On today’s show, Jesse & Richie sit down with Joe and Mike Brusca from Build Assets Online. They’ve built niche sites, flipped websites, and teach SEO and content creation techniques.
They’ve succeeded at multiple different business models, including Amazon FBA, Kindle publishing, and
They’re still expanding their current holdings along with buying and selling new businesses online. All of this means that they have a great understanding of how you can grow your business. So if you’re looking for new ways to make money online or new places to sell your existing product, this show is for you.
Once you get good at
We also learn how you can still win with high margin products using dropshipping in 2020. High margins give you flexibility and open up more opportunities.
Richard: What’s happening, Jesse?
Jesse: Happy Friday!
Richard: Yeah, it’s that time again. It’s a little different now. We’re not sitting here, going to happy hour after.
Jesse: It is kind of a shame. Yeah, it’s still Friday. So Friday somewhere. Yes. Still in work from homeworld. But we’re still on our podcast like all entrepreneurs out there. Business does not stop. You still have to pay your bills. Still got to keep things moving. Here we are again. Richie, what do we have today here? Let’s give a little intro for the listeners.
Richard: Yeah, I’m excited for multiple reasons. I think that the Ecwid listeners, some of them that wanted to add additional
Jesse: Yeah, I like that. I think the idea that once you get good at e
Mike: Good. How are you?
Jesse: Excellent. We’re all. We’re on a Zoom call here for people listing
Mike: Yeah, that’s right. Beautiful day out today. But yeah, it’s the epicenter. It’s the epicenter. Or one of them.
Jesse: Got it. So you’re stuck inside like everyone else, and as everyone else stuck inside there, you’re probably buying stuff online. So let’s started talking about
Mike: BuildAssetsOnline.com has basically been the culmination of five years, each of us doing online business. And over that time, we’ve explored multiple different business models, whether it’s drop shipping or creating content or niche websites that get traffic through search engine optimization or even publishing Kindle books online.
Over time doing that, we’ve figured out a lot of similarities and ways that things connect. And it’s really just about the overarching scope of, it’s not just about building one business online. It’s about developing a skill set that allows you over time to be able to create multiple businesses, have them work together. In the end, you can go and sell them for high multiples. And like you said, you can rinse and repeat.
Jesse: Yeah, you spend a lot of time figuring out things. Recently I was diving deep into Google Shopping, a Google merchant center, which can be kind of painful. Once you figure that out, if you don’t have multiple businesses, you forget about it because two years later, you’re logging in like: What the heck, how do I do this again? But if you own multiple businesses, you just figure it out. Sometimes it’s hard, and then you move on to the next one. You just do it again. It’s pretty easy. I like that.
Joe: You bring up a great point there that scaling your skillset is really, really important. So once you figure something out, what we like to do is we like to figure it out. And before we even bother figuring out, we like to see what kind of impact can this have on our business? What kind of impact can it have on our lives five years from now? So we really try and identify the strategies and tactics and figure those out and then repeat them across multiple business models.
Pretty much anything is marketed and sold online these days. So that’s what we like to invest our time into, into figuring out strategies and tactics that we can use, whether we’re dropshipping or whether we’re doing whatever.eah.
Jesse: Yeah, makes sense. I want to talk specifically about dropshipping because we even talked a little bit about the
Mike: Dropshipping is a dirty word nowadays, and there are parts of
Instead, we have these huge, huge businesses building up
And it’s actually extremely common not to hold inventory because if you’re selling items that are especially expensive or big, then it’s actually useless to bring them into your own warehouse because it’s gonna be extra money, the extra chance of damage, there is no reason to do it. So in a lot of product types and industries, it’s a standard thing to do.
Richard: That’s actually a good point there. And I have a question about it. What happens in most cases when it comes to the damaged product since it is never sent to you? Did the suppliers usually support that better because they are the ones who shipped it? I don’t really know enough about it yet.
Mike: I don’t always like to jump right into the negatives. But actually, when you’re doing this so you can dropship either through your own account, like your own account, whether it’s UPS, FedEx, or a freight company, if something is big enough, you need to ship freight, or you can use suppliers. It’s going to vary on a supplier by supplier basis, but usually
And yes, if something does come damaged, first of all, we just have a little snippet when we send something. We will fulfill an order. The customer gets instructions, instructions on how to receive the item. So that way they’ll write down the proper things on the receipt. It won’t be an issue. And on top of that, it’s a pretty rare thing for stuff to come damaged. Long story short, if an item is damaged, the supplier will basically handle it. They’re going to do one shipped out or get an extra part shipped out, and then it’ll get taken care of.
We at this point, we do close to
Richard: Yeah, that’s a good point. Because of what you were saying earlier, like not going through Alibaba or something like that, you’re dealing with a brand that already has a reputation. So now it’s more of what can you do to build your own personal brand in dealing with these brands? And part of that is taking care of the customer. I literally wanted to dive into that for a second, not necessarily to focus on a negative, but to say, hey, no matter what the customer experience is the most important thing.
If you think about the big river company, they care more about the customer experience than anything. They’d say, we’re taking the return regardless and chargeback to the merchant. So it was really more a matter of I wanted to point out in this case, you can really focus on the customer creating content around what the customer wants to make, creating all this stuff, but leverage the brand that already has that. And in some ways, you almost have a unique advantage over the brand because it’s like you have this relationship with them that the customer doesn’t have. And they feel almost closer to the brand if you produce your content right. Or and I’m sure there are maintenance ways, by the way, you guys do it. Yeah.
Mike: A lot of people ask, why would a supplier even want to have an agreement with you? What kind of value are you providing? And you really touched upon it. Suppliers don’t want to be doing customer service or dealing with marketing. A lot of the time, they want to get in their products, put their time into getting good products, and just being in the warehouse and getting them out.
So, they want people, like you and like us to handle the customer relationships and handle the marketing and develop that good word on the part of their brand. All of our suppliers love us. We sometimes go out to trade shows, and we meet up with them just because and we’re some of the biggest dealers for them, like in the entire US, and so we actually mean a lot to these companies. And they’re usually willing to go above and beyond for us if you can establish a good relationship with them.
Richard: Because there’s ad cost and because margins are such that, you have to think about what your margin is when you’re thinking about placing ads out there. Do you guys specifically go after a high ticket, or what type of drop shipping do you really try to focus on?
Mike: Definitely starting out you want to focus. Starting out and past starting out, you want to be selling expensive products. And the reason for this is like you said when you’re doing advertising, especially if you’re new, you’re gonna make mistakes. It’s inevitable. You’re not gonna be perfect at paid advertising. There’s not going to be an ad agency that can solve all your problems for you.
The best way to handle that is just to sell products with high margins. And in doing this, if you make a thousand dollars profit selling an item, which we do routinely, then you have plenty of room to do all these different forms of traffic, and it allows you to get in the game quicker. Because you’re not stuck. If you only make 20 dollars on an item, getting enough people to your website to buy and getting the right type of traffic and optimize traffic for 20 dollars profit per sale is not easy for a lot of people.
So that’s why starting out, we focus on high ticket products. We really, at this point, just try and see how expensive can we sell? And one of our students yesterday actually had someone go on their website, didn’t talk to them and bought a
Joe: One thing I want to add to that I think most people overlook is that when people are selling cheap products online, they’re not doing it for the purpose of making a profit then. They’re doing it for lead generation. If you Google pencil holder and you see Staples.com, at the end of the day, it’s very, very unlikely that Staples is making money selling a pencil holder because they have the ad costs with that. You know, you probably still have a similar conversion rate to the stuff that we’re selling. But they just eat that cost. They eat those advertising costs just to get customers on the email list and theIR remarketing lists.
So if you’re going to be in the business of selling cheap commodities stuff, you really, really have to be a big company with millions and millions and billions of dollars in your marketing budget to make that even viable. So that’s why, as a single person, we highly recommend staying away from that.
Jesse: Preaching to the choir. Guys, I’ve you know, we’ve done a lot of podcasts specifically about advertising. If you’re gonna pay for advertising, it’s a 50 dollar product. Maybe there’s a
Let me back up on product selection, which is like business selection really for you guys. Where do you start? We got a high ticket. You start with. I’m going to find a brand that I want to sell or a product category that I want to sell before you start approaching the manufacturers. Where do you start with this? We’re just brainstorming here. When you look at the whiteboard, where do you start with?
Mike: It usually starts with the product categories. I mentioned a bunch of those big sites that have plenty of product categories you can explore. You can see what’s expensive, what’s not expensive. And you can even branch out beyond that by, say, searching for one of those products on Google, seeing who else is selling it and then seeing what else they sell. You just have to float through the interwebs, get an idea of what some different product types are. And then once you decide on one, we’d like to not pigeonhole ourselves by just selling that one product type.
A lot of people go very wrong by doing that because you actually know how viable that product type or even industry is until you start selling. And there’s only going to be a limited supplier count of people that are selling that particular item. We go a step up, and we want to sell multiple product types within our website. Doesn’t want to be what we want to be Amazon. I don’t like that word. We don’t want to be a big box store, but we want to give ourselves room to see what works, have more suppliers we can go after. And then just double down on what works.
Jesse: Got it. Let me use an example. My office here, we’ve already been talking about some remodeling here. So like Murphy beds, for instance, like beds that kind of head down, they’re expensive. So you say I want to sell Murphy beds. I mean, you can Google Murphy beds, and then how do you dig back in there? Who the heck are the suppliers, how do you do the detective work? That has to be some amount of detective work to get there.
Joe: I mean, the answer is hiding in plain sight. When you look at the Murphy beds being sold online, the brands of the Murphy beds are listed on all the other retailers. So and you’ll often find surprisingly, there’s often not a lot of overlap. You might find that Wayfair sells one Brandon Murphy bed, and then Home Depot sells to others. And then you go on some other sites, and they’re selling a couple of different other brands and Murphy beds.
And then, you get the supplier that you call them up, and you get their price list. And not only do they sell Murphy beds, but they sell something else that you’d never even heard of. That’s the detective work, comes from actually doing the work of connecting with the suppliers, and yeah, that’s how a lot of hidden, hidden things get revealed.
Jesse: Got it.
Richard: Is it a lot of headache to get set up? You already have a history of being or sell things, let’s just run with this for an example. Jesse likes
Joe: You definitely do need a tax ID and a form business entity. But a lot of people get overwhelmed and confused or like I get scared of contacting suppliers and all that stuff. So we recommend to our newer students because it can be a little bit intimidating to actually have a website set up before you contact a supplier, even though the site might not be live to the public.
But at the end of the day, it all comes down to how you talk to the supplier and your level of confidence and your level of professionalism. You’re not selling yourself to the supplier because you’re helping them out. But you can come off in a way where they say, wow, I really want to work with these people. And then once you get good at it and it doesn’t take that long to get good at it.
For example, my wife is launching an
Richard: Yeah, that’s a it’s a great point. It’s one of the reasons why I think you probably have come to do this whole building multiple assets because you don’t necessarily have to. But eventually, if you do, it’s only going to help you. You could say I don’t have a website yet where I’m selling Murphy beds, but I have this blog where I’ve been talking about Murphy beds, and I build my own Murphy beds, and I have all this traffic. They’re like, sure. So, again, we’re picking this random subject. But it’s a great point there.
You just really have to have the courage, no matter what, to just reach out, that’s in many forms. Sometimes you should be reaching out to your customers to learn more about where they found you. There are all kinds of forms of being an entrepreneur that sometimes when people first start, they think it’s going to build a store, and money is going to magically go into my bank account. And there is work. We’re not trying to point out negatives, but you get paid for doing the things that other people don’t do.
Mike: And if I can add something there. We work with a lot of students, and we talk with them about their experience contacting suppliers, and what we found is there are definite levels of suppliers. There are some that are kind of let everyone in. They don’t really care. Their margins aren’t really that great. And so you can get in with those suppliers, and you can choose whether you want to sell them or not.
We usually try and sell everyone that we get in with, and our level of sales will vary based on suppliers. But you can use that foot in the door to call up another supplier and say, hey, I’m already in with this person word. We do this amount in sales, and that’s really how it snowballs. I haven’t seen any student get stuck on the supplier acquisition part. They can usually get in with suppliers whether they get with all of them or the best ones at once or on their first try. It’s hard. Maybe not.
But again, you almost want that because if you can make it work with some decent suppliers, then you’ve got to get the best ones that are not letting everyone else in. And then watch what you can get him with them. That’s where a lot of real money can be made. Pretty quickly. Because they usually have a lot of brand recognition, they’re a really good brand, and not a lot of people are going to be selling them. You automatically go in and get a nice chunk of that pie.
Richard: Yeah, that’s actually a great point. Random thought that comes to my head, but anyone who listens to the show already knows that happens. Would you want your first interview to be with Oprah? No, you’d want to have some
We got started with this particular vertical on these kinds of assets with these suppliers. And this is great. And someone else could still benefit from this business, and maybe they’d like this around fishing or something. And they like fishing more than we like. Fishing served us well, but now we’re going to flip them. Have you guys been doing this, building these businesses out and then flipping them? Is this part of what you guys teach your students too?
Mike: Yeah, it’s definitely a big part of what we teach in. It’s really a part of that end goal of harnessing the skill, and then you can get these big payouts, but you still have the skill. So you can go, and you need to set up a website next time because you just tell them, hey, this is our company. We’ve sold these websites that we’re doing these and stuff like this. It sells. And now you’re really have that kind of cloud if you will. So it’s really everything stacked on top of each other. And so that’s why it’s important to do the right things and build the right businesses because it all works together in compounds.
Joe: People like to think about selling a business. I mean, it’s usually reserved for you here. That’s stuff like I talk about on Shark Tank or on, I don’t know, the nightly news or 20/20, whatever. But realistically, we’re not talking about
It’s not uncommon to build an
Jesse: Yeah. I think we haven’t really had many guests talk about flipping businesses, selling businesses, what’s the general, average price for an
Mike: So anything that’s like strictly online is going to usually sell between like 24 and 40 times its monthly profit. As you get into like the millions and your companies bigger than, OK, maybe you can get some bigger multiples. But, yeah, so that that is pretty average to get. And if you have an affiliate website, those usually get more, some sort of blog website because it’s just a little bit more passive. And so that’s why we stack the two models together. Because dropshipping is really good for cash flow. You get a lot of big profits. And then we’re our own affiliates, essentially. So we get that free traffic, funnel it to our store. That’s really what you can do.
You can get a payout of three years of time and energy and just get all that money in your pocket. And people really don’t understand how great that is. We sold our first store. I think we gave up a lot of money by selling it when we did. If we’d let it go for another year, it would’ve sold for a lot more. And actually is selling right now. I know the current owner, and he’s selling right now for a lot more. And he didn’t even tweak our strategies. He just let everything right out.
So while it’s good for him, that was all the time we need to do because it was taking up a lot of our time and we just need to move on to the next stage of we’ve sold a store, we have all this new free time on our hands. Let’s go and build more things and better things. So it is really
Richard: Yeah, I mean, it’s fantastic and a bunch of ways because to your point earlier, I believe it was Joe that was referring to stacking your skillset. So now you have a skill set of selling one, right? It’s it takes a certain process. And why not sell one in the early stages and get better at it before? Now, you’re only going to have bigger, better ones. You make the mistakes and the early ones that you sell right now. Not that we won’t ever make mistakes, they happen. I was thinking about that. If you are someone like we said earlier, that maybe wants to do multiple stores or build multiple assets, as you guys do. And you have other properties, other
ou could also then take that money and potentially use this as an example. Somebody could be hurting in their job. It’ll sound like I’m taking vanishment, but it’s not. It’s more like somebody needs help right now. Someone has a blog that they’ve been building for five years that they’ve never been able to monetize, and they would gladly take a few thousand dollars or whatever it is for that blog because they’ve never monetized. And that could be the exact blog that could now be driving a ton of traffic to this new drop’s shipping company that you just got to. There’re just so many ways you could interchange it. I love what you guys are building out over there.
Joe: One of the things that we alluded to have sold the first store was we could have gotten more for it, but we had to do it at the time. And one of the things that we learned from selling a couple of stores at this point is what buyers look for and how to add more value to a store. So as we go forward to sell more stores, we’re putting our focus on increasing the multiple. People always think you have to go from zero to 100, and your first exit has to be huge.
But really, the learning you get from the first exit, even if it’s maybe even if it’s five figures, that’s only going to set you up better for the next time. For example, in the next few exits, we want to get. We want to be much higher multiples than that first one. And we’re doing that by having multiple different forms of traffic, which is what buyers really, really look for to get in that that 40 multiple ranges.
Jesse: Awesome, actually, I think this is great. This is great for our listeners because we’ve never really talked about packaging a business up for sale. You mentioned multiple sources of traffic. By that, I’m assuming you mean there’s a certain amount of organic traffic. Multiple different types of paid traffic, mostly so that the buyer knows that this isn’t going to disappear the next day. Is that kind of what you mean by multiple sources of traffic?
Mike: Yeah, every business has its own risks online, you have the obvious volatility of just say you have one traffic source or you’re relying on some sort of algorithm for traffic, whether it’s SEO or like Amazon FBA stuff, you’re relying on Amazon. The more you can diversify the traffic; the more stable the business should be.
Jesse: Do you usually have an Amazon FBA piece as well? A standalone store, with traffic from multiple sources and Amazon FBA.
Mike: We typically don’t do FBA. There’s a lot of reasons for that. We do Kindle Publishing, and we get our Amazon to fix through that. But someone could definitely. If you had an FBA product, that means you don’t have a lot of things to sell, but you have your own brand. And so you can easily bring in your own high ticket product, and then you can use Ecwid to sell it as well as Amazon. So that would actually help. When you go and sell the asset, you’re not just selling the product and FBA, you’re selling all the things that go along with it. Your blog site, the Ecwid site. And that really helps you get more money for it.
Richard: I have a quick question. I don’t want to go down it too much because I want to stick with the dropshipping and selling the business. And I know we’re kind of running low on time here, but I know you started out with the Kindle Publishing. But have you utilized that now that you guys have been doing this for a while, where you specifically maybe produce something in Kindle publishing that actually might even have hyperlinks to go back to? Do you do any of that kind of stuff around the vertical, or how do you do it?
Mike: To be honest, we have not done that yet. I’m always trying to think about ways that we can do it. And really, we use our blog sites to drive traffic to our Kindle stuff. But it’s something I have thought about, and I’m sure one day we will start experimenting with it. But the thing is with Kindle; you have to be very specific about what you’re publishing because the readers, they want certain things. There’re very specific demands. You can put energy into publishing a Kindle book. Everything has to fit together really, really well.
Richard: While you were saying that and again,
Mike: If you were going to sell, say, like a dog obstacle course. You can go and put out like dog training books. I would feed into it.
Richard: That’s pretty much exactly where I was going. I don’t want to go. I do want to stay down there too long. I don’t want to get too many things combined. But I love it. I’ll definitely be listening more to your podcast as well.
Jesse: But you don’t want to put the link to the Murphy bed from the dog trip.
Mike: Murphy bed for dogs.
Jesse: So we talked a little bit about selling, and we talked a little bit about starting and choosing your niche. We seem to all the middle stuff, but, obviously, we talked about that a lot of different podcasts. Is there some other big question that we should have asked or some, a tactic you think would be great to share with our audience?
Mike: Yeah, I think really the best way to drive traffic for the majority of people, if they have the margin, is through Google as opposed to, say, Facebook or Pinterest or some other source. And the reason is you can easily tap into buyers. They are buyers because they’re searching for stuff. And you can tap into them exactly when they’re ready to buy, or you can tap into them when they’re just doing the research, and you give them informational content. So it’s a lot easier to pinpoint exactly where someone is at in their buying funnel. And yeah, you can be a lot more precise. It’s actually usually cheaper because of this precision, say than Facebook.
It’s just a lot easier for beginner marketers if you’re gonna go out there and try and create this Facebook video for your product. And it’s going to be a lot of money just to get that done. And now you have to figure out, OK, this is an audience I want to market it to. But when you’re doing that on Facebook, these people aren’t ready to buy the majority of them. This is gonna be you. You almost have to work them through the entire funnel. And so it’s a lot more complicated to do Facebook ads. And if you especially don’t have the margin for it, then it’s not something you want to waste a lot of your time with. So, yeah, we love Google ads, specifically Google Shopping, but Google text ads are also great.
Jesse: OK. Yeah, I was going to ask on that. I’ve run PPC for Ecwid, so I’m kind of an ads junkie as it were. But on the Google Shopping site, what percentage of your spent for an average
Mike: We started out all of our businesses just with Google Shopping, and then we will kind of branch it out over time based on what works because text ads are more expensive. But what you can do with Google Shopping is you can see, OK. These products are selling, and they’re selling for these keywords. Tonight can go make tech search for these keywords. Now, your store itself is starting to get its own brand recognition. You can do text ads for your store. And in the beginning, it’s really a hundred percent Shopping Ads. And then as the store ages, it gets closer to probably 50/50. But honestly, with text ads, I think they have more potential to go beyond that. Once you can figure out essentially the exact keywords that work for different products, you can just maximize all of them. Just really go really hard on the bids. If you have the margin for it and it works.
Jesse: Got it. That’s a good tactic then. Using a dumb it down a little bit. So basically, launching Google Shopping, which is pretty easy, really once you get through the steps of Google Merchant Center. But that was actually last week’s podcast. So once you get through that, Google Shopping is pretty easy. Runs on its own, give or take. But you use that for more of a keyword mining. You find out what converts and then you take those keywords and create text search ads based on that as a maybe how I restate, is that basically true? Do you also do dynamic product ads on Facebook after that or just stay away from Facebook in general?
Mike: We do. We do that. Yes. And so that’s a really good way to use Facebook because you have created this audience through people coming on your site. They’re on Facebook. But at least you know that they’re engaged shoppers and they know of your brand, and they were interested in your products. So, yes, we use Facebook for going ahead and remarketing to these customers. But we also really rely heavily on using Google for remarketing as well.
Jesse: Yeah. OK. So now you’re probably using just Smart Shopping. Google Shopping is shifting it to pushing people on Smart Shopping. Is that what you do?
Mike: I don’t use smart shopping at all. I’m after this much familiar with it. I generally don’t like to give Google or Facebook like too much control. I’m very conservative when it comes to that because I’ve just found that you know your business better than anybody. I don’t trust Google to know exactly when a person is ready to buy or what. I just want to decide, OK. These keywords work. These products work. Just show them. Show them. And I’ll take care of the rest. Fair enough.
Jesse: That’s a pretty
Richard: Endless questions, but I know we are limited on time, so what I really want to make sure is give you guys the opportunity to, if people want to know more about you, where should they go?
Joe: Like we said earlier, BuildAssetsOnline.com. We have a free course called Online Asset Playbook, where we lay out how you can build an online portfolio worth million dollars. We tell you our strategy, how you should start, how you should reinvest. That’s on BuildAssetsOnline.com/playbook. We really do recommend people start thinking in the long term with these
Jesse: Awesome, guys, I’ll definitely be checking that out. It was great to meet you. Everybody listening, check out BuildAssetsOnline.com, and hopefully, that was some useful information that will help you build not only your business but to build your empire.