Our first guest on the Ecommerce Brokers Podcast is Jared Codling. Jared is among the best growth hackers in the world and has worked on multiple successful startups and businesses over the years. Below is a transcript of the podcast.

George:

With that being said, Jared, welcome to the podcast, first, first episode.

Jared:

Thanks for having me on. Happy to be guest number one.

George:

Let’s get right into it. How did you start in entrepreneurship?

Jared:

I always did bits and pieces. I was always a little bit entrepreneurial. I didn’t want to get a job after high school. During high school I was selling fake IDs. That was my first business. I’ll start with that. That was when I was like 16. So, I did bits and pieces, but then what happened, I ended up falling into normality. I ended up with a girlfriend who basically said, “Look, I love you, but if you’re going to meet my parents and, you’ve got to get a job.”

Jared:

I ended up at working as a real estate agent. Hated it. Hated it, and did that for years. Then, I went and saw Tony Robbins and I quit my job the next day.

George:

Wow. How old were you? Were you 27, 28?

Jared:

I would’ve been 27. 26, 27. I think just about to turn 27. I’m 32 now, so like five years ago. Basically, I quit my job, but I didn’t know what I was going to do. I’d read a bunch of books, like 4-Hour Workweek and The Millionaire Fastlane and some really good books, but it’s heaps harder once you start trying to do it. Then, I had various … I learned how to sell from Jordan Belfort from doing this course online and then paid to go and spend some time with him in person, like a dozen of us, for better part of a week. That was really cool.

Jared:

I had a cold calling company that did all right. We got scammed and messed everything up, because we sucked at business, me and one of my mates. We were like, “Let’s do a web design agency.” The website we made for that project was pretty good. I reckon we could sell these. That did six figures in the first 12 months, which was really cool, because my business partner wanted to buy a Tesla P85D. That was all the rage back then. He got one of the first ones in Australia. I think when we got it, we had $500 left in the bank account, because it was $245,000, Australian, fully optioned.

Jared:

The good thing is you don’t have to pay for petrol. It was fine that we were broke, because we didn’t have to pay for petrol.

George:

[inaudible 00:02:40].

Jared:

I don’t know if you knew that bit. You went for a run in the Tesla and all that.

George:

I remember. I didn’t know you spent 99.9% of the …

Jared:

We went hard, because it was this crazy goal. At the time when Dinos put down the deposit for it, we were probably bringing in like 500 bucks, a grand a week, and we had like nine months to come up with the money. We had never been successful in business before. It was just all in, “Let’s just do it.” We got there, we got there. Then, this agency life sucks. “Why don’t we find a client that we can scale up and get some equity in?” So, we did that. We had a client in the weight loss industry, and that one really took off, like from zero to a seven figure company.

Jared:

It went from zero to $30,000 a week revenue within three months. Everything aligned, and we got lucky on a lot of things, but worked so hard. I was just working 24 hours a day. Not 24, but you know what I mean. I was sleeping four hours and working 20, legit for months. Yes, [crosstalk 00:03:52].

George:

Was that early 2016 or how far into 2016 was [crosstalk 00:03:58]?

Jared:

It would have been the start of 2016, I think. Then, I met you later that year.

George:

Late, between November-

Jared:

Late in the year. Around December that year, I think.

George:

I remember that’s when I moved into Darlinghurst, [crosstalk 00:04:18].

Jared:

That was a wild ride. We did a few million dollars revenue and burnt all the money and learned heaps, but lifted up a little bit too hard, paid ourselves a little bit too much and were a little bit too stupid money. It’s all good, because I got mad skills out of it and I’ve done some pretty cool stuff since then.

George:

No, we’ll just say that’s the biggest learning project in terms of what you’ve done in the past.

Jared:

For learning, yes. Evaluation, not the biggest I’ve done, but I learned more on that, because I had to do everything. I was doing tech stuff, I was doing marketing stuff, business operations, HR. We had 25 staff at one point. It’s not like they are all off shore. We had 14 in Australia. We had a proper office running, and it was intense. I learned all of business really quickly. Messed up our tax, getting a massive tax bill and then-

George:

I remember that.

Jared:

… it’s like, “We’ve got to come up with a couple of hundred grand in the next two weeks or we’re in a lot of trouble.” It’s like, “Let’s learn how to run a sale really well.” Good times. That one, I learned a lot because I got to touch all parts of the business. That was really cool.

George:

You were forced to become a pro every single part. I remember you could code at that point, but you weren’t the best, but then you became-

Jared:

I was good enough. I could slap some stuff together, but I wasn’t a real coder.

George:

But then you had to, so you did. Wasn’t it that you hired someone, but they didn’t do the best jobs, then you just started doing yourself?

Jared:

Kind of got the upset and just took over, which is funny, because I read Elon Musk’s biography and he used to do that too. Hopefully, I’m on the same trajectory. He used to get upset and just go … He kept messing it up. “I’ll just do it myself.” I get it. I get that mentality.

George:

That’s what made you … Everyone always talks about executing, executing, execution in terms of, you come up with an idea. How long does it take to go from idea to actually implementing the first product? I think out of everyone, I know you [crosstalk 00:06:32].

Jared:

I did it with you. We did that validation weekend thing where-

George:

The mortgage leads.

Jared:

The mortgage leads. We had that up and running over a weekend, making money. From start to scratch. It depends how big the idea is, obviously, but I like to validate an idea really quickly. I think too many people mess around waiting too long rather than going, “I’m going to have a lot of shops at the hoop and then …” Which is a trap too, because you can get some shiny object syndrome and have too many things going at once. But as long as you’re willing to cut things off and move on to the next thing, rather than keep heaps of things going at once, then it’s a pretty good mentality.

George:

That kind of brings us to when we met up in … Let’s call it December, 2016.

Jared:

I think it would have been.

George:

I guess up in the audience up to … I was on my kind of track. I started my entrepreneurial stuff in around ’15, ’16 when I was in high school. It was just a matter of, I read similar books to you, like 4-Hour Workweek, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and that’s when I got into Gary Vee and stuff. I started going really crazy with networking. That’s what I was like, “Networking is what I need to do, especially at my school,” because it was a good private school. I knew there was good alumni to go through.

Jared:

Private school kid.

George:

It was good. When I left high school … I think school ended in like September and then I started going out-

Jared:

We should just mention, by the way, you were a private school kid, but you were probably the poorest kid in the whole school.

George:

My parents worked three jobs to send me there. My mentality, that was the big thing. I remember asking my friend’s dad if I could meet up with him, because they were successful entrepreneurs. My friends were like, “What are you being weird for? What do you want to talk to my dad about?”

Jared:

“He’s my dad. This is my boring ass dad.”

George:

I’m like, “I’m meeting your dad today.” He’s like, “That’s weird, man.” “Why?” I’m like, “He’s a successful entrepreneur. I want to hear what he was saying.” That was how the end of high school, the last two years looked for me. Everyone was like, “Why are you being a try-hard?” That connected with the first business idea, which was building our Facebook groups, like Facebook groups with students in new South Wales and Victoria in Australia. Then, I started creating content, posting just free resources I found on the internet, notes, videos. Whatever it might be all free in the first few months.

George:

Then, I called up schoolies.com, a bunch of holiday companies for students, tutoring companies, photography-

Jared:

You were just finding affiliate deals. You were like, “I’ve got this audience. I’m going to make money off the audience by selling other people’s stuff.”

George:

Exactly, exactly. It went really well. I remember schoolies.com was my biggest client. We made … Total sales I got there was 110,000 within six months-

Jared:

For the non-Australians, it’s like summer break. It’s like Cancun Spring Break. In Australia, it’s Schoolies.

George:

It’s that good a monopoly, basically. I did really well. I quit my job at McDonald’s. I didn’t have to flip burgers anymore. I wasn’t unloading shipping containers at this fruit factory anymore. I was like, “This is the life. It’s great.” Then, in midway through 2016, school’s wrapping up. I’ve got my final exams, which I still wanted to do. I knew I wasn’t going to go to … I was 50/50 on going to university, because I’m like, “I want to do this entrepreneur thing, and is going to university doing a business course or an entrepreneurship course really going to teach me entrepreneurship?”

George:

“Or should I get the right mentors? Should I read the right books and take the action and I can learn better myself? After four years, I might be better off.” I didn’t know at that stage. Now, I know. It’s basically 40 years later. The test went well in terms of teaching myself with the right mentor.

Jared:

Because your friends from school now would be finishing up their degrees, starting to go into the workforce, all that stuff. You’ve already made money. You’ve got a successful business, traveling the world. It’s a very different life.

George:

At that point, 2016, my family was in disarray. I was in and out of my house and having nights in my car. I was all over the place, living situation. Mentally, I was all over the place. Money, I was all over the place. I didn’t know what … At that point, I’m trying to make a life decision, “Do I go to university or don’t I?” Not to mention the school that I went to, the mentality is if you don’t go to university after high school, you’re a loser. What are you going to be? A plumber? Come on. Yeah, no, I was just saying the pressure from the school I went to was like, “You don’t go to university, you are a loser.”

George:

All this was happening between August and September, when we met up. Then, I remember I was just going out at a few clubs and sitting with some new friends that I made through entrepreneurial groups and stuff and self development groups. I remember my friend, Kay, he was like, “Oh, before we leave, I want to talk to this girl.” He was talking to this other guy. I’m like, “Come on, man. You want to annoy these people. Let’s go home.” He’s like, “No, come on. You go talk to the guy. Pretend. Talk about whateve so I can talk to this girl.” I’m like, “All right, I’ve got five minutes. Let’s go.”

George:

I start talking to this guy, and I’m like, “Hey bro, what do you do for work?” He’s like, “I work at this startup. We do weight loss program.” I’m like, “Oh, that’s pretty interesting.” We talked for five, 10 minutes and, “So, you should meet the entrepreneur behind my business.” I go, “Tomorrow at three o’clock, I’ll be there,” and that [inaudible 00:12:01].

Jared:

That was my old assistant, Keegan, who was living with me at the time because we had … I’m still in this place. I’ve got this awesome place here, which we’ll get to a bit more about it later. I had staff living here. Keegan, full time, but then I had a couple of others coming and staying every second week. It was just treated like a startup house. Whiteboards everywhere, just work sign, even though it was this beautiful place. When you came around, you would have seen just this crazy office. It’s just like an office, but in this penthouse [crosstalk 00:12:37].

George:

he was in an expensive suburb. I remember it was just two tables, two chairs and a bunch of beds everywhere. I remember. That first time I came to your house, I was like, “I’ve done this now with Facebook groups. I have a few clients with my marketing agency,” and you’re like … We talked for two, three hours. I was like, “Whatever it is, can I work for you for free? I’ll do whatever. I just want to learn.” You’re like, “No, get out of here.” I said, “Why?” You were like, “You’re like me. You’ll learn it, then you leave. You do it yourself.” I was like, “Damn. Okay.”

Jared:

I’m like, “I’ll put all this time into training you and you’ll just leave.” I know people have weird feelings about that, but I saw how entrepreneurial you are. That was a recipe for wasted time.

George:

I was going to be pissed-

Jared:

But I did offer to mentor you. I said, “Look, I’m happy to mentor you though.”

George:

Around that time, I remember, when I met you, I still had a car, I think. No, I think I was living in a bad situation. I was living in random places. A month later, I saw you. I think I messaged you a few times, but I saw you at Ivy, a club. I’m like, “Hey-“

Jared:

I didn’t recognize you, because your hair had changed and stuff.

George:

I had a mane, and then I cut it all off. I’m like, “Jared,” and you’re like, “I don’t know you, bro.” I’m like, “It’s George. We’ve been messaging.” You’re like, “Oh, what the hell? You look completely different.” I’m like, “Look, man, whatever it is you’re doing right now, I’m going to be at your house tomorrow. I don’t care what you say. I’m going to come and we’re going to work on something.” You were like, “Damn, all right.” I remember we went to Ann’s Café, your place. We spoke about this and that. I think that’s when we started the idea for putting together mortgage lead funnel.

Jared:

I was already running mortgage leads. My ex-girlfriend was already running mortgage leads. I think she was doing UK. You were going to do Australia. I was doing Canada. Just because I had a system that was working, so I was like, “Yeah, yeah, let’s put this together. Why not?”

George:

I remember I was living in 161 Crown Street, Darlinghurst. I would [inaudible 00:14:43] to your place, sit at some tiny table facing the wall and just work on … That was the real learning process. That’s where I really learned to execute on something really fast.

Jared:

Because a lot of the time you just called me, “Can I come over and work? I don’t need any help. I don’t need any of your time. I just need somewhere to work that’s like a workplace,” because then, everyone that you were living with, they were just trying to pick up girls. They were not-

George:

I remember, it was a three-bedroom place. The people gave me the lease at 18 year old with no job. They leased me the place only because they were going to demolish it. Three-bedroom place, but to make rent, all my … Not poor friends, basically broke friends, I’m like, “Let’s put in three other people.” We put three tourists in some other rooms and just mattresses on the floor. So, not the best work environment. I remember those, let’s say the first six months of 2017, that’s where I just learned all these micro skills.

George:

I remember you saying, “Just learn all these micro skills and you pick it up slowly, slowly, and over time, you’ll accumulate all the skills and you become an executioner. Somebody, you just be able to execute on all these small items.”

Jared:

Yes, you’re not relying on other people. You don’t need to outsource. You don’t need anybody else, because if you can put together the basics of building out a business, then nothing stops you from validating an idea really quickly and getting something up and running.

George:

I remember in late 2016, I had sold a bunch of my Facebook groups and email lists and websites that I put together. You guys, that was my first expenses in actually selling assets or selling an online business itself. Then, I still had the market agency. I was still doing some marketing stuff, and I had HSC Notes, which was my first proper e-comm store, selling digital products. That’s where I pumped it up in 2017 and made a decent amount of money. By the time we got to midway through 2017, I basically lived a…

George:

The summer in Sydney, I spent all my money and I basically went broke again. No, HSC Notes hadn’t started. I went broke, and then I was working at the-

Jared:

You work at the fruit factory thing, right? You were just unloading trucks.

George:

Unloading ship containers with my friend Liam, who I live with. He worked online as well, and we both basically realized after a month of working there … We had 4:00 AM starts. That was just the worst, worst work, because we spent all our money that summer. We’re at this place, and I literally remember one day in the freezer section, we’re emptying a 40-foot container. We’re just about to finish, I look at Liam, I’m like, “Man, I realized the only reason we’re here is because I allowed myself in my head to come back here, if I knew I failed.” I always had this-

Jared:

It was a plausible backup plan. You didn’t burn your boats. It was just like, “If it all goes badly, I can go do that,” and then that’s what happened.

George:

I literally remember man Liam. Liam and I, we never really fought, but we would always fight at this place, because it was just the worst work and we’re in a bad state of mind. I’m like, “Bro, listen, I know you’re pissed at me probably, but give me your steel-capped boot, give me your white coat,” that we needed, “and gloves.” I took mine off, he gave me his. He’s like, “I don’t know what you’re doing, bro, but lets do it. I can see the intent in your eyes.” I chucked it in the bin.

George:

I went to the boss, “Hey man, thank you so much for giving me this job, but in the nicest way possible, I hope to never see your face again in this scenario. Hope to see you in a beach in Greece one day.” Later, that’s what happened. After that, I literally went home, and I realized … I remember I was watching a movie in my room one or two days after, and I realized we owed like 1,200 in rent on Monday and it was a Thursday night. I went through my black book, which I always have a black book. I flipped through my book from my 2015. I had that idea for HSC Notes, this e-comm business. Then, I put it together with myself and-

Jared:

It’s called the SATs for Australia, for anyone who’s wondering what you’re saying. HSC Notes, it’s like the SATs and it’s study notes, essentially.

George:

Just digitally, it’s your PDF, basically. Super cheap, because all the resources were online. We looked at a bunch of sources. We researched, we put the notes together, and we put together 20, 25 subjects. Well, the first edition was put together by one of my roommates who lived with me at the time. I was just going to deal with the selling. I went to some of my Facebook groups that I still had, I messaged a bunch of them. I just made a poll, actually. I said, “Would you buy professionally-made $10 HSC Notes?” They said, “Yes.” About two or 300 people said yes.

George:

Then I said, “Okay, tell me which notes you want. Physics, English, maths, whatever it might be.” The next day, as soon as my business partner finished making the notes, I just started selling. “Here’s the notes. Send me 10 bucks on PayPal. Here this …” We made [crosstalk 00:19:42].

Jared:

It was so informal. It was awesome.

George:

No website. Literally sending money through bank transfer, but man, we made like two, three grand that weekend and we put a website together the next month. At that point, I remember we were getting kicked out of the place that I was living at, because they are like, “We have to demolish this thing. It’s a piece of garbage. There’s rats. There’s cockroaches. It’s disgusting.” I remember we extended one month, and I was like, “damn.” I met you again at Ivy, the club, and you were like, “What’s wrong?” I’m like, “Man, I don’t know where I’m going to live now. I can’t find anywhere.”

George:

You’re like, “Oh, Keegan’s moving out. My assistant’s moving out.” I’m like, “Really? That’s amazing.” You’re like, “Yeah, yeah. Go for it,” and then-

Jared:

It ended up, within two days … I only had the place to myself two days or something, and then you were in. Because it was just me. I’d broken up with the girlfriend at the time, so it was just me. It just worked out awesome, man. Really good timing. I can’t play much. I’m like, “Man, don’t worry about that. I’m going to be lonely and bored. Move in, bro.”

George:

Man, I remember those six months out of being from working in a fruit factory, unloading shipping containers to putting that e-commerce business together and working on having that make money. Then more or less, my market agency started making some money, because I was cold calling selling websites. I was selling Facebook group services. I was selling sales calls services, anything. I was just hustling on, and I remember I had just three or four clients paying me two, 300 a week. Those six months was awesome, because I worked only three, four hours a day in the morning.

George:

Then the rest of the day, I just had hung out with my friends, did nothing, went to the gym and chilled out. I think at the end of that year, I went broke again, just to turn it on with the agency, because you have some clients for six months and then they drop off or whatever. Then, that’s when I got a job at a FinTech startup in Sydney, early 2018.

Jared:

I was mates with the CEO. I was like, “Yeah, yeah. Put this kid on,” and then, you hated it. I remember you just coming home from work each day. The thing is, I talked you into it, because if you did like it, then you could’ve got equity. It would have been one of those deals. It was more than just a job opportunity. I saw potential in it, and I was doing a bit of consulting there. But man, you hated that.

George:

I didn’t know it then, but I know now every time I’ve taken the jobs ever really, it’s me giving up on my dream of being an entrepreneur. Deep, deep down, I knew that, and it was so frustrating. The funny thing was, as soon as I started the job there, I started going really hard on HSC Notes and Moulos Media in my spare time when I got home. Over the one month I worked there, I remember I built HSC Notes back up, I built Moulos Media back up to actually making some money. I remember, they didn’t even launch.

George:

I had a sales role, and then we didn’t even launch. I didn’t even do a single sale. So, they’re like, “Yeah, we just don’t think you’re going to fit in here,” and I definitely didn’t fit in there. They’re like, “You don’t even want to work here.”

Jared:

But man, between us, we worked out that they had other problems. It got to the point where I had a deeper understanding of the business. I was like, “That’s not going to fly. You’re on a sinking ship. If you want to hang around, you can hang around, but now we know the reality.”

George:

That was such a gift that they fired me. I remember the day I got fired, because it was the first … I applied for a credit card many times, so that when I went broke, I could dive deep into debt, but come back up and not just have no money. That was the first time I applied for credit card, and I got it at 8:00 AM the day I got fired. One hour later, I remember seeing my Facebook admin of the business page being removed. I’m like, “Oh, I’m getting fired today.” I packed my stuff up. I’m like, “[inaudible 00:23:33] out of here.”

George:

They’re like, “Oh, we have a meeting at 12.” I’m like, “Can we just do it now? What if I pretend to work for three hours?” He’s like, “Yeah. Okay.” I walk into the boardroom or whatever. They like, “We just feel like …” I’m like, “Dude, it’s fine. I know. Whatever. It is what it is. Cool.” I’m like, “Am I getting a severance package?” They’re like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “I’ll see you guys later.” I was acting cool, but I was freaked out. I was like, “what am I going to do?” I remember walking home. I remember getting a coffee, going to a park, trying to meditate.

George:

I made a video and I had it somewhere on YouTube about what I feel like doing. I’m not sure what to do. I went for a gym session. I came back home. You’re like, “You got fired?” I’m like, “Yeah.”

Jared:

Yeah, because they contacted me just to say, “Yeah man, how should we go about this?” I’m like, “Just do it.” You know what I mean? “Just talk to him. There’s no beef here. If he’s not a good fit, he’s not a good fit. If he’s not a good fit, it’s probably …” I know how talented you are, so you’re obviously not enjoying it. It was a-

George:

I remember the same day, I’m like, “Dude, what do you reckon I should do?” He’s like, “What do you want to do?” I’m like, “Man, I want to travel a bit.” Like, “Travel. What do you have to lose?” You remember putting on the whiteboard all these places I wanted to go in Europe, and then later that day, or maybe the next day, I just booked the flights and two weeks later-

Jared:

You just maxed out the credit card and left.

George:

I remember I bought a new laptop, because I had an old crappy Mac from like 2010 or something. I bought this laptop that I’m using now. I bought a camera of my friend’s girlfriend, a really bad one. Then, I’m like, “All right, bye,” and left. That was six months in Europe, and then that’s when the Moulos Media HSC Notes was doing its best with the marketing services and stuff. That’s when you got into the Google Maps listings, right?

Jared:

Yeah, yeah. Right about then. It would’ve been, because I was doing … It would have been that, because I did New Hack Every Week and then one of the hacks that I found was the Google Maps thing. Then, I met Shirin, my current girlfriend. Then, the Google Maps stuff just went nuts.

George:

Explain that. Explain a bit of New Hack Every Week, how [crosstalk 00:25:58].

Jared:

Because you’re customer number one. What I did, I was like, “Okay, I know all these growth hacks.” I had this idea of a pricing structure I wanted to use on a business, and it just lined up that I could test this out. The idea was I hate how people do fake scarcity. Price prices going up in five minutes or whatever, and it’s a lie. I don’t like being dishonest like that as a marketer, but you need to have these leverage points psychologically to get your conversion rate up.

Jared:

What I came up with was, “I’m going to make the price $1 per week, USD, and every time someone joins, the price goes up by a dollar.” George bought the first membership, but he was a dollar a week. I remember copying insufficient funds on that one a few times. Good times, and then a few people started signing up and it snowballed. It got to the point where I had over a hundred members. The last person that came was paying $105 USD a week, I think. Every week, I would come out with a new growth hack. The thing is that that’s very hard after like six months to get the quality high.

Jared:

I never dropped. I ended up stopping it, because one of the hacks turned into a really big business. That content is all for free now. You can get it all for free at topfuckingsecret.com. That’s actually the domain. Just use any six-digit code. I took the code off, so you can just put any code in to get access now. That was really cool experience. It made me really good as a growth hacker. I can hack anything now. Man, coming up with a hack every week, that was brutal. I made all right money pretty easily.

Jared:

More than that, it gave me a crazy network, because some of the people that joined, just crazy level. Some of the biggest-

George:

I remember, your clients you got from there, especially the ones who wanted some marketing services, you just sent my way. Even-

Jared:

Some of your big clients from e-commerce brokers are members from New Hack Every Week. This is just networking, right? It all comes back around.

George:

Yeah. The biggest deal I’ve done came from New Hack Every Week.

Jared:

Came from that, yeah.

George:

yeah.

Jared:

Which is funny, because I was actually somebody who didn’t pay. I bought one of his courses, really liked it, and I was like, “Hey man, I’m doing this thing. I’m just going to give you a free copy.” Then, he was like, “Oh yeah, cool, whatever.” He probably gets offered free stuff all the time, so he just, “Whatever,” never looked at it. A few months later, he’s at Affiliate World summit, and he’s talking to one of my members. That member is like, “Oh man, have you seen this New Hack Every Week? It’s my best thing ever.” He’s, “Hold on. I think I’ve got a membership,” and then he went through it.

Jared:

That’s James Van Elswyk is the guy. He’s awesome guy. He’s a really good operator, and he’s become a friend. He’s become one of your big clients and probably a big referrer too. He’s an awesome guy, super networks, but it all comes back around. It all comes back around. The marketing e-commerce space, even though it’s this massive industry, it’s actually not that big of an industry, really.

George:

That’s what I realized more than anything, especially in the past year. It’s weirdly a very small world. It’s very hard to find a really good e-commerce professional who doesn’t have someone else that’s-

Jared:

There’s one degree of separation. In the marketing world, it’s like it’s one degree of separation every time.

George:

I remember one time I did this talk in February in LA, and I had a seller. I bumped into the guy that I had never met at the event. I’m like, “Wait, you’re my client?” He’s like, “Are you George?” I’m like, “Yeah. I’m speaking.” He’s like, “I’m speaking too.” It’s a weird thing, but it’s a good thing too, because at the same time, you can’t do someone over. Because you do one person over, everyone’s going to know, and no one’s going to want to work with you.

Jared:

Man, I’ve seen it too. Man, I’ve seen it happen in the last few days. If your name becomes dirt in this industry, you’re done. It spreads so quickly.

George:

I was talking with a friend of ours the other day, and he had a [crosstalk 00:30:13] broker. What’s considered to be the best brokers in the business at the moment. It a big-

Jared:

Yeah. He was telling me about the offer that he got.

George:

How they handled, they got a buyer to sign an NDA, but the NDA doesn’t count. He created competitive business, and they’re like, “Oh, well, the NDA doesn’t count.” I’m like, “What’s the NDA for if it doesn’t count?”

Jared:

Yeah, what’s it for? It’s ridiculous.

George:

Then, the broker actually got mad at Benny, even though they made the mistake. I’m like, “Man, that’s ridiculous.” Just like that, I know that whole company now and that broker. I can’t [crosstalk 00:30:48].

Jared:

They’re trash, and he’s going to trash them to everybody. It’s a small world. I went to high school. It’s the smallest world ever. I’m not from Sydney. I’m from this small town, Newcastle, smaller city. It’s very, very small, but word travels very, very quickly all around the world.

George:

True. Back to, I guess, timeline, I came back to Sydney in August, and I was on your couch for probably a month.

Jared:

I wasn’t even here, was I?

George:

I think you were in Brisbane a lot. You were working-

Jared:

Yeah, yeah. I was away. My girlfriend and Nick was living here.

George:

[inaudible 00:31:33].

Jared:

You didn’t even know Nick. You guys are now mates.

George:

We kicked it off, man, hard. I was like-

Jared:

You guys get along sick. He’s an awesome guy.

George:

[inaudible 00:31:44]. I remember that month, I was trying to find somewhere live. No one wanted to live with me. Everyone thought I was a drug dealer, because I made money online, and I’m young, and I look Arabic or whatever they thought, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean. I-

Jared:

You did that a few times randomly. Remember, I had that chick that I was seeing, Tams. She was a bit crazy. I would be in like Melbourne, and I’m like, “I’m away for a month, but man, if you need somewhere to stay, she’s looking after the place. Just random chic I’m not even dating. I refuse to date, but she’ll cook. So, you’ve got somewhere to stay, and she’ll cook for you.”

George:

I’m trying to think what I was … At that time, I was doing marketing services, but also video services for a few clients. That was the last six months of 2018. Then, the Google Maps listings was blowing up for you still even into 2019, while again-

Jared:

I went longer than I wanted to. That one went for almost a year.

George:

I remember in 2019, that’s when I sold my soul again and got a job again. It only lasted like two, three months, and that’s when I went to Bali to work remotely.

Jared:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

George:

I was still doing stuff on the side with the other businesses, but nothing full-time. Then, that time, like I’ll say early June, that’s when I started going really seriously with e-commerce brokers and just dedicated. That’s when I shut down most Moulos Media and shut down HSC Notes, even though it wasn’t really making-

Jared:

I think we talked about it, and I was like, “Yeah, look, this is actually a really good business. It’s going to grow. It’s a big potential.” You hit the ground running at the end of the day. You were doing seven-figure deals within months of starting this business. Whereas most brokers have been around for years and they don’t get deals like what you get.

George:

That’s what I realized. I came in with the simple principles and an understanding of marketing and e-commerce that most online business brokers are usually either real estate agents who have no idea about e-commerce or investment bankers-

Jared:

Or they’re business brokers. They don’t get the e-commerce space or even … They don’t get the metrics behind it like you did, because at the end of the day, an e-commerce site is only as good as its marketing and all of that. If you don’t understand the real situation of the business … I said, “You’ve been a marketer. You understand. You’ve run ads. You get it.” I think a lot don’t.

George:

That’s the biggest-

Jared:

I think also, you came into it … You didn’t even know how the business worked and how the industry worked. You do now, but I think that helps sometimes, being an outsider coming into an industry.

George:

Because I came in with them, like, “This is how a normal service or financial service should operate in e-commerce.” I looked at all the competitors and I heard the reviews from sellers who came to me after being done over by these other brokers. All the complaints were like, “This guy had no idea about marketing. The service was terrible.” If you’re charging 10, 15 or 20% commission on a sale, and you talk to the seller once and you put them onto like a Filipino or an outsourced virtual assistant, how does that make sense?

George:

You’re about to make 10, 20, 40, 50 grand off this person. You can’t even put a phone call in? You can’t be available.” That’s the biggest thing that people do like about my service. It’s like, “Man, he’s available 24/7,” but the reality is, that makes sense. It makes sense to be available 24/7, because I’m going to make a ridiculous amount of money and commission on this deal if it goes through, but-

Jared:

You’re genuinely incentivized. I think a lot of it … There’s these who, like you said, they’re more real estate agents and stuff. A lot of what I shared with you about how to run it was based on the real estate model, which even though I wasn’t a good agent, that was pure laziness, because I didn’t know how the hell to do it. I knew what it would take to be a good agent. Just wanted to get drunk instead. There’s this responsibility you have to the seller. This is what we talked about, because there’s really two sides to it.

Jared:

It’s like, “What’s your job?” You need to get sellers and do a really good job for them, because they’re going to refer and then buyers will come along and they might also have something to sell. But at the end of the day, you’re negotiating for the seller, and you can’t negotiate hard for both sides.

George:

Exactly.

Jared:

What you’re trying to do is get a deal to give them at the end of the day. Sellers are going to come in, and they always think it’s worth more than what it really is worth. Buyers are going to come in and they always want to get it for the bottom dollar. Then, if there is the ability to make it meet, you make a deal happen, but you’ve also got to realize who’s paying your bills, which is the seller. You’ve got to have a side. You can’t have no side, essentially.

George:

That’s what I realized. The industry at the moment is buyer-focused. They’re protecting their list of buyers. Buyers are everything to them. When I think the reality is, the value of this industry is in the really good, strong businesses that the sellers have. They’re treating the sellers like trash, the buyers like they’re the whole part in the whole … They’re God’s gift to earth, but it’s like, “We don’t want to send an email to a buyer. We don’t think it’s good enough. We don’t want to …” I’m like, “Man, buyers always come in.”

George:

That’s what I realized. If you have a good business, buyers will come in from your list, they’ll come in from anywhere else, but-

Jared:

Buyers will always find the listing, but there’s more to it than just listing it. It’s like … I guess I would explain it like in real estate. You could just be the kind of real estate agent who just opens the door. It’s like, “Yeah, walk in and go have a look around.” Or it’s like, “No, my job is to educate the buyer to truly understand the business, which means I need to understand it as good as the seller does. I need to be able to convey that information in a nonemotional way,” because that’s why you have a broker.

Jared:

A seller, you can’t detach yourself properly and you can’t negotiate properly, because you’re emotionally involved. Then, you need to understand it, and then you also need to know how to position it and paint it in the right light, and also get around those common f-ups and make it so that it is a good purchase for a buyer. A really good example that I was saying is how a lot of people, they decide to sell, and they let the website go to nothing because they don’t care about it anymore. That’s not good for either party.

Jared:

That’s not good for the seller or the buyer. It’s better that it stays strong until a buyer is found. It’s going to be a higher price and it’s going to flow way easier for the buyer to come in and be successful with it. That’s the job of a broker is to make sure those kind of situations play out correctly.

George:

With the broker, it’s also exit planning. You’re a hundred percent right, because as soon as sellers mentally check out of their business, their bottom line starts going down. Their revenue also start going down, because they’re putting less and less into the business. By the time they want to sell, firstly, most of them don’t know they can sell. Once I maybe get to them or they want to list with me, their business has been going down for six months.

George:

One of the things I always say is, “Firstly, if you can scale it up in the next two to three months while we list or before we list, you can get way more for the business, because it’s about the story you tell with the business. If the story you tell is it’s a depreciating asset, it’s going to be way worth [crosstalk 00:39:12].”

Jared:

If it’s worth something, let’s prove it. You know what I mean? If it is recoverable, let’s prove that, because then it’s worth more rather than somebody taking the pun. That’s better for the buyer too, because it’s less risky.

George:

[crosstalk 00:39:23].

Jared:

They’ll pay more for that, but as they should.

George:

If a buyer says business is going down over the last three, four months, why don’t they just wait a month and make their way through, and sandbag you through negotiation, the due diligence period for 30 days, and then in 30 days, then be like, “Hey, it’s worth way less. I’m going to pay less?” What are you going to do? “The business has been going downhill. You’re right.”

Jared:

That’s where you’ve got to protect the seller from all that stupid stuff the buyers do. As you would have noticed, buyers are dicks. They’ve got no time for you. Sellers, they care.

George:

I guess that catches us up on a timeline point of view from what I’ve been doing, but on your end, over the past year, what have you been working on? What [crosstalk 00:40:08]?

Jared:

You know me, man. I’ve got too much random stuff going on. I’ve got a course out now, Hack Your Agency, which it actually overlaps a bit with what you’re doing. A lot of it’s about deal structure around businesses. I don’t think agencies should be doing retainer deals. They should be doing equity or performance deals. So, I brought out a course about that kind of stuff. You would say that where you get approached a lot by people who are, “Can I pay it off. Can I …” Whatever. But if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing, they can’t understand the fundamental maths and why a seller would do that, then it’s not even worth putting to the seller.

Jared:

There’s definitely situations where you can get flexible deals. It’s just, you need to know how to do that. I’ve been teaching that stuff, because at the end of the day, most of my money that I’ve made is on equity deals.

George:

Let’s wrap it up there. Thank you for coming on.

Jared:

Awesome, man. Thank you for having me as number one. You are my first customer for New Hack Every Week. It’s fitting that I’m podcast guest number one.