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Matt and Joe are back for another duet episode to sit down, and reminisce all the stuff they’ve done in the past, how they started and where they came from, which all adds up together as contributing factor to where they’re at now.
Today, they are going to discuss how they had to take the ‘zigzag journey’, what worked and failed in their business, lessons learned along the way and how opportunities presented itself that totally changed the course of their business.
“Building wealth is about progression, being in control and understanding your value.” – Matt Wolfe & Joe Fier
Some topics that were discussed include:
- Their first blog sites and how they made their first dollar online
- The thing that actually brought them the most amount of traffic
- Why they started building their own personal branding
- Meeting some of the top marketing minds and business people in the world
- The WordPress Classroom: how it was born and teaming up to create LearnToBlog
- Joe’s Video Sales Lab, his creative projects, connections, and client partnerships
- Proven strategy that made them land more clients
- EGP 1.0 and business mistakes they’ve made along the way
- The importance of setting and maintaining your business standards
- Leverage in your community to open new business opportunities
- What’s EGP all about and its next phase looking forward
- Things that you should focus on to thrive in your business
References & links mentioned:
- Subscribe to the Podcast!
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
- How I Made My First Million on the Internet by Ewen Chia
- Wealthfront (get access to sophisticated financial advice, without the hassle or the high fees)
- The New Direction of Evergreen Profits
- Learn More About Matt Wolfe
- Learn More About Joe Fier
- How Make More Money Without Selling
- The Fletcher Method (Recommended Educational Resource)
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Matt Wolfe: We actually had somebody say, “You know what? I don’t think I know your back story. I don’t think I know how Joe and Matt started working together and how you learned what you learned and how you got into what you’re doing.” And so we thought … I think we did do an episode about that with one of our older podcasts. But it’s been a long time since we’ve talked about it, and a lot has happened since then. So we thought we’d revisit that and kind of tell the story again as best as we can recollect.
Joe Fier: So I guess the point of this podcast … I mean, it’s not all about us. That’s not the point. And so yeah.
Matt Wolfe: We’ll try to pick out lessons along the way.
Joe Fier: Well, yeah. Well, that’s obviously … I think the big thing is, and Matt and I were just honestly preparing ourselves for this episode. Because we even forgot most of the stuff we’ve done in the past. I mean, I think it’s been eight years.
Matt Wolfe: Combined.
Joe Fier: Combined.
Matt Wolfe: Combined, we were struggling to actually figure out how many businesses we’ve been involved in, because it’s been a lot.
Joe Fier: Yeah. Well, and I guess the moral of the story here is, if you get one takeaway, and obviously I hope you get a lot. But the big thing is that the journey is not a straight line. I know you’ve seen … I think there’s an emoji out there. Or not emoji, but a meme.
Matt Wolfe: Infographic.
Joe Fier: Yeah. Or it’s what everyone thinks that business is going to be like. And it’s going to be straight-line trajectory up, like a good stock graph. But it’s like, in all reality, it’s this crazy zigzag thing that goes up, down, up, down. And then trajectory slightly goes up. And that’s real.
Matt Wolfe: And that’s actually the way you want it. Because those zigzags, those getting off course, those other little side projects that seem to happen, those are where all the lessons are learned that are going to eventually lead you to the thing that is the most successful for you. So I mean, every single little sidetrack, every single little business that we’ve had along the way, all of those experiences, all of those people we’ve met along the way, all of those business models, what’s failed, what’s worked. All of that, we’ve learned something from that is now a factor in our current business. We’ve learned something that we’d be able to apply to what we do now.
Joe Fier: Yeah. So I guess that’s what you should take from this. Or at least that’s my takeaway, even just planning for this episode, is wow. There’s a lot of stuff we’ve done. And it all adds up together, even though if we’re not consciously thinking about what we’ve failed or did well in the past. It’s still amounting to where we’re at now.
Matt Wolfe: Exactly.
Joe Fier: So yeah. Hopefully you can take something from this whole journey. But yeah, Matt. I mean, so what was the year that we actually started together?
Matt Wolfe: I’m not sure-
Joe Fier: Officially opening a blog up online?
Matt Wolfe: Okay. So even stepping a little bit behind that. You and I, we had a mutual friend, Cameron. Still a mutual friend to this day. But we have a mutual friend named Cameron. We sort of met through him. I played in bands with Cameron. You played in bands with Cameron. That’s kind of how we got to know each other. And then-
Joe Fier: I had the guitar.
Matt Wolfe: Rocking the guitar. I had my family business. We had a shutter company. And I was helping run the shutter company. And at some point, my mom walked into Famous Footwear, where you were working at the time. And she thought that you were just a very friendly person, and was great at customer support. And she went, “I need to have Joe at Artisan, at the shutter company.”
Joe Fier: I was like, “Eh, I’m expensive.” No, I didn’t say that. I was like, “Oh, get me out of here.”
Matt Wolfe: Yeah. So my mom recruited Joe over to the shutter company, and I think it was kind of a coincidence. I don’t even know if my mom realized that you and I sort of knew each other through an acquaintance.
Joe Fier: No. She did, but I mentioned it. And somehow, I recognized her. There was some exchange there where she knew that we were connected. But we weren’t really buddies, buddies.
Matt Wolfe: Now, do you remember what year you started working at Artisan? Because I have no clue.
Joe Fier: I don’t, honestly. I mean, if it’s … Hold on. So I graduated … Okay, I’m just going to do some math here. Four, five, six, seven. Four, five, six, seven, eight. I would say I started there around 2008 or 2009-ish.
Matt Wolfe: That is incorrect.
Joe Fier: Is it earlier?
Matt Wolfe: Because we started our first blog in 2007.
Joe Fier: Oh, okay. Oh, that’s right. Because I was thinking of the year I graduated. But we were already working together for I guess three years. Yeah, okay. So yeah, that would make sense. We started the blog probably a year after I started.
Matt Wolfe: We started a blog called How I Will Be Rich. Joe and I, we actually got really into personal finance and investing. And I think we just read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and then we read The 4-Hour Work Week. And that lead us on this path of learning about entrepreneurship, learning about wealth accumulation, learning about investing. And we went, “Okay, what better way to truly learn this stuff and to truly lock this stuff in, than to create a blog around it?” And as we learn stuff, go and blog about what we just learned.
Joe Fier: Yeah. So basically, we would summarize what we learned. And-
Matt Wolfe: Yeah. The blog started as essentially a tool for us to teach what we were learning. Not because we thought a ton of people would be reading the blog, but because that helped us lock in the knowledge and you learn the best by teaching, right? So we started that blog as a way to teach and to sort of better educate ourself on those topics. We knew we wanted to be consistent with the blog, blog once a week or whatever. So we were constantly learning new stuff so we constantly had stuff to teach on the blog. And that blog was called How I Will Be Rich. And it doesn’t exist anymore. That name was very influenced by Ramit Sethi, I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
Joe Fier: Yeah. Oh, I forgot about that. That’s a good book.
Matt Wolfe: So we named our blog that. And we blogged on that for a little while, and it sort of grew. And we had Google ads on that blog, and we started seeing our first trickles of money from Google ads.
Joe Fier: That was our first dollar made online.
Matt Wolfe: Our first dollar made online. Well, that’s probably … From that style of business, yeah.
Joe Fier: From that, yeah.
Matt Wolfe: I had done some service stuff in the past, building websites for people and stuff. But that was prior to us meeting. And we started making money off the ads. And then we learned about selling actual link ads on your site. And we actually made way more money doing that than from Google, by selling text-link ads on our website.
Joe Fier: You know how I actually made my first dollar online? I just reminded myself. Remember those NetFire days … Or what was that service where it was free Internet they gave you?
Matt Wolfe: Oh, NetZero?
Joe Fier: NetZero. Yeah. So I remember having NetZero. Even though my parents had Internet, for some reason, I chose to use that. I don’t know. It was experimenting with things. But I think I figured out the value of advertising online back then. But I remember getting … Remember when you can get people to click … And this is totally black-eye. But I mean, I don’t think it works anymore. But it was a clicker, basically software. And I was getting the thing to click on this banner all through the night.
Matt Wolfe: I remember those. You set up a little script that would click on the link for you constantly.
Joe Fier: Yeah. And I remember … And it totally hacked … And I think the most I ever made literally was $25, and I was like, “Woo-hoo!” I got one check and then it stopped working. I’m like, “No.” But that … at least it was … And this was way before we ever met. Right? But I didn’t really do it I just made random-
Matt Wolfe: I used to experiment with stuff like that, but it was always just pennies. You’d get a check in the mail and it’d be like $7. And you’d be like, “Ooh, that’s awesome. That tool cost me $10.” No. But we started selling the text link ads on our site. And it turns out later on, we found out that Google frowns upon that and will sort of de-list you if you do that. But that’s a whole different thing.
Joe Fier: That was way back then.
Matt Wolfe: And this was before that was an issue. And then we went, “Cool. We can make money with this.” I think we were making what, 50 bucks a month off that blog with the ads and stuff.
Joe Fier: Yeah, it was cool. It was beer money.
Matt Wolfe: We were like, “Let’s clone this. Right? And let’s make another blog. And on this blog, we’ll talk about a different topic, but we’ll put the same kind of ads on it.” And we made Be Healthy and Relax, which actually still exists to this day. That site’s still live.
Joe Fier: That’s true. Yeah. And that was kind of more my baby. Because we kind of decided, okay. Matt was … He has a financial background. He was going to school for finance major. So I was like, “Okay, well, it’d make a lot more sense if you just ran that blog and I ran this other one.” And we kept a consistent blogging schedule. My wife works and still has a company in the health food space. So there was just loads of information that was coming in from all the products and manufacturers she worked with. So I just pretty much learned a lot from … Because that was a side gig I was doing. I was actually demonstrating the stuff in Whole Foods, sampling out products. I was a little sample boy. It’s usually grandmas doing it. But it was cool. I met a lot of good people, and it was a good learning lesson for me to sell. But I transposed a lot of that content I was doing, making money there, to put it on the blog. That’s how we got our content.
Matt Wolfe: And that one I think actually did better than How I Will Be Rich. I think we actually got that one to do more sales and more traffic than the first one.
Joe Fier: Well the thing that actually brought the most amount of traffic and it still might to this day, was a thing called the Kaiser Diet. You remember that? So basically Kaiser is, it’s a hospital chain out here in San Diego or West Coast or whatever.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah. I think it’s all over, but yeah.
Joe Fier: I think it’s the same. I’m pretty sure that’s where the diet came from. But I was literally looking for coffee or tea in Heather’s parents’ cupboard late one night. And I pulled out this piece of paper. I don’t even know why I pulled it out. It was all tattered and stuff, and it said the Kaiser Diet on top. And I was like, “What the heck is this thing?” And it looked crazy. It was like, “Eat one hot dog, one egg hard-boiled,” but it was very specific but weird things. And I was like … And supposedly it was going to make you lose weight and be in this ketosis thing or whatever. And I was like, “That’s interesting.” So I Googled it and I was like, “It looks popular.” But I’m like, “screw it, I’m just going to write about it.” So I think I posted the diet and I put my thoughts behind it. I’m like, “I’m not sure if this thing works. Does this work for you guys?” And it caught steam in Google. And people started legitimately commenting. I think we had hundreds of comments on that thing. And people are like, “Oh, it actually does work for me.” I’m like, “What?”
Matt Wolfe: Same thing. We had the Google ads and we had the text link ads. That one is when we actually started to make good AdSense money, by good AdSense money like 200 bucks a month. It was paying for our car payment then. It was like “sweet, better from beer money to car payments now.” So we had How I Will Be Rich and then we had Be Healthy And Relaxed and then we were like … I don’t even know if you remember this one … then we were like “let’s duplicate it again.” “Let’s make a website about lawn care.”
Joe Fier: I know healthy lawn-
Matt Wolfe: Organiclawnguys.com
Joe Fier: It looked so horrible.
Matt Wolfe: It doesn’t exist anymore so don’t even bother going, but we created another third blog called Organic Lawn Guys. We’re like “cool we made a blog in finance, we made a blog in fitness, let’s make a blog in like the-”
Joe Fier: “In something … in a niche that we know nothing about.”
Matt Wolfe: In a niche that we knew nothing about.
Joe Fier: Brilliant idea.
Matt Wolfe: I think we did that … I bought my first house in 2008 and my lawn looked like shit until the day I sold that house.
Joe Fier: Well it was really hot and San Diego doesn’t have any water so it’s a bad combination.
Matt Wolfe: And we didn’t have a sprinkler system. I had to go out and hose down my lawn every day. But I bought a book on how to get a greener lawn, and because I bought that book I thought that was a good enough reason to start blog on it. We started that one, and I don’t think that one ever made a penny.
Joe Fier: I think we gave up on it after like three blog posts. We spent four hours per blog post. We’re like “wow, we really don’t know what we’re doing here.”
Matt Wolfe: That one just failed, but the How I Will Be Rich, and Be Healthy And Relaxed were sort of our first income generators. Then, after that, we sort of split. You went to go work for the construction company. I stayed at the shutter company, but the shutter company ended up going under.
Joe Fier: We split, but at the same time I think the sites were kind of going.
Matt Wolfe: They were still going. We didn’t shut them down, but the sites were still going.
Joe Fier: I think that’s when text link ads kind of fell off.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, I think we may have still been making anywhere from a hundred to two hundred bucks a month off of them, maybe. We kind of split off. You went to work at a different job. I stayed at the shutter company, but the shutter company ended up going under.
Joe Fier: I was still in college. So I was finishing out college. I was working the construction job. I was trying to do stuff online. I was just learning more or less.
Matt Wolfe: I think we were still … in the evenings and afternoons we were still kind of getting together and throwing ideas around and testing stuff, because those sites were still running.
Joe Fier: We actually started off … Is this when Alex came into the picture?
Matt Wolfe: Alex?
Joe Fier: Jeffreys
Matt Wolfe: Oh, it might have been.
Joe Fier: I think it was right then. So basically he’s a buddy of ours now, Alex Jeffreys, but he’s a coach to probably thousands of people at this point. We were in his second annual course or whatever it was. It was all about basically making your first dollar.
Growing an online business, and up until this point we were kind of just experimenting and learning how different tactics … we didn’t really know strategies more or less. It was scary because, I don’t know how much the course was, like a thousand bucks or something?
Matt Wolfe: It was a thousand bucks.
Joe Fier: I did not have that kind of money in my account back then.
Matt Wolfe: I used a credit card to buy it.
Joe Fier: I definitely did too. I remember a long conversation with my wife, because just debt is not a cool thing in her brain. She was kind of taught that, and me too.
Matt Wolfe: We did have a website about personal finance.
Joe Fier: So it was like “crap, do we actually fund this with not our own money?” But we did, and we talked the wives into it. I knew during that phase specifically … because I think at that point we started doing our own things, like personal branding. I know that’s when I bought joefier.com, which I still to this day don’t even maintain really. You got mattwolfe.net. But that was our starting point of branding ourselves as brands.
Matt Wolfe: For me that all happened. We had our blogs going. The shutter company was about to go under. I quit actually, before the shutter company went under. I actually left my job. I wrote my boss a big letter, it was basically a big f-you letter.
Joe Fier: That’s a whole nother story.
Matt Wolfe: That’s a whole other story, but I quit my job the day before I got married. I was getting married on Saturday. My last day at the job was that Friday before. That Saturday when I got married, we left to go straight on my honeymoon from our wedding. I think we got back to our hotel room in San Diego at like 11:30 pm, and we had to be at the airport at like 4 am the next morning to catch our flight to go down to Cozumel for our-
Joe Fier: That must have been scary as … I was his best man at the wedding. It was pretty cool. Just to be your best man … we got tight quick because I think we just clicked. For some reason. Matt and I don’t feel like we’re normal business partners per se it’s more like brothers that … we haven’t ever … neither of us has brothers biologically. So we’re like “cool.” Something clicked. I do remember that though. You guys leaving. I’m like “damn, what’s he going to do?”
Matt Wolfe: We definitely act more like brothers than partners.
I know. I really went on this vacation thinking to myself “I have no clue what I going to do when I get back, but for the next week I’m not even going to think about it. I don’t have a job right now.”
We had all this money from the wedding. People give you cash and stuff, so we left down to Cozumel with like $2,000 in cash, in our- Just our wedding money.
Joe Fier: Duffle bags.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, all in ones in duffle bags. Right before I left I bought a book, it was just a random book, I don’t even remember who recommended it or who I heard it from buts it’s called How I Made My First Million on the Internet. I was by Ewen Chia. That was the first book that I ever read that was specifically focused on internet marketing, becoming a marketer on the internet.
It was very, very focused on list building. Growing your email list, and having that asset to market to people. This was in 2009. Growing that email list to market to people. So I read that book on the plane flying to Cozumel and that got my wheels spinning. We’ve had these blogs by this point for seven, eight, nine … two years right?
Joe Fier: Yeah.
Matt Wolfe: We weren’t building any sort of email list, we just had Google ads. That was it. That was the sole monetization. I came back and was like “we’re doing this wrong, we need to start building mailing lists off this shit. We’re having this traffic and we’re only getting them once. We’re not able to bring them back, we need to build a mailing list.” That was my first entry into like “we need to focus email marketing, that’s where it’s at.”
I think we used GetResponse at the beginning. I think we went and got a GetResponse account. We put GetResponse on Be Healthy and Relaxed and I Will Teach You to … How I Will Be Rich. I keep on saying I Will Teach You To Be Rich because-
Joe Fier: Because we kind of ripped off the name.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah we did, but that site doesn’t exist anymore so sorry.
I bought that book and then we came back and just by happenstance I was on Twitter and Justin Brooke, who is actually now a friend of ours as well. Justin Brooke … I saw a tweet from him on Twitter that said “If you’re thinking about list building, this is the guy to check out” and he linked to Alex Jeffreys webpage. This was before I even knew what affiliate marketing was. Obviously at the time Justin Brooke was an affiliate of Alex Jeffreys’ course and he was promoting Alex Jeffreys course. I didn’t realize that. I just thought Justin was recommending this is the guy to talk to for list building.
So I went and clicked on his site and I watched his sales video and I went “This guy’s going to teach me how to build a list.” I went to Joe and I said “Joe, check this out. Let’s both buy this course, let’s go through it together, let’s learn how to freaking grow some mailing lists.”
Joe Fier: Yeah, and we did. In that course, not only did we learn all that stuff, we met some connections that we still have to this day. One being Josh Bartlett.
Matt Wolfe: Josh Bartlett’s a part of this story that we’ll get into too.
Joe Fier: Yeah. Easy Video Player Suite.
He’s still really good buddies. I wished him happy birthday yesterday on text and we’ve been texting ever since.
It was scary as hell, man, because that was us putting our ass on the line financially for the very first time.
Matt Wolfe: We both quit our jobs.
Joe Fier: You said you quit in May.
Matt Wolfe: May of 09.
Joe Fier: Because you got married in May. So I got married in November, which I graduated college that same year. Actually I graduated early so it was right before you got married was when I graduated. No sorry. Totally take that back. It was a weird time of the year. It was right before I got married. It was like September.
I remember right before my wedding I quit college and I quit my job. My corporate job, which was at the construction company doing marketing. Kind of a different style of marketing. Not this stuff. It was boring proposals. I remember looking around at the job. It was a cushy job, I had my own office, but everyone looked like zombies, everyone just looked like they hated their life there, like the guys who were like 50 plus. I’m like “Do I want to be that guy?” “Not really.”
I got everything done quickly.
Matt Wolfe: Funny story. That business actually went out of business eventually too.
Joe Fier: I was going to say that. Matt alluded to it, but the company went under, at least the San Diego branch I was at, like two months after I quit.
Matt Wolfe: So what you’re saying is “When Joe and Matt aren’t involved in the company, they go under.”
Joe Fier: They go down.
What I was doing is leveraging that time. I got all my shit done really quickly for that position, my marketing position. All the other time I was pretty much on the clock learning. I was going through Alex Jeffreys’ course, I was reading stuff from Jason Moffatt. I remember that very clearly. I think it was the Profit Manifesto or whatever the hell he called it. Some sort of thing he had. I remember I was like “man this gut Moffatt’s got it figured out.” He’s now a buddy of ours too.
It’s cool to see … Frank Kern … we’ve studied a lot of his stuff, we’ve hung out with him multiple times, we’ve got a lot of connection through him.
Matt Wolfe: Name dropper.
Joe Fier: It goes in the story.
Matt Wolfe: It is very relevant to where we’re going to get to.
Joe Fier: It’s very interesting that this growth was a weird path. We quit and then we basically … my mom was freaking out because she’s not an entrepreneurial type, and my dad isn’t either. So my mom was always like “okay Heather” my wife, “How long are you going to let him do this?” Because I wasn’t making money for like six months or something and just living off of what my wife was getting paid, which wasn’t really a lot at the time. So it’s like “okay.”
Matt Wolfe: Our stories along this area are both very similar. I had some savings build up and Alana worked at State Farm so we were living of her income for a little bit.
Joe Fier: I didn’t have more than like 2,000 in the bank. It was so stupid when I quit. I didn’t have really much money at all.
Matt Wolfe: So we went through Alex Jeffreys’ course and you mentioned Josh Bartlett, which I do think is a big piece of our story, but I think the next phase started by being in that group. They had a forum, they had a community in that group of all the other students in the group and we got to know all the other students in this Alex Jeffreys group. Josh Bartlett being one of them. At this point, once we learned the stuff from Alex Jeffreys, I think our paths sort of split for a little bit.
The story of Joe and I working together. We start out working together, we split off for a little bit, we came back together, worked together for a little bit, split off for a bit, and then ultimately have been back together again for almost two years now.
Where it split off the first time was, I was building WordPress blogs for other people. I mentioned earlier I was doing freelance web development stuff for people, and I had built some WordPress sites for other people. We got into Alex Jeffreys’ group and Alex was recommending everybody set up a blog, get a blog, use WordPress, get it dialed in. So I started going into the forum going “Alright guys I got this. I know how to build blogs, I know how to set up WordPress, get your hosting, do all that, get it all dialed in. I’ve done it over and over and over again for client in the past. I’ll do it for 50 bucks a head.”
Obviously way undervaluing myself at the time. I went into this group and people were paypaling me 50 bucks, I would go in, install WordPress on their site, and install a theme, and then pass it along. So I started doing that and the next thing I know people were asking me questions about WordPress like “How do I get this plugin installed? How do I stop spam complaints? How do I build my list with WordPress?” Blah, blah, blah. That’s how the WordPress classroom was born which was my first info product that I tried to sell myself. I just started recording my screen. I think I used Camtasia at the time and I just started recording my screen showing people how to do stuff in WordPress.
What I did was I started building a list. I gave away like ten of those videos for free just for opting into my list, and then as soon as you opted into my list there was an upsell that for ten bucks, you could get my entire WordPress training program.
Joe Fier: Hot deal.
Matt Wolfe: I started telling people in the group “Look here’s some free tutorials that’ll get you going. If you want to go to the next level it’s ten bucks to get the full course, and I’m going to keep adding to that course.”
Joe Fier: So it wasn’t even ten dollars a month, it was just ten bucks.
Matt Wolfe: I think when I first opened it was just ten bucks flat.
Joe Fier: Not even 17 or 9 or 7?
Matt Wolfe: No, and literally I didn’t even use WordPress to build the site. I actually had just an HTML page with a white background and a cartoon dude and I wrote “The WordPress Classroom” on a fake chalk board clip art. Then there was just a list of videos. If you clicked on the video it linked you to the raw video link.
Joe Fier: We’ve got to archive.net this thing.
Matt Wolfe: I think I screenshotted it from archive.org.
Joe Fier: Or org, yeah.
Matt Wolfe: That’s where Josh Bartlett kind of stepped in. He reached out to me on Skype and said, I don’t know if he said these words exactly, but he’s like “Dude, your site’s shit. Let’s rebuild it.” He had designers at the time. He was working on his Easy Video Player. He had a thing called Twitter fuel at the time. His designs were actually pretty good and really up to date for the times. He’s like “Dude, my graphic designer will do that for you in like 15 minutes. Let that guy do it for you.”
So he redesigned the WordPress Classroom site into something a little more decent. He was also the one who said “Don’t charge ten bucks. If you’re going to keep adding videos, charge a monthly fee for this thing.” That’s when I changed it from ten bucks flat to ten bucks a month to be a member. That’s how the WordPress Classroom was born, and then sort of fast forwarding a little bit, I ran that from 2009 to I think 2013. Then, I think it was in 2013, Bradley Will, who ran a site called Free Blog Factory, came to me and he said “Look, I’ve got this site called Free Blog Factory, I install blogs for people, you’ve got training, I really want to do training, I want training for people who come in through my system. Is there some way we can figure out how to combine these business models?”
That was how Learn to Blog was born. I phased out WordPress Classroom, Bradley and I partnered, we created Learn To Blog, so if you bought through us you got a free blog setup plus all this educational content. We hired our first Facebook ads guy at that time, and our Facebook ads guy ramped up our Facebook ads to $30,000 a month in adspend, Learn To Blog grew to 60-70 thousand dollars a month in sales revenue. That was kind of the initial path.
Joe Fier: Let me tell my arc.
Matt Wolfe: Go ahead and tell your arc.
Joe Fier: That just covered a bunch of years actually. But it was good. Matt was growing that way so he … It kind of still stems to today’s … our roles. It’s interesting but our roles were pretty defined back then. Sorry his dog’s choking behind … But it’s cool because I took a totally different path. I didn’t go this info route and honestly, stupidly, I didn’t really go the list building route either. I did build a list, but it wasn’t nearly as aggressive as Matt. Matt’s always been the one to really focus, and I am now, finally, I paid the price for many years. I was always focused on working with people. I know lists are people, but I was always working much more personal with people. Taking on clients and all that stuff.
I always had a decent skill set in graphic design, slideshow designs, actually creating videos out of slides, kind of perfected that at a very early age in my business career. Around the same time Video Boss was coming out from Andy Jenkins and all these big launches. I kind of was doing that prior to that, essentially VSLs, you know, video sales letters, pre webinars. When people would create a video I was there creating the slides and helping people make it look cool online.
Again, Josh Bartlett from Alex Jeffreys group, he was the one that allowed me to essentially create his sales video for Easy Video Player. That was my first time actually doing this process, and doing it in a way where tens of thousands of people were going to see this video and purchase.
I believe it was that first launch, it took a span of a few months, I believe, but it generated over a million dollars in sales I do believe.
Matt Wolfe: I’m not sure.
Joe Fier: Maybe over the span of that product it took-
Matt Wolfe: I know Easy VideoSuite definitely did millions but I don’t know if Easy Video Player initially did millions.
Joe Fier: Maybe it wasn’t the player, but I know that over whatever period of time it generated a substantial amount, because we did do sales videos for all those, you know, the suite as well. It really taught me a lot of lessons on how to work with clients, what the clients want, how to create a system with all this stuff so that the process of developing these assets, because there’s a million steps.
I created this video animation agency, this agency that worked with clients helping with copyrighting and graphic design. All that kind of conversion stuff. I did that and Video Sales Lab was the name of my company doing that. In doing that I met a lot of guys as well, and got introduced to various folks who … I took clients and almost went further and created deeper partnerships so I was almost like a partner with a lot of my clients. It opened up a lot of new connections. Around the time you were working with Bradley I was introduced to a guy named Amish Shah, who we had on the podcast before, and he’s responsible for doing, I think it’s about $8 million when launching his Magic Bullet system, which was a software product, way before I ever knew him.
I remember seeing it launching back in the day. These are the days of the big launches like Frank Kern and whatnot. I remember watching and hearing about these numbers and I’m like “How the hell is that even possible.” I couldn’t even fathom that number. He did the bulk of that number in about 15 minutes, which is like “dear God.” I got the opportunity to work with him on a lot of his projects and it developed into a partnership. That was when I starting leveraging my time better, not working just client to client, but actually working in a bigger way as leverageable partners. “I have this skill set and you have this skill set.” Kind of developing something cool out of that.
We actually created a piece of training around the digital publishing industry. Apple books, Kindle books and all that stuff, and sold ten to twenty thousand packages to clients. Partnering up with them, but also teaching them how to do the same thing. So we were closing massive deals with the phone team, webinars, all that stuff. It’s kind of crazy. It morphed over the years, connections that way, and you were doing this thing on the side with Bradley. You sold that business. I guess around that time is when we came back together.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, it was around that time. The timeline of this all if sort of fuzzy. I’m sure we could of-
Joe Fier: That was the EGP, we opened Evergreen Profits in what?
Matt Wolfe: 2013
Joe Fier: 2013, and that was around this time. We came back together because I was doing … I wanted to make more money, but honestly, to do my own thing as well. I was still working with Amish, I was taking on my own personal clients, you still had the business with Bradley, the Learn To Blog, you probably had some side clients too, I don’t know. I was like “I’m at a point where I want my own thing.” I think we both were like “I want to make more cash, want to take more control, let’s do this thing.” And we saw opportunities.
We opened up Evergreen Profits for the first time in 2013, and it opened as an agency, but we had this whole vision of, not only just working with clients, but partnering with them. So doing an up front fee plus a percentage of their company.
Matt Wolfe: I feel like Evergreen Profits from day one, back in 2013, we had this sort of vision of, yes there’s an agency element to it and we’re going to make a lot of money as an agency, but it was always a thing that we built to collect assets. Even back then. Remember back in 2013 when we first started it we were like “Let’s look into this bitcoin thing.” We were looking at bitcoin back when it was $200 a coin going “Should we buy it? I don’t know.” Kind of kicking ourselves on that one now.
Joe Fier: A little bit.
Matt Wolfe: We were looking at investing in bitcoin, we were talking about the real estate stuff back then, we were talking about owning the San Diego Chargers as on of our assets.
Joe Fier: Boo, Chargers, boo.
Matt Wolfe: We built it with this mindset of Evergreen profits is going to be our company that we collect assets with, and we still have that mindset to this day. We started that as an agency and our very first client that we ever landed as Evergreen Profits, we went in and we pitched them at $10,000 plus what, 20 percent equity?
Joe Fier: 20 or 30 somewhere around there, yeah.
Matt Wolfe: Somewhere between 20 jor 30 percent equity. It was $10,000 up front to basically build out their website and their funnels and all their systems and everything.
Joe Fier: I remember being scared shitless to pitch that.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, and we pitched it in person at a coffee shop.
Joe Fier: It was the first time I had pitched something that large in person. Usually it’s been on the phone or with a sales team doing it for me.
Matt Wolfe: It was the easing freaking thing in the world.
Joe Fier: It was like he agreed to it in 30 seconds, because we knew what this guys needs were, we knew he had the money, and it was a sweet deal honestly. He made his investment back in-
Matt Wolfe: Over time he made 5x what he paid us.
Joe Fier: I remember walking away … it was in La Jolla in San Diego here, and we were at a Starbucks. I think we were just pitching him, we were just sitting outside on a little patio set like we are now. It was the coolest thing. I remember walking away on cloud nine. We’re like “Damn this is sweet.” We just became … A, we just made a decent amount of cash, so that funds us for a month or two, because that’s what you got, that’s what you need. I know we can build a lot of this stuff with our own assets so there wasn’t really a lot of hard costs, and now we have an ownership in this company. That’s so cool.
This is cash flow. If you’re thinking assets, you judge an asset by the cashflow you can make of it. This was one asset that we’re going to build up.
Matt Wolfe: We got cash up front and cash flow for indefinite future.
Joe Fier: On the back end.
And we did for probably a handful of years.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, the product eventually became outdated. It was an infoproduct, and the information eventually became outdated so we had to phase it out. It was ten thousand up front with an equity. I remember we were sweating and we were nervous, I think we sort of danced around the price a little bit when we were talking to him and then when we finally said the price he’s like “Wow that’s a little bit pricier than I thought, but cool let’s do it.” It was like literally that was it.
Joe Fier: The way we even got that meeting was through something I posted on Facebook. I don’t know what we were talking about. I think it was something Matt and I were doing. We were experimenting when we first started EGP, Evergreen Profits, for the first time and I think we through a case study out there or something. I think it was about growing … we did something on … What that website? Udemy. I think we were growing a list or doing something like that with coupons.
Matt Wolfe: Oh yeah, we actually have our whole website flipping course that we sold on Udemy.
Joe Fier: That’s what it was. We’re not even going to go down that rabbit hole.
Matt Wolfe: If we went into every product we’ve ever put out into the marketplace, this would be like a five hour podcast.
Joe Fier: The whole point is … I said something to the respect of “Oh my God we just grew a list of like a thousand people form this Udemy course by using coupons. This is craziness. I can’t wait to see where this goes.” I remember I got a few personal messages from that and one was him. I was like “Holy crap.” We’ve tested this now multiple times, I’ve done it with clients. Posting your results, creating case studies, testimonies, whatever it might be. That’s the best way to land clients if they’re watching you, and usually they can turn into really high paying people. You have that audience.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, you create value for the world, show proof of that value created, and more people are going to want you to create value for them.
Joe Fier: A lot of our connections from that business, we’re talking about EGP version one days.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, EGP 1.0.
Joe Fier: I would say it lasted what, 2013 to 2014, 15?
Matt Wolfe: I would say it lasted probably year to a year and a half. We actually had a little office space up in Murrieta that we rented out for what, 400 bucks a month?
Joe Fier: Just north of San Diego. It was cool though, it was our little hole-
Matt Wolfe: It was a legit good sized office space too.
Joe Fier: It was. We were a total agency. I think that was the only percentage deal we actually land. Maybe we had one more, well we had multiple smaller deals. I don’t think we re-created that deal until-
Matt Wolfe: No, because of what we mostly did after that was people coming to us saying “Could you just install WordPress for me.” Or “Can you design this new page.” It was stuff that didn’t led itself to any sort of recurring. To be honest it was like grunt work.
Joe Fier: I think the thing was is that it became not leverageable.
Matt Wolfe: We just got to a point where we just didn’t turn down gigs. If somebody said “I’ll give you money to build a website.” We went “okay” and we took it. That was sort of the beginning of the end of Evergreen Profits 1.0 was we were more concerned about how much money … we just wanted to get as many gigs as we could and just collect the money on the gigs.
Joe Fier: Like now.
Matt Wolfe: They said they’ll give me $800 to build this website. Let’s take it. This person said they’d give me $2,000 to build this website. Let’s take it. We just took anything that came to us. I think that was sort of the downfall. We didn’t really set standards for the type of client we would accept, the type of work we would do for the client. We actually had one gig, from my recollection this was probably the last gig we did for EGP 1.0. We had a gig where somebody came to us and said “I want you to build me this custom survey funnel where it asks them a series of questions back to back to back to back”, and this was long before that book Ask ever came out from Ryan Levesque. This was like years before that book. Somebody came to us and said “I want to create a survey, they answer all these survey questions, and when the survey finishes, it puts them on my sales page, but it also embeds their score on the sales page from the quiz, and then I also want an email to go out with the score.”
Joe Fier: We learned a lot of lessons with dealing with people.
Matt Wolfe: I think we ended up losing money all said and done because we undervalued, underbid ourself, there was some differences of opinions at the end of the day-
Joe Fier: Speaking about that though, I think that was my biggest takeaway. Obviously the money is huge, that can kill a business, but the big takeaway I had from that whole thing is that we didn’t properly communicate everything on our end. It was a very complex system. Nowadays you can just get one piece of software and pretty much do this.
Matt Wolfe: At the time we totally blamed the client. We were sitting here going “Man this client is a pain in the ass, this sucks, I hate doing this stuff.” In retrospect, looking back at it, it was 100 percent our fault. We look back at it and we didn’t set clear expectations, we didn’t have proper written agreements in place, we definitely didn’t charge enough for that gig. There was a lot of things that we did wrong that led to that deal going awry.
Joe Fier: I guess the lesson here is if you’re ever working with clients, you got to A, value yourself and know your value and stick to your value unless you somehow change your terms, but make sure you’re getting what you need out of that project. That’s not just to make a lot of profit, that’s just to be surviving. You don’t want to just break even. Make a little bit, but it’s like a progression. I’ve worked with clients for a lot of years now at this point, and I’ve progressed with my prices have just risen way higher than most people would ever charge, but it’s a confidence thing. That comes from understanding your value.
Matt Wolfe: Here’s another asset that at the same time we were adding to our portfolio. We wanted a startup in our portfolio at the time so we teamed up with, actually the person who was our last guest on last weeks podcast, Jon Margalit, we partnered with him to create a business called Togally, which was very startup-y. It had a bunch of different investors in it. Jon was out there actually trying to raise funding-
Joe Fier: There were about ten investors.
Matt Wolfe: From angel investors and things like that. We had a bunch of angel investors on board and it was this photography website. It was kind of the same idea as a oDesk, Upwork, whatever it’s called these days.
Joe Fier: It’s like a marketplace basically.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, it was a marketplace for photographers, basically.
Joe Fier: In your local area.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, it geo-targeted in your local area. I don’t even think the site’s alive anymore. We tried to look it up earlier and it wasn’t even loading. We built this with Jon and a team of other people, because we wanted this startup, we wanted another asset that would pay us dividends and that sort of thing in the business, and we worked with these guys to build this thing. Eventually we sold our shares to the rest of the guys in the company, they basically bought it back from us.
Joe Fier: They were super cool. Luckily it wasn’t a whole breakup thing where we all hated each other, which a lot of startups will go that route. Maybe we were in there for like six or eight months. We were there for a while. All the way to the launch, or maybe right before the launch. Luckily they were super cool because we just said “Hey, this is where we’re at. This isn’t really what we want to do.” We’re honestly dreading this whole startup culture now that we’ve been in it, because from the outside it kind of looks sexy with like “You can hang out with people.” It wasn’t like we were in Silicon Valley with pool tables everywhere. We were still in our house working. I think for us it was just so many meetings, so many people that we had to go through to make a decision, where we’re like “We can’t do this man.”
Matt Wolfe: For me the biggest problem with that business was that there was just too many cooks in the kitchen. We had an idea and if we wanted to implement it, we had to pass it by other people before we could implement it, and half the people might like the idea, half the people might not like the idea. It felt very difficult to push forward quickly because there was so much decision by committee. That’s just how the startup world works, it’s nothing against anybody we worked with. We still love all those guys.
For the way we’ve always worked with our internet businesses, it was always just go, go, go. When we wanted to build something we just built it, when we wanted to test something we’d test it, when we wanted to drive ads to something we paid the money and drove the ads. There was no decision process, we just went for it, and with this there was so many decisions, so many people that had opinions, so many different ideas, conflicting ideas, conflicting marketing strategies, and it just became tough for us so during this EGP 1.0 investing in Togally, it just became too difficult for us and it wasn’t the way we enjoyed working. So we basically went to them and said “Hey would you guys mind buying out our stake in this company?”
Joe Fier: Yeah, because we put some money in as well as being sweat equity. Luckily they were able to … I think it was like, I don’t know, a handful of a thousand bucks or whatever. At the time Matt and I were like “Shit, that really helps.” Anything that we can get out of it was great because for us we could give value but our hearts aren’t in it so it’s not the best approach. I think that was actually the end of … it was around the time … that’s when EGP-
Matt Wolfe: Those were kind of our last two projects with EGP right there was-
Joe Fier: EGP 1.0 was like no more after that huh?
Matt Wolfe: SurveyFunnel and Togally.
I think those two projects simultaneously happening and not ending the way we wanted them to end was kind of like “Okay, we’re done with this client work thing, we’re done with the agency thing.”
Joe Fier: That’s around the time I think I started working with Amish again. This time it was more of a role as a project manager/coordinator for the whole business, of his business. It was teaching a lot of meditation topics. It was infoproduct based, but it allowed me to learn. Whoa.
Matt Wolfe: I stepped on my dog. She’s fine don’t worry. She just likes to talk.
Joe Fier: It scared her.
That was my point where, I don’t know if this was me not working directly with Matt, and me like “Hey brother I’m not going to learn this list building shit.” For some reason I had a hard time really understanding list building in my brain. I was more of the hustle, and that’s the whole Hustle & Flowchart, this is where the name kind of stems from a little bit. I was like “No, I can figure out how to get more clients, I can make enough money doing that.” It’s very lifestyle-based-esque, but definitely not systemized.
It wasn’t until I really started working with Amish that we were dealing with four different online properties that I had to manage, that I had to systemize with things like a sauna, things with … he was on some CRM, it was like Infusionsoft or ONTRAPORT, but either way there were systems I had to start managing that I never was responsible for prior to that.
Then I was dealing with a company, I was making a lot more money than I ever have as well. Then I saw what was possible when you actually start creating these systems, and I’m like “holy shit” I don’t think I’m really that far away from doing this kind of stuff myself. With the stuff that Matt and I have done, knowing that he’s done a lot of infoproduct stuff, I’ve done a lot of this other creative work, client work in connecting, but now I’m syncing it all together in this product management role. It wasn’t what I wanted to do long term, but it was a good learning time. I wasn’t scared to … and it was hard, and a lot of it was that I needed the money at the time honestly. But it was I time when I was just like “I’m just going to get paid and learn.” Do really good work, but know that there is going to be an exit for me. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but it’s going to be bigger than I’ve ever been before in my previous businesses. That was around the time … What were you doing then?
Matt Wolfe: I sold Learn To Blog in 2015? No, 2014.
Joe Fier: You still had Learn To Blog around the time EGP 1.0 was going.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah. Learn To Blog was still running at that time. I was doing them both. That was actually sort of part of the falling out was my partner Bradley at the time wanted me to be all in all focused on Learn To Blog. I wanted to do some stuff on the side so I felt like I had more upside potential, more income so I was splitting my time between the two businesses.
I can’t remember if I sold in 2014 or 2015. Now I’m thinking it might have been 2014. No it would have been 2015. I sold it in February of 2015. When I sold Learn To Blog in 2015 I immediately went and partnered with Josh Bartlett at the time also. This was actually after EGP sort of phased out. You were working with Amish. We weren’t doing EGP stuff anymore. I sold my share in Learn To Blog, and then I partnered with Josh Bartlett immediately after that and we launched a series of products, and a podcast. We are Beyond The Hype podcast, we launched a product called FB Uncovered all about Facebook ads, and then we launched a product called VidForce all about how to make effective sales videos and that sort of thing.
That was in 2015 we did those. Josh went off to put more focus on his software business so we stopped making infoproducts together around the end of 2015 or so. I don’t think that stuff lasted a full year. I think towards the end of 2016 he went off to focus on building things like ThriveCart and to whatever his next video platform’s going to be, he started working on that a little bit more and we kind of split ways, completely amicably. We launched a couple infoproducts together, we never really had an official partnership together. We just partnered on some projects. We launched those two projects, he split off to go build ThriveCart and I split off and I built what was then called the Content Business Machine, but is now called the Evergreen Profits Masterclass.
Joe Fier: So you started doing your own infoproducts stuff. You did not only that course, but you had a bunch of other ones that you were doing. Training, I think you did a group training thing.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, I did some coaching. I had a $3,000 coaching package that I sold and that was one that I actually started selling over the phone so people-
Joe Fier: Which if you know Matt, he’s not a phone guy.
Matt Wolfe: I’m not a phone guy, no.
Joe Fier: But he made it work.
Matt Wolfe: I wanted to face my fears and-
Joe Fier: Make some money for-
Matt Wolfe: get outside my comfort zone, so what I started doing was mailing my list to an application, had them fill out this long application to see if they were a good fit for me, if they were a good fit I’d call them up on the phone, and then I’d close them on a $3,000 coaching package. I did that for a little while, while at the same time doing the Masterclass.
Joe Fier: Which by the way, that little method that Matt used, that’s exactly what Amish and I used to use to close big clients for the publishing business we had. He’d literally run webinars to his list, filter people out, sell them on this application, and then I would manage and work with the sales team and close them on the phone. You could totally do this in any niche you’re in.
Matt Wolfe: I launched a whole bunch of other little infoproducts during that time too. I had my Authority Insider, which was an online membership, which was very unfocused. Whatever I felt like talking about I’d record a video and put it in the member’s area. I did an email consulting package where for 50 bucks a month you had unlimited email access to me. I experimented with a whole bunch of that stuff and eventually just phased it out.
Joe Fier: So basically you were in like an experimentation phase.
Matt Wolfe: Very experimental. I tried ten different products at the time.
Joe Fier: The interesting thing here is, again, you were making money, getting paid to experiment, to face your fears, to sell this coaching that is still used to this day. You built this crazy foundation. I was on the other hand working with someone who was teaching me a lot. I was kind of facing my fears in a way because I’m not usually an analytical guy, so I was working in systems and numbers and CRMs and all that stuff. I’m more of a creative type, but I was getting paid through that. It was almost like this was still bubbling up, learning, learning.
I think that was around the time when I traveled to Chicago last year, 2016. I was still doing video work so I was still taking on clients at the same time, but Amish and I stopped working with each other. I just wanted to move on and focus more on the creative work, but also start building up my own thing with more of these systems. That’s when some opportunities popped up to get back into the client game, which was a very difficult discussion with Matt, because I knew I needed help personally because the client work wasn’t … I could do client work but a lot of it was involving stuff that wasn’t in my skill set. I could sell it, so what I was doing … This is a creative way to start a business.
I think we might have chatted about it a little bit, but we leveraged our friends. We knew that our friends had agencies, these were some local guys here in San Diego, and they had clients that were already paying them a lot of money, these are like billion dollar companies, but they needed stuff that we could provide. We provide creative work, videos, stuff like that but also email marketing, content marketing, paid ads and stuff. It’s stuff that these guys didn’t know how to do so they hired us. Through our connections they wanted to work with us and essentially we would leverage their agency, because they had clients already, and they would just send us the money, whatever we charged them. They would obviously tack that up to their client.
Matt Wolfe: So what they were doing is they were going to these clients that were like billion dollar companies, like literally billion dollar companies, and they would say, “We’ll do all your website building and maintenance and marketing and handle all this stuff. It’s going to cost you $50,000 a month to do it.” Then what we would do is we’d go to them and say “We’ll handle this, this, this, and this. These four things and we’ll charge you $5,000 dollars a month.” So we weren’t actually having to sell to the end client. The agency was selling packages and just including us in the package.
Joe Fier: We just made it very clear what we can create, and this was still a learning curve, we couldn’t package it up perfectly at first, but we ended up closing, I think about four of these types of clients with this partner of ours, the agency. They grew to know what we can provide. The clients all loved us. After we started working with them, a couple months in or so, they would be like “Dude, these guys are solid. We’re getting great results, more organic traffic, referral traffic, SEO, content’s on point, our email list is growing.” That was kind of our focus. We’ve talked about it in our webinars and stuff, we worked with The Brain Center, software companies, we’ve worked with supplement companies, all sorts of different companies, different niches but-
Matt Wolfe: MLMs, a couple MLMs actually.
Joe Fier: I don’t think that was through them though.
Matt Wolfe: It was during the same era, but it wasn’t sold through the agency.
Joe Fier: We got our kickstart again leveraging friends as agencies. I think that’s another takeaway that you could do. If you’re starting something and you want to break in to something new, leverage, don’t think you always have to sell to that end client. Obviously you got to provide value and give a need to whoever you’re partnering with, but there’s a lot of money to be had with just partnering. It doesn’t have to be an official partnership. This literally just like … I don’t think we even had an agreement. This was another stupid idea, but again it was a really good buddy so we just handshaked deal and he always took care of us. It was good, because we were able to pretty quickly become $20,000 a month in recurring retainers plus other random projects that popped along the sides.
Matt Wolfe: It was around this time after we had a handful of these clients that we actually said … we looked at all the stuff we were doing for these clients and we went “Okay we’re running content marketing for them, we’re running ads for them, we’re helping them grow their list, we’re writing the emails that go out to their list.” We’re putting a lot of effort into the marketing for these guy and they’re getting great results, and we’re making a flat 5,000 a month, so no matter how good we do, how much we grow their sales, we’re stuck at this retainer that we’ve already contracted with them at.
We can take a company from making $100,000 a month to a million dollars a month through our marketing skills, but because we have a contract with them that says we’re on $5,000 a month retainer, there’s no upside for us to grow them that far. Not that we’d ever stifle their growth because of what we make or anything. We just looked at it like the potential is not 100 percent there. Now what if we went down this path of doing exactly what we’re doing for all of our clients but did it as an affiliate instead of as a retainer?
So now what we’re doing is we were looking for products that we can get 40, 50 percent sales commissions on, and we would do the exact same things we’d do for our clients, but we would do it as an affiliate, we would build our own website as an affiliate and do all that same work but get commissions on it. This way now if we took a company to $100,000 a month to a million dollars a month-
Joe Fier: We’re getting 50 percent.
Matt Wolfe: We’re going to get 50 percent of that growth in our business.
Joe Fier: It’s a risk man. We had this realization, it wasn’t as if we acted immediately on it, but we definitely had that realization of “Holy crap, there’s so much upside we’re leaving on the table. We’re knowledgeable, we’re very capable, we’re connected.” Over these years we’ve made endless connections in the industry. Potential affiliate partners, we made connections, i.e., Josh Bartlett’s been a good one because we’ve been behind pretty much all of his products. Saying that, there was still a transitional period where it wasn’t like we were just like “Okay screw client work, let’s dive all in on this affiliate thing.”
There was this period where it was a struggle fest because it would be times of … It was around this time that we did start transitioning, but that’s when cashflow got pretty tight. We struggled to control the cashflow. Inherently, when you’re working with clients, and we could go all day on this, we won’t now, an EGP letter I’ve written a whole thing on this, but cashflow can kill a business in a heartbeat if you don’t have savings or back-up plans. Honestly, when you’re working with clients, you can’t control cashflow. You think you can control with retainers, but you’re not really in control.
Matt Wolfe: You can have these retainers, which just means they owe you the money, that doesn’t mean they’re going to pay you on time or that they’re going to pay you the full amount. We used to have to deal with client where they would say we’re going to pay you half today and half in 15 days when we get paid out by another client that we’re waiting for money on. We were spending our own money to build stuff, but we weren’t getting paid by the clients on the date they claimed they’d pay us on and we were playing debt collectors a lot and having to chase people up.
Joe Fier: That was my job. Half my week usually was making phone calls, sending emails, putting boomerang reminder emails in case they didn’t respond. I would still hit them back up. I got every cent that we were owed. I’m not even a bulldog. I think I just pestered them enough where they were just like “Alright, I know you did a great job. Here’s your money.” When they finally got it. That whole lesson put this burning hole in my freaking gut. It’s like “I know we’re capable of more. We have the knowledge. We’re well connected. I want to be in control.” We want to be in control of our money, our cashflow.
Matt bought a house in San Diego. I think at this time I was still in … no I came back, because I was only in Chicago for a few months, but we were renting, but either way we were still growing. My wife was growing her business too, separately. We were like “Man we need to start transitioning.” This was the time where a couple of these clients actually started dropping off from us. It wasn’t for us per se, it was actually the other stuff they were doing with the partner agencies. They just didn’t really have need for them anymore. Or, another thing, and this is another lesson for an agency owner, if you work with a big company who has a marketing manager, and if that marketing manager leaves, typically you’re fired. Your days are numbered, so if you ever see that your marketing contact, or whoever contact in the company has left, I would start looking for a new replacement. Also I’d try to save that client. That’s because you got to think, whoever’s coming in new usually had their different perception of things.
Matt Wolfe: Or they have their guys.
Joe Fier: They have their guys, their good-old-boys club that they’re going to send the project to unless you have dirt cheap pricing, which you don’t want to do obviously, we talked about that, then you’re out. That pretty much what happened, so it was cool because at this period, this was late 2016, probably this time last year.
It forced us to make this transition, and fortunately this is when some of our affiliate promotion started making money for is. It was still tight times because it was transitioning, but it allowed us to save some money to create these systems, like Matt talked about, in affiliate marketing. It’s worked out and that’s when EGP Letter was born.
Matt Wolfe: The EGP Letter overlapped with the client work a little bit, because when we first released the EGP Letter we basically released it as “Look we’re working with these clients, some of them are even billion dollar companies, we’re building all this stuff for them. Subscribe to our newsletter, and in this newsletter we’re going to show you the various things we’re doing for these massive companies. You’re going to learn from the things we’re creating and the results we’re getting from these massive companies.”
When we started the EGP Letter that was the basis of it. We’ve got our agency, and we’re going to teach what we’re doing in that agency.
Joe Fier: Over these years, and this is no joke, because we did tally up the numbers, and it basically amounted to $100 million that we helped generate. It’s not meaning that we generated that ourselves, we generated some of this, but that was for other clients we worked with. And like we were saying, we worked with multiple billion dollar companies. Obviously, it’s to move that needle, you can move it a little bit and still generate massive gains, but these are the types of strategies. We saw this potential and we were like “Dear God. If we can make this kind of money for all these clients why aren’t we getting paid anywhere near that.” We’re worth so much more.
Matt Wolfe: That’s where the EGP Letter came in, that’s where the EGP Masterclass came in, and that’s why we got out of the client work and started doing the same stuff we did for clients, but started doing it for affiliates instead. So now the business model today is, we’ve got our EGP Letter where we show exactly the very strategies we’re using to promote affiliate products on our own courses. We’ve got our own courses, you know a chatbot course, a masterclass, we’re working on an affiliate marketing course right now. We’ve got our courses, we’ve got our newsletter, and we’ve got our affiliate promotions. That is the entire business model.
The business from here looking forward, looking into the future, is all about collecting assets. It’s all about our next phase of Evergreen Profits is dabbling in real estate. We’re looking at a property in Estes Park, Colorado. We’re looking at a property up in Bozeman, Montana. We’re looking into purchasing properties around the country and using those for rental income.
Joe Fier: Anything assets. We can go various … So in the past year during all of this Matt and I have studied a lot with asset and wealth development as well and we kind of really honed back again on the original thing we opened up Evergreen Profits about and that was to build assets, but use business as a tool to build those assets. It’s not that this business is just going to exist and this is how we are going to make our money.
This money is going to be parlayed into other things that work for us. And create a cash flow so its things as lame sounding as like funding an IRA, that’s something that I’m ruthless about is maxing out my IRA every single year in Index Funds using Wealthfront like I highly recommend everyone to do that, at least check out Wealthfront because its sweet because you can start seeing your projection when you retire quote in quote retire. Maybe you’re 50 maybe you’re 66 or maybe your 70, whatever amount, but it give you a projection on what’s possible when you compound your money. But you can do that with any kind of asset you can compound that with real estates.
That’s what Matt when you start getting into real estate. We have a lot of partners that will invest with us.With real estate a lot of people feel like they need to have the money themselves for the down payment and then the monthly but its like “No” you literally don’t have to have any money up front if you partner with folks that have money and you provide more value and whatever the sweat is, or management of the property. People will partner with you. It’s us getting creative in how to build this wealth using EGP, what we’re doing as a tool. It’s been a game changer, and I think that this month is our best month we’ve ever had.
Matt Wolfe: Well, we’re only five days into the month. We’re recording this on September 5th?
Joe Fier: I believe so.
Matt Wolfe: This is September 5th obviously you probably know by now if you’re listening to this podcast we don’t record the day they go live. We’re recording this on September 5th, and five days into the month we’re on pace to have our best month ever.
Joe Fier: Right. I guess I was going to say the last 30 days has been our best.
Matt Wolfe: The best 30 day period, yeah, but September will be our best month we’ve ever had in business. Things are looking up and doing good. I think what we should do now just to wrap this thing up is I’m going to say my big lessons, my big takeaway from this whole journey, then you can share yours. They might be the same damn thing, but I’ll share mine.
Joe Fier: We’ll see.
Matt Wolfe: My biggest lesson, biggest takeaways from this journey we’ve been on is that you should have three focuses in business. Focus number one, connect and build true relationships with as many people as possible. What got us from point A to point B, where we are today, has been those relationships. It’s been my relationship with Joe, it’s been the relationship we built with Josh Bartlett, the relationship you built with Amish Shah, Bradley Will, the list goes on and on and on of all these people we’ve partnered with over the years. We’re partnered with Brad Spencer now, somebody we’ve talked to for years and years about partnering with. Everybody that we’ve had on this podcast are all people we have relationships. Jon Margalit, who we did Togally with, who knows freaking Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and people like that.
Joe Fier: He’s kind of a good guy to know.
Matt Wolfe: He’s a good guy to know. Point number one, build as many relationships and connections as you can, but strong relationships, like become friends with the people, not acquaintances, not just like “I know a guy who know a guy.” Build relationships with people.
Joe Fier: You know a good way to do that? This is what I do, and this not because I’m trying to hack it, but literally just send them a text message on their birthday. It’s something that sound stupid, but if you see them on Facebook saying like people wishing happy birthday. Text them. More often than not their going to text you right on back and you’re going to be top-of-mind, you’re breaking through that clutter, and you become more of a deeper friend because you’re thinking about them.
Matt Wolfe: So, that’s my number one takeaway.
Number two takeaway, try to accumulate knowledge and understanding of as much as possible, and a lot of times that doesn’t necessarily come from content. Accumulating knowledge and really trying to understand as much as possible often times comes just as much from those connections as it does from the content you consume. I would say I’ve probably learned way more business lessons over the years from the people I’ve worked with than from the books or blog posts or podcasts that I’ve consumed.
I’ve learned so much from people like Josh Bartlett who have talked to me about different pricing strategies and different design strategies for my website. Partnering with him and watching behind the scenes of him running a launch. Same with seeing what you and Amish have done. Same with working with Jon Margalit, who’s in that startup world. He’s not even in the internet marketing, marketing world that we tend to run in those circles. He’s in this completely different sort of Silicon Valley-esque startup world. So we’ve learned totally different lessons from that side of things.
We’ve got guys like Alan, who we’re working with now, who’s a big name real estate dude, and we’re learning all sorts of lessons from guys like him. So, build as many connections as you can, try to consume as much knowledge as you can and soak it all up and try to put all the pieces together and understand as much as you can.
Then the third lesson is, always be focused on assets. How do I add one more thing to my business that’s going to add a recurring revenue to my life. It doesn’t always have to be big, we’ll add stuff to our business that’ll generate an extra hundred bucks a month. We’ll add stuff to our business that’ll add an extra ten-thousand a month. How do I consistently find new assets to plug into the business that’s going to add an additional recurring revenue stream? How do I take that recurring revenue stream and parlay it into another asset? And, how do I take that recurring revenue stream and parlay it into another asset? And, how do I continue to collect and level-up my assets.
Those are my three biggest takeaways from this journey we’ve been on so far.
Joe Fier: That’s all. I’m just kidding.
Matt Wolfe: Three biggest. I didn’t say all. Biggest.
Joe Fier: No, those are pretty awesome. I agree with all those. I think what I would add is two things, really focus, I mean focusing, and once you focus on what you truly are confident in your path and knowing that this is the way and not … and literally putting the blinders on.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, being unwavering with it.
Joe Fier: Just trust the process. Know that shit’s going to get real, shit’s going to get rocky, it’s never going to be always easy. You might have really good easy feeling days, but don’t let off the gas because the second you do that you lose all kinds of momentum. Stick the course. Don’t give up when it gets tough, fight through, it’s true grit. Jon Margalit said that on his podcast as well. Those are the true players that get somewhere. It’s fight through those ups and downs. Literally it took us ten years to get to this point, where most people who want to start an online business will throw up a landing page and a sales page and run some traffic or ask people to promote their thing and think that it’s going to be the best thing ever and it flops. Makes a thousand bucks, and they still can’t pay for everything that month.
They expect it to just work because that how the marketing has hyped it up to be, and that’s bullshit. You might get lucky, but you’re not going to create a solid business that way. The true grit, putting in the work is necessary through the ups and downs, and focusing on that. I think Warren Buffett even has a quote that says “The truly wealthy and great entrepreneurs out there say no to more things than yes.” I think that was a big thing. We’re kind of yes-men, in a way, to projects. Well we were for sure.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, if you ever waved money in front of us we would-
Joe Fier: Opportunities are abundant and don’t just take them as they are. The last thing was taught to me by Amish Shah. This was one of those things where it wasn’t from a book, it was literally from his mouth and working with him is … He’s been in business longer than us. I think he’s been maybe 17 years now or more. He’s still a young guy too, but he’s landed himself on the Inc. 500 list twice. He’s done these crazy launches of eight plus million dollars at a time, but he’s said, like, his whole thing that he’s learned over the years is that you need to have really two style businesses or projects.
One is one that’s now. A now thing that’s going to pay the bills. So if that’s consulting, we did that for awhile. Just doing it for what we’re doing right now. Affiliate marketing was our now thing for awhile that was helping us grow our business. That led to the future business, so this is one that takes more time to develop. These are the two focus, the now thing and one that’s kind of future. The future one is the EGP Letter, because that’s a steady growth pattern, it’s recurring, it’s something that will … it’s almost tied up right now I’d say. It’s pretty close.
Matt Wolfe: This month it may pass it.
Joe Fier: Either way our main goal was EGP Letter is going to be our big thing. Affiliate marketing is also big, but it’s helped fund our growth for the letter. That’s my takeaway from Amish, and what I still think about all the time now with this focus is have something that pays the bills so you’re not stressing out but focus on that future growth, that exponential growth thing that you can control. That might take a year or two to develop, you never know, but it’s going to pay off if you stick to it. That’s it I have a lot more takeaways too but I think those are solid.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, you look at the EGP and what we’re doing now, and we’re on the verge of having the best month we’ve ever had in business and that is because of the consistency and focus. It was when we decided “Okay, this is what we’re doing. We’re going to create courses, we’re going to promote these affiliate products, and we’re going to write our EGP Letter every month and we’re going to focus on nothing else.”
We’ve had times where opportunities have presented themselves, I mean big opportunities, like five, potential six figure opportunities, and we’ve said “No. We’ve got to stay focused on this. We cannot diverge off this path.” It’s that thinking and that sort of being hardcore about it that has led to us about to have our best month ever with the Evergreen Profits Letter.
Another word of advice is don’t get discouraged if you find yourself getting off course and testing different things. We would of never figured out the business model we’re in now if we hadn’t had veered off in all sorts of directions and zigzagged all over the place and tested this model and tested that model and tested this model. It’s all of those veering off course that have led us to realize the ultimate business model that is perfect for us. We wouldn’t have figured that out if we hadn’t gone down some of those paths so you can’t really get discouraged by going one direction, feeling like you’ve failed, and then going in a different direction, because you’ll never learn if you don’t have some of those failures.
Joe Fier: It’s all learning so keep learning on the way. They’re all learning moments, not total failures. Just stay the path. I think that’s the biggest thing, and we hope to do a recap episode or maybe an update episode in a couple years.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, in a couple years we’ll have an episode called How We Turned Our Six Figure a Month Business Into a Seven Figure a Month Business.
Joe Fier: Yay. It’s on the path. Hopefully there’s a few things that you picked out of this. I know it went a little long probably.
Matt Wolfe: I think this is our longest episode yet, but you know what, it was cool reminiscing down memory lane.
Joe Fier: It was from popular demand.
Matt Wolfe: This was an episode that was asked for, so hopefully you got what you were looking for out of this episode, those of you that asked for it. I know that it was fun for us to do.
Joe Fier: Yeah, we dig it. I’m surprised we didn’t have a beer in front of us because that’s typically the case when we go down memory lane.
Matt Wolfe: Yeah, I don’t think I have beers-
Joe Fier: That would of been a much longer episode if we did.
Matt Wolfe: It probably would have turned into a longer episode with more rants.
Joe Fier: Double the length. Alright so we’ll see you next time, next week same old time same old place.