Conversations with Marketing Superstars – Mike Shreeve

I found Mike Shreeve on the WarriorForum (a very popular internet marketing forum) when he created a thread about how to make a solid income working from home.

He’s been making a solid income and he doesn’t rely on any marketing tactic – simply pure hard and smart work by selling his written content.

I’ve included the link to the original thread where I found him and he graciously accepted the interview despite his very busy schedule.

You’re going to get a lot of value from this interview! Without further delay, let’s jump straight in.

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Asher:

Hello Mike, thank you very much for willing to do the interview. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to share your unique story with my subscribers as well as sharing your secrets on how to turn the internet into a source of online income.

So let’s get started straight away.

1. If you can describe yourself and/or what you do in 5 words or less, what would those 5 words be?

2. Okay, since you’re a (insert the 5 words here), can you share why and how you got started? What’s the story behind YOU? Like what was the turning point?

Mike ShreeveMike:

1. If you can describe yourself and/or what you do in 5 words or less, what would those 5 words be?

1. I am a chronic entrepreneur. I build and sell businesses for a living.

2. Okay, since you’re a (insert the 5 words here), can you share why and how you got started? What’s the story behind YOU? Like what was the turning point?

2. I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. It was pretty rough both at school and at home. I attribute almost all of my current success to the fact that I didn’t live a spoon fed life. You really learn a lot through trial and error and getting knocked down a lot.

I have worked full time since I was 15 years old. I am now 26, married and have a baby on the way. I have started numerous businesses that have been both successful and complete failures. A few years ago I got into the Internet Marketing world and have been loving every minute of it. I currently run an article marketing company, a lead generation company for Marketers and Web Designers and I also have several lead generation sites that keep me pretty busy.

My father worked a lot of blue collar jobs. Before I was 18 we had moved 26 times because he had been laid off so many times. I have never really put faith in working for someone else. I understand that people are afraid of venturing out on their own, but I think it is a completely false idea to think that there is any more “safety” in working for someone else.

The only “sure” thing about working for someone else is: You are guaranteed NOT to be in charge of how much you make. I guess you could say my turning point happened gradually overtime. As I saw my dad getting laid off all the time and after working for about 5 years for other people I just realized the only person who was stopping me from working for myself was me.

Though the money is really nice, being an entrepreneur and working for myself has never been about money or setting my own schedule (because I dont really set my own schedule unless you count 16 hour days my schedule). For me it has always been about being able to be 100% engaged in EXACTLY what I want to be doing at the time. I think if you are going to start a business, love the work of it first and the money second. I heard a quote once, “When I don’t have to pay you to do it, THEN you will
be successful.”

Asher: 

3. Wow, very cool. So first of all, congrats on the baby! I especially love what you said about business – first loving the work, then money second. Inspiring.

Alright, so here’s something about you that I’d like the readers to know. I “discovered” you from the WarriorForum where you started an interesting thread about how you went from nothing to $4,000 a month.

Here’s the original (now closed) thread.

That’s what got me interested in contacting you.

So if anyone wants to start making money the same way you did, they can go read that thread – lots of great money making advice in there.

Mike, my next question is… how can someone model after your business?

3a. How did you market your business or your service?

3b. Is there any part of it that is automated?

3c. If a relative of yours, say… your brother… were to model after you & create the same business model, any advice or warning signs in particular to watch out for?

Mike ShreeveMike:

3a. How did you market your business or your service?

In my opinion many people seem to make too big a deal about marketing their business. What I mean is, they make a bigger deal about it than they really should. It is one of those “paralysis by analysis” type situations. The thing that is really important to remember that business is, in the end, all about people, not about products. You want the best marketing advice I ever received? “Treat people like Kings and they will give you all their wealth.”

That being said, marketing your business is not something you can think about after the fact. In my case I usually don’t start a business until I know exactly how I am going to market it. For example, the writing business, I knew that I would take a very personal approach as opposed to trying to put on a big company persona. I signed on to odesk and elance.com as well as iwriter.

I crafted several pitches that became cookie cutter, cut and paste pitches that I would use whenever I found an article that I wanted to write. The key to the pitches was, as I mentioned in the thread, to remove the words I and me and focus solely on using the words you, your, etc. Prospective clients don’t care about you, they care about them.

In the beginning I didn’t even have a website for this particular business. But I did create a portfolio using hubpages, but this happened almost by accident. I started out trying to make money on hubpages by writing a couple of articles, but nothing ever panned out and I needed to pay my bills immediately.

Whenever I would pitch on oDesk or eLance I would simply refer to my hubpages account as my portfolio.

3b. Is there any part of it that is automated?

When I first started out absolutely nothing was automated. Now, I usually use a copy paste pitch, where I just change a few things calling out specifics about the project. I also finally discovered voice recognition for the computer, so now I simply speak the articles vs. having to sit down and type all of articles out.

I simply purchased a $25.00 microphone from OfficeMax and I just sit and talk into the microphone to create articles. This has allowed me to finish nearly ten 500 word articles an hour. If you do the math that means I’m making almost $50.00 an hour just doing writing. I am still able to charge only $5.00 an article which keeps me super competitive, while still making good money for myself.

3c. If a relative of yours, say… your brother… were to model after you & create the same business model, any advice or warning signs in particular to watch out for?

I think that anyone can follow this model and make good money. Someone on the thread made the comment that ” this was like selling shovels to gold Miners” and I totally agree. More and more people are trying to make money online, and google is more and more trying to put emphasis on content. Instead of trying to fight against the competition for the top spots in google, I simply decided to join my competition and offer them services that they needed.

That being said, there are some downfalls and some pitfalls to avoid.

The first is, being so desperate and impatient for money that you take whatever writing job comes along. I do not recommend this. Between iwriter.com, elance.com, and odesk.com (just those three) you are probably looking at hundreds of writing jobs posted every single day.

If you don’t like writing about Health Insurance, then don’t write about Health Insurance. Wait maybe an hour to refresh your browser and quite literally you you’ll have pages and pages of new writing assignments to go after. The worst thing you can do is start writing about something you hate. It comes across in your writing and if you get a bad review on the freelancing sites you are in trouble.

I would recommend not always focusing on the small jobs. There are a lot of one off jobs where a webmaster only needs to a few articles written and that’s it, but I like the long-term relationship clients more. If you need money, don’t ignore the smaller jobs, sometimes the smaller jobs are just test jobs. Often times webmasters are looking for a long term writer, but they test them out using smaller writing jobs.

When I started, it took me about a week and 1/2 to fill my schedule with long-term clients. In other words after a week and 1/2 of smaller jobs and one really big job I was writing full-time.

Aside from the freelance websites, getting on forums like the warrior forum and the digital point forum and even the black hat forums, you can make relationships with webmasters and get almost instant work.

I have never really had any problems with webmasters not paying (my offline experience has been much different), but that is always something to be aware of.

Really my advice is to quit thinking about it and just do it. The worst case scenario is that you might write one or two articles and get paid 10 to 15 bucks and it turns out you hate it. Really, in the article writing arena, there is more demand for articles than there are suppliers (like me), so it is entirely up to you to make it work.”

Asher:

Excellent information, Mike.

This may seem simplistic to you but there are readers who may just be starting out from scratch, Maybe they are contemplating quitting their job, leaving their boss, creating a new income stream, etc but they don’t know how to get started.

4a – What are the tools/resources one needs to get started?

4b – Why do you recommend these tools/resources?

4c – What would be your recommended “prescription” on using these tools/resources?

Mike ShreeveMike:

4a – What are the tools/resources one needs to get started?

If you are going to be getting into writing articles for a living all you really need is a computer, word processing software, access to the internet and a will to make it work.

That being said, I actually use a really nice headset with a microphone and speech recognition software. I usually am writing thousands of words a day and my arms/hands can get really tired after a while. I went ahead and invested in a 40 dollar headset and just use the standard voice recognition software that comes with windows 7. You certainly DON’t need to do this, but I have found I can finish articles faster AND I am able to rest my hands.

If you need immediate money, then get on iwriter. Seriously. You just plop down and start writing and start making money. You don’t even need a portfolio, it is incredible.

I also recommend getting a fiverr gig going where you will write article for $5.

Between these two things you should be able to make an easy $200 this weekend (writing TONS of articles).

4b – Why do you recommend these tools/resources?

I like simplicity, and I like being able to get paid for my time. I write fast and fiverr and iwriter allows you to get paid for working fast. I also like that both iwriter and fiverr have already done all the hard work for you (the marketing). You don’t need a website, you don’t need a portfolio, the billing and payment process is already set up and there is really little contact with clients. It makes it really easy.

4c – What would be your recommended “prescription” on using these tools/resources?

My recommendation is to just get out there and do it. I know that I am different than you are, so maybe iwriter won’t work for you like it does for me. Maybe you would rather work slowly and for higher paying article gigs. That is also an option. It really does come down to picking a niche within the industry.

I am not sure if I have already mentioned this or not, but internet marketing has been likened to the American gold rush. In the American gold rush thousands of men left their families to go find gold in Alaska. Their hope was to strike it rich. Less than 1 man in 1000 every found enough gold to make any money and even less got rich. Internet marketing is like that in a lot of ways. A lot of people try and very few actually succeed.

That being said, TONS of people got rich during the gold rush and you know who they were? The suppliers. The people selling shovels and food supplies to the gold miners got filthy rich. This is why I think writing online is the way to go. You are literally selling shovels to the gold miners.

Asher:

5. Alright, any final words of advice or tips before we end this interview?

6. If people want to find out more about you, your products or services, where do they go?

Mike ShreeveMike:

5. Alright, any final words of advice or tips before we end this interview?

My only advice to newbies and veterans alike is my favorite quote: “The harder I work, the luckier I get” – Sam Goldwyn

The other day I was watching “Shark Tank” a US based show about business owners trying to get investments from investment “sharks”. One of the investors, Mark Cuban, said something I found incredibly interesting. He said, “You can fail 1000 times, then finally get one right, and everyone will call you an overnight success.”

This is all about hard work. Those guys that sell you promises of only working two hours a day and living on a beach, they are either lying or an exception, for the 99.9% of the rest of us, hard work will take you all the way.

6. If people want to find out more about you, your products or services, where do they go?

I have actually completely stopped offering services beyond the current clients I have. I found that I was getting overwhelmed with the demand. If any of your readers have any questions or are looking for helpful tips and advice to actually making a living online, they are more than welcome to email me at mike@mikeshreeve.com

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Conversations with Marketing Superstars - Mike Shreeve

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