Today, I have my good friend Billy Murphy on the show. Billy runs the popular blog ForeverJobless.com which I highly recommend that you check out and he runs an excellent podcast there as well.
Billy is well known for the many businesses that he’s launched over years. He started an online poker training site in his early years, owned as many as 13 ecommerce stores and now has his own mini incubator for small businesses.
Billy’s a smart guy and there’s lots to learn from this interview. Enjoy!
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If you are interested in starting an ecommerce business, I put together a comprehensive package of resources that will help you launch your own online store from complete scratch. Be sure to grab it before you leave!
What You’ll Learn
- How to start a poker membership site
- How to create buzz for your business
- How Billy got national coverage for his online poker site
- How Billy tapped into existing communities to gain his early customers.
- The right criteria to use when buying an ecommerce store
- How to market an ecommerce store
- How Billy got traffic to his stores early on
- The multiples involved when buying an ecommerce business
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)
- The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime.
- How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets
Also as part of running this podcast, I’m constantly running contests and giveaways. Every single month you will have the chance to win a 30 minute one on one private consultation with me.
For more information go to mywifequitherjob.com/contest, and while you are on my site be sure to sign up for my free newsletter, where I will teach you the exact steps that my wife and I took to make over $100,000 in profits, in the first year of running our business with our online store. Now on to the show.
Welcome to the ‘My Wife Quit her Job’ podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suites your lifestyle so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host Steve Chou.
Steve: So today I have a very special guest, and his name is Billy Murphy. Billy and I met at the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. But actually that wasn’t the first time that we started chatting, before that I think he actually just randomly contacted me and emailed me on the blog and asked me to Skype chat essentially.
And usually when that happens, I actually don’t normally just randomly chat with strangers, but I noticed immediately that there was kind of something different about Billy. And so after stalking him online for little bit, and just kind of figure out what he is up to and that sort of thing. You know I stumbled upon an interview that he did for eventual millionaire, which is run by Jimmy Tardy, and you know I found out that he’s a pretty accomplished entrepreneur. And I said, ‘You know, what the heck’, let’s just have a quick Skype chat.
And ever since that first chat, I’ve learned that you know Billy is just an amazing person, and an amazing entrepreneur, and I was very lucky to have been able to connect with him. So, just a very brief introduction, of all the entrepreneurs that I know, Billy seems to be living the life. He has many profitable businesses, and he spends a lot of time travelling, going to conferences, and meeting other like-minded entrepreneurs. And so today we’ll get a chance to hear his story first-hand about how he started all of his various businesses, and what he is up to in the present day. So Billy welcome to the show, and thanks for coming on.
Billy: Definitely, thanks a lot for having me, awesome intro.
Steve: Yes, so you know for all those people who don’t know about you and your background, do want to just give a quick background story of what you’ve been up to, and just kind of give a brief overview about all of your businesses. I know you have a whole bunch, so…
Billy: Sure, I guess the quick background would be necessarily is a professional poker player, did that for about four years, and then you know noticed a need in the poker space for trainings. So basically started a poker training company which we taught people through video based membership site, how to play profitable poker.
And from there, I guess in 2011, I started buying and studying e-commerce stores, and ended up with maybe 15 or 20 of them. They were all very, very small, but the combination of them was a pretty cool business. And then I guess in the last six months or so, I’ve started investing and advising in kind of small niche businesses, and then I obviously talk about a lot of this stuff on ’Forever Jobless.’
Steve: So ’Forever Jobless’ is your blog, right?
Steve: Okay, yeah so I kind of wanted to focus a little bit about kind of what started all of this for you and so I understand that ‘The Blue Fire poker’ site was your first money maker, is that accurate?
Billy: Yes, that was the first real business, I guess before poker I had done a ‘sports card company’, but it was more kind of less business and more just kind of a hustling side venture, I guess.
Steve: Okay, so it wasn’t like scale wall, and so ‘Blue Fire Poker’ was your first scale wall business that…
Billy: Yeah, it could have been scale wall but I didn’t know how to do it back then, I was like seventeen or something like that.
Steve: Oh wow, so you started really early, that’s pretty cool. So how did you come up with the idea for ‘Blue Fire Poker’ initially?
Billy: I was a player for years, I played full time for four years, but before that, I had been playing for years in college. And there was a lot of sites already doing what we were doing, but we felt that there were lower I guess higher quantity and lower quality than we thought the market needed. And so basically we started in January 2009, and just did very few videos, but very high quality videos and then focused exclusively on one specific game to start with which was ‘Cash Games’.
Steve: So were you recording these videos yourself or did you get other people to them?
Billy: No, yeah, it was all done by other people, and still up to this day I mean we have– I think right now we have a good dozen people doing the videos for us.
Steve: Okay, so are these big name people that you’ve been making videos with?
Billy: They were in the past, I guess you know some of them were pretty big names. Today, it depends, I mean online poker rides are big names.
Steve: Okay online poker I see, I see so this isn’t like World Series of poker, this is more focused on the online poker audience?
Billy: Yeah, 100% online.
Steve: Oh okay, okay I get that. So you know what were some of your motivations for starting your business? Was it to make a lot of money? Was it to live the lifestyle that you wanted to? Can you just give us an idea what, kind of what was going through your head when you first decided to start ‘Blue Fire Poker’?
Billy: Sure, yeah I mean as a poker player it was a good lifestyle, but it was still a job, and so my goal for starting a business was– you know I had the capital from poker built up then, you know I had a nice runway, so I could try and start a business. And you know if it didn’t work you know just go back to poker, but I really wanted something that could run without me having to work to make money. And you know something that could be automated and scaled up, so obviously as a poker player or in any job, it is a lot tougher to scale your job. I mean you really can only scale up by the hours you work, for the most part, or making a slightly higher hourly rate, but with a business you can scale up and leverage it in a lot of different ways. So that was the goal.
Steve: So everything is on the web, is that correct?
Billy: Yes, 100%.
Steve: So, you know what sort of experience did you have before hand in terms of designing websites and that sort of thing? And how did you, you know if you weren’t tech savvy, how did you overcome that?
Billy: So I didn’t have any experience to design or to develop, I still don’t. So any of the design and development stuff I have always outsourced. That project in particular was very, very difficult. I think we hired an Indian development company for like $16,000 to do the site, and it was a nightmare. I mean it was something that was supposed to take about maybe three months, and it ended up taking nine. They were just– You know I don’t know if you’ve worked with a lot of developers. It was just one of those situations where you get stuck with someone that you wish you hadn’t gotten stuck with.
They kind of, communication was really difficult because if you tell them you need one thing, you know they’ll give you word for word what you asked for, but it is completely different than if you communicated that on the same level. So if you say, “Hey, I need a button on this page to do this”, they’d give you a page with a huge, huge button over all of this page. So it was one of those things where it was just completely– the whole project was a nightmare, but finally it got done, about nine months later.
Steve: Interesting, so these people were in India, and so did you go on a website to find them, or how did you find them again?
Billy: Yeah, I used E-lets.com.
Steve: E-lets, okay. So if you were to do it all over again, how would you have proceeded differently in terms of the website design?
Billy: I would either have well– so I don’t know if you know Stu McLaren. So he runs ‘WishListMember’, and I probably would have gone with something like that, that’s more of an out of the box solution. At the time I didn’t even know there were things like that out there. Maybe it was not out there at the time, I’m not sure, and this was about five or six years ago.
I probably would have gone with something out of the box to make it a lot easier to start up. If not I probably would have gone in the US or Canada, or somebody that speaks the same language, because it was just so difficult to communicate, even when we thought they knew exactly what we were asking, lots of time they would give us something completely different back and so I think that added a lot to the times.
Steve: You know that’s actually very interesting because you read around and outsourcing to other countries was kind of all the rage. And what you don’t really hear about is yu know all the difficulties in dealing with time zones, cultural impacts, and that sort of thing. So it is really interesting to hear your experience and the fact that you would actually go within the US for your next project.
Billy: Yeah, I mean it’s one of those things that in theory, it sounds great right, I mean a lot of these the overseas companies charge a third or a fourth of what you pay in the US, but at the same time it’s just so much more hassle and frustration. For me at least, personally I would stay for the most part in the US and Canada now.
Steve: And Just for the benefit of the readers, Billy mentioned a plugin called ‘Wish List Member’. And it’s actually a plugin for WordPress, and WordPress is a very popular content management system, and in conjunction with WordPress and Wish List Member, you can easily create a membership site out of the box for a very small amount of money.
So, how did you get some of your early customers, a lot of times people launch– I know when I launched my store, it launched to no customers. So how did you guys get people in the door, in the beginning.
Billy: So the poker community is relatively small, when I say small I more mean, there’s only a number of forums and blogs, and new sites, and things like that. So it is a pretty rabid community. So when we launched, we got a lot of traction in the forums earlier on, from people who wanted to see our press videos. And then probably– I don’t know if it was a month in or two months in, we were able to get featured on’Fox News’. And so we did that by– we challenged Obama to a game of poker, and the reason was, so there was legislation in the news at the time where they wanted to try and you know ban poker. And one of the big arguments was, whether poker was a game of skill or a game of luck.
And so you know I made the challenge and offered a million dollars if he could beat one of our pros. And so ‘Fox news’ picked it up, they aired it, and obviously we didn’t get a lot of traction from or a lot of business from ‘Fox News’ itself, but what happened was that created a huge buzz in online. Poker was new because we’d just launched, and then we had just this little training site that a lot of people hadnt heard of yet, and we were on national news. And so it helped kind of jump start us in the poker media.
Steve: So walk me through that a little bit. So how does ‘Fox News’ find you? Where did you publish this information or this contest?
Billy: So I can’t remember, I think we put it on our home page, where we started putting it out there and I think I would literally stay up and email any and every media contact I could find. You know I didn’t really have a good research at the time to do– I had hired a PR guy to kind of help, and he had some contacts and so I would send him. This was like, I think this was like our second or third idea that I tried, other ones just flopped. Like I had an idea at the time– this was 2009, so you know the economy was horrible at the time, you know lots of people were losing their jobs and all that. And one other promotion that I thought was going to do really well, that if people like scanned us over or faxed us over or whatever or that their debit sheets from getting fired, we were going to train them to become professional poker players.
So that, things like that almost got picked up and then they just never did, and this one just happened to hit. So it was a lot of like trial and error, I think this was probably like our third one that we tried to get picked up.
Steve: So it is a lot of leg work that you guys did earlier on, right?
Billy: Yeah, it took a lot of time to try and get it on national news, yeah.
Steve: Yeah, so you know walk me through your interactions on the forums actually. So we actually did a lot of forum marketing with our online store early on. And I actually ended up getting banned multiple times from like, the wedding forums and that sort of thing, because I was a little too promotional. So I was just wondering if you could talk about your approach in regards to forum marketing.
Billy: So I think early on, I don’t think we made any initial post, but we had friends that mentioned our launch, and then it enabled us to have an opportunity that you know if somebody asked a question or made a comment like we keep that and go in, and answer questions and whatever. So we actually didn’t start the promotion, but you know we just launched and kind of put it out there to right people, and said– you know we asked other people like, “Hey, would you mention this.” And other people mentioned it, and once they mentioned it, it kind of took a life of its own, then everybody started buzzing about it. Then we would hop in and chat about it, and I think the moderators or the owners at one of the forums did that. We had you know threads going on– actually wanted us to do a sponsorship or something like that, to be able to talk in the threads because there was so much buzz about it that we were geting. They wanted to be, I think, paid for, compensated for the promotion that we were getting in there.
Steve: Wow! That’s really cool. So it was all free publicity in the beginning.
Billy: Yes, 100% free.
Steve: So that implies that you already had kind of contacts within this community, and this is probably from the fact that you used to play online poker, is that…
Billy: Yeah, I had been in the community for, in total, probably you know eight years or so at that point, so it was– you know becausse I started playing in college, and then started playing professionaly a little bit after college. So we knew a lot of guys in the community, so not only me, but other guys making videos for us, all knew guys in the community.
Steve: Okay, that’s cool. So you got a pretty big bump-up during your launch, and then ever since then how have you been promoting it? Do you use pay-per-click services? Do you do Facebook Ads, or anything along those lines?
Billy: No, we actually a lot of this is still word of mouth or referral. For poker stuff we actually can’t do Adwords, so they won’t let you do any advertizing on Google. I think you can on Facebook, we haven’t tried any I know. You know I’ve talked to some other guys who have, but for the most part word of mouth, referral, we do some promotions, and we have a huge email list at this point.
We do some promotions through our email list sometimes. We have some affiliates, but affiliates make up a very, very tiny part of our business. There is just not a lot of people with poker related sites that will promote training sites, because a lot of times the larger affiliate sites are people who kind of have their own deals, like poker rooms and things like that, who have their own training.
Steve: So is Google search a factor at all?
Billy: Yeah, we definitely get some from search. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I’m sure, I mean, we’ve had blogs and forums and all that for over five years now. So we get a decent amount of search result, but it’s not– we don’t make a big focus on SEO. There’s not a lot terms you know people would search like, ‘how to play professional poker’ and things like that. It’s more of a– the people would know about us and would sign up for us, and more within the poker communities.
Steve: I see so it sounds like you are most valuable marketing channel, at least, is your huge list and then all the various content that you have on your site that’s for free, which in turn kind of influences people to want to sign up for the full blown course. Is that right?
Billy: Yeah, exactly. We have so we’ve got over a thousand videos on the site, and each video has like got two minute free trials. So, if you want to sign up, you can actually watch the video, and then it will stop at the two minute mark in the video, and a screen will pop up and ask you if you want to see the rest of it you just have to sign up.
Steve: That’s very clever, so you give them a little teaser, a little appetizer.
Billy: Yap, exactly.
Steve: So you know how long did it take before your business started gaining traction, and you started actually making profits with this business?
Billy: Right away, within 24 hours we were profitable.
Steve: Wow! That is amazing, and this is just straight from all the buzz that was generated from your ‘Fox News’ promotion and your forums.
Billy: Yeah, well at that point, I mean, a day in we hadn’t gotten on ‘Fox’ yet, but it was mainly just forums, blogs, news sites, and obviously we kind of take the golden news sites and try to get them to talk about it. But a lot of them that were just – again because the poker community is so small we’d pick it up from the forums. A lot of the poker news sites go to the forums for their news.
So they would pick it up and talk about it, and so it was one of those things where we brought a lot of money right away, and keep in mind it is not just for that day, it’s a lot of people signing up for one month memberships, or six months memberships. So you know I guess in theory we were profitable after one day, but we still had to earn the money over the memberships.
Steve: Oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So you know once you obviously spent a whole bunch of time getting the site up, and then getting all the initial content up. But once everything was up and running, can you kind of describe what the day to day was like, once everything was actually launched?
Billy: Most of the day to day for me was just more of marketing. I mean I was trying to talk to more news sites, talk to other poker sites, even our competitors. We’d try to join the joint ventures, or cross promotion, with you know trying to keep people active on other forums, they would find our site, trying to get videos in from pros, looking for more pros once we decided to expand, keeping the blogs and forums active, all that kind of things. So it was a lot of mostly marketing on my part, trying to expand it.
Steve: Okay and at what point– so how much time do you actually spend on the site today?
Billy: Today not a lot because I have someone kind of running, you know they handle all our support, video uploads and the pros make the videos. So I don’t really spend much time on a day to day basis these days.
Steve: And how long did it take you to get to that point where you could actually be really be hands off with your business?
Billy: It’s hard to say. You know we started over five years ago, and I think, at least the first year or two, I was doing a heavy marketing push. We had a support person in there to handle the emails and stuff, but for the most part most of my job was to make sure that we got more customers, and kind of the business strategy and things like that. So I would say this, at least for the last several years it hasn’t taken much time on a day to day basis, outside of obviously the marketing stuff.
Steve: And how many people does it take to run this operation.
Billy: So in terms of employees really just one.
Steve: That’s amazing.
Billy: Yeah, but we obviously have pros, probably like a dozen right now, maybe even more, making videos for us, but they make like two videos a month. And so it’s just you know whenever they are scheduled to make a video, they get their video in and then we have a support person who– he knows the emails and just making sure that the pros get their videos in and things like that.
Steve: Okay cool. Yeah, so that’s really interesting how you started that whole membership site with poker. I would like to kind of switch gears at this point, and kind of talk about some of your experiences in terms of e-commerce. So e-commerce is my main thing, so it is just interesting to hear some of your experiences with your stores. So do you want to just give a brief overview about some of your most successful stores that you’ve owned?
Billy: Sure, I guess I started I guess we’ll start with the first one I bought, was the organic baby furniture store, and it was our flipper. It was making, I think was like 900 or 1000 bucks a month and I ended buying it for like $4000 which [cross talking] [00:20:43] at the time.
Steve: That’s amazing.
Billy: Yeah, that was– even now I still don’t understand how I got it so cheap, but I think if I had to buy it now for like $6000, and so you know I was just learning, I had friends in e-commerce so I knew a little bit from them. But I would ask them, why is this so cheap, it doesn’t make sense, and they didn’t know why it was so cheap. And so I called the seller, found out she had to sell really quick, she wanted to buy something else, and we negotiated down to $4000.
And so everybody in the comments was trying to figure out what was wrong, there must be something wrong if she was listing so low. And so as soon as she bumped to buy down on to $4000, I just instantly bought it, and ended up getting a great deal. I just wired over the money right away, and it made its money back right away, I mean it was just you know it took four months or so, but made its money back. And so that was kind of the first store that I bought.
The second one, that was actually kind of started about the same time, but it was started from scratch. I had a French pastry store, and this was probably ended up being probably one of my better stores. This one I started just doing SEO, I would just buy links, buy link packages, hire someone to do SEO and basically slowly started making sales. I mean, a couple of months in, I get sporadic sales a couple of times a week. Slowly picked up and then probably six months to a year in, that was one of my best businesses. I mean we had months where we were making a few thousand dollars which isn’t a lot but I was playing more of the quantity game starting a lot of the stores.
So I ended up selling that store last year in a small package, I think there was maybe like three stores in that package, and started it like a couple of hundred dollars and we sold it for $68,000 last year. And so that was you know it was– that was probably the best– definitely the best in terms of I didn’t take much money to start and ended up selling for a pretty good amount of money but obviously I had flops as well. I mean I bought– you know I remember buying a store for $15,000 and literally like a week or two later, one of the big Google updates came and just lost all our traffic.
Steve: Oh, man!
Billy: So I mean there is the downside of it too that hurt. You know you buy that for $15,000 and then you are making 200 bucks a month, and you don’t know what happened. So that was definitely a wakeup call that, “Hey, it isn’t that easy to just buy a bunch of stuff and basically print money, which is what we thought we were going to do for a while.
But we scaled up pretty quick. I mean I bought and started fifteen to twenty, over like eight or nine month period. We went from like I think the first month we did like three K in revenue to yu know forty to forty-five K in revenue, probably eight or nine months later. But we were doing all drop ship and so the margins were pretty tight. So you know even if you’re doing forty to forty-five K in revenue, it’s like maybe you have a margin of like ten to twelve K something like that so it was… If I could go back in time, I would have definitely done what you did and basically you know giving product you’ve made yourself, make your own brand, get bigger margins, because we basically had a 100% rely on SEO, whereas we couldn’t make sales because we couldn’t buy media with you know we can’t buy Adwords with the small margins of drop ship.
Steve: That’s actually an interesting point. So from what you just said your margins were on the order of 20% – 25%, is that accurate?
Billy: Yeah, for the most part, I mean it would vary, but you know some stores like actually the French pastry one. Part of the reason we did pretty well was we had slightly bigger margins, so I think we were in the forties for that one, and so we actually could buy some advertising for that. And so all the other ones though we tried and you know we got to like break-evenish, and I’m sure if we’d spent a lot of time we could have gotten profitable, it was the type of thing that you are squeaking out an extra 5% margin after paying Adwords and stuff, it didn’t really interest us because we were in tiny niches.
Steve: Were there comparison shopping engines, and like Google matching center, I think they were around back then, did you guys give those a try or anything?
Billy: Yeah, we tried them we never got a ton of sales, I think we got a handful of sales, but we never got a lot of them from our products
Steve: Okay, so the macaroon site was just purely SEO, and then what about the organic furniture store, was that SEO as well?
Billy: Yap, 100% SEO.
Steve: Okay, amazing. So if you were to do it all over again, given that Google has made all these changes in the past two years, how would you do things differently in terms of customer acquisition and that sort of thing, based on what you’ve experienced in the past?
Billy: So if I was starting today I would definitely take more time and more money upfront to create a product. And not necessarily even create a product, I mean there are ways around it where you cannot be seen white label someone else’s product and just kind of stick a brand on there. But I would definitely do whatever it took to get the margins, you know at least 50%, obviously if you go overseas a lot of times you can get anywhere from 50% to 70%. Some people get even higher, but I would definitely spend the time and money to do that, and then I will spend all other time trying to acquire traffic, and then obviously through media buys, through Adwords, through Facebook advertising, all of that.
I mean there is a lot of untapped media channels, and I am not an expert on it because I have never done it, but I have talked to a lot of people who have. And a lot of people are killing it on buying advertising on sites that earn on Google because everyone knows about Google Adwords.
So everyone buying media is kind of you know they are reaching the point where it’s– I don’t want to say it’s efficient, because obviously people are making profit, But it’s as efficient as you could get because most of the people are trying to advertise there. So there are a lot of channels, like I know people who’ve done really well on Facebook and other forms of advertising that people are just getting used to buying a lot of advertising on, that I would probably spend a lot of time just figuring out where you can make a profit and just scale those media or buys up.
Steve: Interesting, you know what I like about your experience is that you’ve actually chosen to buy all of your stores, whereas I have always had the philosophy to just kind of building my own from scratch and just kind of very gradually building something up. Can you just kind of walk me through, what was on your mind on whether you should buy and how you made the decision to buy versus just start something from scratch?
Billy: Sure, part of that reason was that I was trying to– I had a bunch of money I wasn’t doing anything with, and part of it was two I wanted this to be a passive business. And so I didn’t want to actually do a lot of the scaling up and running the stores and all that stuff. So actually from, almost from day one I had someone who was handling customer service, handling orders, and a lot of dealing with the suppliers and all that.
And so basically, I figured if I bought more and more sites I’d give them more jobs to handle where if I had them started from scratch we couldn’t do a lot at one time. We could slowly start with one store and basically I would be paying them but not having an income from the site yet, because they wouldn’t be making the money yet.
So I almost treated it like in some sense less like a business and more kind like a fund, where I know I can buy a store, I just kind of place into a collection of other stores and it would keep running smoothly. So that was the idea, so obviously it was less of a hail out start-up, really big business and more like, “Hey, there is a bunch of stores you can buy at low multiples”.
Because most of the stuff, obviously we didn’t get as many good deals like the baby store, but there was plenty of deals where we got where we bought for one year income. So if we get to buy a store for $10,000 and makes 1000 bucks a month, and you just kind of plug it in and your goal is to have it obviously at least make a thousand bucks a month. You can make your money back in a year on those so that was the idea.
Steve: Just a side question about just buying sites in general, so what are some of the things you look for outside of just the regular stuff like revenue and profit. Do you actually look at how they acquire their customers? Can you just kind of walk me through some of the things that you look for in a good buy?
Billy: Sure, so I looked at yeah well you know I want to take it back– I look at their analytics, site go, through the analytics I get access, I do want to look at their back end of the store to make sure the owners came through. I do want to look at– obviously if it is a bigger store you try and get bank statements to make sure that you know everything’s legit and not just showing thick orders or anything like that.
But in terms of what you look for, you want it to be– I mean whether it’s on an uptrend or a down trend, you want to figure out why that is. Did something happen in the industry, you know why is it? Is the whole industry turning up or down or just their business? If it is their business, what did they do to create it, is that sustainable? So in other words, if they had some PR campaign and their traffic’s by choosing out of first sales, is it just going to drop off in a month?
And so you know where they may make it seem like, “Hey, look our business is growing.” And if you took a look and just really ask the right questions where, it is a huge traffic spike last year that caused a bigger income boost, and now they are selling based on that multiple, including that income in that multiple, so you want to make sure that you are not buying something that’s going to be obviously at a lower multiple, unless you put a ton more work in. So those type of things where, did they get a Google hit, did they– and I’m sure, you know I’m not really an SEO expert, so if there was anything related to SEO stuff in there, I would probably ask someone else to check it out for me and so…
Steve: So just curious, what are some of the common multiples for e-commerce stores, at least in terms of what you’ve experienced?
Billy: And this is really broad, but so at least for me it was– when sites are very small, let’s say $20,000 or less, lots of times they sell for very low multiples, like for the most part I’d say ten months to eighteen months. Obviously some sell higher, some sell lower, but for the most part that was the range. Then you look at, if sites are…
Steve: Is this self-revenue or profit?
Steve: Profit, okay.
Billy: And then the bigger sites– it’s been a while since I looked at it, but I know the bigger, let’s say 50,000 plus you know 50,000 to 150,000 stores are selling more on the lines of like eighteen months to three years income. Three years is obviously on the higher end, but then even the higher and the higher you get, which seems like if you did the opposite, the higher you get will be low multiples. But it seems like the higher you get there are just more buyers, more people with money that can actually pay higher multiples. This is what it seems.
Steve: And it probably kind of makes sense, their sales and traffic are probably more stable I would guess, once you are larger as well.
Steve: So that’s actually a good lead into kind of your newest project which is from what you were telling me, like a little micro incubator for businesses.
Billy: Yeah, so I just started doing this probably about five or six months ago. I made the first deal with a couple of guys who wanted to start a design company. So basically the gist of what I am doing is, there is a lot of I guess younger entrepreneurs for the most part that have a good idea or have a current business that’s doing pretty well and they need either funding, and to advice to kind of help get it to the next level.
And so what I’m doing is basically finding businesses that I think have the potential to be really successful. And you know I don’t get involved in the operations very much unless they need help. But for the most part they run the business, they do all the operations, and then I fund them, give the money to scale the business, and then kind of help them to strategize, help them make connections that will help them grow, and just help give them a bigger network and any others. There’s two of them that I’m doing right now, looking in a couple of other ones, but there is just, there is a design company right now and an e-commerce store that I’m doing.
Steve: Cool that’s pretty exciting stuff. So by operating this way you kind of get a large variety of businesses that you get exposure to, and so I think that is pretty cool. And this is all funded from the money that you’ve been earning just kind of from ‘Blue Fire Poker’ possibly, is that kind of accurate.
Billy: Yeah, I mean from playing poker, and Blue Fire and e-commerce stuff, yeah, just had money to invest.
Steve: Cool, so given all of your experiences, what advice would give to some of the newer entrepreneur, some of the people who actually are just starting out or want to start a business?
Billy: I guess the biggest piece of advice that I always tell people is, “Listen to those you aspire to be like, and ignore everyone else.” It’s just one of those things that there is a lot of people, I guess, giving a business advice that are true in business and it is a lot easier, you know, someone who wants to start e-commerce stores obviously if they followed you, they’d probably end up doing pretty well.
But then there is a lot of people that you know a lot of new entrepreneurs don’t know who to follow and so they end up listening from advice from like a hundred people at the same time. And so it tends to be pretty difficult to know which direction to go. I would say, a lot of people don’t need a lot of capital to start. A lot of people think I’ve got to stay in a job or just do whatever it takes to make a lot of money, and then I can start my first business.
I think capital helps, but I think just having knowledge helps a lot more. So if they’re getting a mentorship or just actually trying to execute the business and learning from mistakes and then asking for advice once you hit those mistakes. I think that helps a lot more than just kind of waiting on the side for a long time to start a business.
Steve: So you mentioned a whole bunch of different sources there, so I imagine you read a lot of books, is there a particular book that kind of influenced you one way or the other?
Billy: I’m trying to think. There is a lot of good books, I read a lot of books, obviously most people read this one, so it is probably not a great recommendation, but obviously ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ is a good book for a lot of people, but it is more very, very, very passive. And the one thing people get confused over ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ is, you know they think you start with the ’Four 4-Hour Workweek’, which is a lot of people get into trouble doing that, a lot of times it takes up you know 40-hour work weeks or 80-hour work weeks to basically create a 4-hour work week. But I think that book is a good idea of the lifestyle you can have.
There are other books you know my buddy MJ wrote ’The Millionaire Fastlane’, I think that’s a really good book for people who want to learn how to make large amounts of money and hear what it takes to do so. There is a book called, ’How to Get Rich’ by Felix Dennis, and it’s really good. This guy is a, I think he is a billionaire, and just wrote a book on you know I know that the title sounds kind of scamy, ‘How to Get Rich’ but it’s actually a really, really good book, from a guy who is really rich. I like that book a lot, it’s just kind of he just gives a really broad and honest look at about what it took, and kind of what it’s like. Yeah, this is a couple off the top of my head.
Steve: So, you also mentioned finding a mentor, how do you go about finding a mentor?
Billy: For me, I guess I haven’t had mentors other than just reading a lot from people who’ve written books that are on forums. But for me, I didn’t know where to go at the time, so we just kind of stalk people on forums. And so if there was someone who seemed like they knew what they were doing, I would literally read every single post. So, I mean if someone wrote 2000 posts on a forum, I would read 2000 posts that they wrote. And then I would go to that person and I would say, “Hey, you know you wrote a post like two years ago, and you said this. Why would you do it that way instead of this way?” And I would ask like you know pretty in-depth questions so they knew that I wasn’t just wasting their time and kind of I wasn’t asking them like, “Hey, how do I get rich” type of questions, it was more very specific things and they could tell I’d done my homework, and so, a lot of those people would write me back. They’d give me really good answers.
Steve: And then you would ask to talk with them on Skype.
Billy: Yeah exactly.
Steve: I see a pattern here.
Billy: Exactly, and actually MJ was one of those guys. He used to post back, and this was a long time ago, probably a decade ago, but back on the rich dad forums. And so I would just read all of his posts, and there were probably five or six guys there and I read all of their posts. And then now these days I’m friends with them. We got to know each other through like meet-ups and going to the same conferences and things like where you know back in the day I would just– I didn’t know anything yet, and I would just ask a lot of questions.
Steve: Cool, yeah that’s really good to know. I think being really ingratiated within some sort of entrepreneurship community would greatly help out anyone who is interested in starting a business. Yeah, so I thought I’d just wraps up, we’ve been talking for quite a while. I just want to thank you Billy, do you want to just go ahead and talk about some of the sites and where people can find you online?
Billy: Yeah, definitely. My blog is ForeverJobless.com. I post a couple of times a month. I try and post a couple of times a month on Forever Jobless. I am actually launching a podcast, probably by the time this airs it might be up. I don’t know what it is going to be called, probably something forever jobless. So those are the main two places they can find me on.
Steve: Cool, sounds good. Hey thanks a lot Billy.
Billy: Awesome, thanks Steve.
Steve: All right, take care.
Here is what I like about Billy, the guy knows a ton of people, and he is an excellent networker. And every single time that I chat with him, I learn something new, and he has a ton of great insights and ideas, and in fact the idea of running a podcast contest was his idea, not mine. I just merely took it to improve the overall rankings for my podcast.
For more information about this episode, go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode12, and while you are on the site, be sure to sign up for my free newsletter, where I’ll teach you the exact steps that my wife and I took to make over a hundred K in profit in our first year of business with our online store. Thanks for listening.
Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast, where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com.