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This time, we’re chatting with someone who’s made and continues to make a real impact in the world of online marketing. He’s one half of the duo behind Promote Labs, who have developed products such as ProductDyno Feedback Fox and Post Gopher, alongside hundreds, if not thousands, of other information products and websites and so on. Together with his business partner, Simon Hodgkinson, Jeremy Gislason is also a super affiliate product creator and even licences various online properties. Jeremy, welcome.
Hi, happy to be here.
Well, my first question is, based on what I’ve just said, when do you rest?
When do I rest? Well, yeah, I mean, actually, I mean, I wouldn’t say resting, but I try to take a lot of breaks. I work from home, so no commute, no stressful office conditions. It’s a pretty relaxed atmosphere. So about every hour, I’ll just get up from a desk and go play with the dogs or go outside and sit on the patio or talk to my wife or just run an errand. And so I don’t really feel like I’m working all day. I just do things as needed, whether it’s morning, afternoon, nighttime, whatever. I just kind of just do things. So, yeah.
It’s obvious that you enjoy what you do.
Maybe you could tell me a little bit more about your background and how Promote Labs came about.
Sure. I mean, everything has a long story, but I’ll try to give the short version. So I was living in Japan back in the 90s. That’s where I met my wife and we had three boys over there and we had our own English school where I taught English as a second language back in the 90s. I was a bit younger back then, had a bit more energy and it was a lot of fun. I worked with a lot of kids.
But after a couple years I just kind of knew, hey, I don’t want to be doing this when I’m in my 40s because it takes a heck of a lot of energy to be jumping around with the kids and singing and dancing and talking and running and playing. So I started kind of looking for passive income opportunities and I read the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad when it came out, by Robert Kiyosaki and that kind of made me think, “Okay, passive income. How do I do it? Where do we start?”
And this is kind of when the internet was just getting going. And so we actually started looking at real estate, network marketing, just other opportunities that were around. And then the internet, we found the internet, bought our first computer. Started going online and checking things out and I’m like, “Huh, interesting.” So there’s people with newsletters, there’s people building websites, there’s people doing things online and making some money and I’m like, “Okay.” And I saw Amazon pop up and I’m like, “Okay.” So now you have some income coming in 24/7, even if you’re sleeping. That really clicked. So I just kind of started looking around for things to do. Lost a lot of money in the process, but it was a learning experience. I call it the same as going to college where you just spend some money and learn.
So that’s what I did on my own for a few years. Ended up at a company called ISO Register and there is where I kind of met a lot of connections. A lot of whom I still keep in touch with today. I met Frank Kern, Mike Filsaime, John Reese, just a lot of people. And back in the early days, Andrew Fox, just a lot of good guys and we just kind of hit it off here and there. Some people I’ve lost touch with over the years, but others I’ve kept in touch with. And I kind of learned how things work and it was just really interesting to me how things could be done. I mean, this is like web one. This was before social media. So it was just really interesting. So I learned how web one works, put up websites, build mailing lists and that was one key that’s always stuck with me is make sure you build your list. No matter what you do, you need to be building your mailing list, your contact list.
So I just really enjoyed it and I thought, “Okay, I can do this at home, it’s low overhead and high ROI.” I was like, “Cool.” So I just started doing it. Got into digital marketing. I mean, I remember when Ryan Deiss was just getting started, Russell Brunson was just getting started.
We used to talk and stuff. And it just really fun. And we started making products and just seeing what worked, what the market wanted. I started my first website on my own, was surefirewealth.com. And the problem that I saw was there were a lot of resell rights, private label rights, eBooks, software on the market, and people were selling stuff and it was just a hodgepodge of ways to deliver stuff. It was like, sign up, maybe you got the thank you page, maybe didn’t. Maybe you’d get the email, maybe didn’t. It was just a mess. And if you did get access, it was just like a thousand links on a page. It was just a mess.
So I saw a problem. I tried to solve it with Surefire Wealth where I made a membership site, kind of was inspired by Amazon. So I was kind of like, “Okay, if I kind of do what they’re doing, but with resale rights and private label rights, maybe it’ll be easy for people to find stuff, figure stuff out.” I added reviews, people could comment on stuff, everything was nicely laid out. So at the time, back in like 2004, 2005, it was pretty cool. I mean, now it’s kind of redundant, but back then it was pretty cool. And some of the people that I had gotten to know over the years asked them, “Hey, would you be interested in promoting this?” And they’re like, “Yeah, sure.” Some people like Joel Comm and Mike Filsaime and a lot of other people would go promote it. And that really was a light bulb moment. I was like, “Holy cow.” These guys just sent thousands of people to my website. I’m now paying these people thousands of dollars in commissions. I’m like, “Maybe I could do that. Maybe I could also be an affiliate marketer on the side too.”
So that was kind of another light bulb moment. So I went from learning web one, solving some problems, making connections, and then building passive income, but then seeing how affiliate marketing worked at the same time. So everything just kind of rolled into each other. So then during that process, I met Simon, who’s currently my business partner, Simon Hodgkinson, and we started off by being each other’s customers, which is kind of funny. I would buy everything he put out, because he put out some, he’s really good graphics designer and a writer. So I would just buy everything he had. And I would buy the extended licences and put them in Surefire Wealth. And then he would buy stuff from me, I’d buy stuff from him. We just got to talking and we’re like, “Why don’t we do something together?” “Well, yeah, sure.”
So we put something together. I think it was like six to eight weeks and it was called the Marketing Main Event and this was back in like 2006 or something. And we got some of our friends to promote it. Did pretty well, did like a couple hundred thousand or something in a week. And to us that was another light bulb moment. I’m still running the English school and I’m just going, “Hmm, maybe there’s something here.” So I was like, “Okay, I think maybe I could start to transition to online 100%.” So over the next couple years, me and Simon partnered up, we released version two, version three, which became Member Speed software. That was kind of the predecessor to ProductDyno. And it was basically a software SaaS that let people build membership sites back in the mid 2000s when it was a pretty new concept and it was very hard to do. And it did pretty well. And the real eye opening was when we did 1.7 million in a week…
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