Mike: … Protecting oneself and defending oneself by building a sustainable brand, product, and/or service will potentially offer more security in the long run than traditional businesses and jobs did in the past.
Lori: So, it’s about thinking ahead and knowing that whatever job you have now, you’re most likely not going to be there 20 years from now. So you’re creating your own security through becoming an entrepreneur, correct?
Mike: Right. Correct. It’s certainly possible that people can keep long-term traditional jobs; it’s just that the chance of it being sustainable is less likely than it used to be. Therefore, being an entrepreneur is a more viable solution.
Lori: All right. That makes sense. So Mike, what are the dilemmas of having a full-time job and not becoming an entrepreneur?
Mike: Well for one thing, not many people like having a boss. For myself, I’m not even capable of having a boss. I’m not so good at showing up on time and taking directions from people. So for me, I have no choice. If that happens to be somebody else’s personality, and they still want to make a living, then they essentially have to be their own boss. In general, lots of people think they’re smarter than their boss. If they are smarter than their boss, they should have their own business. You could potentially get your boss to be an investor in your new company which would still pay the same salary you’re getting now, potentially. There are all sorts of issues. And it’s not just one boss either—you could be in a corporate structure with a hierarchy of 20 people that you would have to get through before you became the boss. Or you could quit today and say, “I’m the boss of John Smith Company and I offer these great services.” The first day won’t be so great, but after a couple days of promoting those great services, somebody might catch on, and you might have a sustainable future selling John Smith Services.
Lori: So what do you mean by low-risk/low-reward when it comes to the job dilemma, having a full-time job, and working for somebody else?
Mike: The other thing is that it should be JohnSmithServices.com.
Lori: Mike is known for domaining. That’s really where he got his start. He made a lot of money. We’ll discuss that later in the presentation. So, Mike, regarding low-risk/low-reward and working for someone else: can you explain that?
Mike: Yes, ma’am. In traditional businesses, people take jobs for a boss in a hierarchy that’s funded in a certain manner, and they just want to feed their families and pay their mortgages or rent. It’s perfectly understandable and makes a lot of sense. There’s no risk there. On the other hand, most likely that traditional idea isn’t going to work as well as it used to because the savings plans aren’t so great. They get looted and they weren’t invested properly. At the same time, those jobs and the businesses where people work may or may not be secure. The boss who gave them that job might not be there in 20 years to keep them in the hierarchy. They may not rise up the ladder. These are some of the same issues I mentioned previously.
Lori: So I’ve heard the saying: “People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses.” What do you have to say for that?
Mike: There are all sorts of issues with bosses. I’m just guessing here, but let’s say that 50 percent of the bosses produce profits and are easy to work with. That leaves millions of bosses that don’t produce profits and/or are difficult to work with. If you have worked in a company for multiple years where your boss isn’t delivering the goods and/or you don’t like his or her personality, you should have started a company that many years ago instead of constantly investing in something that does not deliver what you want.
Mike: It’s about exploring your own personal passion—whether it’s business or the type of business you’re in—instead of following somebody else’s passions. You look at my businesses, my book, etc., you can see I’m very passionate about each of the things I undertake.
Lori: So you need to find something that really fits your passions and makes you excited to go to work every day when you’re starting a company.
Mike: It’s just about having a more rewarding life and lifestyle, potentially more money, a better family life, and more time with your family in the future if you earn more in the present.
Lori: So talk to me about the potential when you think about becoming an entrepreneur. I see on our screen you’ve got creativity, work your own schedule, millions in potential—tell me what you think it means as far as potential in starting your own business and really owning your future.
Mike: That’s the good thing about capitalism. We get taxed and regulated to death, we get ripped off, but even so there is no law that says you’re only allowed to make X millions of dollars per year per lifetime. But conversely, if you’re working for somebody else, you signed a piece of paper that gives your salary, bonus structure, and stock options. Stock options could have an endless upside, but take out the stock options and people have traditional jobs with salaries and bonuses, and they are in fact restricted. Whereas owning your own business—it’s a big world and there’s a lot of deals and money changing hands. If you create a better anything, then you can compete for market share within that niche and hopefully there is a lot of money in stake for you.
Lori: Awesome. I like the idea of completely controlling your future. If you think about starting your own company, which I’ve done before and I had a lot of fun with it, you really get to decide where you want to go, and you can make out your own plans. And there is nobody who puts a cap on your income or your success level. You go into detail about that in the book and explain why it’s important to own your own future and be able to make those decisions. Tell me about how jobs prevent personal success.
Mike: It’s just about how they stifle your creativity and your ability to expand, evolve, and create scale with your own skill set. You’re constrained within somebody else’s business plan, building, and employment contract. For myself, who has always been an entrepreneur: if I think of something—first of all, I have this really high self-confidence, which is sometimes unhealthy because I undertake too many things. Secondly, there’s nothing preventing me from doing it other than economic things, so most of the time I purposely start business that are inexpensive to get that out of the way.
Then it’s just launching my idea. I don’t have a boss to call up and say, “Can I launch my idea?” I can just be creative. I can do charity things. I can do whatever I want to do as long as I don’t go broke, which in my case and in anybody’s case is a matter of trial and error and natural selection. I keep testing and testing and investing and investing, and a certain percentage of those things work and compound. Some of those things fall apart unfortunately, but the more we practice and test, the more money we make, the fewer things fall apart, and the more upside we have in front of us.
Lori: When you’re thinking about quitting your job and starting your own company… I think that when people are weighing these options they’re spending a lot of time putting numbers and information to it. What kinds of questions do you recommend that they ask themselves? I see you have: will your job get you there, what do you want in life, will quitting your job get you there… What other questions do you have that would help somebody decide if now’s the best time for them or if this is something they should do?
Mike: Right. There are a lot of personal factors and factors about your family:
- Whether you can afford to take the risk,
- Whether it is a risk
- Whether you or your wife or husband has saved enough money
- Whether they’re getting ready to go to college
- Whether you want to leave a business for money for your kids
So, there are all sorts of personal issues with respect to starting a business. We see that certain types of families and cultures tend to be more entrepreneurial and tend to start different types of businesses. We see a lot of restaurants—entrepreneurs with family businesses—and they have their families working within the restaurants, and it comes naturally to them. So again, there are all these things that are personal within somebody’s family and personal life.
As far as the broader economy and its fluctuations, conceptually one would be best off if they started a company at the perfect time in the economy, but that’s like stock picking where you say, “I want to buy a stock on the exact right day where the stocks are right.” But conceptually, the stocks are always at fair market value because that’s what people are willing to pay. Basically, every day you start a business, it’s at fair market value. If the prices of services are down, that’s bad, but if the prices of employees are down, then your competitors are weak also.
For me, when the economy’s down, a lot of times it’s a good time to start a company, especially with the domain companies that I’ve started. I’ve bought huge numbers of domain names when the economy’s down because they’re much cheaper, and when the economy turns around, I’m holding them. I can hire people for slightly less during a down economy, so as far as I’m concerned, stock picking is a bad idea because you can’t predict the micro fluctuations in the stock market, and we really can’t predict much about the economy. But we know that if we work really hard, build a scalable brand every day, and follow Best Practices; that over a long period of time, we’ll create something of value. That formula makes sense irrespective of the economy. But given what we spoke about before, now really is a particularly good time anyhow, in my personal opinion, but any time is good.
Lori: It kind of reminds me of my dad, who used to say—before any of my siblings owned their own homes, he’d always say, “Do you want to know the very best time to buy a home?” And he says this to everybody: “Now. Do it now.” Because there will be fluctuations: it’s going to go up, it’s going to go down. Even if you’re paying a high dollar for your home, at some point you’re going to make money on that house. And because he told us that, all of us have a home. And I look at some of the other people my age or people just younger than I am, and a lot of them are still throwing their money away to rent. So it seems like it’s the same kind of thing you’re telling us when it comes to being an entrepreneur and quitting your job. I mean, if you’re motivated, you want to do it, and you have a plan, anytime’s a good time. Is that right?
Mike: That’s right, and I think actually there’s a TV commercial that took your dad’s line because there’s a commercial that says, “The right time to buy a home is now.”
Lori: Well, unless that commercial has been out for 15 years, I’m going to give it to my dad. I think you’re right; I think they took my dad’s line. So Mike, you have an awesome story. You started SEO.com, Phone.com, BuyDomains, DomainMarket, PRMarketing, I mean hundreds of brands. Can you tell us, did you work for—
Mike: Not hundreds.
Lori: Well, a lot of brands. It’s going to be hundreds with the way you’re going.
Mike: It will be hundreds, but not yet.
Lori: But you tell me this. So, have you always been an entrepreneur? Is this something where you hit the age of 34 and said, “I’m done working for a boss?” Tell us your story.
Mike: Yeah, I always have been an entrepreneur. It basically runs in my family, so it just came naturally to me. I delivered newspapers, shoveled snow, and mowed lawns when I was a little kid. I sold T-shirts when I was a little bit older. And after I got out of school, I was in the delivery service business. I have always been an entrepreneur and at the very beginning, I determined that the purpose was for charity. I’ve always been really hyper-motivated to deliver the goods because I knew that I was working for charity.
Lori: Can you tell us a failure and then tell us a success and maybe what you learned from your failure?
Mike: So I have to talk about my failure?
Lori: Assuming you’ve had one, right?
Mike: Yeah. Well, we’ve had them in the recent years. The last four years have been really rough with the economy and all sorts of craziness going on. But in the last year, things have turned around in a positive way as far as business goes. We started a bunch of companies that we had to sell off for the same price as we invested which was actually a loss because we lost years and years of hard labor and didn’t get any cash out of it. I own a bunch of good companies right now, but there are a couple at the bottom of the list that are non-producing, that just didn’t deliver the goods—I don’t want to name the specific brands here.
Mike: However, my company and our assets have definitely had a disproportionate level of success compared to the average Internet startup. I’ve only really lost money on one asset and it’s still in business, so I haven’t technically lost money on it yet. We’ve had a bunch of things that didn’t work out the way I intended them to, but I didn’t actually lose any significant cash. The things with significant cash invested are thriving corporations today, like DomainMarket, Phone.com, and things like that.
Lori: So I like what you wrote in the chapter on quitting your job on page 37 in Make Millions You say that, “There will always be some people in your life who will try to discourage you from quitting your secure position when you want to start out on your own. The truth of the matter is that doing this is a big risk, but what is the worst that could happen? If you’re smart, you won’t let yourself get to the point of homelessness and destitution before you realize your plan has not worked. If that happens, you can always put yourself back in the job market. In the worst case scenario, you will learn many valuable lessons that can be properly applied to your future.” So, thinking about the companies you’ve started that have been successful, and then thinking about all the companies that you’ve started, what are some things you’ve learned that have really made a difference when you start a new company?
Mike: You want to get consensus and you want to listen to smart people and professionals. But the majority of people in the world have this subconscious itch where they worry that you might make more money than them or become more famous, or you might make them look relatively bad to their family or spouse or something like that. There are also lots of people around you who are scared and paranoid for economic reasons for your family. So there are all sorts of subtle subconscious reasons and overt reasons why people on the outside will be giving you bad information, saying, “It won’t work, it’s a bad idea, you shouldn’t do this,” You’re going to hear a lot of that, but a huge portion of the time, that information can be discounted out because people have all sorts of biases coming to the table. They could be your competitor, they could want to be your competitor, they could be your social competitor and not your business competitor—there are many social and psychological reasons why people might want to break you down.
Then, after you’re successful, all sorts of scammers and hoodlums will come for your money and try to do crazy things. But again, that’s the minority. The majority of people are working hard and working in your best interests. But the issue is that you need to be able to filter through and know what’s good information—by professionals, unbiased, in your best interests, people who care—and then discount out everything else that doesn’t meet that criteria. In my case, I just go with the confidence group and discount out others. I listen to what people say, but at the end of the day, I’ve done so much filtering and studying that I know what I want to do and it’s kind of hard to discourage me.
Lori: So stay focused, have a positive attitude, and filter the information because there are people who are going to give you bad information. Maybe they’re jealous or they’re worried or concerned, but their advice is only going to get in the way of your success, correct?
Mike: Right. And basically, for whatever reason, a lot of the information that people are giving you isn’t perfectly suited for your best interests. That doesn’t necessarily mean that people are devious, but it just means you have to filter out their information. And some people are just wrong. You know, if everybody knew SEO was going to be the best thing in the world, then everybody would have started SEO.com, right?
Mike: But everybody was wrong. They thought SEO wouldn’t be the coolest thing so they didn’t bet on it. I thought it would be, so I bet on it.
Mike: I’m just making an example. People just bet wrong. That doesn’t mean they’re malicious.
Lori: So tell me why you say quitting is necessary. You can’t build a business part-time—you must jump in with both feet. So you’re not a big advocate of somebody working full-time at a job and working a couple hours in the evening to start a business. You think they should really take the leap of faith and go for it. Correct?
Mike: Well they can do whatever they want. I try to train people in how to make money. People always complain: “Why do this? Why do that? Why do this?” And I say, well, I’m just telling you how to make money. You might not want to undertake these sorts of things. But in my book and in general, you should look at it as more like a military necessity to be disciplined, follow your procedures, and knock it out of the park. It’s a competitive environment, so there’s somebody else who’s next to you trying to take your clients. It’s not a mean or nasty thing; it’s just about economic opportunities, keeping market share, and taking market space. Think about yourself in the military, in the war, trying to capture the castle, and thinking, “Well, I’ve got a side job. I’ve gotta go work at my side job.”
Lori: That’s not going to work obviously.
Mike: And your competitor’s thinking, “Great! Great, I’m going to kill you while you’re working your side job. Have a good time.”
Lori: Awesome. That makes sense. How do you know when to quit? You already went through a lot of this already when you were talking about timing and the kids—are they going to college—but these are some of the questions you have in your book. Is there one that you think is most relevant that you’d like to cover?
Mike: As far as when to quit?
Mike: Again, you just have to decide. You should go through some of those factors:
- Look at your boss
- Look at whether your company’s going to be there in 10 years
- Whether they’ve given you enough stock options, enough opportunities for bonuses
- Whether it’s interesting or rewarding enough
All those are things you can create in your own business if you go through a deliberative process, pick the right business, and do a good job. On the other hand, you might be working harder, and there are lots of downsides. There are also risks. You might have less time with your family. There are all sorts of issues. As far as if you do want to quit, again you have to look at:
- Your economic situation
- The stability of your present place
- Your happiness at the place you work
- Your boss and bosses—what’s the deal with them, are you guys on the same page, do they really want to promote you and themselves, and are they capable of doing so?
Again, at the end of the day, do I like what I’m doing? Can I do something better, bigger, more interesting, more rewarding? There’s nothing wrong with having a job or jobs; especially if you get more family time, more vacation time, or more relaxation time. There’s nothing wrong with starting a business and trying to make money and retiring and do different things. There’s nothing wrong with any of it—it’s just a matter of personal preference, really.
Lori: Can everybody be an entrepreneur, or does it take a special personality or drive or education level? What would you have to say to that?
Mike: Well, almost everybody can, but you really have to have self-confidence because it won’t work if you’re not sure of yourself. That is what I always felt would separate me—and it really does. I went through two years at Santa Barbara City College. My competitors are all these Harvard graduates and Stanford graduates, but I constantly crush them because I’m a bigger believer. I know that being persistent and competing with them will eventually wear them down and impress my clients enough to take market share. The main thing is that you must have self-confidence and be willing to put in the amount of effort and hours it’ll take to be successful. So as long as you have that, you don’t have to have any particular background. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or how much money you had or where you went to school. None of that stuff matters at all. If you’re willing to put in a hard effort, and you have a little bit of discipline and self-confidence, then over a lot of effort and a lot of years most good business models will in fact work. Some of them work at a different level: some of them will work a little bit and will pay your bills, and some of them will have astronomical success that nobody could have predicted, like Groupons.
Lori: What do you need to know before you jump? You talked about a business plan a minute ago—what would you recommend? Let’s say someone has made the decision. They want to do it—they’re ready to take the jump. Can you speak to some of these items that you have listed?
Mike: You should have a business model. There’s nothing wrong with having a business model in your head, but you need to be able to repeat it multiple times to people and it needs to be succinct and clear. If you have a model that’s succinct and clear in your head and you have to deliver it to a lot of people, then it doesn’t make any sense not to write it down. Therefore, you need to write down your business model. It needs to make sense to you, it needs to be in proper English, and conceptually it needs to make sense to the outside world—to your stakeholders, to the people who you trust to build consensus.
You should be studied in the business area you want to work in. All the information in the world’s on Google and in the library; so for any business in the world, you can find all the information, study all of it, think it all through, and take that into account when you’re writing your business plan. My point is that having a business model in your head is good, so you might as well write it down. And then at that point, you decide if you want a real business plan—which is a step beyond a business model. It would include pro forma financial statements in Excel, biographies of your Board of Directors, and all sorts of organizational and other information.
I have the Sequoia Capital checklist of stuff; if you type in bizniz.com, it’ll take you to the business model section of their website. It’s my favorite model; it’s very simple and thorough. Sequoia has lots of multi-billion dollar blowouts so obviously they know what they’re talking about. In any event, writing down a business model and/or plan is a good idea. It’s best for you and your stakeholders. At the next level, if you actually need investors, then you have to have a business plan. It’s not even optional.
Lori: How would you actually go about picking a name? And then you mentioned at the beginning of the call that you need to own that name and it has to be a strong domain name. Can you speak to that?
Mike: Sure. The domain name first?
Mike: Well, domain names are an essential part of branding, so branding is a core component of corporate growth. Your customers need to gain an affinity for your brand, and with the domain name, not only do they need an affinity for your brand, but they need to be able to find it in the easiest way possible. It needs to be something that’s easy to say, easy to spell, catchy—and it should actually be exactly related to your business. So, if your business is named BrowserMedia, and you don’t own BrowserMedia.com, then you shouldn’t name it BrowserMedia. You should start your business with the exact .com domain name, and you can get a great .com domain name for a few hundred bucks. Some of them are thousands and thousands of bucks, but you could start a company with a great .com domain name for a few hundred dollars and give your company that name. There would be no reason for you to name your company something where you cannot get that domain given what I’ve just said.
So, you need a great name—it should follow some basic characteristics—and with that, you’re branding your company. With DomainMarket.com, I forever want to reinforce that one brand and make sure that people understand it and know it. It’s a good name: easy to spell, hard to dilute. It would be nice if I owned the .net and .co, whatever. In this case I don’t own them, but those people can’t get anywhere because I do own the .com. So, in any event, that’s with respect to the name. What is next, Lori?
Lori: How do you choose a good name? Do you—I know you’re a believer in crowd sourcing. How do you know that the name that is in your mind is good and will take off?
Mike: Well, that really is the thing. Crowd sourcing is the best bet. You can ask lots of people—preferably people who know what they’re doing—but in general, give people a basic idea of what you’re trying to accomplish and ask them for ideas for names. Then collect all the ideas. You might have 100 ideas for names, which is great. You can then delete 75 of those that you don’t like and keep 25 names. Then with those 25 names, go out to that same crowd of 100 people and have them vote on the 25.
A lot of times when we do this, a huge number of people vote on the same name and it’s a no-brainer. Every once in awhile, there’s a split and people vote all over the place, and then you have to do some more filtering. But the point is that crowd sourcing gives you an opportunity to filter, do market research, and tell you what the public believes is the better name, so that’s the one that will gain the most long-term affinity, conceptually. So crowd sourcing is a good way, but some names are kind of obvious, like Phone.com. I don’t need to crowd source to know that one’s good considering that I’m in the telecommunications industry.
Mike: With SEO.com, I don’t need any help knowing that name is good.
Lori: But the main message is to test the market, use crowd sourcing, get lots of information, revise if you need to, then come back and do it again if you need to. So we already talked about the risk of quitting—
Mike: Can I make another point about that?
Mike: There’s one really simple method. You can:
- Go to DomainMarket.com
- Type in the keyword “marketing” for example
- Pick your favorite 20 marketing domains
- Ask 100 people which one they like the best
- Name your company that
That particular example is great because there are tons of fantastic marketing domains at DomainMarket. The point is that if you’re starting a marketing company, you can find a great domain in two minutes and have the public confirm which one they think is the best one within a couple of days. Then you have a fantastic name for a new company, and hopefully you get it at a price you like. But you don’t have to do it DomainMarket, you can do it anywhere. The point is that you want:
- To go keyword-heavy
- Have people vote on the best name
- Make sure you own the .com
And then you have the best name and you can move forward.
Lori: When you think of people quitting their jobs, some people do great and other people storm out mad and they don’t like their boss anymore and they’ve stayed there so long that they have hurt relationships. But in your book, you say it’s really important to maintain good relationships. Can you speak to that?
Mike: It seems obvious, but let’s suppose that a few months before somebody quits or gets fired, they are getting all emotional. They’re thinking, “I hate my boss, I’ve gotta get out of this place, he’s being mean, he doesn’t like me, I don’t like him, etc.” So there is this bad blood—maybe there is in some cases. It could be a disgruntled employee. Maybe the employee starts saying negative things, either before or after getting fired, talking behind the boss’s back, etc. But again, I’m just talking about money here. The question is how you make the most money as an employee. The answer is that you make the most money by being friends with your boss when you leave. It might not be your personality or you might not want to do it, but you’re going to need that person for a reference.
- You’re going to see them at conferences where you have relations in common
- You already have relations in common
- They know your investors
- They know your competitors
- They know your employees
- They know your customers
So the point is there’s no economic advantage to having bad relationships. And the reverse is true: there is an economic advantage to having good relationships. So the whole personality thing I’m not even going to address at all. Everything’s unique. But the bottom line is that it’s economically better to have good relationships when you split apart and when you’re together.
Lori: I think this is our last slide: Be a capitalist in a capitalist society. Talk about being a capitalist.
Mike: Well, this is a really interesting thing, especially for me because I’ve always felt in my mind that I was working for charity. I’m trying my best to deliver charitable products, goods, money to charities and things like that. The way I do this is by trying to make as much money as possible in a free-fare capitalist market without lying, cheating, or stealing. My only intention is very straightforward; it works for me, and other people could imitate it. It’s just to go right for the money and make as much as possible—without breaking any laws, lying, cheating, or stealing—following the U.S. capitalist economic system. But the interesting thing about that is that such an assertive, aggressive, competitive approach pisses off a lot of people along the way, and they say, “Gaw, look at that aggressive, greedy capitalist.”
Mike: Except, I’m playing fair by the rules in this society, and I’m going to use most of the money for charitable purposes, so I don’t feel the tiniest bit guilty at all. And the correct answer is that it’s not wrong to profit. Everybody deserves to make a buck. It’s okay to be a capitalist in a capitalist society. Profit creates a virtuous cycle. I give tons of tax money which serves all sorts of social projects, and I give tons of charity money, and I give tons of divorce money and all kinds of money all over the place. My point is that the work I do is good for society.
Mike: It’s a positive thing. Again, like I said, I’ve never lied, cheated, or stole. I’ve paid my taxes. I’ve hired tons of people. They’ve fed their families. They’ve paid their taxes. They’ve paid money to their churches, temples, and charities. So this is a big virtuous economic cycle. There’s nothing negative coming out of it, so the people who see me as aggressive, pompous, and whatever—it’s just too bad, you know. I’m serving a certain purpose.
Lori: During the webinar, we did have a couple of questions that came in, so I’ll ask those now. If any of our attendees have questions, feel free to type them in your question box and we’ll get to them. We’ve got about five minutes or less today for questions, so please type them in now. One question Mike: What do you consider your greatest success of the companies you’ve started?
Mike: The greatest success would be the charity Grassroots.org. But if we’re talking about businesses—do you want to talk about just businesses?
Lori: Pick a business.
Mike: Basically, the issue is what has made me the most money in the past and what will make me the most money in the future. In the past, it was BuyDomains.com—that was the best one. In the future, there’s a lot of good companies, but given the success of BuyDomains.com, I’ll have to bet that DomainMarket.com will pay out the most.
Lori: Here’s another question: Are all of your companies .com’s? Do they end up being Internet companies, or do you have companies that are not Internet companies?
Mike: They’re all technology companies at this point. X3O provides land support and office technology support. It has a little bit of Internet stuff. It does provide customer services over the Internet, but it’s a land-based business, essentially. Also, if you look at SEO.com, it’s an Internet consultancy. It delivers a little bit of service over the Internet, but really it’s a consultancy. It’s not so much an Internet product.
Lori: What has been your biggest struggle in starting these various companies?
Mike: Dealing with dishonest people. Even though it’s a minority of people, they cause all the problems. Even if only 10 percent of the people are dishonest, they’re going to cause 90 percent of the problems.
Lori: That’s true.
Mike: So, if we could just weed all those out in advance—right now, I’m getting much better at screening investors, partners, and employees than I used to be. Before, I didn’t have much of a radar. People come to the table and they all could look and sound the same, but dishonest people have resumes that look very similar to honest people.
Lori: That’s very true. It’s hard to find that out ahead of time.
Mike: So you just have to be cautious about people that sabotage and otherwise wreck businesses.
Lori: Is it wrong to have a domain name that has a portion of a competitor’s domain within it?
Mike: Like what?
Lori: Alex, can you give us any examples? While he’s typing that in, I’m assuming he’s speaking to, let’s say—
Mike: Well, it if was SEO.com, you could be SEOConsultant.com, obviously. But you wouldn’t want to be OrangeSodaSEO.com.
Lori: Okay. He gives us LeftLaneDesign and LeftLaneSEO. So let’s say LeftLaneDesign was your competitor.
Mike: That’s too close. That’s inappropriate. It would be a trademark violation, so you wouldn’t want to do that.
Lori: I’ve got one more question coming in from Jim. Jim, if you could finish typing in your question. I see that you’ve typed “Mike,” but we need the rest of the question. If there are any other questions, feel free to type them in now. We’ve got just a few more minutes to go through them. Mike, I’ve got a question for you: what is your favorite company? Out of everything you’ve started, what have you loved the most? Has anything felt kind of like your “baby” or your child and you absolutely love it, or do they all feel that way?
Mike: Well, you know, they’re definitely all my babies. I definitely feel that. Again, I like the charity stuff the most, but as far as businesses, I really like the domain companies because every day there are hundreds of new transactions happening. There are so many things happening: hundreds of buys a day and a certain number of sales a day. There is so much activity that it’s like being a day trader. There’s a lot of money and there’s a lot of activity, and I could be the best at it, so it’s something to separate me. I’m not the best telecommunications guy out there even though Phone.com is a fantastic company. I know almost nothing about SEO even though SEO.com is an amazing company.
Lori: I’ve got two more questions and then we’ll end this webinar. First of all, Jim asks us: Mike, what do you think of the .tv extension?
Mike: I think it’s crap.
Lori: All right, Mike. Last question for you: What do you think the future of Grassroots.org is?
Mike: Grassroots.org currently has 4,000 members, and we want to build it up to 10,000 members. It’s really on a trajectory where it’s going to get 10,000 members, and I feel it will make it. The issue here is that we will need to provide more and more services in order to meet our mission goal, and our goal is to get them $10,000 each per year of value on average. If we have 10,000 members and we give them $10,000 each of value per year, that’s $100,000,000 per year that Grassroots.org will deliver to the nonprofit community. And Grassroots.org is only one chip off of the block of Make Change! Trust, which does all sorts of investing, and many millions of dollars will go through Make Change! Trust. There are millions of dollars in there right now, and Make Millions! Trust is one of the main things that funds Grassroots.org.
That huge sum of $100,000,000 per year, if we achieve it from Grassroots.org, is a huge thing, and it’s only one chip off of Make Change! Trust, which does and will continue to do all sorts of innovative activities. If you go to MikeMann.com, you can already see a link to the Grassroots.org Social Venture Consulting Program, which is a partnership with the University of Maryland Business School Center for Entrepreneurship, where we help lots of charities. We have business school students who help them with their marketing plans, their business plans, their sales, their websites, and all sorts of stuff.
Lori: Awesome. So, that wraps up our webinar for today. We’d like to remind our viewers today that they can go to MakeMillions.com and download the Make Millions book or order a copy of it. You can also learn more about Mike Mann at MikeMann.com. Mike, this was a great webinar. We really appreciate your insight and your advice, and we’re looking forward to holding the next one. Thank you everybody for attending, and we look forward to talking to you again soon. Thank you.