AARON PITMAN: Thanks for having me.
JAIME TARDY: First, you look really young. If you don’t mind telling us, how old are you?
AP: I’m 24.
JT: Okay. When did you start? If you backed up, when was your first entrepreneurial venture?
AP: Besides the lemonade stand when I was 12, 18. I was 60 days into being 18. I was going to college studying pharmacy and one day I got a message on MySpace from, this is a funny story. I got a message on MySpace from a guy who apparently I was friend with a guy whose sister dated this guy. He went through her friends and found me and heard that I was an ambitious kid or something like that and he sent me a message. We became friends and he introduced me to my first entrepreneurial venture.
JT: What was that?
AP: My first entrepreneurial venture back in May 2006, 18 years old, we launched a voice over IP franchise.
JT: Okay, so it was a franchise. So this guy was like oh I need someone who is smart and a go-getter that can help me start this franchise.
AP: Right. So it was through the direct sales multi-level marketing model where anyone really could get involved, even if you’re 18 and you have very little income, if you have the ambition to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t know what entrepreneurship meant at the time until I met this guy.
AP: Fast forward now to where I am 24 and just got married, he was my best man at my wedding. He is one of my friends. His parents are like second parents to me. It’s all great now.
JT: And it all started with, well I was going to say an email, a message on MySpace which nobody ever visits anymore. That’s really awesome. So tell me about starting with that. If you’re the type of person who didn’t really know what a multi-level marketing company was, didn’t really know what entrepreneurship was, take me through the first six months, year of that venture.
AP: You mean eating off Ramen noodles and being really broke and just learning?
JT: Exactly! Just that – how sucky it was eating Ramen noodles. They taste good, they’re so bad for you.
AP: When you’re young and you want to be an entrepreneur, I think most people but parents aren’t the most supportive because it’s kind of risky and it’s different and violent opposition often means you’re going in the right direction. That was like my first two years of being an entrepreneur. As soon as I could, my friend Robbie, the guy who introduced me to entrepreneurship, and myself and a couple of our friends we moved out and we rented this house back in the woods. At one point, we had 13 people living with us in this house just so we could scrape by to afford it.
JT: So you could have more Ramen noodles, right? You got to eat. Pay as less as you can.
AP: Exactly. The first couple of years was just learning. Every Sunday all of us got together what we called “Connect” which is where we all connected together and read leadership books together, read articles together, listened to CDs and tapes together all about entrepreneurship, leadership, success coaching and those things. So I literally went from not knowing anything to spending eight hours every Sunday with these people. Even to this day, we still do it.
AP: Yes and we teach other people about entrepreneurship. It’s how we really get people who are thinking about entrepreneurship to learn.
JT: What were some of your first lessons from that? Going from nothing to a couple years later when you started to actually make money and be successful, what were some of those huge takeaways?
AP: The basic principle was the law of the averages where you sow what you reap. There was talk about an author called Jim Rohn and you guys know who Jim Rohn is, if you don’t know, you’ve got to pick up any of his books. Actually I have a book on my shelf right now. It’s called Leading an Inspired Life and it’s a combination of all Jim’s work, of his whole career, as a leader, and I learned the law of the averages. You don’t have to bat 1,000 to make yourself successful. If you get 2 or 3 out of 10, it’s plenty to be able to actually build a business.
He used the analogy that really hit me. Baseball players get $10 million dollars a year to hit 3 out of 10 to bat 300. They get paid $10 million a year or something like that, so you don’t have to bat 1,000 to be a successful entrepreneur. You could still suck and eventually become successful.
JT: That’s what we want to hear. We can still suck and still be successful. Yes! Tell me, as you were going, and you started to sort of learn this, how many hours were you working? Were you trying to get 1,000 and hitting 30 percent or 10 percent or 2 percent?
AP: I read a book called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and he says you need 10,000 hours to master a craft. So I took that to heart and I think it all started, even when I was a kid, when my parents immigrated from Russia in 1979, came here with $200 and a dream to become successful and be in this amazing country to live in. So I am first generation. I was born here. They instilled in me work hard, become successful anyway possible. As a kid, we got computers very early on. I spent hours and hours and hours on my computer. Like the Commodore 64, if you can remember that.
JT: I do.
AP: I spent hours learning the computer and I think my 10,000 hours started back when I was young.
JT: I was going to say how young were you though when the Commodore 64, because I remember being young and you’re way younger than me.
AP: I was probably I don’t know 12 maybe. I don’t even remember.
JT: I know, right, too much stuff. But that is really interesting that you say going that far back because those computer skills and all that stuff really adds up to where you are and keep learning and you just keep adding more to it. Tell me about when you really felt you started being successful in your voice over IP business.
AP: I mean I really can say that the voice over IP business wasn’t even that much of a success financially. Really it was learning. You can go to college and you can’t go to college, whatever you do, I think, you still regardless need to have an education about entrepreneurship and the best education is experience. We learned how to negotiate with customers, how to do customer calls, how to organize teams, how to organize leadership events and functions and book hotels and all kinds of little details. I always say the business is in the details and if you can master the details, eventually you can become successful as well. I mean I don’t even know what I am trying to say.
JT: That’s awesome. That’s totally great because you’re right and a lot of things, especially for someone so young, a lot of times the details are what gets dropped. So you’ve got your voice over IP company or business and you’re sort of treading along and you’re eating Ramen noodles and you’re figuring out how to toast toast because you’re so young, you know, you don’t know how to do anything.
AP: I didn’t even know how to do laundry back then. My mom still did it for me.
JT: See and that’s really cool. It’s interesting to say, especially that you said that wasn’t that much of a success, because what we usually hear right is oh my gosh I started my first company and it made millions and it was awesome and that’s not really exactly. There’s so much learning. One thing I want to know is, as you were going through this learning process, how did you deal with learning and implementation? A lot of the times I get emails from people that are sort of on information overload. They just keep learning and learning and then they don’t have that chance to implement and then get their own results back before they go and learn something else. How did you deal with that, as you were going through this crazy growth period?
AP: I learned by failing. I try to learn and learn and learn and take on too many projects and they weren’t working. I remember and everything came from reading books and then using those experiences from books and putting them into my own experience. Eventually I learned that I can’t tackle so many things at once and I need to laser focus and target focus. When I started to focus on certain tasks like just focusing on one business idea, things started to improve.
JT: Tell me about that. When did you have that revelation of going okay I need to focus on this one thing and what was it that started to improve?
AP: It probably wasn’t until 2009 so three years after being an entrepreneur that I really learned to laser focus. That’s when I got into the domain business.
JT: Tell me about that.
AP: In between that, I started a health and nutrition company called Your Health with a bunch of my friends.
JT: So in between, okay, so you started another company. Before we move to the domains, the voice over IP company doing okay probably eating, doing okay. What made you jump into the health supplement company?
AP: We had an existing sales force. We realized that the voice over IP industry was pretty hard to compete with because of all the technology out there, Time Warner Cable, Vonage, all that stuff, so we realized it’s not really going to be as profitable in the future. What’s going to be a trend? We started to look at it and the founder of Your Health, because I am a franchisee, knew the marketing. The founder Dennis, he realized that he loved supplements. We took what he took and we realized wow a lot of people are taking these things that we’re not getting paid off of. We should sell this stuff.
We developed our own supplements. We partnered with the right people. We took care of all the infrastructure and we were just little micro franchisees. Today not just me but total the company does a million dollars over in sales. Eventually it will become a billion dollar company. So I have a micro franchise with that. My wife and I, we met in the voice over IP company, transitioned into health company and we both are still active in the health company as well and grown.
JT: You sort of co-started this. You’re not a co-owner I am assuming but you sort of helped, as one of the initial sales force, as you were going.
AP: It was like 500 of us. Now it’s probably 25,000+ in 16 countries or more.
JT: It’s funny. A lot of the times people have sort of this ickyness about MLM right? I know a lot of people do. I did, I used to. Multi-level marketing, now they call it network marketing so that way it makes people feel a little bit better and stuff like that. What has your experience been? I mean that’s how you started and now you don’t necessarily do that as much, but what is your sort of take on it?
AP: If it wasn’t for network marketing and multi-level marketing, I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur. I credit it with my education. It was my college on entrepreneurship.
JT: That’s awesome.
AP: For anyone out there that’s looking to be an entrepreneur, they have ideas but they want to test the waters with a proven system, any credible network marketing company that’s out there is amazing for that. They put you in a business system that’s already set up. If you can follow that system to success, then you can do anything.
JT: That’s a really good point because it seems like they already have the training, like you said, you guys did a lot of training. The training is set up, the business model, you don’t have to figure all that stuff out, which is tough, if you’re not good at entrepreneurship already and trying to do your own thing. I’ve never really seen it looked at it that way. Usually people are just sort of like this or I had M.J. DeMarco on the show and he likes to say that you should start your own multi-level marketing company so you have the control over it, but like you said, when you’re 18 or when you’re younger and you haven’t really gotten into this yet, you don’t even have that education. If you even started one, you have a lot bigger of a chance of failing because you don’t know what you’re doing.
AP: If you don’t have at least $5 million to start your own MLM company, you shouldn’t try. I didn’t. I had a team, you know, Dennis and Robbie and all of my friends. They were much better at business than I was. I said tap into that, learn together and grow together. If we learn together and we grow together, we’ll do a bunch of things in the future together. We still focus on doing the business. We’re actively still recruiting people in the business because that is the best way for people to learn. We’re in a tough economic time, in a lot of people’s view, and I think recession is just room for opportunity. I love recessions because problems are solved in recessions and more people get rich.
For anyone that’s out there that’s looking, multi-level marketing is amazing. It’s not a pyramid scam, as long as you’re with a credible company. It has a real product. If you find the right team to get involved with, you can fly. I have friends that make $30,000+ a week and they’re under 30.
JT: Nice. I think one of the reasons why multi-level marketing gets a bad rap, in general, I know this is why I gave it a bad rap, like my neighbor used to try and sell me on this stuff and he was a really bad salesman and he would not stop. He’s like you’re really successful, I know you can do this. Every five minutes he’d be like come on Jaime. Come on to my side of the things. Because of that, because of the icky sales and the people that don’t know how to do sales, I think that’s sort of the problem. Can you give us some tips, right, let’s say someone is sort of dabbling and maybe they want to try multi-level marketing to start off with. Give us some tips on being an ethical and good person trying to get into this for sales.
AP: First off, the people who dabble, they like to like try a company for a month. Oh I didn’t get rich yet so let me go try another company. They are like pirates. They jump ship, they jump ship and jump ship. That’s not the way to go. Find a company you love. Find a product you can really believe in and a group of people that you can believe in and commit. I think why most people are not successful in multi-level marketing is because they don’t commit to building the business and actually do, it’s called activity versus productivity or organizing your inventory or organizing your paperwork isn’t going to build you a business.
Actually going out there and making sales calls and making connections and networking, network marketing, you better network and you better market. If you don’t do those thing, you’re not going to become successful. I say network marketing is a 3-year commitment, 10 hours a week. You can do it in concurrence with school and your job and all that stuff. If you commit to that in the right program, within 3 years, you should be making 6 figures.
JT: I like that you say within three years because like you said a lot of people assume, because they hear the stories. In six months I went crazy, but you really need to have that time dedicated to it.
AP: Most people aren’t making six figures within six months unless they came over from another company and brought their existing sales force over. There are all these little subtle nuances people don’t really tell you.
JT: Yes, exactly.
AP: I like to talk about it real. That annoying neighbor that wants to sell you on his latest greatest juice or product, not the way to do normal marketing. You’d never market to your friendships, network. Get some people to try it out. Get them to tell some people. Get them to tell some people. It’s organic. That’s how it should be. It shouldn’t be forced.
JT: Awesome. How’d you go from that? How long did you do that? I know you’re still doing it I guess I should say.
AP: Literally ’06 to present.
JT: When did you start the domain thing then and why did you start the domain thing, if this is going well?
AP: So doing multi-level marketing you spend a lot of time meeting with people and I like to meet with people at Starbucks. If you go to the same Starbucks pretty much every other day or every day, you see the same people, same crowds hangout. So you start to network with these people and learn. I’ve met presidents of banks. I mean I’ve met people worth hundreds of millions of dollars from sitting there grabbing a cup of coffee and saying, “Hey, I see you here every day, what do you do?”
Back in 2009 there was a guy that kept coming in and out of Starbucks. Never dressed up, always looked horrible, we laugh about this today and he was under 30 and he always came in with $100,000 or $200,000 sports car. Clearly you’re like what is this coffee shop millionaire doing? So we start to get to know each other and I ask him what he does and after I get to know him he says on a bad year he makes half a million. On a good year he makes a million and a half buying, selling and trading domain names. What? Domain names?
I though everyone bought the names in the ‘90s. There was opportunity and he told me that’s true but there is a secondary market that was created. People buy these names for $20,000, $50,000, a $100 to a $1,000 and they go sell them for double, triple that. My jaw hit the floor. This young guy, driving fancy sports cars making lots of money and I was making good money but I wasn’t making that kind of money. So I said, “How do I learn?”
JT: Teach me, okay!
AP: He didn’t really have to teach me anything but he pointed me in the right direction and because network marketing taught me to be a reader and a researcher and to be able to be a sponge, I was like I am going to learn everything about this industry, in my part time, when I am not building my network marketing business and I am going to become a master. I am going to put my 10,000 hours into this quick. I literally got up at 8:00, 9:00 in the morning and didn’t go to bed until 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, sometimes later. I literally stayed up and you can ask my wife this today, she says, “I’ve never seen someone work so hard or research so hard for so long.” When I mastered the industry where today I can literally buy a domain name for $18,000 to $20,000 and then sell it for $175,000.
JT: Really? I am a geek so this really piques my interest here because I remember, I worked at an ISP when I was 16 and like domain names, I didn’t think, I should have bought like a thousand domain names then, which of course I didn’t. It’s kind of an amazing thing to think that we still do this. I mentioned M.J. DeMarco before. He bought windows.com in the aftermarket and he had to spend like a million bucks for it. So I know it’s there but we don’t really think of it too much. How did you become that master? I know you said you went and read but how did you, tell me your first few transactions. You must of lost a bit at first before when you started.
AP: Yes. The first couple transactions were buying stuff at $10. Domains that have never been registered before. Like a city or fashion.com. A taxing authority like AbileneInsuranceAgents.com or CincinnatiInsuranceAgent.com or BostonAccountants.com. So I would buy these names, if they were still available. Most were taken, but if you literally spent hours to put in all these dotcoms and scenarios to see if they were available, eventually I got some and I’d buy them for $10.
Let’s say it was BostonInsuranceAgents.com, for example. I’d go to Google. I’d type in Boston Insurance Agents. A whole bunch of them came up and I’d literally call them and pitch them on why they needed to buy this domain. If you call 30 people or you email 30 people, a couple are going to respond back if they’re interested and I would sell some of these names for $1,000, 2, 3, 4, $5,000 and I only spent $10. So then I’d use that profit and I just started getting bolder and bolder and bolder and beyond $10,000 in investment, I’ve never lost money.
JT: What year was this again?
AP: This started in 2009.
JT: 2009. Is that still applicable today? If someone was like oh that’s a great idea I’m going to go do that.
AP: Yes. New industries are being launched all the time and there’s all kinds of different scenarios and you can really just be creative. With the election coming up all kinds of different domains you can register for $10 and then go found the applicable source and just go sell it to them.
JT: That’s really interesting. How did you go 2009 to now? How did you grow that?
AP: I literally just slowly scaled it up. Once I realized I could buy a domain name for $10,000, $20,000 and sell it for six figures, I said we’ll save some time here let me buy a domain name for $200,000 and sell it for $400,000. Then I realized that’s doable but that’s tough. I said, “How do I really make myself make income residually, because that’s what my network marketing do, residual. How do I do that so I can be passive?” Then I realized that I could buy a domain name for a couple hundred thousand dollars. There’s a reason that’s worth a couple hundred thousand.
Then I would develop a team to build traffic on that domain name. On a $200,000 domain name, budget $70,000 to develop it out. Build a website, drive traffic and within a couple years you’re making $20,000/$30,000 a month passively.
JT: So not only were you doing domains, now you’re actually like oh I could do the rest of the process myself too and make even more.
JT: Smart, at 24 years old. That’s really impressive.
AP: Find the domain name I sell. People bring me these names. Brokers bring me the names. We pick them out. We buy them. We put them in development and then they do the rest.
JT: How do you know which ones are good and which ones aren’t?
JT: Tell me your biggest failure though because it sounds like ooh I’ll buy this for 200 and sell it for 400. What’s your biggest?
AP: Fortunately I have never lost money on something like that. The worst was a 10 percent profit.
JT: The worst was a 10 percent profit.
JT: Better than the stock market, right? Tell me, what I hear from all of this, right, is that you must be an incredible sales guy because, if you can work an MLM and you can do this domain stuff, and sell it, I mean yes it has to be really good, it has to be a good product that you’re selling, but you must be really good at sales. Give me all, I’m going to wrack your brain, give me your sales stuff. What have you learned through failure and through these huge deals that you’ve done that you can teach people who might be doing sales okay but really wants to take it to the next level?
AP: The foundation is the law of the averages. It just gets scaled up. In the network marketing business, introduce 10 people to the products and if you’ve got 2 out of 10 to try your products, that was a great ratio. Don’t focus on the 8 people that said, “No, I don’t want your stuff.” Focus on the 2 people that said, “Yes, I am going to give it a shot.” People just focus on negative stuff. I think, if you had to ask people in my circle what is Aaron most known for, they’ll say creativity and his crazy insane positive attitude.
If you look at my Facebook page, when I am on Facebook, I’ll post a daily affirmation. I literally sit there in the morning. I put it out on my wall. I went to a conference. There was a guy named T. Harv Eker. He wrote a book called Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.
JT: Yep, great book.
AP: I went to his courses already after I was a millionaire because I was very into reading books on positivity and I watched the movie The Secret and I loved it. Then he gave me this affirmation card. So every morning when I wake up, my wife and I both do this, we read our affirmation card which says stuff like: I create my life. I create the exact amount of my financial success. I play the money game to win. My intention is to create wealth and abundance. So it’s really kooky and weird but you can be kooky and weird and rich or you think that’s weird in the book. That was my philosophy on it.
JT: Awesome. Let me go back because you said you were already a millionaire when you got that. Were you doing something like that before? We hear The Secret. I mean I am sure a lot of people listening to this saw The Secret and some people are like really skeptical on it because on this show we’re trying to be very logical and stuff. Actually I was at a conference this weekend and someone was asking me this exact same thing. He’s like I believe in the law of attraction 1,000 percent. I’m like if you called it something other than the law of attraction because it has got such a thing associated with it I think a lot more people would believe it.
I’m really interested in how you feel, like you built your million. Did you feel like you, your first one before you even started reading the card, do you feel like you are already doing that stuff beforehand?
AP: I think my first line I heard from some speaker that said, “I deserve results. I deserve success. I deserve results. I require success.” Something in that realm and I used to go around, when I am out with my friends and I used to just blurt it out. Like I am a weirdo, like a creeper
JT: Like a creeper, okay.
AP: Robbie, did you know I deserve success? I require results.
JT: They’re like, yeah we do, Aaron. Okay. All right, we do.
AP: If you keep saying it, in my opinion, it happens. Not because I just think about it and poof like a genie it happens. No, because it motivated me to keep pushing forward and keep working. But if you have a positive outlook on everything, every problem can be looked at as a positive thing and as a negative thing. I look at it and most problems as positive. If you can find the positive, then only good things can happen.
JT: Do you think that’s innate in you? I mean some people tend toward the more negative and some people tend, like I am more of a positive person, in general.
AP: It’s programmed because, by nature, when I got involved as an entrepreneur, I was an angry kid because I am 5’3″. My wife is 6′ tall but we won’t even talk about that.
JT: You were saying that. His wife is 6′ tall and he is 5’3″. Good job, by the way. That’s impressive.
AP: So 5’3″ I was a huge dork in high school. Since my parents were foreign I got made fun of for that. I am short so I got shoved into lockers. I was that kid. Instead of going to play football like my friends did, my parents made me work. When I was 16 years old, after school, they’d be putting on their football uniforms, I would put on my Viagra tie and my lab coat and I’d go work at Walgreens.
AP: Yes. I was a pharmacy tech. I was really, really dorky. I think that inspired me just to win.
JT: I can do better than this, come on.
AP: It started as I wanted to prove something to other people and then it just, my wife even says if you weren’t short and made of fun of and all kinds of stuff, you probably wouldn’t be successful today because you wouldn’t have had that drive to push forward. Historically, statistically, people who come from a great family with money and lots of things that are great, they don’t really push to succeed because they don’t feel like they have to. Sometimes when you come from troubled or rough times, you have a better chance at success.
JT: That’s actually from The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley. He says the same thing and about kids that come from wealth and has all the statistics on that too, which is really interesting. It’s funny because at the time, I was a huge geek too, total dork, and it’s funny to think that at the time that’s shaping you especially for younger kids that are going through that right now. If you’re a parent and you have kids that are that age, I know your kids don’t want to hear this but that’s probably a good thing. Like getting over that adversity and really trying to figure that made Aaron who he is today, which is awesome.
So let’s talk a little bit about, when did you start the domain company? You started the health company in 2009. When did the domain company start?
AP: The health company in ’08.
JT: Oh ’08, okay.
AP: In 2008 and then the domain company in early 2009.
JT: Man, you got a lot of stuff going on though. You have two different things going.
AP: I worked 24/7 back then until I was automated.
JT: So you set up the systems to automate it.
JT: Tell me about that then.
AP: I realized that I didn’t have to be good everything. I realized most likely I would never be good at everything really. So I said I need good people because if I want to build certain companies I need to find this person and that person and that person so I sought out people who were better than me. I have no problem, no ego. People ask me do you care about titles and positions; no, call me the janitor. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll find people who are good at certain things. I’ll put them in place and I let everyone work together. I am the manager that kind of puts everyone together, puts the pieces together and let everyone go.
JT: What are some tips on that though? Hiring is tough, especially if you haven’t had that much experience beforehand hiring for the right job.
AP: I don’t hire. Everyone is a contractor. So there is an incentive for them to succeed. If there is no incentive, I think hiring should be under correct behavior. If you hire with the wrong intention or the wrong behavior, then you are not going to get the desired result. So I figured in my line of work, if I have people that are motivated for themselves, not motivated for my bottom line but theirs, they are going to be way more successful and they’re going to take it seriously or very quickly I am going to get rid of them or they’ll eliminate themselves because it’s performance based.
JT: Do you do commission and stuff like that too?
AP: Yes. People who sells my assets later they’re under commission so I am not risking anything. In terms of bringing people in, I mean yes.
JT: It pays them to be smarter too. They make more money.
AP: If you work for yourself whether it’s a 1099 or you’re self-employed or you have your home business, you’re going to make more money under a 1099 versus a W2. W2 bad. It’s okay if you want to be an entrepreneur while you’re building your business and have a job, to be able to provide for your bills so you’re not building a business in spite of trying to eat. That’s the wrong intention and you might not build a business as quickly as you want.
JT: What do you tell someone who is working a job but feeling like well I’ve never been an entrepreneur before and there’s so much to learn and this seems so difficult? What sort of advice do you have for them?
AP: Find a mentor. If I didn’t have a mentor, Robbie, granted if I was 18, Robbie was 22. Robbie was broke at the time, he still knew more than me. I sought mentorship from him. Sometimes it’s just an outside perspective you need because a lot of times we over criticize ourselves and give ourselves a hard time or we make ourselves innately a little bit more lazy. So we have a mentor to help push us forward. You’ll have a much better success. I don’t know of many rich people that don’t have mentors.
JT: I agree with you 1,000 percent. Just from the interviews, it’s a little ridiculous. So is Robbie your only mentor or have you found mentors before and after that?
AP: I have many, many mentors. I was so crazy as a kid building my entrepreneurial life that when I was out and about and I ever saw a Ferrari or a Lamborghini or an Aston Martin or something like that, I would wait for that guy to come back or that girl to come back to their car. When they came in I would intercept them and say, “Hey my name is Aaron. I am an entrepreneur aspiring. I’m not successful yet but I want to be. Clearly by this car you’re successful. Can I buy you a cup of coffee so I can ask you questions and learn from you?”
JT: Did they say yes?
AP: Yes, a lot of people said yes. Some people said not but the law of the averages, yes. A couple of those people actually ended up being investors of mine for certain projects and we invest together now. Yes.
JT: Relationships. It is a lot about relationships and mentorship. That’s great. It’s funny because what we were talking about before is you deal with angel, like you’re an angel investor now and I really want to make sure we have enough time to sort of get into that because it’s seeing the other side of things. A lot of times people are like oh well I need funding and that seems like oh well it’s them and us but what I really want to do is figure out like what do you look for in a company when you’re looking to do angel investing on it?
AP: Well, I started to angel invest because I started to make a lot of money and I realized that I could either, I don’t want to invest in the stock market, all of it, because I don’t have that expertise or that knowledge. I can put it back in the domain business where I have investors for that so that continues to grow and grow. What am I going to do? I realized at one point someone took the risk on me and invested in me. So I for one for sure have to give back and invest in other people and give them a shot. Giving back is something that’s very, very important to me.
But then more so on the entrepreneurship side, I look for people that are hungry. If they are hungry and they have the will to succeed at all costs, I’ll invest in them if the idea is good and actually if they could do it. At this point it is a gut feel. I don’t even go by numbers a lot of times.
AP: Yes, if it is gut and if I have a relationship and I trust them, you know, I don’t do business with anyone I don’t have a relationship with. If I don’t feel like I have good a vibe from you, we’re not going to do business together. It’s not worth it. It will fall apart eventually.
JT: How does someone do that? When they first meet you, what are sort of those things that you’re looking for on whether or not you trust them or are hungry? How could they show you that?
AP: They show me by their actions and their words. By them telling me, if they tell me about their idea and their business model and they’re monotone and they’re boring, I have ADD and I just get disengaged, I know that I’m not going to invest in them. But if they’re sitting there and they’re aggressive and they’re into the idea and you can just feel that they’re passionate about it, I’ll listen and I will build a relationship with that person. I do it all the time.
JT: How do you meet the people?
AP: I am part of something called the Go Big Network. Gobignetwork.com and it’s an investor website. I can sign up to be an angel investor and then other people can sign up to get their ideas looked at by potential angel investors. I signed up for that and eventually they called me and asked me to be a feature investor. I think I am on the website so everyday people call me. Every single day, maybe a couple, sometimes 15 people call me a day and pitch me their ideas. The ones that feel right I’ll have them email me stuff and look it over and then we’ll start to build a relationship with those people. Of those ideas, some I will fund.
JT: How do you know? The first initial reaction is I feel it in my gut. I think you’re kind of cool, let’s talk further. How do you decide? That’s a lot of people still coming to you and that’s probably a lot of people that you like, so how do you decide on the ones that you’re actually going to give money to?
AP: Whatever I feel like is actually going to make money. I don’t want to invest in something. I don’t want to invest $20,000 to make $40,000 because I can do that in my domain business. I want to invest 20, 40, 50, $100,000 because I know I can make 10, 20, 30 times my money. I invest in homeruns. You have to have the mentality that you’re going to hit a homerun. If they have the mentality and their business idea makes sense, I’ll give it a whirl.
JT: That’s really interesting.
AP: And it’s the law of the averages. I don’t expect all of them to work.
JT: I know, right.
AP: Those that work they make up for the 7 losses.
JT: And you’re okay with the losses? Do you get so invested in these people and their ideas? Do you actually help them with advice and stuff like that too?
AP: Because I am so busy and I don’t like to work that much honestly these days, I like to have my free time to spend and travel with my wife. We just got married on a safari in Africa. So to be able to go do those things and leave for two weeks and still have your business run, I try not to take too much on.
JT: That makes perfect sense. You were just telling me before how you guys are really into charity and giving back and stuff like that too.
AP: Yes. We sponsor a bunch of charity events. We give back a ton. We might think that if you make money and are blessed to be able to have that, if you don’t give back, it will bite you in the butt. I am a true believer.
JT: That’s great.
AP: If you don’t give back, if you don’t pay it forward, you know, we’re in a tough economic time. We’re in a tough just time in our world. I think a lot of people are just hungry for themselves and they don’t want to help. I am not about just giving a handout. I’m about giving a hand up actually being able to, you know, teach a man to fish instead of just handing a fish. That’s what I am into.
JT: What do you look for when you’re doing charity? Like you said, it’s the same thing you probably do with your angel investing and with hiring people and stuff like that, you want them to be able to learn and grow and do better for themselves anyway. How do you do that in your charity work?
AP: Based on the people. If they’re passionate about what they’re doing, I know that they’re going to make an impact. If I can help someone make an impact by just giving some money, great.
JT: I love this. Say that again.
AP: I don’t need it all. The reason why, one of the foundational reasons we became entrepreneurs, my wife and I, was so that we can make a bunch a money, just a ridiculous amount of money so we could give it all away.
JT: I think that’s huge. A lot of people are like well I don’t want to be a greedy person. They have this idea that millionaires are greedy or you have to be like that – money hungry or love money or anything like that – and it’s not that way at all.
AP: I do, I love money.
JT: Good! You can say you love money. I love my washing machine. I love my washing machine. I don’t put it above people and other things.
AP: I like to have nice things. I buy nice clothes. I have an expensive watch. I have a nice car but beyond that, we don’t do too many things too crazy. We give back and we don’t just blow our money. We could live in a half million dollar house but we live in a condo.
JT: Do you?
AP: Yes. The condo is nice. We drive nice cars. We drive new cars. But we don’t spend a million dollars on our house, half million dollars on our house. It’s just the two of us. We don’t have kids yet. I was taught be careful with your money. Don’t overspend. I would rather put my money into businesses than invest it on frivolous personal things but granted I have nice clothes and I have a nice watch.
JT: I think that’s a really huge distinction because people think if you love money then you value it over other things. Like you said, it’s not about that. We can still love the stuff that money provides but there is other things you could do with it too. Great. I ask this question, I think I am going to have you back on the show again at some point because I think there’s a lot more that we can talk about, but I know you have to get going too. The last question that I ask everyone is what’s one action that listeners can take this week to help move them forward towards their goal of a million?
AP: Read every night. If you can’t commit to reading a lot, 15 minutes a day and you work your way up. Learn from other people every day. My mom used to tell me as a kid and I would always be so mad about it. She used to say you have to read more, son you have to learn by reading books. The more you read the more you’ll learn. I’m like yeah and it got on my nerves. When I became an entrepreneur I decided I was going to read and in the toughest times when I was committed before I went to bed or when I woke up, 15 minutes a day. Up to now, I read a book a week and then I probably spend two hours a day just researching things and reading articles on Entrepreneur.com and all those kind of websites.
JT: Awesome. You’ve already given us some really good books to start off with. We’re going to put the links in the bottom too so everyone can go ahead and check those out too because I highly recommend all the books that you said too have been recommended before. They’re awesome.
JT: Thank you so much for coming today. Can you tell us where we can find you online? Are you on Facebook? Is there any way people can connect with you?
AP: You can find me online on my Facebook – Aaron Pitman. I think it’s just Facebook.com/AaronPitman and then my website is AaronPitman.com.
JT: Perfect. You can see new photos of him and his brand new wife, gorgeous wife on the page too.
AP: All over my Facebook. So add me on Facebook and then if you just have any questions, just hit the contact page on my website and we’ll be in touch.
JT: Awesome. Anyone that has anything that they want to say in the comments too, I’ll ask Aaron to hop by and see if he can answer any questions that you guys have in the comments too. I really appreciate you coming on. I hope we talk again soon.
AP: Thanks so much. I appreciate the interview.
Just to note, you can download the top ten tips from these millionaire interviews on the blog.
Thanks for listening. You can find out more great information like this on EventualMillionaire.com.