Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire Podcast. Today we have Victor Daniels on the show. Victor runs EliteMate.com which is an online dating site and he?s the former owner of Chef?s Diet, a Zone diet fresh food delivery service. He?s also a personal trainer, board certified astrologer, hypnotherapist and a coach. So it sounds like we have a lot to talk about today. Welcome, Victor, thanks so much for being here.
VICTOR DANIELS: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
JAIME TARDY: So it sounds like you have a lot of different interests. So first I?d love to talk about your background and how you started as an entrepreneur.
VD: Well, that was way back. I mean actually there was really no choice entirely setting. My father passed away at an early age, about 9, and I begged my mother to work from an early age. She?s like you?re too young to work and I said, ?Mom, I really need to work. I mean you?re one income, you have two sons, I?m the oldest, I need to work.? So at the ripe old age of 9 I got myself a paper route and I actually had a little helper who was my brother and we delivered papers to like four major blocks in this neighborhood and we started a little paper route and I started learning how to manage money, how to save money, how to organize money, how to invest money.
Little by little, I got more and more involved in sales. I did telemarketing for the Daily News and the Times. Little by little, I got myself into this entrepreneurial mode because there really was no other choice. I always rather work for the commission rather than the actual hourly salary. I wasn?t really interested in that at the time. So I mean I started at an early age and I never looked back.
JT: So what made you want to do, instead of an hourly salary, why commission? I mean you were 9 and really young. What made you decide to do that?
VD: Because I knew that in order for me to have income that was unlimited. I would have to take jobs where the potential was unlimited. Not delivering newspapers but the more papers I delivered the more money I made. I wasn?t basically on a salary it was more on commissions and creating like I do nowadays, getting more advertisements. A person that was a potential newspaper subscriber was like an advertisement, their daily fix. That?s the reason why I did that. I mean I got into the telemarketing game because they didn?t pay you on an hourly salary, they paid you on a per order basis.
Only the order that you generated you sell. So, I really had an intuitive gravitational pull towards anything that dealt with making money based on how you actually produced and how much you produced. Since I love to work, I can work morning, noon and night. I don?t need too much entertainment. I know the more that I work, the more that I would make. In most cases nowadays, most people are on salary. The more that they work doesn?t necessarily mean the more they?re going to make. Understand?
JT: Yeah, definitely. I know that completely. I used to be on salary.
VD: Some people are working 80 hours a week and getting the one same salary when you should get paid we double that because you?re working double the normal hours.
JT: Definitely. I was one of those people working 80 hours a week and going what?
VD: Yeah, you look at the end of the day and you?re like oh my God what am I doing here?
VD: With the commission, at least, you might not own the business but you?re getting paid on what you?re producing.
JT: Definitely. So how did you go from there? From telemarketing and stuff like that, how did you start your own business?
VD: Once I got into college, I went to Stony Brook University, I got into the bartending and I met some girl at the time who introduced me to astrology. So here I am just getting out of college, I?m bartending, I?m paying off my student loans which bartending is another business where it?s really an unlimited cap because you?re making money on tips rather than a real salary and I was able to pay back my student loans in six months.
VD: I started learning, yeah. It was a good deal too at that time. I went to Stony Brook University from ?88-?92 and I think I owed like 40, $50,000 after I got out. I paid it all off in six months.
JT: You?re going to make everyone want to be a bartender.
VD: It?s still not a bad vocation. It really isn?t. It?s a great vice to make money and it?s a great tool to enhance your communication skills because you?re constantly communicating, you?re constantly, you actually make your money through communicating with people and actually interacting with them so they can buy drinks. It?s a great tool for your communications and also great tool to make cash.
VD: So, I met a girl that taught me a little bit about astrology and I?m like a workaholic so once I kind of figure something out I want to really get to the root of it and really get into it. So I started looking around for astrology organizations and I found a really legit one which now I?m board certified. I went through a four year like degree. Each test that you took is five hours long and I got really into astrology. So I started selling astrology charts and astrology readings while I was working as a bartender to the various customers, to the managers, to the owners. Doing everybody?s astrology chart.
I also got involved in personal training after I got certified. My degree in astrology is with the National Council of Geocosmic Research. Four-year degree and it?s four tests and now I?m considered a counseling astrologer. I counsel people through using astrology. I know mundane astrology which is basically taking nature events like the World Trade Center bombing. One of my original projects was to deduce why the original Trade Center bombing didn?t knock the actual buildings down.
I actually produced a thesis about that based on astrological phenomena. That was one of my things. I also do rectification astrology. So say, for example, you don?t know what time you were born. By ten major events that you give me, I can deduce when you were born to the minute. I didn?t just do that like happenstance. I actually had to prove to the committee that my actual theorems and my formulas were correct and I had to prove those.
The last part of my degree I had to do a counseling session. Actually had to counsel a woman at the time that they randomly selected for 30 minutes and before I met her I had to make certain types of predictions and speculations and I actually then had to write a little bit of a summary about that before I met her and then when I met her, I had to give her a good reading and then after we had the reading I actually had to kind of critique myself. So I actually predicted that she was a math teacher and when she came, even before she came, I said that she was a math teacher and then she confirmed I?m a math teacher. I did that by looking at the astrology chart. I mean it took hours and hours and hours but eventually you got really good at it.
I can do almost any type of astrology now. It?s one of the tools that I use. After I got finished with the astrology I got very interested in personal training which then I got my degree with that with the American Council of Exercise. I started doing personal training and I started doing astrology charts and then I got involved with hypnotherapy and I started going to seminars and school for that and I got certified with the American Board of Hypnotherapy now and it?s one of my best practices is the hypnotherapy. I mean I love it. It?s something I do every day for myself and actually for my staff at EliteMate.
I do hypnotherapy. I do guided meditations. Actually, recently, there was the Japan tsunami natural disaster. I felt so moved about that particular situation because so many lives were affected that I created a hypnosis guided, a remote guided hypnosis session, to help people meditate on the containment of the radiation and the rebuilding of Japan. I got very, very interested in the hypnotherapy when I was in my 20s.
And then I kind of, once I started getting into this health thing, this diet business, the Zone diet business, kind of fell in my lap. I started recommending it to my personal training clients and then little by little I stopped bartending and I started pushing more and more of the Zone out. So like in my late 20s, I started the Zone diet delivery service. I started the website.
JT: I have a quick question. I want to stop you for just a second because that?s a lot of information. What I want to ask though is I have a lot of clients who are typical entrepreneurs and they see opportunity everywhere are voracious learners, right. So they want to learn everything. So how did you deal with going from one thing to another to another to another like being able to try and build a business and just hopping around?
VD: Well, I had a big audience. I was bartending at the most famous nightclub in the city, back in the mid ?90s, the Limelight Palladium and Club USA so every night I would have time to communicate with the various clients and not only sell them a drink but also sell them my services which is a company I still have called Mind, Body and Soul, astrology, personal training, hypnotherapy along with a nutritional counsel.
JT: Oh, wow. That?s a great way to advertise. That?s great.
VD: I handed out flyers at the club and every night I made it a goal to put out at least 200 flyers that I personally would hand to the client. Not just leave it around but personally hand it to the client and, you know, to try to start up my business. That?s how I started creating a database of clients.
JT: Wow, that?s excellent. So how did the Zone diet just sort of drop in your lap? When you were a personal trainer someone suggested that it was a good idea and you just started using it because it worked?
VD: Yes. I was doing modeling at the time and I really needed to diet. I was looking good but I never got to the point where I was like, I was taut but I?m Italian, I got thick skin. I was ferociously looking for a diet that really worked. Not one of these fad diets. I wanted a lifestyle change. So I researched almost all of them. None of them were really, really healthy in the long term. This particular diet at the time was very, very healthy and it still is.
It?s based on balancing your blood sugar levels and bringing in your insulin into a tight range where you go from a carbohydrate burning metabolism to a fat burning metabolism. I really believe it and I started recommending clients to it and I didn?t actually produce the food. It was this smaller company at the time that were producing the food but the guy made me a deal. He goes, ?Look, you want to sell this product, every time you sell this product for 40 bucks a day for their food, we?ll give you $8.00.? Well, I actually got almost 1,500 clients underneath my wings in New York.
Then we moved to Jersey and we also moved into Connecticut and we flew to California and we built out California and that took off even better. I mean I literally can give you Cyndi Lauper. I literally interviewed Ricki Lake at that time was a popular talk show host. Bernadette Peters was our client. Cher was a client. Madonna was our client. I can just keep going on. I mean at the time, all these celebrities were on the Zone diet so we kind of gave the Zone diet to the celebrities for free for testimonials and endorsements and then everybody else paid like 40 bucks.
Needless to say, it was an incredible hit. It?s still out there. It?s still doing good. I no longer have any interest in the company but I had an entrepreneurial swing after the Zone because the owner kind of like tried to merge our markets, merge the actual, we have like five marketing groups that were marketing the Zone and I had the majority with another company. When they started merging us, our payouts started lowering and I said, ?You know what, I need to get into another business? and that?s why I got into the dating business because at the time I was single and I was intuitively, I do most of my stuff on intuition.
I was intuitively gravitating towards this particular venture. I saw one of my friends, this is the early 2000s, on a computer and he?s like, ?Oh you got to check out all these hotties.? I said, ?On the computer?? He?s like, ?Yeah that?s how I meet people.? I said, ?Really?? I said, ?Show me the site.? So I went to the site. It?s a site named Kiss and You Date at the time. I said, ?Wow, this is pretty cool.? I wonder what it would take to get this thing off the ground and we started EliteMate.com in early 2000. Me and two other guys and left the Zone business. Sold all my interest and I got into the dating business.
JT: Wow. That?s a story.
VD: I still kept Mind, Body and Soul and I still referred people to the Zone but I no longer had an actual ownership in the Zone.
JT: What were your revenues at the height when you left?
VD: At the height of the Zone, I believe the company was doing about $25 million, $30 million a year.
JT: Okay, so what were the start up costs? I mean what it sounds like is when you first started that you were just doing referrals and you?d make some money every time you?d do a referral.
VD: I was just doing referrals. When I first started doing referrals I was only getting paid like $2-$3 per person per day and then the owner of the Zone Tom Massari said, ?Look, if you want to make like 8-10 bucks per person per day, you?re going to have to give me $25,000 because this is my kind of like brain child. I know you?re the marketing company but I?m facilitating. So I gave him $25,000 which I was making already and then my commissions increased. Like I said, you can do the math. I was responsible for putting out 1,500 bags times $10 net profit, well not net profit, probably like $5 net profit a day, and that?s what I was making a day net; $1,500 times 5.
VD: So, we spent a lot of money and we were doing really, really good. Maybe like 8 grand a day, 9 grand a day personally myself. I was very, very happy but the EliteMate business, the start up costs were considerable. I thought it was going to only cost us maybe less than $100,000. We started in 2001 and I had two partners, I?m 65 percent owner in EliteMate. My other two partners who, actually one guy was one of people that worked for us for the Zone and he says, ?Listen, whatever you?re doing I want to get involved in.? I said, ?Well we?re doing dieting.? He said, ?Let?s invest.? Now we?re dating, let?s invest in dating.
The other partner was a printer who I used to print and do all kinds of advertisements for the Mind, Body and Soul business so I figured now that we?re in the dating business, his printing for all these club promoters could help us. So I got him involved in the business and I think the start up costs for EliteMate total was about like $750,000.
VD: That was the start up costs but it didn?t come all in one shot. I think the first year we put 100 in and then the next year and it took a little while. I mean there were points in time, I?m not going to lie, where I wanted to throw my hands up. Two of my partners kind of like ran out of money so I kind of had to start fueling things from 2005. We started at 33 percent each but we didn?t know what the critical mass was going to be. The biggest part of the dating business is almost like a nightclub. People come in and if they don?t see anybody they?re going to leave.
So the critical mass is the database. When you go on to the site and after you register you search around. If there?s no one in that neighboring area, you?re going to leave. So we kept building the database and kept building the database to a point where we were like, ?Okay, when is critical mass going to be? When are we going to get to that point?? Essentially, we deduced from that point that the critical mass would probably be a million members. I think we reached our first million members in like 2005.
Now, we do about 5,000 people a day and that breaks down to 1 to 8 people a minute register to EliteMate.com. So it?s pretty strong.
JT: So how did you grow that? I mean you started it and you had nobody going to your website at first. What were some of the marketing tactics in online marketing that you guys did?
VD: Great question. Well first, we had to protect the database so the reason why we named it EliteMate was at the beginning we were doing casting calls for models for our site to get the best looking models. Think about it, when you go into the club and you want to meet someone that you consider to be your love mate, someone that you want to spend your future with, you know, you want them to be the best possible mate you could have.
So we went and we looked for the most attractive people across the United States. We did casting calls and we pre-registered 40,000 people. Mostly models, actors, actresses that showed up for our casting calls. We gave them lifetime memberships. We registered through email campaigns, pre-registered another 30, 40,000 people. So then when we launched the site we had close to 100,000 people on the site. We didn?t let anybody see the site for say, for example, between 2000, I think we started August 2001.
We were pre-registering clients before August 2001 and we launched August 2001. It will be 10 years this August that we?ve been live. Over 10 years that we?ve been in business but live as an actual site and we really, really put all of our, I mean at the beginning we didn?t really have a staff. So when people were uploading pictures and submitting their text for approval, we had to do all that. Now we have a staff of 52 which all work remote for us which is the most beautiful thing that I could have ever imagined.
With my Zone diet company, we had a staff of 30 and everybody was in house and you?ve got to always watch what you say, you always got to watch what you do. I said the next the company that we get involved with is going to be like a virtual company. It?s going to be remote. Everybody is going to have their own office, their own home offices and stuff like that and it worked and it?s still working to this day. Our company posts $10 million a year, right now, currently. But the profit margins are ridiculous. Our profit margins are like 40 to 50 percent.
JT: That?s nice. That?s great.
VD: It?s pretty incredible but where we really made a success was through our failures because we weren?t growing fast enough as the actual big guys like a Match.com or any of the other main dating sites so we flipped it a little bit. We started servicing other dating sites with traffic. So as they would register to our site we would ask them ?Hey do you want to become a member of another site?? We would automatically post the information for the other site and get paid a referral fee.
Now we?re equally. We?re advertising based but we?re also a completely full scale dating site equipped with private email, instant message, text messaging, chatting, voicemail, video profiles, video instant messaging, webcams. Right now we?re coming out with a facial recognition match almost like what the feds are doing but online where you get matches based on a facial recognition algorithm that we have. That?s really, really exciting. We also have chat rooms. So many features.
We only charge $9.99 a month which is we wanted to make it affordable. We wanted to make it affordable for you to find your elite mate and not cost you an arm and a leg for yourself.
JT: So you do have membership fees. I notice you said you get a lot from advertising so you have membership fees and then you also do ads within the site?
VD: Yeah. What we do is the first log in is free and fully privileged. Most of the big dating sites they protect their database almost like a nightclub would when you want to go in, they?re making you pay and you?re behind like the dark wall and then you pay and you go into the club and see what it?s all about. Well what we do is a little bit different. I actually let you see the whole database. I even let you experience the whole site the first time completely free and totally privileged. However, you have to go through like 10 registration pages of advertisements.
VD: In exchange, I will give you a completely free and fully privileged so you don?t even have to pull out your credit card, right. You can check out the site and also all the advertisements we place in the site are contextually placed advertisements. So if you?re a dater, which most of the people coming to our site are, they?re going to see other dating sites within their category whether it?s Christian dating or Black dating or J dating or Lesbian dating. It doesn?t make a difference what it is. We have so many advertisers in the dating space because most of the actual advertisement we do we noticed that the biggest returns come from actually referring our clients to other dating sites believe it or not.
JT: That?s so funny. I mean I was going to ask you about like starting out in 2000 what your competition was. I find it very odd that you?re referring people to other sites. You didn?t have the fear that they?d go out and like another site better?
VD: I did have the fear. I did have the fear. I had the fear early. We were exploring different ways to make money because the memberships weren?t, at that time in early 2000 to 2004, the memberships we were still building the critical mass so we needed different revenue streams. So we got involved in list management which means that any of the people that we register we would have a professional organization send them advertisements and then whatever they made at the end of the month we would split 50/50.
So when I first gave them the list of the people that didn?t sign up for memberships, you know, I said, ?No, you can?t advertise to any kind of dating sites? because I was like what you just said, I was afraid that they would like never come back. But little did I know at that time, I said first month send just vanity related stuff, health skin care, any of that stuff. We made okay money with the list. We had a pretty nice size list. But the guy kept busting my chops. Vic, why don?t you just try to advertise to other dating sites? The second I advertised other dating sites that month our income went 15 times more for the list management.
JT: Target market. That?s great.
VD: Yeah, because what happens is a dating list will convert well to another dating offer. Then we got involved after the dating business, we?re still in the dating business heavy, but we noticed through the list management where most of the actual, I would get a report every month from this company that did list management for us, were the consumers were going. We noticed that a lot of them were taking cash advances so we built a cash advance site with 32 lenders in the site. So now, if you want to get a loan up to $1,500 overnight, a payday loan, we actually are lenders. We lend money to consumers and we also have our own lender group meaning different banks, private banks that lend money to consumers.
We also built a debt consolidation site where people that are in debt and they need debt help relief we also had that type of site. We also have a model casting site. Most of the dating sites use these offering to get people and I was like, you know what, we could get a little bit smarter than this and we don?t want to get our hands slapped so we created modelcastingcall.com. We had it up since 2001. It was part of the original, like I said, all the models that came in to our castings we actually turned around and we made them all members. Well we created a site that did this automatically now.
And on top of it, in order to become, you know, a model and a working model on our site, you would have to register, you would have to submit your videos and your pictures and then we have a technology software where it monitors how many unique clicks you get, how many greeting cards you received, how many emails you receive on the site and those are the people that we select for our modeling opportunities. So you hit two birds with one stone. You get models that you could, that are attractive that you want to pay for your ads and also you get the attractive people in the database so that when people are searching they?re like ?oh my God, this is not just an ugly database.?
It hits two birds with one stone and the models know they?re on a dating site. They have to agree to terms and everything before they register. But what we do for the models that we don?t do for the clients is we give them a completely free and fully privileged lifetime membership as being models to the site.
JT: So what if they?re married? Like can they, do they have to remove it?
VD: Well if they?re married and they can actually specify on the actual profile that they?re married.
VD: They have those selections. We have all kinds. We have married people on the site maybe just looking for pen pals or other things. I mean I really don?t know they?re personal business but we have divorced people on the site, widowed people on the site, unhappily and we even have it in there unhappily married people on the site. Different types of when you?re filling out the registration it asks you all the types of questions about your social status.
JT: So I want to get into reach because it sounds like in both the companies that you?ve head with Chef?s Diet and with EliteMate that your reach has been huge. I mean you?ve been talking about thousands and thousands of people. So it sounds like you?re a really good marketing guy so if you could give us some marketing advice or tips on how you?re bringing so many people into your site and your business.
VD: Absolutely. Yeah, actually, one of the businesses that we?re growing right now is to help other smaller dating sites grow. That?s one of our, actually believe it or not, I know most people are like why would you want another dating site to grow. Well, we?re advertising based so it?s in our best interests. If there?s no advertisers we can?t earn any income. We make money on our subscriptions and we also make money on our advertising. We make more money on our advertising than we do on our subscriptions. So a piece of advice start small and create something that someone is not doing currently or if it is, do it better than what the person is doing so then people come to you.
JT: Okay. Now do you have a lot, I mean you had millions of people to your site. Did you?
VD: Twenty million people have registered through EliteMate. How did I do it? Mostly through affiliate networks.
VD: What are affiliate networks? They?re networks of people that actually allow advertisers like me to be on their site and I personally don?t pay on clicks. I don?t believe it?s a tangibly marketable thing. I don?t pay on impressions. Pay on leads or even better sales. If they?re starting a new dating site it?s hard to pay on sales because conversions are going to be light so see if you can negotiate a small price on each lead so that when they give you a lead you have something to remarket to clients so they can keep coming back. So my piece of advice do not pay on clicks. Do not pay in impressions. Pay on leads or pay on sales and many affiliate networks out there will negotiate on those terms.
JT: Now what are some of the affiliate networks that you used if you have plenty of them?
VD: Advertise.com, netmargin.com, intermarketmedia.com, tattoomedia.com.
VD: We are connected with over 10,000 networks. When I?m looking over the statistics today I see maybe like 2,700 people registered already. It?s almost 11:00 here.
JT: Yeah, early in the morning.
VD: So we figure we?ll be about 5,000 and so people maybe 6,000 people. Most of these people are coming from an affiliate network and not just one. I have all these different referral codes from where they?re coming and you?re talking about sometimes looking at hundreds of referral codes everyday which means they?re different sources that are bringing in. So that would be another tip giving information is don?t put all your eggs in one basket or don?t think that you can get all your traffic from one network. Most of the networks are going to convince you otherwise but don?t put all your eggs in one basket.
JT: So how much are you paying for a lead or a sale? Like what are the numbers running you per?
VD: Yeah, if you go to EliteCashMaker.com, Elite Cash Maker we?re actually paying more on leads than Match.com is. We pay $10.00. It?s based on an albatross. We make $14.00 when the consumer finishes our registration. We pay the affiliate $10.00 to bring the consumer to a threshold where they fill out the lead information. So our profit margin is $4.00 just on registration and we?re able to pay affiliates out just on basic info ? postal address, email address, telephone and cell ? we pay $10.00 out for them to pass that threshold.
But it?s not really worth 10 bucks unless they finish our registration path. So we encourage them to finish our registration path because that?s where all of our advertisers are and that?s where we can make ends meet. So it?s an albatross but we didn?t start off like that. We started off paying out like $2.00, $3.00 for Elite and now because we have our systems so tight and we?ve optimized our campaign to a key, we are able to pay out $10.00. We pay $80.00 out for cash advance applications.
JT: Wow, yeah. So how has it changed? I mean you started way back in 2000, 2001. How has the online marketing space changed in that time?
VD: Well, we had the can spam in early 2000s which kind of regulated email. It kind of made it very legit. We hold suppression lists. We have our links. How has it changed? It was easier to market through email back in the early 2000s. Now the ISPs have regulated it so, and email is still free if you know how to set it up correctly. You don?t have to pay for email advertising if you do it all in house and that?s another piece of advice I would give is try not to buy anybody else?s soft slam list. It?s not going to cost you an arm and a leg and try to create your own soft list solution.
You know, emailing your clients and text messaging your clients and those are the most inexpensive ways to actually do that. When you talk about telemarketing your clients you?re getting a little bit pricier or IBR which is a telemarketing but like with an automated system. It?s a little bit better, a little less expensive and then obviously send it through the postal mail nowadays that?s the most expensive way to advertise. A lot of the big businesses are doing that.
Which comes to my last case in point. We are no longer considered just a dating company. We?re considered a data company. Over the past 11 years, we buy data all the time because we market that data so we can get them to opt into our products. I know if I tell you this now you?re going to probably laugh at me but it?s the truth. Every month we buy all the fresh opt ins that are coming into the internet 20 to 30 million opt ins every month and right now we are data hygienists. We help people hygiene their data. We help people maintain their data. We help people clean their data and we help people market their data.
So our database total is about 350 million worldwide and we sell those records to marketing companies. We deliver emails to some of those records for marketing companies. We?re really now in the data game more than anything else. Data is the new black. That is really where, we actually got that domain data is the new black and that is really where our heads are at now because it is the best game in the world that you can ever get into. Why? When you go to sell a product, right, once you sell the product you?ve got to replenish the product.
With the data, once you sell the data, the data is still there in your database. The key is to keep turning the data. People are opting in and to remarket to them and to hygiene the data so that when someone comes to get marketing from us whether it?s email marketing, S and S marketing, they just want to buy the data so they can remarket to it, we have that data. We use a hygiene center that has been in business for 40 years and they hygiene all the postal addresses, validate the cell, they validate the email and validate the telephone numbers. So we?re more now geared to helping smaller businesses and even big business fund their marketing campaigns.
JT: Wow. This is really interesting stuff. So we?re talking huge numbers, you know, 350 million people registrations.
JT: Yeah, worldwide which is crazy. So what do you think separates you, a really successful entrepreneur from the entrepreneurs that don?t actually make it?
VD: I?m a morning, noon and night person. I didn?t get involved in this for the short term. I actually didn?t make any money in the short term. It took me literally seven years to make it. I thought I was going to make it in three or four but we didn?t reach the critical mass until the critical mass was a million. I thought maybe it?s two million where the conversions would start. Through our, just keeping your head down and being faithful, so you can always see the road ahead of you. But you know where you?re headed.
I would say the biggest thing that you have to do is really, really have a plan and stick to it and be faithful especially when you come across with obstacles. Especially when you come across with hard times. Try to encourage people when you?re discouraged. I had a rule of thumb ? every time you feel discouraged, encourage our people. I try to do that as much as I can. Send referrals out without asking for anything in return. Just try to do things to help people that might not directly benefit you. I definitely think that if you stick to a plan, nowadays you could start off really small.
You can buy a website domain for $10.00. For $10.00. The whole year. Almost anybody can come up with that. Hosting. You want the site to stand after you buy it, hosting, you can share hosting. It will only cost you three, four bucks. You can go to Go Daddy right now and do that. It?s not a big deal. It?s so inexpensive nowadays more than it ever has been to start your own business. Back in the old days before the internet, how would you start a business? Most people didn?t work at home businesses. Most people had storefronts. They had to deal with that rent. They had to deal with all the insurance. They had to deal with W2s, all of that stuff.
This business everybody is 1099. Everybody works remote. No one has hours, they have projects. All on a project base. We have 52 people that work for us. We didn?t start off like that. Stated off with three guys. Three guys and one other guy and his girlfriend. Little by little, step by step, brick by brick we built it to a point where now, you know, the biggest companies come to us to backend their marketing campaigns.
JT: So now would you recommend somebody doing that now? I mean I know you said you help smaller sites but we think, you know, well you started back in 2000. It was so much easier back then to grow and be one of the forefront and one of the leaders. But starting now, seems very difficult. Is that what you think too?
VD: When there?s a will there?s a way and the faith will burn through any disbeliefs, you know. I haven?t seen most people believe that seeing is believing and the true creators know that so all I have to tell people that are looking to start the business, don?t be discouraged. Follow your true love. Follow your true passion and everything will fall into play.
JT: That?s excellent advice, excellent advice. So what helped you? It sounds like you were a voracious reader and learner before. What helped you in growing both of these companies to be so big with your mindset? With marketing? With anything? Like books, did you listen to, did you go to seminars? Did you do anything that was good?
VD: I read a lot of books when I was younger. I went to Stony Brook but then really where I got my education is through the astrology. I had to read a lot of books. They didn?t just make you use a calculator. I actually had to come up with these people?s charts all handwritten. Hours and hours and hours. I had a lot of free time. Really, really, really read. Now I don?t have as much time to read so I get a ton of audio literature.
When I?m driving in the city I listen to books on CD. When I?m driving back to the city. When I?m working in my office I have some quiet time I?ll put on a book. Self-empowerment based. Something that?s usually inspiring. Something that?s usually something that I could learn that I don?t already know and I?m thirsty, very thirsty for information. As you see, I?m not really, I don?t really like to stick around on one thing. I do stick to the dating and I stick to all of our businesses but I?m always trying to grow.
We have four kinds of dating sites. We just created a social network site. We have an adult dating site. We have all different, I mean if you go to our actual program you?ll see that we have like maybe 70 different private labels that go onto EliteMate based on pretty much who you are and what you?re looking for. We got a site EliteSmokers made for people that smoke or also they could do searches for people that don?t smoke. That?s a big thing for relationships and stuff like that.
VD: It really is. I mean we also have like a site for just EliteSpouse.com. Everything is Elite. EliteSpouse is for those people that are serious about getting married. They?re not looking for just a few dates that aren?t going to lead anything. They?re serious. They want to get married. And we?ll bring people like eHarmony. Really concentrate on that. That?s just one of our things. We also have swinger sites too. We have all different types of sites because we have a gothic singles, EliteGothicSingles. We have EliteChubbyChasers.com.
JT: Oh my God. See I?m old and married so these are very funny to me.
VD: You know, it?s so interesting because we have these affiliate networks and they?re always making different recommendations because they always want to have like the exclusive. They also want to have something that?s unique no one else is having. So we have Latin sites, we have sites for Black singles. We have sites for Asian singles. We have sites for Caucasian singles.
You name it, you know, we?re working on it. Single parents. We have a site for single parents. We have a site for people that are just casual daters. We have a site for people looking for long-term commitments. We have a site for dates of STDdaters.com for people that have STDs and only want to be with people that have STDs.
VD: You know what I mean? We have a site called, I think it?s called EliteNudists for people that are into nudity.
JT: So you really expanded is what it sounds like. That?s crazy. So do you work like 24 hours a day in order to run all these different sites? How many hours is your typical workday?
VD: You know, it?s not really work anymore. My passion, I love it. When I?m not doing it I feel like I?m not living. So it?s really an incredible lifestyle. I really love waking up in the morning. That?s one more thing that I could say is, you know what, don?t think about exactly which one is going to make you the most money. Think about which one is going to make you the happiest. I?m metaphysical and I?ve studied metaphysics for many years and it?s all about migrations. The happier you are, the more happier the experiences you?re going to attract.
If you?re in a job where you?re not liking it or you?re negatively focused for long periods of time about it, it?s just not a good mindset not for your physical wellbeing, your emotional wellbeing, your intellectual wellbeing. That?s definitely one of the biggest things is try to find something that you really, really love to do and put your heart into it.
JT: Excellent advice. So what is one action that everyone can take this week to move them forward towards their goal of a million?
VD: Okay. If they?re not currently doing but they really feel they should be doing go to GoDaddy.com, ask your heart what would you like to do and then whatever concept comes into play, invest that $10.00 and start with the first step. Buy yourself a domain. Nowadays the internet is actually a modern vehicle to entrepreneurs. It really is. It allows the reachable, affordable way for someone to get into business. That would be my one piece of advice. If you?re not currently on track with what you really, really, really in your heart want to do with your life, not to wait.
Whether it?s buying a .com or going down to a school and enrolling yourself for something that you weren?t doing before, take the first step today.
VD: Take the first step and if it?s to make a million dollars, you know, create an actual plan. It doesn?t have to be specific dates but create the overall plan. Put your passion behind it and your passion and your love for it will determine how quickly you get and achieve it.
JT: That?s excellent advice. Thank you so much, Victor. I really appreciate it. Where?s the best place to find you online and send us to some websites. I know you have probably hundreds but pick a couple websites that you can send us to.
VD: Well, the main site is EliteMate.com. If you?re looking for business opportunities go to EliteCashMaker.com and if you?re looking for like the stuff mind, body and soul go to mindbody-soul.com. The dash is like a hyphen. mindbody-soul.com. That?s where I have the astrology charts. I sell personal training, hypnotherapy readings and stuff like that. I also have one other site if you?re really into self empowerment mode take a look at EliteAvatar.com A-V-A-T-A-R, EliteAvatar.com. That?s a self empowerment course that I teach personally to people that are looking to increase their productivity, enhance their life and be happier as individuals.
JT: Great advice. Everyone should go out and check out those sites. Thank you so much for coming on today. I really appreciate it. I hope you have a great day, Victor.
VD: You too. I appreciate your time today.
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