GARY MANCUSO: Oh, thanks for having me.
JAIME TARDY: Excellent. So first, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started as an entrepreneur.
GM: In a way, I’ve kind of always been an entrepreneur. When I got out of high school I took a year off and I decided to go into business for myself and I have pretty much been in several different businesses throughout my whole 20s until I started doing the websites. I’ve always dabbled in different businesses and totally random things too. I mean anything I thought I would be able to make some money and have some fun at, I tried it, you know.
JT: Do you have any advice because I know we usually hear you have to focus on one thing and do that but it sounds like you sort of tried a bunch of different things. Do you have any advice for us on trying a bunch of different things?
GM: Well, honestly, my advice is, I don’t know, I just try, anytime an opportunity presents itself to me, I try to go for it. Like, my first business was a mechanic shop and I don’t know anything about mechanics or cars. It just, the situation that came about is a local mechanic shop that was very successful and the guy actually, he was going out of business not because of a lack of business, he had a drug problem or whatever, and he just wasn’t showing up anymore and wasn’t paying the landlord and it was just a situation where I knew the landlord and I just jumped in there. I was only 20 years old and I took the shop over and I was doing great. I was just raking the money in. I would say just keep an open mind if a situation presents itself, go for it.
JT: Wow. So how do you judge an opportunity like that? Like how did you know that that would be successful even though you had no idea about mechanics?
GM: Actually, it was a local place in my neighborhood and I just knew they had a really strong following. He was a local guy that grew up in that town and he always was a great guy. He was just a, when he got around 40, I don’t know, somehow he got involved in drugs. Not even street drugs, prescription drugs for an injury and he just got all messed up and he just wasn’t coming in. I just watched the shop. People would be out front trying to pick up their cars. The guy wasn’t even there. He wasn’t running in. Oh my car here is here and I just knew. I’m like man these people here have been going there for years. I’ve even brought my car there. I was like man this is a situation to jump into.
JT: That’s great.
GM: So that was totally random. I would never have thought I was going to get into the car business and it was great. That really got me my start actually. That money allowed me to later on have money to do the websites, you know.
JT: That’s excellent. So how long did you own that company?
GM: I did that about three years. I did it about three, maybe closer to four years and then, honestly, like I said, I never really pictured myself getting into the car business and it wasn’t something that I wanted to stick with for my entire life. So, I had my eyes on, I always wanted to open like a nightclub in a bar, so I had that plan. So I wound up just doing that and that was the next thing I did.
JT: Did you sell the previous business?
GM: Yeah, I actually, I made a deal with the landlord for him to take it over with the mechanics I already had. I was going to kind of leave on a short notice and I didn’t want to, honestly, I wasn’t even really worried about making it the best for myself as far as selling it and getting the money. I just made it real comfortable for the landlord and my people who worked for me. An opportunity came up with a nightclub.
What happened was, I had dabbled with the idea of getting into the nightclub business and another situation presented itself. I just stumbled upon this place, it was a nightclub and it had a cabaret license so you were allowed to have a DJ and dancing. A lot of places it’s hard to get that. You just have a bar and you don’t have a dance floor. This place had all those things so I just had to jump on that so I had to get out of the other thing quick.
JT: Oh wow, you are based out of New York City, aren’t you?
GM: No, I’m actually on Long Island about 35 minutes outside of the city.
JT: Oh, okay. Where was the nightclub that you found?
GM: It was in Bellmore. Bellmore, New York which is, a night without traffic, it’s like 35 minutes from the city. In the daytime, forget it with traffic.
JT: Awesome. So what made you know that that would be a good opportunity?
GM: You know what, when I was younger, I dabbled with some little bit of bartending here and there a couple nights a week and I just, I did that more for the fun of it. I’m really like a night owl. I like being out all night. I’m not really a morning person and I figured it would be fun. I’m a real social person. I like to meet people. The nightclub, it’s a business or a job or whatever, it’s also a lot of fun. It is really.
JT: You were sort of going for a lifestyle. Excellent. So how did that go?
GM: It went well. I did that for a couple of years but also, that was another thing, like once I got into it. I didn’t really want to stay in that life forever with the crazy hours, staying up all night to four in the morning, you know. So I did that for awhile and after that was when I really started going for the website stuff.
JT: How did that come about?
GM: Actually, I know Victor from bartending when he dabbled in bartending. I met Victor and we’d always stayed friends. Victor really had a real good knack for business. Anything he got involved in, like he’s really, really good at marketing. He got involved in a diet company. He just really made the thing take off. Even before he had his hands on any money when he had no real budget, he was just real good at marketing like just really, really good running the business. Real focused guy who really just dedicated all his time to make companies successful.
So, when he has the idea of, he came to me about doing a dating website. It’s funny because at the time I didn’t even have a computer. I was like a total hippie. I was like a computer is stupid stuff. I had to go out and buy a computer to go online. I wasn’t going to invest my money until I see what it was all about and I started researching the dating websites. I’m like, “Wow, this is a great business” and that’s how that came about. That was in, I think it was roughly 1999 when we first started talking about the dating website but I’m not 100 percent.
JT: So you didn’t even have a computer and you were deciding to create a massive online website. That’s awesome.
GM: Yeah, well when Victor said that he was thinking about doing it, I knew from the past few things Victor did, everything he did really went, you know, anything he touched was gold, if you like. So, when he told me online dating, you know, as soon as he said the words online dating, I was just picturing a nightclub online. People could go on and meet each other. I just thought it was a great idea right off the bat. But, like I said, before I was going to invest my hard earned money I had to go on and poke around a bit. I actually went and bought a computer. Victor was like you have to get an email. I didn’t even know what that was. That’s how bad I was. I was like a what?
JT: That’s awesome.
GM: Yeah, it’s funny. So I got the computer and I got my email and I literally joined like all the top dating websites at the time. There was like six or seven of them. I put a profile on all of them. I wanted to make sure it was real and people really interacted on the sites and stuff. Right away I knew, I’m like wow, this is good, I definitely want to get into this business.
JT: Wow, so even with six or seven heavy competitors, because I’m trying to remember way back when, you know, how many, like what were some of the competitors that you were up against and how did you know you could do well in that space anyway?
GM: The sites that I was joining were like Match.com which was, it’s still like the biggest. Though other claim to be big but Match is really like the one that everyone knows. So, Match.com was one that I had put the profile on. Then there were several other ones; I remember the names. There was one called Lava Life. There was another one called Kiss.com, You Date. But it’s funny, over the years, Match had bought all those sites. They bought Lava Life and they bought Kiss, they bought You Date. They bought like all those sites as the years went on.
JT: So now there is a sort of a huge conglomerate of a bunch of smaller sites.
GM: Yeah, what happens, it seems like, I haven’t really did a lot of research on it, but it seems like whenever a site gets to a certain point, starts to get some leeway big, it seems like Match just buys them off, you know.
JT: Are they going to be buying EliteMate.com soon?
GM: Yeah, no, I wouldn’t be surprised. They just recently bought a site for a really big number and I’m pretty sure, at that time, had a slightly higher membership base than us. So I’m sure at some point they are going to want to buy. I think it’s just commonsense. If they see another company gaining market share, getting big, like anything, even like averages, like anytime like a soda or a ice tea starts to get big, the bigger companies buy it. I think that’s just…
JT: Smart business. Excellent. So let’s go back to when you were researching. How did you guys actually start? I mean the backend of a huge online dating site must have cost a lot of money so how did you go about doing that process of creating a site?
GM: Well, it’s funny because at first, it was just me and Victor and then Victor had worked, when he was doing marketing, he worked with Chris before because Chris was in the printing business. He also did marketing. So, we actually went to talk to Chris just about some ideas, some marketing things, we wanted to find out some prices on some stuff and get some ideas kicking around with Chris and he wound up just becoming our partner because he was all gung ho on online dating. So, we all agreed to put up a certain amount of money equally and throw it into the bank. So we did that at first and we formed the company and stuff and then formed the corporation.
Then we started shopping around who was going to build the site. Actually, Chris found the company that built the site because we aren’t technical. We weren’t going to build the site ourselves. So basically, Chris had a guy he recommended and we had a guy too that used to do some stuff for some of Victor’s websites but we wound up going with the guy Chris had and that was it. We just, I was actually the first one, the company was actually in Jersey and I used to go out there and I started designing, like have a look and feel what the site was going to be and stuff. That was a real fun process, we were actually building the site with the company.
JT: Wow, so how did you decide to do that? Because nowadays, I mean there’s huge analytics and where you should put buttons and what colors they should be and stuff like that. How did you guys just design it yourselves? Did you just try and make it look nice and easy to use? Was that what your goal was?
GM: You know what’s funny, I’m really picky and I’m like sometimes a little neurotic with things but we’ve literally had dozen of sites now and it’s funny, whenever you go to a designer before they build the site they’ll do like a mock up page and it kind of just seems, I don’t know if I have good luck, like 9 out of 10 times they do such a great job, I just take what they have and I change it. I’ll change their color or move these buttons over there. I don’t think, I don’t ever recall like going in and just being, actually just one time I did this, but like going in and just having a vision and being like all right this is exactly how it has to be laid out.
Like usually, what happens is you have the IT company and they have a bunch of designers and they’ll just do like a mock up page and send them to you. Usually there is some really good ones in there. Like I said, usually I’ll just play with those and just switch them around a little. So a lot of times it’s kind of just the designers at the web guy’s place.
JT: Awesome. So what was the steps in the launching because once you have the website built it doesn’t really mean anything until you get people on it. So how did you guys actually launch the site?
GM: Well, the funny thing is, when we first started, we literally were, even though we kind of put some money together, we didn’t go to investors. Most people go to big investors and raise $10 million when they’re going to start a dating website and that’s how they get big because they have all the advertising dollars to do television and radio and that stuff. When we first started we were really on a shoestring budget trying to get into an international online dating website.
We really started on the street like guerilla marketing. We literally, I mean there was a time when we first started where we were like kind of just focusing on getting it going. I was like I’ll do whatever it has to take to get it going. Because you have to remember, the first day the site gets launched, even if you have that budget, they’re getting no people on the site so even if you do have the money to run a commercial, let’s say you shoot a commercial on television and it says dating site and you go there and you do a search, you know, I’m looking for whatever – a female 25 to 30 in New York and there’s no people there – you’re just going to leave that site.
So while they were building the site, I literally went on the streets of Manhattan with a clipboard and a digital camera and just went up to attractive people or just anyone who was friendly and said, “Oh are you single? I’m signing up an online dating website. I’d love to give you a free lifetime membership.” I’d say most said yes. It was strange. I don’t know if I had pure luck with just finding single people or people just wanted the free membership and I literally got hundreds of people that way.
JT: Hundreds of people. Wow.
GM: Yeah, hundreds, like several. I mean maybe a thousand. I don’t even remember but I would go do that a couple times a week. I would go through that and also what I would do was, just being from the nightclub business, we’d get our friends who were nightclub promoters in Manhattan and we would set up a table in the nightclub where people come in. We’d have a table with three laptops and three digital cameras and we would hang out there and we would sign the people up right there. We’d put a sign like free dating website.
Back then it was, you know, around ’99, 2000, it wasn’t as popular. A lot of people were like online dating is for nerds or whatever. It kind of had like a little bit of a bad spin but we would be there and we’d be like, “Oh no, it’s cool. It’s going to be the next thing.” We’d show them mock ups of the site because the site wasn’t even launched yet when we started doing this. People would like it. They would fill out, we would have the clipboard. They’d fill out all their info. We would take their pictures.
Like I said, between that and going out on the streets, by the time the site was up we had them. We didn’t have really an international database because we were just doing that locally but when we first started we knew we were going to focus a lot on the tri-state area. We had a pretty good database already.
JT: So that’s what I was going to ask you if you launched like location specific. Because if you’re going in one area and trying to get people then that’s a good place to start. Did you launch it as an international thing but only like advertise locally?
GM: No, the funny thing, when we first started, we knew we weren’t going to be able to jump right into, the more we knew we weren’t going to have the real budget to do like television commercials and radio. Even if we were, I was thinking, I’m like you know what we’re not going to have a database anyway. I don’t know how the other people did it but I’m sure sites like Match that’s backed by a billionaire, they can probably bombard with so much advertising people will just start taking on an entity of its own.
So what I was thinking is, I think, it was pretty much my idea, I said, you know what, let’s build the site to have the ability to be for all the different states but let’s focus on the tri-state area like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. If you actually look at our drop down screen on EliteMate.com, I’m pretty sure it’s still there, I know the last time I looked it was, usually it starts off the states with Alabama. On the top it says tri-state so you can just click and do a search.
So, basically to answer your question, we were just planning on trying to mainly market it in our area. But what happened was when we started, you know, the guerilla marketing and the local stuff that we were doing, that was working great. But when we wanted to go do online marketing, the big thing back then was the email blasting. That was the biggest thing, at that time, because there was no spam laws and you could go and pay a very small amount of money and get a lot of millions of those emails sent out everyday.
So, basically, what we would do is we started to go to these email brokers and they were like oh we can’t target. They were like we don’t do that. We just send it out in bulk to everyone. So we said, “All right, we’ll do a test with that.” Another thing like I was saying earlier, if an opportunity presents itself, go with it. As soon as we did one blast, people from all around the country joined. Like a pretty good return on our money, for the amount of money we spent to the amount of members we got, so we wound up really not doing the tri-state area thing right from the get go because the email blasting was so successful. We just stuck with that.
JT: Oh wow. So what does it look like? What’s the difference between then and now? I mean there were no spam laws number one. How do you guys get new customers now? What works for you in marketing now?
GM: Well, now we still, believe it or not, we still do a lot from the email marketing but after the spam laws it’s totally different. I actually like it better. It just sits better with me because now they’re all opted in. Like anyone who gets an email, they opted in to that. They joined up some site and it said that they were going to get advertisements from other sites. Back in the day anyone could just get their hands on your email and send it. That’s what everyone was doing. The internet was just coming along. There was no standards yet. Now with the spam laws, basically, it’s all the emails are opted in and it works really, really well. Honestly, that’s still one of the best ways. I mean whether it’s doing anything online I still think one of the best ways to get customers is email marketing.
We dabble in everything now. We have affiliate, affiliate networks is the other thing. Like affiliates, you know, they’ll come along, I’ll just make up some numbers. Say it’s like $10 a month and we tell the affiliate you get $8 out of that $10. They get a big bulk of the money and basically they figure out how to get the customers. Basically, they’re the marketers and they do email marketing. They do banner ads, whatever they do to get the customers. Whatever they have to do they do it. The biggest thing that I would say now, for us, is affiliate networks and the email marketing.
JT: Okay. So how did you guys get started with affiliate networks and can you tell me about that process?
GM: The affiliate networking, honestly, that’s something Victor figured out. We were just doing the emails and the guerilla marketing. The funny thing is there was a time where we dabbled in a little TV and radio at one point, as the site started to take off and make money we started to dabble in some of that, but the return on our money wasn’t that great so we didn’t really stick with too much TV stuff. We did a couple of commercials and stuff.
The affiliate network thing, I don’t know, Victor found out, Victor really does all that. My other partner, Victor Daniel. I don’t really know, I know the basics of how it works but I don’t really know that much about it to be honest with you.
JT: That’s good to know. I remember talking to Victor actually a little bit about it too so excellent. So what’s the timeframe that this took? So from when you guys started having someone else work on the site to when you started getting people to when you actually became profitable?
GM: I mean we started the site in like, we started to talk about the site around ’99, 2000. I think the site got launched, I’m trying to remember, the site still wasn’t up on September 11 so that was 2001. So, I guess, the site got up like early 2002 and honestly, it’s hard to say whether or not it made profit because in the beginning it really wasn’t, in the very beginning. But then even like after it started making profit, we never really made it as profit. We just kept rolling the money back in. No matter how much money you make on a website, you can make a million dollars a day and literally say we’re not making a profit because there’s so many ways to market you can roll that right back in is what I’m trying to say.
Who knew how much you put in to keep growing the site. In a way, we kind of were making a profit right away but, in a way, we weren’t, because we were rolling it right back in, you know. But I would say we really didn’t get out of the weeds until, I don’t even know, like several years into it. In the beginning, it’s a little rough because as you’re making your profit and you’re rolling it back in and there’s like little hurdles like the database is growing so big, you have to upgrade your servers, or things on the website can’t handle it so it’s kind of like a cash cow but at the same time it’s a money pit. It’s kind of strange the way it grows.
JT: Yeah, definitely. Excellent. So when you’re going through all this, what are some of the hurdles and the issues that you ran into when you were trying to grow this? I mean this was a huge undertaking. You must have ran into some obstacles that you bumped up against.
GM: Well, the worst obstacle I could think of is, and I don’t want to get into too much detail because it really bothers me, when you first start, the credit card companies are really, really strict with how many charge backs you are allowed to get. It’s some ridiculous thing like one percent which I think is absurd honestly because think about this, you first get in your dating website, even with all that guerilla marketing, you only have maybe say a few thousand members and that was us being smart. Let’s say anyone else who is starting you have no members so your first 100 people join up. There’s no other members for them to interact with so there’s a good chance some people may be like I’m not happy.
It’s not because you did anything wrong and you took the person’s money to scam them or anything. You just basically, you have to build the membership base and someone might not be happy and they’ll charge you back. There was some ridiculous thing like you’re allowed a one percent charge back. In other words, you get 100 people, you got to hope not two people charge back, you could actually lose your ecommerce. You could actually lose your ability to take credit cards. That’s always a scary thing. That’s like real crazy with that.
JT: Wow. So did you have that, I mean that seems like a pretty bad hurdle. Did you have that issue come up and you had to work around it or were you just worried about it?
GM: No, the issue is then you have to go like high risk processes and they’re hard to find and there’s a lot of rules and a lot of fees. That was one of the big hurdles, you know, being in a high risk business, what they call a high risk business. The credit card companies is one of the hurdles.
One of the other hurdles was when they did the spam law because in the beginning it was so easy to grow the site huge. What other hurdles were there? Like I said, when you start taking on a lot of members, you know, you start taking on several thousands of members a day, the site sometimes can’t take it and then you have to keep upgrading the servers and the site maybe can’t handle it and you got to get web designers to start to make the site be able to take all the traffic. What other hurdles? Those are some pretty big ones. Those are like the major things that we’ve come across.
But honestly, all the hurdles are like, nothing is really a big deterrent. It pretty much went pretty smooth in a way. There really wasn’t anything that was too hard to get over.
JT: Was a lot of it because you guys did have capital to start? Were you taking a salary? A lot of the times when a new entrepreneur gets into something it’s such a money crunch and they’re living on beans and rice and that’s pretty much it trying to make their way. But did you guys have to go through that?
GM: We would have been able to take the salary but we all had other things going. Victor had other things going, Chris was in the printing business. He owns a big printing company and I had other incomes and savings so we didn’t really, that’s one of the reasons why we were able to grow the company on a shoestring budget without bringing in investors. We all decided that we would just roll the bulk of the money back into the site. So that’s pretty much it.
Otherwise, we would have never grown. Let’s say you get, I’ll just make up numbers, say you get to a point where you’re making $50,000 a month and you say all right let’s each take $5,000. You know, you’re never going to get rich number one living off $5,000 a month and, of that $15,000, that’s almost a third of your money, if you’re making 50 profit let’s say, that’s almost a third of your income just so you have that much.
Another thing with the dating website, you need synergy. You need a lot of people joining all at once. You don’t want to slow down the process while the site builds. You want to let it go crazy. It’s actually amazing we even got to where we are without taking on any investors who just all pledged $10 million and said all right go crazy. That’s how the other successful sites did it.
JT: Wow, okay. What do you think, because it sounds like this was a really good success, you faced some obstacles but nothing you couldn’t get through. What do you think separates a successful entrepreneur from the entrepreneurs that don’t succeed?
GM: I mean definitely you got to roll with the punches. You have to, like the creating problems, it’s a credit card process. You can’t get discouraged. You just got to do your research. There’s always, it seems like any problem that’s thrown at you there’s always a way to solve it. You got to definitely think outside the box. If you just look at what everyone else is doing, I mean yeah we could have just looked at what everyone else is doing and went to investors but then we would have kind of had bosses so we wouldn’t have been living the way we wanted to live and be our own boss.
Also, we would own less percentage of the company as well with the site. If we sell one day, we would only own half of it instead of owning the whole thing or, even if it doesn’t sell, we wouldn’t have all that money. Honestly, the part about us, if you take investors on, you’re really not your own boss anymore. Even if they are angels at best, you still got to do, you’re still going to be kind of walking on eggshells. What we do now, if we have a crazy idea and we want to try it, if it loses money, we don’t have anyone to answer to. I really like it that way.
JT: Yeah, definitely. What’s funny is you also said is there’s always a way to solve a problem. I think that’s one of the biggest tips successful entrepreneurs and the people that I’ve been interviewing is that they don’t believe that there’s not a solution. They always believe that there’s an answer to the question and that’s how come you can keep moving forward and push to find it.
GM: Yeah, like when we were trying to do credit card processes and people are telling us, “Oh you’re not going to be able to do it.” I mean there’s people are like you can’t do it, you can’t do it, but in other countries like in Europe and stuff, there’s credit card processing companies that were legit and safe to deal with and we found that out within 48 hours. People were telling us, “Oh you’re screwed” and this and that but we didn’t. I mean we learned the finance credit processes from this country but I’m just saying, at first, people are so negative. They get nervous. They’re like, “Oh you can’t do this.” Here’s what’s going to happen, whatever. There’s a way around anything.
JT: That’s excellent advice, excellent advice. So you’ve done quite a few new companies. What sort of process do you go through when you’re starting something new? Do you have, I don’t know, I know some of them are also with Victor. Does Victor do the marketing and you do the other stuff? How does the process work?
GM: Everyone is different. I mean we own EliteMate but we also started a bunch of other companies. I don’t know if you guys talked about them. We have like an energy pill.
JT: Yeah, I talked with Chris about that.
GM: We started up a bunch of different, each one is different. Honestly, though, I’m not going to lie, as the years went on and we got more employees and the company grew, I got less and less hands on. In the beginning, I had my hands on everything on every website. Now, it’s like there’s some websites we have I don’t even know much about it. Victor runs an idea by me, we have a little meeting. We’re like oh yeah let’s try that and then I really don’t put too much into it like, for example, the energy pill and the male enhancement pill. That stuff pretty much kind of runs itself. I really don’t get that involved in it.
JT: So what does your typical day look like then? I mean what are you actually doing during a typical day?
GM: It’s always different. Lately I have been slacking. Like I said, as the years went on, there was a time when we were building the site when I was on the computer, buried into a computer for like 8 to 10 hours a day for a couple of years. So, lately, I’m not going to lie, I’m like in a little bit of a slacking mode.
JT: I think you’re allowed to be.
GM: Yeah, but Victor is the opposite. I mean he really, I mean Victor, this guy will take, he owns the company, he’ll take a call, he’ll do a customer service call and get on the phone with someone who is not happy with something and stay on the phone with them for three hours and make sure that they’re happy; whatever he has to do, whether he has to give them a free lifetime membership, anything. Even if the complaint is illegit because you got to remember when you got billions of members you’ve got some people that are just absolutely crazy. They’re not going to be happy with anything.
They can be on the site as a free member and complain that they can’t get a date or whatever. Victor will literally work, he’ll pick up the phone at 3:30 in the morning and get on with a customer. He’s super, super hands on. So that kind of allowed me to kind of be a bit of a slacker lately.
JT: That’s awesome. That’s a key point. So what do you think about partners? I mean it sounds like the partnership you have with Victor and Chris is working out well. What are you advice on getting a new partner?
GM: I mean, honestly, I’d be the worst person to ask for advice on the partner thing because I almost have like the best luck in the world. I have two partners. We started together in ’99, not that we had no money but we didn’t have a real budget to get into this kind of business. We never ever once had a fight over money. We never even argue. The three of us never even had like a business contract or anything put into play.
Literally, we just kind of sat down and we just all said all right this is how many points you get and it just went so smooth. So, I wouldn’t recommend that to someone though to just throw money in and not have a contract of who is going to do what but we did that and it worked out for us. Like I said, I’m the worst guy to ask about that because I wouldn’t recommend that to anybody. For me, that’s the way it works. I have really good partners.
But before this business, I would have said I hate partners because at a nightclub I had a few partners and it was horrible. Basically, I guess, if you get the right partners, it could be the best thing. If you get good partners it could be best.
JT: So what makes a good partner then? Like what makes Victor and Chris really good with you?
GM: Well, one of the things is we all give each other space. No one hounds the other guy. We all let the other person do what they want to do. Victor really just ties the whole thing together. Like I said, the guy is relentless. He’ll work on the thing around the clock. He’ll just do everything right. He’s so focused on the business. When you have a business partner like Victor, that will make you think like wow, having a partner is the way to roll. Up until I partnered with Victor, I never felt that way. I was really like I hate having partners. Even though they’re not your bosses, it’s kind of like having brothers and sisters in your house with you that you fight with all the time, like rivalry.
JT: You love them but really they get on your nerves. Excellent. Awesome. So are there any resources you turn to? Do you read any books? Are there any tools you’ve used that have really made your businesses more successful?
GM: Not really. The only thing that I do is any time I’m going to get into a business like when it was the nightclub I looked at other nightclubs in the area and looked at what everyone was doing and I just thought of my own ideas of how I would change it better. I looked at it from a customer standpoint. I did the same thing with the website. I went on the other dating websites. I’m like oh this is what would make it better or this function. Basically, that’s the way I do it.
I always try to think outside the box too. I look at everyone else’s sites of what they are doing but then I think everyone else is doing that, what’s to be a little different? What’s something that no one is doing, you know? Definitely I would say look at all the other successful sites and then also definitely think of different ideas. Definitely think outside the box.
Another thing is it’s so easy to look at something that’s successful and improve upon that. It’s so easy to look at something, like anything, best selling car in the world. Look at that car. There’s something you can actually do to make it better, you know.
JT: Well it sounds like you have no fear either though. Like yeah, I’ll get into that, yeah I’ll get into this. Is that just your personality trait or is that something you’ve cultivated?
GM: I don’t know. I guess it’s my personality because when I say that I first started off in a mechanic shop, I was literally right out of high school so I guess that’s just my personality.
JT: Nice. I need that. A lot of people need that. It’s funny. It sounds like you go this is a good idea, I’m going to go for it and there is no, you have that belief of going well of course I can do it. That’s a great thing to have.
GM: Yes. I mean honestly, a lot of times it’s just management. It’s not that difficult really. It’s a little scary maybe for some people to get started but once you get going, it’s really easy, it’s so easy to run a business. You just stay focused. It’s pretty simple.
JT: Great advice. That sort of leads me to my last question. What’s one action that entrepreneurs can take this week to move them forward towards their goal of a million?
GM: If it’s online I would say you definitely have to link up with affiliate networks because basically, it’s like getting, you could literally go online and if you spent a week getting, you know, linking up with affiliate networks you would actually, it’s basically like having a hundred independent contractors, literally a hundred. You could hire a hundred different companies. There’s a million of them out there. They’ll basically just do all the guerilla marketing and all the work.
Yeah you are giving them the bulk of the money that they bring in but there’s so much opportunity to bring in members on a website, it’s limitless. If you try to be greedy and think like oh no I don’t need them, I’m going to keep all the money to myself, you’re never going to get the word out to as many people as a hundred people that have all their tools of how to email, how to set up links, how to cold registrations when people are joining up on another site. It’ll say hey do you also want to be on EliteMate or whatever your site is called. So, I would say as far as online, I would say affiliate networks.
As far as like a regular business, I would say don’t be scared to get your hands dirty. Even if you already have money in your business making a couple hundred thousand dollars a year because this is how we got started. Do guerilla marketing. Go take a printer, print up flyers, go to train stations, put them on cars. If you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves and get your hands a little dirty, you can’t think like you’re above that. That’s how we started EliteMate. We would have never got it off the ground if we didn’t do that. Like I said, I literally was on the street with a clipboard and a digital camera. I didn’t have to do that. I already had a little bit of money behind me. But I wanted to get it going.
So I would say my advice would be don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and do a little work to get the people to know about your business.
JT: Excellent. Yeah, you did what it took. Excellent. Well thank you so much. Where’s the best place that we can find you guys online and links or if you have any social media accounts that you use.
GM: The best place to find us would be just go right to our dating website, EliteMate, and then we have links to every other site we have right on that site. That’s like our baby right there, EliteMate was our first site so it’s like everything is on there. We have all our other, you know, the vitamins and all that, all the links are right on that site.
JT: Perfect. Well thank you so much for coming on today, Gary. I really appreciate it.
GM: Oh great, thanks for having me.
JT: Take care.
GM: All right, thank you.
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