After Google asked him to be a YouTube Marketing Ambassador, Jake Larsen quit his job – a month before his first child was born – to start Video Power Marketing, a video production and advertising agency that helps companies drive traffic and increase sales using YouTube Advertising.
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- ‘I live to create value in peoples lives and I measure myself by their success.’ – Unknown click to tweet!
- Jake was 10 years old, in Las Vegas, and about to learn a VERY important lesson…
Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment
- Jake was cramped in a cubicle listening to EntrepreneurOnFire and plotting his way OUT of there, and into his Entrepreneurial dream. Well, a business trip to Google’s headquarters and a glance at the new YouTube ad platform gave him all the juice he needed to LEAP!
- Jake could not be more fired up that 40 Super Bowls happen on YouTube every day. What does that mean exactly?… Tune in to find out, Fire Nation!
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John: Entrepreneur on Fire 770. Hold on to those afterburners Fire Nation. Johnny Doom is here and I am fired up to bring you our feature guest today, Jake Larsen. Jake, are you prepared to ignite?
Jake: Well, that depends John; do you have a fire extinguisher ready?
John: Love it.
Jake: Because if so, then yes.
John: After Google asked him to be a YouTube marketing ambassador, Jake Larsen quit his job a month before his first child was born, to start Video Power Marketing. A video production slash advertising agency that helps companies drive traffic and increase sales using YouTube advertising. Jake, I've given Fire Nation just a little insight, so share more about you personally, and then expand upon the biz.
Jake: Yeah, so – I mean, it's crazy to kind of look at where you are today and see what events took place to get you to where you are, you know, right now, and the decisions that were made. So a little bit of background, I come from like a video production background. I love the whole creative process, creating things. And even more so I love creating videos that people see. And I came to find out early on that, you know, videos are like a business, or a product, is worthless unless people see it. And so that was kind of always something that I was struggling trying to find is how to get people to see the things you create.
And I got a job at a startup company called Zag, at the time. They're not startup anymore, but they do internet – or excuse me, phone – iPhone accessories, or cell phone accessories. And I started doing some video production for them. And it was here that I learned how to get people to find these videos, and find the product, and connect the customers to product. And we became – we did pretty well with it. In fact, we were a case study o how businesses can use YouTube to grow. And then we – every year I was there, in fact I remember listening to your podcast in the cubicle. Like, oh, man I got to quit my job and start my own thing.
John: You were listening to Entrepreneur on Fire in your cubicle?
Jake: I was. I remember.
Jake: Yeah, totally. So I was there for four years, and every year that I was there, like this is the last – this is it. This is the year I'm gonna do it, start my own thing. And then, the year would roll round and I'm still there. And, I mean, it was a great job. I loved it. I mean, it was really cool, but I just wanted something more. And so I found your podcast and started listening to it. But a cool thing happened is we were – we were asked by – we were one of ten companies asked by Google to become YouTube marketing ambassadors. And so they kind of flew us out there to the headquarters and showed us the new True View ads that we're happening.
Those are the ads on YouTube that you could skip after five seconds. And so we got – I mean, it was there that I saw the future. I'm like: holly cow, this is amazing stuff. I mean, this is what Ad Words was ten years ago. It's like brand new and it's huge potential. It's leveling the playing field of consumers and, you know, million dollar advertisers. And yeah, I still wanted to quit my job, and I just felt like this was the time to do it. And I talked with my wife, and I'm like: can we do it? I know the baby is coming, but I feel really good about it. And she goes, “As long as we have insurance, I don’t care.”
So we worked that out. And I locked into kind of two clients as a safety net in case it failed. And it's been amazing. Yeah, I quit my job a little over a year ago, and had our child. She’s so fun, definitely the motivator of everything. And you know what, life is good. Business is good. We're helping people get their products in front of their future customers. And in fact, that’s the reason why, I think, I met you is because –
Jake: Gideon Shalwick, actually purchased on of my courses and lined us up, and then talked with you a couple times. And so I guess that’s why we're having this conversation today is because of YouTube ads.
John: That’s why we're talking right now baby. Yeah, Gideon and I have been friends for awhile. And we both spoke out in the Philippians. And in other words as telling him about how I also see the future of You Tube and I love it. And he was just like: you got to check this guy Jake Larsen out. He has this great course, and he’s just doing some really cool things, like he’s cutting edge. And that’s how sometimes it all happens. You know, I mean, here you have Fire Nation, Jake in a cubicle, listening to Entrepreneur on Fire, being like: when can I breakout and do my own thing?
You know, not too long after that listening to those episodes, he was getting contacted by me asking for help, for advice, for guidance in YouTube marketing, you know, which we've since taken. And, you know, it's really just a fascinating story Jake. I'm really excited to be sharing it with Fire Nation. You know, one thing that I really love talking about, and I love that you brought it up, is that you did this. You made this leap one month before your baby was born. And this beautiful apple in your eye now, you know, your daughter.
You said yourself, a motivator. She’s such a motivator. And that’s why, you know, there's never really the wrong time to make that leap. And sometimes, when you think it might be the worst time, like a month before having a baby, can actually in some ways be the best time. And I call that jig the baby affect. Because you better believe Fire Nation, that when Jake looked into his daughter’s eyes, he was not going to fail as an entrepreneur. He was going to make it happen by hook or by crook because now he is looking at this person, this little child that he is, you know, has to take care of and is responsible for.
And that’s a powerful powerful motivator for any human being. And, I mean, Jake, I'm sure there's no phone calls that you wouldn’t make, there's no fears that you would let hold you back, you know, if it would come between you and feeding and housing your child. And so Fire Nation, that’s just a powerful thought to make and realize that sometimes, you know, when you have that baby, that baby affect kicks in. Sometimes when your backs against the wall and you have no other option but to succeed, then you do succeed.
And Jake, we're going to get into your story in depth coming up here. But before we get into all that jazz, we always start with a success quote and why you chose it?
Jake: I live to create value in people’s life – lives – because I live to create value in people’ lives. And I measure myself based on their success. I like that because if you're always looking to provide value for people, and you measure yourself based on their success, then you will always be needed. You will always have what you need to succeed. I think those are the – I mean, if you help other people succeed, then everything else will follow what you need.
John: So Jake, I love that quote for so many reasons. There's a great Zig Ziglar quote that’s like, “If you can get anything and have anything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want and need in life.” And nothing is more true then or now in that actual phrase because it's all about providing that value. And Jake, that’s what you're doing in the YouTube video world. That’s what I'm doing with Entrepreneur on Fire in the podcasting world, powerful stuff my friend. Let’s start telling some stories, Jake.
Jake: Okay, let’s do it.
John: We're all about the stories here at Entrepreneur on Fire. And you have some great ah ha moments, some great successes, but let’s talk about a failure first, buddy. Let’s talk about a time that you Jake Larsen fell flat on your face. Tell us that story my friend, let’s share.
Jake: All right. I was a 10-year-old in Las Vegas with my family. We were going to Lake Mead, and we stopped at Excalibur to spend the night. So yeah, I was ten years old in Excalibur with my family. And they had this little thing down there; it was basically like a carnival, like for kids. And it was one of those games that you had to throw the ball in the vase, and if you got – if you got it, you would get this really cool stuffed animal. As a 10-year-old, I saw this stuffed animal that I was like: oh, this is cool. Something – yeah, I really want that.
And my dad gave successful all, the kids, five bucks to go spend on games. And I dropped all five bucks on that game and didn’t get anything. I didn’t win. So I go back to my dad and I'm like: I need some more money. I want to win this game. He’s like, “I'm not gonna give you more money. Go up and get your own money, if that’s something you want to do.” So I go up in my – in the hotel room and grab – I think it was twenty bucks that I had saved up from all these miscellaneous projects, like I had a paper route and all this other stuff.
My dad’s like, “Jake, do you realize these games are geared just to take your money. You're probably not gonna win. You're wasting your money.” I'm like, “No, I can do it. I know I can do it.” So I put down ten bucks on and start throwing the balls and they're just not going in, and I'm like: what the crap? I'm pretty good at basketball; I should be able to get this in. And then I had this ten bucks in my hand and I'm looking at it, and I'm like: let’s do this. So I drop the rest of that money in. And I had like three more tosses or whatever and didn’t get it. So I remember being so sad, I think, I cried that whole night.
And I was like this is so stupid. I was so depressed. And my dad’s just like almost like, you know, told you so. But what it was is that decision was an impulse decision on something that was like very high risk. And because of that I lost, you know, my money, I wasted some time, and that work that I had earned that money with, kind of all went down the drain within an hour. That was my gambling story.
John: So Jake, let’s tie this all together for entrepreneur. Yeah, so what, you know, is some major takeaways? Like, what have you learned from this that you apply to your current life?
Jake: So I think it's – it's in decision making. And I think – I mean, entrepreneurs are known for taking risks, but I think it's more like calculated risk. And I feel like what I learned – because people tell me, “Oh my God, you quit your job a month before your child was born?” I'm like that – you got balls to do that, you know. Well, I mean, I was – it was a long time coming. Like, I had been working with clients before then. I mean, I got to a point the last couple months of work is I was coming home from work at 5:00, and would continue to work until midnight working on a clients – other clients projects and stuff.
And it just got to a point where I couldn’t keep doing that. And so I was looking at what I was making on the side, versus at my job. I was looking at the possible opportunity – I was looking at the opportunity that was going to happen. If I stayed at my job I wouldn’t be able to take those opportunities. And so I just compared the two and two, and I just – it would have been a stupid decision for me to stay at my job given this – given the place I was in. So I mean, it wasn’t a high risk at all, it was a calculated risk. And it was a save move.
In fact, before I even quit my job, I had actually moved from full time salary, down to part time hourly, so I could free up some more time, you know, to keep trying and get this side business to work. So it was a very slow and gradual decision I made, and very calculated. It wasn’t like one night, “I'm gonna quit my job.” And just do it the next day, it was like a long time coming, and slowly, but surely.
John: So Jake, let’s analyze this for a second, because one thing that I'm a huge proponent of is this side preneur route. I mean, I will say I'm very vocal and transparent about my journey, and yes, I did quit, and I just cut the umbilical chord and I leapt in, and I was all in hook liner sinker. And in other words as able to do that for a number of reasons. You know, I had a large savings. I didn’t have a family. I was living very lower, below my needs. I mean, I just – I had a very long runway, like I wasn’t make it or break it for me. I had time to fail and to make mistakes and to not generate any revenue.
But the side preneur trip, Fire Nation, is a great road to go down. You know, it's a great road to go down, so you can still be supplementing your income and paying your bills. And, you know, building up your confidence and your knowledge base, but it's gonna take time, and it's gonna take effort and energy. You're gonna have to wake up a couple hours earlier, go to bed a couple hours later, and spend that time building up your side preneur gig, so that when 6 months, 12 months go down the road, you can look at yourself and say: okay, now if I make that leap, I'm gonna be coming in with a whole set of skills that I can rock with.
So Jake, let’s kind of transition now to another story that’s – I want you to tell us. And, you know, maybe it's gonna take place in Las Vegas, maybe it's not. Maybe it's gonna involve gambling, maybe it's not. But I want it to be an ah ha moment. I want it to be an epiphany, a light bulb that you had at some point in your journey. And of course Jake, you’ve had many of these moments, but which story will impact Fire Nation the most? Tell us that story.
Jake: So this happened the week of – a month after I quit my job, and the week of our baby’s birth. It was a c-section because she was breach, so the date was planned about when the date – the birth was happening. And I actually had, like three video shoots lined up a week prior. And then, one of the most time consuming things is editing with video, like the shooting, and then the editing, it's just really time consuming. And so I know I didn’t want to be working, like that next week. And so I basically hired and contracted some people to work with to help me with that process.
And I just charged the client, you know, a little bit more money than usual, so that I could pay these other people to help me with these projects. So the big ah ha moment came, you know, that week that she was born, I'm in a hospital, and there's no desire to work, or no desire to do anything. But I see these emails come in with these rough cuts, and all I had to do was a forward an email. And so I'm like this is awesome, like work is getting done, but I'm not working. And that just – that kind of clicked, like how can I do more of this? How can I do more and work less? And so that kind of triggered the systems and getting a talented team together to make that happen. So that was my big ah ha moment.
John: So Jake, that’s a huge ah ha moment. Because as entrepreneurs we need to always be asking ourselves: how can we leverage our time? How can we scale our knowledge, the information that we have inside of us? You know, I recently made a pretty he decision. I moved away from doing one on one mentorship. You know, this is for me, a five figure a month revenue. You know, I have four mentees every single month, who pay me between $2,000 to $3,000 per month. I was generating between $8,000 to $12,000 every single month, just from one on one mentorship alone. And it wasn’t a ton of time. You know, it was a 20 minute phone call a week.
It was reasonable email access, which meant at most one email a day, and that was it. So it wasn’t taking me an incredible amount of time, and it was, you know, for annually it was a six figure revenue number. But it didn’t even compare to what I could do with my time, if I use it in other areas, like with Podcaster’s Paradise, and with Webinar on Fire, you know, which brings – which bring in, you know, $20, $30, $40,000 a week. So that is really where I wanted to change my focus to. And that’s obviously where you started to see the power of leveraging and scaling. So what is the one thing that you want our listeners, Fire Nation to walk away with from – from that epiphany that you had?
And so that we the listeners can kind of implement this action in our lives.
Jake: Time is your most valuable resource. And so – I mean, if you can create systems, or even just hire out people to do repetitive tasks, which – I mean, whatever you can do to free up your time, then you can focus on the really cool side of your business. You know, the up and coming projects, or new opportunity. I mean, the number one thing is just to free up your time with stuff that you don’t have – yeah, it's a limited resource.
John: Time is your most valuable resource, Fire Nation. Truer words have never been spoken because time is one thing you can never replace. So Jake, you’ve had a lot of incredibly proud moments, share with us the moment in time that you would consider your proudest entrepreneurial moment.
Jake: You know, I get those all the time. Like, I look back and I'm like – there's just – this is the simple fact, what makes me proud is just the fact that I can support my family with what I'm passionate about. That my knowledge and skill set, and stuff that I love to do, I get paid to do it. it's like this is something I’d do for free, and like: you're gonna pay me to do this? Oh, sweet.
John: So Jake, let me break in here because that’s a little vague. I want you to take us to a moment that you consider that proudest moment. Was it when your wife turned to you and said, “Honey, I need $5 for milk.” And you were like, “Here’s $50.” Like, what is that moment?
Jake: I got it. So I remember one day specifically, it was like maybe two months after I quit my job. And it was one of those nights I just didn’t sleep very well. I'm like: where are these funds gonna come in? Like, I'm kind of waiting, you know. And I got up at like 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning just trying to think up a process. And it was – yeah, just trying to plan on it. How can we get some more income to come in? That day I met with a client, and closed it. He cut me a check. And this – the amount of the check, it would have taken me like three months at my day job to get this check, you know, the amount of money.
And so I come home with this check. I show my wife, and like I just – that – I'm like: oh, my gosh. I just felt so grateful. And I'm like this – it's working. Like, we can do this. This is gonna work out. Everything is gonna be fine. So I guess I went from like extreme doubt, and like what's gonna happen, to like I just got a check that would have taken me three months at my day job to get that, like holly cow.
John: Now Jake, that’s a proud moment. That’s a moment in time that you can remember forever. And Fire Nation, these are the moments, you know, that we're striving for. And Jake, specking of moments, I want to take this conversation to the present moment, today 2014. What is the one thing that has you most fired up right now?
Jake: This simple stat: 40 Super bowls happen every day on YouTube. So this is a really exciting time, where its leveled the playing field from these companies that have, you know, millions and billions of dollars of ad spend. With like, you know, us entrepreneurs, or like maybe people who startup trying to find a way to get their product in front of the right people. But like you take last year’s Super Bowl, I think, it had 100 million views. 100 million people were watching the Super Bowl last year. Every day on YouTube there are 4 billion views.
YouTube has a billion monthly active users. So, I mean, with that stat, like if there are 40 Super Bowls that happen every day on YouTube, and what's cool is you don’t need to spend Super Bowl money to get Super Bowl like exposure. I mean, we're talking, with YouTube ads, I mean, you – it's three to seven cents cost per view, and you can target any specific types of people. So that’s something that’s really exciting to me is how when you create a video or you create a product, it is possible to get that in front of very specific types of people and to get them to do something about it.
And that kind of happens every day. Anyone can get exposure right now. Anyone can talk to anyone, and they can learn anything, and know how to do anything. And there's no excuses anymore. If you fail, it's your own fault. It's not because you don’t know how, it not because you don’t know who, it's just because you just don’t do it. So that’s – yeah, that’s the one thing I'm excited about is that you can get your message in front of the right audience.
John: Boom Jake, enough said. Fire Nation, it's on you. And Jake, we are about to enter the lightning round, but before we do, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors. Jake, welcome to the lightning round, where you get to share incredible resources in mind blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Jake: Let’s do it.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Jake: Doubts and excuses. Excuses eliminate your power to act, and one of the things that I – specifically was insurance. Like, I can't quit my job because we don’t have insurance. But when I reversed that excuse and said: what needs to happen, so I can't quit my job? Like, I don’t have insurance, oh great, I’ll find out how to get that. We’ll make it happen. And then that excuse is gone. Like, instead of looking for why you can't do something, look at why you can.
John: Jake, what's the best advice you’ve ever received?
Jake: Activity does not equal accomplishment. I mean, you can look really busy and be doing lots of stuff, but that doesn’t mean things are good and done. It's kind of like the whole 80/20 rule, you know, focus on the stuff that actually works.
John: I love that: Pareto’s Principle. Jake, share one of your personal habits that you believe contributes to your success?
Jake: The power of prayer. I believe that something amazing happens when you take a little bit of your time out of every day to communicate with your maker, and just try and align your actions with your beliefs. You know, everything that I've really wanted and desired in this life, when I prayed for it and worked hard at it, it's happened.
John: Jake, do you have an internet resource, like an Evernote, that you can share with our listeners?
Jake: Google. I do Google everything. You know, Gmail, docs, analytics, even YouTube, calendar, everything is just YouTube – or excuse me, everything is just Google.
John: I run my entire business off of Google. I couldn’t be more happy about it. And Jake, if you could recommend just one book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Jake: It’s a tie between The Alchemist by Paul Coelho and The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. The Alchemist because it really plays off like, you know, following your passion and doing – and getting what you want, kind of the more – I feel like it's the more right side, the creative side of the brain. But then, The E-Myth too because that kind of sets some structure in kind of, I feel like the systems that people need to really grow their business and put in the right strategies.
John: Well, Fire Nation, I know that you love audio, so if you haven’t already, you can get an amazing audio book like one of these for free at eofirebook.com. That’s EO fire book.com. Jake, this next question is the last of the lightning round, but it's a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of. But all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next seven days?
Jake: Okay. I would look around and see if I see any advertisements. And I’d see whose advertisements they are. And then I’d find out how to get that contact information of that company, and see, you know, what they're willing to spend to acquire a customer, or setup some like cost pre-acquisition, or cost per lead. And then, if – then, I would setup a YouTube campaign, a video campaign around those results. So drop ten bucks, I guess, on domain hosting, people. And then, probably $300 in ad spend to draw traffic to a landing page.
And then, if I got a – if you’ve got a laptop, they have cameras on them, so you could just shoot some videos there and just – yeah, I’d target people to get – to help that company acquire more leads or customers, and charge them of it.
John: Jake, I love that specificity. I love the fact that you're gonna go out there and start making things happen. And let’s end it today, literally on fire, with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Jake: Let’s see. So the best way to connect with me, if you go to videopower.org, we have a lot of stuff on there, and a contact forum. You Carolyn: eve email me at [email protected] I love to hear, you know, people’s stories, and connect with talented people. And we actually did – I got the domain a couple years ago: advertisingonyoutube.com. We're starting to build that out.
Jake: Yeah, right when that whole thing launched, I just looked up the domain: advertisingonyoutube.com and it was available. So I'm like purchase.
John: Snag it. And what's that one parting piece of guidance?
Jake: Don’t let excuses get in the way of what you really want, straight up.
John: So Fire Nation, you are the average off the five people you spend the most time with and you have been hanging out with Jake and myself today. So keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com, type Jake in the search bar, his show notes page will pop right up with his book recommendation, with his contact information, you name it, it's there. And Jake, thank you my friend for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. And for that we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Jake: Thanks John, you're the man.
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