100,000 in business themselves a year?

Robert: No, E-Web Global Marketing would need to get $100,000 of revenue from that client as a fee.

Andrew: Ah, Okay.

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: So how big would their revenue need to be before you got that started with them for them to be a whale for you?

Robert: Look, really they were only doing about 20,000 or 30,000 a month so about 250,000 to 350,000 at a minimum because otherwise …

Andrew: That’s not even that much.

Robert: That’s not much.

Andrew: So they’re doing about a quarter million in revenue and you’d need to do 100,000 of that revenue yourselves.

Robert: That’s right. So it means we’d need to ramp it up fast.

Andrew: Oh wow.

Robert: Yeah. Most of the people we worked with were infopreneurs so they’re people selling courses, training, seminars, books, things like that. So those things have, especially if they’re digital, the profit margins are very high. Once you’ve created it, there’s not a whole lot of extra cost if you put more people into a membership site, as an example.

Andrew: Okay. So just a handful of new customers gets you going. What do you do to get your first customer here?

Robert: This was the fun part. Gary had a really good relationship with a nutritionist who was very successful over a long period of time and she actually came in to do a talk to E-Web Marketing about health and looking after yourself and doing exercise, eating the right foods and things like that. After that talk, I said to Gary, “Look, this can be our first client. This person would be phenomenal using the strategies that we’ll do. Let’s talk to them and get it started up.” And so we, yeah, we had a few conversations and then I remember the very first conversation we had with the nutritionist’s husband who was running the business, the CEO, he said, “Look, so you’re asking me for half of the business just to some marketing for us. Is that what you’re saying?” “Yeah, pretty much. That’s what we’re saying” and, “So what are you going to do for that, for half of the business?” and so I put together an action plan. I said we’ll do this and this and this and this, we’ll do a product launch, a new website, copy, ongoing traffic, ongoing revenue, things like that. We’ll run it like a solid business, we’ll scale it up, and that’s what we’re going to do. It did take a while to come through because that’s a big decision. It’s definitely not an easy decision to give somebody else half your business, not at all.

Andrew: That’s shocking. What do you think it was that tipped her over because it’s …?

Robert: I think that we had common values and that we shared, yeah, I think they could trust that, yeah, they could see that I was a good person and they would trust that no matter what it would take I’d work really hard to make them successful, which I did. You know, I worked.

Andrew: Do you feel like she was a little desperate at the time, that she was a hungry customer because otherwise she wouldn’t be willing to give up so much?

Robert: No, I don’t think they were desperate. I think they had a really good solid local business. They were doing well over six figures. They had an already existing staff. I think what they wanted to do was to ramp out fast. And so the advantage for them was that we were going to fund that ramping up part because we were equity partners in the business, any of the marketing activities would be funded by us. So it was less …

Andrew: I see.

Robert: Yeah, so it was less [inaudible 00:30:14] otherwise they might have had to invest $50, 100, 200,000 in marketing with no real guaranteed returns. So with this new methodology, we would fund that extra growth but we’d take, you know, a good cut on it as we went through.

Andrew: Wow, that’s pretty impressive. So you did that. What did you do for her to get her new customers?

Robert: The biggest thing was we did four big product launches in that year, and we did a lot of other things as well. We revamped the website, we did the copy, we did the shopping cart, all that kind of stuff, but the biggest thing was the four massive product launches. So every three months we did a product launch. The very first one was the most successful which we’re going to do an interview about next week, the training course.

Andrew: Yeah.

Robert: We almost broke the world record for the most number of people in a webinar so that was …

Andrew: I want to stop and just tell people, we are going to teach your methods, what you did for her and others that allowed you to get half of their businesses and then grow their businesses so that they were bigger, you are going to teach on Mixergy. We’re going to have you come back to teach that, and I want to be absolutely clear because I want people to come and watch and be a part of it. I’m sorry, so go ahead and we’ll link to it once it’s up.

Robert: Thank you. So yeah, that was huge and the way that we did that, and we’ll go into a lot more detail the next time, but essentially it was really, really intelligent copyrighting. Because my client had spent so much time seeing women one-on-one, she absolutely knew what their pain points were. She knew this market cold and so we knew exactly the biggest ten pain points that women were having with their health that my client could fix up. By promising the answers to that in this webinar, that’s how we got those. You know, I can show the specific tactics later, exactly how we did it in terms of the traffic and the conversion and things like that. But essentially at a high level, we found the starving crowd, we fed the crowd what they needed to be fed and that’s the main reason why so many people came.

Andrew: What’s the big challenge then in the business? It sounds like once you had this partnership with Gary and you launched your own division that he helped feed you customers, you knew what to do. Actually, how did you even know what to do for those customers? How did you know about the product launches, etc?

Robert: Look, I’ve been a student of all the online markets for a long time so I knew conceptually exactly what needed to be done. I didn’t have a whole lot of experience in actually executing it. I’m being really honest. The first time I did that product, I’ve never ever done a webinar product launch before. That first one we did almost broke the world record.

Andrew: Yeah, you’re such a gutsy person who, I was actually quickly, if people saw my eye move it’s because I went right back to your LinkedIn profile to see. I don’t see anything that he did before that did that, because I see Intercol which is a government, you worked for the government. You don’t have this. You worked for National Australia Bank. So you’re saying you just were a student of info marketers online. You said, “Ah, this is what they do. They do product launches. I see all this other stuff, I’m going to do it too.”

Robert: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Andrew: And I’m going to take a piece of the business that I do it for. All right. So product launches to her own customers? Did you also start buying some ads to help grow the audience?

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: You did. Okay.

Robert: Both. Half of it came from the existing list and half of the people came from paid traffic.

Andrew: All right. So then going back to the question that I interrupted when I asked, I interrupt myself, not just my guests but were there any challenges here or once you figured out this model and you partnered up with Gary, it just took off?

Robert: Oh, there’s always challenges.

Andrew: What’s the biggest one?

Robert: No business is ever rosy, you know that. There’s always challenges. I think that there were a number of challenges. One of them was with some of the businesses that we were working with, even though the revenue was coming in, the setup costs still took a long time to come back. So, for example, with one of my clients we spent over six figures initially, doing the website, getting the copy done, running traffic, video production, all that kind of stuff. And so that did take a number of months to pay back. So that’s, yeah, even though we did these big product launches, for the first two or three of them they were just paying back the setup costs. So these things weren’t overnight successes, by no stretch of the imagination. So yeah, cash flow was a challenge. Of course, it was a new division and it had to self-fund itself. Yeah, it wasn’t easy. We really had to hustle in those first six months to make it work.

Andrew: Cash flow. How far down had you gotten with cash flow?

Robert: It was over six figures. Yeah, so it was over six figures investment for that first one for sure.

Andrew: What about when you’re partnering up with someone else and they care about their audience a lot and they want you to care about their marketing? And you want that, you want that friction but it’s a challenge. They care a lot about their audience. You care a lot about marketing, that means you want to email their audience more. They want to protect their audience from getting emailed too much. Did you have that?

Robert: Absolutely. Yeah, definitely. With all our clients there’s always that level of, look it’s our job as the marketer to try and move that line as much as we can to be able to be a bit more professional. And actually as the expert when you care about your audience, you want to be a bit careful about how you protect your lists. And so there was a lot of times where we had to come to a negotiation at a middle ground where obviously we couldn’t email them maybe as aggressively or as often as we wanted to. But then they’re probably moving their comfort level a bit, you know, they’re all stretching a bit as well, they had to meet in the middle. I think any kind of publishing company or marketing company would have that same challenge and that’s very normal, but it’s still doesn’t make it easier at the time when you’ve got this grand vision for how you want the whole launch to go. And you have to cut out half of the emails, for example, or tons of messaging so it’s not as strong.

Andrew: You know, I was just thinking and then thinking do I say or not and then I said, “You know what, I say everything that comes to my mind and Robert’s cool with it.” Part of the thing that I think you have that other guys who market your way don’t have is you have class. You have this element of elegance to you. I’m listening to you and it comes from your accent and comes from the fact that you have a sport jacket that doesn’t look … Mine is a very typical sport jacket, yours has some style to it. Is that worked on or is that something that comes naturally or is that something that you practiced?

Robert: I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my wife, you know. I think part of her …

Andrew: She dressed you up. What did you look like before her then?

Robert: Oh, you don’t want to see the photos. It’s embarrassing.

Andrew: Really? Were you wearing cargo pants?

Robert: I had the worst clothes and I thought I was well dressed as well, that’s the funny thing. And then she came along, was like, “Rob, we got to fix this all up” and then she …

Andrew: And she took you out. Do you remember a time when she took you out and said, “We’re getting a new wardrobe for you” and you resisted it the way that your marketing clients resisted?

Robert: She was more subtle than that. She was kind of like spoon-feeding me. So like, “Oh Rob, I got you this shirt today” or “Rob, I got you these new pants today” and so she didn’t do the whole thing in one big hit because that would have freaked me out. And so she was very smart with the way that she approached it. It was like baby steps, eating an elephant one bite at a time. I do have her to thank.

Andrew: Yeah. A lot of times I’ve worked with stylists who will take me out shopping. The best one that I ever found was a woman in L.A. I hired her before I ever even got to L.A. I said this is a part of my life where I’m just going to get to enjoy and work on myself, and I get there and she pushes me to try things and I don’t do it. And I say, “It’s not you, it just doesn’t feel comfortable.” The next time, after she got to know me she says, “All right, let’s not meet at the store. Meet me at the restaurant.” We met at the restaurant and she said, “All right, I ordered you two shots. I want you to have these two shots while we talk about what we do.” I had the shots, I loosened up, she took me out and I was like throwing money here, throwing money there. I remember she got me this one jacket that had all kinds of extra sewing on it. It was a really funky jacket. I really resisted it and it became the best jacket I had. I wore it for years because it just felt right to see it and to wear it but not at first. At first it was too shocking because it wasn’t traditional.

Robert: Well, you and me have similar builds. We’re not huge guys, we’re quite thin. And when you’re a thin person, if you wear looser clothing it kind of looks like a bed sheet and just doesn’t really fit you that well. And a lot of the clothes I was wearing before were too loose for me and so it just didn’t look good. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m not a stylist so I don’t know how to describe it any better than that, but I know looking back it’s like, I can’t believe I was wearing that kind of stuff. But, you know, maybe in a few years time I might look back at what I’m wearing now and be like, “Why was I wearing that?” But I think she’s done a good job.

Andrew: But now you’re fine. I’m taking a look at you, you’re looking good. I think for me the problem is different from that. My problem is that I am very much of an analytical person. I don’t have space in my head for a lot of nuance and so t-shirt traditionally works. All right, great, I’ll wear that. There’s like some list of things that are acceptable in my head, and I don’t know to just loosen up and blur my vision a little bit and be open to new clothes. Very tough. Fortunately, I should say in conversations, I can work outside the lines. I can just be myself. I can do that in person and I can do it here in the interview though you can decide for yourself after it’s over. That’s changed. That’s something that I need to work on, or I should bring Elise to … I actually have thought about flying Elise to San Francisco or me flying to L.A. just to do this stylist work, and then I thought one session’s not going to do it and that’s going to get out of control. Is this the best interview you’ve had so far? I know you’ve done a lot of interviews around your book, “Feed A Starving Crowd,” but is this the best interview?

Robert: Oh, the best by far.

Andrew: By far.

Robert: By miles. You know, if this how all the interviews are, yours is there. It’s off the screen.

Andrew: You know, the cool thing is you and I met through Robert Toff and the reason I met him is he went on Facebook and he just ripped into all the things that were wrong with Mixergy. I said, I like this guy because the way he was thinking about what was wrong is not just trolly, he had logic to it. So I got on a call with him, he gave me a bunch of suggestions for what to do and he said, “I probably shouldn’t have written publicly the way it did.” I said, “No, I love it. That’s the world I want to live in. Be that open with me” and we’ve had a good conversation, good friendship since then.

Robert: I like Rob, he’s a straight shooter and he’s very good at what he does as well.

Andrew: Yeah, I like him too for that same reason. All right. So you’re building this whole thing up. Before we started you said, “Andrew, you should know I’m not with the business anymore.” Why leave the business if it’s going so well?

Robert: Great point. What happened was I got the business to a stage where we put, like at the start it was a circus, we didn’t have any processes or systems. I put all those processes and systems in place. So I managed all the subcontractors, any time we brought on a new client we did X, Y and Z in order and it got to a stage where my team could actually run the campaigns without needing me. And we’ve ran a half million dollar advertising campaign where I was in Hollywood and the team just ran it. That’s how good and well-oiled the machine was. So because the campaigns were so successful, in 2013 I started writing a book, “Feed A Starving Crowd,” and I published it in the start of, when was it, it was February 2014, so almost over a year ago now and that book’s just been a real success. I’ve got a Facebook group around it. We’ve got the TV show happening around the book and things like that. That book needs a lot more of my time and attention, and it’s its own little business. And so what we decided to do was to spin that off into a new business. I purchased the IP from Gary. Gary’s still a minority shareholder in that business as well and that’s where my focus is because I really want to …

Andrew: What do you mean you purchased the IP from Gary? What IP did you need to purchase from Gary to do the book and to build a business around it?

Robert: I wrote the book while I was an employee at E-Web Marketing and so E=Web actually owned the IP for my book and my course and my Facebook group and all that kind of stuff. So I did what you said. I actually, you know, put my money where my mouth was, found the business, got a bigger stake in it and now I’m funding it all myself and it’s growing itself.

Andrew: Why did E-Web want to own a book? How did that fit in with their strategy?

Robert: Because it would help generate new clients for the business. So by having me as a thought leader and putting myself out there, it would absolutely lead to new inquiries and new clients.

Andrew: I see. And you were blogging on their site too as a way of getting new clients, and this book was a way of extending the writing that you were doing. Got it. And then you went back and you bought it from him. How much did you pay him to buy the book?

Robert: That’s confidential but it wasn’t cheap.

Andrew: I bet. Did you pay him up front or did you over time?

Robert: Over time.

Andrew: You know what’s interesting about Gary is he, on his LinkedIn page, first of all everywhere I see him he’s smiling, happy. His t-shirt says …

Robert: He’s very happy. Well, the whole business is about happiness, success and fun. That’s the tagline so he’s a very happy guy.

Andrew: That’s what the t-shirt says, happiness, success and fun, which ordinarily you’d think this is just a happy-go-lucky guy, probably doesn’t really get business. Meanwhile, he gets business, he gets everyone else’s business he gets it so much.

Robert: It’s a weight class 50, the weight class, it’s a huge business, He’s done really well.

Andrew: What kind of revenues are they doing?

Robert: That’s confidential as well. It’s a private company so I don’t think it’s fair for me to, you know …

Andrew: Is it public knowledge whether he’s doing more than 10 million with the business or not?

Robert: Look, if whatever’s published in the papers is published but, yeah, it’s really not my place to say, Andrew.

Andrew: All right. Fair enough. I can see that’s where I was actually getting you a little uncomfortable. What about what’s his name? Brian Tracy. How did you get Brian Tracy to give you a quote? I know that that carries a lot of weight in the self-help community.

Robert: A lot of people have told me they’ve picked up my book because of Brian Tracy’s testimonial. So I’m really grateful that I was able to get that. To be honest, it was really, Okay, it was strategic. What I did was I looked at a lot of the other marketing books and business books out there. I looked at who was writing the forewords and who was also writing the testimonials for them, and I did notice that Brian is quite amenable to writing testimonials for books. I knew that he did it, and I actually knew two of the authors who he’s written a testimonial for.

So I approached them and I said, “How did you get Brian to give the testimonial for you?” and they said, “Look, we just wrote to him” and so I thought, okay, I’m just going to write in to him. So I wrote in to him, didn’t get anything back. And then I wrote in, again. I name-dropped the two people that had wrote and they said to contact you and didn’t get to hear back. And then I actually had an assistant and I said, “Listen, this is what I need you to do. These are the 20 people I want to get a testimonial from, go out there and go get me these testimonials” and Brian was one of them. She was very persistent and she actually got the testimonial for me by doing the same thing I did, just inquiring through the website that, maybe because she was, I don’t know, more persistent or a different person or maybe the first ones got spammed out because of email. I have no idea what happened but actually …

Andrew: She just kept following up until she got that…

Robert: Following up. And so the assistant said, “You know what, Brian would be delighted to write a testimonial for this book.” Well, “please send it through.” So I was just like, “What about the three emails that I sent before? How come, you know, the first time that she approaches that it works?” So I really, and they didn’t make any mention that they’d seen three approaches from me before either. So I’ve got a feeling maybe they got lost, you know, in this internet space.

Andrew: Maybe. He probably gets a ton of requests from a ton of people. He probably didn’t notice or maybe it just got, like you said, it went into spam because of all the emails he gets and boom, one gets through and you’re in.

Robert: So it is persistence and it’s definitely worth persisting for because it just adds so much weight to the book to have a big name testimonial.

Andrew: You know, I just like the way you work. I like your openness about it too and one of the things that I’m noticing is that you are an entrepreneur at heart. In fact, I’m looking here at my notes and I see that when you were 16 you had a DJ business. What was the DJ business at 16?

Robert: Well, I was one of the first people to get a CD burner. When I was 16 they weren’t that common. And so when I got that I was starting to acquire a good music collection when most of my friends just couldn’t because you had to go pay $30 for the CD at the store and most people just weren’t doing that. And so because of that people were starting to ask me to play music at parties or bring my music collection to all the parties. So I did that for a while. I thought, okay, I could actually get paid to do this. And so one day I actually hired some equipment and I did a job for free, but it cost $100 to hire the equipment. And everybody loved all the music that I played and my dad actually paid for the $100. So he said, “Look, I’m going to invest in your DJ business, Rob” and so he paid for it and I said, “Don’t, let’s not do the $100. That’s too much money. Let’s just do it for $50. Let’s get the small speakers.” He said, “Nah, get the good ones, this is an investment in your business.”

Andrew: Wow.

Robert: And after that people started to hire me more and more and it got to the stage where I had a few gigs, but it wasn’t very solid and I thought, “Let’s try an ad in the Yellow Pages. Let’s really hit this out of the park.” So the Yellow Pages rep came, it was $1000 to put an ad in the Yellow Pages.

Andrew: Okay.

Robert: And my other job at the time was stacking shelves for $8 an hour at the local supermarket. So, you know, I don’t know how many hours that is, maybe 120 hours or something like that, so it’s a lot of hours of work to pay back this ad if I didn’t get any jobs from it. But I was charging $250 for a gig at the time, so I thought if I get four gigs then this ad pays for itself. Anyway, I put the ad out, the Yellow Pages comes out and I get my first phone call. And so someone’s like, “Is this DJ Rob? Yep, this is DJ Rob. Are you available on October the whatever the day is? And I’m like, “Oh, I just need to check. I’m pretty busy.” So I just put them on mute and obviously I had a lot of white space on the calendar, but I didn’t want them to know that. I’d come back and say, “Look, you know, I do have some availability. What date were you looking at?” and so we worked out the date.

Long story short, they paid a deposit on the phone with their credit card. I was 16 and when they paid the deposit it kind of dawned on me that, you know, I just wrote something on a piece of paper. It got printed in a big book. This person doesn’t know me from a bar of soap, and they’ve called me up and paid me money on the phone. And it was kind of surreal and it still is a bit surreal today. Like when people order my stuff on the internet, it’s like, they’ve never met me before and they don’t know me from a bar of soap and they still order. And it just blew me away at the time, and it still does blows me away to a smaller extent today because I’ve seen it a lot more, but it still does blow me away that people trust you that much.

Andrew: I know. It still does for me too and it’s so exciting, and it just feels like there’s a world of possibility then. If they’re already doing it like this and I’m just getting started, imagine how much better it could be and how many more people will buy as I improve. All right, one way of improving is to get the book, “Feed A Starving Crowd.” You know what I like about your book, there’s a lot. One of them is that somewhere in the beginning of the book you have a list of reasons to read this book. The marketing that you employ within the book is smart too. I guess you’re thinking some people are going to sample it, and I need to win them over because they’re already invested a little bit. I just need to get them to want to read the whole book and buy it if they haven’t, right? Is that actually in the book or is that in the sample that I read?

Robert: Look, I put a lot of thought into that book landing page. All the marketing around the book. Do you know Ryan LeVeck?

Andrew: Yeah.

Robert: Yeah, he’s a friend of mine. He says, “Look, I’m playing chess, not checkers” and that phrase really resonates with me. It’s kind of like checkers is kind of trying to do what everyone else is doing and trying it a little bit better. But chess is like, “Look, this is what the overall map looks like and I’m going to be quite strategic about this, and I’m going to put my pieces in this position” and things like that and look what other moves the guys are making and be different. And so I really want to make sure that I use a lot of marketing to sell my book. If you look at all the other books out there that people are doing, I would say a very, very high percentage of them have this little crappy landing page with a photo of the book and your name and email and there’s no information about the book. And they’ll say, “You know what, this book landing page converts at 60%.”But you know what, people don’t know what they’re even getting. It’s just a photo of a book and a name and email, and I would question how good are those email addresses anyway even though you’ve got them in your database. And so before anybody gets my book, they’d better read all the copy and then know what it’s all about by the time they get it and they’re more likely to consume it, be a fan, etc, etc. So that’s the reason why I put so much effort into that book landing page.

Andrew: I think there was marketing actually in the book itself, that if I passed the book that I got to a friend, there is a link to a page with resources where they can go and then you have another opportunity to connect with them, not just through me. But you’re right, the landing page itself, not only is it beautifully designed and there are lots of marketing elements to this and anyone who wants to check it out can go to feedastarvingcrowd.com. But not only that, you offer it for free too, the book. All people have to do is give you their name and email addresses if they want the digital version of the book.

Robert: Yeah, that was strategic as well. So what I found was at the start I was charging for it and it converted at 2%. Every 100 people that come to my website, 2% would buy the book, 98% would bounce off and that drove me crazy because I knew that once the book was in the hands of the people, they would love it. And I thought, well why don’t I give away the eBook for free just to see what happens, and with no optimization at all it was converting at 40%. So four out of every 10 people went and took the book. That made me a lot happier because the whole aim for the book is really to cross over all our services and causes and things like that. Now it can even convert up to 60% from Facebook ads which is cold traffic if the ad’s targeted correctly.

Andrew: Sixty percent. They give you their email address and my guess is, yes, some of them end up buying the paper book which costs $9 for shipping worldwide but that’s not the moneymaker. The online training that goes along with it, that if someone reads the book and says, “Hey, this is so good and this guy Coorey is a pisser. He’s interesting. I like the way he thinks about marketing. I don’t want to give him half my business. but I do want him to teach me.” They could pay a few dollars, and they could learn from you.

Robert: That’s the idea and then I’ve got private consulting for clients on top of that which is where most of my revenue comes from. And so that’s kind of my business model. I’ve got the book, I’ve got the course and I’ve got private clients. It’s very, very simple.

Andrew: All right. I asked you about Gary’s money and you said, “I can’t tell you about Gary’s money. Ask Gary.” I’m going to ask you about you. What kind of revenue are you pulling in with this new business, “Feed A Starving Crowd?”

Robert: We’ve cracked six figures which is good. We only started in November officially. So we’ve already hit our first six figures of revenue which is really good and, you know, all new businesses take time to grow. This is not going to be a million dollar business in five minutes. I’m building for the long-term and …

Andrew: So we’re talking about roughly four months, you’re doing $100,000 already?

Robert: Yeah, which is great. I think that’s a great result.

Andrew: Yeah.

Robert: We’re going to continue. We’ve a got a lot of momentum, a really strong database, a great community. I’ve got 3000 people in our Facebook group. I’ve got fantastic relationships with a lot of people in the community, and a lot of people are really happy to help me promote my work as well. So the future’s very promising.

Andrew: Rob Toff, you paying him anything?

Robert: Yeah, I do. I pay him to do my content marketing.

Andrew: I keep calling him Toof, Toff. What do you pay Rob for?

Robert: Am I allowed to say what I pay my contractors on national, you know, international media?

Andrew: People do it all the time.

Robert: [Laughter]

Andrew: I don’t edit anything out so it creates a sense of danger. Live dangerously, my friend. You already got the jacket. It seems to go along with like a martini glass. You look like you’re living dangerously, live dangerously. Rob will be okay. He’s the one who on Facebook ripped into me, and I love him for it and we started a relationship. What do you pay Rob and what does he do for you?

Robert: Look, I pay Rob to do my content marketing so what he did for me was he took my book, he turned it into a series of really good blog articles and then he helped me with distribution of them across the internet. So that was great. I recorded 20 videos and he helped me with distribution of them as well. So Rob’s really good at taking content that you already have and kind of reworking it into a lot of different formats so that it appears that you’re kind of everywhere on the internet.

Andrew: Okay.

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: I think you can say that.

Robert: And it’s not cheap. It’s really cheap, it’s not cheap at all to hire him and so I think, you know, it might be unfair for me to say what his price is because if he wants to charge people a different price, either less or more, then he’s kind of stuck to the price that I say on this program.

Andrew: No, he’s not but I get it. But that’s the problems with working with real marketers, that they know how to market themselves, they charge top dollar but, at least, they deliver. Let me see actually. Looks like you’re getting traffic from podcasts.LeadPages.net. This is according to Similarweb. Those guys do …

Robert: Yeah, LeadPages have been great, yeah, send me a lot of good traffic. We did an interview with them about the landing page. Of course, they liked it so much and I ended up even making a format, like a template of my landing page for LeadPages so people can get all that extra hard work I put into making it fantastic, you can buy for, I think it’s 20 bucks on LeadPages now.

Andrew: Your [inaudible 00:54:58] I can buy on LeadPages?

Robert: Yeah.

Andrew: They took my best one too.

Robert: Yeah. I put it there. I’m happy that it’s getting out there because it means it forces me to raise the bar and then make even a brand new landing page on top of that that’s going to be even better again.

Andrew: But I see, Robert, what you’re saying is you were interviewed by LeadPages for their own internal podcasts because they have an audience of their users and their customers, many of them went to that site and found out about your podcast and then found out about your book and they ended up buying.

Robert: That’s correct.

Andrew: All right, and then archive.today is sending you traffic. What selfeducation.biz?

Robert: I don’t know. I’ve got no idea.

Andrew: Let’s see, it’s selfeducation.biz. Apparently you’re getting some traffic from there too. I don’t know them. It’s just a thought.

Robert: Those are good people if they’re sending me traffic.

Andrew: They must be fantastic people. All right, obviously I’ve asked you about everything. I’ve pushed you, I pushed your buttons before the interview started. I pushed you in the interview and I think we’ve got a good interview here. I think I’m proud of this interview.I’m proud that we didn’t do one of these fluffy things that I can’t stand when I’m listening. I want to ask you the tough questions and if you want to answer, great, if you don’t then fine.

Robert: Yeah, and look, I think that’s why you’ve got such a great audience because you ask the questions that nobody else is willing to ask.

Andrew: How about the most challenging and the best question I asked you before we started? Do you remember what that is?

Robert: You’ve asked me so many hard questions, Andrew, I can’t keep track of all of them.

Andrew: Here is the best one. I said, “After this interview is done, will you tell your audience via email that we did this interview so that they could come watch because I’m going to be promoting you and I could use the help to promote the interview? I want it to be one of the top interviews on the site” and you said, “Yes.”

Robert: I said, “Absolutely” and I think that the “Feed A Starving Crowd” audience would love to check this out because this is the deepest behind-the-scenes that they would have seen on how the business actually works and how I got to where I got to today. So I think it’s a great story to share.

Andrew: All right. I’m proud to have them listen to this. I’m proud to have you on here. It’s good to meet you. Congratulations. I hope you go Hollywood for one big, first of all because you’re a nice guy, but number two, if you go Hollywood all of your audience is going to come to Google you and then they’re going to end up on my interview site. And then they’re going to listen to the interview and go, “This guy is either a jerk” and then won’t listen to me anymore or some of them will go, “This is the guy that I’ve been waiting for. He asks aggressive questions, brings smart people on like Robert. I want to watch more of him.” So I really hope you do well. Help me out by letting me know when the show is on so that I can help promote it.

Robert: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: All right, for everyone else who’s out there, go to feedastarvingcrowd.com. Apparently a lot of other people are copying the layout of his site and I can understand why. Go check it out and be one of the first to learn from his design. Really honored to have you on here and I’m looking forward to having you back on.

Robert: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Cool. Thank you all for being a part of it. Bye everyone.


11 thoughts on “How an intrapreneur bounced back from failure – with Robert Coorey

  1. Srini Koganti says:

    IT is painful to watch the ad of Toptal at the beginning..

  2. Michael McEwen says:

    Put my details in to download his ebook and it took me to a vide page?

  3. Reza K says:

    I’m also getting the same thing, no digital download of the book, instead being sent to a video….

  4. stairclimber says:

    Yep, still no digital download in mid April after giving him my email address.

    Looks like another marketing ploy to get my email address.

    Perhaps he should talk less and get more done on delivering on his promise of giving us his free ebook.

  5. Michael McEwen says:

    I’m calling this guy out, I think he’s full of BS. He is not the founder of E-Web Digital Marketing, they are over 10 years old. I’m calling wantrepreneur on this one.

  6. Satya Avinash says:

    Andrew made it less painful, by actually talking about them rather than playing their commercial. We should atleast thank him for that

  7. Robert Coorey says:

    Hi Michael, thanks for your feedback. Gary Ng is the founder of E-Web Marketing and a few years ago he employed me to start up a new division called E-Web Global Marketing. That’s why the interview called me an “intrapreneur.” All the best.

  8. Robert Coorey says:

    Hi Stairclimber, thanks for your feedback. You should have got an immediate email autoresponder with the book download link. Here is a direct download link: https://feedastarvingcrowd.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/FASC-PDF.pdf

  9. Robert Coorey says:

    Hi Reza thanks for your feedback. You should have got an immediate email autoresponder with the book download link. Here is a direct download link: https://feedastarvingcrowd.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/FASC-PDF.pdf

  10. stairclimber says:

    Hello Robert,
    Since you are kind enough to offer your book, I will let you in on one aspect of your online business you need to be aware of.
    The problem with your email autoresponder is it does not reply fast enough, i.e. taking days, rather than seconds , or even minutes.
    Check it and see for yourself.

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