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How Michael Jackness Bought, Grew, & Sold an ECommerce Business for Multiple 7-Figures Via SEO


Wanna hear tips on how to use your SEO prowess to grow a multi-million dollar eCommerce business?

Michael Jackness joins the Niche Pursuits podcast today to tell host Jared everything he did to buy, grow, and sell an Amazon FBA and Shopify store in 3 years. 

They dive into a ton of awesome points that are crucial for success in this endeavor. 

And to illustrate the effectiveness of SEO in growing the store, Michael shares his personal experience. 

He transformed a 100% Amazon business with a minimal website presence into a successful e-commerce brand across organic search and Shopify. With the Shopify store reaching 20% of the business, significantly increasing the overall enterprise value when it came time to sell.

His strategy involved thorough keyword research, focusing on terms with decent search volume, low keyword difficulty, and strong buyer intent (he shares some awesome tips you don’t want to miss).

Of course, creating high-quality content is key to turning this plan into a reality, though. 

And luckily, he doesn’t give a vague explanation of what that means. 

He highlights the importance of hiring writers and a graphics person to produce original and engaging content for the website – including discussing how powerful Midjourney has become.

The use of AI in content creation and social media marketing is also mentioned. And he discusses how AI can assist in generating content ideas, optimizing content for search engines, and automating social media marketing tasks. 

However, he expresses concerns about increasing competition and the potential impact of AI on the e-commerce industry. 

As more businesses adopt SEO strategies, the competition for top rankings becomes fiercer. And, of course, the rise of AI may disrupt traditional SEO practices, requiring businesses to adapt and stay ahead of the curve.

Overall this is an important discussion with tips to help a business of any kind improve its SEO and enjoy the profits that come along with it. 

Watch The Interview

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Topics Michael Jackness Covers

  • His history of entrepreneurship via SEO
  • Getting into sites in 2004
  • Shifting from affiliate to eCommerce in 2013
  • His latest success story
  • Growing organic traffic to the store
  • Breakdown of the strategy
  • Planning in quarters
  • Where the business was at the time of sale
  • Improving multiple by diversifying traffic
  • Keyword research and content planning
  • Using buyer intent scoring
  • Tips for identifying info topics with buyer intent
  • Supporting articles
  • Tips for readable, skimmable content
  • Content that attracts links
  • AI content
  • Concerns for the future
  • And a whole lot more…

Links & Resources


Jared: All right. Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman, and today we are joined by Michael Jackness. Mike, welcome on board. 

Michael: Good to, good to be here. I’m breaking one of the cardinal rules of podcasting, which is not to have gum or candy in your mouth, but I’ve been sick, so I have a cough drop in there, so you’ll be hearing.

Some rattling of hard things off my teeth throughout the episode, unfortunately. 

Jared: It’s okay, you know, I was nervous about today because I’m a little under the weather myself. My regular listeners will will probably hear that my voice is a little deeper than normal. I do like that, by the way, because I typically have a high pitched voice, but It’s quite sexy.

Yeah, you know, I always joke that this is the time of year that I should re record my my cell phone voice message because I sound so much better right now than on a An average day, but yeah, so we’ll both, we might have a little cough here or there, but you and I will make it through just fine. So thanks for joining, even though you’re a little under the weather.

Absolutely. Hey, so we’ve got a fun story in store for us and, and you have a long background in, in, in building businesses. But, you know, before we get into today’s agenda and the story we’re going to talk about, can you catch us up on who you are? Just give us a little backstory on, 

Michael: on Mike. Yeah, I mean, I’ve been doing my own thing since 2004, so I’m coming up on on 20 years, which is crazy.

I all of a sudden I’m starting to feel really old. When I got started, I was always the youngest kid in the room, whether that was at my corporate job before this or even in business. And all of a sudden now I’m the one like giving all the advice or being the elder statesman. So you know, that that career started in SEO, right?

I mean, and it’s really been SEO all the way through, which has been Sending the traffic to different things or doing in a little bit different ways. And so at first it was purely affiliate marketing. And now it’s mostly for, for e commerce. Although we do have an information site at EcomCrew.

We have our own podcast talking about e commerce and, and blog. Very similar to what you guys do. Going after obviously different terms. But, you know, we, we do SEO there. That kind of brings people into a funnel. And then whatever you want to sell them at that point, you have traffic equals sales, right?

And so it’s been a traffic equals sales game for going on 20 years. 

Jared: You know, SEO has changed a lot, obviously, in 20 years. I mean, 20 years ago, God, I’d be hard pressed to even call it SEO compared to what it is today. You know, I, I think that’s that’s a testament to your, your longevity is, is kind of staying in that.

What were some of your, I mean, we’re going to be talking about a project that you took on in 2020 and then beyond that. What what were the types of things you were working on prior to that? You mentioned e commerce. Has it always been 

Michael: e commerce? No, I mean, like I said, I mean before, to begin with, it was purely just affiliate marketing.

And so to begin with, the reason I quit my job is I started some affiliate sites in the online poker space back in 2004. You know, right place, right time. When poker was exploding, I was… Really into playing poker. I was going up to Atlantic City all the time and you know, the rest is kind of history.

And so that from 2004 to right about 2011. I was 100% all in on online poker And then took a year or two off. I really just didn’t want to be in that space anymore My wife and I bought an RV and we RV’d around the country for for a while. And then we got into, quote unquote, more legitimate affiliate stuff.

Like, as I always just felt like online poker was, I don’t know, whenever we talked to anybody serious in business, like a bank, let’s just say, they always kind of gave us the stink eye, but we had a tip toe around it. And so we got into doing other affiliate stuff and, and WordPress themes and online degrees and graphic design and treadmills.

We own treadmill. com. I remember being out on a hike one day and thinking to myself, like, this affiliate model, the way that we’re doing this, A, it doesn’t really add any value to the world. It was kind of like that, you know, What are the best treadmills? A 2023 kind of thing. And you come there and the number one treadmill was the one that paid you the most affiliate commission.

You know, this is pretty prevalent on the internet. And, you know, I just really was thinking to myself, A, this doesn’t add any value to the world. And B, I think that Google is going to want to do something about this at some point. And maybe let’s try to be ahead of the curve for once. And so we decided to just start selling physical products.

We own treadmill. com was like, let’s just start contacting a field or manufacturers of these treadmills. We’ll learn how to how to launch an affiliate or a online store. And we chose big commerce at the time and just figured it out. And that was how it all got started. And next thing you know, we were selling fitness equipment.

So since then, which was 2000. Let’s see, that was 2003, 2000, no 13, sorry, wrong decade. 2013 2014, early 2014. So going on 10 years now for e commerce. The, the primary SEO focus has been sending traffic to… An e commerce say and trying to convert that into physical product sales. 

Jared: Well, I’m really excited to talk about today’s story that we have.

I mean, given your backstory in both affiliate marketing and e commerce, I think that’s going to show itself quite a bit in the story today. You know, like maybe give us an oversight, an overview of this project when you took it on. I have down December 2020. So, you know, obviously kind of middle of the first year of COVID.

We’ve had a lot of people on actually who have success stories out of the back of 2020 and the year that it was. But, you know, you kind of took on this project towards the end of 2020. What was it? What did it look like when you when you grabbed onto it? Yeah. 

Michael: I mean, we bought basically a 100% Amazon business.

It had a website and it was just kind of there for a token presence just to have the brand name of somebody typed it in brand name. com. It would, it would be there. There were some sales on there, but it was sub like 1% of the business. And when we took the business, so we bought it as a, an investment, which is why I thought it would be a cool story to talk about today.

And it’s also the most recent thing. I, I, I always kind of hear is like, is Amazon dead? Is SEO dead? Is affiliate marketing dead? You know, like all these things. It’s like, it’s the end, you know, it’s been the end for 20 years since I’ve been starting, since I started. And so I thought that would be a good story for, for this, but I’ll share some other Sites and other projects we’ve had in the past that have had the same thing, but we bought this, we bought this site as an investment.

It was myself, Andrew Darian, build the Alessandro, Eric Andrews from e commerce fuel it’s a community that I’m in and ability. Alessandro has a element brands and you’ll be been friends for a long time. And we were just chit chatting about. Over the years about doing something together one day and it just kind of happened and so I was the one that operated it And so on day one, I’m sitting down like okay, what can we do to drive the most results in the shortest amount of time?

So when we go to sell this thing in about three years, it’s worth as much of an increase as possible And so SEO is one of those things I was kind of on the fence about because like it does take time But I thought with a three year timeline I can move the needle enough to, to make it worth our, our while.

And it sure worked out that way. It worked out well. So, I mean, we went from a hundred percent of ourselves being on Amazon. To 80% being on Amazon, 20% being through Shopify, almost entirely through organic traffic. And that really started kicking in about the 14 to 16 month mark. We really started seeing that like hockey stick growth.

And, you know, one of the things that makes me sad about selling the businesses, the business is going to continue on that. On that growth trajectory and the, you know, but I mean, we, we sold it for a good price and we’re happy that we sold it, et cetera. So, I mean you know, it’s not all bad, but yeah, certainly one of my, the things I think that the buyer got the best, the best deal on is just the trajectory of the SEO.

Jared: So bought this in 2020 at the end of 2020, just sold it a month or two ago. 

Michael: It sounds like. Yeah. On June 2nd, we’re recording shortly after that. So yeah, it’s, it’s still fresh. 

Jared: Good. Congratulations. That’s a big deal. You know, 

Michael: why was, yeah, 

Jared: why’d you, I’m just curious. I mean, you had some partners. Why the three year time 

Michael: horizon.

Yeah. I mean, it was just kind of what we agreed to, right. It was, you know, we’re going to buy this thing. It was also an UCF capital was one of the investors and it was just what, what we put down, you know, and you know, the original idea was I would run it for one year and then we would hire like an interim CEO to kind of finish the plan.

Yeah. And the rest of that story is kind of long, but we decided to sell it after one year because we had so much gain after the first year basically we had already met our three year target that quickly but it just, it kept on falling apart, like the most crazy stories, and so it worked out well for us that we sold it.

And I’m keeping it because I mean, it, it, it did, it did quite well. Yeah. 

Jared: Maybe let me take it, take us back into buying this Amazon brand. We, we talk a lot in the podcast here and there about buying websites and, but I, I don’t think we’ve had someone on in quite a while that. Bought a brand on Amazon.

Now, is this kind of an FBA type brand or are we looking at that from the right angle? And what does that look like? Because I know there’s a lot of aggregators out there that buy FBA sites sorry, FBA brands. And where did this kind of play in what attracted you about this specific one? 

Michael: Yeah. And in fact, I mean we had offers from multiple aggregators and, and the sale process.

So they’re still out there and still buying. There were a few things that attracted us to this particular business. First of all, we knew the seller, like personally knew the seller. She’s a good friend of ours. That means a lot in this world because there’s a lot of like really unscrupulous people.

And so we knew that what she was saying was the truth and, and we knew the business all along because like we had been talking to her about it throughout the years and we knew we knew what it was. But the things that really appealed to me about it was first of all, we had a warehouse in North Carolina, so a physical presence with just a few employees, but we did some, some very light manufacturing and assembly, which really kind of built a moat around this business.

Like, almost everything you know, it seems like on Amazon these days is just like, Alibaba, AliExpress, or, you know, direct from China, right into Amazon. Very little differentiation, very little moat. The, the gap is closing quickly. And so we want to, you know, we didn’t want to be into something like that, but even though these products primarily did come from China, the light assembly part, the ability to have the warehouse really meant a lot to us.

Also, there was no hero skew. Like, the entire business was built off of, like, just hitting bunts. Like, not even singles. It was just like… You know, the, the, the hero product was like 6% of the business that you’re always going to have some hero product, right? It’s got to just by definition, but for my other businesses, like it can be 40, 50, 60% like one skill, right?

The whole brand this was 6%. And then the next one’s like four, then three. And like quickly, it’s just like one, one, one, one, one. So you end up with a lot of skews. It’s a little bit more work, but you know, I, I’ve always said like the, the opportunities and the complexity and whatever the business is, the simpler it is, the easier it is to do, the more everyone can do it.

You know, you don’t want to be competing against somebody in. the Middle East that is in a very low rent you know, low, low cost of living district or, or, or geography or whatever economy. And, you know, against somebody in the first world, cause it just, we are at a huge disadvantage. So, you know, we just we, we wanted to have something that kind of could separate us from, from that.

And that person could import a lot of the other products that we sell and sell them. But. These products were just going to be slightly more difficult, and that was one of the other things that appealed to us. The other thing was we could re change our sourcing, which we did. We were buying everything domestically.

We did change sourcing to China and lowered our costs. And also I thought that the SEO component was going to be huge. I, you know, did some preliminary research before buying the business, and I’m like, Oh my God, like, this just happens to be one of those unicorn niches where No one’s optimizing in it, you know, and it’s just, it’s hard to find those in 2020 at the time.

Now 2023, same thing, like it’s still really the only site out there really optimizing for these terms. And so when you have the perfect storm of like the ability to write the content, write the best content, informative, helpful content, because you know the products and you’re selling the products.

Now you have something you can build a business around. And so we did. I mean, 20% is a big number when you’re talking about a multimillion dollar business that, by the way, the Amazon component grew during that time significantly. So, you know, it’s. It was a multi million dollar business that grew to be a larger multi million dollar business.

And so the Shopify component was very substantial. And more profitable, by the way, than the Amazon part. 

Jared: Right. And I was going to bring that up. We had somebody on the podcast a month or two ago that went the other direction. They had a website. Almost like your treadmill story, they had a website that was getting traffic and then they decided to go after their own products and then for them, the Amazon side of their business, the FBA side, grew substantially but the profit margins were always higher on direct sales from their website.

Yeah. Yeah. 

Michael: Makes perfect sense. 

Jared: I mean, maybe juxtaposed for people listening, and maybe you did both, but the, the, when you get this when you get this FBA brand. on SEO versus focusing on growing the FBA side of things. Like how do you balance which one to tackle or do you recommend to people that they actually tackle both simultaneously?

Michael: Yeah. I mean, this is like one of these, like impossible to answer questions without knowing all the details. I mean, for all, I’ll specifically talk about what, what I did. Cause I think that that’s, you know, something people can start with. You know, I was kind of talking about being the older guy in the room lately.

The only thing that’s good about that as experience, like everything else sucks. Like, I mean, I get out of bed, everything hurts, you know, I can’t drink as much as I used to or eat as badly as I used to or any of these types of things. But you know, I’ve seen things happen that on repeat that are important, which number one of those lessons is you can’t do everything right.

I mean, like when I was younger, I would just try to go do everything without really thinking about it. And I had the energy to. to be successful in spite of yourself and I could, you know, keep the wheels on the bus somehow in spite of all that, but over time I’ve realized that like, that isn’t a good way to run a business.

Right. And so one of the things that really helped me with that was the book traction which I’m a super huge fan of. I recommend anybody listening to this, even if you are a solopreneur to read that book, cause there’s a lot of really good concepts in there. You know, one of which is to have a plan, you know, I mean, a lot of entrepreneurs just kind of go into things like I was saying, I mean good, better and different just running into the fire or they have a plan and just change it on a whim because they went to a conference and heard some new tactic and just change everything all the time.

So, you know, our plan was three years, right? I mean, we knew we had a timeline, which makes things easier in a lot of ways. It’s like you know, you think about a lot of the other things you do in life, you don’t really know when the end’s going to be. Like, do I want to sell this thing in five or ten years?

Or you think you want to keep it for ten years, but then… You know, four years in and you’re like, man, like I’ve had enough of this crap, right? You know, so it’s having a definitive like finish line really helped And three years sounds like a really long time until you start to break things down. And three years is twelve quarters, and we think about everything in quarters.

And I’ll kind of get into that here shortly. That’s a part of traction as well. And so, you got, you got twelve time periods to work in to get all these things done in. And so when you start thinking in terms of that, now you start to realize like, holy crap, like I can only get so much done, right? Like we start to really start to break things down.

It’s like I want to do a hundred things, but a hundred things can’t fit into these 12 time periods. Maybe I can get 30 of those things done in these 12 time periods. And by the way, part of that time period is like. I got to hire people and train people and like, learn this business like that had to be part of the first two time periods, right?

I mean, like I knew nothing about this, this business the day that I walked in there. So I had to learn all the skews and all the people and all the processes and everything and then hire a team. We hired. A total of seven people within the first six months to, to really take on all the things that we wanted to get done.

And so, yeah, then we laid out the things that I wanted to get done and there was things that I wanted to do that we just couldn’t do because they weren’t a part of the, the, the plan. But what we settled on was we’re going to change our sourcing, improve our supply chain and, and lower our cogs. We’re going to start launching a product a week.

Because I thought there was a opportunity for skew expansion. And so we got to that, we couldn’t do that immediately. We had to kind of ramp up to that point and we did it, which is a hell of a accomplishment in my opinion. I mean, like, you know, high quality listings, one every week you know, but we had the seven people to help us with that.

And then the other big thing was we’re, we’re going to do the SEO thing. Like, I’m like, I’m going to go back to my roots. I know this, I’m going to make a big bet on it. And we did, and so on day one, we hired a writer and just started, you know, cause it’s, I knew it would take time. Right. And, you know, when we’re going back to having our board meetings, it was like, well, why are we spending money or doing this thing versus it’s like, just, just hold on, you know, give it, give it a few months, you know, we’ll see what happens.

And like I said, I mean, it took 12, 14, 16 months before, like, we really started seeing the needle move, but like I started seeing traffic in the first six months. And sales started materializing within the first six months because it was, you know, low competition, low hanging fruit type stuff. And so if I was in a different niche, you know, where let’s say it was a supplements business, I wouldn’t even bother with it, right?

Like there’s no chance that we were going to like crack that that quickly in the timeframe that we had with the budget that we had, but it just happened to be. I felt like for this niche and these products, we had a, you know, a really good opportunity and we did, and it worked out very well. 

Jared: Okay, I want to get into all the details about how you, how you grew an SEO, because basically you started from scratch with a brand new website for this brand.

I mean, I know you said it had like a landing page, but that’s about all. I 

Michael: think it was like a domain rank, like seven or eight or something when we started. I mean, it was, and that was only because I had been sitting there for such a long time that. You know, once or twice a year, somebody would link to it for some reason.

I mean, who knows why? But yeah, I mean, it was, it had no, no authority, you 

Jared: know, let’s I like to ask guests this a lot just to give people context. And so anything you can, or are comfortable sharing, like, let’s just talk for 30 seconds about the end. compared to where you started in terms of, you know, again, if you’re, if you want to talk about the total revenue at sale or, or increase or even just maybe from an SEO standpoint where you took the website and in terms of traffic or revenue, like I just like people to hear the scope of what you accomplished in those two and a half, three years.

And then we can start unpacking all the SEO techniques. 

Michael: Yeah. I mean, the, the increase, like I said, we ended up about 20% of the business was the Shopify store. So let’s just say If we sold for, for 5 million, a million of it, you know, enterprise value was what we did with that. So it was pretty significant.

And, you know, in terms of increase from where we started, I mean, we, we did quite well. And that was the, a large part of our increase, right? So, I mean, it was a extremely significant, very important part of, of the deal. The other thing is it raised the multiple, right? So, like, there was another component of, not only did it represent.

A significant dollar value, but now you have a business that’s more diversified and, you know, you can see this growth growth trajectory of of the S. C. O. You know, way more defensible, huge moat of a business on the Shopify side than playing in the Amazon playground. And so we’re, you know, a lot of Amazon business pure F.

B. A. Businesses are trading at 2. 5 to 3 X. We were selling a much closer to 4x multiple and that is also really significant, right? So it’s not always just how much dollars did this thing generate, but it made it a much more solid business which was, was really important. 

Jared: That’s a good point. That’s a really good point.

So you actually raised kind of like a rising tide raises all ships. You raise the value of the Amazon portion of the business because of the SEO component you 

Michael: created. Yeah, yeah. And it has other impacts as well. Cause like, you know, when you’re sourcing these, it was a home hardware business, so like, you know, it’s like lots of little, you think like knobs on a kitchen drawer kind of thing, or, or the hardware you know, the, the door hinged, like type of thing, hardware.

And you know, so these are small components that you’re ordering by the pound or the kilogram in this case, not by the piece, which was kind of a new experience for me. And so having more sales. is important to like reach these MOQs for all these products to really drive down costs. So like, it, it was like this ecosystem that like really started to feed on itself, where it was just like, we’re getting better sales, we’re raising our enterprise value because of our multiple, we’re driving our cogs down, we’re making our supply chain more efficient and driving our logistics costs down.

You know, it’s just everything kind of like really work together. We’re, we’re bringing in other customers that with these new items that we’re launching that then by other items in the catalog, because they’re now finding us through search from this one item first, but we have these other items you know, it just.

All of it really worked together very 

Jared: well. Yeah. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Okay, good. Wow. So, yeah. Okay, let’s get into the SEO side. I’m sorry, I could ask a lot of questions about that. I think a lot of people are going to want to hear how you did this. Let’s take it from the start. Tell us about, you know, as detailed or as high level as you want to go.

Sure. What process did you go through in building out traffic? 

Michael: Yeah, I mean, so, Again, I’m very much into this whole, like, plan thing. I know it sounds funny, but you know, basically I’m bashing on myself because like as a young entrepreneur, you know, especially as a solopreneur, you wake up every morning, you just pick what you want to do and just go, go do it.

And I was very much like a pinball and a pinball machine just bouncing all over the place. Very rarely did I do anything in a straight line. And I think that’s probably one of my biggest strengths these days is, is just kind of operating to that plan. And so you’re taking the time up front to think things through, especially when you know you’re going to have a team and you got to like give them.

The marching orders. That’s where it started. You know, so we’re, we’re an a ref shop. I mean, there’s also SEM rush and other tools out there. I think they all do relatively the same job. Just happens to be that I’ve had a brush account for like nine years now or whatever the hell it’s been. So that’s what I’ve just stuck with.

And I’m not a big fan of switching tools all the time. So keyword research, right? At first you’re just going through thinking through every possible thing, you know, kind of doing keyword mapping or brain mapping of, This home hardware, excuse me, sorry about that. It was like one of these like spontaneous calls.

I thought I had it under control. I was waiting for one to happen. We’re 24 was doing so 

Jared: good. I was doing good. Hey, that’s, I think we’re winning already. All right. 

Michael: We are, we are. Yeah. So, I mean, we, we just mind mapped the hell out of this. It was like, you know, our keyword list in ARS. We made, you know, made all these lists.

We’re thousands of keywords, right? It was like, we were going to come up with a list of stuff. That is going to, but we’re not going to do this work ever again. We’re going to do this work right now, and this is what we’re going to do for the next three years. Like, we’re going to write these articles in this order.

And basically it was, you know, just a formula of search volume, keyword difficulty, and then another score of buyer intent. Right, I mean, traffic can be ego, or it can be sales. Right, you can, I can go get tons of traffic. I can go rank for something that just brings in tons of people. They read the article and leave.

They’re never going to buy anything. That’s, that doesn’t have any value. We’re not doing display ads on this site, right? We’re trying to sell them stuff. So you know, we don’t sell screwdrivers. Like, what’s the best screwdriver? It doesn’t make any sense. We wanted to rank for things that, you know, were directly in the buyer’s path or very close to it.

And so we would kind of put a multiple. You know, of a score for that. And then we just started at the top, you know, just like what, what term gets a decent amount of search traffic that has low keyword difficulty, that has decent buyer intent. Let’s go. You know, and we just started writing. And then of course, as you start writing, you start to make silos, you start to interlink things, you start to earn backlinks.

You know, we also wrote articles to earn backlinks. And like I said, about six months in, all of a sudden it was like, Oh, look, how to hang a heavy mirror is ranking all of a sudden, or whatever, you know, whatever the thing was. And like, holy crap, they’re buying the hardware to do that from that article.

And that just gave us even more motivation to just continue to do this. In fact, we hired a second writer at that point and doubled down because I was a little bit worried to begin with. You just never know. Like is this stuff actually going to sell was kind of like, I knew I can get the traffic, but I was like, are people going to come to these pages and actually buy?

And so, yeah, when we hired the second writer and we hired a graphics person, so it was like a three person team of two writers and a graphics person because we wanted to start adding original you know, graphic content in the articles. It just adds more authority and stuff to, and we went back and added some additional stuff and we did all this in the Philippines.

So we did it at a low cost. And you know, they would shoot the stuff. We partnered with a gallery there. We’d like go buy them lunch and give them a few bucks. And they were thrilled to have us come in there, take some pictures and use their space to, to, to create original photography for both our products and for our articles.

Yeah. I mean I wish I could show I think this is a, is this audio only or can we share screen? I can show video or I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll share you a a screenshot. You can throw in the show notes just to show you the, the the graph from a rest. It’s, it’s really cool just to see the, you know of, of the traffic.

And it’s also cool to see how they convert it into sales and By the way, I mean, I had the confidence to do this because we had done it a couple of times before, like color it. The other business I can talk about that I sold back in 2009 was a similar thing. I mean, it was primarily an Amazon business, but you know, we rank for like what are the best colored pencils or what are the benefits of coloring and how to blend in shade or whatever, all these different things that people were searching for.

They were finding us on color it. And that really helped build our business. We went for like free coloring pages or downloadable coloring pages, you know, just on and on and on. And that business I can talk about cause. I was already talking about it was kind of the thing like what color it I started from scratch.

It was mine 100% or actually had a part of my cousin on a minority share, but we talked about the whole thing from from day one when we did this other business like part of the agreement was like the guys knew that I had a com crew and I’m talking about my business life like all the time. I know like this isn’t really fair to us or the other investors.

You can talk about it, but you just can’t mention the name, right? So we that was agreement from day one. And I feel like It would be unfair like now that we sold it cause like the guy, you know, bought it under those pretenses to just all of a sudden be like blurting out the name cause like it’s not a risk to us anymore.

That doesn’t seem fair for someone who just gave us millions of dollars. So, you know, I’ve kept that that way. But I mean, the, the premise is exactly the same, whether it’s how to blend and shade with coloring pencils or how to hang a heavy mirror or, you know, whatever things you can think of in the home hardware space.

Applied to coloring, applied to treadmills back in the day, applies to our other brand ice reps. We rank for like, you know, how to ice an ankle or whatever, you know, it’s all this stuff works in, in certain niches. Again, you don’t want to, it might, it’s the same thing as Amazon. I don’t want to sell supplements on Amazon.

Can you make a ton of money doing that? Yes. I know people that are multi multi millionaires now from selling supplements, but you know, they’re very stressed, right? And yeah, it’s a lot of black hat competition. Same thing. With, with Google, I mean, like, if you want to rank for, like, what are the best supplements?

Like, I mean, you got to be doing a bunch of Black Hat stuff to get there, right? You got to be buying backlinks or doing link farms or running dozens of sites all in the same space to, like, you got to just invest tons of money and energy into doing that, where this stuff was just like child’s play. You know, I’d rather be in the child’s play corner where, like, no one’s really looking.

Because to anybody else that doesn’t own this type of business, it’s not probably worth it for them. Right? You know, that’s, that’s the key, right? And so if you don’t have the hard home hardware business, the money’s probably not there to do it as just a pure affiliate deal. We were just sending the traffic off to Amazon cause there’s just not enough traffic, but.

There was for us. I want to 

Jared: ask a couple of detailed questions about your keyword and content strategy. And in the econ space, there’s opportunity to go after so many different types of keywords. And I’m just curious how you prioritize them if you went after all of them. So, you know, at the risk of going too deep on this, let me kind of expand a bit.

Obviously, you can go after some of the more informational plays, how to hang a heavy mirror, how to make sure that you have the right equipment to hang the heavy mirror, all those kinds of things. And the interesting thing is if you’re making an affiliate play, you don’t tend to make much money on that because it’s more of an informational query, right?

But as a somebody who owns the e coms products themselves, that’s very interesting. Then there’s the e com skew itself. I’ve got to imagine like people searching for that. Maybe they don’t want to buy it on Amazon. And then there’s also, we’ll call it like roundups and buying guides that are more akin to affiliate marketers.

And maybe it’s the best, you know, heavyweight hanging apparatus, I don’t even know what the right word to use it, but you know, it’s like a, it’s like a roundup and some of your products are on there. I’m just so curious for you, which ones worked best if you decided to target only certain ones or there’s an order to it.

Like I just want to unpack that a little bit more to 

Michael: learn. Yeah, I mean, like the how to or best always seems to do the best, right? But you can have I mean, I’ll use we always use, like, fishing rods as an example for this. I don’t know why this always comes up for us. It’s like the garlic press, but we use fishing rods.

So, like, I mean, where are the best places to go salmon fishing? That’s the best thing, right? What are the best hotels in… Crater Lake or, or on the Kenai river or whatever, let’s say the Kenai rivers where you want to go salmon fishing, like all these are so top of funnel that it’s going to be hard to sell somebody a fishing rod or a reel or hooks, but like, what is the best tackle to use while fishing on the Kenai river?

Holy crap. Like if you’re selling a fishing tackle, that’s a very targeted search that someone’s probably looking like they’re about to get on the plane. And they need their tackle. And so, we would start there. Right? It’s like, you know, how they hang a heavy mirror is a really good example. You’re not typing that in because you’re thinking about hanging a heavy mirror.

You bought this heavy mirror. Right. And you’ve now realized, like, I got this 60 pound mirror, and this thing’s heavy as hell, and I don’t think that these, like, little tiny hooks that I have in my drawer are gonna hold it. And so, I got a problem, I need to solve it right now. Those are the best. Articles to, to, to rank for now, oftentimes, depending on how competitive the niche is, you can’t just write that article and just, and, and, and rank for it.

You have to write all the supporting articles around it that you can then interlink to it, write a content silo for that. And so we would look at that. It’s like, okay, well, this thing’s gonna, the keyword difficulties three, like we probably can just write this article and, and, and rank or just keyword difficulties like 35.

We’re probably going to need to write a few supporting articles that aren’t directly going to give us benefit, but will indirectly give us benefit by having becoming, you know, in Google’s eyes, a contact expert in this space. And so that was kind of our approach. You know, we would, we would look at what is, you know, again, I would, I put that from day one, it was kind of a three column sheet of like the keyword, the keyword, four columns, the keyword, the keyword.

Keyword difficulty, a search volume, and then I would assign a score of 1 to 10 of intent. And we would just kind of like multiply all that. And so if somebody could have low keyword difficulty, high traffic, low intent, it would not really be a great opportunity. You could have low keyword difficulty, relatively low traffic, but intense buyer intent.

That would become worth a lot of money to us. I mean, 300 people landing on your site a month. From an article that has like a 90% chance of converting somebody is better than having an article that gets you 10, 000 visitors with like a 1% chance of converting somebody or half a percent which is not uncommon.

And there’s not really a opportunity to, you know, our value to getting people on our email list for this brand and other things. It’s like, it’s a one time purchase in the moment. You don’t remodel your house that often. You’re not going to sit there and email market to them versus color it. We’re like, okay, we can be at the very, very top of the funnel.

Like, what are the benefits of coloring? Like, people have, they’re not even sure they want to do it. But we get them on their, get them on our email list, and they’re worth, they’re worth money to us. So like, you have to think about all these little things as you’re kind of putting your plan together. And so for us, it was like, you know, unless it’s low keyword difficulty, decent search volume, high buyer intent, it’s not worth anything to us.

But we had hundreds of articles to write over the years that fit that model. And, and that, For the most part, you know, again, there’s, there were some exceptions where we had to go out a little bit further to, to actually get that article to rank, we would write other supporting content, or in some cases, you’re trying to write content that will get people to link to you, right?

That’s oftentimes a different type of article or almost always a different type of article. And so there were cases where we sat down and said, okay, every six months, we’re going to write an article that’s going to like attract you know, the people that have other blogs that are going to want to link to us and rise entire raises our ship, raise our domain authority for this site.

Jared: I love that you talked about the intent column in your spreadsheet. So many of us get keywords, we look at search volume, we look at a difficulty score, and then from that move on and start writing. But I love that you added a fourth column of intent. I think a lot of people can get value out of that, even if they’re not in the e com space, even if they’re in a different type of of website building.

Let me ask you about you mentioned a bit, so I want to dive into like the level you were going to to get and source unique images. You had somebody full time that was focused on you know, I don’t want to say images, but like making the content better. Like what? What were you doing to make your content better?

Really good. I mean, you sound like you’re in a great length just to get some images for the for the content. 

Michael: Yeah, I mean, this just goes. So far in everything that we did, right. It was like if it’s an e commerce store, just if you’re trying to sell somebody something, it isn’t the hardware store where you can like walk up and ask the guy in the, you know, the aisle at Lowe’s a question, right?

I mean, you, you only have the images to convey your product, right? And so you like every, every Amazon listing, every product listing. On our site gets six images or something. And that’s you can write stuff too, but nobody reads. We know that people either don’t know how to read or they, they just don’t read.

So the images are super important. You know, the images, the quality of the images, they can either convey that like you’re a kid in your mom’s basement running an e commerce site or you’re a fortune 500 company, you know, super polished, high end looking imagery. And The thing that’s funny is that both are about the same amount of effort, you’re taking the picture either way, right?

So we just find a really good, someone who was really good at what they did, pay them slightly more, you know, than, than the other guy, because they were better, and, and that would be our, our girl in this case, because they were all, all women. And then you can take that further, it’s like, well, we want to do this with our content as well.

Nobody wants, like, the internet is not a novel, right? You’re not reading a Stephen King book on the internet, you’re reading an article on the internet, it has a look and feel and spacing and cadence that’s really unique, you know, that never existed up until the internet came along. And that’s continued to evolve and, you know, that’s evolved along with everything else that the internet has done, which is shorten attention spans, right?

People, again, they just don’t read, they skim, they basically, people skim. And so you have to put your articles in a format. That is, is conducive to that, right? Lots of headlines that are bold, short paragraphs, image, diagram, heading, short thing, image, diagram, you know, whatever. Table, just visually make the thing look interesting and pull people down the page.

You know, one of the things that Google looks at, you know, I believe, I mean, all this is speculative because they never actually tell us, but time on site, certainly, and how far, you know, dwell time, are they going down the page, add a video into the thing, get them to really stick there for a bit, go down the page even more, you know, whatever it might be you gotta, you gotta make it visually interesting, and, and, and pictures are a big part of that and then we would, you know, put our, our logo in the picture, a lot of times that would get the thing, that would be the thing that would get the backlink, or it would show up in Google images when people were looking there, and so, you know, I think that, All the little details are important.

I love to tell this story of the Kentucky Derby. The horse that wins, let’s say, gets a million dollars. The horse that finishes in second gets, let’s say, a half a million dollars. It does not mean that the horse in second ran half as fast. It probably ran a fraction of a second slower ahead, a half a length, one length, whatever.

It was like that extra last tiny bit of effort. That makes that horse a winner. It’s that extra last bit of effort that makes your blog stand out, makes you get the link, makes you get the click, makes you get the traffic, makes you answer the person’s freaking question and not click back and then go to the next site, which I think is probably one of the biggest indicators to Google.

I believe this for a very long time. You know, it’s like you type in how to hang a heavy mirror, you go to the first result, you read the page, it doesn’t answer your question, you click back, you go to the second result. This is like, right? A normal path for all of us Google users, whatever the search is, you go the first thing, click on it.

That sucked. You go back. I just wasted my time. I go to the second thing that sucked. Still not my answer. Go and you stop when you get your answer, right? If you’re constantly that site, Google has to know that and they’re going to push your result up. And if you have a newer page, a lot of times they’ll artificially put you up at the top.

And if you have a higher signal once you’re there for that spur of the moment. Then you’ll get there quicker, you know, you’ll stay there quicker. And so these things are really important to us, especially, you know, as a low domain authority site. And so we, you know, we had really, really good time on site stats low bounce rates, you know, and we always had a mantra to our content team, besides telling them the Kentucky Derby story, which I love to tell you know, it’s like, we need to write literally, like, I mean, quite literally, the word literally gets used a lot.

So. Quite literally, the best article that’s ever been written about this ever. If we can’t meet that standard, then don’t start. You know, it’s like there’s some articles out there that are so good, it’s going to be hard to beat them. But you know, we’ve got to go into more detail. We’ve got to show more imagery.

We’ve got to maybe add a video. We’ve got to, you know, really get in depth. We’ve got to, you know, have some tips and tricks or things that the other article doesn’t quite answer. And so, as a part of our… Research. I’ve actually ran the article. We would look at the top 35 results and making sure that we could actually legitimately do a better job than they do.

Like, not just go start writing the article. And so there’s, you know, there’s quite a bit to it. And again, I’ll share the the screenshot with you. It’s been, it’s been a fun journey because the traffic is, has just done nothing but continue to go up. You mentioned 

Jared: backlinks and your strategy of writing content to generate backlinks.

Was that effective? Were there other backlink strategies? How much did you end up growing the backlink profile, the domain authority, whatever? You know, metric we want to toss around there, you know, how significant do you think that ended up being in your SEO growth and you’re, you’re, you’re adding so much sales from SEO?

Michael: Yeah, I mean, backlinks obviously are important. I mean, we, I was just looking cheating here on the other tab. We got the set to a domain rank of 17. So it wasn’t nothing tremendous. I mean, we have, I think is a 70. So like, I mean, you know, certainly we’ve got properties that have a much higher authority, but the thing is, I mean, again, we were only writing maybe one article every six months to try to attract backlinks because the keyword difficulty score on almost everything we were writing was sub 25.

So it just was never a high priority. But yes, we did work on getting backlinks. We would write you know, industry guides you can do something like what are the best kitchen remodeling blogs or something. And then you can do like an awards thing where you go out and be like, Hey, look, you know, we ranked you number one for your best kitchen, you know?

So we, you know, we would do these standard kind of SEO gimmick type posts. You know, so it’s not like anything like we’re e com crew like there. We have to go way further and that’s a really competitive same thing with like niche pursuits like super competitive You got to like go create original case.

I mean you guys are like the gold standard for this like you guys crush this stuff like you go out and Buy or start a site and like do income reports for years on it And like I mean you’re creating stuff that everyone wants to link to and you know We do something similar like we’re you know in totally different spaces I’m we’re like focused just on e commerce and so like we’ll do something like you know, the Amazon buyer intent guy.

And we, like, just did this, this post on this or a big study where we surveyed thousands of people and put out all this original content. Like, it’s necessary there to, like, go spend five figures to go, like, commission a study and like, you know, same thing like you guys are doing. You’re probably spending close to six figures by time you’re all done on by time you buy the site and write all the content and everything.

And it generates all these backlinks as you’re like an authority in that space, not necessary here, right? Like you got it again. You just you can’t Apply the same methods for every single thing you do. You got to be kind of malleable and be like, okay for this project Emails are super important for us.

We’re gonna try to collect email addresses as I was mentioning for color. That was super important Well for here not important this project Holy crap, I’m trying to like target keywords that have a 50, 60 keyword difficulty. I’m going to have to go out and like create a bunch of original content and work on getting backlinks and partners and like sell my soul to the devil to like work on getting backlinks because that’s the only way I’m ever going to rank for this stuff.

Over here, it’s like, well, I can softball this. I mean, we never softball anything, but like in terms of having to get backlinks and put all that additional work into it. It’s completely unnecessary. And so for each project, we kind of approach it in that way. And for this one, it just happened to be, and that’s why I made that bet.

You know, again, if it was, if the circumstances were different, I wouldn’t have done the SEO for this project because of the timeline and that 12 period thing I was kind of mentioning. So, you know, it’s all a little bit different. But That was kind of the approach and so for here was we did very little not not zero But very little effort on on the backlink site 

Jared: Wow I mean You know dr.

Is not everything so and we know this every listening knows this but a dr 17 that was helping you generate. I think he said you know a lot of money is a testament to what you said, like good research, good content going after a niche that not ultra competitive and I’m blown away. Well done. Well done.

So like maybe if you could talk to us about that growth trajectory, because it sounds like it did take a while for it to really actually start having an impact. I mean, you had to have a good time horizon with. I have written down, you said 16 months is where you really started. I guess that’s almost a year and a half that you were, you know, how much content were you publishing?

How much, how hard were you working on the SEO side of things before you started kind of seeing, we’ll call it pretty measurable results. 

Michael: Yeah. I mean, I’ll just look at, I’m looking at the A refs graph right now. I’ll just throw out the numbers. So we bought the business December 30th, 2020. So zero traffic, I’m looking at that by.

May of 21. And this is just the a r a s graph of aor organic traffic. We’re at 1600 so let’s go s six more months would be dec. December here we’re at 8,000 six more months. June 13,000 following December 16,000. And the most recent reading here is, is 19. Just under 19, 000 just had like another, I don’t know if like this last Google update seemed to be very kind to this site in terms of like, you know, keywords we’re ranking for 3000 at the beginning 6, 000, 10, 000, then 14, 000, now 22, 000.

So that’s kind of the, the trajectory over, what is that? It’s not quite three 

Jared: years. Yeah. Two and a half years. I’d 

Michael: say. Right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so it’s, it’s been, it’s been great. And I’m sorry, I forgot the other part of the question. Oh, 

Jared: no. I was just curious how much content you were publishing.

Oh, how much content? Thank you. Yeah. From like a high 

Michael: level. Yeah. So to start with, it was like two, maybe three articles a month. And we basically have, have like doubled that. So it’s like four to six, maybe eight. Sometimes we can get up there. The writers are also writing our emails. We do send out some emails.

You know, it’s basically the email list is not. The same way that we did color. It was, it’s, you know, we launched these new products or here’s some tips about how to hang, have a mirror or something like that, like, cause there’s industry people. But we, we always want to like do some, some email marketing.

They’re also writing our product descriptions, you know, and so they have other things to do. But yeah, I mean, they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re posting three, four articles each a month. And we have two writers. Wow. 

Jared: Well, I mean, as I start to bring 

Michael: it real quick, I mean, it probably sounds like a small amount compared to like a lot of, keep in mind, as I said, we’re trying to write the best article ever written about that topic.

So this needs time for research, time to get those photos done to map out the article before we, this is all before writing the first word, like to do the keyword research. What it is, then we got to do looking at other articles that we’ve already written or going to write and making sure that we include the types of content in there.

We can link interlink to those and go back and do the interlink from the other articles because it’s a shopify store. So we can’t use your guys awesome plug into just one click and get it all done. So you know, that all happens first and then they go write the content. So it does take them a considerable amount of time to write.

I mean, I’ve seen people process That are like, I’m posting my content writer, like writes two articles a day. Yeah, but it’s crappy content. Of course they’re writing two articles a day. It’s like, I mean, so yes, it does take time and like they put a lot of effort. Some, sometimes like we’ll sit down and be like, we are going to write an article that we’re only gonna do one article this month.

We’re gonna write a big, massive, like there’s been a couple of those were, you know, it’s, we’re gonna, we’re gonna go. A little bit nuts on this particular article and put lots of time and energy into writing an 8, 000 word article for this particular thing, because that’s what I think it’s necessary to rank.

And so, you know, the, we don’t focus on the quantity, we are focused on quality, on everything that we write. And I’d rather write significantly fewer articles and have them be amazing than just meet the goal of we gotta get an article out there. 

Jared: I’m, I’m glad you kind of doubled down on that because when someone hears the idea of creating content, it, it means so many different things, you know, it, it, like you said, like there’s plenty of people, I mean, going all the way to the other side, there’s people who are cranking out a hundred articles a day with AI there’s people who are taking their time and producing two to four articles a month and having all the components that you talked about.

So, you know, It’s always difficult when people hear this, but they don’t apply the same principles to the content they’re creating. And they say, well, if he might did two to four articles a month, I can do more than that. So I’ll have double the results he 

Michael: had. Yeah. Yeah. And keep in mind, I mean, we started this whole endeavor before AI was out.

Right. And so, you know, that’s another whole podcast for another day of like how that’s going to change everything. You know, in this particular space, I don’t think it’s that disruptive yet. Because AI can’t really write good articles about how to do all this stuff. It just, it, it doesn’t know enough yet.

But like, you know, the writing’s on the wall. It’s clearly going to get there. It just, it has, this site’s lucky it has some distance. You know, our e com site, e com crew, probably a little less defensible. Like you can quickly generate this content. So, You know, I don’t know how that’s going to change the landscape.

It’s certainly going to change it. We, you know, I was talking to Spencer at length recently when I just saw him again. And you know, we just don’t know yet, right? It’s, it’s it’s hard to tell the future, but it’s clear that this is highly disruptive. And if we were to have this conversation five years from now, it’s going to, we’re going to laugh at like how stupid we were and how little it might change because we might think it’s only gonna change this much, but it’s probably going to change.

You know, 10 X 

Jared: that we we have a weekly podcast that we do every Friday, which is the news. And most of the news is AI related these days and it does, I mean, we’ve only been doing this Friday news episode for a couple of months now, maybe four or five months at the time of recording. And I mean, it feels like if I even go back and look at what we talked about four months ago.

It’s just changed so dramatically in terms of what’s coming out 

Michael: and what’s coming down the pipe. It’s pretty crazy. And we do utilize AI a lot in our business these days, but, you know, we still haven’t taken the jump yet of having AI write our articles. Like I think, I don’t know, I mean, maybe it’s because I’m stuck in the past a little bit, but also I think, you know, it’s not, it can’t quite write to the level of what I’m talking about, right?

I think because our standard is so high, it’s not quite to that level yet. I keep on using the word yet because I mean, it’s it’s kind of like watching my Tesla go through the phases of the full self driving beta. You know, it’s like the first version. I couldn’t go more than a quarter mile without grabbing the wheel and fear.

And now it’s like almost flawless. It’s pretty wild. Like, I mean, the car just like drives itself. And the only time I grabbed the wheel is like when someone else is doing something stupid that it can’t anticipate. But you know, I can see the guy in my rear view mirror. Yeah. Yeah. Going 30 miles an hour over the speed limit about ready to like cut me off and they can’t do that.

But I mean, otherwise it’s pretty wild. So I mean, I think AI is going to be on that same trajectory. 

Jared: Last question, take it from a high level, but just you teased it. I know people would be interested to hear it because it’s, it’s intriguing. How are you using AI? You know, like what areas are you guys already utilizing that in your 

Michael: business?

Yeah, I mean, I think it does amazing at short form content. So email is a great example, right? Like we write newsletters that go out basically weekly or in some cases more frequently, depending on the site. It does a great job of writing that. Any type of thing to do with social media, I did the demo at the conference that Spencer and I were just at.

You can have, like as a, for instance, I think the thing specifically I demoed was, Write me 10 motivational quotes. And then, you know, this is basically like demoing a site. Let’s just say that was like a motivational brand. So it spits that out, all short form, one sentence content, does a great job with that.

Then you import those into Canva, like take those quotes and like throw them into social media format. One click, done. So it does amazing stuff with that. Generating backgrounds for photography for e commerce is like the thing that I’m really hung up on right now. Cause it’s not quite there yet, but it does work in certain aspects, but I Pretty clearly at this point that by the end of this year, this will be perfected.

That’s it’s just that close And so this will cut down our times of shooting and developing products, you know, shooting photography and developing products To a fraction of what they were. I demoed There was a guy that was nice enough that I had asked in advance for people to give me their products to demo for certain aspects on stage and this guy had a cleaning product that wasn’t like a A squirt bottle and his his listing images were pretty poor and I was like, well, let me show you something really cool.

And so you’d like have mid journey. create an image of a, you know, modern kitchen with like sun coming through the window and like, you know, whatever you write this like really nice description. There’s that image and you can use another tool that like takes the product and just puts it right on the counter.

Right. And you’re just like, holy crap. It looks like that image was just taken by a professional photographer and cost you a thousand dollars to have made. And I just did it in 10 seconds on stage, you know, so I think those types of things Are going to do incredibly well, you know, we’re looking at making a business that sells some artwork in the future Here’s one of the things I’m thinking about and I’m already like drooling at the opportunity of like having that artwork on 20 different walls, you know in different rooms all AI generated that look completely real so instead of having to go run a studio to do that or set up a studio permanently someplace to like Do all that work and have a whole team to do that AI boom I found that like having it create, again, short form content, so you think about the Amazon listing or your product listing when you’re on your Shopify store does a great job with that because those are one or two sentences at a time and it’s color that it adds and, you know, the adjectives and just the way that it writes stuff makes me want to buy the product.

You’re just like, holy crap. Like, did somebody on Madison Avenue just like write that? Like, I mean, it’s, it’s that good. It really is. Yes. Just incredible. And you can give it some parameters of like, awesome. Include these keywords when you write it, you know, cause like, you know, you’re doing the keyword research or whatever.

The only thing that we’re using it for for e com crew, when we still, we, we write these articles, we want to also, we’re, we’re working on growing our YouTube channel. And, and one of the big hangups of us being more prolific on YouTube has been getting the scripts written. Cause I just want to sit down.

With a teleprompter and the script already done. I don’t want to have to do that work because I got too much time, you know, to do. I just want to like, boom, I sit down, read the script. It takes somebody a long time to write that script for us right now, or it did until the AI stuff came out. And so, because it’s like it’s got to be formatted in a special way for a teleprompter.

It has to read a lot differently than a blog article does, right? Like I was talking about how the blog article kind of has this cadence and Yeah. Heading, paragraph, heading, paragraph, like you don’t want to read a YouTube script that way, but you can now give a chat GPT that the link to that article and say, turn this into a YouTube script and kind of massage the prompt a little bit to get it.

I also say we can format it for a teleprompter and. Write it in, I forgot what tone voice I mentioned, but like, you know, you can do it and boom, it just like generates the script and it’s like 90% done. You still gotta go through and someone proofreads it and fixes a couple things here and there. But that’s another thing that we’ve done that’s just really cut down on time.

That’s in terms of like the things that we’re doing right now. Those are probably the, and that’s actually quite a bit now I think about it. Those are the things that we’re doing right now today in our business every day, pretty much. There are some things that I see coming that I’m also pretty excited about.

There are a lot of things coming that I am intensely worried about. And, and probably the biggest thing there is that You know, I, I look at an Amazon business or a Shopify business and, and our competition and the competition on Amazon is almost primarily foreign sellers, right? I mean that, that’s what I look at is who I’m competing against.

Like the, the, the foreign sellers have already such a huge advantage. You know, they’re, they’re paying less taxes. They don’t have to worry about insurance. They don’t have to worry about getting sued. They get their Amazon account shut down. They just make another one. Their margins are better, their cost of living is lower.

They already have all these advantages, but my advantage has been, well, I can take better photography, I know these products better, I can write better listing copy, and I see that gap closing quickly. And so it’s now, like, what is my… And it’s one of the reasons why we’ve been divesting a little bit right now, just because I you know, we’ve spent so much of our lives in the last eight years, like, building these businesses to be worth a life changing amount of money.

It seems foolish to me at this moment to, like, I You know, make another bet or double down, you know, it’s like I live in Las Vegas. Everything’s a bet. So I am a little bit worried about what’s to come there. Not from a, I mean, I am also worried about what could happen to the world. That’s another whole story.

But one of the books in my bookshelf back here is who moved my cheese, right? And some people you know, really are, are resistance to change. Like I am, I’m not like I’ve always let change be the thing that that drives everything and helps my success. I’m early adopter. But, you know, with that said, I gotta, like, not be the guy that’s just gonna be like, It’s not fair, you know, like, Cause it’s, it sucks, like, this stuff does suck, and you get older, it’s harder to continue to reinvent yourself and and not feel that way.

But you know, there’s, there’s a lot of people that are gonna be coming for our lunch that are going to be able to do it way easier and faster than us. As 

Jared: a ex professional photographer for over a decade, I hear you loud and clear. I remember when I walked into Costco, this is a decade ago, but I walked into Costco and I saw a camera that was being sold to a consumer for under a thousand dollars that was actually taking better pictures at the time than the camera I was using professionally, and I thought, yikes.

Yeah. Where is this going? Yeah, and 

Michael: here we are. 

Jared: And here we are, you’re just telling a story about MidJourney. 

Michael: Yeah, exactly. I mean, that MidJourney stuff is absolutely wild. You know, I mean, again, I’m getting close to 50, I’ve always been a tech guy, right? I mean, like, I can remember being a young child, you know, sub 10, sub 8, whatever, working with computers.

I mean, I don’t remember exactly what age I was, but I mean… I had an 8088, and I had every computer in between, the 2A6, 3A6, 4A6 you know, and I built those things, and I was like, I, I knew every DOS command, like I was a nerd, and I was like really into computers, and so like, all along the way, like I’ve seen this technology, like over my lifetime, I remember the first sound card that I got, and it was like playing like MIDI files, and you’re like, holy crap, and like I remember this like one Program that I had, I forgot what it was even, but like it was, you know, back in the old DOS days, I think that did some like rendering and it would take like three days for it to do it.

And it would just kind of like render a landscape or something. And then, you know, all the way to today, we’re like, you type in anything that you’re thinking without any training of any kind in the mid journey and bam, there it is. And if you have a little bit of training. And you’re willing to give, you know, to tweak it a little bit.

The results are un freaking believable. Like, it’s, it’s still hard for me to get my mind around that, like, computer just spit that out. Like, I still am in this… It’s a very similar feeling to, like, when I was touching an iPhone for the first time. You’re like, I cannot believe that I just went from a flip phone to, like, having internet in my pocket and email in my pocket.

And at the time, I felt like… Really great. I didn’t anticipate all the awful things that would happen in society with having all that that close, including to me. We’re like, you can’t even get through a meal without looking at your phone anymore because we’re all addicted. But yeah, I mean, mid journey is like a holy crap moment.

And you know, the thing you remember about all this stuff is it will never be worse than it is today. Right. I mean, 

Jared: just like I was going to say, by the time this podcast comes out, who knows, right. Like, you know, we’re dealing with being at a point where even some of the times we, when we talk about this on an interview you know, it could change and improve and a lot of what we talk about, you know, could change even by the time this comes out.

So it’s, it’s, it’s absolutely insane. 

Michael: It is, I mean, it’s nice to make me feel irrelevant, but we’ll, you know, that’s another, I’m right there with you. 

Jared: I’m right there with you talking about the change conversation. I’m right there with you. Right. Hey, Mike, this has just been amazing. Congratulations on this two and a half to three year journey that you went on with this, this purchase and then subsequent sale.

And you know, if anybody else wants to follow along or you know, get more information about, about you and what you’re doing, like, where can people go to, to learn more about you and what you have? 

Michael: Yeah. I mean, we document everything over at EECOM crew. So E C O M C R E W all one word. And it’s EcomCrew.

com, EcomCrew on the podcast, EcomCrew on all the socials support at EcomCrew. com if you want to email but we’ve been at this for a while 520 something episodes is recording this. It’s kind of crazy that we’ve been at it this, this long, but you know, the unique thing is we’re, we’re usually with this exception for this one brand that I never mentioned the name of our, our real differentiator has always been that we’re talking about the exact brands and products that we have.

And, you know, as close as I can with with this one brand, it’s we’re a little bit vague on, unfortunately, but you know, and it’s also, I think the only thing that we do that’s unique is we also talk about the failures because there’s, you know, everybody loves to come on a podcast and talk about how successful they are.

But oftentimes in business, there’s a lot of failures. And so we this motivates me to not fail by having to dock because it sucks turning on the microphones in this, I did this thing and it sucked. But we do that too. Because it’s not always up until the right. 

Jared: Well, Mike, thank you so much. That hour flew by.

And hey, I hope you feel better. I think we did pretty good. 

Michael: Yeah, sorry for the call. Maybe your guy will edit that out. Yeah, 

Jared: we’ll see if we can get, if you’re listening and you don’t hear the Sudden cough attack. We figured out a way to get it. I don’t know. Maybe we’ll leave it in though because it kind of adds.

It’s real. It’s real. You know, sometimes you gotta do this stuff when you’re not feeling great. Both you and I, I feel like I pulled it off without without totally destroying people’s eardrums here. So well done. Thank you again for coming and really appreciate it. Appreciate you. Thank you.

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