Shoemoney speaks on channeling passion into profits
In many ways, passion is like a rushing river. When properly channeled through dams and floodgates, there’s very little it can’t power. But let it spread over too wide an area too quickly, and it will dry up right before your eyes.
Fizzled passion is the death sentence of any entrepreneur, most often spurred on by attempts to do too much, too fast, too soon. The important thing is to pick your battles, or, as online marketing mogul Jeremy Schoemaker (better known by his alias Shoemoney) puts it, “prioritize the profitable projects.”
That mantra, coined my Schoemaker’s wife back at the advent of the journey that would catapult him to one of the most respected voices in the Internet affiliate marketing space, has seen this Illinois-born entrepreneur through the toughest times.
“One of the most common mistakes I see with people now is they will work on something until it hits the ‘dip’ of launching, and then they will be distracted by the new shiny thing in the distance,” he said, referring to the sparkling luster of a fresh new idea when contrasted with the “boring” one you’ve been slaving away on for months. “Everyone has good ideas. (But most peoples’) original idea never really goes anywhere.”
But having a great idea and then executing it will only get you two-thirds of the way to success. It doesn’t help if you don’t reap the benefits of your passion and perseverance. While working as a programmer at Wells Fargo, Shoemoney hammered out code of significant worth… to Wells Fargo.
“I was named ‘Technology Employee of the Month’ twice (out of thousands of employees) — I wrote almost all of their security policies,” he said. “Despite doing all of these things, I was never financially compensated more than my peers who were just there for the paycheck. Eventually, I lost my passion and fizzled out.”
If you’re the one sowing the seeds of inspiration, you’ve got to be the one collecting the harvest. Going into business for yourself is equal parts arduous and terrifying, but it’s also the most rewarding path, according to Shoemoney. In 2003, he cast aside the safety net of a full-time job to focus on his ringtone community company, Next Pimp, and never looked back.
Following six months of struggle, Shoemoney made it in a big way. After Google recommended that he capitizie on his site’s traffic via AdSense, he soon raked in $132,000 in a single month.
But how can you follow the trail he’s blazed?
The trick — perhaps more of an art than a science — is to single out the projects with the greatest chance of monetization and see them through to the end. It’s no simple task, but it’s better to have one fully fleshed out failed project provide valuable experience than to have a dozen great ideas that never gestate beyond that point.
And you don’t need to travel far to go far, as evidenced by the amount of success Shoemoney’s had right here in Nebraska, where he estimates his overhead costs to be 5 to 10 times less than those of companies operating on either coast.
“Living here in Lincoln gives me a huge advantage over my competitors,” he said. “I have an amazing, talented staff here in Lincoln for a small fraction of my competition.”
And for entrepreneurs unsure where to even begin, Shoemoney offered up this axiom: ”Be willing to do what others are not — whether it’s through just working harder, taking legal risks, moral risks or taking care of your employees.”
“In 2007, when I sold a company, I gave each person who was working for me over a million-dollar cash bonus,” he said.
“I doubt my competitors would have done that.”