Daniel is the Founder of JavaBlue and is a full-time investor, actively buying and growing online business and real estate, and having full ownership in over 30 companies worldwide. Daniel owns businesses anywhere from online publishing, digital marketing, SaaS, e-commerce, and real estate. Daniel launched his fully privately owned investment company in 2017 and the company grew to 8 figures within the first 3 years.
Where did the idea for JavaBlue come from?
I was in the lead generation industry and I had a Facebook marketing agency and did a lot of client work. But working in paid advertising is very labor-intensive and very short term because campaigns, brands, and trends all come and go.
Even though we did very well for ourselves, in terms of the value of what we produced for the money earned it was a lot of work, and once the money was earned there wasn’t really an asset there to re-invest it in. The asset we owned was just the agency but we did all the work for our clients and therefore they got all the asset value and appreciation.
In 2017, I sold that company and decided to use the cash that I earned to actually invest and have my money work for me instead of me work for it. But I didn’t want to go to the stock market that everyone has access to. I wanted to invest my money in something that I actually have the knowledge, know-how, and control of.
I decided to focus on online businesses because in my last company, I had worked for so many clients and understood all the different business models, how they worked, and how to monetize them properly.
So, I started buying online businesses via brokers like Empire Flippers or FE International and improving them. I started small, in the high five-figure to low six-figure space and then I went up to the low seven-figure stage where we are currently.
The idea was to leverage my own money and build a more passive stream of income with businesses that are not so dependent on paid traffic. By being more dependent on organic traffic the income was more stable.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m a big believer in using the 80/20 rule—focus on 20% of the tasks that have 80% of the impact. It usually starts by getting up in the morning and writing a list of all the things that I have to do, then I look at the one that has the highest impact, and then I prioritize the tasks from the highest to lowest impact.
I essentially have a manual for the rest of my day, so I know that I just have to work down my tasks in this specific order. Also, I try to keep my calendar fairly organized because I know that my most productive time of the day is around 10 am – 1 pm.
So, I try to block this time for my high-impact tasks. When it comes to calls, I usually take the most pressing or important ones in the morning and the rest are left for later in the day.
Basically, I talk to my team, I work on important tasks with high contingencies and I look at deal flow for new acquisitions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
For me, evenings are when I do my thinking. My computer is off, and my phone is in another room. I don’t just sit and watch Netflix and waste my time. Instead, I sit and reflect on certain ideas and try to have an open mind, and write down any ideas that come to me.
The next day I re-evaluate the ideas and see if they are valid for day-to-day business and if they’re good I talk them over with my team. What’s important for me is feedback. So, when I have ideas, I run them by everyone whose opinion I value.
Whether I follow their opinion or not is another story, but I believe that everyone has a different perspective on business and my perspective is not always right. With that said, I like to get as many different opinions as possible and collate them. I think I’m good at judging which opinion is of the highest value or benefit. It’s not about being right, it’s about being successful. I think the more people I ask or points of view I get, the more tools I have to be successful.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Due to the pandemic, our world has become more connected and we can work more effectively and efficiently in remote settings. Since technology gains more leverage and our life transitions more into the online world, it brings a lot of opportunities for people that didn’t have access to them in the past. The barrier to entry nowadays is much lower in business than it has been. In the past, there has been a lot of potential wasted, but now it can be put to work and people can make a real difference in the world!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Routines. I try to wake up every day at the same time, I try to work out every day, eat healthy, and go to sleep around the same time. It might sound unusual but I also believe that it’s important to have fun and turn your brain off.
It’s important to go on vacations and spend time with your friends. You need to distance yourself from work and recharge. I think it’s important to not be overly stressed and focused on work 24/7. If you’re stressed, you’re making your life harder than it needs to be.
You need to be carefree because the moment you’re stressed and put pressure on yourself, it blocks your creativity. It makes your left brain work too much and your right brain becomes repressed. The keys to my productivity are time management and balance.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I got into the online world very young. I started my first online business at the age of 13, but when I was 21, I moved into offline retail. That was a mistake. If I could give my younger self some advice it would be this: What you’re doing is right, stick with the online world because it has a lot of potential. I should have never switched to the retail world, but I did learn a lot from retail because it was real-life business and real-life experiences which I do benefit from today.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
People say the harder you work the more successful you will be. But I say the smarter you work the more successful you will be. I often see people work too hard, they put in 13-14 hours per day and they micromanage their team. They don’t have time to breathe or think about whether what they’re working on is the right thing for their business. I believe in working smarter and doing business in a relaxed way, this will, in turn, create stronger relationships, happier employees increased productivity, and the list goes on.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
That’s easy, failing! I think the key to entrepreneurship is to lower your expectations and to almost expect failure. On average I try 100 things before one of them works well. It’s all about trial and error, adjustment, and then trying it again. When you fail, you need to think about why it failed, then do something else that counters your assumption on why this thing failed.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Building good team structures and hiring great talent and staff. I think that hiring is the most important part of any business and if you master the skill of recruitment, you master the skill of business. This is because the people you work and build with are everything. We have a thorough hiring process that consists of three stages. In those three stages, we test their ability to be creative, open-minded, and actually test their way of approaching a problem. By going through this process and selecting the best candidates, we have the ability to go through a big talent pool to pick the best ones.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It was during my agency time, I overworked myself and burned out. This is how I learned everything that I touched on before, that balance and working calmly is key. I was overly hardworking and put a lot of pressure on myself and I ended up having to take leave for 2 months. I overcame it by meditating, playing a lot of sports, and focusing on my visions in life, figuring out what I wanted, where I wanted to be and the lifestyle I wanted to have. Then I made a plan on how to get there.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
With our current situation, there is a lot of labor geo-arbitrage. There is so much opportunity right now in 2nd and 3rd tier countries that are very tech-savvy for example in the Philippines, India, and Eastern Europe. They are also willing to work for a much lower wage than western countries. So, I feel that by arbitraging the value of labor in tier 3 countries while living in a tier 1 country, you can easily make decent money.
For example, you can hire a designer in the Philippines for $400 a month and you can actually do sales locally in the U.S. You can do outreach, networking, or going door-to-door to find the businesses that have web-design needs. Then you can arbitrage western pricing against tier 3 labor prices.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I used a service called PickFu to choose a name for a new project. It’s a great service as it makes decisions like that really easy. PickFu polls people for you, so you can ask a lot of people at once which idea they like the most. Many individuals don’t know what to name their company, idea, or whatever it may be. They will spend hours, weeks, and even months trying to find the perfect name for branding and marketing reasons. The best way to find that out is through the people you want to serve!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Slack has been an amazing tool, and I’m sure not just for me. Before we started using Slack I had to keep track of hundreds of different email threads and conversations on different platforms. Now, as soon as a new member joins the team, we add them to Slack and communicate there. Each project or area of the business has a Slack channel, so it’s easy to keep on top of everything that’s going on.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Deep Work by Cal Newport.
This book is all about obtaining the skill to focus on and overcome distractions on tasks that require a lot of brainpower. This is a skill that has helped in when starting my companies, or I needed to critically think about a certain problem. Whatever the situation may be, the power to focus is crucial to success!
What is your favorite quote?
“Never mistake motion for action.” – Ernest Hemingway.
Quite often, many entrepreneurs believe that by doing busywork, they are making big moves. We need to get away from this idea. We need to think larger, we need to think impact. Is what I am doing right now going to make an impact on my business, or my industry? Think about your goal and if what you are doing is really going to help you get there or have you become complacent with where you are at?
● Work on the 20% of tasks that have 80% of the impact
● The more you fail the more success you will find
● Block out some quiet time to reflect and generate ideas
● Your team is the most important part of your business
● Stress hampers your creativity
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.