Tony Durso is the “Dream Business Maker” and host of the popular Internet podcast, Revenue Chat. He Interviews CEOs, best-selling authors and experts who have achieved success in their respective fields. Revenue Chat soared to over 400,000 downloads in its first year. His latest book is Easy Sales Procedures.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:20] – Being an entrepreneur allows Tony to have his own schedule
- [01:24] – Tony has been married for 25 years, no children but has an Akita dog named Ronin
- [03:33] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Tony’s expertise is in management, sales and marketing
- [07:03] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: In March, things started disappearing on Tony’s website and it turned out that he was hacked.
- [12:40] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Before the Internet become popular, Tony registered his name as his domain and started a blog
- 14:00 – Tony has only 1 domain for every product that he launches and he gains traffic and followers continuously
- [17:20] – “Cross-market and do whatever you can to do that”
- [17:34] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? Tony is working on several virtual classes and will finally teach sales and marketing online
- [18:24] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – It was difficult for Tony to leave his cozy corporate world
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – It was from Tony’s inner voice that he come up with his own product
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – In the morning, Tony handles all of his communication. In the afternoon, it’s Tony’s production time, and evening is Tony’s family time. He lives a balanced life.
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Fiverr
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Beach Money by Jordan Adler is very helpful and profound
- [23:35] – Make a revenue stream out of your hobby or something you love
- [24:10] – “You need multiple income streams because your day job can stop any minute”
- [25:20] – Reach Tony via his email and website
Tony: John, let’s get smoking.
John: Yes! Tony is The Dream Business Maker and host of the popular podcast Revenue Chat. He interviews CEOs, bestselling authors and experts who achieve success in their respective fields. Revenue Chat soared to over 400,000 downloads in its first year and his latest book is Easy Sales Procedures. Tony, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Tony: Sure, John. First thanks again for having me on and I really hope to return the favor and maybe have you on Revenue Chat someday.
John: I’d love to be on, Tony.
Tony: Oh, awesome, great. It makes my day. And a little bit about me, being an entrepreneur and running my own schedule allows an incredible freedom, as you know. And I’ve been with my wife nearly 25 years as of this December. No kids, but we have Ronin. He’s 140 pound white Akita and he’s our child. Yeah, last November he tore one of his ACLs, that’s like dislocating your knee, and he required a lot of intensive care. Then this March he tore the other knee because just the weight on one good leg just kind of –
Tony: Yep. So I have to roll him around on a cart every day. He’s been written about at mypuppyclub.net and he’s on YouTube also. If you search for Ronin recovery, just think of the samurai without a master. Now it’s been nearly a year since the first torn ACL and he’s walking around like a champ and he doesn’t need the cart as much, though there’s still a pronounced limp. He’s doing better every day, he has great disposition, and neighbors come out all the time to say hello to him on our walks.
And you know, he’s my buddy as an entrepreneur. He’s been with me through thick and thin, I’ve taken care of him since running my business, and he’s my office companion. Now, he used to think he was the CEO which was very stressful for him and when I realized he just couldn’t handle it, it was just too much; I finally had to demote him, John to just answering the phones. And that chilled him out a lot. Now he sleeps on the job except for his union allocated tree time and meal breaks. Actually he’s the love of our life and I’m really glad my schedule’s flexible enough to take care of him when needed.
John: Tony, that is true love. And for anybody that’s a dog owner, or hey, a cat owner, you just know that the animals become a part of your life. They really become a part of your life. I grew up at all times with two dogs in my family and look back on those times very fondly. Tony, I kind of wanna move forward into what I consider one of your unique value distinguishers. And you have a value bomb for us, like what do you specialize in? What are you an expert in? And give us one unique value bomb in that area that we just need to know.
Tony: My area of expertise is in management, sales, and marketing. I’ve started successful companies and did well in real estate, collectibles, an insurance technology project, and some other industries including running a company that obtained two medical patents and a number of other great potential inventions. Now my laser focus is on Revenue Chat and having a great podcast and a growing audience. Now measured alongside others, I’m probably ahead of the curve but I think, and know, I have a long ways to go to achieve a more gratifying success. I think when I hit eight digits I’ll think I’ve made it. Now [inaudible] [00:03:35].
John: No, because then you’ll think that you want nine. Believe me; it always goes up, Tony. It’s just reality. Drop the value bomb, brother.
Tony: Here we go. People in the Fire Nation may not be able to fly to a conference and put themselves up for a few days, you know, like you did when you started, John. They may not be able to leave their day job and duties or responsibilities at home. They may not be able to hire a mentor, so what to do? Well, you search and you find the one key person who you would love to have as a mentor if you could afford it. This person will no doubt have some free email offers, so you sign up and get everything free that person has. You eat everything fully. You absorb like a sponge. You make this person your secret mentor.
Now this person will no doubt answer some questions by email, so use that, that person may have a free introductory 30-odd minute consulting session, so use that. Absorb, absorb, absorb. Read every blog by this person and any books. Be the sponge and make this person your secret mentor. Study his website or her website, do the best to absorb everything and that will help you sail much faster to your success. So get a secret mentor at the very least and get started right now, dive in as this is the perfect time right now, right this second.
John: Secret mentor, Fire Nation. And I really wanna kind of expound on this value bomb a little bit because I think it is a great call. You need to find somebody who is currently where you want to be. So many people struggle with mentors because they just look for the successful person, the person that they admire, or who looks good, or who sounds good, or fill in the blank. No, you need to find that person who is exactly where you want to be on your journey as an entrepreneur, where if you get to that point you’re like okay, I’ve achieved a lot and now what’s that next step?
So find that mentor who is where you wanna be and then just completely start stalking that person virtually. I mean, follow him or her on social media, sign up for their email newsletters, reach out to them when you can, show them that you’re a person of value of support, comment on their stuff. Don’t be just a lurker, be somebody that’s actually involved in the content that they’re producing. Believe me, I know who my top 100 followers are, the people that engage with me. I know those people because I see them over and over again. We notice these things Fire Nation.
Find that person who is where you want to be and then just become a real fan, a real person of value to them by just supporting what they’re doing. And that can grow into something meaningful. So, Tony, let’s do a little bit of a shift into what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. Take us to that moment, Tony. Tell us that story.
Tony: Oh, my, John. This one’s tough. My worst entrepreneurial moment was actually earlier this year. Now while I had several in my life, it seems the last one was almost enough to well, make me throw in the towel and I’ll explain. I was rocking and rolling on Revenue Chat, I was getting 100,000 people to my website monthly, my downloads were kicking it, I was going all out on getting something solid. And then about in March – Revenue Chat I started last September, I just hit my one year anniversary by the way.
And then about in March I noticed things started disappearing off my website. I would put up images and something else would disappear. Links started getting deleted, other links ended up as error 404, pages were getting deleted, my website started looking like a 4-year-old made it. It was horrible. And the faster I worked to put things back, the more stuff would just get disappeared. At some points the whole website would be deleted and gone for days.
Well, it turned out I was getting viciously hacked. I would reinstall the last saved version and this cat-and-mouse game went on for a month or two and I finally – well, I went off WordPress onto another system that made my site look even worse and it was beyond my technical knowledge to make better and everything was just pretty much getting shut down. I had to reschedule guests, it was horrible, John.
Now I don’t cry on the outside, but I was really hurt on the inside. My beautiful empire that I was creating was being sabotaged by someone for no reason. It was brutal and it was enough to put anybody else on the streets I think. And I truly thank my wife for her support during all of this. Well, after moving around to several companies and getting a number of tech people to help me and – it’s just quite a work. I finally got a brand new site full of the best security I could find and slowly I started to put everything back in order, get guests back on, and so forth. And now my site looks pretty good and I nearly nailed 500,000 downloads in my first year. I just pulled through.
John: Now I kind of wanna dive in on this because this is so valuable, Fire Nation. Sometimes success begets success, but sometimes success begets struggle because you become more of a target. People start to maybe take little snipe shots at you. Or maybe there’s just some people out there that are like hey, let’s just take that person down for any number of reasons. I mean, unfortunately, there are people out there in the world that do these things. So how do we protect ourselves? And you, Tony, looking back, what do you wanna make sure Fire Nation takes away from your story? How could you or should you have protected yourself against something like this in a more meaningful or potentially successful way?
Tony: Having never been hacked you don’t think it’s gonna happen.
John: Well, first off Fire Nation, think it’s going to happen. Because hopefully it doesn’t, but it’s always better to be thinking that it’s going to so you can be prepared.
Tony: A smart man once said that if you drill and prepare for an emergency it doesn’t happen. So that’s what you gotta do.
John: I like it. So what would you do specifically?
Tony: I would make sure that I speak to my ISP and whoever does any technical work for me that I really have good security. Because you don’t necessarily know all this stuff. There’s back doors all over the place. So you just have to make sure that you have good security and talk to your people and to stay up in current with what’s happening because people can be taken down very easily.
I mean, there was a teenager that took down or got into the CIA Director’s emails. I mean, this stuff can and does happen. You are not invulnerable; you’re just not necessarily a target. And what I did, exactly as you say John, by rising up so high so fast people said, “Oh, let’s take this guy down. Rich capitalist. Let’s –” you know, whatever, I don’t know. But it can happen so prepare yourself. Do backups often.
John: And Fire Nation, what I will say is this. You are vulnerable period. That is just a quote. Every single person in the world is vulnerable, again, from the CIA all the way down to us. It’s just we might not be a target yet, but you are vulnerable. Just remember that. You are vulnerable. There’s back doors everywhere.
Personally I’ll give you a couple tools that I use. I use WP Engine, that’s my actual server. So what I love about them is they’re doing daily backups. So even something like with what happened with Tony where a 404 happened or something disappeared, I can just go back and completely recreate my website from yesterday or the day before, so on and so forth. And then they can go and search and plug in any holes that they see about where that breach happened.
Then I also have a web guy who I do pay, and it’s not necessarily cheap so you don’t have to start there, but now I have a web guy who knows my site inside and out, who’s always testing things and if the worst had happened I have faith that he could go in and make things right in a decent amount of time. You know, not overnight, but in a decent amount of time.
So, just a couple of things to think about Fire Nation, a couple of valuable takeaways. So you just don’t have that headache, that nightmare because again, you’ve prepared for it, you’ve drilled for it. So even if the worst does happen you’re ready to make a quick change, adjustment, fix, whatever it might be. So Tony, let’s shift to what you consider one of your aha moments in this world. Take us to an idea that you had and what was the origin of that idea? When did that lightbulb come on and how did you turn it into a success?
Tony: Well, John, this one’s interesting. Some years after the internet became popular I decided I should register my own name as a domain name, tonyD-U-R-S-O.com and use it for blogs. You know, most of us were still trying to figure out how to make things work and the internet kept changing directions on us, but I knew I needed that. So I started off with blogs and I built a small amount of website visitors as time went on.
Then when I released my first book on sales and marketing called The Black Book of Sales Secrets, I got that domain, put up a site for that and worked to push traffic to that site. And I had some other projects pending and I put up sites on those and worked to push traffic to them. I spent a lot and did a lot of experiments on this. Well, through all of this I realized of course website visitors were hard to come by and took time to grow and mature.
And then it hit me. I remembered as a kid seeing a movie about the ancient Romans and how all roads lead to Rome. Something about that phrase always stuck in my head John. All roads lead to Rome. This meant that anywhere you were in Europe back in those days, if you headed toward Rome you would find that any road took you there. Translated to me now, this meant all that you work on should be pushed to one source. All roads lead to Rome. Why keep creating domain after domain and then trying to send people over to some other place? And then create another domain and send people to yet another place.
I see this when someone comes out with a book, they get that name as a domain; it’s a logical assumption, conclusion. Here you get that name as a domain and then you push all that you can to send everyone to that website. And then when they come out with a class or something else they create another website and they push everyone over to that. This bifurcates and dilutes yourself thoroughly.
So I began to use my own name for whatever I did. When I released my next book I put it on tonyD-U-R-S-O.com. When I released Revenue Chat I put it on tonydurso.com. And those products got the benefit of all the traffic I had built up and generated for the years. John, if I do nothing at all, I get some tens of thousands of visitors a month to tonydurso.com all on its own.
Now it took years to build that and there’s no way I will build another domain and tell people to go someplace else, except of course I have to do something like that when trying to build more audience as in the case of iTunes. But even there I push my domain and iTunes. So all roads lead to Rome. Make use of all the hard work on your key domain and try to use that for your new products and services.
John: Fire Nation, my big takeaway here is don’t fragment your audience. And I see a lot of people fragmenting their audience. I’ve had a couple people approach me over the past, just even couple of months, with ideas for a couple different podcasts. And I said, “Those podcast ideas are super similar. Why do you wanna have two different shows when you can just combine them into one show and drive everybody to that show?” And therefore instead of having two decently ranked shows that are getting decent amounts of traffic, you have one show that is going to go up the rankings because the downloads, the subscribers, the ratings, the reviews, etc. So it will rise in rank and then guess what? That’s gonna drive more organic traffic because a lot of people search by rank.
And just like when Tony’s talking, now that he has this one website, his website is going to rise in Alexa, which is a ranking service for websites. And so that when Google is trying to pull from great content from great websites, his website’s gonna come across as a great website because it’s got a lot of traffic, a lot of links, a lot of X, Y, and Z. So you have opportunities then to rank for key words in Google. So there’s a lot of great reasons not to fragment your audience and there are very few great reasons to fragment your audience. So I’m with you Tony. I love it. And in just one sentence brother, what’s the one takeaway you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from your aha moment?
Tony: Get a domain name for your own domain and just put everything there, your speaking, your consulting, anything you do for a coach or classes, your webinars. And you can make them subdomains so that everything comes from one source and the traffic – when a person comes for your book but they see that you have webinars, or a person comes for your coaching and sees that you have a book, you’re cross-marketing yourself. You have to do that as an entrepreneur. You can’t just have one thing. So cross-market and do what you can to do that.
John: Tony, just a couple sentences, break it down for us. What are you most fired up about right now?
Tony: Well, John, I actually have several things that have me in a frenzy.
John: I only want one. I only want one.
Tony: Okay, I am working on setting up my own classes and I’ll finally be teaching sales and marketing online. And I can’t wait to finish the whole thing and get it out to everyone. This has me jazzed. And now that Revenue Chat is growing nicely and everything is going to the next level now for me is to teach and get something going online on classes.
John: And I’m sure, Fire Nation, because of Tony’s most recent rant here that you can find that at tonydurso.com. So Fire Nation don’t you go anywhere because we’re about to enter the lightning round. We’re gonna take a quick minute first to thank our sponsors. Tony, are you prepared for the lightning round?
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Tony: John, you know, I always felt I could do better on my own business but it’s hard to leave when you have a cushy job. In the corporate world I made more money every year and was rising fast to the mid six digits. But there was always this unsteady, uneasy feeling because you are only as good as the company you work for. Eventually, believe it or not, someone recruited me to do the same thing I was doing but only as my own company and I kind of fell into being an entrepreneur. My wish was coming true.
But John, once you do that the steady cushy money is gone. The hustle really sets in, though there is a subtle difference. As a new entrepreneur I spent some seven or so years pushing other people’s products and services and I had a mixture of success and it gnawed at me, and this voice kept telling me to come up with my own product. And I had to spend a lot of time to figure out how I could then segue and then eventually Revenue Chat was born.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Tony: This one might seem strange. Believe it or not, the best advice was a strong inner voice, call it gut instinct, to come up with my own product and be in control of my own products. I really wanted to be in control of my future. It wasn’t easy at first to figure it out, but it is paying in spades in many ways now that I have developed Revenue Chat. And I hope you don’t think it’s weird, but it was a strong message that just kept coming to me out of the blue and it just kept saying come up with my own product, be in control of my own future.
John: I love that voice, Fire Nation. I hope it’s just screaming within every one of you. And what’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Tony: Well, John, I have my day in three parts and I think this keeps a balance on my sanity to a degree. In the morning I take care of all emails and all communications. This is where I talk to people on the phone, do meets and greets and stuff like that. Afternoon I’m either in the studio working on Revenue Chat or working with a client. This is my production time flat out. In the evening I walk the dog, have a great dinner, hang out with the wife, enjoy life. Except when she goes to bed. I’m often found sneaking back to the office and doing some work until 1:00 a.m. or so.
But anyways, this keeps it simple. You gotta have balance in your life especially as an entrepreneur because the only schedule is your schedule. You could go every which way but loose so you gotta have your discipline. That’s very key if you’re gonna grow something.
John: Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation.
Tony: Sure, my resource is Fiverr. I could not imagine Revenue Chat without the help of experts in getting my logo done, technical resources, getting media players going on my site and a myriad of other things if you’re on a budget. You can get literally anything you want for a reasonable price on Fiverr and it’s usually very quick. You just need to only use those that have a good reputation and a lot of customers. I stay away from the new people who have no stars or only a few. Basically you get one star for each customer so if there’s a guy there on Fiverr who has over 100 stars, then you know he is stable and provides good service. That’s the key.
John: If you could recommend one book to join Easy Sales Procedures by yourself, Tony, on our bookshelves, what would it be and why?
Tony: John, my nose has been to the grindstone for some time so there’s not been a lot of time to read. But I did recently read Beach Money by Jordan Adler, A-D-L-E-R, and I found it very helpful and very profound. Jordan tells his life story and how he basically had nothing and was floundering in life from failure to failure. So he then wrote out his life journal in chapters two and three and he wrote it out from the point of the future. He looked back at his life as if he was in the future and he wrote about the successes and how wonderful it was. And he wrote it in detail and spent hours at it.
Well, then he looked at it every so often and eventually forgot about it. Then about a couple years later he ran into it again, sat down and read it. And he cried because everything he wrote in that journal came true. Jordan makes over $100,000.00 a month and has for many years. He’s an amazing success story. That book is always in my mind. Tons of gems. I mean, it’s just – chapters nine and chapters 12, it’s just – you gotta get this book. It’s inspiring even if you don’t do the business that Jordan’s gonna do, it just has a lot of value in there.
John: And one more time, what was the name?
Tony: Beach Money by Jordan Adler.
John: Tony, I wanna end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Tony: On guidance, I think it’s all been said before, John, but maybe if everyone hears it enough times they will act on it. My advice and guidance is to make a revenue stream out of your hobby or something you love. Work that instead of late night drinking and watching a lot of television. It takes time to build an empire and years down the road you’ll be very glad you worked hard on setting up an alternate future. The reruns of all the TV shows you missed, they’re still available to obtain, okay? And you can enjoy them a lot more, John, once you have – not to you, but to Fire Nation. You can enjoy them a lot more once you have multiple income streams rolling.
And may I say, you really need multiple income streams because your day job can honestly stop at any minute and I think you all know that. For entrepreneurs, the industry changes can occur and that will affect the way we do business. For example, in my first seven years as an entrepreneur, I had four major industry changes that totally set all new paradigms. I had to re-invent everything just to keep going. So it can happen.
John: I love all of this and Fire Nation, I will actually say it will happen. The industry will change and it will change quickly and often, but that’s opportunity. Keep your finger on the pulse. That next great idea or opportunity or business or social media or whatever it is, is right around the corner. Just keep your eyes open. And as an entrepreneur we have the skill sets like a Swiss army knife, we can adjust and flex to anything. Where if you’re just a one skill set worker for some company, when that company dies, and it will, or downsizes, and it will, and you’re laid off with just that one skill set, that’s the trouble. That’s where it’s not safe to be. Tony, where exactly can we find you?
Tony: Sure. I am very approachable. You can reach out to me at [email protected], it’s probably one of the easiest, and also on my website at the bottom of almost all pages there’s a contact me form, you could just fill that out.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with TD and JLD today so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type Tony in the search bar, his show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. Best show notes in the biz, Fire Nation, time stamps, links galore. Tony, thank you for sharing your journey with us today. For that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Tony: John, thank you so much for letting me be a part of the Fire Nation. You’re truly awesome and I wanna tell you it’s an extreme honor for me to be on the show with you and I wish you much more success for your future.
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