Ep #393: ClickMinded with Tommy Griffith
Hey everybody and welcome back to episode three hundred and ninety three here on the daily grind featuring today's special guest tommy griffeth breath a. lot is in this interview ever one <hes> so much to learn from tommy his experience his expertise as always be sure you have that pen piece of paper around you really dive into what tommy says. Take one thing out of today's interview of be sure that you're implementing it into your life and if you do that you're gonna start seeing being massive results but without further ado everyone be sure you really dive into today's interview with tommy griffith. Enjoy today's today's review of the day comes from john jay rich. I have watched since day one and for anyone new to the daily grind content. It is top notch. You'll be inspired by everyone on the show. Thank you so much john for the wonderful review. If you want to be featured on review of the day go ahead and leave that review on itunes. 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At pay pal and airbnb and now runs runs click minded a digital marketing training platform for marketers and entrepreneurs. Tommy started click mine. Click minded as a side project working fulltime at airbnb he grew it until it started generating more revenue than his annual salary two years ago he quit airbnb to go full time on it and ran into a number of problems in trying to grow the business from there which you're gonna learn here on the podcast. Everyone like i said makes you get the pen no pat around and without further ado please meet to hummy griffith. Will tommy griffith welcome to the daily grind. How are you today. I'm doing great. Hey collin. Thanks so much for having me on the show of course thank you so much for being here and if you wouldn't mind tommy safer some listeners out there being first introduced to you today to speaking a little a bit more onto who you are and what is the do yes so <hes> so i read a digital marketing training course called click minded. We train train up entrepreneurs and marketers on how to do digital marketing. I have been doing search engine optimization for about ten years managed s._e._o. At pay pal and airbnb for six years and a two years ago. I went full-time on click minded. I would have been working on it as a side project while managing s._e._o. At paypal and airbnb two years ago left airbnb to go full time on it and the last two years have been kind of traveling and working on it growing the business business and running around the world like an idiot so it's been it's been a lot of fun. What was your sort of wanting to start this. I mean obviously you you were doing s._e._o. At two big companies successful career what made you wanna start this side hustle that turned into what is now click minded yes so <hes> the host stories kind of started when i graduated university in like a lot of internet marketers. My introduction to the whole game was through the four hour workweek. Did you ever read book. I have yeah yeah so i'm. I'm sure plenty of your audience has as well but for anyone hasn't it was kind of the kind of the i mean. Tell me what you think calm but it was kind of the catalyst for a lot of internet businesses and remote businesses right like it was yeah yeah so it was written into that he he doesn't have it or two thousand eight and it's a little bit dated now but i think the general concepts in it are still really good it. It was basically the motivation for a lot of people to realize that like you can build a remote business and you can travel you work and you can't have remote team in that kind of stuff until i graduated at a finance degree graduated during the recession when bankroll crashing and i couldn't find a job and and was reading karar workweek in a hammock and my i got a an inspired to create my first product. My first product was as very dorky e book that i wrote okay <hes> <hes> and it was it was actually pretty obnoxious story a bunch of friends of my in the book tim ferriss recommends that you start with an info product right like if you have a particular particular skill set or a knowledge that other people might want you should you should create it and so in university i had this really obnoxious story story where a bunch of friends of mine and i started fraternity okay exactly exactly like old school yet yeah it was it was it was very obnoxious but start kind of started as a joke and by the time we graduated there was like a hundred guys senate and so so i read for workweek and i use the google edwards keyword planner and turns out that one thousand five hundred people a month were searching searching for how to start a fraternity google yeah so i wrote this really dorky sixty something page e book on like how to do it how to start a fraternity. Ah and i started pricing the book at ten dollars. Nobody bought it. I dropped the price to five dollars. Nobody oughta oughta increase the price to forty seven dollars and two hundred and fifty people bought no and so <hes> and that was my first introduction to internet marketing the whole concept around that as well was i said okay i have this. I need to go to the top google. How do i get it ranking making for how to start a fraternity and that sort of started down the road got it ranking change the pricing around and it started started telling so that that got me into internet marketing. I ended up from their starting a business with a friend of mine that failed miserably right when i was when i graduated graduate university has about twenty two and we start. I was one of these guys who i was very blessed and my parents paid for university. <hes> i graduated with no debt agent. I ended up putting myself into debt with this business idea so my friend. I borrowed a bunch of money from family and friends. We tried this idea for a year and it just didn't work. It was absolutely miserable. We start today. It's really random. We started a medical tourism facilitation tation company. Yeah you familiar with medical. No i have no idea what that is yeah so it was it was to the land you shouldn't. It's a really weird thing. This is like two thousand and nine in the u._s. We have canadian but we have have all kinds of healthcare problems today and continued to have them <hes> back in the day but this is kinda pre obamacare healthcare reform and the basic idea was was there are certain surgeries for people that don't have insurance or maybe entrepreneurs that that that don't have insurance or there's because there's a big category of people okay who can't afford really expensive certain procedures so we found living in japan teaching english in japan and we <unk> discovered that knee and hip replacement surgery in taiwan was extremely cheap and so so like a neat near hip replaced in the u._s. is like forty five to sixty five thousand dollars and in taiwan with v._i._p. Accommodations doctors had gone to harvard and spoke perfect english and had like higher success rates than u._s. Hospitals all in it was like ten thousand dollars wow and so and that was with the hospital that'll making a huge margin on it with foreign foreign patients of on so yeah and so <hes> we started a medical tourism facilitation company we we we basically tried to get people that were looking for orthopedic surgery abroad into onto our site and giving us a contact information and trying to connect connect them with hospitals. Says was the dumbest idea possible. I mean we like one. One upside was that we we learned. I learned internet marketing. I learned s._e._o. I learned paid advertising but every other aspect of the business was just so dumb and and <hes> i remember the moment i was. I was working u._s. Our so is the middle of the night and taiwan. I was living in taiwan. Don't speak chinese and i was. I was on skype skype with like a sixty something year old woman from illinois at two in the morning in my underwear discussing the possible implications of deep vein thrombosis. I had this woman and like just in so far over my head. <hes> it was unbelievable and the next morning it was like we got to shut this down. I gotta shut this down so i so i ended up coming home tail between my legs like really beat up from this idea and just kind and knocked on the door like hey mom. Hey remember me <hes> their their room on the couch kind of thing right but then ended up just being the right place right time. Pay pal was hiring s._e._o. Manager for emerging markets. I ended up applying. I just spent two years learning s._e._o. And that was the catapult for the next ex- sort of phase of my career i ended up managing s._e._o. Pay pal for two years and then managing s._e._o. At airbnb for four years and it was just this really strange sort of experience. Yes i was doing my own business. It wasn't working sort of failing and then like a month later. I was twenty three or twenty four years old managing s._e._o. One of the biggest websites in the world just kind of it's kinda weird but it ended up that ended up being the catalyst for quick minded. I was working at at paypal and still had all this debt from the startup and it's had to try and figure out how to pay it off and clicked minded ended up being like idea number fifteen. I tried a lot of different things kept trying for for different different years but ultimately click mind. It was the one that ended up working and when you so i mean obviously tried fifteen different things they weren't working and did you feel like the fifteen things you were doing before. Quick minded like was sole lead just to pay off the debt so yes. It's a really good question and i have a lot of strong opinions on this now. I think i attribute some of it to sort of entrepreneurial a._d._d. You know what i mean like. There's a really good way to test this as well and the way to test whether or not you have entrepreneurial a._d._d. Is if you go right now. Actually i'm curious about yours. Call on if you go into your web hosting account right now how many unused domains are they're sitting there. There's probably before four. I know there's four there's four. I would actually say that that's pretty good. That's pretty low. I know yeah. I know plenty of people who you know like you're having beers with friends. You get an idea by the domain mmediately and then you never do anything with it for a year right. I was trying a lot of these sort of different ideas and i found that the single biggest first thing in this yeah a lot of strong opinions on us now so the single biggest thing for me was my own personal motivation and interest in the idea so and this is actually counterintuitive to what a lot of people in silicon valley say now right like there's a i think it's i think it's mark andreessen or one out of these sort of prolific silicon valley tech investors. He had this trope. I think he tweeted it out or wrote a blog about or something where it says he says like i'd ed rather have a mediocre product and a mediocre team in a great market that a great product and a great team in a mediocre mark market and there's just kind of like trump going around around how markets are are like the thing to focus on the market and blah blah blah. I actually really disagree with this. When you're talking talking about a side project slash lifestyle business you know what i mean and as a as an example so yeah one of these fifteen ideas we're talking about before or i started this iphone app lead generation site okay so it was it was like two thousand eleven i._o._s. Developments getting really big people were wanted to learn x. code to create their own apps companies. That didn't have their own i._o._s. App wanted them and so the basic idea was okay. I'll get a site ranking for key words like iphone app development companies and iphone app development costs in our app developers right and then gatty sell the leads that was that was kind of the idea. I got it up. I got it live. I got a ranking order to generate traffic is starting to generate leads in every saturday morning. I went to go work on it. I choose just hated it. I just had no interest in it. I wasn't passionate asked about it and i really just just hated it and so you know even though it started to work i was really it was really we really hard to get out of bed in the morning on saturday mornings and so i think there's a there's a little bit of a balance here around your own personal interest in the market right i you whatever goalposts you set for yourself in the early days whether two thousand dollars or ten thousand dollars one hundred thousand dollars or whatever it is you or the engine that's gotta drag this thing across the finish line to that first goalposts right and if you're not jumping out of bed it's already already so hard right startups or hard most startups fail. Most businesses die like you already have so much going against you that if you were the single engine that's going to get this to the first barrier carrier and you're not interested in it. Your deck is really really stacked stacked against yeah so totally all these other ideas. I tried. I gave them a shot but but the the single biggest factor for me was actually my own interest in the idea and i think that's so important because i mean like you said even though i don't buy the domain l. main to think you know even not so much now but in the past you have so many those conversations whether you're having a beer you're sitting down with a friend or my father and you see all these different business ideas but you don't act on it or you act on it for a month and then you realize who leash it. This is a lot more work and i don't like what i'm doing exactly that and i think that's but for people listening into it who maybe they don't know what that is for them like they don't have that inside of them like oh. This is what's going to jump and get me out of bad. Would you have suggestions for those people. That's really interesting. I mean that's the that's the big dirty secret that that that <hes> everyone is looking for. I think right <hes> i don't know the answer i really don't. I think it's really interesting because i had that entrepreneurial royal a._d._d. And i tried a lot of different things but i can guarantee you so the only reason why clicked minded ended up working was because i dropped all the other ideas. I wasn't passionate about right that that i know but i would have never found. Click minded if i didn't have that entrepreneurial a._d._d. The flavors worse weird balance of i was the guy that had fifty five different domains in my account and some of them. I never worked on some of them. I worked on for a week. I was exactly the guy yeah you just described but so. I'm okay for anyone listening. That's thinking about this. I'm okay with entrepreneurial a._d._d. Upfront like at first i right i think it's actually fairly healthy drinks but there comes to a point where you do have to burn the boats a little bit and you have to forsake everything else and go all in on on one specific thing and i don't know where you draw that line. It's probably different for everyone but you never see anyone. That's like i'm. I'm running very successful business and i also have a bunch of fifty different half ideas that way you know what i mean. It's true. I think it's even for myself. I did sort of the same thing. I did ten jobs before i found what i'm doing now but all those jobs and all those businesses that i failed that you acquire skills and i think maybe that's something that if you don't have a passion or you don't have that thing you have to go out and you have to acquire those oh skills and whether that's you don't have to start a business fail at it but take a course you know read a book develop actual skills as opposed to i i would say developing skills and maybe you have a different take on this. Tommy i think developing skills probably more beneficial than reading the four hour workweek for sure absolutely yeah and and not only that but y- so another another interesting way to think about this too is is is it within timelines and within your own energy and things so i don't know if you're familiar with devolve ravikant. He's this like not yes. He's <hes> venture. Capitalists kind of guy turned. He's kind of like a like a like a religious cult leader at this point now. He's he's sort of. He was a venture capitalist invested in a bunch of stuff started angel lists. He started a couple of things but now he's sort of pivoted to like. He does a lot of crypto currency stuff as well but he's kind of more of like a religious figure in in in tech circles. It's more about like living your life and he's like a tech texans buddha or google although my c._d.'s on joe rogan whole bunch of other stuff okay yeah joe rogan podcast incredible but <hes> he is a really interesting way to think about this especially with with long term and thinking and he says you should be working on something where it should feel like it should look like work to other people. It should feel like play for you. <hes> i love that and if you do that his whole point that's kinda like okay if you if you do that yes yes you can lose in the short term but you can't really lose in the long term right if you're going up against a competitor and it's worked for them and it's play for you. You and you're working eight twelve sixteen hours a day over over multiple years. You know you're playing and they're working and you're not you can't really lose inadequate. He's right and so that sorta his point for me. It was really interesting because i i love to teach <hes> i taught the at a graduate school in san francisco. I really enjoy teaching and <hes> and i really love search engine optimization. I played a lot of computer games as a kid and i feel like <hes> search engine optimization became my computer game right like i would like move rankings up on the dashboards and move traffic up and it felt like i was playing like an online role playing game kinda thing or something like that is super dorky but it just felt like play to me right and so i ended up loving search engine optimization i ended up loving teaching and then and surprise surprise when i find the side project where i was teaching search engine optimization i look i love doing it it. Just it just ended up working. It was like thousands thousands of times more interesting to me than you know an iphone app development lead generation site or something like that and so <hes> it just ended up working out yeah. It's funny you say that because i think you know for us we have. I think a lot of us have skills that we think are because it comes so natural to us because it may feel like play to us us that we don't think that it can help other people when in fact some of your most trivial skills people would be willing to pay for it like you could probably probably turn a business out of that and i think it's really interesting how you say that because i think so many of us have those little skills that maybe to us seem like a game but if you were to look back on it it and maybe dissect that and be like wow maybe i could really turn this and spin it in this way and this could be my business absolutely yeah yeah and it's just it's just a broader understanding of the idea that people value different things differently and so yeah you know what whatever you love doing. I can guarantee you. There's someone out there. That hates doing that metal true but that's the sweet spot you know so when you started doing click minded minded. How many hours a week were you spending on this as a side project while you were still at paypal yes yeah so so this this was tricky so actually just recently published a blog post laying out where i'm now on the eighth year within cook minded and a heya. Hey <hes> just kind of wild but i just posted a blog post with all the revenue numbers and all the hours the hours cool per year. Yeah i can give it to you. Maybe we can link. They get up in the show notes but yet the first the first iteration of the business was terrible so <hes> the the basic idea was started as an offline class. Cook minded is now an online digital marketing course. We have seven different topics. We use world class instructors that teach wjr the stuff every day right our social media courses topped by the former head of social media airbnb the content marketing core top by the former content strategists from lift <hes> <hes> but the initial version of it back in two thousand twelve was me renting out a co working space on saturday mornings and physically teaching in person jason trost you and right and so you know it would be kind of all you can s._e._o. So it'd be like a saturday morning nine to five and startup founders. There's and marketers and people like that cisco would come in and we would just dissect their website figure out how to get them more traffic. When in two person classes were terrible right because there would be like a revenue share i would spend all day prepping for the course and things like that and and it just went ended up being one of these things where it was a lot of work for just a few kind of a few hundred dollars at the end of the day bottom line and the business. This really wasn't very viable but i really enjoyed doing it and people seem to have really good feedback got you. The tipping point of it was going online so we're kind of in like an online learning online course renaissance right now. It's really right yeah so it's really easy to create an online course but back in two thousand twelve. It was not the intuitive next move it. Wasn't you know everyone wasn't on there and i just ended up being again right place right right time with <hes> you to me. Are you familiar with of course of course yeah so then. All my course marketplace are facing terrorist cisco and what ended up happening in was they were looking for new new content and new new courses and i saw saw they had written about it and i had at that time hi i just taught i think my fifteenth offline in person class on s._e._o. And ended up pivoting it to an online course okay okay <hes> right so once it became an online course everything started to take off right the the unit economics of course on an online product are much different then teaching for nine hours a day on a on a on a saturday morning right you totally you can you can scale it to infinity and all these kinds of things so the first year the business is this about half the year i was like physically teaching and so the number of hours per week was probably twenty to twenty five hours per week while working fifty hours a week at a pay pal and then and then you know as time went on it got it got <hes> lower and lower and lower lower where i work in sprints right like it would be the same way you kind of develop a web application. You spend a bunch of time hammering at one thing or fixing one thing and then you would push it out and sort of walk away from it for for a little while so that's that's sort how it worked. That's so i mean there's probably people out here who have that idea to generate that course what would be the biggest advice. You would give gift because obviously you've done this. You're successful with it. There's so many online courses out. There and you know people tell you can do it. It's easy but you probably know the reality these very difficult. What's the biggest piece of advice. You'd give those people. You know if i i ended up in hindsight it so easy to look back and be like oh that was right that was wrong but there are a couple of things i accidentally did correctly that i would still recommend people people do so one of the big things i did. That actually ended up being a great move. Was i started off line and more specifically. I think if you're if you're listening to this and your brand new and you're thinking about a side project these single in my opinion one of the single best ways to get a little bit of traction and bootstrapping the email list is meet up dot com <hes> so we i used meet up to bootstrap my first hundred fifty something users and the way i win about doing it. Was i started a meet up group. It's still today. I think it's like fifteen dollars a month to start a meet up group. It's super cheap and what happens is when you create a group you set up your tags when you created when you created and meet up. We'll email everyone in that city. That's interested in that topic so i ended up setting up the san francisco oh s._e._o. Meet up in two thousand eleven for fifteen dollars and how you know suddenly had one hundred people joined the meet up group within like three days right right. I held one happy hour you know and didn't even i just picked a bar. The had happy hour and said can you can you guys thirty people and they said yeah no problem and a bunch of people people showed up and then i think maybe i held one more week or two after that and you know just was out like you know not even freely doing it and you just meeting people people drinking vodka sodas and like an hanging out right yeah and what ended up happening was then. I suddenly had a meet up group of one hundred fifty something people in san francisco this go interested in s._e._o. What i ended up doing was <hes> teaching my first course and blasting the meet up group. Hey feel free to to so come by now one trick if you're if you're thinking about this and you're thinking about doing this meet up. Attendance rates are very very very low. Everybody flakes because they're always free so i highly highly recommend doing what i did which put a price tag on your events and then when you send out the actual email blast offer free promo code so you never say this event is free you say this event normally five hundred dollars is free for the first twenty people to reply back on of that yeah right anto anto that's it's still free but your attendance rate will go from about thirty percent to about seventy percent when you do that which is vital. I ended up doing my first meet up group. My first course to that meet up. Group got a ton of feedback and then eventually was ready to launch online. I did the same same thing. I e mailed all these users. I said hey this is normally at the time the first version of it was. I think one hundred dollars said hey. This is one hundred dollars. I'm happy to give you a free promo code. If you just leave an honest honest review what ends up happening you get one hundred people enrolled in the course you get ten or fifteen five star reviews and then you're suddenly rolling and so i think looking back in high right and so i think what in hindsight what i realize i accidentally did correct was a number of online courses verses that were already there and teaching s._e._o. It was like you know someone went into their basement and talked into their laptop over slides. We're like you know. I think thank the excel doc sort of thing and and didn't really want to leave leave their house and the reality was for me. My first version of the online course yeah. I taught at fifteen times already so when you're when you're offline you see it in your users faces like oh that didn't work or oh that really worked. Oh that joke was terrible. <music> metaphor really connected immediate feedback exactly so if you start online you the only time you get feedback is when you get that one star review whereas if you start offline you get that feedback right away so i didn't realize it at the time it doesn't scale at all but this is why it's it's kind of interesting is because internet marketers would much rather send ten thousand emails from their basement then go out into the real world which i think it's kinda. It's kind of funny right and so i ended up going into the into the real world i in it ended up paying dividends later. I think that's such super valuable insight because like you see it. It's so much and i i think i even one of the first things i tried to do was start this online business. I pushed people the webinars but you get the feedback back and it's like well. It wasn't as good as i thought it was going to be but if you were to do it off-line you'd be able to get that immediate feedback and build change on the fly and and be able to change is that narrative right there and then so that when you did go online it's per would not necessarily perfect but it's valuable exactly yeah it's many any stages ahead of where it should be for v one and the reason why no one does it is 'cause. It's it's hard work. It's it's it's annoying being to go out into the world and rally rally people up and put yourself out there and <hes> presented to people right. It's it's work but <hes> but but it's it's a really interesting natural moat especially when you're going up against internet marketers because nobody really wants to leave their basement. It's what's so funny right because you could give someone on the formula like you just mentioned in the real world and it's worked it's proven but so many people will still try to be in the basement and send out ten thousand emails correct yep. It'll be nine ninety nine. Percent of people won't won't do it and so that's kind of the interesting thing is i've laid this out multiple times and it's been unfairly rarely that anyone actually emails me and said hey hey did this and it worked right like everyone has done it as email said it worked but it's very rare that the people actually do it no doubt well for people out there who want to reach out connect with you. Check out click minded and what that is. Where's the best place they can go yeah. We're at click minded dot com <hes> on twitter. I'm at tommy griffeth and we just released these free eight bit digital digital marketing in s._e._o. Strategy guides so if you ever played like nintendo or super nintendo in the ninety s yeah we we created these like eight bit. <hes> free free shattered you guys if you're just getting started with digital marketing. Check them out. Click mind dot com amazing. What's click minded dot com everyone. I'm gonna share all these links to make it super simple the checkout tommy armie follow me on twitter and tommy the way we in the show here on the daily grind is we're going to give you the floor and you have the opportunity today to share with our audience the thought of the day so one thing or one thought we can all go home today. Yes so <hes> one thing. I think that really worked for me. One thing that keep in mind and when you're starting this as a lot of people want success tomorrow you're on instagram and everyone's got lambeau. Does it's just not it's just not true. There's this concept going. Entrepreneurial circles now called the thousand day principal and the idea is that it takes about a thousand days his <hes> to get your side project to replace your fulltime income and so i'm on i'm now on year eight of my side project which is ridiculous and even though it's kind of work. It's kinda working now. <hes> it has been the slowest possible way to grow you could ever imagine so if you are starting starting something or you're kind of hitting resistance. Keep in mind that i think in my opinion it takes about a thousand days to get going so i think that's a good thing to keep in mind if you haven't started it's like start yesterday and if you have started but you're getting beat up right now. Don't worry because it just the stuff just kind of takes time absolutely patients. Everyone deploy patience retelling the threat. I love it. Well as you can see from this interview. Everyone successes driven by passion hunger and today's patients. Everyone has to overcome obstacles. Everyone has a story start building yours today today with a chance to speak with the amazing at tommy griffith tommy i wanna thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule and coming on the show here with us today collin. Thanks so much for having really appreciate it. The pleasures all hours everyone a few today's episode be sure to subscribe to the podcast drop as a comment. Let us know what you liked. Share what is that with a friend until next time. Call mortgage signing up and always remember to keep on grinding uh-huh breath the.