This week’s Misfit Entrepreneurs are Tom Antion. Wow, where to start with Tom. Tom has never had a job. He has been an entrepreneur since he was a kid. He owned 5 apartment buildings and a hotel before he graduated college. He owned and operated the 2nd largest nightclub in the state of West Virginia. On top of that, he has started and owned everything from print shops to video production companies and entertainment companies. He was one of the early online marketers and has a number of businesses online.
And if that is not enough, he is a top rated speaker, consultant, and founder and host of the Screw the Commute Podcast.
It should be pretty obvious why I had to have him on at this point, because Tom has Misfit Entrepreneur written all over him. And today, I’m excited to share his best advice on how to succeed on the entrepreneur’s journey.
Tom’s family came over on a cattle boat from Syria and his father by the age of 13 had started his own electrical business, so Tom has entrepreneurship in his blood. By the time Tom was 10, he was selling advertising door to door and once he got a license sold encyclopedias. As Tom says, he’d do anything that is ethical and moral to get out of working for someone!
Tom ended up with football scholarship to play at West Virginia. In college, he read a book on how to “Turn a $1000 in $1 million in real estate.” He ended up buying 5 apartment buildings with no money down. At same time, was helping the landlord where he lived when something needed fixed. The landlord mentioned he was retiring and like Tom so much that he offered to give Tom a hotel he owned. He helped finance it and Tom owned it for 5 years making almost $400k on it.
He did some other jobs and then bought a nightclub. He took a biker bar in the country in West Virginia and fixed it up. But, there will still problems with fights, shootings, stabbings, etc. around it with patrons.
He got out of that and then created a practical joke company where people hired Tom and his group to pull practical jokes – think Jackass before Jackass. He also started speaking and training during this time.
In 1994, the internet came along. He spent two years figuring it out and eventually started learning how to make money and things went from there.
At the 9:45 mark, Tom talks about what he loves most about entrepreneurship and why…
- The freedom of it all. The freedom to create. The freedom build things the way you want, etc.
- You only deal with people that you want to deal with and not have to put with unethical or amoral people.
- You can speak your mind
- You can make your own schedule
What advice would give someone to get to their first $1 on the internet?
- You must be somewhat frugal – not cheap.
- Don’t get sucked into having to spend a bunch of money to start a business.
- For example, you can use a solution called speakpipe.com and get messages to from your website directly to you and send them back to engage your audience.
- Get some knowledge and spend time using the tools that are virtually free online. Keep your costs low
At the 14 min mark, Tom gives examples of businesses you can start online with no cash…
- Use affiliate marketing. Market a product that already exists online and get a commission for it. You don’t even need a website. All you have to do is find a way to promote a product online.
- You could go to Youtube, create a video on your phone and put the affiliate link in the description. When or if people go buy thought the link – you get a commission.
- You don’t even need a website….just a phone camera and a little bit of time on Google.
- A podcast is a great example of something you can get going in about an hour on audio.fm
- Write an e-book. All you need to do is compile the information and there are ton of people out there that can make it into an e-book or with a little artistic license, you can do it in word and convert it to a PDF. You can sell e-books from $17 on up.
- Record video on how to use a software or solution by recording your computer screen and put it up on Youtube or link to where they can get it.
Where can people go to sell their product such as E-books, etc.?
- Clickbank.com is good and is kind of the old guard.
- JVZoo.com is newer and is growing fast because it has a mechanism that if you qualify, you get paid instantly where you have to wait with Clickbank.
- Those are really the only two you need.
At the 21 min mark, Tom talks about how to make money online with their hobbies and make them tax deductible.
You can create things out of thin air. Try them with a free Wordpress site. And you are in business without going broke. You can try any idea for basically lunch money!
What are ways that you use to drive traffic to these ideas you create?
- The #1 thing is also the #1 mistake. That is Key Word Research.
- Every idea is a CSI. A “Crappy, Stupid Idea” until you can prove that someone is really willing to pay for it and can back it up with real numbers.
- The first thing you should do is key word research. Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that tells you stats on key word research as well as related terms.
- Make a big list of all the terms
- You then need to include as many of those terms on your website.
- The return on investment is huge.
- You want to incorporate key words into your social media posts, blog posts, videos, etc.
- Once you get some money flowing, you can spend a little money on Google or use
- Youtube Skip Ads Youtube Skip Ads are one of the best bargains. If people don’t watch all 30 seconds, you don’t pay.
- Youtube is more fair than Facebook when it comes to how they charge for ads.
What are some of the overarching things entrepreneurs need to do to succeed?
- You have to be willing to give up things in the short run and delay gratification
- At the 35 min mark, Tom details the “Marshmallow Test.” Listen in on this!
- Reinvest in yourself and your business – spend money today that you made last year.
- Delaying gratification, just a little bit is the BIG secret.
- The most successful though are not balanced, they are highly focused and devoted. An extra hour a day can make such a difference in your success.
Best advice for an entrepreneur just starting out?
- Get some knowledge and you have to avoid shiny object syndrome. Stay focused and be careful with who you learn from.
- You can learn anything you want from Youtube Videos that are free.
- One specific thing that can ramp in a hurry is membership sites. A membership site is one of the best ways to create a business with your knowledge. If you had 100 members at $20/mo, you can have a $24,000 a year business.
- Listen at the 42 min mark for the “embroidery example that generates $200k per mo”
You were a college football player at WVU and a state champion wrestler – what are some things you learned from sports that have helped you to succeed in business?
- You are pushed to your limits and beyond in high-level sports…
- If you can learn to push yourself past what you have dreamed you can do, you can create amazing results for yourself.
- You have to develop your own sense of confidence and sports does this. Even when you lose, you learn, and you get better.
- You learn to work on your weaknesses. Open up and work on yourself where you are weak.
What advice can you give to maximize their business and career through speaking?
- Know that you don’t have to do it.
- If you are willing to improve your skills to be in front of people, they get a better feel for who you are and it helps your online business or other businesses.
- It builds your credibility and broadens your reach.
- There are a lot of ways to speak…
- Being on video is public speaking
- Being on Podcasts is a form of public speaking
Best Quote: “If you aren’t commuting and going to and from work in a car, making someone else rich every day, you can live 2 or lives with that time and accomplish so much more!”
Tom's Misfit 3:
- Give before you get. Prove yourself first and you will stand out like crazy to others that can help you.
- You have to keep going.
- Excellence. Don’t you ever do anything in your life that is not excellent and learn what you need to know to be excellent.