I’m really excited to bring you this interview. His name is MJ DeMarco, and he’s the author of “The Millionaire Fastlane”, a book I’ve highly recommended on my blog. He owned a Limos.com which at one time was generating upwards of $200,000/month in profit, and he ended up selling the business not once, but twice for a hefty lump sum.
Bottom line, it doesn’t matter if you’re a product creator, cpa marketer, etc., if you’re interested in creating real wealth, get his book.
Now, let’s get on with the interview:
Chad: MJ, first off let me say it’s a pleasure to have you on here. My subscribers know I’m a big proponent of your book “The Millionaire Fastlane” and your teachings, and I’ve gone as far as to say that I think it should be a textbook in schools. The first couple questions are going to be about Fastlane thinking in general, and then we’ll get a bit more specific. I’m not going to ask the usual questions since everyone should do themselves a favor and pick up the book.??For those that aren’t familiar with you, I think it’s very important that they listen to what you have to say. So first off how about telling everyone a little bit about yourself, and most importantly, why everyone should listen to you when it comes to accelerating their wealth, and what exactly is The Fastlane?
MJ: Fastlane Entrepreneurship is a psychological, mathematical, and business strategy that has the potential to create millionaires young, or if you’re older, relatively fast. If you follow conventional mainstream advice (get a job, invest in the stock market, blah blah) you might become a millionaire after 30, 40, or 50 years. A successful Fastlaner can do it in 10 years or less by virtue of scalable mathematics found in business ownership that follows the 5 Fastlane Commandments.
For me, I was first introduced to Fastlane entrepreneurship when I was a teenager when I saw a young man driving a Lamborghini. My first thought was of course: OK, this guy is an athlete or an actor. But upon asking him a question, I found out he was an entrepreneur. This sparked the fire within me that 1) I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur and 2) I knew I would own a Lamborghini someday and I would do it young.
I started a website which focused on connecting users to ground transportation services worldwide. Interestingly, I started this company this with no money ($900), no venture funding, and no formal training on internet technology. I self-taught and self-funded everything. Over the course of ownership, my company routinely profited 5 and 6-figures monthly and scaled to a multi-million dollar valuation, all with just a few employees. That said, I always ask people, how long would it take you to become a millionaire if you were clearing $50K, $100K, or $200K a month? 5 months? Or 5 decades? I subsequently sold the company in 2007 and “retired” for a few years before embarking on another dream of mine, The Millionaire Fastlane, which is something that I thought the world needed to hear.
Chad: I think a lot of us were told to go to school, go to college, get a job… work there for a while, save money and bank off the compound interest. Then hopefully when you’re 70, you’ll be a millionaire. Outside of the obvious reasons as to why that sounds less than inspiring, what would you say to those that say it’s a proven path? Slow and steady wins the race, doesn’t it?
MJ: Winning “the race” at 65 or 70 years old doesn’t sound like a “win” to me. If they think this plan is “proven” they aren’t paying attention. Sure, 40 and 50 year charts on expected market returns and all the other financial propaganda throw our way reads great in theory, but when real money and real lives are on the line, all that stuff becomes meaningless. When a financial guru tells a 62 year old woman who just lost 40% of her life savings in the stock market to “wait, it will come back” I have to shake my head; this woman doesn’t have forever to wait, and none of us do. If you don’t have a job, the plan fails. If the markets hits a recession or a depression, the plan fails. If you die young, the plan fails. Waiting to live dreams is a shortcut to extinguishing dreams.
The problem with the standard financial advice is simple: It is predicated on HOPE and TIME; both of which cannot be controlled or leveraged. Ask anyone young; do you want financial freedom YOUNG? Or OLD? Follow the prescribed theories peddled by the financial experts and what you get is a lifetime subscription to mediocrity where DYING RICH is preferred to LIVING RICH.
Chad: Inspired by your book, I’ve mentioned on my blog that people are addicted to “events”. They see the income claims, they see the so called overnight successes. And they want that. The “process” of getting there isn’t sexy, and often isn’t fun. But necessary. What advice can you give to someone who might have a mountain of bills, but is still feeling burnt out and unable to get going?
MJ: I think this is the hardest thing people refuse to acknowledge. Success in any endeavor requires hard work, sacrifice, and what I call, a process. Unfortunately, people are being brainwashed to believe that by taking action, things in their life will change. While this seems to be correct in theory, in application it isn’t unless that action is apart of a clearly defined plan, purpose, and process. In other words, REPEATED ACTION is the source of real change, real success, and real results. REPEATED ACTION is what defines habits and lifestyle. Downloading WordPress and making 2 blog posts is not “taking action” and it what I call “faking action”.
After people read my book, readers are excited to discover that they can become a millionaire in just a few short years, and yet, somehow, they forget that it isn’t easy due to the difficult process involved; a process that many aren’t prepared to take. There simply are too many distractions to process: video games, gossip blogs, Fantasty Football; just a long laundry list that makes a true commitment rare and hence, most people fail at process, when process fails, so does real change.
Chad: Alright, let’s get into some more specific stuff. You built a big chunk of your wealth with the website Limos.com, where essentially you brokered leads. A lot of my subscribers are CPA marketers and lead generators, but in an affiliate sense. Many have the skills to drive traffic and collect leads. What was it that allowed you to come up with the idea for Limos.com? How did you go about identifying such a market gap?
MJ: The creation of the site and its evolution was all NEED BASED. I was a limo driver years ago and found a common question being asked “Know any limo options in X city?”. I set off to solve this problem better than the other options available at the time. I later then purchased the domain in the secondary market after the business started to grow.
The evolution of the revenue model was also need-based; the common “rejection” of why business owners would NOT join my site. Their argument was “I don’t want to risk anymore money on an unproven advertising solution”. Basically, they were afraid of paying hundreds of dollars and getting nothing return (My first revenue model was a fairly simplistic directory service). At the time, this was normal for business owners; getting burned on advertising, paying a fortune, and getting nothing back. I solved that problem by creating a service that removed the risk and became 100% performance based — if I couldn’t send them business, I didn’t get paid. It was WIN-WIN.
Chad: In The Millionaire Fastlane, you talk about marketing being the second most important factor in success (second only to execution). In your opinion what are the top 2-3 marketing activities for someone to engage in on a daily basis, to really get their brand penetrating the marketplace?
MJ: The best marketing will always be a product that people talk about, because it works, or because they love it.
Then, marketing becomes easier because it becomes an expansion loop; every new customer you get automatically grows into new customers simply by satisfaction or word-of-mouth.
As for the best marketing activities, obviously that would vary on the product or service being offered but in general, the advice remains constant; get in front of people and tell them what your product or service can do for them.
I think sometimes we forget that people don’t care about us, our product, or our business– we’re all motivated about what any particular business will DO FOR US.
Also, focus on what I call “bottom line” activities; things that can directly influence your bottomline. If something won’t directly, or indirectly influence sales or the value equation of your product, you shouldn’t be doing it.
Yes, those custom branded water bottles and fancy business cards are a waste of time and money.
Chad: For someone starting out, and even the more experienced, what would be the #1 daily activity and skill they should harness to accelerate their income quickly?
MJ: Have something that people want, and have it be scalable to a significant amount. Accelerating wealth is about scale and/or magnitude; if your product can’t impact the lives of millions, making millions will be difficult.
Of course, that isn’t saying that your product must have mass market appeal, much the opposite; just have it capable of reaching millions in a targeted niche or demographic.
If you dominate a small industry worldwide, you can earn a millionaire-making income and do it in a few short years, versus the “get a job and retire at 65″ dogma.
For example, if you’re a message therapist, it becomes physically impossible to service 10,000 clients; scale is barricaded. Conversely, if you owned a website that serviced therapists in a need-based fashion, scale becomes accessible.
Chad: Last couple questions here. I’m a big proponent of paid traffic, and media buying. I know that when you started out you were had limited funds and were using SEO primarily for traffic. At the end of it all, what would you say were you top 3 traffic drivers for Limos.com?
MJ: Nothing special or unusual here; I made an effort to be found where users were searching.
This meant SEO type-in traffic (We had 100′s of region specific pages) PPC (Google/Yahoo was the primary) and affiliate partnerships.
I saw the future of growth reliant on better affiliate relationships with bigger brands with a high correlation to chauffeured transportation (event sites, airlines, ticket sites, etc.) which is ironically, is the primary strategy of the acquiring company.
Chad: I have quite a few successful marketers that subscribe to my site, and this was a question that came up. They want to know “who MJ uses as a financial broker to house his money tree (for example, Fidelity, Charles Scwabb, etc.) and why? Also, what types of investments do you look for in this economy?” Not sure how much you’re willing to divulge, but they felt it was important for others to know how the rich truly invest their wealth after a liquidating event.
MJ: I have multiple brokerage accounts, including the usual suspects like Fidelity and Vanguard. For active trading, I use Ameritrade. I dabble in options occasionally too when I see the right opportunity.
The investments I look for are not growth assets but income vehicles. I believe in minimizing risk and I invest like a retired person. Remember, the reason why I have investable cash has NOTHING to do with the stock market; in fact, the biggest losses in business that I’ve incurred in the last few decades has nothing to do with business, but with traditional stock market/mutual fund investments (investments touted by the mainstream) that have gone bad.
As for specific vehicles, I like dividend paying stocks (For example, I own Southern Company (SO) and write covered calls on it) municipal bonds, and the Australian dollar as well as Australian government bonds (FAX). Corporate bonds have also been a favorite as corporations are flush with cash, sometimes, the bonds are better investments than the stocks. Again, my objective with investments is not to “get rich after 40 years” but to preserve capital and get a stable income. For the most part, I have to monitor these investments 5 minutes a day to determine exit/entry opportunities. Buying any investment and simply ignoring it is never a good move; any investment must be watched. A good investment today will be tomorrow’s bad investment. A working knowledge of the markets will never disserve you.
Chad: Finally, anything else you’d like to add? I’m sure any insights into wealth acceleration, identifying needs, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Also feel free to tell them more about the book.
MJ: Sure. My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to stop being selfish and start addressing the needs of the marketplace. Opportunities are everywhere by virtue that the world is imperfect. Inconvenience, complaining, problems, all serve as conception to a million-dollar business. Do something better. Give people what they want and yes, sometimes that means giving it away FREE for the sake of your long-term vision.
The media has us drowning in messages of selfish motives; do what you love, be your own boss, follow your passion, all “feel good” internalized garbage that ignores the most important thing: The market and what they demand. Steve Jobs is immortalized by his achievements by virtue of what he has done for you and I — not because he was a “good guy” who “loved technology” — motivation, passion, all this stuff is important but ultimately it must be focused into marketplace solutions that people will open their wallets for.
The velocity of money is often a forgotten principle; money is exchanged for value received; money is not exchanged because someone feels empathy for your internal, selfish motivations that you want to be your own boss, own a Ferrari, or some other market-absent notion.
Fastlane Entrepreneurship isn’t easy; but getting up at 6 am and driving in rush-hour traffic 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, for 50 years isn’t easy either. Don’t let anyone tell you what is AND what isn’t realistic — when someone says to “be realistic” they’re simply saying that you need to surrender to their mediocrity– no one ever lived an extraordinary life being realistic. That said, I encourage everyone to let your dream live, because if it is alive, then you are already living the dream. The journey, not the destination is where you will find your dreams.
I really want to thank MJ for taking the time to answer these questions, and as thoroughly as he did.
I can’t give a high enough recommendation for his book, The Millionaire Fastlane. It’s inspirational, instructive, practical, and will definitely serve you for the years to come.