Are you struggling to build a passive income with your SEO business?
In this episode, James Ruhle talks about going from hustling on $200/m SEO clients to traveling the world investing in start-ups.
- 02:40 – How long does it take to become an investor?
- 13:15 – Strategic Investing
- 26:37 – Diversifying Your Business
- 27:44 – When is it safe to expand into a new niche?
- 32:14 – Finding partnerships that bring individual value and mutual synergy
Daryl Rosser: James, what’s up buddy? Thanks for joining me on the show today, it’s very awesome to have you here.
James Ruhle: Hey Daryl, good to see you again, man.
Daryl Rosser: So for the people that don’t know you already, do you want to introduce yourself? What it is you do?
James Ruhle: Yeah. So, my name’s James Ruhle, I am a former SEO, I don’t really do SEO too much anymore, but I’m kinda more into investing at this point, but I still do have a few affiliate … I have one affiliate site that makes me a very large amount of money, very passive profit. I have a eCommerce business that’s attached to that, on top of it, so that also does very well. And then I’ve got a couple other eCommerce businesses going at the same time. And on top of that, I have a start up that I was involved in that’s blown up, it’s become one of the biggest car rental agencies, or peer to peer car rental agencies in the US. And I just do a little bit of angel investing in apps now. So, got a lot of different stuff going on.
Daryl Rosser: That’s awesome.
James Ruhle: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: You were saying before we started recording, that your whole motto, so to speak, these days is like, how can I make as much money as possible with as little effort as possible? That’s really, really cool. How did you get to this stage? I presume you weren’t always being able to just invest in all these different projects and stuff, like you must have started off working pretty hard and struggling a little bit, I guess, in the beginning?
James Ruhle: Yeah, exactly. Actually, I struggled a lot, a lot at the beginning. And there’s a ton of stuff, I mean, I think … I always see these guys, and meet these guys at all these conferences who like, “Oh, I’ve been an SEO for like six months, I’m already making 10k a month.” And that, I’m like, “Whoa.” So for me it literally took me five years to really click with something, I was working my ass off for five years, started off doing like … actually I started off doing paid traffic affiliate marketing back when I was 19 or 20, and I had like one or two successful campaigns, but then the advertiser basically didn’t like my traffic, so after those continuously happened over and over again, I was like, “All right, screw this. I’m gonna do SEO.”
So I started off doing client SEO, that was just like clawing at the wall for a long time. I was a pretty shy guy back then and I was very afraid to ask for any type of real money, I wasn’t confident in my skills. So I would have … I had like maybe five or six clients at like $200 a month each. Yeah, and you know that’s very hard to-
Daryl Rosser: Sounds fun.
James Ruhle: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So took me a long time to realize what my worth was and how to get actually good clients, and so eventually I did the client thing for a while, while trying to launch a couple different affiliate sites. Every affiliate site, as soon as it started to take off, got hit by some type of penalty, so it was pretty ridiculous in that aspect. You know, there’s like … I started off trying to do … I cut a lot of corners when I started off, as well. So that was the issue, I tried to use GSA to blast my authority sites, like spamming them, all that stuff. I’m sure it works, but I just wasn’t very good at it.
So eventually I said, “All right, screw this. I’m gonna start an actual white hat authority site, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna make a massive site. No more PBNs, no more spammy baffling, nothing like that.” And that’s not to say I don’t think PBNs … I mean, PBNs still work, they are definitely an awesome strategy, they have been for a long time and I think they still will be for a while. But for me, managing all that, it was just much easier for me to just email somebody and be like, “Hey, can I get a link? Like, this is my pay, this is really good content.” And because the content was usually such high quality, more often than not, the person I would email would actually be like, “Wow, that’s a really good resource. Yeah, I’ll definitely link to you, no problem.”
So I saw a lot of success doing that. Eventually, over two years, two or three years, built that site up to making very passively, at this point … I actually have search initiative guys who are awesome, working on that site, just running it totally passively. That’s making anywhere between 20 to 23K a month, and it’s growing every month. So yeah, it was a long journey at this point, but you know, finally got to a point where, “All right, cool.” So yeah, and I did work my ass off for a long time, if that was your question. I worked really fucking hard, like 12 hours a day, every single day, just absolutely addicted to trying to make this work. There was basically no way I was gonna give up on it, even though I kept on failing over and over and over again, I was like, “I’m gonna make this work no matter what happens.”
Daryl Rosser: What changed then? Was the big change the long term thinking, rather than cutting corners and stuff, or what?
James Ruhle: Yeah, I think it was like I kinda just got fed up with suffering the consequences of cutting corners and I just suddenly snapped, I was like, “All right, I’m gonna actually do something big now. Like, I’m tired of having clients.” I know a lot of people do well with clients, I hate them, I hate having clients. I don’t like having someone asking me what’s going on and I know there’s a lot of strategies you can use to stop that, but for me it’s just, I prefer the freedom of having something run totally passively without any input from me. So that’s what I like.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool, man. Can you name some of the projects you’ve got going on now? ‘Cause, I think you’ve got quite a few things, right?
James Ruhle: Yeah, so I mean, like you said earlier, my whole thing is like, make as much money as possible with as little work as possible. I’m doing the whole lifestyle thing right now, just enjoying traveling around the world, I’m living in Asia, in Manila right now actually. And just, I basically move to a different city every couple weeks. It does get tiring, but it’s also super fun, I meet tons of awesome people. So I enjoy that lifestyle, but-
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
James Ruhle: Yeah, the projects that I have going on right now is, they all run very passively, they all use … basically I use my cash flow from the affiliate site that I have, I use that cash flow to invest in other people to help build businesses that build more cash flow. So for example, with my affiliate site, I partner with a super smart guy, super hard worker who had already had successful FBA businesses. I partnered with him, he needed cash flow to launch more products, I said, “Yo, let’s partner together. I’ll give you money and we can build a huge business together.” And we have built a huge business together and that one kind of piggy backs off of the affiliate site.
I’ve also invested with other friends, basically the same thing, I saw they were struggling with cash flow, I was like, “Hey look, you’re good at what you do, let me help you give you some money.” And through that, it’s been a great partnership both ways. I’m always super … I want to make sure everybody I partner with is super happy with the partnership, I never want to make them feel like they’re getting a bad deal.
Daryl Rosser: How? I mean, how do you make that happen?
James Ruhle: I’m pretty generous with what I do and I’m always super honest with my intentions, and if I can tell maybe they’re not super happy about something, I always try and address it. Even if it means I have to give up a little bit more, I’m totally okay with that, because I don’t … I think that someone who’s not happy with the deal is not gonna work super hard to make that business successful. If they’re like, “Oh, I’m not getting a great deal out of this, I could work on something else and get a better deal.” Like, I want them to be happy with the deal. And so far everyone I’ve partnered with has been super … it’s been great.
So I usually do 50/50 partner splits on these and I end up giving them quite a bit of money, but they work their butts off for it too, so it ends up working out quite well. And everyone profits from it because with my cash flow injection, they can launch way more products, way faster than they normally would. They don’t have to deal with the worry of running out of stock and not having money to buy more stock, like cash flow management and all that stuff, it’s not an issue because I’m there to take care of all of it.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool, man. So these are kinda like friends, right? It’s not a formal thing or anything like that.
James Ruhle: One of them was a guy I met just through traveling, you know, there’s hubs in Saigon. I met this guy in Saigon actually, and he … we were like acquaintances, and then I approached him about this and now I consider him a very good friend after working with him for so long.
Daryl Rosser: Sure, yeah.
James Ruhle: The other guy was actually a really good friend of mine, who I could see what he was working on. But I’m totally … I’ve approached other people that are just acquaintances, I mean I’m down to work with anybody, but I need to see that they’ve had successful businesses before and that they actually have done it on their own. ‘Cause there’s tons of people you could partner with that are like, “Yeah, I’ll totally do that, that sounds awesome.”, but they’ve never started their own business, the fact that they’ve never started their own business means that they don’t have that fire to make a business successful so I’m pretty strict about that. I wanna see that you’ve done something on your own before, and you’ve seen it all the way through and you haven’t given up on it, that’s like my stipulations.
I’ve got like a few other apps, which … on some apps that I’ve invested in that have done quite well, that it’s kinda the same situation. I knew the guy, I knew he’s had successful projects before, I know that he’s a hard worker, I know he’s smart, so I thought, yeah, if I could be a part of this, I’d be super down to be a part of it.
Daryl Rosser: How’d you do that though? So say someone’s in your situation, they’ve got some money, they find someone that takes massive action and they’re looking to start a project, do you just reach out to them as like, “Hey, can I invest in this?”, or how do you kind of word that?
James Ruhle: Yeah, I’ll talk to them about it and I kind of like poke and prod, and I’m just like, “Oh, so what would you do if you had some extra money? Do you think that would help you out?” I kinda just poke and prod, and see what their responses are. Then I’ll be like, “Hey look, just to let you know, I’d be interested in helping you out, like maybe buy some equity in your company.” And I actually got another friend who I’m talking with right now, who I think has got a really badass project he’s working on. I’ve been waiting to approach him about it and he actually messaged me and told me he might be raising funding. And I was like, “All right, I’m in man. I definitely want to be a part of that.”
So that’s another one that’s gonna be coming up soon. And these are, these projects, I like them, you don’t have to have a ton of money. I’ll put in anywhere between $10 to $30,000 dollars for ’em, and it’s not like I’m giving them millions of dollars.
Daryl Rosser: It’s not huge.
James Ruhle: Yeah, it’s not like I’m giving them millions of dollars. I mean, these are SAS products, or physical products, whatever, where $10 to $30,000 dollars will do a lot for them. They could really … they can use that money a lot. Especially, a lot of these guys work out of Southeast Asia where labor is a lot cheaper than if you live in San Francisco, you know, Silicon Valley, whatever.
Daryl Rosser: Sure.
James Ruhle: So yeah, I think that might answer your question.
Daryl Rosser: No, it does. What I love and also thought was really cool is that you love traveling anyway, like you’d do that no matter what. And then, that just so happens to be like a byproduct of that is you get to meet loads of cool people, which can also bring about partnerships and investments like that.
James Ruhle: Yeah. I’m always looking to meet people. If I think someone has a good project, I’m gonna, “All right, tell me more. Tell me more.” And then I kinda poke and prod, see like, “Oh are you guys making much money right now? Like, what are your advertising methods? How are you”- … I’ll just try and figure things out. And obviously, the biggest thing about me is coming from an SEO perspective, SEO background, I look at projects and if this guy has no SEO background but I can see there’s so much potential, like launching a content marketing strategy or whatever, behind this. Then I’m like, “Dude, I can help you out with this. I can give my input on that end.” So it’s kind of a strategic investment as well, because I’ll often try to invest in projects where I think I can use my knowledge to help them in that aspect, right?
With the start up I was involved in, I did a lot of press outreach. We got tons of huge publications, I mean, CNN Money, CNBC, we were on television commer- … we were on the ABC7 news. Not just press releases, I mean these were big, like we were the center piece of the articles. And so I have a lot of experience reaching out to news on that end, and how to pitch press, so I’ll use that experience as well to help these little apps that I’ve been involved with. So I can give them advice on how to do that as well, so it can usually be like a strategic investment for them as well, ’cause they get that aspect, they get the experience I’ve had.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool, man. How many investments do you have right now? Off the top of your head.
James Ruhle: I mean, not counting crypto, ’cause crypto is … I put a lot of money in crypto as well, but I’ve done maybe six or seven investments into different companies over $10,000 dollars.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, cool.
James Ruhle: Yeah. Go ahead.
Daryl Rosser: Sorry. And you’re like … you said you’re also invested in a little bit of skills and what you bring to the table, how do you manage seven investments like that? Are you working on them daily? Or how does it work?
James Ruhle: Yeah. I mean, I’m very off, it’s more … when I bring my skills to it, I don’t do any work, it’s more like kinda consulting, like, “Hey, this is what you guys should do, these are the tools you should use, these are some people you should use that I know are really good at this.”, those types of things. It’s not like I’m gonna sit down at a computer and do the work for them, it’s more like, “Hey, let me give you some advice.”, maybe I’ll do some keyword research for them, I’ll maybe help them come up with a content marketing plan, but it’s not gonna be full out working for the company, you know?
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, sure.
James Ruhle: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: So for the most part, what do you actually work on?
James Ruhle: Yeah, I mean, I travel a lot, I workout a lot, I eat a lot. I don’t have much to do during the day, I usually will just-
Daryl Rosser: Sounds good, man.
James Ruhle: No, it’s a good life. I’ll do calls, I basically just spend my time catching up with these investments, they’ll have an investor call like once a week, or something like that. In my spare time I just mess around with crypto, I have fun doing that, it’s a fun little industry to be a part of. Yeah, I’m making some pretty decent money from that as well, I think everybody is. Not in this market, but yeah.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool, man. So how do you get to this stage? So you mentioned your big authority site, how did you get to this, where you don’t really have much work to do, you’ve got a few investments and stuff?
James Ruhle: Right.
Daryl Rosser: It’s an open winded question.
James Ruhle: Yeah. So I think that’s kind of the appeal of having an affiliate website, is that you really, once it’s going, you really don’t have much work. And the fact that I’ve delegated everything to the search initiative, I really don’t have anything to do on it, it’s their responsibility now. And they’ve … I’m very confident in their ability to keep it earning more, or earning at least the same amount of money. So for me, it’s kind of like an insurance, I’m just paying them an insurance to manage the site, so that I just don’t even have to worry about it.
How did I get to this point? I mean it was really, once I think I got to maybe 20K per month with the site, it was, “That’s more than enough money to invest into other projects.” You know? I’m not spending 20K a month living in Southeast Asia, so having extra money from that, I don’t need … I guess like, a lot of people, if they’re not working, then they feel like their day is getting wasted of whatever. And for me, if I have money in my bank, I feel like it’s getting wasted if I’m not using it for something.
Daryl Rosser: That’s true, yeah.
James Ruhle: So I don’t need to have a crap load of money in the bank, but … and you know, it is risky. It’s a risky strategy, ’cause if I lose everything I’m kinda screwed, but I’ll still have all these assets, all these different … I don’t think I’ll lose all six investment assets, you know, those are all gonna be there unless something crazy happens. They’re all on totally industries, totally different-
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
James Ruhle: Yeah, so I don’t think I’ll lose … they’re very diversified.
Daryl Rosser: Cool, man. It’s just that one big site, like you struggled for years you say, and there’s that one big site that kinda changed everything, it was the tipping point, so to speak.
James Ruhle: Yeah, for sure. It’s been a massively effective on my life and I’m very grateful for it, yeah. I think I will probably sell it this year, I want to get it to 30K a month, I mean … just in my head, I want to make a million dollars before I’m 30. So it’s just a little goal in my head, I wanna sell it, ideally, I’m turning 29 next month. So I want to sell it before I’m 30, basically, in the next year for a million dollar flip, I’d be pretty happy with that.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool, man. Yeah, pretty epic. How did you build up that site then? Is there any lessons in that? Like, obviously it wasn’t all luck.
James Ruhle: I did a lot of white hat outreach when I first started. I hired really, really talented writers, basically put all my money back into it, a lot of the money from the agency that I was running at the time, back into it. And it was just … my focus was on creating really awesome content, I did a lot of the stuff, I was super hands on. And then, eventually I processed everything out to where we were just launching at least one to two articles a day of super high quality content, we had a whole outreach process just building links every single day, naturally coming in. So it started off a little bit slow, but because … it’s funny, I have to tell … when I first started off too, I think I did get lucky in this aspect. When I first started off, the niche was super uncompetitive, there was one other guy in the niche.
And now everybody and their mother is coming out with an exact copy of my site, it’s pretty frustrating, they literally come out with exact copies of my site. Which is rewritten content-
Daryl Rosser: Wow, it sounds like affiliates.
James Ruhle: Yeah. Just rewritten content, but like it’s exact structure, I mean they copied literally everything to the T, but … so that bit is a bit frustrating for sure, but I’m still number one, baby.
Daryl Rosser: How did you create more free time? So you were very hands on initially, what changed? Did you build up a team of VAs, did you use services? How did you free up your time?
James Ruhle: I had a big team. I mean, there was at one point in 2016, where I was working on an enormous amount of projects. I was working on the affiliate site, I had the startup which was called HyreCar, and we were growing like crazy, doing insane revenue numbers, they needed my work full time. So we had a team of maybe like six people, six Vietnamese people working with me, who were working on different projects and eventually, I just got to a point where I kinda finished the site. I finished my affiliate site, there was not really any new content to write, not really any new affiliate products to write about, so we wrote over probably 500 pages of unique content for reviews and all sorts of stuff.
And there still is extra content to write for sure, but I kinda finished the site and I realized, “Okay, I can just let this go on it’s own.” And then I ended up leaving HyreCar so I didn’t have to manage with them anymore, although I still own a good chunk of equity in it. So I left HyreCar, and the site got completed and could run on it’s own, all the investments that were investments for cash flow were just going on their own because I made it very clear with the people I invest in that, “Look, I’m not gonna do anything. This is you, this is completely your job.”, you know? I made it very clear on that. They all understood totally.
So yeah, at a certain point I realized I don’t have much to do, I could still definitely do more work. But for now, I’m just kind of enjoying life, and enjoying the cash flow and I’m not really interested in projects unless they’re gonna be $100 million dollar projects, so nothing like that has come across the table yet. I mean, HyreCar is gonna be … I can’t really say too much about the revenue numbers right now, but it’s insane amount of money that that company is making right now. So that’s gonna be a nice little nest egg when that happens. I’m just not really interested in making another affiliate site, I’m not really interested in small kind of … I guess in the big picture type stuff, small stuff. So I’m looking my next projects to be $100 million dollar project, that’s what would keep me interested.
Daryl Rosser: I love it, man. For anyone that’s not at your level yet, you got there off a website that’s making decent money and that’s paying for your fare, and then you use that to invest. For anyone that’s kind of like James, pre the affiliate website, do you have any advice for those guys to kind of get to that, if they want to live a lifestyle like you?
James Ruhle: Yeah. Okay, so what you’re saying … like, they are just starting an affiliate site, or they have an affiliate site already?
Daryl Rosser: Maybe they have some sites like that, but they are not making anything close to what you are making from your site.
James Ruhle: It depends how big the site can be. I mean, if it’s just very narrow edge I would say, just keep building more sites, just try and get as much cash flow as possible. Cash flow is the game and my whole thing is like, play to win. I do super risky stuff, I’m still young, I have no wife, I have no kids, so I’m in a bit of a unique perspective, or situation. I play to win, not play to not lose, like I play to make as much money as possible. So I mean, if you want some bad advice, I guess for some risky advice for these people is just get as much cash flow as possible and look for other opportunities to invest in, people that you know are good, and just invest hard. And maybe … ’cause for a while when I was investing in these guys, there was a while there I was only making maybe 10K a month, but I was putting a lot of my money into them and it was a little bit stressful. I mean, I’d be down to maybe a thousand dollars in my bank account sometimes, but like I said, I mean, I like to play to not lose … or, play to win, not play to not lose.
Daryl Rosser: And like you mentioned, where me too as well, I like good stage where it’s no real big deal, we don’t have huge responsibilities or anything like that. Like we live in Southeast Asia, or travel around, not some stupid GPA or anything like that.
James Ruhle: Yeah, and if I lost everything, like … if God forbid I somehow lost everything, I’d still have my skills, I could still get back into it and do everything all over again, like it’s not that big of a deal. You know? And maybe it’d set me back two or three years, but it’s … so, yeah. If I lose everything it’s not that big of a deal, but if I really bet hard on some stuff and really, it could be huge, absolutely life changing money.
Daryl Rosser: For sure. I like you said the cash flow, that’s the key point, right? Like, no matter what, you know that even if you drop your bank by several thousand dollars, you know that you’re gonna get another chunk of cash coming in soon.
James Ruhle: Exactly. Cash flow is huge, man, it’s super important.
Daryl Rosser: So for someone that’s out there making, I don’t know, let’s say $1,000, $2,000 dollars a month, that the goal for those guys would be, do whatever you need to do expand existing sites, or build new sites so you can get the cash flow up to a point where you’re actually bringing something in. And then, if they want to do what you’re doing, they want to take a little bit of risk, then they can invest it in things like that.
James Ruhle: Yeah, I mean, I wanna give better advice than just, “Expand your site”, because that’s not the best advice out there, but if I was making it … it just depends on what type of site they have. If they have an authority site, then yeah, they could definitely expand it. If they have a site about, I don’t know, I’m looking around my house for something, chair, anything can be for an authority site. But really, maybe launch a new site, SEO, I mean it’s getting tough as well, like I don’t … it’s tough, so I would say maybe diversify a little bit, try and take some of your profits put it into some FBA stuff. A really easy way to increase profits for an authority site, or any affiliate site, is to just launch an FBA product on top of it.
So if you have-
Daryl Rosser: For sure, yeah.
James Ruhle: Yeah. If you have a … and that’s basically what we did. Our top products, it’s a little bit ethically hazy, but our top products for a lot of my biggest reviews are my own products, you know? So the number one product is James’ product. And we can push products that way, but yeah, I think launching an FBA product. Like, if you have a site about … shoot let me just think off the top of my head … workout supplements, and you launched your own workout supplement, that’d probably be pretty complicated, but yeah, you can push it through your site. That’s an easy way to increase cash flow, increase the value of your asset.
Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. Here’s an interesting question, man. So you got your affiliate site now, it’s doing really freaking well. Before we started doing your investments, how did you decide that like, “This one’s working super well, why I don’t do more of this. So I’ll launch more sites like this, stay in this field.” How do you decide not to transition? Were you kinda worried about the risk of not doing as well in something else?
James Ruhle: Basically it was … I mean I don’t want to turn anyone off from SEO ’cause it’s been really good for me, but basically it was a long path to get to where it is now, you know?
Daryl Rosser: Sure.
James Ruhle: It wasn’t easy to do it, it was basically two years before I was making 20K a month. I’m sure you can do it a lot faster than that and if I did things again, I could probably do it a lot faster as well. But, I had so much stuff going on at the time that I was working on HyreCar, I was working on the affiliate site, I just had way too much … I did not have enough bandwidth to launch a new site.
Daryl Rosser: Fair enough.
James Ruhle: And then when it got to a point, I was like, “Well, I could launch a new site, maybe in two years it’ll be, maybe at the same level again.” But it just didn’t really seem that intriguing to me, and who knows, maybe I will, because it is a decent way to get cash flow, you know? And the thing is, there are people out there who have processed everything out so well, that launching a new site is super easy for them. They have the team, they have everything, it’s just not a big deal, but I never really invested too hard in … I tried to do that for a while but what I realized after not checking in with my team too much, is that the whole process had fallen apart. When I did actually check back in with them, I was like, “What are you guys doing?”
Like, the whole thing had gotten so messed up. And there’s definitely ways to prevent that and there’s a lot of people out there doing it, and doing it really well. It’s just not really that appealing to me at this point in my life. So like I said, the only thing that’s really gonna be interesting to me, is creating a $100 million dollar business at this point.
Daryl Rosser: I like it. In terms of, obviously your companies you invested in, you own equity in and stuff, they have a team of course, but in terms of you as in the investor, is it just you, or do you have a VA or anything, helping you out?
James Ruhle: With the investments?
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, like what your personally, your day to days of work.
James Ruhle: No, not really. I do have a VA that does little stuff on the affiliate site, but … like he has daily tasks on it, but it’s not really anything crazy. I really don’t have anything going on on that aspect, I have no need for a VA.
Daryl Rosser: That’s a good setup.
James Ruhle: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: I like that. I think I’m always recommending these days to people, that it’s so much easier to have good partnerships and use great service and stuff, versus building up your team. In terms of having a media lifestyle.
James Ruhle: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, hiring a really solid SEO agency to take over your site, like that was huge for me. And like I said, TSI, they’re a really good search initiative, shout out to them again. There’s a lot of SEO agencies out there that are absolute shit, I mean, you know. I’d say honestly, 95% of the SEO services in general are absolute shit, so when you find one that’s really good, that’s like … okay yeah, they’re kinda pricey but at least you’re getting real value out of it. I think you should definitely go for it. I definitely spend more money than I should be on premium services that I believe are worth it, but for me I pay that extra amount of money because it’s just nice to not have to think about it, not have to worry about it.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, I agree. How did you learn this stuff? Like invest, and how to pick out the right sort of person, and stuff like that? Was there books, mentors, coaches?
James Ruhle: No, it was more just kind of an intuition, I guess. Like, it was just really logical, it’s like, “All right, well this guy has launched a successful product, he works hard, he’s … why wouldn’t I invest in him?” It was just kind of like, intuition. And I haven’t really read much books on it, but yeah, I just really believe in partnerships, I believe in being like … what’s the word? I think people can really benefit from synergy in partnerships so well. Like, everyone has their value ad to add in a partnership, right? And so, sometimes you know, I’ve seen it work before. Two SEOs working together to build a site, like yeah that works, it can work, they’re both SEOs, but if you have maybe an SEO and a content writer to build a site together, right? Like, they’re … or a content manager … or you partner with somebody to, let’s say, obviously, an FBA and you have the money.
They have the skills to launch the FBA company, you have the money. Those types of synergistic partnerships are really, really, really good. So I love partnerships. I think that a lot of people are afraid of them and I get that, but I think by … I like to be … I’ve always been risk, I like to live a little bit risky.
Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. Have you had any bad experiences? Or any bad investments or anything, yet?
James Ruhle: No, not really. I mean, I kinda pride myself on my ability to read somebody and tell if they’re gonna be a good person to generally work with. And I won’t partner with somebody that I don’t, maybe … I mean, even like if I don’t think they’re very trustworthy, or like maybe I just get a bad feeling about them, I typically won’t even think about it. So there’s gotta be … I gotta feel like you’re a good person and you’re not gonna screw me over, and those types of things. I haven’t personally had a bad partnership yet.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool.
James Ruhle: Yeah. Or investment, or anything, yet.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool, man. I think your methodology of like seeing something that’s already taking massive action, you’ve already built something successful before, it’s, I wanna say obvious, but somewhat obvious, or you get a vibe that they can do it again.
James Ruhle: Right, for sure. And so I think a lot of people might see that and be like, “Oh, good for you, man.” And I see it and I’m like, “Hey, let me help you so I can be a part of this. Let me leech off of you.” Yeah. So that’s kind of-
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool.
James Ruhle: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: Do you have any other advice for people that are trying to create your lifestyle?
James Ruhle: I think just don’t be afraid to spend money on good people, don’t be afraid to … just don’t be afraid. I personally will … I’m not afraid to spend money on … you know, if that means investing in somebody or like, people will really overthink like, “Oh, should I do this investment? Should I not?” It’s kinda padded advice, risky advice for sure, but just do it and see what happens and learn from it. I’m definitely the type of guy that like, I will throw money at things. I mean, I’ve definitely … what I have done, is I’ve wasted a lot of money on bad SEO services.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. Thank you.
James Ruhle: So I’ve wasted a lot of money, where I’ll think like, “Oh this guy, he’s popular in the group, people seem to like him. All right, I’ll throw $2,000 dollars at his links, see what happens.” And they end up being dog shit, and now I’ve got dog shit links floating in my site, and it’s just like … so those are the things where it’s a learning experience, right? It’s all like, I spend a lot of money learning, and then I just kinda make assumptions from that. So it’s maybe not the greatest advice out there, just go out there and spend money. Let me think of more-
Daryl Rosser: I like it. It’s quicker. Like you’re just gonna throw a bunch of money at these services, eventually you’re gonna get through all the crappy ones and find someone good, like you have.
James Ruhle: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I’ve worked with a lot of different service suppliers in our community and yeah, I mean, I’m not gonna call anyone out, but there’s a lot of shit out there.
Daryl Rosser: Sure.
James Ruhle: Yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Advice on just maybe for a beginner, or … I would just … yeah, you’re gonna run into a lot of issues, a lot of shit’s gonna suck, but just keep going at it, don’t give up. Like, it’s … SEOs getting harder every year, so keep up to date with all the latest stuff and … I personally, I know I’ll probably get a lot of shit for this, but I would stay away from PBNs unless you’re a fucking expert on them. Unless you know your stuff so well, and you’ve been in the industry for a while, I would stay away from them ’cause they’re fucking complicated now. And I would not suggest new people get into it. Maybe buy PBN links from people who know what they’re doing. I think you sell PBN links, right Daryl?
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
James Ruhle: Yeah, you, Matt Diggity-
Daryl Rosser: To be fair, I can’t disagree ’cause I tend to recommend the same thing these days. Like building them up is just a headache if nothing else.
James Ruhle: Yeah, for sure. And I think it’s just gonna get harder, and harder, and harder. So I would say, if you’re a new person in SEO, I would not suggest building your own PBNs, ’cause it’s … it was hard when I was involved, like two years ago, I don’t even know what it’s like now. Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. What is your plan going forward then? You just gonna keep enjoying your lifestyle and making a few more investments, stuff like that? Do you have any big, hundred million dollar plans?
James Ruhle: You have some potential stuff in the grapevine, a potential hundred million dollar company that it may go through, we’re in talks right now. So that’s the only thing that’s really interested me in the past year or so, so that one is gonna be really big if we can figure out the right way to do it. But yeah, it’s still in talks right now.
Daryl Rosser: What do you identify yourself as now? Like back in the Affiliate days when I was doing main thing, I presume you were working SEO, what about now?
James Ruhle: It’s funny, people ask me all the time, “What do you do?”, I’ll say digital marketer, but I don’t really do digital marketing anymore. So I guess, just an investor. VC, not VC, ’cause it’s not like VC money, angel investor … yeah, I don’t know. Just chillin’.
Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. So if you started over again, would you build another affiliate site? Or would you build something else?
James Ruhle: I’d look and see what other options are out there these days to make money.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
James Ruhle: I think if I started again, I probably would start an affiliate site ’cause I know it, but also, if I could raise money, I may just launch an FBA brand, if I had no money to start off with. ‘Cause I prefer getting that cash flow in as soon as possible. Basically, an affiliate site, SEO, you’re buying links, you’re building content, you’re putting a lot of money in and it’s a while until you see money back. With FBA, you’re basically, you put money in and within two or three shipments you can finally start taking a little bit of profit from it. So, yeah.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, well if you … especially like the Amazon stuff, I see people investing money today so they can make like an hour wide in years time, like that’s a long way.
James Ruhle: Yeah, it’s tough man. I have to see what other people are doing out there, I don’t even know. I haven’t looked into it for a while, but what about you? If you had to start over, what would you do?
Daryl Rosser: I mean, damn. You’re not supposed to turn it around, man. I guess, for a little bit of cash flow I’d go for some clients, just ’cause it’s what I know and it’s just nice and easy to get at least enough cash flow that I’m not freaking out.
James Ruhle: Yeah, that’s a good option. And the thing is, if I were to start over again now, I would definitely take clients and I would charge a hell of a lot more than I did before, so it’d be a lot easier.
Daryl Rosser: For sure.
James Ruhle: It’d be a lot easier than doing a client for $200 bucks a month.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, I’d definitely start where … I teach this stuff as well, so I don’t want to seem biased, but I would ’cause it would just pay enough money to pay the bills definitely. So then, after that I can choose whatever. I don’t really want to build a big agency, it’s not my … like PPL is cool, but again, i do it the same with you, like partnerships and stuff. Like people managing the clients, people ranking them, I just kind of give them money.
James Ruhle: It works out well, huh?
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, I like the model. It’s kinda actually, a realization I had of it the past year or so, as well, similar to what you’re doing is that I don’t need to actually do that much work as long as I have money to put in and I know great people, they can pretty much do most of the stuff for me.
James Ruhle: Yeah and I’ve met some of your team as well, and they’re … yeah, so.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah. Smart guys.
James Ruhle: Yeah, yeah. You got a good team going.
Daryl Rosser: Cool, man. Any words of wisdom to wrap it up? Anything clever we can end on?
James Ruhle: Oh man, putting me on the spot.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
James Ruhle: I would say … the only thing I could honestly say is, it’s cheesy, but just don’t give up. Again, I mean, there’s a lot of times I … you know, I had a … I was struggling super hard and I was so frustrated with the client situation, right? And I had applied for a job at Reddit, actually, and Reddit, they were like, “Okay, we’re gonna fly you out to New York for an interview.” So I was super stoked, I was like, “All right, cool. Like I can finally stop doing this SEO shit, I’m so tired of it. So tired of working my ass off for like $1,200 dollars a month, this sucks.” So I went to get interviewed at Reddit and it went really badly and I was fucking heartbroken. I was like, “Man, that was like my dream job. This is like … it was going to pay me so well. Like, oh this sucks.”
But man, if I had gotten that job, my whole life would have been totally different and who knows. I definitely wouldn’t be making the type of money I’m making now.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
James Ruhle: And it was all ’cause I wanted to give up on what I was working on. So I’m just lucky I didn’t get that job, but to anyone who’s listening, like who’s thinking about giving up, just keep working at it, man, just keep doing it. And a couple years from now you’ll be super, insanely happy that you didn’t give up on it.
Daryl Rosser: What drives you? Like, you struggled for years you said, what drove you to keep going through all that?
James Ruhle: A lot of it was to prove people wrong, for sure, ’cause I didn’t go to college.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool.
James Ruhle: So I was like … I got a lot of shit for a while, like, “Oh, why aren’t you going to college, you’re gonna be a failure. Blah, blah, blah.” So I wanted to prove a lot of people wrong. And a lot of it was just like, I’ve always … my family are all entrepreneurs, I’ve been an entrepreneur, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So I just wasn’t gonna give up, like there was just no way. It was just not even a possibility.
Daryl Rosser: That’s fair enough. I think it’s actually cool, man. A lot of people would benefit from figuring out what drives them and thinking, I actually like getting hate and stuff of the likes, it makes me want to work harder and stuff like that. If you’re that sort of person, which I’d say I’m a little bit for sure, then use that deliberately to make you work harder.
James Ruhle: Absolutely, yeah. So there’s some words of wisdom there too.
Daryl Rosser: Cool, man. Exactly. Cool, so I appreciate you joining me today, James. It’s been awesome.
James Ruhle: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: How will I be able to find you if we want to connect or anything?
James Ruhle: Yeah, they can email me. Yeah, I’ll do a little bit of a pitch here. If anyone is struggling with cash flow and you have a success FBA ran already, you can email me with some information and that’s J[email protected], that’s [email protected] Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome, man. Cool, well it’s been awesome chatting again. I’m sure we’ll catch up at some point.
James Ruhle: Yeah, I’ll see you Vietnam.
Daryl Rosser: All right, man. Catch you later, cheers.
All right, let me know what you thought of the video in the comment section below. I try and respond to all of the comments, I’m really excited to see what you guys think of the video. Be sure to hit the like button as well below, if you liked it, if you’re watching on YouTube. Aside from that guys, if you want more training just like this, be sure to check out our scientific rankings and membership, I put a link below the video again, so there’s a lot of stuff below the video, and you can check that out as well. We have more training just like this, so good stuff.
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