Timing is 50% of your success. Look for new trends that are headed your way, and be among the first to capitalize on them for extraordinary results.
Mike Dillard is a lifelong entrepreneur based in Austin, TX. His career began in the network marketing industry at the age of 19. After several years of failure, he brought modern online direct response marketing techniques to the network marketing industry for the first time in the year 2005. He documented these strategies in his self-published book, “Magnetic Sponsoring” which has sold over 100,000 copies.
By the age of 27, Mike built his first 7-figure business, and grew it to 8-figures by the age of 30. In 2011 he left the network marketing industry for good, and started a financial education company called, The Elevation Group, which produced $10 million in revenue in its first year of business. He sold this company in 2014.
In 2015 he hired the award-winning industrial design firm WhipSaw, and together they invented the world’s first fully-automated hydroponic farm for home food production called, EverGrow. Mike eventually invested in the Y-Combinator backed startup ClickAndGrow.com, which kept EverGrow off the market.
In 2015 he also launched the Self Made Man Podcast, which has over 5 million downloads, and featured guests have included Tony Robbins, Daymond John, Gene Simmons, Tony Hawk, and Mike Rowe.
Today Mike’s primary focus is provide his fellow entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills they need to start and scale their businesses through the educational classes available at MikeDillard.com.
Mike is an investor in ONNIT.com, ClickAndGrow.com, The Range, multiple real estate properties, and has been an investor in the crypto-currency industry since 2013.
Mike Dillard’s primary hobby is motorsports. He is a professionally licensed race-car driver and won the Mint 400 in 2014.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
You know, I’ve learned a lot about branding and starting companies during my career. I’ve built three 8-figure companies, in three different industries, and the common denominator in all of them has been me… The brand of, “Mike Dillard”.
If you’re in the business of selling information… Of selling your expertise, of leading and teaching people, then you and your knowledge are what people are ultimately buying.
If that’s the case, it only makes sense to turn my focus to MikeDillard.com at this stage in my career. People are hungry for authentic leadership, and here in the age of social media, you and your name become the brand and become the business. As you start to build an audience and a following under your name, you can then shine that attention and authority onto other startups or brands, giving them a massive head start that they would normally have to build from scratch.
For example, when I started The Elevation Group, I produced $3.2 million in sales in our first seven days without a single ad. How? By simply letting my audience know about the new company and our product.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days are actually pretty unstructured. I became an entrepreneur because I didn’t want people telling me what to do the rest of my life, and that rebellious nature still applies to my own personal calendar.
I wake up with the sunrise, shower, eat, and then dive into my inbox. Once I’ve gotten anything urgent out of the way, I typically make a list of 3 to 5 priorities that I want to accomplish that day.
In the mornings I try to spend my most my time working on tasks that require my creativity… Producing training content, videos, etc.. And in my afternoon, I usually connect with my consulting clients. These are fellow business owners who are making at least $250,000/Yr in revenue and who have hired me to help them grow and scale their businesses.
During the summers, I usually end work around 4:00 PM and we’ll take the boat out for some wake-surfing on Lake Austin.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My best ideas have always come from my own personal problems, and the inability to find a suitable solution in the marketplace.
I created Magnetic Sponsoring because I hated cold-calling prospects and I wanted to figure out how to get those people to call me instead.
I created The Elevation Group because I watched everyone lose their investment money in the crash of 2008, and I wanted to learn how to invest like the rich did.
I invented EverGrow because I wanted to feed myself and my son clean, organic food, without having to drive to Whole Foods every time to do it.
And I started MikeDillard.com because I wanted to provide brand new and experienced entrepreneurs with the REAL knowledge and skills they will need to succeed from someone like myself who has been there, and done that.
Once you have your idea, then you need to study and buy everything your competition produces, and figure out how you can make your product or service different, and better.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Right now it’s crypto and blockchain tech. I bought my first Bitcoin in 2013 when it was $70. I bought Ethereum when it was $10. I’ve been involved in that industry for a while, and i was fantastic to see it finally gain mainstream attention in 2017.
Blockchain technology will revolutionize many industries around the world, because it enables trust to take place, without human 3rd parties.
The increases in efficiency, security, and opportunity will be staggering. The invention of “digital objects of value” will be a $100 billion dollar industry by itself in the years to come, and we’re already starting to see the first steps of this in the gaming industry.
The tokenization of assets around the world will be worth trillions, and of course. The invention of crypto-currency itself is already showing it’s value in countries like Venezuela and Colombia as they’re currently being destroyed by hyperinflation.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
There’s no real secret here… You make your list of 3-5 tasks you need to get done each day, and you work until they’re done.
The best way to build a mansion is by laying one brick at a time.
If you keep your head down and lay 3-5 bricks per day, you’ll look up in a few years and you’ll have your dream house.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Have a financial plan. 99% of the education out there for entrepreneurs, is about how to MAKE money. But there’s very little information or training available on what to do with that money once you make it.
If you don’t have a plan for that money, you’ll find a thousand ways to spend it on your dream car, a new house, vacations, etc…
You’ll quickly find that you’ve become a slave to an expensive new lifestyle, and that’s the trap that many entrepreneurs will fall into.
Keeping and growing your money is actually more difficult to make it, because it requires patience, discipline, and a low tolerance for risk… Traits that are usually the opposite of what allowed you to make your money in the first place.
Consciously creating a financial strategy and plan, even if it’s a mediocre one, is better than no plan at all.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
My podcast used to be called the, “Self Made Man Podcast”. Quite a few people disagree with the idea of being “self made”. They say there’s no such thing as a self made man or woman.
Well it really depends on your definition of the term.
Becoming self-made isn’t about doing things on your own without the help of others. That’s impossible.
To me, being self-made is about making the decision to take ownership for your life. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions, decisions, and destiny. Those are choice that only you can make, and those choices will determine your life.
To me, that’s the definition of being self-made.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Master the skill of copywriting. Copywriting is salesmanship in print. If you want to build a large business online and acquire customers at scale, that’s going to require you to produce webpages, videos, and ads that grab people’s attention, and persuades them to buy.
Copywriting is the skill that allows you to do that, and your entire business will be dependent upon your mastery of it.
If your sales copy sucks, your ads won’t convert, your sales page or sales video won’t convert, and you’ll quickly be put out of business by competitors who have mastered this skill-set.
There is nothing more powerful or profitable than mastering the ability to write copy that sells.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The single most valuable strategy that I’ve ever found is building an email list of people who know you, like you, and trust you.
This email list is basically a virtual distribution channel that you own and control.
When it comes to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, you can build large audiences there, but you don’t own your account, the data, or the ability to reach your audience. Facebook and Google do.
On the other hand, you own and control your email list. There is no algorithm that throttles your reach, and no one can close down your account or take that list away from you.
Colleagues of mine spent years building up fan pages with millions of fans on Facebook. But now when they make a post, less than 1% of their audience will actually see their message.
That’s not the case with email.
Building an audience on social media is great, but that’s not your asset. You don’t own it. But you do own your email list.
When it comes to building your email list, it’s pretty simple… You create valuable assets like an Ebook, White-Paper, or training video that you can give away for free to your prospects, in exchange for their email address.
At that point, you’ll want to spend the next 1-2 weeks sending them incredibly valuable content via email to establish authority and build trust.
The value of your email list is not determined by the number of subscribers. It’s determined by the strength of the relationship you build with your readers.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure? I’ve had dozens of failures. But to answer this question specifically, one of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made 3 times, (and will not make again), is developing online platforms built on custom software.
The four most expensive words an entrepreneur can utter are, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”
I hired developers to build this customer software because nothing else on the market had the features that I wanted, or that I thought were important. All three of these platforms cost over $1 million to develop, and around $30,000/Mo to maintain and modify.
None of the special features we created were every embraced by our customers, and none of them increased our revenue.
We could have used out-of-the-box software for $500/Mo, and gotten 95% of the benefits we needed. We could have focused on customer acquisition, and providing a great product instead of being distracted by the software side of things.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Timing is incredibly important in business. The right message, and the right solution, at the right time, can skyrocket your company.
With that being the case, I would look for ways to get involved in the crypto space.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It’s slightly more than $100, but the best purchase I’ve made recently is my Oura Ring. It’s a biofeedback ring that tracks your sleep quality. For the very first time, it’s allowed me to quantify and “see” the effects that different foods and alcohol have on my body because I can see the impact in the data.
If I drink alcohol the night before, my average heart rate will be 10 beats per minute higher than normal, and my sleep suffers as a result. It’s taken away the abstract feeling of being hungover, and shown me the proof.
As a result, I’ve reduced my alcohol consumption by 90%.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Jing every single day. It’s a simple screen capture tool that allows me to record quick screen capture videos or still images, and send them to my team members with a single click.
This allows me to communicate any changes or ideas I have in video format, instead of through a text-only email. This is invaluable if you are trying to communicate design changes to a website, etc…
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Profit First”, by Mike Michalowicz. Learning how to make money can be a blessing, but it can also become a curse if you don’t know how to manage it correctly.
Mike’s book will teach you how to do that from an entrepreneur’s point of view.
What is your favorite quote?
“Fortune favors the bold.”
- Timing is 50% of your success. Look for new trends that are headed your way, and be among the first to capitalize on them for extraordinary results.
- Always use off-the-shelf-software to run your business. Do not develop custom software unless you or your co-founder is a software engineer and coding is your primary skill-set.
- Build your social media following, but focus on building your email list as well. This will become the most valuable asset you own, and allow you to produce sales and revenue on demand.
- Sales is the life-blood of every business, and copywriting is the skill-set used to sell online. You must master copywriting, period.
- Make a financial plan for the money you make. If you don’t have a plan for that money, it will end up in the hands of those who do.
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.