Jeff Steinmann: Welcome to the How to Quit Working show. Today, we have Alex Genadinik. He’s going to tell us how he went from being just this kid in Silicon Valley who got a good tech job and decided that he wanted more out of life, so he decided to start his own business and didn’t really know anything about business and marketing. And he went on this incredible journey, made a lot of mistakes, but he has figured out how business and marketing work now. He’s going to tell us all how he did it here on the How to Quit Working show. Alex, welcome to the show.
Alex Genadinik: Thank you, Jeff. I’m glad to be here.
Jeff: Yeah, I’m glad to have you because you’ve got a kind of a cool story, right? You’ve got your own mobile app development company now, but it hasn’t always been that way, right? You started out getting a Computer Science degree, and go in a traditional route. Tell us a little bit about how did you go about picking that career and going down that path?
Alex: Yeah. Well, it was actually very fortunate for me because I finished high school – and I’m going to tell my age – so I finished high school in 1998 here in San Francisco. That was a crazy, crazy time because it was the peak of the boom, the .com boom, it was like, exploding.
Jeff: Oh, so this is crazy. You’re in – maybe not in Silicon Valley, but you’re really close to Silicon Valley. It’s 1998. Everybody, all you got to do is read a book on Java, and you can get a huge, big paying job, right?
Alex: Yeah, actually, that’s exactly how it was.
Jeff: Yeah, I’m really not exaggerating. For those who aren’t familiar with that point in time here in the U.S., that’s how it was.
Alex: Yeah. Well, I took one – I think it was one or just like – I took maybe like, one and a half semesters at a community college, course work. It was like a UNIX class. I think I got a C++ intro class. And then, I put up, I literally put my resume sometime in the middle of my second semester online just to see, and that day was crazy because 50 recruiters called me. It was insane.
Alex: And I was the most junior person you can ever – I actually had no experience. I talked to 50 of them, I got a job within a week or two. At that point, I wanted to be a software engineer but I was too junior for software engineer, so I became kind of like a white-box tester. I don’t really know if that job is still around, but basically it was kind of like you’re the technical guy on the Q.A. team.
Jeff: You said you had a couple of semesters at a community college, was that all you did?
Alex: Well, I was just taking a class in one or two classes per semester after that because I realized like, hey, I’m working, and I’m making a ton of money because the salary was quite good. But then it all crashed. So around 2000, 2001, I went back to school full time, and then I transferred from the community college to San Jose State University. And in 2000 – I think 4 or 5, I got my Computer Science degree from San Jose State University, and I went to work for companies, start-up companies as a software engineer.
But I was always doing things on the side. In college, I had some crazy software. I didn’t know anything about business, I didn’t know what kind of websites to build. I had my own curiosity which I was pursuing. My first project was silly. I mean, it was like, I was trying to combine Philosophy and Computer Science, and I was trying to map Plato dialogues because they’re logic, right? And logic driven, so it seemed to be a fit, so I did like a Plato talk that you can talk to Plato kind of a project.
So it wasn’t really business, but I was always trying stuff. And then, slowly, a little bit by little bit, it became business because at some point, people were asking me, “Well, how does this make money?” Right? I’m like, “I don’t know, Plato doesn’t make money.”
Jeff: (laughs) So you work on a full time job and probably doing pretty good financially. And on the side, you’ve got this really cool software that lets you talk to Plato, and it’s cool. People love it if they were asking you about it, but it doesn’t really make money.
Alex: It doesn’t make money, and people are confused, “What the hell, how are these supposed to talk?”
Jeff: (laughs) Admittedly, I’m a little confused, but that’s okay.
Alex: Actually, it was kind of – to me, it made sense because the Plato dialogues are all dialogues so the user would take the form of whoever Plato’s talking to and the computer would just be programmed to say whatever Plato’s set up to say at that time. But anyway, that doesn’t matter now.
That project never took off but after one of the – so I work at one of the startups was very successful at which I worked and it was sold. It was for some ridiculous amount of money, like, $300 million. And I had some stock options. It wasn’t a great – they axed me because I was just a software developer but it’s worked as a – you know, I did get some stock options realized but that kind of a point was, for me, it was like – I guess it was a stepping stone.
Now I can try my own thing because I’ve realized to really find the financial freedom, working a job isn’t going to do it for you because like, that company was sold for $300 million but to get there, it took it maybe 10 years or so. At that time, various investors own a gigantic chunk. I think Adobe owned 50% of that company or something like that. Then there was a bunch of employees. So my chunk was very tiny of the pie. So I realized to really find financial freedom, it’s not going to be the stock options that’s going to be – I’ve got to try more things on my own.
Jeff: Okay. So you were with a really successful company that got sold for $300 million or something like that, and you had what felt like a couple of piddly stock options. Is that when you really realized, “I think entrepreneurship’s the way I need to go.”
Alex: Yeah, I kind of felt screwed because everyone’s like, “Stock options!” Well, the thing it was, after the 2000, before the .com bust, stock options were great. After the .com bust, people realized most of the stock options don’t get realized. They only really work if the company gets sold. So here I am, this is kind of dispelling that second truth where even if the company gets sold and you have stock options, it doesn’t mean a whole lot because you got a small chunk.
Jeff: So you really had your wake up call. So what did you do next?
Alex: I tried a couple of things. I did a hiking website. At that point, I was still new in business. I knew how to program stuff, but I really didn’t know business. Nobody really mentored me. So, I’m attacking on my own. I thought I would make money with ads and stuff like that, and as soon as I started that company, I realized, oh yeah, the ads don’t really make that much money. That business mile can only work if you have a ton, like a tremendous amount of traffic which is not easy to do for a hiking site.
Jeff: Yeah, it’s kind of niche site, yeah.
Alex: Yeah. I tried to have maybe like a global thing since it’s not too niche, but still it was difficult going and it wasn’t – and the site never became really that professionally well done because I’m not a great designer.
Jeff: But you can program the hell out of it, right?
Alex: I programmed it but because I should have just made app that’s simple but with features. I made it simple to use but I kept on trying to figure out what features people wanted. And I kept on adding and adding and adding and none of the features became really amazing and smooth, but it’s like a bunch of mediocre features. That’s still a problem with that site. I mean, no one’s using it that much but it’s comehike.com.
Jeff: Okay. I love pulling out the lessons that entrepreneurs have learned along the way, and it sounds like a key lesson that you learned there was, too many features but none of them – you didn’t really focus on any of them enough to make them really awesome.
Alex: Yeah, that was one of the big problems. If I could sum up the technical mistakes that I made were: number one, the design never became as good as it should have been. Some people were always like, “This is just not professional.”
And number two is, because of the design problems that the site had, for everything else, it had a lower conversion rate than it should have. Every other feature was kind of like an uphill climb, and so even though we already covered to make money for that kind of a business model, you needed a lot of users. You needed even more users because the conversion rate for everything I wanted them to do was low. So, those were the kinds of mistakes that I made. But the biggest mistakes were really on the business side of it because there were just no business to make out of that site. I had to really try to wiggle out of the planning mistakes that I made or the lack of planning. So, instead of trying to make money with ads, I tried to make an event business then I tried to – actually the event business worked better. I ended up having these really cool hikes in San Francisco, like I found the shipwrecks you can see during low tide.
Jeff: Oh, cool.
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Alex: They were really cool. Actually those kind of attention they even were mentioned on MTR, like I really – that actually was a success.
Alex: Yeah. And then, I found the similar things like, San Francisco has – it used to be a military base for 100 years to protect from the area stretch, the coast line. And so there’s all these cannons you can find around the coast line, it’s still there. I did a cannons hikes and shipwrecks hike and there was a Yoda statue hike, whatever. I did all these cool themed hike, and they got me a lot of press locally. I was in every Sunday paper, every local publication.
Alex: That worked. I learned how to promote events and do event business but still, it’s not something that would scale nationwide because there wasn’t, just only one of them. So what I’m doing is, maybe you’re familiar with – I ended up doing a content farm which was a really great business if you are pre-2010 or so.
Jeff: Yeah, so just to briefly explain to our listeners what a content farm is.
Alex: I took a database of every park in the world. Every type of tree in the world, every type of bird, every animal, I put them into my database, and I was able to generate a page for each of these things. So if you the redwood tree, the madrone tree and I had a page for each of these, and for every park in the world, I had a page. in Google because I got so much press from the events that I ran. My domain was actually pretty strong, and so I was able to get these kind of weak little pages rank in Google. I started doing pretty well obviously because I had hundreds and thousands of pages that were beginning to rank.
Jeff: So how did that make money?
Alex: Every page had ads.
Jeff: Oh, okay.
Alex: Yeah. But then one day, I just woke up, and I realized the site got penalized.
Jeff: So when Google changed their algorithm back in 2010, that wasn’t a good thing for you, right?
Alex: No. It was just like I had a chart which was up into the rise that lift just basically like, hanging off a cliff the next day. So that killed that business, and I realized I had enough of trying different businesses under this comehike umbrella. I got to try something new.
But that gave me a really great foundation because I learned offline marketing, online… different, right? So even though I made a mistake – which was really avoidable in the beginning if I just got mentoring – just by virtue of wiggling out and trying all these different things, like wrecking my brain, figuring out what to do, how to do it, I pretty much learned how to run the whole bunch of businesses under this one business which was comehike.
And so, that really gave me a good foundation. I tried a few and then I started tinkering with other ideas. Then, I was also realizing, hey like, everyone was talking about mobile. As a developer, if I didn’t know mobile, something’s wrong there, right? Because you kind of got to keep learning.
So I learned mobile a little bit. I made a little – first, I made a little mobile app for business. It was kind of like, the idea with the app was that if you had a business idea, you can discuss it with other people and sort of brainstorm and figure how to make it better. And then once something is solid, once people have something solid, somebody could take it on and build that business. So it was an open kind of a forum. I build that, but it totally didn’t work. Entrepreneurs wanted to be – they don’t want to share ideas, right? Most people, they really care about privacy.
Jeff: Yeah. So it was that whole, “Somebody’s going to steal my idea,” thing.
Alex: But not even that. Even like, if people have a lawn care business, they don’t necessarily want to go and tell the world that they’re thinking of starting a business, right?
Jeff: Oh, okay. Sure.
Alex: There’s various degrees of privacy. And of course, there is that innovative idea that will really set the privacy but even in common business ideas, people still are private, it’s sort of a more or less of a private thing. I learned that through the hard way. But one feature that I made in that app which was really great was people could ask me questions literally, like, if they couldn’t just email me.
Jeff: Oh, okay. That’s cool.
Alex: Like, through the app. And what that gave me is the opportunity to talk to my users and find out what they wanted.
Jeff: Oh, okay.
Alex: Right? So right away, I realized that hey, they don’t want to discuss business ideas, they just have specific questions. And so I started – they talked on just want to plan their business. Like right now, there’s a lot of business plans. People are moving away from business plans.
Especially having my experience with comehike where if I had planned it better, it would have done better. But I realized people want it, right? So I built a little software planning component to that app, and I added a whole bunch of articles of how to get started to coach people a little bit.
At that point, that app started taking off. Actually, it was at one point, it was the highest rated app on Android for business. So it started growing quickly, and it became the top business planning app of course and one of the better business apps. One of the features that was really helpful is that I was still helping people with their business for free. Which now I only do in paid apps because the volume, it was just overwhelming.
Jeff: Sure. Sure.
Alex: At that point, that was such a helpful app for people.
Jeff: Okay. Well, this is so interesting because you started off – it’s like, almost like everything you did, you started off and something didn’t quite worked out the way you were expecting it to. So you looked at, “Well, okay, what did I learn and how can I adjust course to make this actually work?”
Just like you do with the hiking business, you got that to be successful in the events space and you got the content farm to work, and then, ultimately decided to abandon that to go the mobile route. And again, that first app sounds like it just wasn’t really what people were looking for, but the beauty of it was that there was this piece that let people talk to you and tell you what it was that they didn’t want. So then you were able to take that and really run with it.
Alex: Yeah. I mean, it was really lucky that I – I mean, it was kind of lucky but it wasn’t that lucky because that technique of really getting as close to my customers or users as possible, something I did during comehike also because I was trying to figure out how do I engage them better. So I realized, a better design and more professionalism would have done a long way but then, I was like, “How the hell do I get them to plan hikes?”
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It was some techniques that I learned during comehike actually helped me here. As I kept helping people on these apps, on that original app, I realized like, oh my god, I’m getting the same type of questions all the time. First there was this component that people who are just like – gave me a business idea where I was like, “I can’t give you a business idea because this really kills mine, I can’t give everyone the same business idea.” So I had to explain to them over and over all the issues associated with that.
Jeff: So they just want you to give them a business idea?
Alex: There’s like a belt curve and those, I guess, were my extra beginner users. And also in the apps, people are younger, they’re just chatting with me on the app, all sorts of people from all sorts of places in the world. So, I don’t know. But I had some people, a significant enough portion of the people, ask me for and about business idea. There’s also a lot of how to protect business ideas, what do I do if I have too many business ideas, how do I choose? So those are more people says. It was all sorts of business idea issues.
Then, there was the actual business planning. People didn’t know how to shoot their target market or figure out the finances. I got those questions. And then, the questions of like, how do I raise money which I think everyone probably asks at some point. Then, there’s also the questions about how do I promote my business which is another thing almost everyone asks at some point.
So that gave – and then the fifth type of question is, how do I set this up legally? And I decided from early on, I’m not going to give any legal advice because I’m not a lawyer. So there was the 5 kinds of questions I’m getting, and four of them I could address. And then, left that legal side untouched.
So I made actually a course of four apps. Business ideas, business planning, marketing, and fund-raising. To major issue, right? Had a bunch of tutorial articles, planning tools, and if people got the premium – and the premium feature is that they can talk to me, and they can get advice from a real person. And then I released that on IOS and Android and Kindle. So that’s sort of how these apps came. That’s kind of where they are more or less now.
Jeff: Okay, so you took all these questions that you were getting in. You’ve got 5, 6 questions – or 5 questions and then you said, I’m going to take each of those 5 questions that I keep getting consistently and I’m going to make an app about each of those questions. So this is brilliant. I mean, you just – you figured out what the market wanted and you just gave it to them. I mean, it’s really that simple, right?
Alex: Yeah, it was actually that simple although one that’s kind of funny is that the market wanted it for free.
Jeff: I want to hear more about that because there’s such a mentality in the app world about it should just be free, and obviously you’re making money here so I want to hear how you’re doing that, too.
Alex: So the hardest thing about these apps was to make money with them because I mean, people love the free help. And then, all of a sudden, I had to do like, oh, you know, 99 cents. And then, 99% of the people – of the free people is like, right?
Jeff: Yeah, they’d laugh. “You want 99 cents for this thing?” Okay.
Alex: And it’s like, additionally, one thing associated with the apps is because they are all over the world, – in the U.S., they’re used to having online banking and being able to enter our credit cards, that’s not the case with a lot of countries. Couldn’t, actually. So there is the actual issue that they physically couldn’t buy it. But that’s a reasonably small portion of the people. Most people, I mean, it is determined, right? Anytime you want something free, you’ll get a crowd. But once you start charging, you’ll get a smaller crowd.
But it was the same as every other thing which is sell online, right? You have to create a landing page, experiment, create with copy, things like that. I mean, that’s what I had to do. But the apps make money in three ways now. There is the paid app upsell. And then, I make money with affiliate sales.
So like, a lot of people were asking how do I make money, how do I raise money with loans? So I added like some loan – I partnered with a loan company to become their affiliate, and that worked. And then also, I offer a very hands-on coaching service where I can Skype with people and either discuss their business or actually write their business plan with them collaboratively online. So they learned how to plan their business and they get their business plan done at the same time.
Those three ways are how the apps make money but I mean, it’s hard. It’s hard to monetize apps but if people are wondering how to make money with apps, actually the most lucrative apps are free. I mean, the apps that make money, most are free. I think there are some statistics that the 24 top grossing apps are free.
Jeff: How do they make their money then?
Alex: It’s the premium model, right? Got to get that mass of people into your product instead of your competitors. Mass of people is in your product, there’s going to be some small conversion. It’s up to the business owner or the app developer to figure out how to make money from the owners.
And there’s some revenue models like there’s the subscription which is great because it just accumulates monthly, but not all apps are repeat use apps. So subscription doesn’t work for everyone. And then, there’s like, Zynga’s a really good example. They have a very low percentage of people who actually buy the virtual goods but the people who buy? They can sometimes spend thousands.
Jeff: Oh, really? Okay.
Alex: That’s how their model work is that once people were able to justify paying 99 cents for nothing, they can spend it again. I guess they call them whales or something. There’s a term for it or something where there’s people who really like to spend tens of thousands of dollars on these games. But those are so rare, and you don’t know who that’s going to be. So you got to get everyone playing. And then, some of those guys are going to become the whales. At Zynga, they call…the free users they call them spam.
Jeff: They call them what?
Jeff: Oh, okay.
Alex: Because they just take up cyber space. But that’s a great model because – it’s a great example because it was up to Zynga to figure out how to get some people to pay them thousands.
Jeff: Well, that’s interesting because that whole model that you’re talking about isn’t unique to the app space, it could be applicable to a lot of different things. But one of the things that I want to ask you about is – and I was really curious about this since I first asked you to be on the show – you were a programmer, you were a technical guy, and now, having success in the entrepreneurial world, you’ve gotten very good at marketing. I think that that is one of the hardest gaps to fill for so many people.
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And again, if you’re listening, it’s not just about a program. It’s about anybody with any sort of a specific skill whether that’s programming or being a lawyer or being a life coach or being an expert on lawn care or whatever it is, there’s that gap that you have to fill between being really smart and knowing what you’re doing, and then becoming a good marketer in order to be a successful entrepreneur particularly with something that you really care about and that you were devoted to as you are, Alex, to programming and technology in general.
So how did you go about filling that gap? How did you go from being a programmer who really didn’t know much about marketing to being a successful entrepreneur who is obviously very good at marketing?
Alex: Well, thank you. I don’t know. I’m always still learning.
Jeff: You can’t have any success without knowing how to market. And the reason why you’re successful is because of what you just said, which is that you’re always still learning.
Alex: Yeah. I mean, actually it’s true. At first, I do remember it was very overwhelming, like, who are these business people and what do they know that I don’t know? Actually, but I do remember the moment where I installed Google analytics and I was like, ah, I just got traffic from Google for like a long tail. I remember getting a long tail search term with one of my first websites. I was like, “Oh really? It can happen that easily?” (Laughs) Like, what the heck!
That was really exciting actually because prior to that, I tried posting on Facebook and Twitter and whatever, and like, three people clicked. But then I realized, this is a way I can scale this out and it sort of like went off my head. I think it was almost like an endorphin rush because I realized, hey there’s this amazing path here. Because years ago, SEO: it actually was the great equalizer because you could compete with large companies. That’s kind of how a lot of little guys were able to become bigger guys without money.
Now, SEO is so convoluted and so difficult. I mean, you’re more likely to get penalized than get a really high amount of traffic. I mean, I’m not seeing any stories where like, “Hey, I’m a small developer, I built my business from SEO.” I’m not seeing that very much. But years ago, three, four, five years ago, that was common. It was great because the small business owner had a chance.
Now, you literally, you have to have be so much savvy with these things. But that was the beginning, that’s sort of the light bulb went off. I started trying things, I bought a bunch of domains. I just was trying so many things with SEO and then started realizing, no, SEO wasn’t working that well actually after I got that penalty that I had.
Jeff: Yeah. For you, that was a pretty extreme example of SEO not working well.
Alex: Yeah. It was working well after that day. And after that day, it was just very difficult. And it wouldn’t have been working well even before that if I had – if you’re not that scale. If I hadn’t created that mass farm of content page by page, it would have taken a long time to build something big.
SEO is also – you know that whole page by page thing? It scales very slowly. I mean, I can talk about this issue for a long time. There are definitely many pros and cons about it but actually one thing that I did is I realized I can get – one thing I realized when I went to mobile is I can get way more distribution using my SEO knowledge and techniques in the app store.
Jeff: Oh, okay. Because people are searching there as well.
Alex: They’re searching, right? Google is now associated with SEO but that’s sort of wrong because Google is so hard. You have to – it’s free, but it’s the most expensive way to advertise. The expense isn’t just the effort that it takes to post a page. The expense is that time that you spent waiting for clients. It says, wait three to six months. That’s your business. Are you really going to wait for three to six months?
So Google actually, it’s great if over time as a long term strategy it ends up working, it’s great because it’s everyday consistent traffic. Amazing, and really well targeted as well. So Google traffic is amazing but it’s hard to get.
I actually focus on large platforms which have – now as my SEO technique, I focus on large platforms which have search there. So it might be app store, it might be Quora, it might be YouTube. YouTube is great actually, I’m beginning to experiment with YouTube, and it’s amazing. I have a channel for business and I’m able to get distribution there far easier than on Google. For locals or business, the search would be Yelp or Angie’s list or something like that. It still gives you a lot of traffic from those large platforms or sites, but it’s infinitely easier than the actual SEO.
Jeff: So that’s interesting. So you’re strategically looking at large platforms that have search capability, and you’re not considering Google a key one because it’s just too competitive.
Jeff: Okay, well that’s a fascinating strategy. I love that. Now you talked a little bit about copywriting and all that kind of stuff. Give us one of the most important lessons that you learned about marketing in general.
Alex: I have developed a concept of…I guess I’d call it – because now I sort of teach marketing to people with my app. So I developed this concept of…I call it, I guess for a lack of better name, I’d call it the Four Pillars of any marketing effort.
So the way it goes is – and you got to get 3 or 4 of these with everything you do and then it will work. So the way it works is, there’s four major things that have to happen right. You have to have obviously the right cost. You have to reach people at the right scale. They have to be targeted. They have to be well-targeted, it can’t just be random people, it’s got to be your target market.
And the fourth thing is that you have to get them to convert to whatever you want them to do. It’s basically cost efficient. How to get a lot of people at a cost that will work for your business, who will convert, and core targeted and will convert. That informs every single marketing thing I do.
Jeff: That is awesome. Have you ever blogged about that or anything?
Alex: Yeah, I have a blog post but it doesn’t make an SEO.
Jeff: Can you send a link to me over Skype? I’d love to post that below the show.
Alex: And by the way, it’s one of the first things people see in my apps. It’s in that fundamental section of my apps. I have a YouTube video about it, and I have a blog post about it.
Jeff: Awesome. I’d love to have that, the YouTube video and the blog post so we can share that with our listeners because I think it’s really, really good sound advice for anybody trying to do marketing efforts. Alex, you’ve been a wealth of information, what’s the biggest lesson that you learned on this entire journey of yours, from working as a tester at a startup to having your own successful entrepreneurial business?
Alex: Oh God, there’s been so many. I mean, you got to really – I mean, you can’t get anywhere without working hard so I really worked hard. I guess you should pursue your passion. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I guess you should because – and then the passion doesn’t have to be something specific. For me, it was just kind of, I was pursuing my curiosity and that gave me – it fueled all that effort because actually it was a lot of effort so far. And without me being naturally curious of what’s going to happen if I do this or if I do that, then it would have been much harder to innovate and try stuff.
Jeff: Well, I think those two things tie very closely together because you said you got to have a lot of hard work and you got to do something that you’re passionate about or as I say, devoted to. And the reality of it is, you can’t motivate yourself to do all that hard work if you don’t care about what you’re doing.
Jeff: So I think those two things really go hand in hand. Alex, what’s the most important thing that you’d want to leave our listeners with?
Alex: You know, one thing that I see maybe first time entrepreneurs or young entrepreneurs, the mistake that they make that I see is them not getting the help that they need. So it’s really helpful if they have either a mentor or a co-founder. That will prevent them from many, many mistakes. Like, having a good mentor for example, for me with comehike, it could have saved me so much work if I just had good advice. So I would advise to seek help in the form of co-founder and mentors.
Jeff: Seek help and mentorship, that’s an awesome, awesome lesson. Alex, where can our listeners to get more information about you and your mobile app business?
Alex: You can visit my website at problemio.com, it has all the links to the apps. I’m actually very excited about my YouTube channel, I’ve only started experimenting with it somewhat recently so the videos aren’t amazing in quality but the content, I try to make it very informative. So then there’s my YouTube channel which has a difficult URL so I won’t even bother.
Jeff: Okay, just shoot that over to me and we’ll get it posted below the show. And then, you said the main website for the mobile apps is problemio, and that’s p-r-o-b-l-e-m-i-o?
Jeff: .com. Okay. We’ll link that up below as well. You talked about your hiking site, and I know we probably have some hikers out there who are curious to see what that looks like. Where do we find that?
Alex: That was at comehike.com.
Jeff: Is that c-a-m-h-i-k-e.com?
Alex: It’s c-o-m-e.
Jeff: Comehike. Okay, c-o-m-h-i-k-e and we’ll link that below the show. Alex, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your time and all the great wisdom that you were able to share. It’s been a blast talking to you and I wish you the best of luck.
Alex: Thank you for having me, it was great to be here.
Jeff: Wow. Alex shared some really great stuff on this episode of the How To Quit Working show. He is a guy who started out – he had some technical knowledge and technical knowledge, that’s not just about computers. Anything can be technical knowledge. You might have technical knowledge about golf or health or fitness or the law, whatever, anything how you may have a greener lawn, whatever it may be.
But a lot of people have that technical knowledge, and they want to make a business out of it, and they struggle because they don’t have the business or marketing acumen. And that is the exact situation that Alex found himself in after he left the tech company he was in.
He had some ideas, and he wanted to do something but didn’t have that knowledge. But what he did have was persistence. He knew that he was going to be successful if he just kept trying and didn’t give up. He had a number of things that he tried and didn’t work out the way he had hoped that they would. But that was okay, because he learned from it, and he moved on. So he’s a huge inspiration, I think, to anybody who wants to start their own business.
The other thing that I want to point out is the two extremely important things that Alex talked about. The first one is this whole idea that Google isn’t the only place that people go to search for things. If you want to get a lot of traffic, as Alex said, it is difficult to get ranked on Google. It’s gotten very competitive, and you are out there directly competing with some really, really big players that probably have a lot more money than you. And that’s okay. In the long haul, if you stick with it for a while, you will get results on Google, but there is a decent amount that you have to know. Not that you shouldn’t try, but Alex points out that it’s not going to get you fast results, and here is an alternative, and the alternative that he pointed out was to look for places that have a large audience and search functionality.
So he gives the example of the app store. Another example that I’ll give is iTunes, right? iTunes is a place where people go to search for things, music, podcasts, and things like that. The show is on iTunes. It maybe that the way you found the show was that you were on iTunes for searching for things and you came across this. Or maybe you were on iTunes and this was displayed to you as something that you might like.
So again, consider what are those major places that you could go that have a lot of people and let those people search, that you can then use search engine optimization to be in the results of those searches and get people exposed to you and your product or service or whatever it is in that way. So it’s a very important lesson that Alex pointed out that’s just not something that you hear about in the mainstream, so that’s why I thought that was so cool.
Now the other thing that Alex talked about that is so incredibly useful is his Four Pillars of marketing success. You can click below the show and get his blog post as well as his video talking about those four things. He goes into more detail than he did here on the show so you should definitely check that out.
But really, it’s just very, very basic marketing wisdom and if you can apply that to anything that you’re doing to market your business, you’re going to have a lot more success because that’s not hype. That’s not internet marketing, that’s not anything but good, solid, sound marketing advice that Alex gave on that. So definitely check out his Four Pillars of marketing success. It’s a great stuff. So scroll right down, you can click on the video, you can click on his blog post about it.
So I hope you enjoyed this. This was a great episode packed with lots of really practical information. Now, as always, if you would like to quit working at a full time job that you don’t like and you like to start a business and have a life of freedom like all of my guests on the show enjoy, just go to the howtoquitworking.com. In the upper right hand corner, you can sign up for free training series that will show you exactly how to do that.
Also, head over to the iTunes store and leave a rating on this podcast. Tell everybody what you think about it. Is it great? Is it awesome? Does it suck? Whatever it is that you think, I want to hear about it. The world wants to know what you think, so go over to iTunes and leave that star rating. I would appreciate it as would everyone listening.
With that, that wraps up today’s show. I will talk to you again next week when we’re going to talk to another amazing person just like you who has quit working and created an amazing life of freedom. Until next time.