James Schramko, founder of the multi-million dollar business success SuperFastBusiness.com, lives in Sydney, Australia and surfs every day. He helps information marketers and service business owners build highly powerful recurring subscription businesses so they can work less and profit more.
His real world experience running multi-million dollar businesses uniquely positions him as a high level problem solver of rare calibre.
Teams, systems, cashflow, traffic and leverage are terms James understands better than most…
James Schramko Interview
Nicola: Today I’m delighted to be joined by James Schramko from SuperFastBusiness.com. James is proof positive that you can take solid business profit ideas and turn then into a powerful online business. Leaving the safety of a 300,000 dollar a year general management role, running a Mercedes Benz dealership in Sydney, James starts his online career with just one affiliate product.
With a $49.25 commission per sale. James turned that into a 6 figure a year online business and then quickly developed his own business well past the million dollar mark. A few years later he generates a 7 figure profit from his online coaching website in traffic businesses. Importantly, James is a master of the core elements that you can tap into quickly; traffic, conversions, and leverage. Plus, I doubt you’ll find a more approachable marketer on the planet. Welcome to the call, James.
James: Thanks Nicola, I appreciate you having me on the show.
Nicola: I was just listening to some of your, well, I listen to your Super Fast business podcast anyway, but I was listening to your one with Clay Collins last night, and I want to thank you finally explaining in ways I could understand, what lead links are all about.
James: It’s one of my curiosities, is to take these brand names and complex and terms and get behind what they actually are and simplify them so that I can understand them and then that other people can understand them as well.
Nicola: It’s an awesome business model, isn’t it? Every time I use it I think, “Blimey, they’ve really created something here that you just can’t do without once you start using it.”
James: I think that’s one of the secrets, it’s to solve problems and put it on a recurring payment program.
Nicola: They’ve done that really well. If you had to ask me which of my tools I need and I can’t do without, it would be LeadPages nowadays, that’s for sure. Let’s hear about your business. I’m particularly interested in what makes people become the entrepreneurs they are today. I see that you were doing really really well in a job. Tell me about your background and where you grew up and what kind of family you grew up in and how you became the Mercedes Benz success dealership you were, and then what made you become an entrepreneur after that?
James: I think I was an entrepreneur before that, if I look back. I grew up, I just had one sister, I had nice parents. We grew up in a very expensive and exclusive suburb of Sydney. I went to an expensive private school. For all intensive purposes, we were a very wealthy and fortunate family. My parents are really grounded, having, my dad grew up reasonably poor and my mom has always worked for charities and organizations.
We used to go out on tours around the state to poorer areas and I was fully aware that I was in a privileged upbringing. After school, which I didn’t do so well at, I must admit, I started a course for about the only thing that I qualified for which was an accounting course at a technology university that we had here. It’s not quite a university, it’s more of a an accredited school.
I got sick, so I pulled out. I worked in all sorts of jobs for a year. I labored, I worked, I did some Fridays at an accounting firm. Then I started the next year. Another half a year after that my parents lost all their money, and we had to move out of the fancy home. I realized at that point that we were no longer rich and I had to go and get a job. My first first full time job, which paid about $18,500 a year in 1991. It was about half what all my mates we on.
That was a debt collection, of all things, which is a good thing to do when there’s a recession. I learned plenty of things there, but I also realized, even at that point, at 20 years old, I’d been lucky enough to have exposed to some good practices from my grandparents, one of whom was a timber broker, and he used to buy and sell timber on the telephone. Having worked with him part time, I had superior telephone skills to my peers. Also, I was lucky enough when I was just 12 years old to read a selling book.
It was the only book available at an airport, which was a midnight flight. I didn’t even know what selling was and I bought it and read it, and picked up a lot of the ideas from it without really understanding it so much. I had some idea that this selling thing was useful. Tom Hopkins talks about it being one of the best careers you could have that’s an unlimited income.
In between, I’d done all these part time jobs, which had helped me learn more about people and communications. Things like my lawn mowing round taught me a lot about the psychology of pricing things. Where a rich family will pay a lot more, even for a small lawn to be mowed than a budget conscious family who had a large area, they might want to pay a lot less. I could tell there were a lot of clues; the car they were driving, the clothes they were wearing, the way that they approached the negotiations would often indicate to me where I should be pricing the job.
Then I learned other things like referral marketing. When I’d mow the lawn at one house, I’d knock on the door of all the neighbors and say, “Hey, listen I’m just mowing the lawn next door, would you like me to do yours as well for 20 bucks?” Because they’d already heard the lawn mower and they’d already gone through that process of, “Oh, I’ve got to mow our lawn, it’s getting long, and I don’t want to do it.” It was like this gift from heaven.
Some guy at the door wants to mow my lawn for 20 bucks. I ended up having a whole street.
At this time I learned another valuable lesson, and that is that if you have all of your eggs in one basket, it’s easier for someone to step on it. A developer bought that block and knocked down all the houses. I lost all my clients in one go…