Life in Paradise on a Shoestring

Episode 37: Online Business is My Sport: Just Start with Ray Blakney

November 09, 2020 Dawn Fleming Season 3 Episode 37
Life in Paradise on a Shoestring
Episode 37: Online Business is My Sport: Just Start with Ray Blakney
Show Notes Transcript

Ray Blakney is probably like every other award-winning Filipino-American entrepreneur who grew up in Turkey and lives in Mexico that you know. He comes from a long line of world travelers and has lived 75% of his life as an expat.  Over 12 years he's built a location independent lifestyle that lets  him, his wife and his new baby son to travel around the world whenever they want without being tied down by work. When he is not traveling, he bootstraps 6 and 7-figure online businesses, mostly from home in his superman pajamas.
He and his businesses have been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Boston Globe and other top publications. Connect with Ray at https://www.facebook.com/raymond.blakney.

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Episode-37-online-business-is-my-sport-just-start.mp3


Commercial: [00:00:02] Welcome. You are listening to the overseas life redesign podcast where you'll hear fine, relaxed, and inspirational interviews with people who are really living the dream. I'm Dawn Flemming an attorney turned alchemist and your host for the show coming to you from the tropical island paradise of East level net us Mexico. Listen to conversations with courageous souls who step out of their comfort zone and designed a new way of life. They'll share their experiences, wisdom and offer practical steps you can take to redesign your life overseas. Listen, and you'll believe if you can dream it, you can achieve it.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:00:42] Well, I am here today with Ray Blakeney and just honored that you would take the time to talk with me today, really fascinating background and I really appreciate you reaching out to me.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:00:57] It was great to hear from you.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:00:59] My pleasure, Don. It's a pleasure to be here.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:01:02] All right. Well, so as I mentioned, I usually kind of start out with, you know, what prompted your overseas life redesign? But the reality of it is you grew up overseas, so that's called normal for you. You want to just give us a quick little background on how you got to control, actually, and that'll be great. Yeah.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:01:26] So let's see if I can do a 30-second spiel. I was born in the Philippines. My dad was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. My mom was Peace Corps staff. She was a local country staff. So she helped train the Peace Corps volunteers in the Filipino culture and the language. That's how they met. So they got married in six weeks. Actually, I found out when I was 30 years old. So six weeks after they met, they got married. They've been married happily for forty-five years now. And so I was born while they were in the Peace Corps, 11 months old. They moved to Istanbul, Turkey, where they got a job via the US. So we stopped in the US for a few weeks. So I moved to Istanbul, Turkey, when I was about 11 months old, and then I lived there for the next 15 years. So I was that probably the only Filipino American kid in Istanbul, Turkey, when I got there. Maybe there I'm sure they're plenty more now. So I lived there for 15 years. My first language is technically Turkish because my first word was Turkish. My second word was Tagalog in the Philippines, Filipino, and my third word was English. So I like to say, hey, English isn't my first language looked great on the Saturdays when I put that down. But I'll be honest, I went to American school. My dad's American. I pretty much was speaking English my whole life. Fifteen years old, I moved back to the United States, went to boarding school in New England because the school had Turkey only went up to 10th grade back then. So they had to kind of finish high school yet. So I did my junior and senior year in New England and went to college, got a degree in computer engineering in the US, worked in Silicon Valley, did some Fortune 500 companies. And then. Decided that. The direction my life was taking wasn't really what I wanted to be, I I mentioned this a lot, but there's an inspirational quote that kind of dictates my decisions in life. And it's if they were to write a book about your life, would anybody want to read it? And I remember it when I asked myself that question. At twenty-six years old, the answer was no, definitive, absolute. I wouldn't read my own book. It's boring. I sit in a cube every day writing code. There's nothing to it. So I quit my job, almost a six-figure job and I joined the Peace Corps, which they paid me a few hundred dollars a month to volunteer in southern Mexico near the Guatemala border in Schepis, where I worked for two years. And that's where I met my wife in the Peace Corps. She was saying she was Peace Corps staff who trained the Mexican trained the Peace Corps staff in Spanish and the culture. And so we met we dated during the Peace Corps, which was against the rules. But they didn't know. 

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:03:40] What steps right now.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:03:41] Exactly. Exactly. We joke. So my son is nine months old now and we joke with I like seven 1/2 until you're like late 20s. Just joined the Peace Corps. You'll find your wife there. So don't worry about it until that happens. So that's how I ended up in Mexico. So I finished the Peace Corps. My wife and I decided to, hey, why don't we try our hand at entrepreneurship? We started with a brick and mortar school and we picked Kenneth out of Mexico. But she had some family here and we did a business analysis and there was only one school in the city of two million people. And I'm like, we could do better than that. So that was the first business we launched. It became a chain of language schools around Mexico. We wanted to learn what it's like to stumble and get a title, which we sold all those about twenty twelve when our online businesses started taking off.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:04:19] Gotcha. Yeah, I was actually I'm glad you mentioned that because I was wondering how you got to commit those combination family and market.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:04:28] That's exactly it. And the Peace Corps head offices are actually based here. So I was actually from I spent three months here when they were teaching me Spanish in the culture. And I like the city, but we did all we wouldn't have just moved you for that. But we did the other research and we're like, yeah, two million people. It can survive two schools and two schools in a city of two million. So that's why we built it here. And it's a great place to live. It's always one of the safest places in Mexico. It's one of the top two. Made it out and get out there competing for the first one. Yeah, it's expensive by Mexican standards, but that's because the standard of living here is pretty high. The average income here is almost twenty-five-thirty thousand dollars, which is comparable to a lot of places in the United States. And so we have a lot of the Costco go. I use overeats, you know, high-speed Internet and watch Netflix every I mean, you know, I don't live a very you know, it's not that different from the life I'd have in the US, except we have a cleaning lady and a cook, which in the US would absolutely never we've never had that.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:05:23] Right. Right. Awesome. Well, what a great story. And I was looking at all the different businesses that you've been involved in, and it's quite diverse things. So I heard you in another interview and you were you said that there were two types of entrepreneurs, visionaries and people who looked for need. And you were in the second category. It's a little bit of that. So can you talk about that a little bit? I mean, things have changed so much with covid. And I think that's a really important point. And that's certainly what I encourage. The people that I work with do is is sort of think about all of the different areas that this is impacting and really see the opportunity. And a lot of times people get stuck there. They're like, oh, things are so bad. And so can you talk about it?

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:06:21] Absolutely. So just a little back story to kind of give a foundation to it. Lively dotcom was built because of the swine flu. And it's you know, it's a seven-figure business. So you can build successful businesses out of crisis just exactly like covid. So to elaborate on what you alluded to, yes. In my opinion, there are two types of entrepreneurs out there. The visionaries, Steve Jobs, the Richard Branson, the guys, Elon Musk. Great. Make a rocket. Let's go to Mars. Those are the guys. We've got all the press, the I say guys. And unfortunately, generally, it is guys for now due to a whole bunch of social issues, which could be a whole podcast episode we could talk about as well. But and that's what everybody thinks an entrepreneur should be, right. Because that's those are the books we read. Those are the inspiration we get. I'm not that kind of entrepreneur there. I'm the kind of entrepreneur where. I see a need, I look for it and you and I were talking. Exactly. That's how you built your business, right? You saw a need you looked for nobody's doing this or they're not doing it very well. That's the business I'm going to build, right? It's just I'm going to help people do what they need to do or provide a service provider product, whatever it is that you're going to you're getting into. That's the kind of entrepreneur I am, and that's kind of what's served me well up until now. Another difference between those kinds of entrepreneurship and again, Elon Musk, the big boys is a lot of people get hung up on I need the money. Right, because if I'm going to build Tesla, if I'm going to build Facebook, I'm going to build a Microsoft proof. I need to go to the bank or I need a rich dad or I need to have millions of dollars in the bank. If all you're looking to build is a lifestyle business, a business that will help you move to Mexico, live on the beach, and live comfortably, I'm not saying, hey, you know. I'm 40, so I'm not looking. I used to do the youth hostel thing when I was in my 20s. Trust me, I want my own room that I do not want to be sharing a room with. Three other people have been getting high at the corner. It was fine in my 20s, but that is not what digital nomads or this location and lifestyle is anymore. It started that way. That was kind of it was a fringe movement, but it's not anymore. There are plenty of people in a number of networks where there are these people and they run six, seven, eight-figure businesses, but they don't have an office building anywhere. They live anywhere they want their work. I have 100, 150 staff members and contractors who work for me. I don't have an office anywhere. I'm registered in Boston. You know, I pay taxes in Boston, but I don't live in Boston. None of my staff lives in Boston. They live wherever they want. covid did not affect us as far as the work at all. Our language school that actually our business went up because everybody decided to learn languages online. And we're one of the top ones on the Web. So it actually helped our business. But that's the beauty that online gives you. It not only gives you the flexibility to work from home, save all the time to commute, it gives you, if you are daring enough, the option of something called geo arbitrage, which means, hey, you want to make us dollars but want to spend Mexican pesos. I like to tell people you want to get a four hundred percent raise in five hours. Easy, get on a plane, fly to Mexico. You just got a four hundred percent raise because suddenly the money you were making, the United States goes a lot faster. If you make five thousand dollars about the New York City, you are probably on the lower end of the income spectrum. Any major city, San Francisco, DC, where my sister lives, all of it. You are having trouble paying your rent. You come to Mexico and you make five thousand dollars. You are the one percent, probably higher than the one percent, I believe. I think over one hundred thousand pesos, which is about three thousand dollars, puts you in the one percent here. So give me five thousand dollars. You move to Mexico, you have a cleaning lady, you have a cook, you have a driver. If you feel like it, you're living in a nicer part of town.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:09:58] Not

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:09:59] Beverly Hills. Nice, but nice. I mean, if you have to get used to kind of international living standards, the houses here are not as big. I mean, the house my wife and I looked at my house in the US and I'm like, do you sell anything less than three thousand square feet? Because what are we going to do with a 4000 square foot house? I'm looking for some of those. Twenty-two thousand five. You can find it. You need to get used to that. If you're used to your five thousand square foot McMansion, you might get a little bit of an adjustment here when you come down to Mexico, but you're still going to have an amazing house, maybe with a view of the beach, you know, just kind of looking out there. You could eat tacos for two or three dollars total. I'm not talking, Taco. I'm talking you know, you go to the taco stand and that's where your dinner will cost you and you don't sacrifice very much. We have high-speed Internet down here. I was you know, we have Costco, Best Buy. We have no you're not giving anything up. And you're five hours from the United States. You want to go visit family. It's easy. If I lived in California, it was actually just as long for me to fly from California back to my parents bought us as it is for me to fly from the go-to to my parents. A bus from Mexico City to direct flight to Boston is a five-hour flight. So I'm just as close as I can have. Breakfast and early breakfast, a Mexican, late lunch in the United States. It's not that big a deal. So the long-winded answer to your question.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:11:08] No, no, no, that's OK. No, actually, my last podcast guest is a single mom that lives in Michoacan. O I love Michoacan's beautiful city. Yeah, three girls. And she has a staff of four. That's and she said actually I titled it Single Mom Lives Like a Millionaire. It's it because and. 

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:11:31] In Mexico it's normal. I mean, you know, the US, if you have a maid like not somebody comes for an hour, which some people can do, but somebody comes full time in the US, that's like Rockefeller. I'm a cook, forget about it. But in Mexico, that's just kind of a middle, middle, upper-class lifestyle. Nobody will. You should know, there are some safety concerns in Mexico, nothing major, but an hour on the street for one hundred dollar bills in the air. I mean, they'll do that to us either. But anyway, this is not going to make you stick up. I mean, having a cook and a maid is not going to be like, oh, that guy's rich because he has a maid and a cook. That's just what a lot of people in Mexico do. Nobody will think twice about it. So you don't have to feel self-conscious about doing something like that.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:12:09] Yeah, yeah. And I think that's a big part of the folks that I work with. What they're looking at is really up it up, leveling their quality of life by and really dramatically cutting their expenses. And a lot of folks are really shocked at the savings. So I'm glad you brought that up. So let me ask you. So we were chatting before and I said, gosh, you've done all these entrepreneurial ventures that have done very well. But a lot of the folks I deal with have never been in business before. And you said, well, I was I wasn't an entrepreneur until I was. So was there a mind shift required for that or how did that come about?

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:12:55] Yeah, so I'm sure there was, but it wasn't a conscious effort. It wasn't like, hey, I'm going to shift my mind.

 

[00:13:00] I've become an entrepreneur. It wasn't that kind. Journey, it wasn't a switch. I like to joke, people have asked me, are you going to a book? And I'm like, yeah, my book would be How to build a million-dollar business in a decade. And nobody would buy it because nobody actually wants to hear about hard work putting in hard work to build your business. Right. Of course. Is that seller starting a million-dollar business in a week and all that kind of stuff? Right now, people do not want to hear the truth, and most successful entrepreneurs. Which is the hard work that they put into it, so, yeah. I'm sorry, I totally lost my train of thought there.

 

[00:13:34] Oh, no, it's OK. I just was wondering about the mind-shift of going from, like, that's a bad thing to being an entrepreneur.

 

[00:13:40] That's it. So what I'm going to need more coffee. And to the mind-shift that happened was so gradual that I didn't even notice. So what did I do? I was working the US. I was a computer programmer. I was really kind of inspired by my life and wanted to make a change. So I joined the Peace Corps.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:13:55] Right.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:13:55] Know like, hey, I'm going to be an entrepreneur right after the Peace Corps. It was more of my wife wanted to start a business and she wanted to start a school. I'm like, why don't we try it now?

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:14:04] Right.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:14:05] So we had of because we didn't have kids yet. Worst case scenario, Apple computer engineer, she's a bilingual teacher, will get jobs. And, you know, we'll get good jobs back in the US. We'll be fine. But over the years, the mind shift did happen, so the biggest mind shift that I filed entrepreneurs need to make is their tolerance for risk. So I'm not saying big risks because the way I start businesses is bootstrapping. I don't take a million dollars and throw into it. I mean, leveling with a seven-figure business I built for sixty dollars, you know, that's how much it costs for a domain. And hosting on Blue House 12 years ago, that was that's all I did of a business. You had like a few thousand. That'll maybe make things a little faster. But we're not talking here about one hundred thousand. A million. Nothing like that. If you have two or three thousand dollars, that will generally be enough for you to start a business, ideally, maybe with a little bit of runway for living if you're want to move to Mexico. So you have six months' worth of income, that that'll speed things up as well. Otherwise, you can do this right. You've got to work your full-time job, but a few hours into it until it gets up to a certain level. But the only mind-shift you have to do is that success is not going to an office every single day and getting promoted. So you get a corner office in your life. That's what we've been trained since we were kids, at least speaking for myself. You go to college and after college, you get a job and you work there for two years. That was kind of what I was taught because that's what my parents did. That's not the case anymore. I mean, the whole one, it's on both sides, right? Companies aren't as loyal to their employees as they used to be. So, you know, things go bad. You're cut. I mean, unless you are the CEO doing the cutting, you are the guy you're getting cut at that point. Right. But also, employees are disloyal to the companies. That's what younger people switch every two to three years because you can get a bigger salary boost and all the rest of it. That's fine. But you want to take more control over Your own destiny. That's what kind of entrepreneurship is.

 

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[00:17:35] Welcome back to the Overseas Life redesigned podcast, thank you so much for being here, and we invite you to subscribe if you like what you hear,

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:17:44] Don't think about it as I'm building Facebook, right. Entrepreneurship at the one that shop you're using, whatever skills you have right now, you're doing consulting. That's actually the first step I recommend most people do. If you want to get your feet wet just a few hours to consulting online, you kind of learn the online space. You get to really figure out what people need before you start building your quote-unquote product, which could be a course, a software, you know, any book, whatever it is. But just do consult first.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:18:10] Yeah. Or I was, as I said, my most recent workshop freelancing. Right. That's it.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:18:15] Yeah, that's exactly it. It'll get your feet wet eventually. Depending on the kind of freelancing you're doing, you might actually start making enough. Right. If you're doing 10 hours and you build 10 hours a week and you believe thirty dollars an hour, that's a hundred dollars a month. You live in Mexico comfortably for twelve hundred dollars a month. Right. So that's the point where you kind of if you're doing it, there's a side hustle. You get it up to that point hundred dollars in the US. Yeah. That's Yeah. Poverty level. But it's enough for you to move to Mexico. Latin America. I recommend like you Don, you and I are biased because we live in Mexico. We love it here. But anywhere Latin America would work, cost of living is even lower in some parts of Latin America. But if your clients are in the United States, there's almost no there's two or three hour time difference. Again, not that much different in California, Boston, for example, and. So you can continue working with your clients in the United States but take advantage literally, hey, I was out on the beach surfing this morning before I as opposed to I just spent two hours of traffic in Los Angeles before our meeting. Which one sounds better to you? So that's the kind of shift you can you need to make. And I think it's easier these days. People are more accepting of it because of covid and they've seen the virtual work is real work. It used to be that virtual work. Oh, that does not really work. That's not really working. Now you are really working when you do virtual work. People understand that. So I think it's a great time to start planning. I mean, we're recording this right in the middle of it. So you're not jumping on a plane. And, you know, if you're from the US, you're probably not going to let you in most countries outside of Mexico. I don't think they would let you in anywhere but start planning. Now, you can really take advantage of this time your whole lot, take advantage of this time to start working on it and explore the possibilities. Don't be afraid to take the first step. Too many people get stuck up in analysis paralysis where they just sit there, plant life. They don't watch it till it's perfect, but it's never perfect. So they never learn. That's just logic, this logic. I love the quote, but I think it's Jack Dorsey from Twitter who says, if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you waited too long to launch it. Oh, I like that. So I just launched it. You will be embarrassed. That's the point. But take the feedback, you know, like an adult, take it and say, OK, that work that didn't make the changes, launch it again, it'll be back and just keep on doing that. This book by Eric Reece is called The Lean Startup. If you haven't read it, it talks about that and it just read the Lean Startup. That's the only business book you need to read and then just go and figure it out.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:20:34] You got a great tip. Yeah. Thank you. So in looking through your list of businesses, you've been involved in it. It looks like mostly it's been info information-based business and as of our service-based businesses that phone service. Yeah. Service-based because I was one of the questions that come up from time to time info based or products. Do you have a thought on that?

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:21:04] Yes. So I generally like to stay in the digital space. So the services we offer livelihood's online language lessons via Skype, Zoom, and all the rest of it. We don't have products, warehousing, or anything to worry about. Digital products and courses are the same things of is. There are a lot more scalable, but you have a lot more competition when you get into that space. Right? So if you have an info product, you're going to get. So unless you've stumbled across this niche that nobody's in, you probably have some competition in there. But the profit margin I it for the book or a video of course is ninety-seven percent after pay, about three percent out. So it's definitely something worth pursuing, but it's a little harder to get started in it. So those are the two things. Those are the next steps after services, right. So you've done you offer your own services, so you're looking to scale it. What what you can do is what they call productize service, which is now you have other people out, you're offering the service, but you have your coach, you have your team of certified coaches. So you're not the one giving all the classes. You become a more high ticket item. You kind of move up your pricing scale. But you have a team that works for you, for example. That's one business model for the services all the way up. Scaling is what you talk about these digital products. So the digital products are e-books, video courses, whatever you want. You can use the platforms like Teachable KJB out there. You do not need to be a programmer for any of these. And another big stumbling block for people going online is I need to learn to code.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:22:26] Well, I was going to call this a software out there called Write and say, hey, you're a user. Can I have an advantage for you to say? Right, right. I'm sure you've gotten that before.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:22:36] Yeah, but luckily, when I was starting in 2008, that was not the case. You didn't know how to go right. These days, there are so many tools out there. You want to launch a website. WordPress can use PowerPoint word. You probably can use WordPress. I mean, it's that level of technical skill. You need KJB teachable for courses. It's the same thing. E-books. Wow, that sounds fancy. Really, generally just PDF. So, I mean, really, it's a fancy word for PDF, right. I would go to word, write it saves pdf. You're done. You have your e-book. Right. So there's really not that much you need to do yourself on the technical side these days. If you do want to get more technical, go to Udemy, pay seven dollars by your course and they will teach you to step how to do it. You don't even have to pay a thousand dollars for these core hires, so. Right. That's it. Yeah. Go to Upworthy, a place like up work, and get somebody in India or the Philippines to do it for you for like one hundred two hundred dollars. It's very, very easy to do. They have all their ratings. So, you know, the person's good and you can kind of go up there and gab lodge at least the minimum viable product for your service right off the bat so that you can you could start your business, see if it works. One other thing I'd like to tell new entrepreneurs is you should redefine failure. Failure. What a lot of people think of as a failure in business is that this business idea didn't work. So they say, I quit, I'm going to go back, get a job, whatever it was, I'm going to do something that I know. Redefining failure for me is failure is not when that idea didn't work failures when you went back when you go back and look for that job, if you that didn't work, you try something else that didn't work. You try something else. You never failed because you learn. You try something else. You learned you tried something else. Failures the moment you give up. So just keep going, keep going at it, and eventually, you'll be successful. I told you, it took six years until my wife and I started making more money than we would have made on salaries in the United States. Six years to get up to. We were in Mexico. So by year two, we were living comfortably, much less than we made in the US. But living comfortably took six years to get up there. And now it obviously accelerates after that because you pick up some skills that you're able to do it. So we've launched new businesses. It's faster, but there's no shortcut. I mean, all these people try selling Hack's thirty minutes for this in an hour. If anybody bought the thirty-minute ABS program before as it ever worked. Absolutely not. It doesn't work in business either. Learn the skills, show up every day, put in the work, and then you'll have success. Don, you mentioned you have a background in Lost. Imagine if somebody tried to pass the bar in thirty minutes. You got to look at it. Like what? No, that's absolutely true of and it's. Yeah. To lose that mindset of trying to get things quickly. Just put in. 

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:25:13] Great, great advice. Absolutely couldn't agree with you more. Another question might have if you would you say you have a process that you go through when you're starting a new business as you talk about finding the need. Can you know, I don't need to go into great detail, but if you can just give an overview of the process that you use when you are an analyst or whether someone is something as marginal.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:25:38] I like that word analyzed because I am an engineer by training, so, you know, I like to tell people a lot of people say go with your gut, like my gut dumb. If I want my gut, I'd be living on the street corner in a box because my gut would never lead me to the right place. So what I do is I actually do I have an exact process I go through to evaluate every business idea you have to share. So the first thing is, is what we were talking about, you see, and you go out there and you're like, hey, you look for something you find that's either not served or not served very well. Step number two is you use Google keyword research tools. It's free. So if you have a Gmail account, you already have this tool. You just have to go and sign a sign into it. So you go and sign it to Google keyword tools you type in your business. So the example I always use is pink lawn flamingos, right? Let's just say, hey, I need a pink one flamingo. I went online. You're from Florida. So maybe there's plenty of big lawn flamingos there, right? So nobody's selling these online. Maybe I could sell these online, but let me see if this is really a feasible business idea for me financially. So you go on Google Kiwa tools and you type in Pink Flamingos. Google will tell you exactly how many people in the world or in the US if that's your market, look for pink long flamingos every single month. What I do there just to calculate and they'll give you a variance of the word. So it will be pink flamingos and long videos that are pink. Right. So you take all of those words and you add the numbers together, they'll say a thousand five hundred fifty ten thousand, whatever it is. So you add all those numbers together. And let's just say you came up with a number of one thousand. And so what I calculate is conservative, you can sell to one percent of those, so other people look for it every single month and you're going to sell the one percent. So it's 10. So I'm going to sell 10 pink long flamingos every month. How much money are you going to make off of each lawn flamingo? You need to calculate that. OK, I can buy it in China for five bucks and I sell it for ten dollars, so I will make five dollars off each lot. You can do this for service. You can do this for an e-book, whatever. It doesn't really matter at this point. And then you do the math. So I sell 10 products a month and I'm making five dollars off of each one of those products. I'm making fifty dollars a month to build this business. Is that worth your time for some people? Maybe for me? For a lot of people, I would say that, yeah, I'm not building a pink flamingo store. Right. Because big law enforcement officer, because that's not worth my time. So I do that process for almost every single business I do. And it saves it doesn't guarantee that your business is going to work, but it saves you all the time because I see all these people build these big online businesses without doing this. And then they only realize that, yes, they are the number one pink flamingo store in the world and they're making all the money they could possibly make out of it. And it's fifty dollars a month. If they had done this like two years ago when they started, they would have saved themselves two years of work to build a business that had no chance of succeeding in the first place. Mathematically, you were not going to make money off of it, but this will kind of get you past that. And then if you pass that, I just don't want your business. It means it does not that you've checked there are competitors, you've checked these people looking for. And if it works, it's worth your time financially to do this business.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:28:36] How much attention do you pay to other people who are providing pink one flamingo?

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:28:42] Well, actually, quite a bit. And that's what the second step is, the competition. So you go online and you see who else is out there and can you reasonably do better than them? You have to kind of put ego to the side at this point because everybody thinks they can do better than everybody else, kind of, you know, when you ask them. But you have to kind of look at it like that's actually pretty good. Lord Flamingo's store. They have five hundred well-written articles on their website. You're bootstrapping this. I'm assuming if you're interested that you don't have a billion dollars. If you're a million dollars, you pay writers and you can have a beautiful website and five thousand articles on your website. But if you don't, how long is it going to take you to put five thousand articles up to build a beautiful website that has exactly the right products for the exact right called actions and conversions and all that kind of stuff in place? If the competition's too much like it, there are already five stores in Google that are doing a great job. The only thing you can do at that point is competing on price. And then it's a race to the bottom. 

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:29:37] Right.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:29:38] So it's you'll take maybe one-fifth of the market at that point. So whatever they're making, you can make a fifth of it. And then everybody starts reducing their prices and then everybody starts making a little bit less money. So that's not really a space you want to go into. The other side is obviously you go in there the first five products or Amazon.com and then you're like, yeah, you're not going to compete against Amazon either. So you have to find these niches. And when I say, Niches, I mean, we're talking you can make one hundred at half a million dollars on these Niches, I know that sounds a lot to people like us, but to Amazon, if I went to heaven like, hey, Jeff, Jeff Bezos, I'm like, I have an idea that makes you a million dollars a year. Jeff, we have got to look at you like I wouldn't get out of bed for your idea. Right, because it's nothing. Those are the level of ideas we need to look for. Right. Look for the hundred thousand the two hundred thousand dollars. Your ideas. Jeff Bezos won't touch it. Google won't touch it, Microsoft won't touch it, right, but you can make a great living off of it. If you do, you get into that space.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:30:36] Yeah, good point. Great advice. Wonderful. Ok, well, we do an on time here. I don't want to keep you too long, but I think this is really important information. As I said, there's just a lot of folks out there that are really being forced to look at other alternatives because of everything that's happened just in the last year. And a lot of folks are just like, I don't even know where to start. And I think that is great advice to start.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:31:09] That's my advice. Don't worry about just you know, it. Businesses fail because they never start, in my opinion. So just start it and then figure it out and pivot. When you figure something else out, just start. I mean, don't sit at home. Woe is me. I've lost businesses overnight before I had to build it twice as Google did an algorithm change and it disappeared off of. I could have sitting there. OK, let's be honest. I spent twenty-four hours wallowing in misery, but afterward, I got right up again and then I started building the business again. And that's the key to success,

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:31:39] Just getting back up again. And that's it.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:31:41] Just get up and keep working at it.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:31:43] Absolutely awesome. Well, is there anything that I haven't asked you that you'd like to finish on? So we wrap this up?

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:31:52] No, I think I think we covered all the basics. If anybody has any questions, I say this all the time. Very few people actually ever took me up on a business, my business is my sport. I love this stuff. I speak at conferences about it. I could spend three days I spent three days at conferences literally talking to people about this kind of stuff. My voice is hoarse afterward, but I love it so much. So I'm not too worried about too much social media. But I'm on Facebook. So if you guys look for Ray Blakeney on Facebook, you can find me looking for a picture of somebody sword fighting. That's what I do. Japanese sword fighting as a hobby. So if you find any other regulations that are not sword fighting, that's not me. But if you find the guy with the sword fighting picture, that's me. Or you can contact me through my two primary businesses, which is leveling.com, it'll go to customer support, but just email them, they'll pass it on to me or podcast hot dotcom, which is how I found yourself. Your podcast, which is an automatic podcast booking software that I'm building right now. It's only an Alpha. It launches on January twenty twenty-one. But if you actually contact customer support was my specialty bootstrapping. That comes directly to me. There is no customer support. I don't receive their business. So you just have to go to the contact us there, fill it out and I will get your email. So those are great ways to get in touch with me and I'd love to chat with you.

 

Dawn Fleming: [00:33:03] Awesome. Well, I am definitely interested in your new podcast business, but that's on my radar for twenty 20 minutes. So thank you for that sharing that. I appreciate it. All right. Right. Well, I'll end it here. And again, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.

 

Ray Blakeney : [00:33:21] My pleasure, Dawn, it was a pleasure to be here.

 

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