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467 – More queries from our listeners: Tom talks Ask me a Question
From:
Tom Antion -- Internet Marketing Expert Tom Antion -- Internet Marketing Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Virginia Beach, VA
Thursday, July 22, 2021

 

Episode 467 – Ask Me A Question
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey, everybody it's Tom here with episode four hundred and sixty seven of Screw the Commute podcast. We have another ask me a question session here. I'll tell you what, I get hundreds and hundreds of questions a week and I don't know, hundreds of thousands over the course of my career. So I've got plenty of material for a lot of little things that can make a big difference in what your success online or just in business in general. All right, so that's what today's about. Episode 466 now, I don't talk much anymore about things related to SEO or search engine optimization other than the simple basics. But if you're going to work on SEO, I know a lot of you are enamored with the thought of coming up high and Google. Getting backlinks are worth your time and can pay off faster than virtually any other SEO technique you can do. And in that episode 466, I also showed you how to ethically spy on your competitor's backlinks. All right. And turn that spy research into cash for you. All right. So any time you want to see a back episode, go to screwthecommute.com slash and then the episode number in that case is 466. All right. How how'd you like me to send you big checks or PayPal or gold bullion or I don't know anything about cryptocurrency, so you'd probably make a fortune off if I said that the but if you're in my affiliate program and refer my products and services, you can make big commission checks anywhere from eight dollars and fifty cents all the way up to five thousand dollars plus so and anything in between. So it can mean a lot of money to you to email me at Tom@screwthecommute.com if you're interested in that. Now, grab a copy of our automation ebook, I know you're going to thank me because it'll save you enormous numbers of keystrokes and time taking care of your customers and prospects and everything. So grab a copy of it. screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And while you're at it, pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app, where you can put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road. All right. We're still in the middle of this thing with my school. And I really want you to get on board and help out with this Go Fund Me campaign, because we're really going to change the lives of some people that have physical disabilities. Not only will they be able to study from home, they'll be able to legitimately get work from home. We're using some of the money to hire disabled people to help run the program.

[00:03:17] I'm just so excited about it. So go to my school website. IMTCVA.org/disabilities. Click on the Go Fund Me campaign and you can see some of the people already in the program and anything you want to contribute as will help out. And if you're really flush with cash, you can actually get in touch with me and sponsor a person all by yourself. It's almost like, you know, put your name on a park bench, you know, or or on the side of a library at a school. You know, we're going to honor you for doing such a thing. So. So check it out. Email me directly if you have any questions.

[00:04:04] All right, let's get to the main event. More questions. All right, first question. How do you handle the large amount of email you must get? Well, you got that right. I get an enormous amount of email, and I covered this a little bit before. But I'll tell you what, the main thing about this, you know, it'll probably surprise you, your attitude about it, your attitude about it. If you're the type that says, oh, I can't handle it, oh, it's too many, oh, I'm going to just turn it off and watch Netflix. Well, you're probably not trying to be in the right industry, right? Because all the money comes by email.

[00:04:44] All right. I mean, virtually all the money everybody at my level makes the big money at email. So your attitude about emails and I will tell you when money starts coming in on a lot of these emails, your your attitude is automatically going to change. All right. But you just have to have an attitude about, hey, there's enormous numbers of emails coming in. I'm going to learn some techniques to handle it. Some of them are going to have money. Some of them are going to teach me cool marketing techniques because I'll be seeing other marketers or what they're doing and I'll see the ones that I don't want to be like. So it's your attitude. However, I will give you some some tips here of how I do it. One of the things is I make folders for different types of emails. That's pretty simple. And a lot of good email programs allow you to set rules. So if you took a couple hours and just learned how to set rules, it would change your whole life for the next ever. OK, the next ever. I don't know if you can have next evers or not. So I have a rule that says, OK, if you see a certain subject line, I want you to send it to this folder or I want you to light it up, change the color to read like orders come in and they're automatically read. So in all these big emails, the orders stick right out.

[00:06:08] Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And then I can see, is that anything I need to do, anything I need to make sure gets delivered. So, oh, that was just taking the time to set a rule. When you recognize the subject line of an order coming from KickStartCart, my shopping cart. Turn it red now, also, I'm known as the king of cooking. Hey, if you hear a dog in the background, that's a little rescue dog I have, because you can also make it play a sound. So mine plays the catching sound when it comes in. We have to turn it off frequently because it gets too, too annoying. You wish you had that trouble, right? So learn how to use rules and all of a sudden things in your inbox will just boom, boom, boom, start going certain directions and you won't have to look at them individually until you're ready. So you can go to all the promotion ideas and you can go to all the the all the orders. You probably want to leave them in your main inbox. Just turn them read. So, wow, there they are. I got so many orders this morning so no one is improve your attitude. Must learn how to use rules in your email program to help you with this. And then I swear to you, if you get the right attitude and every day lots and lots of the emails are coming in, you're going to get much faster at seeing what's worthwhile and what's worth not worthwhile.

[00:07:34] It's you know, I've been doing this for an enormous amount of years, but still I can just scan boom. Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba. See what's worthwhile dealing with and what isn't. And then other folders are full of stuff. When I feel like going and looking at those folders to see what's in them, then the rules help me do that. All right. So that's how you handle large amounts of email. Hit your right attitude about. OK, next question, I heard you say virtually all new podcasters are doing it all wrong. OK, what do you mean by that? Well. The typical podcast, our new podcast, and even a lot of you know, season podcasters are doing this. All they think about is increasing their number of downloads so that they can get sponsors. Well, I'll tell you let me give you the hard, cold reality of that, and maybe you'll think a little differently if you're doing a podcast or if you're thinking about doing a podcast. Here's the deal. A sponsor will pay anywhere from 10 to 12 dollars to if you're a top show on Earth, maybe twenty five dollars per thousand downloads per episode. Now, you don't even have a clue if you're starting out how hard it is to get a thousand downloads per episode. I mean, you could luck out, but I mean, you're talking in less than a half a percent of podcasters that can open up with more than a thousand downloads, that they're already a celebrity.

[00:09:15] That's different, but most of us aren't. So, no sponsor will even be interested in you. For as long as it takes you to do that, which could be six months to a year or more, so you're going to slave away with no money coming in, all money going out to, you know, and it's not a lot of money once you get your equipment. I mean, just a little bit of hosting up maybe twenty dollars a month for your podcast hosting and all that, but. That's just crazy to me, just totally crazy when you could make the most pitiful ebook and of course I don't promote anything but high quality, but you could write an e-book or buy a private label, write a book or something. And on the first episode, make yourself twenty dollars, OK, if you just sold one. OK, so it's just ludicrous to me that people who want to get a here want to get a sponsor. I got all this great podcast information. Well, if the information was really that great, it could go into other forms that are savable. Not sitting there twiddling your thumbs and picking your nose, hoping for a sponsor. That's just crazy. Be your own sponsor from day one. My podcast. I'm my own sponsor because I have a product mix anywhere from cheap stuff to my school and my mentor program and, you know, courses and all kinds of stuff.

[00:10:50] They but you don't have to have all of the stuff that I have because I've been doing a long time. One ebook is enough to start. And if you're too dumb to make an e-book, well, you're too dumb to podcast. All right. I hate to be so blunt about it, but if you just love to hear yourself talk, I mean, that's why I pooh poohed podcasts for so many years. Everybody that had nothing to say, just love to hear themselves talk. Now, I wish I had started a little earlier, but at the time everybody was just here, you know, ego tripping and not making any money. The reason I got into it is because then people started making money. The listenership started going crazy because of. New cars can hear podcast and the, you know, the echo devices and Google assistant devices in the homes. That's when I started. But anyway, you're just crazy and an ego driven. If you just want to, you know, slop your mouth around and and nobody's listening and you're not going to make any money. So be your own sponsor, get busy and create some products at high profit ebooks or 97 percent profit. And they're easy, you know, relatively easy to create. You know, I do a 12 week mastermind on it, but it covers copywriting and, you know, Kindle e-books, PDF e-books.

[00:12:20] Turning them into audio books, all kinds of stuff, all right, but to create a basic e-book, like I said, you can go to a private label rights site, PLR, and buy one and start selling. OK, I highly suggest that you personalize it and make it better and edit it and all that stuff, but you don't have to. But it's better off in the long run if you do. But. Don't be just, you know, trying to get sponsors that don't want anything to do with you because you're new, you don't have any downloads, and even if they if you did, you're only going to get 12 to 20 bucks and wait six months to a year to do it. So it's just stupe. OK. Next is I need help. Should I hire someone or use an independent contractor? Well, let me first of all discuss the topic of independent contractors a little bit. Say the states are scrambling for revenue any way they can. Each individual state in the USA anyway. And. They will look at the people working for you. And try to determine that they aren't independent contractors so that you are liable for all these payroll taxes, say they go to the state. So you have to be very careful when you use somebody and claim that they're an independent contractor. This also depends on the type of help that you need, if it's maybe some website help. Well, you might be able to just get a freelancer for, you know, a couple times and use them if you're not willing to learn to do it yourself.

[00:14:12] And then be done with it, you know, so if you don't pay him that much and they're not regularly working for you, well, then, you know, they're going to be a freelance independent contractor and you're not stuck with them on a permanent basis, paying every week. But if you do need somebody that's with you all the time to do a lot of stuff, then you're better off hiring a person, because if you don't hire them and you call them an independent contractor, but they're pretty much just working for you. Well, the state can come in and I've got a real story of how this happened and claim that they're actually employees and the employee is that person that you're hiring is never going to be called to the carpet. You, the business owner, are going to be liable for all the back payroll taxes. It could be tens of thousands of dollars. So you don't want to get in that situation. And something happened to me one time is when I lived in Maryland. The this real snooty, bitchy lady came in from the state of Maryland and says, hey, all these people working for you are are are employees. I said, oh, is that right? And I said, well, it seems to me that by Maryland law, I don't know if this is a federal thing or not, but but if the person that I'm using is also hiring themselves out to other companies and also directly to the public.

[00:15:52] They're an independent contractor. And she said, yeah, that's right, but that's not your case. I said, is that right? OK, now this is one way that being a packrat kind of saved my butt because I had saved at the time a lot of these people working for me. This was in my entertainment company, by the way. Were advertising themselves directly to the public in the back of the classifieds section of Washingtonian magazine. And so I'm kind of a packrat. It's no wonder I have three libraries here at the retreats. OK, so I had like hundreds of back issues, probably 10 years of back issues of Washingtonian magazine stacked in the side of my office. So this lady. Oh, man, she was mad because I, I she she had a list of all these people that were working for me. And so I went to the Washingtonian magazine and I opened up I started going through back issues. I said, yeah, all right. Which person you want,Marianne? OK, all right. Here's Marianne's ad in the November issue. Here it is in the October issue. And I went back like a whole year. Marianne's ad is in The Washington Post after she went through two or three people, she got really mad and left. So clearly they were independent contractors.

[00:17:31] But you must make sure that they are. In other words, they need to be holding themselves out as a business to work for other people and working for other people and so forth before you can call them an independent contractor. So get proper tax. And there's several tax things in here today and accounting and stuff. I'm not a tax attorney or a CPA or anything, so get proper advice from somebody. But this is in general how it works. They must be working for other people, doing things the way they want to do it. Not totally under your control. OK, so look into that very deeply. Oh, and also hiring a lot of these folks I covered on Episode 37. And the way you get to a back episodes, I think I mentioned this earlier, is you go to screwthecommute.com slash and then 37, the number. OK, so I told you some tax things in here,

[00:18:29] Tom, what is a tax schedule C? All right, well, this is in the USA only that I know of, I don't know anything about taxes in any other country. And again, always check with your tax advisers on things that you hear on any podcasts or anybody, not not a professional in the field. You know, I could have been a professional in the field because I've been doing this for four years or so. So anyway, a Schedule C is in my not so humble opinion is the easiest way to get into business in the USA.

[00:19:05] There's probably equivalents to it in other countries. Basically, it's you keep track during the year of all your expenses and your income from. Your business side, hustle, whatever it happens to be. And. You fill this out and include it with your tax return. It's called an income and expense statement. For your business now, this is that, like I said, the easiest way to get into business because you're not having to create an LLC or corporation or, you know, any kind of business entity, it's your sole proprietor, they call it. There's a lot of advantages to this, taxwise, again, check with your tax consultant to read up a little bit on what's legitimate tax wise. So it's easiest way to get me in business. You just have to be organized, keep track of how much money you brought in from the side hustle or if it's a full time business and how much expenses. And you normally need to have a business checking account. You can I think you can use your personal account. I'm not sure about this, but normally you look more legitimate to the IRS if you have a business checking account separate from your personal checking account. And a lot of people don't start this way. I've got to tell you, they just start on a shoestring, not jumping through any extra hoops and start doing their business. Just keep track of things. That's what a Schedule C is.

[00:20:43] And as soon as you fill it out and turn it in with your tax return, I don't think you can turn it in with the easy form. Like if you're working a regular job and you just have a W-2 statement at the end of the year with all the payroll taxes and all that stuff, I think you have to file the full ten forty form and then include the schedule C with it. So there's a lot of advantages to doing it. I can't go into a lot of depth and I haven't been a Schedule C person for many, many years. I mean, 40 some years. So bottom line is the easiest way to get into business, but you got to keep track of your income and expenses. OK, so a spin off on that question I put kind of lumped these together. Can I take my car expenses off my taxes? Well, here's how I've been doing it for many years now. The first question would be, do you have a one vehicle that's part that you're using for business and personal? If that's the case, then you and your tax adviser, not me, your tax adviser, would get together and and come up with a reasonable percentage of use for business. So let's say you're still going to a full time job and you're doing this on the weekends. So maybe they allow 20 percent of your personal car for business use. I'm just making these up out of thin air.

[00:22:16] You got to work with your tax advisers, see what's reasonable for you. And so part of your insurance, your fuel, your maintenance, everything is just gone by percentage now another way potentially to handle it again, talk to your tax adviser as you keep a log of your trips and which were business and which were personal and how many miles four years on my one of my trucks. It was part business and part personal. So I would I had a log every trip. I just pulled up this clipboard and said, OK, I had to go to Home Depot to pick up, you know, plywood for this repair porch repair or something or, you know, part of my or part of my my business. Like my school, let's say I had to build something at the school, so I said, OK, pick up Home Depot, went to school, repaired, came back 22 miles, you know, that kind of stuff. So your tax adviser will tell you what makes the most sense for you. But absolutely, yes, you can. And it's not just your vehicle. There's all kinds of things with home office deductions and your computers and your Internet connection, your insurance, things like that, that can be worked into the deal. But again, you don't want to get in any trouble if it's reasonable compared to the income you're bringing in in most of the time, you won't have any any trouble with the IRS and how you could get picked for a random audit.

[00:23:53] But I've never had that in 44 years in business. The chances are slim always could happen. But if you're reasonable and you're how much you're bringing in and how much you're claiming as a deduction, then they don't really have much to say to me, you know, so and I always keep in mind that there probably other than randomly picking lower income people to scare the heck out of them, they usually go for bigger fish that they can get a lot more money out of if there's something wrong. Don't let that worry, you just do it right and be reasonable and you shouldn't have it much trouble.

[00:24:33] OK, next question, what's the hottest trend in business? I want to start an online business. Well, the problem I have with that question is that is the word trend. See if something is a trend, that doesn't mean that it's going to be around for a long time, so you put all your eggs in that trend basket and then it disappears off the face of the earth is not a trend anymore. And then you've got to pivot. You know, that's the big buzzword this this past year is pivot, pivot, pivot. A perfect example is scrapbooking. Now, I'm not a scrapbook by any means, but I do notice when I drive around town, see in stores and I pay attention to business, that's my whole lot pretty much my whole life.

[00:25:22] So there was scrapbooking stores, brick and mortar scrapbooking stores, this has been a few years back opening up in strip malls. And I'm thinking even in major malls where the rent is really high and I'm thinking to myself, who in the hell cares that much about scrapbooking? Well, I'm afraid to have to see what happened to those people that put all their money into a lease and high rent in strip malls and major malls. What happened to them? Because the trend fizzled. Now, just for the heck of it, this morning, I Googled scrapbooking store near me. OK, what I found was, is that Hobby Lobby came up and ask me because these are craft stores, so they have a tiny section of scrapbooking for the type of those type of people. The only crazy thing that I saw was in Chesapeake, Virginia. There's some company that does scrapbooking retreats for one hundred thirty five dollars. You can go on a scrapbooking, which I don't mean to make fun of them. But the thing is, is that's just an oddball thing. And, you know, I question how many people can they get at one of these retreats? But they got a whole list of ones coming up clear in the 20 22. So maybe one person is totally, massively gung ho, can run a scrapbooking retreat and find enough people to show up. But it was a trend that most people lost their shirt.

[00:27:11] OK, so I don't like like that. You're much better off going into a field that. Got a long track record, some of them are hypercompetitive. I mean, I wouldn't suggest you go into weight loss or real estate, but. Golf and tennis and archery and baseball and collectibles, there's lots of different collectibles, there's glass, there's baseball cards, there's things that have been around for a long time, coin collecting. You know, there's so many things that have been around for a long time. And you say, well, yeah, but yeah, they've been around a long time, but they're oversaturated. Well, this brings me to my pizza shop theory, and that is if you make a good pizza. You'll get your fair share of the business because there's a big demand for pizza in the world, if there was no pizza shops, I would say don't start a pizza shop because there's not a demand for pizza. That's a ridiculous example, but. You want to go into a field where there's business and products, if you go into a field that you don't find any other businesses or products, there's one of two things. You either just hit the lottery, you're going to clean up and make all the money. More likely, it's nobody could make any money in that business. And that's why there's no businesses or products in that thing. So so forget about trends and work in fields that are for sure going to be around for a long time. Don't be, you know, a person that went bankrupt. Leasing a scrap booking place in a strip mall or a major mall.

[00:29:02] OK, the next question is more personal is like, what does your workday look like? I guess it's a business personal question. As soon as I wake up, I roll over and look at my cell phone and look at my incoming emails to see if there's anything critical. And then I take a shower, I take my dogs out now my most creative work is in the morning. I used to be a night owl, but that's changed over the years. In the morning like this is seven, six a.m. I got up at think five fifteen. And when I'm recording this, so. I do that in the morning, I write ebooks in the morning, I any creative promotions that I want to think up and get ready, I do it in the morning, I recording solo podcasts. This is what I'm doing right now. I think our podcast ideas. I start taking consultations at about 11. And an 11 on I'm doing consultations, podcast interviews twice a week, I have a Zoom meeting with the folks at work here and each one of those meetings at the end, everybody, including myself, has to say what they did to improve themselves since the last meeting. I'm a big stickler on, you know, personal improvement. Then I'm studying spending lots of time studying new software, taking online courses.

[00:30:40] I took an advanced Instagram course. Currently I'm taking advanced viral contest course. I'm always sneaking in YouTube videos or training on my various hobbies. I really like Do-It-Yourself stuff, so I took my EPA course, the Environmental Protection Agency course, so I can legally buy and handle refrigerant gas since I have six air conditioning units here at the house and one at a rental property set, seven units that could cost, you know, tens of thousands of dollars a year for maintenance. Well, I do the maintenance myself just for fun, because I grew up blue collar and I love Do-It-Yourself stuff. Now, if it's something out of my league, you know, I hire somebody, but but I get a kick out of doing it. I love it. And it keeps my mind really hammering. And I fix my own refrigerator the other day and about 30 minutes and what it cost me a couple hundred dollars and I'd had to wait and deal with the repair person, which is the one that works on that particular unit, is a jerk and is the only one in town that works on my kind of refrigerator. So, so, so I fix it myself. Didn't have to fool with anybody. I studied and got to ham radio licenses and I installed an antenna and a base station at my house. I took a 12 week grant writing course and that's to complement my training for the disabled I mentioned at my school.

[00:32:15] So when I prove that I can do this, then I'm going to try to get grants to really ramp it up really big. Say so again, I'm even if I hire a grant writer, I know what I'm doing now because I took the course. You know, I'm just a continuous learner. I just really like knowing how to do stuff. And and that's only just a fraction of the things I've taught myself how to do. Now, I usually know for fun, fun at the house, I usually watch America's Got Talent, X Factor or Britain's Got Talent because I just love it when the underdog makes good. Right. And if you if you ever decide to do that, just look for number of views and how long it's been out. So if you see, like a million views and it's been out three days, you know, there's something really special about that video. That's how I do it. And then during the course of the day, I take the dog out four or five times. This is I'm telling you folks a lifestyle that I've been living for many, many years. I just do what the heck I want to do. I still get my obligations done, but I still I can get them done any time I feel like I can. I don't have to answer to any shmucks, you know, that are my boss because of nepotism. I would last two seconds in a corporation with some numb nuts, you know, try to tell me something I knew was bullshit.

[00:33:44] So anyway, take the dogs at four or five times a day, do some training with them. Now, I try to keep up on current events with the TV playing in the background. And so that keeps me what's going on. So people ask me all the time, why do you do this? You could have quit years ago. Well, I just love seeing other entrepreneurs I've helped grow and and then I got to ask myself, what would I do with myself that I'm not doing now? You know, that's the big question. So anyway, that's kind of my workday. But it's definitely a lifestyle business. But it also allows me to do the good things in the world, which, you know, when it's all said and done, what did you do? Good in the world. So I've helped thousands of entrepreneurs be successful, change the course of their life, change the course of their family, keep them from going bankrupt, keep them from losing their homes. I mean, people I never even like one lady came up to me. I'm doing a fundraiser, no less up in Philadelphia. Some lady comes up to me blubbering, just crying. And I'm like, oh, my God, what did I do, you know? And she said, I heard you speak ten years ago and we were going to lose the house. And I did what you said. And my husband and I have an online business now.

[00:35:07] We saved the house. We're doing really great. And it's all because of you. And I'm like, man, I start crying. She started crying. So so there you go. I mean, right, there is enough to pay to keep me going here. Like I said, what else would I do? And it allows me to do this crowdfunding campaign because I really want your help to change these people's lives and prove that it can be done. And we're going to use some of the money to hire. And I'm not taking a nickel out of this funk. I've put probably two million dollars into my school and never taken a nickel out, you know, so it's just all salaries for people and running the software and doing all that crap. We got to do rent and everything to keep the school running. But I haven't taken any money out. I'm trying to do good in the world with this school because I'm only going to be around for so long. But the school can be around forever helping people. So. So I'd love to have your help with this. Go to IMTCVA.org/disabilities and that'll be in the show notes. Click on the top at the Go Fund me link and see what what we're doing here and anything you can do to help. We really appreciate and you will be part of changing these people's lives. All right, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I'll catch y'all on the next episode. See ya later.

Join my distance learning school: https://www.IMTCVA.org
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