Today, I spoke with Joel Comm, who is the king of making passive income online and well-known in the internet marketing circles. He is a New York Times bestselling author and the director of the first online reality TV show. During this interview, Joel goes over his many accomplishments, with lessons learned and some pretty interesting internet strategy. The main message I took away, and as I tell others, is to give before receiving when networking. His new book, Twitter Power, should be a smash hit and it already ranks in the top 150 on Amazon.
How did you get started in internet marketing and what mistakes did you make early in your career that helped you become successful later?
I’ve been building websites since 1995, but didn’t really enter the information marketing sector until 2004. I had figured out how to make money with Google AdSense on my content sites and started sharing my strategies with friends and associates. Someone suggested I write an eBook on the subject, so I did. I had hoped to make a few dollars with the eBook, but I never dreamed it would be such a huge hit! Before I knew it, I was labeled as the “go-to” guy for learning how to make money with AdSense.
I guess the biggest mistake I made in this regard is that I had initially failed with AdSense and walked away from it for nine months before realizing there was real money waiting to be made. Had I stuck with it earlier, I would have established myself as the expert that much sooner.
Joel, you’re a champion of passive income, which is something everyone would dream of having. How does one go about building revenue streams that yield passive income?
It starts with a passion. You don’t just decide “I’m going to build streams of passive income” without having some sort of direction. If you are just trying to tap into a hot niche to make a few bucks, odds are you won’t succeed. It needs to come from within. Either you are passionate, knowledgeable or skilled about something in particular or you aren’t. It’s that passion that drives what it is you’ll be doing.
I’ve been passionate about a number of things in my career. My first website, WorldVillage.com, stemmed from my love of computer games and my desire to provide family-friendly software reviews to other parents. My shopping site, DealofDay.com, is a result of my love for saving money online. Why not help others by providing coupons and directing them to the best bargains? Of course, my passion for teaching others has caused my marketing career to explode. You can see a pattern here. It’s got to start from within.
On this blog, I’ve spoken about how everything is a list, from your Facebook friends, to Twitter followers and blog subscribers. How have you created your own marketing funnel and what results have you viewed from it?
We have several marketing funnels, but the primary one begins with my AdSense Secrets v4.0 ebook. When people download this 220-page guide (which previously sold for up to $97), they also receive a free copy of our physical newsletter, “The Top One Percent Report” and access to our private social network for online businesses. This leads to an optional subscription to the newsletter. From there, our call center takes over to determine what other needs our customers have. If they want coaching or training products, we can provide it for them. It’s a very successful model that serves our customers well and allows us to fund more quality products and services.
When it comes to networking, you’re one of the best one, from meeting T Harv Eker to Anthony Robbins. What are your networking tips and how does one network with people that are more successful than they are?
I look at it this way… We’re all just people. I respect what successful people have done, but I don’t see them as any more special than myself. Tony Robbins is a just a guy. Harv Eker is just a guy. I’m just a guy. People are people, each with hopes, dreams, aspirations, needs, etc. I believe we’re all created equal, and apart from the ego-types that need to be catered to in order to keep their ego puffed up, I believe most people just want to be treated like human beings. Instead of being a fanboy and going on and on about someone’s accomplishments (Oh, I’ve read all your books and I’m your biggest fan!), I prefer to talk to them as human beings. When you put people up on a pedestal, you are putting them in a role they can’t possibly sustain. They WILL disappoint you at some point.
All that to say, I think it is important to respect people’s accomplishments. But that on its own doesn’t earn my respect. I’m far more concerned about the character of that person. Bad character can turn respect for accomplishments into no respect at all. That’s why my reputation is so important to me. We have policies in place to treat all our customers with the utmost respect and make sure their needs are met. If we fall short, we always seek to make it right. With me, what you see is what you get.
So what’s the key to networking with other people you want to meet? Seek to bring value to them before you ask for anything. I can’t tell you how many times people walk up to me at a conference and ask me to promote their product. Even if they have the best thing since sliced break, it comes off as incredibly self-serving. My first question when I want to engage with someone is “how can I help YOU?” That takes people off guard and lets them know that you are a giver, not a taker. If the relationship moves forward, there is always time for reciprocation.
The idea for The Next Internet Millionaire came to me in the shower. Funny, huh? My joint venture partner Eric Holmlund had recently indicated that he wanted to move into video production. Being a fan of reality television, I realized that no one had ever attempted a large-scale reality show production on the web. Eric agreed to do it with me and the show was born! It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and its opened the door to so many other opportunities.
As for iFart Mobile, the moment Apple announced they would be making the SDK available for the iPhone, I and my team knew we HAD to do apps. We began brainstorming ideas and filled our whiteboard in no time at all. I can’t recall which of us came up with the idea for iFart, but I do recall everyone laughing. It was a foregone conclusion. It HAD to be made . 🙂
Joel Comm is an Internet entrepreneur who has been online for over 20 years. In 1995, Joel launched WorldVillage.com, a family-friendly portal to the web which enjoys thousands of visitors each day. Joel is the co-creator of ClassicGames.com, which was acquired by Yahoo! in 1997, and now goes by the name Yahoo! Games. Since then, Joel’s company, InfoMedia, Inc., has launched dozens of web sites which offer online shopping, free stuff, website reviews and more. Joel is the author of many popular books, including the NY Times Bestseller, The AdSense Code. As the Host and Executive Producer of the web’s first competitive reality show, “The Next Internet Millionaire”, Joel set a new standard for original Internet programming. His most recent book is called Twitter Power, and it was a forward by Anthony Robbins!