The Story Behind the Creation of with Company Founder Ian Ippolito

Would you like to learn what goes into creating a website that does over $11 million a year?

Do you ever wonder how such a business attracts so many customers?

To hear the story behind, I interview company founder, Ian Ippolito in this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast.

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

In this episode, I interview Ian Ippolito of

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Trent: Hey there, Bright Idea hunters. Thank you so much for joining

me for the Bright Ideas podcast. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this is

the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to

use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively boost their

business.Now in this episode I am joined by Ian Ippolito, the founder of If you’ve ever used one of these sites to find outsourcers,

vWorker is one of the most popular of those sites. Now in this particular

interview, Ian is going to share with us his particular strategy for how to

design the perfect product for your customers. Many companies go down the

road and they build in features that customers don’t end up wanting and Ian

is going to share with us his process to avoid that.The next thing is early on in vWorker’s life there was a very deep-pocketed

competitor that came in and they could outspend vWorker 10 to 1, but yet

vWorker prevailed. Ian’s going to share with us the strategy he used to

make that happen.Finally, if you’ve been considering starting an affiliate program for your

site, you really want to listen to Ian’s ideas on how to create the

ultimate affiliate program. Affiliates are the largest source of revenue

for vWorker and in this episode, Ian is going to share with us exactly how

he created it. So please join me in welcoming Ian to the show.Hey, Ian. Thank you so much for making the time to do this interview with

  1. You’ve got a very successful company you’re at the helm of so I’m super

stoked to get into that and find out how you built it.Ian: Thanks, Trent. It’s a pleasure to be here.Trent: Just for the listeners who are, I shouldn’t say “listeners”.

For the people who are watching this, you’ll notice that Ian is a little

blurry. We did do our best to figure that out before we decided to record

but, sadly, neither one of us could make it happen so this is the best

video that we’ve got for you for today.All right. Ian, you’re the founder and, I’m assuming, still CEO of This has become a pretty big site so for the people who maybe

haven’t heard of you and don’t know what this, can you tell me how much are

you doing in revenue right now, how many years have you been in business

and what does the business actually do?Ian: Sure. We’ve been in business since 2001 and last year we did $11.1

million in revenues and what vWorker does is we connect together typically

business, so sometimes small businesses, sometimes larger. A lot of times,

just entrepreneurs with remote workers and these remote workers can do all

sorts of things for them a lot cheaper than bringing someone on-site to do

the same work.Trent: OK. That’s something that’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve had

remote workers on my team for probably 18 months now but, man, 2001, wasn’t

even on my radar screen. I was the CEO of my last company then and I, in

hindsight, probably could have saved a bunch of money if I had known that

stuff like yours existed. So I have to guess that back in 2001, was this a

really foreign concept for people back then?Ian: Yes, it was. It really wasn’t something that anyone would think

about. Outsourcing or just kind of getting a remote worker is something a

really big company could afford but nothing that the typical sized company

or the entrepreneur would ever even think of.Trent: OK. That leads me into the story that many of us think about

is, “How on earth did you come up with the idea?” Let’s go back to 2001,

you’re a coder by training if I’ve done my research correctly. You’re a guy

that liked to write software.Ian: Yes, that’s right.Trent: You started off with, I think, Planet Source Code. Was that

your first kind of entrepreneurial venture or had you kind of done a bunch

of stuff that did or didn’t work before that?Ian: That was the first entrepreneurial venture that did halfway decent.

Yes, I did a bunch of other things beforehand. I think I was like most

entrepreneurs. I tried a whole bunch of things and learned a lot of lessons

from things that didn’t succeed.Trent: Yes, absolutely. I learned most of my lessons from the mistakes

that I make. All right. In the early years, you started off with this thing

called “Planet Source Code” and then did that eventually, because vWorker

started as Rentacoder, that was the original brand, did Plant Source Code,

did it sort of feed you into Rentacoder? Can you talk a bit about how that

transition happened?Ian: Yes, you’re exactly right. It not only physically fit in, like not

only did we physically move the people in but even conceptually. Basically,

the idea for what was vWorker, which was Rentacoder back then, was that, I

owned the Planet Source Code site and I was a computer consultant.I was just, I guess you could say, minding my own business. I would

constantly get these e-mails and these e-mails would be, “Hey, Ian, you’re

the webmaster of this site. I like it. I just don’t have the time to use

  1. Could you do some programming for me?”That was my job and yet I was so busy, I turned it down. I got e-mail after

e-mail, the same thing over and over again, people asking the same thing.

They needed some help and I didn’t even know really where to turn them to.

After probably, maybe, about 20 or 30 of them, turning them down and

turning them down, I finally thought, “Ooh, you know what? I think I’ve got

this all backwards. There’s an unmet need here and people really, really

need this.If I could come up with some way where they can hire someone, obviously

they can’t hire me, but if they could hire someone else and if somehow I

could guarantee it or make it safe because they’d be hiring someone that

they don’t know and do it over the Internet, wouldn’t that be awesome.”That was basically the idea. That’s how it started. I just kind of one day

just did something on my laptop, kind of typed it all up and made a little

prototype and thought, “Hmm, I think that could work,” and I put it out

there to try it.Trent: OK. So for the folks, and I’m going to put myself in this camp,

who aren’t familiar with Planet Source Code, if I did my research

correctly, you had built that into a fairly popular, highly trafficked

site, is that correct?Ian: Yes, that’s right. That’s a whole story in itself, Planet Source

Code, because this was in the first dot-com crash. It was before the dot-

com crash so pre-2001 and back then, as long as you had a high traffic

site, you could make really, really good money just putting up ads.To give you an idea, for example, I remember Microsoft and Oracle were

advertising on this website, this website for computer programmers, and

they would pay 60 CPM, so $60.00 to show a little 468 x 60, which is a tiny

ad by today’s standards and that site was doing at least a million visitors

a month, it was doing very, very well pre-dot-com crash.It was a great business model. Basically, it was just myself. I had a

second employee who kind of handled the paperwork and the accounting and

that was it. It was a great business model but, also, unfortunately, it was

a little bit doomed to failure because the dot-com crash came and all of

the sudden now all of the people that were advertising on the site couldn’t

pay their bills.I had my own bills that I needed to pay because I had purchased these

things called “T1 lines”. T1’s are like high-speed lines because back then,

you didn’t have high-speed to your house or anything like that. Each one of

those was $1,000 a month yearly contract and I had six of those.My advertisers were drying up, my expenses were still about the same and I

was like, “I need to do something here. I need to find some other way to

monetize this audience. I don’t want to end up as a casualty of this whole

dot-com crash.”Trent: As many did. Your decision =then was to transition your

business model completely away from advertising to helping connect people

who needed talent and talent that needed work.Ian: Yes, exactly. Rather than advertising, an actual service, which was a

lot more difficult but it also provided a lot more value, it ended up being

a lot more lucrative.Trent: OK. Let’s talk a little bit about the business model that you

had back then because you had this traffic so that wasn’t really going to

be a problem, per se. Well, let me think this through. Because you have to

connect two different parties, you’ve got people who can write code and

people who are going to need code. The traffic at Planet Source Code was

probably people who were going to write code because they’re coming there

to get snippets of code that they can use in whatever projects that they

were working on. Is that correct?Ian: Yes, that is correct. It was only half of the audience I needed,

basically.Trent: In the other half, you’re pretty much a startup, and these are

the guys with the money.Ian: Yes. Yes, exactly, and without them, it’s a chicken and egg because

it’s like I don’t know which side you have to develop first. You kind of

have to develop both of them at the same time. Yes, the ones with the money

were not there. I had to find some way to generate those and bring those

people in.

Trent: All right. Let’s talk about the first year. You’ve got lots of

people willing to write code, nobody who wants to hire a coder has ever

heard of you. You had to get the word out and that’s a challenge that so

many of us, well, everybody who’s in business is faced with this. What are

some of the things that you did to make that happen?

Ian: This was awhile ago, this was 2001. It was actually before Google ads

were even out there. The equivalent back then was called “Overture”. I put

out a bunch of ads on Overture and it was really cheap by today’s

standards. You might pay $0.05 or $0.10 a click, which anyone that does

Internet marketing today, if you can do $0.05 or $0.10 a click on something

that’s converting, you’re just printing money.

This was the early days of it and it was very cheap. Even then, it was

difficult to drive enough traffic to it because Overture just wasn’t

Google. They didn’t have all the traffic that Google has today. I tried

that. I tried e-mailing to people but a lot of it was actually, and

especially at the beginning, probably more of our customers were like kind

of on a word of mouth thing.

I told you I had all those people in Plant Source Code requesting things so

I was like, “OK. Send out e-mails to them. Get them coming in,” and they

told other people and they told other people so that’s built. It wasn’t

fast but it was something that slowly built. Then we kind of got our first

break, our first lucky break, which was one of those people that they

referred happened to be a guy from The Wall Street Journal.

He used the site and he was like, “Wow,” and he was so amazed by the fact

that he could hire someone that he didn’t know, he asked them all sorts of

questions, got him to send pictures of himself and then wrote an article

about it. That was the first big break that just “boom!” popped up the

visibility of the site.

Trent: What did that do to your traffic, do you think? Yes, let me

just leave the question there.

Ian: Yes, it was instant spike. It was almost too much to handle because

the servers were only built to a certain capacity. It isn’t like today

where you could probably just ramp up a server virtually and things like

that. We had physical machines that all the software was on and it was

tough for them to handle.

I think when that article came out, the phones started ringing off the hook

and instantly the traffic just went “pfft”, through the roof, probably

about four or five times.

Trent: It’s not the worst problem in the world to have.

Ian: It isn’t the worst problem in the world but at the same time, as a

business owner, you are running frantically trying to make sure everything

can keep up because the customer service people couldn’t keep up and if the

website went down it’s almost like not having a building open to welcome

your customers. Yes, it was exciting but it was also worrisome too at the

same time.

Trent: Before that article, do you remember what revenue looked like

on a typical month? And then do you remember what revenue looked like after

that article?

Ian: It started very slowly. I mean, it was profitable from the first

month but it made something like $50 on month one and probably a little bit

before the article I would guess maybe it was making a few thousand dollars

a month, around that line, so it definitely popped it up. What was

interesting, I did that and at the same time I also kind of started a whole

marketing strategy, which was based on a book that my brother had given me

called ‘Crossing the Chasm’.

Which is a book about tech startups, why so many tech startups, kind of,

just start off, and they have this great idea and they get a few early

adopters to kind of be interested in their product. Then, they just can’t

get the momentum to keep going, they kind of fall in this thing that the

author called “the chasm”. Awesome book. It was perfect timing. So we had

that big, lucky break with The Wall Street Journal and then at the same

time, try to take advantage of it with some of these techniques.

Trent: This is obviously now ten years ago, can you think back, was

there any particular strategy that you learned from Geoffrey Moore’s book,

I think that’s his name . . .

Ian: Yes, that’s right.

Trent: That was really helpful to you back then?

Ian: Pretty much all of it was helpful. I was clueless. Like for example

the idea of the whole product, so so many companies will go out there and

they’ll say, “Look, I have a great idea,” and they develop a few of the key

things that are needed. They open up shop and try to get everyone to come.

What happens is people come, and they’ll go, “Wow, you’ve got three of the

things that I need but without these other two things, it doesn’t really do

what I need it to do,” and what they find is these people won’t come back

two months, three months, or a year later when they actually have that

stuff up. They’ve kind of blown their opportunity.

It’s a coupling of the lean startup methodology, which is do the minimum

that you have to get something out there, but at the same time, that

minimum, make sure it really does meet their needs and there isn’t

something in there that’s missing that’s going to make them say, “Oh, why

should I hang around?”

I spent a lot of time thinking about the whole product. It has a good

section in that book explaining how you analyze who your target market is

and you kind of identify what those markets are and then you figure out

what are their needs and what product features did they need in order to

develop the whole product. It worked really well.

Trent: It did. When you were going through this phase and I always

think of cash flow and what a challenge it is, especially in the early

years or what I call “the lean years”, did you have just you as a full-time

employee and then maybe a couple of contractors? What did overhead look

like back then?

Ian: I had the Planet Source Code already, so I already had my CFO.

Remember, I said there was one person doing the books. I brought her over.

There was her and then there was a part-timer who was a contractor. That’s

how it looked, just running out of a room in my house, yes.

Trent: Was it cash flow positive back at that point after The Wall

Street Journal article came out? Were you able to run the company off what

it was bringing in?

Ian: I guess I was very lucky. It was actually cash flow positive even

from the beginning just because, in a way, the Planet Source Code, I had

already invested all of the money in Planet Source Code for the

infrastructure so it was like I already owned the software, I already owned

the computers.

I had this CFO already so then when I brought them over to here, really the

only extra overhead was this extra contractor so it was positive from the

beginning but not much, very tiny, tiny amounts, not enough to make


Trent: Did you take a salary back then?

Ian: No, no. There was very little left over. All that money was being


Trent: OK. If you accounted for your time, it wasn’t cash flow


Ian: Oh, no, no, no. It was definitely cash flow negative. I was investing

huge amounts of time in there. I was probably investing 60 and 70 hours a


Trent: Yes, my first three years of my last startup, I didn’t see a

dime so I understand what that’s like. Alright so you had in your first

year you were very fortunate to get some exposure from The Wall Street

Journal but you also had a really big issue and it nearly put you out of


Ian: Yes.

Trent: You want to talk a little bit about what that issue was?

Ian: Well, it was credit card fraud. What had happened was we were

starting to gain a little bit of momentum and then starting to do a little

bit better and numbers were starting to look better, starting to get larger

and larger projects and just when momentum was going really, really well

there, I thought.

We had a little bit of momentum, we had a really big order and I was like,

“Wow, this is awesome!” Very big order. At the time it was a big order for

us, $1,000. So this $1,000 came in, I said, “Great. Awesome. This is

probably going to be a great month.”

End of the month came, and the way we work is we take money in, so we take

$1,000 from the employer and we give the worker their percentage of it and

we take a percentage of it. We take anywhere from 6.5% to 15%, so we did


The worker was supposed to get paid so they got probably $900.00-something

out of it and we got maybe, whatever we got, $100.00 or something.

Everything seemed fine and then the next day, the credit card company sent

us a fax and they said, “Oh, by the way, that $1,000, that was from a

stolen credit card. That money’s going back.”

Trent: You’ve already paid the worker at this point.

Ian: Yes, yes.

Trent: Wow.

Ian: Not only were we just out the $1,000 but we’d already paid the worker

the amount so not just out our profit but it was a big mess so I was like,

“Wow, this is a crazy concept. They can just take our money back at any

time. That certainly can’t be right.” I called up the credit card company

and ended up arguing with them for a long time but in the end they were

like, “Well, no, this is a stolen card.” I said, “You said it was fine a

month ago.”

They said, “Yes, well we found out since then that it was stolen.” Yes, so

they were like, “There’s nothing we can do. You’ve lost that money.” I

thought, “Whoa, OK. I’ve lost that money.” I was already feeling a little

bit depressed just from that and then next day I got another fax and it

said, “Oh, this $700.00 charge that you thought that you had, that was

fraud too.”

Trent: Oh, man.

Ian: The next day came another one. Within a period of four days, about

$5,000 worth of these fraud transactions came through, one after another

and there didn’t seem to be any end to it. In fact, it seemed to be getting

faster. I guess the big problem is, on the Internet, you don’t know who

anybody is. Everyone is completely anonymous.

What I did was I closed the account of the guy that did the $1,000 one but

then he comes back and creates a brand new account as someone else, creates

a fake e-mail address, pretends he’s from another country and starts over


I thought, “Oh my goodness. We are going to be out of business at the end

of the month if we don’t figure out something.”

Trent: This fraudster, he was his own worker as well. It’s not like it

was a legit worker where you could say, “Hey, man, you didn’t do any work.

Give me the money back.” He was basically using a stolen credit card to pay


Ian: Yes, that’s exactly right. He was using us as an ATM basically.

Trent: Yes. Wow. That’s tough. How did you solve this problem?

Ian: Basically, I did a lot of research. I just sat down with Zoey [SP],

my CFO, and we researched on the Internet and we were like trying to

understand how do people do these things, how do they steal credit cards,

and we found out that actually, it’s very easy to steal a credit card.

You can actually pay not very much, about $0.50 per stolen credit card. You

can go to these sites where people just have thousands of these things. You

buy a bunch of them and then these thieves will then go to sites and try to

use them as quickly as possible before the credit card company finds out

about them and try to extract as much money out of the vendors as they can.

Understanding that, we thought, “Well, you know what? OK. What separates

them from a real credit card user? They don’t physically have the card.” We

were like, “OK. Well, this is what we’ll do. For every person that runs

through a card, we’re going to ask them, turn over your card, take a look

at it and tell us the name of the bank that’s on the back and give us the

bank phone number.” We didn’t know if it was going to work but we tried it

and it did. It stopped that guy and whoever, maybe that group of people. It

worked well for probably about three or four months.

Just as we had kind of stepped up our game, then thieves decided to step up

their game too. Then all of the sudden they were able to pass that test so

we’re like, “Hmm, OK. We’ve got to take it to the next level here. What are

we going to do?” We thought, “OK. You know what we’ll do? We will force

them to give us a phone number because a lot of these thieves, they’re from

another country. They pretend they’re from the United States or wherever

they steal the credit card from. We’re going to require the person to give

us a phone number and we’ll just call them just to make sure that they

authorized the card, that way we know that they’re in the right country,

gives us a little bit more protection.”

Again, that was something that worked well. That one probably worked for

another six or seven months and then they found another way to get around

it, which was there started to become available these phone numbers that

you could buy and you could say, “Hey, I’m going to buy a phone number in

Colorado. I’m going to buy a phone number in wherever you wanted to be.”

So, even that stopped working.

Again we had to go to the next step which was, we were like, “OK. Well what

else can we do? OK. They don’t physically have access to the account so

what we’ll do is we will charge a small amount,” and this is something that

happens on a lot of sites these days but back then we had to kind of figure

it out ourselves because we didn’t have other sites to model, but we’re

like, “We’re going to charge a small amount on the credit card and not tell

them how much it is, a number between $0.00 and $5.00, then we’ll refund it

back and if they can tell us what that amount is, then they have access to

the card.”

That one stopped it for a good two or three years but I regret to say even

today, we deal with people who I think what they’ve done is they basically

hijacked people’s information to log into, for example, like their Citibank

account or whatever. Not only do they have access to the credit card and

can run through everything on it, but they can look up things and go, “Oh,

this charge was $1.27.” It’s always a cat and mouse game.

Trent: OK. There’s no super happy ending. It’s an ongoing issue of

something that you have to deal with.

Ian: Unfortunately not, no.

Trent: OK. How long does it take you to get the company to its first

million in revenue?

Ian: First million in revenue was probably around, I would guess . . . I’m


Trent: We’ll call it like the ‘million dollar run rate’. You’re doing

just under $100,000 per month times 12 months is a million dollar run rate.

Ian: Yes, yes. It was probably, I would guess it was around the fourth

year, third or fourth year.

Trent: Really?

Ian: Yes. It took awhile to get it going. Even with that Wall Street

Journal article, what we noticed is that we had a huge amount of traffic

but then it tapered off so we had to find ways of generating the traffic

ourselves. A lot of it, like I said, was that word of mouth and some of the

marketing that we were doing.

Trent: Expand a little bit on, because I’m really interested, as I’m

sure the audience is, because the lean years are always the toughest years.

People say, “Oh, when you got lots of revenue, you could just buy lots of

ads. How hard can it be?” In those first three or four years, I’m guessing

. . . when you were doing a million dollars in revenue, was it a very

profitable company?

Ian: It was OK. I was still working as a consultant up until like maybe

year two and a half. It was doing OK but not enough to pay me where I felt

like I could let go of all the other work that I was doing.

Trent: OK. It’s not like there was money sloshing all over the place

so you couldn’t just go and be the free-spending maniacs on marketing. What

were some of the other marketing activities that you were doing in those

first three or four years?

Ian: I mentioned some of them. So kind of keeping up with how advertising

on search engines was evolving, so it was evolving from Overture to Google

and things like that and Yahoo. Making sure we were seen on the search


A lot of search engine optimization, so I learned a lot about, “OK, how do

I make my site friendly for these different keywords? What keywords do I

want to target?” creating specialized pages that kind of catered to the

people that would be looking for those things, paying for search results

and at the same time, trying to drive it up from the bottom with organic

results, trying all sorts of things, basically.

What I found was interesting because a lot of times things would work, kind

of like with the credit card thing. You find something good and it works,

it can work for two or three years and then it stops working so you always

have to kind of reinvent. I remember one thing that worked awesomely at the

time, which was that I was like, “Well you know what we could do?” We were

just Rentacoder, so we didn’t necessarily do all the types of things we do

now, people looking for a programmer in my city.

I created this thing that would basically show all the programmers in, say,

New York City and then optimize searching for that, so a very local thing,

which is much cheaper to advertise on. But, again, it was one of those

things that worked great for a few years and then had to be reinvented

because it stopped working as well. Everyone else starts doing the same

thing and then you have to find something new to do.

Trent: Especially with the Internet and really business in general, I

think everyone listening to this who is in business is probably already

nodding their heads up and down going, “Yes, that’s just life. The only

constant is change.” I wish we could just put things on autopilot and have

them work for years and years but it just does not work that way, which is

why I do all these interviews. There’s always new stuff to be learned and I

want to learn it all and my audience wants to learn it as well.

You’re now at third to fourth year, doing about a $1 million, how long to

get to $3 million?

Ian: Let’s see, third or fourth year was a million so I would guess maybe

that was around year five or so, maybe year five or year six. Yes, that’s

what I would guess at. It definitely took awhile. The other thing that was

happening around that time too were competitors, new competitors, new

people popping up. New people popping up that didn’t run their businesses

the same way, vWorker was always run off of profits.

The new competitors didn’t even worry about profits, they kind of had that

spigot that you were talking about where they could just blanket ads

everywhere that they wanted to and kind of crowd out our ads. There were

definitely a lot of challenges.

Trent: Yes, so let’s talk about that because there are probably some

good lessons in there. You’re one of the earlier companies that’s got this

particular business model. Now all these, I’m assuming they’re probably

venture-funded organizations who they don’t care about profits, especially

in the early years, because they’re really just looking to build revenue

and then get acquired.

Ian: Exactly.

Trent: These guys are spending, as you just described, a ton of money.

What was that like? How did you compete with them because you didn’t have

their marketing budget, obviously?

Ian: Yes, yes. The first reaction is, “Oh, this is no fun.” It’s like,

“Not fair. They can overwhelm me with firepower.” I thought about it and

it’s a little bit like warfare in a way. It’s asymmetrical warfare. They

have certain advantages but also because of their advantages they have

disadvantages. They’re larger companies and they take a long time to make

decisions and adjust where vWorker could be very nimble. It’s a smaller

company so we could be more flexible.

I tried competing head-to-head, foolishly, on different things and I was

like, “This is not working. They can just overwhelm. They can outbid me

anywhere.” Then I realized, “I need to be where they are not. So I need to

figure out what they’re overlooking.”

For example on Google, there’s obvious places to advertise and then there’s

kind of what some people might call the “long tail keywords” or the places

that are less obvious where, for us, an obvious place to advertise would be

“programmer” but we can totally get outbid there so instead we will look

for a long tail thing that they haven’t thought about yet. That’s how we

kind of rise up from the nooks and crannies.

Trent: OK. Did you happen to read the book “Blue Ocean Strategy” back


Ian: No. I haven’t read the “Blue Ocean Strategy”. Is that basically that


Trent: It’s been quite a few years since I read it, but essentially,

if I remember correctly, it talks about red oceans versus blue oceans and

red oceans are where everyone’s competing, there’s a lot of noise, a lot of

competition and it’s expensive. Blue ocean is you’re trying to find, as you

said, the nooks and crannies where people, they’re not aware of them yet so

when you’re bidding for keywords, yes, that would be long tail keywords.

The book goes on to give many, many examples, again, a long time ago that I

read it, of things that weren’t so much relevant to keywords as they were

the niche, the type of customer that you would want to pursue versus what

your competitors were pursuing.

Like as an example of that, yesterday I interviewed a guy by the name of

Mike Michalowicz, author of a book called “Pumpkin Plan”. Before that he

was running a technology services company, much like I was. We didn’t have

a lot of differentiation and what he figured out was by going after

specifically hedge funds and hanging out where the hedge fund guys hung out

and reading what the hedge fund guys read and getting a couple of different

skills that the typical IT service guys didn’t have.

Like, “How to set up a trading desk.” He did all these things where his

competitors, they weren’t necessarily going, and he cleaned up, absolutely

cleaned up.

Ian: Awesome.

Trent: Yes. It’s a strategy that I always try and do when I’m doing a

business. I don’t know if I always get it right every time but it’s sure

something that I’m trying to think about.

You went out into the long tail to try and compete against these guys who

were basically happy to spend more money than you. Was that the only thing

that you were really doing that was getting the results at that phase or

was there other stuff that you were doing?

Ian: That was definitely just one thing but the other thing was trying to

compete on . . . it’s like, “Well, if we can’t compete on that kind of

firepower, we can still compete on serving our customers better.” I

invested a lot in customer service, making sure that every single day that

there would be somebody that could answer the phone when people had

questions, improving the speed of the turnaround of the e-mails.

Then the other part of that was also the features of the site so it was

like things that people wanted, I wanted to be able to say, “Look, here’s

us and here’s them and here’s the things that we do differently that nobody

else does. We have a 100% guarantee and nobody else does that,” things like


Spent a long time developing those, then creating marketing strategies to

try to present them, even though I just said that kind of very simply right

now, it took a long time to get even that thing of a free guarantee kind of

in my head and get the company aligned with that.

Trent: Well that’s a nice segue because coming up on our interview,

we’re going to be talking about product development in a little bit more

detail, how did you figure out what features to add, of all the features,

how did you know which ones to choose. Then we’re going to be talking much

more about your current marketing strategy, what’s working for you today,

whether social media is coming into play, PR, that kind of thing. So for

the listeners, that’s what’s coming.

Let’s dive into this a little deeper. So product development, because,

you’re right, you could make features that somebody else doesn’t offer that

might give you an edge in some way, shape or form so you’re got this big,

blank white board but you have a finite amount of resources. It’s not like

you can just throw 10 coders at it and say, “Go nuts, guys.”

What was the process that you went through with either on your white board

or in your head or with your team to figure out, of all the opportunities

for product development, these ones seem like they’re going to have the

least amount of risk and the highest rate of return?

Ian: I think the good thing that we did there was I was kind of inspired

by that book, the Crossing the Chasm book, was understanding who our target

customers were and trying to get into their heads as much as possible,

talking to them as much as possible too because a lot of times we guessed

and we didn’t quite guess correctly. It starts with trying to understand

them first and kind of having a mental picture of who they are, their

needs, their desires, what worries them and what problems they have.

Trent: Did you do this with surveys or did you just literally go into

the database and call people up and ask them?

Ian: Both. Yes. The first thing was kind of like just even just

generalizing and saying, “OK, well you know what? A lot of our companies, I

could say this big buckets of companies are the entrepreneur and these

people who, they’re not 100-person companies but they have very specific

needs. So then I went into the database and said, “OK. Here are all the

people that meet that criteria.”

Sent them surveys but also talked to a lot of them. I still do that. About

once a week, I’m still talking to a customer, trying to keep my pulse on

what they want.

Trent: Yes. So what were some of the things that you learned, say,

around this point in time when this competition was coming on to the scene

that were kind of the bigger takeaways or the more pivotal features? Is

there anything that stands out to you there?

Ian: There were so many. I’m trying to remember if one or two were

pivotal. I remember the biggest thing was just trying to make things

easier. Make it easier. Make it simpler. A lot of people don’t really want

to think about what they’re doing and a lot of the sites at the time

required them to think, or at least to read. Even today, it’s a never-

ending process, always trying to make it simpler, always just trying to

refine it and make it even less and more to its essential core.

I’m trying to think of some key features. One of the big ones was the

rating system. So at the time, we just had a normal ratings system just

like everybody else, just like eBay, and we had the same problems that eBay

had, which is that people lie on their ratings, people cheat, people trade


They might say, “Hey, I’m going to give you a higher rating if you give it

to me,” even though the transaction didn’t work well. The opposite happens

where they go, “Hey, you stink. I’m going to give you a really, really bad

rating,” even though the person didn’t deserve it.

We were like, “We need to solve this problem with the ratings somehow where

we can make it so that other people can rely on.” That was a feature. We

talked with people. We came up with the idea, “Hmm, what if we made it so

that the whole problem with trading ratings and retaliatory ratings and

things like that is the other person knows what the other person rated


What if we made it that both of them have to rate because neither one gets

to see what the other person rated them.” That’s what we did. That got rid

of all the retaliatory ratings. It got rid of all the trading of ratings

because now you couldn’t trust that the other person would actually do what

you were hoping that they’d do. Things like that were features that we


Trent: Let me make sure that I understand that. You and I are on

opposite ends of a transaction and I get the little e-mail and you get the

little e-mail that says, “Hey, go and rate your transactions.” I rate mine

but you can’t see it until you rate yours.

Ian: Yes, exactly.

Trent: Obviously if I’ve rated first, as soon as you’ve rated, I can

see your rating. Once I’ve rated it, I can’t go back and change it. If I

was unhappy with your reciprocal rating, it’s too late. Mine’s done. Is

that correct?

Ian: Yes. That is exactly right. You are rating me just based on your own

impression of me and not based on anything I said about you.

Trent: OK. Were you able to, from a marketing perspective, were you

able to leverage that little piece of differentiation or did you

competitors knock you off so quickly that, yes, it gave better customer

service but it didn’t end up translating into something that we could talk

about to say, “Hey, this is one of the reasons why you should use us versus


Ian: They actually didn’t copy that one, which I don’t know why. One or

two of them did but it wasn’t one that got copied across the board. Then we

definitely had that challenge which was like, “Well how do we communicate

this to people and do in an effective way that makes them want to use us?”

Then the other challenge with that is there’s not only that one feature.

There’s like about 50 of these different things so the competitor matrix

became a really good tool.

Trent: There’s the fly I told you about. He’s been bugging me the

whole time. Like I said, people are going to think I have Tourette’s.

Ian: I can vouch for everyone, it’s a fly. I heard it before.

Trent: Go away. I’m being taunted.

Ian: Anyway, it was a challenge to try to get that one little piece of

information out there to them and so we created a competitor matrix. There

are about 50 different things there, compares us to all the different

competitors and how we are different and the things that we do better than

them. Then the next evolution of that was, “Well, even that’s too

complicated. I don’t want to read 50 things.”

The next evolution of that was, “Well, let’s take just the top main three

things and compare it to each competitor,” and we started marketing that

and then people that want to read more could then read the detailed


Trent: OK. I want to shift now, because we’ve been a fair amount of

time here and I really want to kind of bring this up to speed on the

current stuff that you’re doing in marketing because in online marketing,

everyone’s got kind of a sales funnel, the nurturing process. You’ve got a

lead and then there’s a bunch of stuff that happens between getting the

lead and converting that lead to a customer. In your case, your customers,

they’re the employers with the money. Is that correct?

Ian: Right.

Trent: In your organization, do you see the developers as customers as

well or do you think that they have their stuff up on everybody’s site

anyway and so you don’t necessarily look at them that way?

Ian: A lot of them do have it up on every site but they are our customers

too because we need both sides in order to function. If we don’t have the

developers or the writers or the translators and the designers, no business

is getting done. We have to treat everyone as a customer.

Trent: Let’s talk here first about your number one marketing activity

to attract more employers. What are you doing there?

Ian: It’s actually the same thing that’s worked well for both of those.

Like I said, what’s worked well has changed over time. Things that have

worked a long time ago worked for awhile then stopped working but the thing

that’s working now, and it’s gone through a couple iterations to kind of

get it there to the point where it’s working, is an affiliate program.

This affiliate program, it started off as kind of just the typical

affiliate thing, “Hey send us an employer. We’ll give you a certain amount

of money.” I forget how much it was, $25.00 or whatever it was. We rolled

that out and then so did the competitors. Pretty much everyone had the same

thing so it was a situation that, “OK. I need to take it to another level.”

But the challenge, again, is these competitors are so much better funded,

how do we actually make it so it’s more compelling and yet be able to do


I thought, “You know what? We do have an advantage over these competitors.

We have one of the highest repeat business rates in the industry. It’s

really, really high. It’s above 80%. It’s like 85%, 89%. I thought, “Hmm,

maybe we can take advantage of that.” I thought, rather than giving them a

one-time fee, we’ll make them true partners so that everyone that they

refer, they will get a portion of the money that we make off of them for

the rest of their customer lifetimes.

I thought, “Wow, it’s not us paying an upfront fee but over the long-term

we could end up paying out hugely a lot more than any competitor could.” So

that’s been working well for us.

Trent: OK. We might want to dive into that one a little bit more right

when we finish up if there’s more. So let’s go on the contractor side. What

are some of the things – actually, no. I want to stay back because I’m not

sure yet that I understand. Let’s say an affiliate refers you a lead, well

I guess it’s going to become a customer, otherwise they’re not going to get

paid, but do you have a sales funnel? Does an employer come to the site and

are they opting in and getting a report or going to a webinar or what

happens when someone shows up the first time?

Ian: We have a number of ways that they can come into the site and

something that’s worked really well is exactly what you’re talking about.

You can just bring them to the site and hopefully they’ll sign up but much

better is to bring them in, offer them something of value.

We have something that we give them something for free that’s of a lot of

value to them. What it is, it’s a project management guide that show the

average failure rate in the software industry is really high. It’s like two-

thirds of projects fail. We’ve got it to the point where almost 90% of

projects will succeed using this methodology so, yes, they can just totally

turn around.

We give them this very, very valuable free information, this guide, and

it’s not short. It’s probably about 30 pages long with all these different

things that they can do if they’re interested in it. They sign up for that.

That is kind of the thing that establishes us as someone credible and we

now have the right to kind of talk to them a little bit more. We can send

then an e-mail and they’ll look at it and say, “Hmm, maybe I will consider

signing up.”

Trent: After they get the guide, now they’re into the sales funnel,

are there other things that happen after the guide that are happening on an

automated basis because you’ve predesigned the sales funnel?

Ian: Yes, so there’s e-mails that go out to them so we send out an e-mail

to them saying, “Hey, since you enjoyed this guide, maybe you’ll enjoy this

other guide that we have that’s kind of similar on another topic and, by

the way, you might want to check us out. Here’s how you do it.” Then they

download the guide, maybe they don’t. We send out another e-mail.

The first e-mail goes out pretty quickly. I think it’s like a week after

and then the next one will wait about a month. The month one is like a real

pitch and at the point we’ve kind of established enough trust where they’re

not going to hit delete. “So here’s our deal for you. We can save you this

amount of money. Click here to sign up right now.” It’s a pitch.

Trent: They don’t get a pitch like that before the first month?

Ian: Not a hard core pitch, a very soft pitch. It’s like, so in that

manual for example, on every page it says vWorker and blah blah blah blah”

and on the very last page of that manual, if they read through it, they’re

like, “And if you would like to actually hire someone to do this, here’s

how we can do it and we can guarantee it safely.”

The other way, it’s subtle is in the manual, we point out, “Oh, well, you

can do this yourself or you can just do it on vWorker and it’s done

automatically for you. If you want to be covered with a contract, if you

want to have a guarantee, all these things.” It’s more of a subtle pitch

rather than in the face.

Trent: OK. They go into a drip campaign. How long does someone get e-

mails for if they don’t become a customer? Forever?

Ian: No, I think they end up getting maybe three or four and then after

that point, maybe we’ll change our strategy at some point but it seems like

the ones that tend to actually respond, it kind of dies off the longer it

gets and after awhile, it becomes less valuable. We don’t send them

forever. We don’t want to bug people too much.

Trent: Three to four e-mails, if you can’t convert them at that point,

they just become a dead lead.

Ian: Yes. They’re there, we may decide to use them in the future but we

don’t right now.

Trent: OK. Are you using webinars in your marketing mix at all?

Ian: No. that’s something that actually we have thought about. Maybe it’s

something that we’ll be doing soon. It’s definitely something that people

have asked for.

Trent: OK. It’s something that a lot of people, I’m sure you’re

already aware, a lot of people are using with a lot of success. It works

well for myself and many of the people that I interview. You can do them

live or you can also make them look live. There’s various software packages

out there, Stealth Seminar is one of them.

If you’re going to go that road, I use what I call automated webinars but I

don’t say they’re going to be live. I just say, “Sign up for my next

webinar.” I don’t say, “Sign up for my next live webinar,” because that’s

not true.

Ian: Right. OK.

Trent: They work and the software’s actually quite well developed

where the experience that they receive is very interactive and it saves you

because why say the exact same thing every week? It’s not like you’re going

to say any different or say it any better.

If you record your webinar, it’s not like it’s any less value to the guy

that watched the recording that the person that watched it live because

it’s exactly the same message. It just didn’t seem to me like an effective

use of resources, because I was doing them live, to say the same thing over

and over. It gets really boring, as a matter of fact.

Ian: Now what software do you use?

Trent: I use something called “Stealth Seminar”.

Ian: OK. I’ll make a note of that.

Trent: I think it’s like $60.00 or $70.00 bucks a month. It’s

developed by a guy by the name of Geoff Ronning. I have an affiliate link

for it if you’d like to use it.

Ian: OK. I’ll go to the website. Yes, there we go.

Trent: It works very well. I have one of my low-end products, it’s

just a $10.00 a month product on one of my other sites and every week a

couple more people sign up for that. It seems to work just fine and I know

that in the marketing space, a lot of people use these with a great deal of

success. Live webinars can work incredibly well, also, just depending on

what your frequency is going to be and how often you want to do them.

Ian: That’s a great tip.

Trent: Now, in your sales funnel, what I’m curious about is in every

list, there are lots of people and they don’t all want the same thing. They

don’t all have the same timeframe. They don’t all have the same objectives,

etc. The best lists are lists that are segmented, you know, blue people,

red people, green people, whatever, just to use metaphors. Are you doing

any of that kind of segmenting or someone who opts in, there are four steps

and everybody who opts in goes through the same four steps?

Ian: It’s not as sophisticated as that. I wish it was. I guess there’s a

challenge in the beginning with try not to scare them off by gathering too

much information, but at the same time, you need the information in order

to be able to do that segmenting. I wish I could say we were doing a better

job at getting that information.

Probably right now, we are maybe erring on the other side, which is try not

to bother them but also not being able to do as much segmenting as I’d like


Trent: Yes. OK. Again, I’m supposed to be interviewing you, so I want

you to give all the answers but I do want to throw this out for you because

this might be useful. I use Infusionsoft. It is really wonderful for

segmenting. You can basically allow your list to totally self-segment

themselves by the links they click, the forms they fill out, the pages they

view, all of that stuff allows you to get really, really targeted and then

based upon, and it uses a system called “tagging”, which is really just a

way of categorizing.

Then you can have other follow-up activities and sequences and campaigns

automatically fire based upon what tags get applied and those tags are

applied based upon the actions that the person has chosen to take.

Ian: You have a tag on every page on your site, basically, so you can

watch their behavior and then based on that behavior, they then become

tagged and then you can do actions based on that. Is that right?

Trent: Every time they click their mouse, a tag can be applied. Every

time they fill out a form, a tag can be applied. Depending upon what plug-

ins you’re using, if you’re using a membership site, Infusionsoft out of

the box doesn’t necessarily allow you to apply a tag when you visit a page

but there are certain plug-ins that work with WordPress or if you’re using

an Infusionsoft membership site software called “Customer Hub”, I believe

it is, you can tag based upon pages that are viewed. What precedes a

pageview? It’s a click. They’re clicking a link. You can tag on a link.

I interviewed another fellow who’s the founder of a fitness chain called

“Iron Tribe Fitness” and their funnel is amazing. Ninety percent of their

leads come in through the web and they all go through this funnel based

upon the links that they click and the videos that they watch. Then once

they sit them down for a consultation, their close ratio is 98%.

Ian: Wow! That’s awesome.

Trent: There is another guy by the name of Jermaine Griggs, who I know

of him but I haven’t interviewed him yet and he runs a company called “Hear

and”, which teaches people how to play music by listening to it.

The person I interviewed yesterday, the name’s escaping me because I’ve

been doing a flurry of interviews this week, tells me that Jermaine works

only about four hours a week and his sales funnel is apparently

[inaudible/simultaneous audios 51:58]

Ian: Well, I know what made it not successful at the beginning and I think

avoiding some of the things were very helpful.

Trent: Perfect. You should talk about that.

Ian: One was I really should have thought a little bit more about the

whole competitive landscape rather than just myself. I kind of got into

that where I was like, “Well, this is how it’s going to work and this seems

like a great deal.” Then pretty soon everyone copied it and it dried up.

I think one of the real important things was really taking a look at the

whole industry and thinking, “Well, if everyone copies this idea, what can

I do differently that’s going to make it work?”

The other thing is it didn’t just happen. There was a lot of work that went

into, like, chasing down people that I thought would be good affiliates.

Certain companies might just hire an affiliate manager and that’s what

their job would be but we are a smaller company. I didn’t really know what

I was doing. I kind of wanted to oversee the process. That’s the way a lot


At vWorker, basically pretty much every job, I was the first person to work

in that job and then once I felt that I was doing it well enough that I

could write it down and describe exactly what needed to be done and hand it

off to someone else, then it gets handed off to someone else.

The affiliate thing was the same way and I kind of wanted to try it. Could

I be the affiliate manager and learn what that is and then maybe eventually

we would hand that off to somebody else. That was a big thing. Rather than

just posting it out there and hoping people would come, I would go on

Google and say, “Hmm, it would sure be nice if we were on this keyword or

on this,” and just target these people.

Trent: Let me make sure that I understand what you just explained. You

would chose a keyword, type it into Google. It’s going to give you a list

of results. Did you then individually contact those companies and say,

“Hey, I notice your ranking for this word. Here’s a way for you to turn

some of that traffic into revenue that you maybe aren’t getting at this

point in time.” Was that more or less what you did?

Ian: Yes. That’s it. That’s exactly what it was. If they were, like,

especially high up and on a really great looking keyword or topic, then I

might say, “Oh, well you know normally you would come in on the affiliate

program at this level but you look like you’re going to be bringing in a

lot of traffic. I’m going to bring you in at a higher level.” It kind of

gets their attention, you know? I’m already giving them special attention,

which they like. Everyone likes attention.

Trent: Yes, no kidding. That’s a very smart idea. I like that. It’s

not one I’ve ever thought of and I’ve never heard anyone tell me that


Ian: Oh, good, I’m glad it’s useful.

Trent: There’s our golden nugget. I always like to try and get at

least one real super golden nugget that if people who are listening, they

forget everything else, if they remember that one thing that they go, “You

know what? I’m glad I listened to this interview while I was commuting to

work or riding my bike or sitting in front of my computer or whatever

they’re doing while they’re listening to us.” I want to thank you for that.

Ian: My pleasure.

Trent: Before we sign off, is there any other golden nuggets in your

affiliate program that we would want to quickly talk about?

Ian: I think that was the biggest one. Just not expecting it to work but

going in and working it. Yes, that’s about all that I can think of there.

Trent: My follow-up then on that is when you contacted these

companies, I’m assuming they didn’t all respond to you right away, did you

take on average three contacts? Did you use e-mail? Did you use the phone?

Did you use direct mail? What were some of the activities that you did to

try and make that contact successful?

Ian: I used e-mail and phone. Maybe direct mail might be another way,

another avenue to get them but e-mail’s the fastest and easiest so that’s

what I did first. With one or two e-mails a decent number, maybe about 25%

of them would at least respond and say something back.

If they didn’t do that, then we’d try a phone call, some people wouldn’t

respond favorably to a phone call. Some people don’t really want to be

bothered by a phone call. Everyone’s different. That’s kind of as far as it

got. It never got to the point of direct mail. That might be an interesting

thing to kind of work into the mix there.

Trent: Yes, there are lots of guys out there who talk about direct

mail. I’m reading a book by Dan Kennedy right now and he’s obviously been

around forever in the marketing space. There’s a thing called 3-D mail.

People have a higher propensity to open lumpy mail.

We all get so many e-mails, we don’t get as many letters so I think the

probability that people are going to open your direct mail is probably

higher than they’re going to open an e-mail but, of course, you’ve got to

spend money to do it.

Ian: I know someone, his company is called “Enthusin” and what they do is

exactly what you’re talking about, the 3-D mail. They send just a little

kind of open-up postcard with a link on it and it really kind of gets

people’s attention because they’re like, “What is this weird postcard?” An

invitation for you, and then they open it up and they click on the link and

it takes them to a webpage that’s a customized invitation for whatever it

is that you’re trying to target them for.

Real good way, if what you’re selling is not a low dollar amount thing. It

takes considerable work to customize it but if it’s a higher dollar amount

thing, it’s a really nice way to get a good return.

Trent: Yes, and actually I’ve just been reminded of something that I

read about years ago. I don’t remember the name of the firm, he ran a

market research firm and his data was valuable to large businesses that

wanted to sell their wares to small businesses. The value of his sale was

very high.

What he did was he found the 100 customers that he really wanted to have

and then he bought a drill, like an actual tool, a drill, put it in a box

and the branding on the outside of the box had a picture of some guy’s head

from behind with a drill bit, no blood and guts or anything, just basically

looks like he’s drilling into his head with the phrase, it said, “Get

inside the head of small business.” Everyone who got a drill called him.

Ian: I can imagine. Wow!

Trent: So 100 drills, what are they, like $50.00 each so that’s $5,000

but one of those customers is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year

to that guy. That was a pretty awesome campaign, I thought.

Ian: That was awesome. Very smart.

Trent: Yes. I wish I could remember who it was so that I could go and

interview him today. All right. If anyone wants to get ahold of you, what

is the best way for them to do that?

Ian: I have a profile on so they can contact me there. If they

want to call, if they’re interested in vWorker itself, we’ve got the

customer service lines open but

Trent: You said that pretty quickly. You want to spell that out again

just for the folks?

Ian: Sure. It’s

Trent: Terrific. Ian, thank you so much for making some time to do

this interview with me. That was a really awesome golden nugget and I hope

that people who are listening to this are able to put that and all of the

other ideas you shared into action.

I want to thank everyone who listens. It’s a privilege for me to be able to

do these. Of course, if you have any questions for Ian or myself, there

will be a comment form, below the page that hosts this video and I’m sure

that if you make a comment there that one of the two of us will get an

answer to you.

That’s it for now. We have many, many more interviews coming. Thanks so

much for being a watcher or a listener, whatever way it is that you’re

consuming this content. We’ll talk to you soon.

All right. If you want to check out the show notes from today’s episode,

just go to Another thing I want to tell you about is the

Bright Ideas Massive Traffic Toolkit. If you go to and you enter your e-mail address, you’re

going to automatically receive access to the Massive Traffic Toolkit.

What is that? It’s a compilation of all of the very best ideas that have

been shared with me by prior guests here on Bright Ideas. The really great

thing about all the ideas in the Traffic Toolkit is you don’t have to be an

SEO guru to be able to do this stuff. It’s really a very smart collection

of traffic generation strategies. To do that, just go to

That’s it for this episode. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid. If you could do

me a very small favor, please head over to iTunes and leave a 5-star rating

and a feedback comment for the Bright Ideas podcast if you’ve enjoyed this


It’s really important because every time you do that, it helps the show to

get a little bit more exposure in the iTunes store and we attract a few

more entrepreneurs every time and the more people who are here to consume

all these great ideas, the more entrepreneurs that we’re able to help.

Thank you very much for being a listener and a subscriber. I look forward

to seeing you in the next episode.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:

How to Target Customers with Perfectly Designed Products and Overcome Bigger Competition

An excellent product is crucial to the success of a business. This is true for a business that provides a product to a customer or for a business that brings two parties together to complete a transaction. This is what Ian’s business is all about; vWorker brings employers and contractors together from different parts of the world. He has managed to bring together workers and employers successfully together via his online system.

Listen to the show to learn Ian’s process of designing products that perfectly target the needs of his specific customers.


vWorker was massively successful at connecting remote freelancers with jobs.
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vWorker wasn’t a large company when it started. It was just Ian himself, an assistant and a part-time contractor. Over the course of ten years, it grew from just $50 the first month to $11.1 million in revenue. Being the small outfit that it was, it was constantly being copied and bullied by larger competitors that had much deeper pockets.

Watch the interview to learn just how Ian not only managed to keep his business afloat amidst all the big competition but actually achieved success far better than his well funded imitators.

Getting the word out is always the necessary step before customers know that your company, products and services exist.

Listen to the show to learn about how Ian got the word out for vWorker in 2001 prior the DotCom crash and how he has kept the business fresh in the years since.

When working with remote customers and remote methods of payment, there is always a threat of fraud. vWorker was at the receiving end of a rapidly growing problem of fraud that posed a real threat of snuffing out the business’ early success. Watch the interview to find out what security measures and system developments Ian and his team implemented to fight against the wave of internet fraud that was threatening to shut his business down.

In business, you need to recognize problems and then constantly adapt and change to these problems in order to survive and become profitable. Through the early years— or the lean years, it can be difficult to make a profit.

Listen to the show to discover the methods that Ian used to sail his ship safely through the tides of the lean years.

Ian beat back big competition.

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vWorker had no real marketing budget and yet the competition were big and backed up by financiers. It made Ian cry foul, but he stuck to his guns and waged war against his competition. He developed a strategy that his competition didn’t expect. He was a step ahead of his competitors and imitators which allowed him to beat the larger competing companies.

Listen as Ian describes how he blindsided other larger companies with his business strategies.

Ian developed a multitude of features for vWorker that allowed him to compete with his competition and win. He made many changes to his system and added in features that his customer liked. In trying to find out what his customers liked, Ian also developed his system of keeping a pulse to what his customers wanted.

Listen to the show to find out how Ian gathered his information to learn what features and additions need to be put in place.

A Sales pitch is massively important for a business to promote its products and services. This is why emails and offers sent to the database of customers need to pitch customers every now and again. Listen to the show to learn just how often and by just how much Ian pitches his customers to his site, affiliate program and online system.

Increasing web traffic was a massively important part of vWorker’s growth.

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Attracting customers and achieving high yield marketing is always one of the most crucial goals in marketing a business. Online entrepreneurs need to learn how to increase web traffic to their sites to increase visibility, brand recognition, click throughs, registrations, business and profit.

Watch the episode to learn how Ian attracted customers and increased his business by exploiting his advantages to attract customers through his very own affiliate marketing program.

Ian shares with us his effective affiliate program that has allowed him to turn his hard work chasing down customers and companies into his current $11 million dollar revenue. Communication is key to any business; this is especially true for Ian’s vWorker that has two sets of customers to take care of.

Learn the special twist that Ian adds to his Affiliate Programming to bring in larger customers and companies as high-profit affiliates.

About Ian Ippolito

Ian Ippolito is the founder of (recently acquired by and is a highly successful serial entrepreneur.

While at the helm of vWorker, the company was called “One of the 100 smartest, most innovative, hands-down brilliant companies on our radar” by Entrepreneur Magazine. vWorker was ranked as an Inc 5000 company for four consecutive years, and has done over $139 million in business.