Patrick Stiles opens up about how he travels the world and builds his supplement business. In addition he gives advice to the new marketers about choosing niches, finding their specialty and following scalability.
Matt: Okay here we are, live on the internet once again. I’m sitting here with Patrick Stiles who’s in the health supplements industry. How’re doing Patrick?
Patrick: I’m doing fantastic.
Matt: Good man. I’m sitting inside of Patrick’s place and Patrick’s sitting outside.
Patrick: I thought we were gonna not disclose that part and make it seem like we’re in 2 different locations?
Matt: Oh, okay. Well, yeah, so we’re in 2 different locations.
Patrick: Yeah right, yeah. Matt’s in the bat cave and I’m outside my place here in Austin, Texas.
Matt: I’m in the secret underground bunker, deep in the throes of Austin. We are actually up off of Lamar and for those of you that watch these podcasts or these blabs on a regular basis, you know that this has everything to do with Austin.
Patrick’s just given me a little, I think that’s called, I call it daps. I don’t know what it actually is.
Patrick: That’s not me [inaudible 00:01:10]
Matt: Oh really?
Patrick: Yeah, props?
Matt: That’s right.
Patrick: Now I’m doing you.
Matt: Oh okay.
Matt: We are live in Austin and we’re gonna talk a little bit about start up world. Patrick’s had a company of his own doing significant revenue for the past 5-7 years now. Let’s get into it a little bit. Patrick, one of the things that really intrigued me about you is the way we met, which was in the airport. Why don’t you tell the story?
Patrick: Yeah, sure. I was leaving trafficking conversion with my business partner at the time. This is a couple of years ago, we were all living in Puerto Vallarta and I don’t know. I took off to go get a coffee and I came back and the 2 of you guys were chatting it up.
We’d all just came from the same conference with thousands of people and we were the only guys getting on the plan back to Mexico where we were living. That was the start of a beautiful bromance of living in Mexico. That was a bit isolated.
We definitely had some fun times cruising around on the beach, going to to Sayulita, hanging out at bonfires and stuff like that.
I think I stuck around in Mexico for another couple of months and during that time we got to hang out quite a bit. Got to meet Matt’s beautiful wife, his lovely son and stuff like that, played several games of pool over at his marina beach house.
Matt: Cool and then from there you kind of, that was right about when you ramped up your travel.
Matt: You had, much like myself, we read the 4 hour work week, we were both kind of in some … You caught me a little later in my travel days but you really ramped up your travel from there. Where did you go from there?
Patrick: Actually, 4 or 5 years ago I actually went to Asia for the first time and I lived there. Then I returned to the United States to get my business off the ground and then I left the United States again 3 years ago and that was when we met in Mexico.
After that, it was a whirlwind. I literally went around the world in 2014. Starting in Mexico-
Matt: What were some of the memorable countries?
Patrick: I lived in Budapest for several months. I was dating a European gal-
Patrick: She was another entrepreneur. Actually I met her at that same conference, trafficking conversion. We lived in Budapest. We did a road trip from Budapest through all the way out to Paris and Amsterdam and them back up to Eastern Europe to Estonia and stuff and then I flew to Asia, did East Asia, Southeast Asia again and stuff.
Then I went back to the United States for a few months to hang out in California with my brother and his new born baby and then I went to South America. That was at the end of 2014? Yup. Then last year I did Argentina, Columbia, Turkey, Spain and then I came back at the end of it.
Matt: Awesome man. What’s great about it-
Patrick: Those are the countries I lived. I visited, I don’t know.
Matt: What’s cool about it, I mean the reason I ask you about that it’s not to like have Patrick do some brag session. It’s really about the automated income-
Patrick: I will.
Matt: It’s really about the type of income. I wouldn’t even say that your income is fully automated. It’s more of like the type of income that you have. It’s the ability to earn money from anywhere, really from your laptop right?
Patrick: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Matt: Be able to … If you have WIFI and an ATM, you’re pretty much set up. Would you say that’s a fair assumption?
Patrick: Absolutely. Yeah and a pro tip for the people that want to go oversees is get a Schwab investor checking account cause it has great exchange rate and on fees.
Matt: Right, absolutely. I actually tried to set that up from a couple different countries. The real tip on that is set it up before you go. Don’t try and do it after you go because they really have a lot of blocks set in place.
Patrick: I was lucky 5 years ago when I first left the country I sold my car to a guy that worked at Schwab and I was about to take off in a week or something.
Matt: That’s great.
Patrick: Yeah so it was a great tip. Probably saved me several hundred dollar in fees and stuff at a minimum.
Matt: At the end of the year, it’s funny that you mentioned that because I would look and I’d see that I have $2,000 in ATM and bank fees from various countries and I was like wow at the very least this proves that I was oversees cause I’m gonna deduct every single one of them.
It at least proves that I was out of the country the whole time cause I booked myself.
Patrick: Yeah, you were there pulling out cash.
Matt: I listed myself as an international IT consultant. It kind of goes with the whole image. You’re in the health niche and you do supplements and you’re very good at it.
Patrick: Thank you.
Matt: You run a substantial 6 figure, close to 7 figure business but there was some things we were talking about before we went on live here that really kind of touched. It was your advice to people that are getting started online and some of the pitfalls that maybe you could help them avoid.
Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. I certainly have a lot of these. It’s a question that I get asked a lot when I meet people and they’re like how are you traveling or living from home? Or I’m sorry, working from home and these different sort of things.
Yeah, how am I living from home. Anyways, actually I don’t recommend the supplement industry to people starting out and things like that. It’s a very dicey industry. It’s heavily regulated and it also has a lot of bad apples in it.
My philosophy on it is to create incredible products that stand head and shoulders above the crowd. It’s really hard to not only bring that product to market but also to differentiate it in the marketplace and stuff like that. It’s quite the grind but it is a passion of mine.
One of the top things that I tell people when they want to enter into the world of internet marketing and making money from their laptop is to build a skill. The two that I believe are the two most valuable are copywriting and traffic. Some of the reasons-
Matt: I said okay and you’re saying build a skill correct?
Patrick: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah absolutely. Really carve something out that you know how to do. One of the reasons why I recommend those 2 is because they’re the most expensive to outsource. They’re the hardest to hire on. It’s really hard to know if somebody is a good copywrite or a good traffic person and normally it takes 5 figures to really test them out.
You can definitely be out of that money in the end. Conversely it’s other things like coding and building websites and design, those things are very easy to judge. Code can definitely get a lot more complicated, it depends on how complicated you make things. Just for a plain old website, you can go to the website and see what it looks like and see how fast it loads. That’s really straight forward.
That would be more one of the things that I would outsource right away as opposed to these other skills. The thing is is I recommend-
Matt: So be really good at one particular thing that you can do for other people, correct?
Patrick: Yeah. I would recommend-
Matt: Not necessarily just for yourself but be good at something that you can do for other people.
Patrick: Yeah and that’s exactly right. I would recommend that people freelance and that way they’re gonna get a lot of high volume action of building that skill, they’re gonna get paid to learn, they’re gonna get paid to improve that and they’re gonna really get to survey the land of all the different businesses that are out there and what those industries are like.
Then, after they’ve built that skill then maybe have some cash in the bank, they have some connections and they really kind of know how these different industries work. Then they can intelligently enter one of them on their own and go and start their own business if they really want that headache in their life.
I mean you know. You run a successful business with a lot more employees that I have and it’s a challenge. It’s a very difficult thing to do of running all the different aspects of it. That’s one reason … I run my own traffic, I write my own copy and I’ve hired other people I work with, other copywriters, I’m doing more and more of that.
It’s hard to get good at those things because I have to manage so many other aspects of my business day in and day out. There’s always a fire, there’s always an employee that needs something, there’s always a project that needs review and stuff like that. It’s hard to really do nothing but write copy or nothing but look at campaigns all day. That’s why I would recommend that people do that.
Matt: Now they’ve worked as a freelancer, they have chosen which intelligently. What would you say is there next step, once they’ve chosen their niche?
Patrick: To really just scale that thing. This is a mistake that I see a lot of people doing. I have some crazy intelligent friends that have really gotten blood out of a stone. What I mean by that is they’ve chosen niches and go to market strategies that are not very scalable.
One of the things that I see people doing a lot of is trying to build up SEO overtime and that’s getting harder and harder. You really need advanced software and inside knowledge if you’re gonna be doing that. Something like … I’m a paid traffic guy and I love cold traffic and I think it’s really beautiful because I can pay somebody say $0.50 real quick and then if I know my numbers I can look at how much money I made on that.
It’s not always that simple. It’s a lot more complex to scale a campaign, but nevertheless, I would pick a marketing strategy that is gonna be scalable over time. That also applies to the niche. That’s gonna have some depth to it that you can go deep as opposed to having to go wide. An example of that would be, pardon?
Matt: Absolutely, no it’s great. Go for the example.
Patrick: Okay cool. An example for that would say it’s like you want to teach people how to do dog training. That can be great but after you get a dog training product off the ground you have 2 options and one’s to go deep and that would be to advanced dog training or maybe service dog training or something else that is still in the dog niche, where you’re gonna be selling a similar product like the 2.0 or the 202 class to your existing customers.
That would be going deep. Going wide would be where you’re now producing cat training or bird training or something like that. Every time you go into a new niche and you go wide, you need to create a new front end offer. You need to create maybe a new brand, a new website, a new check up process, you have to build a new customer base.
That is really really hard. It’s easier to build one big fan base, one big customer base and just constantly improve products. Build a relationship with those people and really become the master in your domain.
I was talking to a friend the other day and he’s interested in some different health products. He’s basically taking his time and choosing that niche because he’s like this might be the next 5 or 10 years of my life. That’s really interesting.
That’s one reason why it’s so important to do your niche research and why I like freelancing because people are really going to get some action of seeing what’s out there. Especially if they’re working with business owners and seeing what other people are doing, seeing how they’re making their money.
There’s some industries that really are only promoted through affiliate marketing. It’s like, do you really want to deal with affiliates, manage that entity which takes a lot of work and stuff like that. You really have you ask yourself those questions.
Seeing conversely, I have other friends that love affiliates and they don’t want to do what I do which is paid traffic.
Matt: I love the analogy I heard recently it says that if you want to play on the PGA tour, you’re not gonna get 3 golf lessons and then go out for the tour.
Patrick: Yeah, I’ve already tried that about brain surgery.
Matt: Exactly. I think that there’s the double edge sword of internet marketing. While there is money. I’ve traveled the world making money, you’ve traveled the world making money, while that is there. There are so many people pitching snake oil out there that people think that guys like you and I, essentially put up a couple pages and have just been traveling on that money.
Where there’s consistent day in day out months up months and years upon years of effort and grinding.
Patrick: Yeah, I paid my dues.
Matt: Like you were saying, you’re gonna be in it for 5-10 years. I think a lot of people get in thinking that they’re gonna be in for a couple of years and then just have this 10K a month, going on the outside here somewhere on the … It just really doesn’t work like that.
Patrick: That’s funny. I remember I had a partner in one of my businesses when I was getting started in the online world. We were negotiating contracts and we were anticipating having problems like how are we gonna count all our money, like maybe I’ll have a house in Venice.
It wasn’t actually like that but I mean we were just way to optimistic. This is one reason why I’m such a fan of freelancing because you don’t know what you don’t know if you dive in at the deep end and you go and buy say $10,000 of inventory but you don’t even know how to make a website or how to build a relationship with customers and build that trust and really create something that’s different and unique and worthwhile. I do want to see it. The dream is alive.
Last year, I think I took about 5 months off. Of course, several of those months I took off to do a new start up and work on a new project that we closed the doors on. Which had more to do with the personality dynamics then the actual underlying business. I’m eternally grateful for the lifestyle that I have and the world that I’ve seen and stuff like that. It does take work. It’s not as good as I imagined and it’s way harder but it’s very doable.
Matt: Absolutely. You’re in Austin right now. What brought you to Austin? I know you’re getting ready to leave and head to Denver.
Patrick: Yeah my Subaru got me to Austin. Yeah with my Colorado plates. I’ve been back in the United States for about 2 and a half months. I came down to Austin cause it’s a sweet city and wanted to check out the internet marketing scene here because there’s so many marketers.
Matt: It’s pretty ridiculous right?
Patrick: Yeah. I haven’t even tried meeting people and I’ve met loads and loads of people. People that are running really interesting businesses. People that are very smart. People that are making things happen. It’s amazing.
Matt: Yeah it really is. You’re heading back to Denver and you’re gonna do what there?
Patrick: I am I’m leave in like 12 hours.
Matt: You leave in 12 hours?
Patrick: No I’m gonna sleep in late. I’m gonna leave in 18 hours.
Matt: That’s awesome man.
Patrick: Get in at like 3 in the morning. I’m not looking forward to it.
Matt: All right, well cool man. If someone wanted to get a hold of you for consulting on the health supplements business. Do you do that at all?
Patrick: No. I don’t do that. You can’t afford me. I’m not for hire. I did this because we’re friends and I believe in what you’re building. I love meeting people and I love helping them and stuff and I’m always happy to help people and stuff like that. I’d rather just meet over a beer and help somebody get a business off the ground and stuff rather than actually hire myself out.
Matt: Awesome man. Well thanks for taking the time. I know you got a lot of packing to do and you’ve got a long night ahead of you.
Patrick: I do. I got to go on a fancy date and say my goodbyes to some people.
Matt: Spend some money.
Patrick: I think she’s paying is what she said.
Patrick: I’m gonna hold her to it.
Matt: Talk to you soon brother.
Patrick: Yeah sure thing.
Matt: Bye bye.