Andrew Warner: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. Today’s guest is a Mixergy listener who was inspired by interviews like the one you’re about to listen to, and then decided, you know what, I’m going to create my own software company before that he was blogging. He was doing online teaching, but once he decided to get into software, once he saw that opportunity and I feel like your life changed.
Am I right about that? I love the accent. One of my favorite places to go once I had kids, I couldn’t just get on a plane and go to Paris and sit in a coffee shop for like five hours. And I, so miss being able to do that, you still do that as a, as a French guy in Paris. Do you go to sit in a coffee shop for hours? Okay.
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah. And I saw that on Twitter and I sent you a message and I tried to give you some advice and stuff I would love to meet you. So, yeah, I’m from Paris. Uh, it’s a great city to visit, but, uh, it’s a pretty bad place to live, actually. So I’m very happy now because uh, people are rude. Uh, it’s very expensive, whether it’s bad.
Uh, it’s only opposite of policeman actually.
Andrew Warner: Yeah. I found people in Lisbon incredibly nice. It has a lot of the benefits of Paris. Like you could sit in a coffee shop for a long time, if you want. I look for places where I could sit and work and think, and then it’s incredibly inexpensive and weather’s nice. Right?
Aurelien Amacker: 200 meters from, uh, from us for like six months. But now it’s a great country, very happy to be here. Uh, very safe, great people. It’s really, really nice.
Andrew Warner: And when he does is this, he’s got this package, this all in one solution for everything you need to create a landing page, which collects email addresses to offer a first sale to offer an upsell, a down sell. If you’ve got people’s email addresses, you don’t need to pass their email addresses onto another email app.
He will let you send email out from his software. And am I right? You also do affiliate programs, right? All in one, he built this company, bootstrapped it, and we’re going to find out how well it did and why it did well. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first, if you need to hire developers, if you’re inspired by this and you say, I gotta grow, I gotta build something and you need a developer. I urge you to go to top talent.com/mixergy, where you can get the best developers.
And number two, there’s a podcast that I’m going to urge you to check out. After this interview is done, it’s called traffic secrets. Totally open.
Aurelien Amacker: , we’re going to do, , close to three millions in revenue, GCs of 3 million euros or so.
Andrew Warner: Give me monthly. And last month, June, June, 2020, roughly, what did you do?
Aurelien Amacker: I checked this morning. Uh, we did 260,000 euros in sales, so it’s like two 80 to $90,000.
Andrew Warner: But then you don’t get to keep all of that. Right. A big chunk of that goes to affiliates. Is that how it works?
Aurelien Amacker: But then you have the European, you know,
Andrew Warner: after paying consumer tax, , after paying your affiliates, how much is yours?
Aurelien Amacker: 50 to 60,000 euros in profits. So it’s great. my goal is to get to a hundred thousand euros in profits per month. I mean, I’m 40, you know, we can talk about it. I’ve made some investments in my life. I own some real estate and stuff, but today we would like to buy a big home here with my life and, uh, and they’re not cheap, you know?
So, uh, yeah. I have some personal goals.
Andrew Warner: What kind of real estate investments have you made so far?
Aurelien Amacker: So I started like, not so young, actually in 2014, I bought a apartment in young friends, you know, it’s the second biggest city in France. So it was really like an investment. So we renovated, rented out to students. So it’s an investment. Uh, the same year I bought a small apartment in Columbia because my, my wife is Colombian.
So, uh, and we were actually living in Columbia at that time. So I wanted to make an investment. And then we are, when we arrived, uh, in Leesburg. So that was the following year. So it was a lot of purchases, you know, I wasn’t that reached, but yeah, it was doing well. Um, my goal was to actually make an investment , within a year, following our arrival in Lisbon, because I love the city so much. I thought it was undervalued. There was. A huge potential. And, uh, not even 60 after arriving, we bought an apartment that costed us. We renovated 155,000 euros, and we were renting to students and on Airbnb and it was bringing in like almost 2000 euros per month in revenue.
So like a 14% percent yield, you know,
Andrew Warner: Look at this look at how far you’ve come. This is totally fine. You’ve got all these investments, your businesses growing tremendously. You know that it’s grown tremendously fast this year. Um, and we’ll talk a little bit about why COBIT helped you grow, but I keep thinking about where you are 10 years ago, 10 years ago, you just, you got a job offer.
What was the job offer?
Aurelien Amacker: , a job offer for like sales position for actually I think it was like a software company. Uh, and the idea was for me to go after a couple of years, go to work in Chicago, but, um, at that time, actually I had a blog about personal development that nobody was reading.
Like if I had 10 visitors in the day, I would pop a champagne, you know? Um, I was reading about personal development and step that nobody bothered about lack. At that time, I was even posting a thing, cake recipes. I’m going to be a hundred percent with you. and I was following these guys, his friends there’s bloggers who were making not much, but like 500 to a thousand euros per month from, uh, mostly ads, you know, like sponsored liens.
sponsor post, Google AdSense, stuff like that actually met these guys. And I made one of them. She’s named me sister. Yeah. Today’s a pretty big, he’s one of the biggest marketers in French market and we had lunch. And I was like, Oh, that’s what I want to do. And give me some advice, like some, you know, websites to register , to be able to publish ads and get paid.
And, um, yeah, well, I was re I was about to close with a job offer. Oh, I want 50,000 euros per year. And that the woman from HR young woman, she was great. She called me at night. She was like, yeah, I had the answer from the two founders.
Andrew Warner: So they gave you the number, the amount that you wanted and you rejected it because you met this blogger who was making more money than you, and you started to see the possibility of what you could grow into. Am I right? What do you mean?
Aurelien Amacker: , if I can make 1000 euros per month, 2000 euros per month, you know, then I’m free. No, I can go to Thailand and live on the beach. You know, that, that was my idea. I was 30. I was like, you know, I don’t want to go back to a corporate job. . The story is funny because I bought a secret handbook that I pay like one or two euros. And the title was like how to make more money. And in the book, there were two main advice. The first advice was learn English because any, any fool can do it. And at that time I couldn’t speak a word of English.
So I started learning English by myself. And the second advice was if you have a position like as a technical guy, as an engineer, move to assess position because you can make more money. So I quit my job and I got another job working as assessed person for a nightie services company. And I worked like crazy.
I bought a suit, you know, I had my scooter, I was going to the banks and, you know, doing the meetings, but Oh my God, it just didn’t work. I was working a lot making appointments. I made a few sales, but that just let me go. That was a relief. And then I went to, so when I, when I, when I did this job, we were like, actually like kind of fermenting engineers, you know, to big banks for, for like IOT projects.
But I was, uh, on the, on the director side and I saw how they were talking about the engineers. It was like, Oh, we have. It’s 45. So you have to absolutely find him a job. And I was like, what’s wrong with jump here? You know what I mean? Uh, Uh, he’s 45. So he’s got like 20 years to keep working, to get like a full pension.
And they were like, Oh, but you know, after 45, uh, uh, they can get a job anymore. I was like, Hey, I don’t want to be a shop here later.
Andrew Warner: Yeah, you don’t want somebody a few years later looking at you and saying he’s done at 45. Got it. And so you said, I see a possibility I could live in Thailand if I want to. I have the freedom to do whatever I want. And knowing you now a little bit. I get the sense that you also like the ability to just keep improving and growing based on your own personal appetites.
Anyone read a book that would tell them how to grow in business. And the book says, if you’re an engineer, move into sales and you move into sales, if you’re not speaking English, learn English. And he learns English, that type of person wants the freedom to level up whenever he wants to. All right. So you said I’m going back to my blog.
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Of course I made 82 euros and it’s funny, you know, because at that time I had a friend who was, I mean, he’s a very smart guy, like guy from Lebanon. Uh, engineering guy were speaks four languages, super smart guys. And when I told him I made 82 euros, he couldn’t have, but laughing. And I then, because, you know, Fran was like, Oh, you work for a month and you made 82 euros.
But I was like, yeah, but if I went from zero to 82 years, maybe next month, you know, I’ll make more and more and more.
And I don’t care. I’m
Andrew Warner: What did you do to get your first 82 euros?
Aurelien Amacker: so I was actually counting like the money I was getting from the websites I was working with to have like some sponsor posts and stuff, Indian. I don’t even know if I got this money, you know?
Andrew Warner: You just knew you earned it, but you don’t know if this, if the sites paid it out because they were, there were sites at the time that were doing sponsored posts. Is that what you did, where someone would pay you money and then you write a blog post. And now in retrospect, what they were doing was SEO scamming, right.
Or they were doing SEO, pumping. They wanted somebody to write an article so that they get the link and then Google sees them as a, as more authoritative. Yeah,
I didn’t understand that. That’s what that whole business was about until much later.
Well, actually let’s take it a little slower and then we’ll get into system.
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah. So actually, so I’ll study making more money from, uh, you know, as growing my traffic, I actually started building my email list. I was around, I think it was like may of 2010. So I went in with a Weber and it’s funny because in my mind, like start spending $19 per month. That was like a big move. Yeah. And, uh, I actually promoted a guys. Course that he was saying on a webinar and I made a sale. So I got a few hundred euros for the ads and the ads. So yeah, I made like a, a thousand euros in just a month. And then I was like, okay, what’s the next step? And I actually learned that there was a guy who, one of the bloggers I was following that’s had made the launch.
Uh, he launched like an online course about how to start your, how to become an entrepreneur. Yeah. And he had made, uh, a little bit over a hundred thousand euros in SAS. And to me, he was like, you know, like mind blowing money. Like I couldn’t believe it. And then I learned that he was actually another guy who had he’s launched and.
So it’s funny, but I had met these two guys because we were over part of, you know, the street teacup community in France. Uh, you know, the dating niche, like, uh, yeah, the idea that, I mean, uh, So I wasn’t a coach. I was a, you know, reading on the blogs in the forums telling, you know, it was like I was working as a, as an employee and, uh, as I was leaving work, you know, it was like, uh, Oh yeah. Yeah, I’d say, I mean, I wasn’t like a Virgin or something, but, uh, I always wanted more when it comes to, you know, relations and I found this website and it’s crazy. It’s like a kid in a candy store. I was like, Whoa, I can’t believe it’s true. And so I studied. I started going out, I consolidate, I would take my car, go to Paris and, uh, walk all day long, sometimes alone, sometimes with some friends and just,
uh, talk to women, get phone numbers and then a call back. And,
um, but then I was like meeting women, you know, online websites, uh, nightclubs, uh, coworkers. I mean, uh, it was a, yeah. Uh, sorry, what’s I know, actually, no, not the total actually. So I made the numbers, you know, maybe I’m an analytical guy. And I found out that I was, I had a, I had funny numbers, like out of, so I was talking, I think too. I don’t remember. I was talking about maybe to 20 or 30 women and I was getting like, 10 phone numbers and out of these 10 phone numbers, I would get like two days out of these two days I would get like, uh,
go out with a
Andrew Warner: You were basically turning it into a numbers game that I intentionally didn’t read the book, the game by Neil Strauss, who was a mixer
he had like a bag of magic tricks that he would keep with him some gut. Right. You’re laughing a notebook. So I didn’t do any of that either. And I intentionally didn’t read it until I met him.
I will say this though. What worked for me was just committing myself to going and talking to five groups of women at least every night and not going home, not ending the day until I did that. And if I was in LA. The possibilities were there and then it didn’t matter what I would do say something would come up and no pressure.
I’m not trying to get a date or anything. I’m just having a conversation. If it naturally leads to let’s continue this somewhere else. Great. And then what I would do is, um, sometimes just take them to a party and we’d become friends. Sometimes introduce them to a friend of mine. Sometimes nothing at all would happen.
Totally fine. No pressure. Just focus on pushing myself to talk to at least five different groups of women. That’s
what seems like it worked for you too. If you went to 10. I love the, I love the idea of self improvement that you could take a concept you could be stuck for so long, which is what I was, and then come up with a simple concept and put it out and see it work.
And then maybe another concept and another concept. And you feel a sense of power over the rest of your life too, instead of helplessness, right?
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah, exactly Andrew, but you know what, actually, what happened is that, because I discovered this like a, you know, dating niche and I started reading the books that were recommending. So I read how to, uh, make friends, you know, how to win friends. Yeah, great book. You know, I read it and I read also influenced by Shalini.
And you know, the funny thing is at that time, so I was still an employee and I had like an issue with a colleague that wouldn’t let me actually get access to the resources. I couldn’t do my job and the guy who used to be friend, but then he got like angry or stuff and I started using the technique. And Oh my God, it works so well.
. So some very simple things. I remember I was walking past his, um, his desk. I was like, Hey, what are you doing? And I sorta, he was surprised. It was like, Oh, I’m exactly the listening to him.
You know, like some very simple things, but Like not right away, but little by little, you know, we study because everybody loves to choose when someone listens to you, you know, and, uh, has some interest for you and stuff. But then, you know, I thought, look, if I got this result just by reading two books, Then, you know, I could get so much more. So I kept reading books about self-improvement, uh, business and
Andrew Warner: What’s a good one that we may not have heard of.
Aurelien Amacker: there are so many, so I know I read, uh, the one by Mark Manson, the subtle art of not giving a F like. Uh, um, like a four year, a few years ago when I was a bit down in my, in my, in my business. And, um, the big takeaway of the book is it’s okay. Not to feel. Okay.
Andrew Warner: I should just go back and get it again because I’ve, I see it on all the best, not just cellared lists, but didn’t audible or Amazon come out with a list of books that people actually read all the way through and how to win friends and influence people was on there. And so does, so is this book by the way, let me take a moment.
Talk about my first sponsor. I’ve been thinking about this first sponsor is traffic. I’ve been thinking, should I bring up the name of this guy or not? When I started Mixergy, there was another guy. I don’t know if he came after me or before me, I didn’t know about him, but, um, he was also doing interviews like me.
His site was as developed as I hoped my site would be after I started. I said, I know what I want now I saw site was, was there , um, And then he just stopped his sight. Never took off, never got the name recognition that I have, uh, personally, but also for Mixergy. And I can’t say that his work was bad. I listened to it.
Um, I think I do more research and more prep with the guests. He was too surprised by what the guests said, which told me that he didn’t even have the basics down, but the gas was so good that it didn’t matter . if you get the founder of LinkedIn on.
He’s he’s going to be good, no matter what, by the way, he turned me down. And even though I was introduced through a friend and I was told, contact him by LinkedIn, I contacted him via LinkedIn. We chatted a bit. He said, Andrew’s not a good fit. Anyway, this other, this other podcaster got them cut. A lot of guests on.
So then why did my site take off where his it’s not the research? I don’t think people fully appreciate the value of it. And I know that that’s not what brings people in it’s because I knew how to get traffic and I didn’t have all these different ways of getting traffic where I was buying Facebook ads, Twitter ads, doing SEO, doing all.
I didn’t. I just found one, one thing. For me, it was hacker news. Just go on. Hacker news is one community. Get free traffic from there by being actively participant participating in it. And because of that, I’m doing this 10 years later, he’s given up years ago. And I’m not going to say his name because I heard you several friends who was so angry at me.
I heard through several friends that he was. So he felt that I stole his idea and I didn’t even know that exists. I have no problem saying that Gregory Gallant was out there before me and I was definitely inspired by Gregory Downs. And I interviewed him on Mixergy because I told him I was inspired by him and I wanted to learn more.
So I have no problem saying that other people inspired me anyway. He’s so bent out of shape. I’m not going to bring it up, but I could see why it’s I didn’t take off minded and all, because largely because I found a way to get traffic, somebody to come and pay attention. And the more people I got to listen, the more people wanted to do interviews.
And the more lives I touched in, the more impact I had, which is my goal. So all that’s to say, bring it back to traffic. Secrets is a podcast. Is you. If you’re listening to me, you might have an idea. That’s great. Maybe just as good as somebody else’s. Don’t fall behind by not getting traffic by not getting people to come and watch it.
Not getting people to read it, not getting people to try your, it doesn’t have to be this big, expensive proposition. There are many free ways to do this, that people like me we’ve done. And if you want a podcast that we’ll just. Tell you how it’s done by others. Give you some suggestions with no forced assignments, no forced, um, uh, exhaustion, just listen and you’ll find one or two techniques that you’ll use and implement them and grow your business.
If you want that, it’s a totally free podcast. I’m not even being tracked. So they don’t even know how effective this ad is. Even though I’ve got a feeling it’s a killer, a good ad. Just go to whatever podcast app you’re listening to me on right now and listen to traffic secrets, just subscribe for free, listen to the ideas and see how much bigger your business could be.
Traffic secrets. . Let’s continue then with your story.
Aurelien Amacker: . So actually it’s funny because I got in touch with the blogger and,, I approached him by saying, Hey, could I interview, you know, Uh, so we did the interview and a third interview.
Uh, I was like, Oh, you know, I heard that, uh, uh, you manage all verse lounge, I’d be interested in doing the same. And he said, uh, sure. Like I could, uh, you know, give some advice, but you know, it’s a bit expensive. Um, and I was like, Oh, I have some savings. It was like, okay. So that’s, uh, 24,000 euros, including VAT.
. And at that time it was half of my money, half of my savings. And, uh, I thought about the, about it for like three days. I thought that this guy was very clever. He made a really good impression on me.
And then he launched Oliver’s course. And they have success. So what, what can I ask more to this guy? So I made a check sending my by mail. so he helped me run a survey on my least. I had about 1500 people on my email list.
And to find out what were their biggest pain points. So it’s um, is the classic way. When you want to launch an online course, you run a survey on your list as the gold question, which is. What’s your biggest frustration when it comes to your niche and people and people say, Oh, I would like to do it the same as you, you know, like have a blog and make money.
I was like, okay, let’s create a blogging course. So he helped me with the marketing. we kind of pre-sold the course. . we had the name, the, the content, the table of contents. Should I say? So we, we did a webinar. we sold a few copies of it. So it was a 500 euros at that time.
And, uh, it’s funny because we, we ran away, you know, like on Sunday at night. And I made like, I don’t know, my first four or 5 cents. And it was incredible, you know, this feeling of, wow. It works. Like I made a couple of thousand euros. It was unbelievable. And the next day. I took my camera and I went to the box to start shooting the videos for my course, because I told people the course is not ready yet you will get access like in three days.
So I had three days to shoot the first videos. So we did two webinars. I made 10,000 euros of sales.
You know, the first launch, the plan was to do a big launch. I don’t know you’ve heard of Jeff Walker. Yeah. So, uh, everyone was, uh, like these guys were fans of Jeff Walker and applying his techniques, you know, so he’s got this course that’s called a product launch formula. So the idea was to make a big launch and I kept working by kind of networking, meeting people and stuff.
So it’s funny because the next year, uh, we, we did a launch, so we had a ton of affiliates. We had 13,000 people, one, 3000 people subscribing on the launch list to watch the free videos. And we made 550 sales of my course. There was price at 1000 euros. But. Yeah, no, no, no. At that time it was the biggest launch in the French market. Uh, thanks to Sebastian. I should the naming. So it’s um, yeah, it goes to many events in the U S and stuff. So, uh, Sebastian, uh, the French marketer, I think that’s like his nickname. So he’s a very smart guy. And yeah, but it’s funny because, you know, so we actually closed the launch.
We were at the airport and with the plane to go to, um, to Scottsdale, to go to Jeff Walker’s event and I sign up to become a member of Jeff’s mastermind group. Um, But the thing is that I never embraced this product launch model. I never liked it because, so when you, when you first hear about it, like you’re going to make one year of revenue in two weeks.
We’re like, Whoa, that’s great. And it’s actually the opposite because it’s so much work, like so much work. You have no idea, so much work, so much stress. And it’s before, during, and after, because we had, we had so many customers, I was literally waking up at eight being at my desk all day long to answer customer’s questions and stuff and not going out and going to bed at 10 at night, but it was okay.
You know what I mean? You know, we had made a good one money, so actually, uh, I didn’t get to keep all that money. And then I was left with maybe like 120,000 euros. Which is great, but it’s not half a million, obviously, because you have like a churn refunds, you know, churn, VAT, affiliates, launch consultant, video guy, et cetera, et cetera.
So let’s see. I was very happy about it, but the thing is that, so I joined Jeff Jeff’s mastermind group and it was funny because I was feeling like the dude that didn’t end. The dude that it wasn’t interesting, you know, the dude that didn’t have like interesting things to tell. And actually, so the following year we did 450,000.
The next year we did 250,000 and the following year, 2014, we did just 150,000.
Because, so I was, I wasn’t really good at getting traffic. I was in housing the worst, but I wasn’t great at it. And I was relying on, uh, traffic from my JVs, uh, and. You know, relationships? No, no. Like I was getting less and less traffic.
The JVs were feeling that I wasn’t getting like a lot of traffic by myself. So I was relying on other JV traffic. So there was no need to repromote me because it was better to promote the guys that were able to get a lot of traffic Biden’s house. So, and I found that I was like really bringing, you know, a lot of, a lot of value.
Like there was Oliver, like he had a blogging course as well, and he was kind of like more successful, more interesting. He was getting a ton of traffic with his blog and in social network, I was like, Oh, you know, so I decided to quit Jeff’s mastermind group. In 2015, uh, I went by myself, so I just had like my YouTube channel, my blogs, my email list.
And I started trying to find my own thing. And, you know, uh, it was interesting because when I was in Jeff’s group, everyone was saying, you have to set expensive products, like 1000 euros, 2000 euros. And I was like, how’d, you know, you’ve never tried. So I’ve tried different things. I try to sell like smaller courses, Yeah. Okay. So, uh, because I think I read, uh, the lean startup, like in 2011 or 2012. And I started listening to your show around 2012. And I dunno, listening to your show, listening to the interviews. Uh, I used to say it’s crazy. Like every time I listen to one of these podcasts episodes, I find out about another guy that I didn’t know, that’s making, you know, uh, 50,000 per month in revenue at least was like, Oh, that’s a great business model, you know?
And they have more, more vibrations than, uh, you know, like the online courses, businesses.
Andrew Warner: No, it’s true. And it’s also surprising how, like you said, there’s so many people out there who are doing this, that we don’t even know that are sometimes focused on small niches. Sometimes they’re competing with 50 other people, but they’re still doing well. Right. Nathan Barry is a good example of that Nathan Barry guy, um, who was just.
Writing books, writing content, and suddenly decided that he wanted to create his own landing pages. And then it grew into something different. Um, but meanwhile, we grew into email marketing and there are tons of email marketing companies out there, MailChimp, Weber, and fusion, soft, whatever it is. And he’s still doing really well.
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah, because, you know, remember like 2015. So I bought this apartment and I was like, look, I want to keep investing. And once my, uh, added value, when I invest in real estate, you know, I mean, you have other, other people with money, you can invest in real estate in this bond, and it’s not that complicated.
Okay. You just have to be patient and look for the right opportunity and then, you know, directive and try to snatch it. I was like, look, if I invest in my own business, I should be able to get a much better return on investment because it’s, it’s a very, it’s a niche. Uh, I have a lot of experience, you know, in copywriting, like digital marketing.
So I should be able, and I spend most of my money most of my days on my own business. So I should be able to get a better return on investment. So it was really like a, an investment decision.
Andrew Warner: Okay. How did you come up with your idea? And then I’ll ask you about how you, how you had it developed. How’d you
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah. No, it’s a good idea. So actually I studied because I was very frustrated with the existing solutions. I remember I was, I think it was 2013 or 2014. I was living in Columbia with my wife, where we had just gotten married and I started using Ontraport and I was spending $300 per month and I just could not use the freaking thing because there was no Stripe at that time.
Uh, and like, I couldn’t get the PayPal works. I had to find like some Russian guy on Upwork and I paid him 1000 bucks to get like some gateway developed to use tape on the CA the guy couldn’t do it then. I mean, he got paid and I was like, you know, I was, Oh, totally. So that was exactly the premise of this app. Like you could like build pages and stuff, but the design was terrible. It was really painful to use and I just couldn’t really use it. So I started thinking, okay, maybe I should get some guy. And actually, uh, I hired a developer from Bangladesh. Uh, to help me like build the pages, but like custom design.
So I had to ask him whenever I wanted to, you know, to change some line and stuff.
Andrew Warner: This is when you were selling your own courses, you hired a guy from Bangladesh. He created landing pages to your specific needs, and every time you needed to make a change, he would change it for you.
Aurelien Amacker: yeah. That was early 2016. And actually right before I hire, like, so that was. A client of mine, a fringe guy living miracle. And I started saying on my email list and stuff, I want to build a software and say, Oh, I have a, a development, a web black software development company. I can do it for you for like, I don’t know, like 7,000 euros.
Cause I really, you know, okay. You know, it’s so little money. Oh, so that was the theory, but then came the, came the reality because, so we, Oh, we paid that and I admit that I was like, Oh, okay. We would need these features. And these features, uh, and after three months the guy was like, look, there was so much work to get done. And I have my, uh, deepened offers. So now I need to get paid on a monthly basis, which makes sense.
Okay. So I started paying. But, I mean, these guys, they didn’t have a clue. It was so bad with you flew with my wife to Morocco. That was like April of 2016. And we met them and these guys who was super good at telling me that everything was going to be all right. Uh, but actually so bad at delivering like this guy, wouldn’t answer my messages on Skype.
And then it was like, Oh yeah, don’t skate. I don’t take my Skype messages. I was like, okay, no worries. So then I started sending emails, but she wouldn’t answer. I mean, the incentives were so bad. And I remember we were in the meeting room in Morocco, so meeting together and I was like, Hey, you know. yeah, exactly.
My recall. Yeah, it was his wife, Myra Khan. And, uh, he was living there. And I remember we were in the meeting room with them and they developer and I was like, Hey, you know, guys, I’ve been doing some research and I found this thing. So it’s called scrum, like it’s development, uh, you know, like methodology, right.
And these guy to say, it’s grandma what’s that? And he asked his developer, could you make some research about it? And I was like, creme that’s the, you know, like the, the thing that all the startup using the word, like it’s the basis. Right? So we were struggling and I fired him. So that was early November.
So it took me a while realize. Oh, look, once I talked about it on YouTube. So I published a link on old people. So the URL and five minutes later, I had a guy actually taking the URL, injecting some code. So there was like a big pink unicorn in the middle of the page because it was developed so bad. Like I remember.
Yeah. So. So I had some beta users and we found out they were like, Oh, it looks like I can actually access data from other accounts. Yeah. And I was like, guys, you know, I understand bugs happen, you know, but like, Yeah, I mean of our users, you know, there is no way we can do everything we can to make it secure, you know, no way.
Andrew Warner: All right. Let me take a moment. I’m going to talk about my first sponsor. I want to know how you fixed it, but I also want to know why you didn’t give up. At this point, you could have just gone back and said, I’ve got these courses, things working, but first, let me tell you about another live Mixergy listener.
His name is Eric Berger. He’s a lobbyist. Think about how you’re so far from software, that you are a course creator. He’s a lobbyist. And he looked around and said, you know what? I understand why people are fed up in America because they feel like they don’t have a voice. Now, somebody who is a client of Eric’s or any lobbyists has a voice, they have somebody who’s going to get them access to the government.
He said, you know, how do I give the regular people a voice? It tends to be people who have the money and the access to lobbyists. So you had this idea. He said, what if people knew who their representatives were? What if they had an easy way of sending say. A voicemail to their representatives or a text message or making a call to them or reading at them or doing whatever they’re comfortable with.
What if they had an easy way of sharing their message with their friends who could then go and contact their representatives without any issues? We had this idea, but he’s a guy who has a full time job. He’s a lobbyist. As I said, well, Eric’s a Mixergy listener. And he said, you know, Andrew keeps talking about these guys at top towel.
Let me just give him a shot. So he calls up top towel by going to top tab.com/mixergy. Anyone who is listening to me can set up a call with top talent, get some feedback on top of that said, you know, we could build this for you and sure enough, they went, they built it for him. I got on a call with him. I said, tell me about the problems.
Cause I’m kind of a nerd, Nick, when it comes to this stuff, I want to know about pain. I want to know about frustration. I want to know where he found recommending someone, if there’s a problem with them. Cause you do, there’s no problem at all of these kinds of so good. I said, let me see what you’ve done.
He said, I’m gonna share my screen and show you, but I want you to understand what you’re seeing here, how it impacts people. And he told me about this organization called what is it? Vaccination Alliance of Connecticut. They wanted to get more people to vaccine their kids in Connecticut. So it shows me the landing page that he created for them.
He shows me how, if. I don’t do anything. It knows what my area code is and allows me to figure out who my representatives are. And then quickly I can send an email, a tweet. I could sign a petition and anything that I want to do automatically gets super easy to do. I said, all right, great. I like that. You have a good site design.
Did it work? He said, yeah, they were able to pass their law. They embedded it. They embedded our software on their site. They were able to get people to take action and the legislation passed anyway. That’s what Eric did. If you’re out there listening to me and you need to hire developers, the best of the best developers I’ve said this forever, no Mixergy listener has ever disagreed with me on that.
No Mixergy guest is what I meant to say, but I’m sure the same is true for listeners. Here’s where the guests have given me problems in the past. They say, yeah, I like it, but I don’t want to hire outsource developers or I don’t want to hire developers who are not in my office. I want them to sit next to me.
Well now because of Kobe people are. Are more aware of how remote working works and they’re much more open to it. So if you’re somebody who’s wanting to try this, who wants to hire developers, I urge you to go to dot com slash Mixergy. When you do, you will get the best of the best developers available to you right now.
And if use that URL, you get 80 hours of developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours, in addition to a no risk trial period, top isn’t top of your head tells and talent. Dot com slash mixer GTO, P T a l.com/m I X E R G Y. Is it awkward? The two of us are sitting here and I’m doing this and I’m looking at your face and trying to read it.
You know what? Sometimes I engage my guests with it because I know my, my sponsors love when I engage my guests and it feels a little less awkward. I just couldn’t. I was on a fricking roll. I had to tell Eric story.
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah, it’s, it’s a great question, you know, and, uh, so I was doing about, uh, so I would say about, so we didn’t say I was about to do about 20 to 30,000 euros per month in revenue, which is. Which is, uh, yeah, which is, uh, which is really good, but you know, it’s funny. Uh, I was really feeling as a failure, big time.
It’s terrible. Like I was feeling so bad. I mean, my life was great, you know, with my wife, anything, this is great. But business wise, I was feeling like a fader because these guys were making launches and I was hearing stories. They made 1 million, 1.5 to millions. I was like, dude, you I just kept trying with the, with what I had in mind, because, so what happened is that, you know, also I fired these guys from Morocco and it’s crazy. And right after I had the guys, uh, from Bangladesh who was still working with me because he was doing the Stripe integration so I could send my son stuff.
Andrew Warner: office autopilot or what do they call it? They changed their name to, um, what’s the name of the software that you were using?
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah. Yeah. I never get to use I’m troubled. Right? I paid maybe, I don’t know. Over a thousand bucks. No, the guy from Bangladesh didn’t integration from tribes. So I could actually sell, I was, uh, I was sending like a subscription offer for my courses. So it was under 20 euros per month. So we get access to all my courses.
I see. So it was great value because I had read customer by January. Why reload, you know, great book. And so I was working with the guys from my recall, I fired them and the guy was from mango there. She was like, Oh, you know what, I’m going to take care of it. I’m going to get like cheap freelancers on Upwork.
And I’m going to take the project and take others, the guy to two months. And then we, we, we plugged the button on what he needed and it just stopped working. And I was like, Oh, don’t worry. I’m gonna, I’m gonna, we had a few, a few bits, our users, if you want. Okay. And I was like, okay, the next day it still wasn’t working.
The guy was like, Oh, don’t worry. I’m going to take care of you. I was like, yeah, I’m sure you’re going to take care of it. But it’s not working, so we need to find a solution. So I started looking for people on upward by myself and it was it’s crazy when I think about it, like I would literally get in touch with a guy in Vietnam or Portugal or whatever.
I was like, here are the passwords Yeah, pretty much. But at that time we didn’t have any real users. It was just a few customers like beta testing and stuff. And it’s crazy because I still remember the time I saw this guy, he was from Russia and I saw his face and I was about to San, you know? So on Upwork you have like a default message, like, Hey, I saw your profile up where blah, blah, blah.
That was about to hit Sam. I was like, wait, This guy looks like, you know, like a good guy, let’s say the message a little bit, you know, make it more personal. And the guy replied to me and we started working together. And it’s crazy because right from the beginning, I, so, uh, from the reaction of the other guys that he was so much better because the other guys were like other Chino, there is this problem with blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And this guy, he was like this two hours. hours later it was done. So, you know, I was telling the guys, look, I understand, you know, it’s not easy and stuff, but I need, I need people to find, uh, solutions, not problems. And there is this, this other guy, you know, he’s about to work and do the job. So, yeah, I mean, uh, I talked to him and, um, No, no, no, no, no. So guy was, so he was working for Howard as a presenter and, uh, and, uh, right from the beginning, because the project was quite big because we knew we would have to do landing pages, uh, auto responder and stuff. Uh, I was like, Hey, do you know someone that’s like, like you, and he’s like, yeah.
Before I was working with another Russian guy for a company in the U S and I know he’s good. I was like, Let’s get him on board, you know, so the guy accepted, he came in, but then we needed a third one guy to actually build the page editor because it’s a different technology. And he was searching. I mean his network and we couldn’t find anyone.
And I w I kept insisting. And after a couple of months, he told me, Hey, you know what I talk with? I talk with you sky one month ago, but now he wants to go freelance and he could be a good fit. So we get him on board. We started building the product. So we were not making any revenue from this. So in 2016, we actually ended up losing maybe I dunno, 12,000 euros, but I could see that we were building something, you know, and right from the beginning, I felt that there was like some magic in this team.
I dunno, we were working so well. So we use Slack, you know, everyone works what he wants, so I’m kind of the product guy. And it’s funny because at that time I didn’t realize it, you know? Um, so I was working closely with them to build the product and saying what we should do. I studied migrating my own business over.
So I left a Webber. I moved my email list to our software. We started using it and then we moved, I think it was the payment pages. And then the last step was moving actually all the online courses. And we launched a product in April. 2018 on my list.
Andrew Warner: And, and how did it do,
Aurelien Amacker: So yeah. So no, it went well. I mean, we had a thing after the launch, uh, we had our first like 400 customers,
so it’s, so I had my own email list. I had, I dunno, maybe a 20, 20,000 people on my list, maybe
Andrew Warner: People were coming to you to learn how to build an online business.
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah. I mean, I told him, look, I think it’s great. That’s what I use. Uh, you know, it’s, uh, it’s cheap. So, you know what, I’m an email marketing guy I’ve been sending emails for 10 years or so. So we did this launch
Andrew Warner: 27 bucks. All right. So 27 bucks, you’re looking at over $10,000 in revenue, 10,000 in monthly recurring revenue, assuming they all stuck around that’s. That’s great for all the work that you’ve put in. You finally saw some real money, not just one or two customers, but a significant number.
Aurelien Amacker: Well, no, it’s great.
Actually. Okay, because you have, because you have 2000, like 20% VAT that you have to pay to the state, you know? So like European States, so Well, then you have the affiliates because I launched my affiliate program in 2017 and we use our own software to run our affiliate program. So in 2017, it was only my courses that our affiliates could promote. But then of course, then we add the software subscription. Yes. So actually at that time it wasn’t majority. It was, yeah. Maybe I don’t remember maybe 20, 30, 40%. So we pay 40% of your commissions, uh, on, uh, Yeah, but you know, it’s funny because sometimes, uh, yeah, I, I, I see like some software owners saying, Oh, you shouldn’t pay that much, but I’m like, Hey, I want my affiliates to make money.
You know? So they keep promoting. So maybe it’s not always a good strategy, but that was my, my vision. And it still is. So then I have to, I had to bail, like some servers to send emails. We use SendGrid actually. Uh, Yes. It’s, it’s amazing. You know, because at the beginning I was like, okay, so the lounge has happened. So what do we do next? So I started this Facebook Facebook group, uh, to try to engage users. And we were getting like new people getting in like every day, but it wasn’t much, it wasn’t very impressive. You know?
So today we have 11,000 members in this Facebook group and, um, It was little by little. It’s funny. I have all the numbers, you know, for each month. Um, and yeah, it was growing, but it wasn’t growing. But see she was growing, you know, like I had some money. I was worrying about my 12%, so it’s not much, but still it’s 12% in a month.
That’s a lot. And I don’t know, like, yeah. The athlete program started getting traction. I don’t know. The thing is we were adding some features and in the group I was announcing them and I still do it. Then people were getting so excited and we were adding so many features so fast. I don’t know. It’s crazy because, you know, I started to go, uh, I tried to go and contact the influencers.
Like the marketers, the, the people sending the online courses and I couldn’t get anyone to promote us because either they were using like different tool or the genomic care or the didn’t like me. And that’s the craziest thing ever is that we went from zero to number one in the French market in two years with almost no influencer promoting us.
It’s only the small guys, the small affiliates promoting us. Yes. Yeah. So actually the thing is so they can promote. So I have a book that I wrote in 2014, about how to make money blogging. Uh, and I wrote another book about like personal freedom, you know, with my, what I learned, what investing in real estate and in business and stuff. Um, so I think it’s can actually offer these books for free, like the digital version. And once then once that someone, uh, sign up on my email list, I can send him emails and then I can sell it courses and software yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. And, uh, so they can also promote some, we have some small sales funnels to promote our online courses because I have like half a dozen online courses, like how to make money blogging to say, I like
Andrew Warner: And they promoted for, for commission. They sell it and then they get a commission of the sales from those courses.
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah. Most of the time I treat the don’t promote the offer right away. They just send people who opt into our email list. And then each week we run a promotion to two hourlies. We’re
Andrew Warner: So as long as it gets someone on your list, they don’t have to sell anything. You do the selling, they just have to say, go get this free book and that’s enough. And then they get 40% got a commission. All right. Also on the bottom of all the landing pages that you create, there’s a link you said. Back to system.io, but anyone could get rid of it if they don’t get rid of it, they
get a, when someone follows that. Okay. What about this? What was, let’s talk a little bit about product now that we’ve done some marketing conversation product. What went into the very first version?
Aurelien Amacker: Uh, no, actually when we launched it, so we had, so we had to let me pay GS, but I remember at the beginning like that it was almost everything. Just that it was like small, small features that were missing. Uh, so actually, yeah. yeah. Uh, yeah, like, uh, payment pages, of course. But then we added the paper integrations at the beginning.
It was only Stripe. Uh, then we added the ability to, um, uh, use custom domains, which causes an issue with the SSS certificate because all the pages today are HTTPS. So it was very costly at the beginning because we were using a CloudFlare, but then we moved to Amazon, AWS. So yeah, we, we kept adding some features.
Um, and yeah, it’s crazy. Like we started getting some testimonials from users like, Hey, it’s great. You know, it’s so much thing it’s so easy to use. It’s so, uh, so affordable. I dunno. It’s crazy. Like, and we kept working on it. Uh, we had our first customer in the U S that was July, 2018. And I have absolutely no idea how she found our website.
And, um, but then it was very, so even though our supper was available in English, uh, so we, we, we grew mostly in the French markets. Um, and, um, we started reworking on the English market. That was
Andrew Warner: I see now, according to similar web, 10% of your traffic is coming from the U S
okay. Last year, December is when you hit your first million dollar run rate, right? If you multiply the December revenue, was it by 12, then you realize you’ve got a million dollars in recurring revenue. Am I right? How did that feel?
Do you remember the moment when you saw that?
Aurelien Amacker: I remember the moment when I saw that. Uh, but I mean, it’s been like a, an amazing ride. It’s been so exciting, you know, because we kept making, I mean, each month we pretty much were doing more. Uh, actually each day we have more subscribers, so I could see that something was happening, you know? And, um, I don’t remember that day.
Uh, I remember, so that was very exciting. I was very looking forward to, uh, reaching, uh, a hundred thousand euros in monthly recurring revenue. So that was like in March this year, and then the COVID-19 crisis hits. And it’s crazy because we grew by 50% in like three months. Oh, it’s so, you know, when I listened to your interview of the teachable founder, uh, they had the same experience. I mean, everything that’s related to started online business, uh, it grew a lot because of Colby, because one people were, um, you know, trying to find ways to make an additional income launched a side business.
And two people were actually stuck at home, like, you know, causing the internet.
Andrew Warner: So both buyers and sellers were going online more. And so it works great for online store for online people. Obviously painful for people who are
Aurelien Amacker: Yeah. And some people transitioning. Like I remember I saw an email because when people are signed up for the free trial, they get an email sequence in the first email. It’s like, Hey, you know, what does he can reply? And, you know, and she said, look, I’m doing like some fitness classes, live classes. I can do it anymore.
So I’m looking for ways to send my, um, my, uh, my expertise online. And I was like, yeah, that makes sense. You know,
Andrew Warner: So someone who has fitness classes offline is thinking maybe I do fitness classes online, do doing zoom. Maybe I do fitness classes some other way. Maybe it’s an online course. Got it. All right. Let me see if I get the big takeaways here. Number one. Um, What you did was you solved her own problem. Since you were a user of this, of all the software, you recognize that there was pain that you were feeling, and if you weren’t solving it, If you couldn’t solve it for yourself, probably others were like you and couldn’t that’s number one.
Number two, you had an audience that you built up before, right? So that’s important. Number three, you suck that, getting your software developed and that’s part of your process. If you had to give advice to somebody who’s at that, who’s not a developer who needs to get someone to code it up, code up their site.
What would you have done differently? What would you recommend to the person that’s listening to us? So the person, the people who you worked with were, who didn’t know scrum were not right. If you could do it over again, you would probably give them smaller projects, get a sense of how you work together. See if you jive on Slack. Right. Okay. Um, and then. The last point is the power of affiliates that I don’t think we talk enough about.
We talk about Facebook ads. We talk about content marketing and CEO. It’s interesting. You’re one of the few people who I heard say that smaller affiliates have done really well for you. A lot of companies will say, forget the smaller affiliates. I only want a few big ones. Small ones are too hard to manage, but it worked better for you because.
Aurelien Amacker: No. So we got an, a few program that’s like self serve and actually the thing, the cool thing is that because we have the landing pages and the email list inside the same tool, we have a very strong tracking. So what happens that when someone obtains to one of my, uh, you know, pages like opt in pages, he gets automatically an affiliate ID.
There is no need to register. As a nephew. So, you know, there is very little friction because all the people on my list are affiliates. So I can actually send them emails, either newsletters or email campaigns saying, Hey, uh, you just, uh, you know, sign up on my list is great. If you want to recommend it, here is your affiliate link and boom, and that’s their affiliate link and can start using it right away.
Andrew Warner: But you don’t find that there’s cheating or that there’s too much handholding or maintenance involved with so many small affiliates.
Aurelien Amacker: No, no, because it’s survived. That’s the opposite where like, we don’t have, I don’t have enough fleet manager. I try to, you know, to hire one, but couldn’t find the right person, but we don’t have a one. So that’s the thing because you have, yeah, yeah. So we changed the marketing campaign. Sometimes we got to promote to our entire list, the opportunity to promote a satisfier known as an affiliate to make money as an affiliate.
I mean, we try to integrate it into our, our marketing.
Andrew Warner: All right. And then there’s one last thing where it was that the name of the book that we mentioned earlier. I didn’t want to close it out without bringing it up. It’s secrets of power persuasion by Roger Dawson. I’m looking at the old table of contents. I haven’t read this in years. Not since that day in college.
When I was looking for, pick me up in this, did it, it’s a, how to ask for more. Let me see. How unions and managements get each other’s goats. That’s not the right. Let me, let me get, look at some of the chapter titles. Um, tell them only as much as they believe here’s another chapter title. Never assume they believe you.
Number here’s another chapter title, use precise numbers. Remember how I remember thinking. You have to round up because who needs this specific number? No, he explains people believe it more when it’s an exact number. And I think the story tells about was dove was 99.9% pure or something like that. And he says, people believe it more.
They could have said a hundred, no one was going to say you’re off. Right. Um, use the power of the printed word. Uh, let them know who else says. So that’s endorsements. Um, Oh, here’s one that we use all the time now in online marketing use quote, if they can do it, I can do it. Ah, the tons, tons. It was such a, such a good book for me at the time when I was in business classes and they were interesting, but just not relatable.
And this was immediately impactful. Just go out and use these techniques and see what happens. Alright, your website, I’m going to give you one piece of feedback. It’s going to be a challenge for someone who’s listening to us to go to E I’m concerned about the English spelling of system. I wish that you had system without the, at the end.
Aurelien Amacker: Uh, I think that the guy who is struggling to like the owner of this domain, who’s trying to sell it to me for a couple of millions would be very happy to listen to you. No. Okay. Andrew that’s so I’m not, I’m a direct marketer guy. I’m not a branding guy. And I know that’s our name and our domain name is not the best, but I’d say that at least it was the job. You know, I think that if my team has become a company that made, I don’t know, like 800 millions in revenue last year, isn’t because they’re are logos teacher, a Phoenician position, right.
Is because it does many things and it’s very affordable. So at the end of the day, it’s what it does for you, how much it costs. And yeah, I think that, so, you know, like teachable, for example, I was get fedora. Yeah. I mean, we w we can still rebrand, you know, Don, Don, the way it’s not the end of the world. In the meantime, it works like, so I actually talked with the guy, the domain order, and he was like, Hey, you know, 2 million sounds like, look, it’s not worth two meetings to me because what happens, Well, I offer 20,000 and he’s playing, you know, a silent, dead sign of, but, you know, I told him when people are tied down system, the value system without the need. So it’s not the correct spelling. So two things happen first. They realize they made a mistake and either search Google and find us, or either they don’t find us.
In which case, I don’t think they’re very valuable customers. So, I mean, if I told him, I just want to make a, you know, a quick money, uh, just say yes, and we love why use the money, but I’m actually thinking like, ah, if I get the domain name, I’m not even sure if I, if I will use it. So,
Andrew Warner: I wouldn’t pay more than two.
Aurelien Amacker: yeah, so That’s That’s the French spelling. Exactly. You know, but I mean, you have lift, got a, you know, you have so many companies. Yeah, exactly. So I don’t think it really matters like no English speaking customer, and now we have a few hundreds, you know, no one has ever said, Hey, uh, you know, uh, there is a problem with your name or your domain because
Andrew Warner: Like it’s because you’re not yet huge in the U S and to be bigger, I do think you’re going to at some point rebrand, but I agree with you. That’s not the biggest, it’s not the biggest issue, frankly, to be honest with you, I’m bringing it up because I believe it, but also because I want to highlight to my audience that if they’re going to type it in, they should remember the E.
So I gave myself permission to end it with a critical note, because I think that that’s, what’s going to also embed in people’s minds. I got to type in system with the letter firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you do that, you’re going to find a very sparse pain. I’ve talked to him about this and he says, he’s tested, Oh, look at that.
I heard that. First of all, I know you feel bad and I could see it even on some of the posts that you’ve written online and other places you feel bad about the page. You can’t wait for the new launch of the site, but the other thing is. You told me before you got started and here’s the stats of why this page outperforms all the other pages that everyone else thinks is going to do well.
And I’m a numbers person. If this converts better, I’m going to make it work. I’m going to use it. Even if Andrew Warner doesn’t fully understand it and I get it. And I think that that makes perfect sense. Alright, I think we’ve said it all here. Let me end the interview by thanking my two sponsors. The first, if you’re a, if you’re looking to hire develop, and you don’t want the adjective, having a flight out of the country’s explain to them what scrum is.
I think I just popped my mic by saying that yeah, I’m getting the red light because I’m a little too hopped up on it. If you want a developer or a team of developers, you can count on do with so many people that I’ve interviewed here, I’ve done go to top talent.com/mixergy. And finally, if you’re looking for another podcast to listen to at the end of this, listen to the podcast, it will help you get more traffic.
It’s called traffic secrets. Roger Dawson would love that. There’s a word secrets in that podcast. Name, traffic secrets by everyone.