Johannes Larsson is the founder and CEO of Financer.com, an SEO geek, and an affiliate marketing expert. He’s been practicing entrepreneurship and digital marketing for over a decade and runs a global remote team.
In his blog, he shares his expertise in SEO, affiliate marketing, and finance with a wealth of free resources for digital entrepreneurs.
Where did the idea for Financer.com come from?
The name Financer is a spin on the word financier (a person concerned in the management of large amounts of money on behalf of governments or other large organizations). To us, a Financer is someone who is interested and passionate about their own financial well-being.
Our readers are all Financer’s, and so this felt like the perfect name for the business. Financer.com has always been about the people reading it, so it just made sense to call it after the community itself. We hope people from all financial backgrounds can learn something from Financer.com, and become a Financer themselves.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I realized a short time into being an entrepreneur that I no longer need to constrain myself to the usual working hours of 9-5. I could choose something which worked much better for me, and that happens to be long working days with lots of breaks for other activities in between. A typical workday for me could include surfing, gardening, and going out for food, but that’s balanced with team meetings and lots of deep work as well.
I don’t split my life into great days off and hard days at work, I try to make every day great while still being productive. In fact, taking that time off in between tasks makes me feel a lot more creative and refreshed so that when I do get back to my computer I’m ready to give 100% again.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I follow one simple rule when bringing any idea to life, MVP (minimum viable product). I believe in letting the customers and users guide the direction of your business and creating exactly what they want, not just building something and hoping they will come.
So my ideas process is also fast, to begin with, I get the idea out there in the quickest, simplest form, and then start making my improvements in direct response to the feedback and results I get from micro experiments.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think one positive consequence of the pandemic has been the increased popularity of remote working. For years my company has been fully remote, with one office in Cyprus for anybody in the team who wants to use it, and I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of a global team, living wherever they choose.
So many companies who thought they could never switch to remote working were forced to adapt, and I think we’ll have a happier workforce because of it. It’s not about offices closing down and everybody having to work from home, but having the option if that fits better into your life is a lot more inclusive and flexible – two things I believe employers should be focusing on.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I live a very active and healthy lifestyle, which I believe makes me feel much more productive and energized. You are what you eat, so I fill myself with high-quality and healthy foods that contribute to performance, concentration, and a good mood. I also make sure I exercise every day and stay as active as I can. I know how easy it is as an entrepreneur to spend all day crouched over a desk, but I think that’s one of the worst things for productivity. Getting my body moving always gets the ideas flowing.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self how important it is to network, and that even if you cannot find those inspiring mentors directly around you it’s your job to go out and find them.
When I moved to Malta as a young entrepreneur my business and my mindset leveled up instantly. I was suddenly surrounded by like-minded people and to this day I thank them for my success.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There are not actually many positives in becoming an overnight success, and it should definitely not be your aim when you start out in business. I think social media has glamorized the idea of growing your business as big and fast as possible and not necessarily in the best way possible.
I recommend anybody to grow their business sustainability and with quality and substance. It might not be as quick, but it’ll last a lot longer. It takes time to get things right, and you’ll learn to enjoy the process that gets you there – one small milestone at a time.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I push myself outside of my comfort zone as frequently as possible, and I do my best to fail. As long as I’m failing every so often, I’m innovating and succeeding in something which I previously couldn’t do. Can’t recommend it enough.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I don’t nitpick, and by that I mean I lead without micromanaging. I hire great people and then I allow them to do what I hired them for, and I don’t undermine their expertise or get too controlling about the small everyday decisions.
That would be a waste of my time and their salaries. I think that’s something which has grown my business exponentially, and I can highly recommend it to other business owners. If your growth feels stunted or productivity is low, look at your management skills and whether you’re getting the best out of your team and your time.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I was first starting out in business I put all of my eggs in one basket, Google’s basket. When my AdSense account was mysteriously taken down overnight I realized how quickly you can go from making consistent money to $0 if you only have one income stream, especially one that relies on another company.
At the time I was so shocked and upset, but it taught me two things that I think were actually worth the frustration I went through at the time.
1. Always have multiple income streams and hedge your bets. Take an active role in where your money comes from, and don’t ever get complacent.
2. Whatever happens, you can pick yourself up and start again. Income dries up overnight? You get back up and start building a new income. Business fails? You rebuild. Giving up is not an option for me.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I might be biased, but if you’re reading this with not much money to invest but a drive to create a successful business I would always recommend affiliate marketing. How successful it becomes comes down to the three things that you have the most control over, your hard work, willingness to learn, and determination.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I can easily spend $100 on new business books and find that’s always one of the best investments I can make. Say for that you get 10 books, all with a 10-hour reading time, that’s 100 hours of education and wisdom that you didn’t have before
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I couldn’t be without Slack. As a remote company based in over 25 countries, we basically use slack as a digital office, and it’s where we all get together to discuss ideas, keep each other up to date and collaborate.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’ve just been reading ‘Leaders Eat Last’, by Simon Sinek and can highly recommend it. Nothing will make you a worse leader than thinking you know everything and don’t need to continue growing your skills, within your business or in leadership. I recommend all founders and CEOs continue to read and learn from others so they can lead their teams thoughtfully and effectively.
What is your favorite quote?
“You’ve gotta learn to love the grind. Because life IS the grind.” – John Calipari
- Productivity is a direct result of the lifestyle you lead.
- Failure is part of the package, but giving up is not an option.
- Never stop learning.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.