Alex Part 1
6:08AM Sep 16, 2019
We're just like, hey, what if we just went all in for a year? What if we just tried it? What if we just like, devoted all of our time and all of our effort and all of our energy to this? Like, would it change our results a lot, because at the time, we weren't making any money.
Hey, guys, it's Mike from Make Time Online. And yes, you're about to find out how Alex started to make money online.
chat today is with Alex who is from Create and Go himself and Lauren actually created avocado in 2015. They started in September 2015. And they ended up building it up to a pretty big success, they managed to create
over $100,000 in their first year from avocado, which is a health and fitness blog. And then with their lessons that they've got from there, they then realised it kind of opened their eyes as to what did exist on the online world. So it is their mission now to teach other people how it's possible to make money online. I'll let Alex is predicting the storey in a bit more detail. But I hope you enjoy this one guys. I wondered if you could just let us know sort of what your background was before you started Avocadu?
Yeah, yeah. So beforehand, I was a personal trainer. But before that, I was like interested in internet marketing stuff. So back in 2010, like the inception was like I read the four hour workweek and thought that seems cool. Like let's, let's try to do that bounced around for a long time just doing different things. And I'd use my internet marketing knowledge, like to get personal training clients and stuff like that. But was bounced around for a bit. And I went to a conference called the fast lane meetup. And I just saw these other entrepreneurs all working just solely online. And at the time, I was like really sick of waking up at 5am and personal training clients. I was like, What can I What can I do? So then I started with this website called health and happy hour, that was the first one to actually fail. And it was a, the idea was just like, hey, let's, let's talk about health and drinking. Because like I like both of those things. And it just, it was a good time. But the the thing was, is it was just kind of a learning process. At the time Laurin saw me working on it was like, hey, let me let me help with this. And and so then we started working on things together. So this is back in 2015. September 25 2015 was one on one registered the domain name avocado.com. And from that date, until, you know until December, we started to build up traffic started to get visitors to our blog started, get people interested in what we're doing, building a community. And then we decided that we were both still working our jobs. Were just like, hey, what if we just went all in for a year? What if we just tried it? What if we just like devoted all of our time and all of our effort and all of our energy to this? Like would it change our results a lot because at the time, we weren't making any money. And so what we did is we did that we quit our jobs sold all our things. We packed everything in like five suitcases moved in with my dad into my dad's house and just worked. It just worked on building this business. And every month from that moment on, we started to double our revenues. It started out really small you start $200 a month and 400 then it was 800 and those 2000 and then 4000. And then it starts to get pretty crazy. And then we had this month where we made 40 grand in a month. And that was like, like, you know, complete earth shattering like wow, like, just complete life change. And from then we we started you know, we're building up avocado, and it was our blog, and then we're like, okay, we should teach people how to do this as well. Because we saw most the information online wasn't helping us. Most the information were from people who were just like, making money teaching people, you know, making money, they weren't. They weren't in like a separate niche like in blogging. And so we just decided, hey, we're gonna like hone in on teaching people how through our health and wellness blog, started teaching people and that started to go really well. And people really loved that blog as well. And today we're making well over 100 grand a month. We've been making that the past site, you know, over a year, and it's been crazy man than travelling the world got to Peru and Nicaragua. We're living that that dumb internet dream everybody hears about? It does. And, and I know if you don't believe it, because I I'm not sure I believed it entirely, but you kind of gotta live it to believe it. And yeah, here we are, man.
How old are you guys now?
I am 30 I just turned 30
Oh, congratulations on joining the 30 Club.
I know right? I know. I'm not my 20s anymore. Do you have any life advice for me, man like,
wow, no, I'm really just I've only just turned 30 as well. But I was in November. My wife said I turned 30 on the 31st of May. So last week
is over we over over the hump. No longer in your 20s. But
I've kind of heard a little bit before as well. You what you even just mentioned about going to like the fast lane meet up. And I personally love that book as well. And I know how you always look. I don't know if you've ever read his next book, which is all forgotten in alpha. unscripted. I have I bought it is good because I actually think I preferred it then the first one is value real things really. Just I don't know. It just really connected with what he was kind of saying.
MMJMJ is like he was the realest entrepreneur at the time. To me. It was like, Tim Ferriss was like the clouds guy who like gave me like the dream and the vision, which was cool. But MJ DeMarco was the guy who was like, No, here's how you execute like here is like how your hours are supposed to be here is like what you're working toward. And like, that was that was such a game changer to me. That's cool. I said, Yeah. Yeah, that's cool. I'll definitely read it. I have it sitting there. I just need to plug in the time you know how to go
yet? No, it's actually a big thing. For me being in education and stuff like that is actually my pet peeve. I just don't like the way the whole education system thing is. But anyway, that's all everything. But how did you find? How did you actually find the course? Or like, why did you decide to go on the course what made you do that?
Um, it was actually I was personal training a guy. I'm we're talking about the millionaire fast line. And we're like, he was really into it. And he was like, on the forum. And his name was Justin. He was like, Hey, man, like, why don't you come to this conference? And I was like, No, no, I don't, I don't want to do a conference out in Arizona. Like it just didn't sound like a good time to me. And I said no, repeatedly for like a month. And then maybe the week before. I don't know what happened. I don't know if I read something. Or if I just got inspired. I was like, fine, I'll do it. And because he still had the ticket, and so I did that. And so this is funny to like the day that we're going there, right? He's supposed to be kind of like the roommate and stuff like that. I he just goes, he's completely gone. My friend. And I'm like texting him and stuff. I'm like, Justin, like, where are you? and land and then like, he's not there. And I was like, Oh my god, what is going on? This is so confusing. And what had happened is Justin's buddy in Silicon Valley had just gotten like series A for for this thing that was blowing up called Magic. And it was a text message like app where you just text and it send you things and, and Justin had had like a mental breakdown. Because he went it works there for like 72 hours straight, or something like that. And just just act. And like he was describing it to me later is like he like ran like to Apple's headquarters like in the middle of this like mental like psychotic break. And like this. This conference, I know nobody, like I know nobody, they don't know me, like but and it's like, it's like a tight knit kind of group. And I was just like, so like I'm and they were there plenty nice. But I was I was just like, the awkward, like weird one there. And they'd always be like, so what business are you working on is like, I'm a personal trainer, but like, I've got ideas, and but just being there around those people and being around other successful entrepreneurs who are doing it in a way that I believed in, which was also important. That was the that was the big moment for me where it was like, I'm going to do this, you know, like, I'm just gonna make this happen. And it mattered.
so crazy storey though, so it wasn't like a big thing. I've just heard you briefly mentioned it before, and I'm on another podcast people. Wow,
I just had in my head. It was like a huge thousand conferences. I mean,
and I think I made it help a lot more. You know, like, if I go big conference, it's like, those are fine, but I feel like because there was like, so intimate. And I got to converse with all these people and like spend a lot of time with them. Yeah, really pushed over the edge. And and meeting MJ was actually another interesting thing, because he was like, he was super introverted. He's just not nothing. Oh, yeah. See, that's why that's why you read the book super introverted. Like, doesn't like,
yeah, it comes across as this like,
I don't know, like testosterone big guy, is it I don't really even know too much about it. I just read the books. And I just love the show. I think
No, he shot any openly he talks about it. He's like, he's like, Guys, I don't like to talk a lot. And this is why I'm blah, blah, blah. And like, it just goes through this whole thing. And I was like, and I respected it so much, because I was like, and I and we all laughed, because it was like, I mean, like the book has you and your Ferrari like on the cover, man. But he was just super, like, totally down to about it. But you could. I think that's why the book was so good, though. Because he's like, very objective about like, again, how you spend your hours and what you're working towards, and those sorts of concepts.
Yeah, it was, it was wild.
The sense thing, you know, the business lightly uses uses a sense, and it's like the control entry. See if I can get it all need time and scale. And so I just I've always, you know, like, the whole online business thing. It cannot fit it any better. It has all of those things like, is, is kind of simple to me. The one that I've always thought like, is that anyone can kind of, there's no real barrier to entry, but at the same time, there is a barrier for people to do it. Well. If not, I mean, I have
I haven't read the book, and whilst I'm a little lost on the
Yeah, no, it's been.
Anyway, um, so obviously, you've gone from this conference to then thinking okay, what we'll start avocado, this sort of like health and wellness blog. How did you go from you obviously said you started early night? It was it $200 your first month that was about four months in, I think was something
that was $200. It was. So we started September, and then January was when we're in that first $200?
So how did you go from that? $200 to then scaling it as quick as you did? What? What sort of tools or tricks or things were you using their time?
Yeah, the big thing was like this, we, I don't know, if we just stumbled on it, it was just sort of like this gradual process. Like, the big thing, obviously, with any business or growing anything is that when you are about it, like in your living it like every single day, you just, you just noticed things and like you just I don't know, you become really hyper aware of like, what's working and what's not. So that led to this really gradual stepping stone process of making money. The first step was Amazon Associates, you know, like, putting Amazon links on our blog, and like having people click and buy, you know, whatever, by like a workout, a piece of workout equipment, like I was like bungee ropes or whatever. And that was like the very first like, okay, like, there's a way to sort of make money. It wasn't a lot of money. But then I started trying other things. I was like, All right, let's, you know, try collecting emails and like, linking the Amazon products on there. And you can't do that. So I tried it. And like later on, we found that was illegal. Let's not do that anymore. Let's do something else. And then it was okay. Like, you know, affiliate marketing. So we started affiliate marketing. We tried ads before and ads didn't work, we're making like zero dollars off. And so it's like, Okay, let's try, you know, putting in like, affiliate products for like health and wellness in there. And then we sold a few. And then it was like, Okay, how can we sell these better, it was just like this very, like, gradual stepping stone process. But that process was happening in a hyper fast rate, because you know, we quit our jobs. I like, you know, you're well, it's either the thing was, is when we quit, and you get those hours back, you're like, Oh my gosh, this is so much of a better way to live. Yeah, I wake up when I want to, I work on what I need to like, I'm in complete control. And you I didn't want to give that up for anything. And so I was like, all right, I will work myself to the bone, you know, and to make sure that this works. Um, so this was all happening at a hyper fast rate, suddenly, because we were working so hard, because we had with, you know, close, we hadn't closed completely close the door to our lives. But it kind of felt like felt that way, because I didn't want to go back for sure. And so, affiliate marketing, then gradually upgrading affiliate marketing to being better and better at it. And then to do creating our own products and services for our customers or on digital products and services. And that was kind of the that was the stepping stone of what happened there.
Yeah. And obviously, there's so many different things that you kind of have to so many like, balls in the air when you're when you're doing all this kind of stuff. How did you decide what sort of hone in on that? Where? What made your decisions? Like? Were you tracking with any metrics that you were tracking? or What was it that made you be like, like, this is what we're going to do for the next week or whatever.
So at the time, and and we've gotten away from it, I'm actually trying to get our business back there. We are really into the data of like what we're doing. So we would measure things like but I mean, they'd be basic things, right? Like, what is your most highest traffic article? Right? So like, we saw that our three highest traffic articles, we're yoga, right? And so then we split tests, like five different email opt ins, on those articles, right with like something like thrive architect, you can our Thrive Leads, actually, you can, you know, create an opt in for all these things. And you can split test, like five different variations. So we split test the hell out of it. Right? So then we know, All right, here's the best option for this right? And then we move on to the next thing. It's like, then we send out, then we have an automated email sequence, right? So you have your seven automated emails. And then we then you looked at those emails and you saw, okay, you know, the email on day five gets like the most opens. So let's move that today. One, because it's obvious, the most interested in, right. And so it was just, it was really just a process of attacking the data on. Okay, well, this is what they're responding to. This is what we do next. Right? And that same goes with products, it goes with everything. Like the mistake most entrepreneurs make is like, nobody can curse on this show. Is it? Yeah, go for it. Okay. Like, nobody gives a fuck about your theories like, and I wish like every entrepreneur could get slapped that on the face because like, I talked to people, and they're always like, Oh, I got this great idea. It's like, that's great. Everybody has an idea. Like, all it matters is the data and the testing of the idea, right? Like, that's all that will dictate you success. And so because of that, we were so like, we were so like, we stopped listening, everybody else, we stopped paying attention to all the noise that was around us. And I just paid attention to what's the hard metric that I'm looking at right now. And then just moving one step forward, every time so now the emails are there. Now we have the product, right? So like how many people are converting on the sales page, split testing the sales page split testing the product title, right? Like, you're just split testing it down. And because you're doing that, and because you are a business owner, and you own your own thing, it makes your income go up, right, like every split test. So and that's the power, right? So when you own a product, and you're selling it for 37 bucks, let's say, and you raise your sales page conversions, like, by, let's say, 50%, like you have doubled your income, almost like I mean, it's like, it's a dramatic increase, like in your bottom line. And so that's why it progressed so quickly, because we quickly moved into creating our own products. And then we quickly learned like, oh, if we just get double the traffic to this email, opt in by improving the email opt in, we will make double the sales, you know, so it just became this Aha, like sort of thing. Does that make sense? And I,
ya know, completely so but obviously, you just said if we double the traffic, then we double the income of most people doing is like, well, but
that's the question. How did you do that? And I kind of noticed one, but I'm yeah, I'm keen to dig in on this one a little bit more. Because know what your answer is going to be?
For sure. I mean, you know, Pinterest, like, you know, you know, Peden but so here's the thing, though. Pinterest. Pinterest can be anything. I don't want when when I say Pinterest, like people think like, oh, Pinterest is the hack. It's like the secret thing. It's not it's, it's a it's a medium. It's a tool, right. So like it was how we approach Pinterest, right? So like, Pinterest worked because we analysed to death or like, I would look at all the Pinterest content. And I would say, Okay, here are people on Pinterest right now. And here is why they're not that great, right? They're linking to bad articles, or their pins weren't beautiful, or their headlines weren't catchy enough, right? They had serious flaws and holes. And all I did was look at that tool and say, Okay, how can we make this better? How can we make this you know, three times four times five times better? And that's what we did. And that's why it worked. Right? We focused on how, how can we make this like significantly better for the customer and for ourselves, you know, like getting people to click approach that way to anything you do, like so you're on Instagram, you see somebody successful in this something you really want to do. Like, you have to approach it from this mentality of like, here's something that's working, how do I make it way better? And if you can't, then don't do that, go do something that you can make better. But yeah, Pinterest was the Pinterest is the sauce because it's, it's such a has such a big opportunity to it, just and how it works with blogging people on their very private, they don't really like videos, Pinterest keeps testing videos, they keep trying videos, and they keep failing with videos. And it's it's almost embarrassing for them to watch. Pinterest, they just like it's like they don't understand like who they're talking target demographic is like they're like almost private people who like to read. So because of that, blogging just seems to work really well for that. But if Pinterest went away, you would just approach the next thing like that you would approach YouTube or you'd approach Twitter or approach whatever and do way, way better than everybody else. And you'd be able to get traffic.
Yeah, that is so true. Like as in. I've spoken to people that kind of get traffic from different ways. But 100% the the main one that comes up time and time again is Pinterest. Yeah. And I think I mentioned in an email to you that I had Jeff and Ben from dollar sprout on and man, their some of their stuff that they know about Pinterest was just like, Oh, yeah.
What did I think of that? And
Jeff, Jeff, and then came out of came out of nowhere with $1 sprout and its really, really did amazing things with it and are doing amazing things. There. They're quite the little Dynamic Duo, like their I mean, I've been so impressed with them and talk to them a few times. They're, they're good, good people.
Yeah, no, it's absolutely mad. You know, one of the things that they said, and I just wondered on your take on this as well, yeah, is they have a really nice way of CM, what is a good board or not? Because you know, everyone talks about group boards, blah, blah, blah. But they said basically don't pin to poor boards, they see like, that's one of the most common errors that people do. And I just want but then I was kind of like looking at their metrics that they gave me. And I had about seven group boards that I could pin on using their metrics, which was kind of like looking at, I think the last seven days, you just look at how many pins have been pinned on the board. And then how many refunds have impinge on the board and work out the ratio. And basically, they say, if it's higher than one, for the last seven days, that's an active board, pin to it. Anything else? Don't pin to it sort of thing. I was just kind of wondering like, what's your point of view on that?
So like the Oh, geez of Pinterest, people who are around like Pinterest, back in 2015? When we're all like figuring out like, oh, wow, this place is an amazing source or traffic. Pinterest was a much different thing back then the algorithm, you could really see how the metrics are working. So like a big popular thing, do not do this. Today, I will go ahead and preface this to anybody listening. A big thing was actually deleting your pins. So if you would, let's say you had a board, and you had an average of let's say, 10 reprints on that board, you could go through and delete, you know, because you'd have some that were 15. And some that were five, you can go through and delete the ones that were fives and zeros and raise your average vitality of the board. And that would get you a tonne more traffic, right. So that that was where the algorithm was built. The algorithm was built on this foundation of like, it's an not just about like a pin. It's more about like, the combination that group boards total vitality, or whatever really matters. Now deleting pins won't lend you the same effect. But that still remains true is that those those group boards that are there, it was almost a very rich get richer scenario, because the group boards that had a tonne of refunds, and had a loyal following really doubled the effect of that doubled and tripled. So yeah, they're totally right, when they're saying something like the other group boards are, are really where it's at. Because like that was where that that's where that algorithm got based out of a Pinterest started by doing average vitality of a border of even an account, like your total accounts by reality had a score. But they deleted those metrics, because they didn't want people gaming the system as much. Right. Yeah, so but so totally, that's great advice. Yeah.
Yeah. Make sense.
So yeah, I mean, we could probably talk a lot about Pinterest, Pinterest, but I'd like to hear some other things as well.