Chris: What opportunities are you missing out because you’re busy doing other things or because you just don’t want to deal with? There’s this great service called Help a Reporter Out and they’re a service that connects journalists with sources. The journalist push queries like, “Hey, we’re looking for a cyber security expert to talk about,” whatever they have some question. There’s also 100 other questions about what kind of food should you feed your dog, how do paint colors impact your mood.
I don’t want to read through 100 of these questions every day, but I can pay of a VA a couple dollars an hour to go through the list for me and whittle it down to ones that are potentially interesting to me. Maybe there’s a couple slip through that don’t apply to me or maybe they miss one that does apply to me, but I’ve taken that list of 100 things down to a list of two or three that takes me 30 seconds to a minute to read and decide if I want to act on it. And it’s like, “Okay, this opens me up to a new opportunity to promote my business with very little time investment on the front end for me.”
Kim: Welcome to the positive productivity podcast, episode 588. The positive productivity podcast was created to empower entrepreneurs to achieve and appreciate personal and professional success. I’m your host, Kim Sutton, and if you’re ready, let’s jump in to today’s episode.
Welcome back to positive productivity. This is your host, Kim Sutton. I am so excited to have you here today. I’m super excited to have our guests, Chris Parker. Chris is the founder of whatismyipaddress.com . If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you might remember a few months ago, something scary in my house happened and Chris actually without knowing until we get to that story in a little bit, Chris you gave me a lot of comfort. I just had to tell you that, because I was able to use whatismyipaddress.com to figure out what was going on and who was behind it, but I just want to thank you so much for being here today.
For those who haven’t heard of you before, I would love for you to share a little bit of your journey where you came from and how you got here, because I know it’s such a fascinating story.
Chris: Sure, I’m glad to be here. I’m always excited to talk with people who have used my website. There’s a few of you out there, like 6 million a month or something like that. I wish I could say that my entrepreneurial journey started successfully, but a couple of my first businesses were absolute utter failures, which is true for probably most entrepreneurs.
Kim: I just spit my coffee. I went on mute, I was drinking my coffee, and I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, that’s me too,” and yeah, my microphone [00:02:59] I totally feel that.
Chris: Well, I’m going to throttle out there and I’ll throw out all my dirt and my horrible business ideas.
Chris: I don’t think they were horrible ideas. They’re great ideas. I just didn’t think them through all the way. The first business that I did was called discountbibles.com. I was selling bibles online, getting them from the main distributor, Ingram Books, and I was competing against Amazon. This is back in the early days. This is back in the early 2000’s and had a little bit of success with it.
I was working a full time job and on my lunch break, I’d be taking the boxes down to the UPS store, FedEx, the postal service, and shipping stuff out. On my way home, picking up the new product that I was going to ship out, go home, pack it and run credit cards, and do it again. The two things that I realized was, I don’t like packing boxes, I like having a life, and this is definitely not scalable. It was a funny realization that like, “I came with his business idea, but I need to do something different.”
Kim: Chris, I’m curious how you even came up with that idea? I have to tell you, too, before you get into that, I’m just happy to hear that you weren’t going to hotels borrowing their bibles and then selling them, so thank you.
Chris: Actually, I was running a book table for my church, so I was already in the process of buying and selling books and bibles and stuff like that. I thought, “Hey, I could put this on line,” and I was a church-going person, so I thought this is right in my wheelhouse and it would be something interesting. That’s how I got started with it.
It was a horribly manual process. Every credit card had to be run manually in a credit card software package. It was just utterly brutal and automation was not involved in anything, except the website itself.
Kim: I cannot even imagine. I do not want to imagine.
Chris: It was a good idea but not functional. Unfortunately my biggest order—talking about stealing bibles from hotels—turned out to be fraudulent with a stolen credit card, and they wanted me to ship the bibles internationally on a stone FedEx number.
Kim: They bibles with a stolen credit card and the stolen FedEx number.
Kim: What would Jesus say?
Chris: At the time I was working for a mail order catalogue company. It was just starting to go online and I was helping dealing with fraudulent orders. To me, it was obvious on the computer, I was like, “Gee, someone wants to buy $100,000 worth of computers and ship them to Nigeria, that’s a little fishy,” yet when I got my biggest order on my website, I’m like, “Oh, this is awesome. I’m finally hitting the big time,” not bothering to think it through and like, “Gee, this one order that’s a month’s worth of business might be fraudulent.” Yeah, that was a bummer.
Kim: Did you ship it?
Chris: I did, I didn’t know until afterwards that it was a fraudulent credit card. I assume it was a stolen FedEx number, I never found out, but once the credit card charge came back, reversed by the credit card company, that was the, “Oh gosh, this stinks.”
Kim: Can you imagine the owner thought of the credit card seeing that the person who stole their card bought bibles? I would just be so perplexed.
Chris: I cannot imagine it. It blows my mind. Okay, we’re talking down the horrible people route. I had a big sign on my truck that said “discountbibles.com” and my truck got stolen.
Kim: Oh my heavens. That is so crazy. I had my credit cards stolen once, well, just the numbers. I had only had the credit card for two weeks and I see this charge come through for $75 at an ice cream shop. I mean, I can imagine with my family of seven that we can go to Cold Stone and spend a good chunk of money on that type of ice cream, but I’m like, “What do you spend $75 on ice cream?” like I just can’t imagine, I guess get a few ice cream cakes, you could do that.
Chris: Yeah, they took all their friends out for ice cream.
Kim: Yeah. What was your next awesomely bad, or maybe not thought-out-all-the-way idea?
Chris: Because I didn’t want to deal with all the backend of doing bibles, I created the biblefinder.com, which used a database. So, if you said, “I want a blue NIV imitation leather bible,” I could get you the right bible, but rather than ship it myself, I’ll just send you over to Amazon and I’ll get a commission off of that. I was like, “This is awesome. It’s totally scalable. I don’t have to ship anything. I don’t have to charge any credit cards. This is really cool.” For while it worked until Amazon—back in the early days—ran into what is referred to as a tax nexus issue.
The state of California went to Amazon and said, “You have affiliates in California, if you want to continue working with your affiliates in California, you need to start charging sales tax in California.” Of course back in the early days, one of the big selling points of buying from Amazon is you didn’t have to pay local sales tax. Amazon overnight shut down every California affiliate, of which I was one, and all of a sudden my business model no longer works, because I don’t have a way to fulfill the orders.
Kim: You have me thinking because they have since gone back, right?
Chris: Correct. Yes they have.
Kim: Because I was just doing my accounting and I see all of this tax from Amazon. I should have a frequent flyer card. I want to ask you a question about that operation. You were not manually connecting what they were searching for to where they could go get it. Was that all systemized and automated, so that if they put a search in, your website or whatever system you had set up could do that for them?
Chris: It was all database-driven. A couple of the bible publishers had databases where they had all this type of stuff in there. I thought, “Wow, this is really simple and easy to integrate,” and “Oh, yYou want an NID/King James version? Okay. Boom.” It would show you a couple of search results for each one. I thought it was a really great idea, until you can’t fulfill the product.
Kim: Absolutely. Do you have any more awesome ideas? I still think they’re awesome ideas.
Chris: I think they’re awesome ideas, obviously, both were a little bit ahead of their time. Let’s see what else did I do that failed. I’ve tried a number of niche websites. I spent $5000–$10,000 building them and dump $5000–$10,000 of advertising revenue in order to make $10 back.
Kim: Yeah. Do you want to hear my best story?
Kim: I bought a scrapbooking magazine for my ex-mother-in-law, thinking I would give it to her for Christmas, and I found this little gadget in there to make die cutting tools. I didn’t even scrapbook, but I wanted this tool, and I felt bad buying it. It was just funny considering how much money—I’m sure you can understand this—we put into the tools for our business these days. I felt bad for this $50 purchase. I need to make this back. I started selling die cuts, handmade die cuts on eBay for way too little money. This one little pack of pink die cuts took me two hours to make, and I was charging $3 for them.
Then I got contacted by a local craft distributor. Keep in mind, I wasn’t a scrapbooker, I still am not a scrapbooker. I think it’s beautiful when people do it right. Some people don’t. I got contacted by a local distributor and they’re like, “Yeah, we can sell you any of the physical products that you possibly want and then you don’t have to keep on making all these tools,” I was like, “That’s a brilliant idea.”
Their whole catalog was online. This is 2006. I was like, “Well, they’re in Michigan, I’m in Ohio. UPS can get it to me in a day so why don’t I just start going through their whole scrapbooking catalog and put it on my site.” I didn’t think about the fact that customers are going to love it because they can get 50 different styles of paper, but they’re only going to buy one sheet a piece.
I quickly went $100,000 in debt because when they bought one sheet of paper, I still had to buy the pack of 50. What started as an innocent home business taking up no space except for a bag of paper quickly took over my garage and then it had to be moved into an office. I’m still recovering from that.
Chris: That was similar to me selling the physical bibles in order to get the price discounts, the quantity discounts, to hit the pricing I was selling it for, I had to buy a certain amount of the units, not always the same Bible, but I had to order a certain amount of units in order to get the price discount. I had to often buy more than what I had orders for, hoping that people would come back and buy the extra ones.
Kim: Yup, I totally hear that. The previous business before that—this is about 2002—I would go to garage sales and yard sales in Westchester County, New York which were always really nice, and I would buy books, and I would sell them on eBay. By the time we left New York, I had about 18 boxes of books that I’ve never sold.
I probably still have some of those boxes in my basement of books I will never read, but I thought, “Oh, I can sell this online.” No, Kim, especially now when you’ve got half-priced books and Amazon where you can buy used books. Actually, maybe I can still offload. I’m sure some of them are out of print.
How did whatismyipaddress.com come to be?
Chris: It was actually a solution to a technical problem I was having at my employer’s office. We were having an issue with our internet connection, and getting access to something. The vendor that we’re talking was like, “What’s the IP address of your office?” We were all like, “I don’t know. How do we even find that out?”
So, I went on AltaVista or Yahoo. I think it was AltaVista, before Google existed to search. There was no easy answer. I searched and searched and finally found a solution. I thought, I’ve got an always on internet connection at home, I’ve got an extra computer that I could turn into a server. Let me just make a little website that will tell people that, and that was what it was.
You went to whatismyipaddress.com and it just showed the IP address. No ads, no text, nothing other than that. That’s actually how it was for a number of years because to me it was very altruistic. This solves a problem. Not even thinking it could ever even be a business, or even thought of a business, but it solves a problem, it’s helpful for other people, and that’s how it started.
Kim: Wow. That makes me think of Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income with his Green LEED Exam or whatever his site was. He had a blog where he was helping people get through their LEED exam and then all of a sudden, after he lost his job he realized just how much traffic he was getting in and like, “Wow, this can actually make the money.”
Chris: That was the exact same observation I had. At some point, I started getting alerts from my computer saying the hard drive was just about full and I’m like, how could the hard drive be full, it’s just a website, there’s nothing else on that machine. It was all the logs of all the people coming to the website. That was the epiphany of like, “Oh, wow. I’m helping people. Let me see what else I can add to the site,” so I put an email address on there, “Hey, do you have any questions? Email me.” So, every night I would be responding to emails of people that have technical questions.
This is really boring, I don’t want to keep doing this, answering the same question over and over and over. That became, “Well, let me put some additional pages on the website with frequently asked questions.” It reduced the number of questions I get and increased traffic even more because people were searching for those questions and finding the answers to them. Then this great thing called Google AdSense came into being. That was the beginning of the monetization.
Kim: That’s amazing. It’s funny that you said about the technical issue that your employer was having because that was actually why I was just on your site a couple weeks ago, because I got locked out of my own site. I was not whitelisted on my site. [00:16:13] keep on trying to refresh the page when I was building out a new page, and it locked me out because it thought I was trying to hack it. I had to go and again find out what my IP address was so I could give it to my hosting provider to whitelist me so I could get back in and keep on going. So, thank you.
Chris: You’re welcome. I love to hear why people are actually using the site because for the longest time, it was actually in some sets of problems, I just didn’t know why people were visiting the site. Hearing anecdotal stories like that confirms, “Okay, this is the right thing that I’m doing, this is the right type of traffic, the right people that I’m trying to help.
Kim: Absolutely. That’s not even the best story that I have for you.
Chris: You’ve got another one? Awesome.
Kim: Yeah. This one isn’t so happy but…
Chris: Now you’re scaring me.
Kim: In March, this is almost four months ago, I have a virtual assistant job group on Facebook that like your website, I started never thinking that it would grow into anything, and now six years later it has 30,000 members and constantly growing. I had to hire team members just to manage the group because I never intended to make a business out of it, just to be totally honest.
Sometimes, things get heated when there are overseas VAs or people looking for overseas VAs because I have to say, American VAs can have their own thoughts about how much VAs should get paid. I stepped into a disagreement because my rule just the same as with my kids is, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, and somebody did not like that.
I got 6-8 death threats sent to my email. They were very graphic, like what they would do to my kids and everything. I ended up getting the police and FBI involved because it was just very scary. We ended up using your site to backtrack the IP address. Unfortunately, there’s ways that people can mask their IP, so if you have any ideas how we can go find the root because I still haven’t figured that out. I have to tell you, it was comforting to know that they weren’t in my backyard.
Chris: Yes, I bet. I’ve had a few of those myself. It usually results out of confusion. People are visiting my site while they’re doing research about something they think someone’s hacking them and they were doing research on my site. They’re monitoring all the network traffic into their computer and they mistake their own queries to my site, and the answers as being me attacking them.
I’ve gotten probably the scariest one was someone who called and left a voicemail basically said, “My brother lives down the street from you in Tustin, and I’m going to send him over there to beat you up and kill your dog.” That was the first experience of that. Do I call the police? I don’t think it’s real, but also I don’t want to do nothing about it.
Kim: Right, exactly.
Chris: Of course I did a little research about it. The guy was in Florida so I was like, “Okay, I’m not too worried about it.” But definitely when you make yourself a little higher profile, unfortunately, it draws some attention that you don’t always want.
Kim: Absolutely. It was actually my 40th birthday when that happened. I was like, “Are you kidding me? I’m turning 40, I want to celebrate, but now I’m dealing with this,” and I was about ready to shut everything down. This is getting way too real. When people are telling me exactly what they’re going to do to my kids and they’re looking up my kid’s names, no.
My husband, actually, was amazing. He said, “The bigger you get, the more this is going to happen. If you can’t handle this, then you should just stop now, but you have to know that the greater your purpose gets, and the more people you’re helping, the more it’s going to happen.” It was not what I wanted to hear at that very moment, but either grow some thicker skin or give up, because you got to get used to it.
What I ended up doing—you might really appreciate this—was I didn’t give up and I ended up putting a paid product into the group, which has since made me some nice money, I was like “Nope, I’m not going to shut down. I’m not shutting down this group. I’m not going to stop what I’m doing, and look. I’m even going to start making money off of it.” I haven’t gotten any more death threats, yet.
Chris: That’s good.
Chris: Unfortunately, there are always mentally unstable people out there and we just going to have to be aware of it and deal with it when it happens.
Kim: Absolutely. For listeners who aren’t aware of what AdSense is, can you give a little bit of perspective, so they know what you’re talking about?
Chris: Sure, Google AdSense is an advertising platform that Google created, I think in 2006, maybe it was 2003, that allows website owners to put a very small amount of code on their website and Google matches ads with either the content of your traffic—it’s what it used to be—and now they also blend in ads that are of interest to your users. If somebody was Googling for Nike shoes, they might come to your website, even though it has nothing to do with Nike shoes, they might see an advertisement for a vendor selling Nike shoes, because it’s displaying an interest-based ad to them.
They either serve up contextually relevant ads. If your site is about cameras, they start showing ads for cameras, or they start showing interest-based ads, whichever they think is going to generate more revenue for you. And it’s all automated. As a site owner, once you’re approved for the program, you just stick in a couple bits of code, you don’t have to find the advertiser, Google handles all that for you.
Kim: I know this is not your business, are you still using Google AdSense?
Chris: It’s part of the mix, yes.
Kim: Okay. I have contemplated in the past and I’ve contemplated putting AdSense on my site, but I was always concerned about how it wouldn’t necessarily be in line with what I was doing. What are your thoughts about when entrepreneurs should include or not include AdSense on their site or is there a not or do not time?
Chris: It really matters on your intent and does it work with your business model? If you’re recommending products and services, yeah, maybe an ad and maybe ads work in there. If you are primarily doing coaching, I’m not sure that it’s necessarily in your best interest, because it might start showing ads for competitors’ coaching programs.
Kim: I love that response by the way.
Chris: It matters depending on what your value of any particular person visiting your website is. If you have high ticket items or maybe it’s a $10,000 or $20,000 a year coaching program, you probably don’t want to be making an extra 3–5 cents off of an ad, because the opportunity cost is too big. You’re going to potentially send your client to another website.
In my case, I don’t have an in-house product or service that I’m selling and I have extremely high volumes of traffic. To me, making that extra couple cents off of someone coming to the site actually works for me, because I don’t have this high-ticket item and I’m not trying to sell a particular service to those users.
Kim: Absolutely, I love that. I’m thinking about my uncle back in New York who has a greenhouse. If he put AdSense on his website, they could be sending the people who are visiting his site to other greenhouses, which wouldn’t be ideal, but if it was a general gardening blog, putting AdSense on there could be sending people to seed companies, or to local greenhouses, or any other number of things. That would be ideal because if they’re not selling the products right there on their site, why not make a little bit of money from it. I love what you said about coaches, so thank you.
Chris: Oh, good. I have one now, which is a good thing.
Kim: Yeah. Actually, this is totally organic, we have no idea where the conversation is going to go, but at what point did you decide in your business that you should get a coach?
Chris: Probably 10 years too late. I shouldn’t say that. It’s not that it was 10 years too late. In hindsight, I wish I had hired a coach much earlier, but I don’t know that I was in the mindset to really benefit from having a coach earlier.
Kim: I can completely understand that, because I had been there at multiple points. I’m curious and I’m just a very nosy person; I have to admit that. What do you have to do on a day-to-day basis in your business or don’t you, and if you don’t, do you have other projects? I mean, you’re a serial entrepreneur, so are you working on other things at the same time?
Chris: What do I have to do and what I don’t do? That was one of the things that my business coach really started pressing me early on. I’ll give the analogy that he did. He was on one of our earlier calls, he was asking, “Okay, so tell me about how you business works? What you doing? How do you do this? How do you do that?” and at some point I was like, “I’m Superman. I do it all. It’s just me. I’ve got new employees. I have no obligations to anybody. It’s just me.”
He goes, “Oh, okay. How much are you paying your accountant?” I go, “I don’t pay anything for my accounting. I do it all myself.” He goes, “Well, I know how much your business makes in a year. I know how many hours a week that you’re working, so you’re paying your accountant X dollars a month. How much experience does your accountant have?” and I go, “Well, I don’t have any professional accounting experience.” He goes, “Okay, so you’re paying an entry level accountants more than what a CPA would charge for the same work.”
Chris: “How is that smart business?” I was just like, “Oh, I feel so bad.” That framework has really helped me rethink a lot of how I do my business.
Kim: You just gave me a good slap. I just need to let you know that.
Chris: Mind you, I still do all my own accounting because there’s some aspects of my business, I’m a little bit of a control freak about it, but it really helped me along with maybe it’s just general productivity stuff. I used to deal with all my accounting like, “Oh, I got a bill in the mail. Let me pay it right now. I need to send out an invoice right now. Okay, let me do it right now.”
It was very driven by my vendors to deliver them by my partners, people who are billing me. I finally was like, “Well, no. I don’t need to be doing it throughout the day every day, but up until Friday, I’m going to pile all my accounting stuff in a pile. Then on Friday, I’ll sit down for an hour straight and just crank through all my accounting all at one time, in one little block of time. It’s of the same mind set, it’s focused, and it gives me time to not be distracted by my accounting other times of the day or other days of the week.
Kim: I absolutely love that. Now, I need to tell you why you give me a slap.
Chris: Sure. Are you doing your own accounting?
Kim: Yes, and as of the day of this recording, just this past weekend, I actually finally got my taxes done, two months late. It took me all day Saturday and all day Sunday to get my accounts reconciled in QuickBooks. We’re talking a minimum of 16 hours and I know my billable rate.
The crazy thing is that I had an accountant give me a quote to do this work for me and it was $500. Now, let me tell you that 16 hours of my time is not $500. Not anywhere close, much more, but I didn’t want to spend $500. Now, that you’ve said that, I’m like, “What a dope. You could have been doing about 30,000 other things that only you can do and would have made a lot more money.”
Chris: Yeah, that’s probably one of the key learnings I’ve gotten from my coach, is really starting to look at all aspects of my business. What opportunities are you missing out because you’re busy doing other things or because you just don’t want to deal with? There’s this great service called Help a Reporter Out and they’re a service that connects journalists with sources. The journalist push queries that are like, “Hey, we’re looking for a cyber security expert to talk about,” whatever they have some question. There’s also 100 other questions about what kind of food should you feed your dog, how do paint colors impact your mood.
I don’t want to read through 100 of these questions every day, but I can pay a VA in the Philippines a couple dollars an hour to go through the list for me and whittle it down to ones that are potentially interesting to me. Maybe there’s a couple slip through that don’t apply to me or maybe they miss one that does apply to me, but I’ve taken that list of 100 things down to a list of two or three that takes me 30 seconds to a minute to read and decide if I want to act on it. It’s like, “Okay, this opens me up to a new opportunity to promote my business with very little time investment on the front end for me.”
Kim: Absolutely, you know I’m embarrassed to say that I do not open [00:31:28] emails just for that reason.
Chris: They’re overwhelming.
Kim: They are and it’s probably the same for you, just maybe not the same divisions, or maybe you’re getting multiple divisions, but I get two in the morning, two in the afternoon, and two at night, or is it just twice today, but I get one that’s like the whole list and then I get one that’s specific for business. It’s at least twice a day, that’s all I know.
Chris: I get the whole thing three times a day. I was initially poking around, looking at doing it for myself and I’m like, “I’m going to spend an hour reading this every day, to maybe find a nugget once a week? This is not a good use of my time.” There’s some great nuggets in there and I’ve got some great opportunities out of it, but the initial thought of it was, “Oh my gosh, I don’t want to touch this with a 10 foot pole, but I got someone who’s happily providing for their family, sorting through this for me, so I don’t have to.”
Kim: I love that. Listeners if you have not heard of Help A Reporter Out, there will be a link in the show notes which you can find at thekimsutton.com/pp588, along with all the other resources that we talk about today. What are you most excited about, Chris, in the next 90 days?
Chris: There’s a project you can count as a productivity thing, I’m a geek, so all my website is all hand-built, it’s all coded by me, it’s all designed by me, and that’s really cool when it’s a hobby. It works even when it’s a side hustle, but it doesn’t work really well when it’s a business. For any new content to go up on my website, it has to go through me and it has to be hand-coded, which means if I’ve got multiple writers out there writing content for me, I’m all of a sudden in the spot where I’m doing busy work. This is not a good use of my time, but I’m the only person who can do it just because I’m a victim of my own design.
I am now having to pay a substantially large amount of money to redo a very large portion of my website that will allow my writers to go in and actually post content, to update content without me being involved. The goal is to get that launched before Q4, because I’ve learned don’t launch anything in Q4 when it’s ad-driven, because you don’t want to mess with a high earning season.
Kim: Yeah, I totally hear that and I’m not saying good luck in a sarcastic way, but good luck, because I know what a huge shift that will be. I put up my last blog article last night, which was published this morning and I don’t want to do that again just because it takes time for me that doesn’t need to be spent by me. I want my team doing it. I totally understand what that will mean as far as getting that off your plate.
My podcast was another one of those learning lessons. Chris, I don’t know if you realize, but I cut back from the daily show to a twice weekly show about a year ago. A year before that, I had been editing and producing all my episodes myself on top of my client load. So, when it got to be Christmas of 2017 and I realized, “Oh my gosh, the [00:34:53] was empty.”
I looked back at all the time I had spent on podcast production instead of client work, I was like, “Well, no wonder. You’re spending 75–80 hours a week doing podcasts production, when you could have been outsourcing that.” Thankfully I found an awesome team—you know who you are and I love you—but they’ve taken that off and they run with that now, and just so much stress went out the door.
Chris: Yup. I’m planning on launching a podcast later this year, maybe next year, and part of my requirements was finding a team that I can outsource the entire thing other than me being on talking with someone or doing my own bit because I can’t take on more production work. I can’t take on stuff that’s not going to make me money. I can have a great conversation with somebody, but then I want to hand it off and not have to deal with it.
Kim: Absolutely. I don’t think that a lot of people who launch podcast think about… it really doesn’t take a lot of work to launch a podcast. I mean it does, but it doesn’t, but it’s the work that happened after the shows are actually recorded, that is all the work, especially if you’re going to do it right. I know, based upon the work that you’ve already done on your site, to get to where you are today, you understand search engine optimization, you understand how to drive traffic to your site, and when you launch a podcast with that goal in mind, to actually be driving traffic to your site rather than just slapping the audio file up, there’s some serious work that’s got to be done there if you want to do it right.
Chris: Yeah, but I even do that with being a guest on a podcast. I have one of my VAs go out and do research on the podcast. I’ve got a company that finds bookings for me because I don’t want to slog through that. The VA will get all the social media accounts for me, they list a few episodes, they’ll tell me which episode I should listen to that’ll get me the best feel for the host. Frequently asked questions that the host has so that I can reduce my prep time and also be really effective, and help the host look good, and represent myself well. Afterwards, it goes back to the production team of social media posts, and all that fun stuff.
Kim: Absolutely. I must have thrown them through a loop, because I don’t have those frequently asked questions. I just have the frequent bloopers and typos. I look to have a good time.
So, you’re redoing parts of your website, but I want to go back to my earlier question. With whatismyipaddress.com working and making you money, do you find it hard to stay focused just on that, rather than go back to your earlier days where you had multiple different businesses and not try to start another business? Or are you really good about that? Or do you have another business?
Chris: I have a number of things that are irons in the fire, I think is the expression, but the vast majority of time is spent on whatismyipaddress.com . It is the vast majority of the revenue for me, but I realize that just with my other sites that if Google comes along and decides we don’t want you in the search results for whatever reason, that’s going to be a massive hit to my business. I can’t be reliant on just this one income stream. I need to have other income streams.
They don’t necessarily need to be the same amount of revenue or scale up as quickly, but there needs to be a certain amount of diversification, at least for me, so I have that peace of mind that if something bad does happen, it’s not a total loss. At least there’s other things that can cover bills in the meantime while I figure out how to ramp something else up.
Kim: Again, I love that answer. I actually just ran into a problem where I had all my eggs in one client basket. And there was a problem. I hadn’t had it in the back of my mind, “This is not good Kim. This is not good,” and I was thinking this client can get into a car accident. I don’t like to think negatively like that, but I do like to be prepared. I was like, “This client could have something major happen in their life and then where does all my work go?”
I didn’t expect things to happen as they did and I am still working with the client, but it’s become abundantly clear that diversification is very important, but I love how you said, you know where your focus is because now it’s become clear. I can’t just be everywhere and anywhere. I need to be focused on the work that I’m doing, but the diversification is very important. Thank you.
Chris: For me, I’m just trying to reduce the amount of hours that I have an obligation to work, with that I have my needs. A part of me is thinking along the lines of, “Well, if I can make $50,000 a year more, spend that $50,000 on someone who’s working for me, but reduce my work by 5-10 hours a week, that’s pretty cool.” I just freed up time to either pursue another project, spend time with family and friends, be less stressed out, exercise more. I don’t want to be working 80 hours a week. I’ve done that in the past and I don’t want to do in the future.
Kim: If you’ve heard the feedback, what are the most common reasons that you found that people visit whatismyipaddress.com ?
Chris: The one that surprised me initially was that people are verifying that their VPN service is working. You’re like, “What the heck is a VPN service?” Like you were talking about earlier, people can hide their IP addresses. There’s good motivations behind that. There’s potentially bad motivations behind that. If you’re living in a country where your government sensors what websites you can visit or not visit, a VPN allows you to get around that kind of filtering.
It anonymizes your traffic, routes it through a server in the United States when you’re currently in China. You’re traveling in China, but you still want to get on Facebook. Well, you can have some problems getting on Facebook when you’re in China sometimes. Using a VPN service routes all your internet traffic through a server in the US, France, wherever you want it to be. That IP address that you see and the rest of the world sees when you’re interacting with websites is that server address, not the IP address of your machine in China.
Kim: That’s really interesting because when I look at my podcasting stats, I have heard that there are countries that I probably won’t be allowed to be listened to, but those countries, some of them—North Korea is still not on the radar—I was told that they won’t be able to listen to you, but they’re still getting through. You might be listening with a VPN and I want to congratulate and thank you for this.
Chris: Lots of people are using VPNs because they just don’t trust their internet service provider. In a sense, they can see what website you’re visiting depending on your set up. Some people are like, “I don’t want my ISP selling what websites I’m visiting and what I’m doing online, that’s my business not their business. They’re there to provide me connectivity, not spy on me.” So, people use VPNs for that reason as well.
Kim: Yeah, I can see that. Sort of related to that, well I don’t know. You’ll have to tell me how related to this. There’s so much happening especially in Facebook with their ads right now. I don’t know if Google is experiencing the same things, but Facebook has become more rigid on how you can target your people when you’re running ads. I don’t do a lot of Facebook ads, so forgive me if I’m just sending completely uneducated. I know you’re doing AdSense, but for IP, we’re being pixeled by Facebook, I’m totally aware. They’re looking at IP address, correct?
Chris: That and other things.
Kim: That and other things. Is that how Google does that as well?
Chris: Yeah. Google will look at your IP address. They’ll cookie you. You log into your Google and your Gmail account, and if you’re logged in, they now associate all your surfing because everybody runs Google Analytics on their websites. They know what websites you’re visiting. You use Google search, they know what you’re searching for. They potentially know what you’re buying because people are using Google for conversion tracking. They can figure out an awful lot about you.
I don’t know that Google allows the type of refinement on the AdWords side that Facebook does. I know Facebook you could say, “I want to advertise for the people who have the job title of this that live in this state, they make this much money, they’re married, they have 3.2 kids, and they have a dog named Bailey,” which is a little bit scary.
KIM: It is, but it’s also awesome at the same time.
Chris: With the advertiser, it’s awesome.
Kim: Yeah and that’s why I say it’s awesome because that’s often who I work with. But I’ve had issues working with divorce coaches or relationship coaches where we actually have a lot of struggle putting up ads just because they’re starting to crack down on how you can actually be messaging and they don’t like that type of specificity in your ads. It’s tough, but there’s ways around it.
Chris: Think of this. You are married to someone, you get on the computer, it was their Facebook account that was open, and you see ads for divorce attorneys. You’re like, “Is my spouse looking to file for a divorce? What’s going on?”
Kim: I never even thought of that example.
Chris: I could think of it that way. I’ve seen some things where people were looking for drug rehab facilities and things like that. They now start seeing ads for that. You want other people using your computer to know, “Gosh, why are there so many ads for drug rehab?” because someone else using the computer was searching for something related to that.
Kim: Completely a lot more innocent is, my husband was looking for a Christmas present for me. Thankfully, he has a different computer than mine, but all of a sudden, he starts seeing ads on his Facebook and this was like seven years ago for exactly what he had been searching for. He was so panicked that I was going to get on his computer and see this, but I honestly didn’t even know about pixeling at that point.
Chris, I want to thank you so much for just having—I say this in the best way possible—the crazy idea of finding a solution that would help your employer because I know just like me, you have given peace to a lot of people, a lot of clarity, and help people get back into their websites and all that; a lot of other purposes. So, thank you for what you’re doing and what you’ve done, and just keep being awesome.
Chris: Thank you. It’s been a blast running the website and it’s fun when you can be altruistic and make money at the same time, I guess.
Kim: Absolutely. We know about whatismyipaddress.com . Is there anywhere else that listeners can find you online and connect?
Chris: Sure. If people are interested in online privacy, security, and safety, they can always visit my personal website cgparker.com. All the social media stuff is on there, along with whatismyipaddress.com .
Kim: Fabulous. Listeners, if you are trying not to burn dinner, if you’re driving, or if you’re trying not to fall off the elliptical, you can go to thekimsutton.com/pp588 to find all the resources that we have talked about today.
Chris, I just want to thank you so much again. You’ve got me thinking about so much right now which is never a good thing, I don’t know if you know, but I am writing a book called Chronic Idea Disorder. Sometimes, this podcast can be absolutely dangerous.
Chris: Thank you. I had a great time being here.
Kim: Do you have a parting piece of advice or a golden nugget that you can offer to listeners?
Chris: How about a parting piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
Chris: Develop processes. Earlier this week, I had a support ticket where somebody was saying that a friend of theirs who was an accountant got a forged email from who they thought was their boss and ended up sending several thousand dollars to a scammer. We need processes, particularly as entrepreneurs of thinking things through like, “Well, before I set up a new vendor, before I send money to someone, someone needs to talk to me on the phone, someone needs to get a signed form from me so that I don’t send all my hard-earned money off to some scammer.”
Kim: Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Positive Productivity Podcast. When I’m not podcasting, I’m supporting six- to seven-figure business coaches with their marketing automation and entrepreneurs like you through my coaching and mastermind programs. I want to invite you to visit thekimsutton.com to learn how I can help you take your business to the next level.
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