This week we welcome entrepreneur, hustler, and professional wrestler Martin Dasko. Martin started earning money at the ripe age of 11, and has never slowed down. Learn how he makes his living (and has fun) writing, traveling, and competing in the squared circle.
- Is It Worth Driving For Uber? My Taxi Driver Confessions
- How to Start a Blog in 3 Easy Steps
- Failure to Launch No More
- Narrow Bridge Media
- Martin as The Latin Lover (YouTube video)
- Sell Your Old Place or Rent It Out: How to Become a Landlord, or Not
- 5 Things You Need to Know Before Saying Yes to Student Loans
Eric Rosenberg: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome back to the Personal Profitability Podcast. I’m your host as always, Eric Rosenberg. And I have a very special guest here with me today. He is not just a finance and side-income expert. He could also body slam you and do many other painful things. So, I am speaking of none other than the famous Latin Lover himself, Martin Dasko. Say hello, Martin.
Martin Dasko: Hey, how’s it going? I’m not sure how famous I am yet, but I already feel famous it’s just that it’s time for the world to figure it out.
Eric: We’ll get you there for sure. This helps you know. We’re getting you on the audio, the internet radio, I guess we could say that with podcast.
Martin: I hope that your fame rubs off on me a little bit.
Eric: So, a little background on Martin for everybody. I’ve known for Martin for a few years. We are in a mastermind group together, which is a group I’m in, there’s four of us in my group. And we get together. We email once a week and have a couple of audio video calls a month. And we talk about the projects we are working on and the businesses we have. And try to help each other succeed, give each other motivation. I know Martin pretty well. He is actually also going to be my roommate at the upcoming FinCon this year which is uber fun.
First Side Income Projects
Eric: So, let’s start with some of the more boring stuff and then we’ll get to the exciting stuff, so you keep listening. So, Martin started… Can you tell us how you started with your first side income project?
Martin: Well, I don’t think it’s boring. That’s not really nice Mr. Eric. I find it to be exciting. If you mean my first side income, it was selling chocolates when I was in Grade 7. I worked for a company and then we went door-to-door selling chocolates. I would sell a box of chocolate for $3 and I would keep a dollar profit.
Eric: That’s pretty cool. So 33% of your sales you got to keep. If you didn’t picked that up everyone, Martin is in Canada where they say Grade 7 not 7th Grade, a little different.
Martin: Oh, sorry.
Eric: It always funny to me the little differences of Canada and the US, but pretty similar. So, 7th Grade. That make you about 12 years old when you were doing that?
Martin: Yeah. About 11, 12 maybe 13. You know I wish I had some emotional story. I’ve always just been a greedy kid. There’s no other way to look at it. My parents were pretty poor, so I just wanted my own money. And it was just simple for me. If I wanted something, I have to work for it. So, I figured why not sell chocolates? And then I started…
Eric: That’s similar to Warren Buffett’s story. His first job, I think he was a little younger than you, but he started delivering newspapers. He started working at a really young age. Look at his success now. So, you’re following in really good footsteps.
Martin: I’m only couple billion dollars away and I’ll be at his level.
Eric: We’ll get you there right. I mean you’re the ‘Latin Lover’ after all. So, you made a few bucks doing chocolate bar sales, and what came next?
Martin: I did deliver newspapers.
Eric: Oh, yeah? There we go. Literally in Warren Buffett’s footsteps.
Martin: Well, I mean if I’m going to door-to-door I might as well… If they don’t want a chocolate, I might as well deliver them a newspaper.
Eric: So, were you on your bike? Or on a car? How did that come to be? How did you start?
Martin: It sucks because in the movies, you know the paper boy is always on a bike. He’s cruising. He throws the paper. Everybody knows him. For me, we were not allowed to use a bicycle. We have to actually walk door-to-door, and put that actual newspaper in the mailbox.
Eric: Is this is in Toronto?
Eric: So, cold winters, hot summers?
Martin: Yes. It was a brutal job. And the worst part of it was that, as you could imagine I will try to take a shortcut. You know going to house-to-house. Some of the older folks don’t like me stepping on their grass. So, I get yelled a lot as a kid. I’ll be stepping on their grass, so they wanted me to walk all the way around. So it wasn’t exactly a glamorous job delivering newspapers.
Eric: Did it pay well at least for all those cold winters and getting yelled at for stepping on the grass?
Martin: I remember, I think I made a hundred dollars a month.
Eric: Hundred dollars a month?! When you were a kid that’s a lot of money, right? A hundred dollars.
Martin: I saved up for scooter. That was my first big purchase. I bought a scooter. Do you remember when scooters were in?
Eric: Was it like a racer scooter?
Martin: Yeah. Racer scooter. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, you know. Buying a scooter for a hundred dollars.
Eric: Did you ride it to school and show off to the girls?
Martin: I did. And they were not impressed for some reason I don’t know why.
Eric: They were not impressed by the wheels. How old were you when you got your scooter?
Martin: Grade 7 or Grade 8. I was also very nervous back then. I’m the oldest brother. I had to experience everything for the first of my own. Sales, dating all that kind of stuff. It was never easy for me.
Eric: You paved you own path. That’s something to be really proud of, I think.
Martin: My brother when he was 15. He had everything. He is already a barber. He had a girlfriend just because he learned from me. At 15, I was nervous little boy.
Eric: He was learning from the best, right?
Eric: So, after newspapers. What was your next entrepreneurial adventure?
Martin: I’d like to say my grass cutting. It was entrepreneurial in a sense that I never worked for a company. I thought it was cool that I would go to this one like an agency for elderly people. They would give me a list of contacts, and it was my job to contact the people and setup the appointments.
Martin: So this was my first taste of true freelancing because I don’t know if you know this, it’s kind of nerve wracking to call somebody.
Eric: Yeah. Cold calling is not a fun or comfortable thing.
Martin: I was in Grade 9 I think or Grade 10, 10th Grade whatever you want to call it. I remember I have to call these people and I’ll be like, and they don’t even called me if they are warm leads because they wanted their grass cut.
Martin: I was just so nervous about it. I would call them. It was really simple. All I have to do is call them and setup an appointment. It was really nerve wrecking at first.
Eric: That’s kind of interesting you bring that up. I’ve been reading a bit about how kids today, young kids not kids like us, are having really tough times with social skills particularly phone calls. And they get really freaked about phone calls because they don’t do it very often anymore. It’s all text based and everyone is emailing. You could respond at your own time. But when you get a phone call it’s like you got to be on demand ready to go, ready to talk. And a lot of people can’t think on their feet like that. It’s kind of sad. It’s a lost art form, a good phone call.
Martin: It’s funny because I have a friend who is in his late 30s. And we’ll be texting and he calls me. I think something happened, right? I’ll answer the phone and he goes ‘Is everything okay?’ I just wanted to continue the conversation over the phone. Leaving me, catching me off guard. So, everything is okay, right? Like you’re not in an emergency?
Eric: I remember in like middle school and high school if you like the girl you would sit on the phone with them as long as they would be willing to talk to you and you’d feel really cool that you were talking to them. That’s a real girl on the other end. I don’t think kids do that anymore. But you don’t have to sit around and wait for them to call you at home. They have cellphones. They just text each other all day or Instagram her, Snapchat whatever they are doing to each other.
Martin: You can just wait to see if she likes your Instagram photo. Then you know she likes you.
Eric: And you can swipe left. Is that how you do it on Tinder, you swipe it?
Martin: I’ve been told in Tinder that you can swipe right. That’s what I’ve been told. Rumor has it.
Eric: I’ve never Tindered. It came out when I was already married. So, ‘what’s this Tinder thing?’ It’s a weird world. I guess I’m getting old. I don’t know.
Martin: I’ll be honest. Tinder is an addiction from what I’ve been told.
Eric: From what you’ve been told, not personal experience.
Martin: From my friend. My friends use it a lot.
Eric: Totally. Just your friends?
Martin: Yeah. These guys you I don’t know what kind of stuff they are into.
Eric: So, were you mowing lawns yourself doing the manual labor, showing up cutting people’s lawns?
Martin: Well, this was my first real taste of freelancing as I said already. I would call the person. I would get their information. I would show up. And the catch was they have to supply their own lawn mower and their own tools.
Eric: So you would bike over, walk over, get to their house on your own. And then you’d show up and their lawn mower should be waiting ready to go for you?
Martin: Yes, this was a perfect in theory, but in execution it never happened.
Eric: And did they not always have a lawn mower or was it…
Martin: It varied from a broken lawn mowers to people forgetting that I was supposed to show up. The cranky folks, to people wanting me to do odd jobs. And one guy would pay me. I thought I was making a fortune. He would pay me just to water his plants.
Eric: Actually, when I was younger when my neighbors went out of town, they’d pay me like five bucks a day or probably less than that five bucks a week, to go over and water their plants every day. Which in “Hey, I will walk to a next door. Turn the hose on, turn the hose off”, and I was good to go. It was pretty cool.
Martin: This guy would pay me $7 an hour, and that’s what I was making.
Eric: That’s a big step up from a hundred dollars a month delivering newspapers.
Martin: Yeah. That’s why I was loving it, $7 an hour. And the guy wanted me to water his plants all day. I was there a good part of the day. Making my $7, I thought I had it made, right?
Eric: Was it like the creepy old guy on ‘Family Guy’? It’s always like scoping out Chris like ‘Keep my watering my plants.’
Martin: You know I swear. He actually looked like that guy. Except that he was the friendliest guy in the world. He was super cool. He just want to show up that he had the nicest lawn. Is he mobile he had to do something with his money, might as well pay the kid to water his grass.
Eric: Yeah. Totally. So, how long were you doing the lawn care business?
Martin: So, all throughout high school I spent my summers, luckily I never failed anything until later on. I spent my summers cutting grass and working as a soccer referee.
Eric: Okay. How did you get into the soccer referee game? See you did both each summers, like in weekends you were doing with soccer stuff, weekdays you were doing the lawns?
Martin: On weekends when I get lucky I could do a soccer tournament. Now you’re talking three games. You’re talking close to a hundred dollars a day, so I’m moving up in the world.
Eric: I’m surprised you’re not already the billionaire like Warren Buffet with this kind of acceleration.
Martin: It takes time you know. There’s always so many lawns.
Eric: That’s true.
Martin: So I would cut grass all day, and then the evenings I would try to referee every single day.
Martin: I got started, I played soccer and then this one guy he was like a coach/angry parent. And long story short, I found that he had a course teaching you on how to be a referee.
Eric: Okay. So did you pay and take the course like a little…
Martin: Of course, you got to pay for everything these days. Come on, Eric. You got to invest.
Eric: I was just trying to understand.
Martin: Everybody has a course on something. There’s a course on everything these days. I took the course. I got my brother to take it because I don’t want to do it alone. So we took the course and then we watched soccer games and hang out. We were certified referees ready to referee games and be the most hated person on the field.
Eric: So were you refereeing for like kids’ leagues, adult leagues or how did you…
Martin: So here’s the catch, Eric, my whole life has been on the job training.
Martin: So being a soccer referee prepared me from becoming a pro-wrestling villain. Because there’s no bigger villain than a soccer referee when the team is losing six to nothing.
Eric: That’s true. Any call against them are like, ‘C’mon we’re already losing 6 to nothing. What are you doing?’
Martin: There’s no bigger villain than a soccer referee. This got me ready. You think with this animosity now I’m a villain. When I get in the ring, and everybody hates me, I embrace it because those summers, those kid were rough. I was, in theory, suppose referee people younger than me, but my whole life things kind of work out in a funny way. I would get calls, he’d call me, the angry parent, the head ref. He would call me and tell me to go the game not thinking about anything. I’d get there, and the people are older than me. Keep in mind, when you’re in 13 or 14, a 16 year old might as well be an adult right?
Martin: I would get there and then these guys are driving. I’m riding my little bicycle to the game, taking me an hour to get there. And these guys are cruising, they’re smoking cigarettes. They got girlfriends. They’re cursing. And here I am just a nervous little kid with my whistle and a couple of cards.
Eric: Did you ever red card them just like, ‘I’m the power guy, you’re out of here.’
Martin: Oh no. Funny story, one game I got called in, the other referee called in sick. I don’t know how you call in sick to being referee. So they call me to go the field. I get there, and they thought that I was the ref who was supposed to be there originally. So they thought that I was late, and this is one of those game they have to pay for the referee extra because it was like a holiday or something. They hated me. It was like two teams that hated each other. It was a very aggressive game.
Martin: Then at one point, a guy blatantly committed a foul. I have to give him a red card, so I get it in my pocket. My first red card I’m so excited. I pull off my stack of cards, I left the red card at home.
Eric: Oh no, did you hold up two yellow cards?
Martin: I gave the guy yellow and everybody was like, I was kind of improvising. I just said that’s a yellow, and it was clearly a red. The guy had to be ejected from the game. And they were unhappy with me. They let me know. They were not afraid. You know soccer fans they are not afraid to tell you how they feel.
Eric: I did a semester in Jerusalem in college. We went to the local soccer team Beitar Jerusalem and they’re known to be the most rabid fans in the country. And in Israel, it’s a funny thing that the soccer teams or football teams as you would say in Israel, are each tied to a political party. It’s not just like Denver versus Kansas City playing football, two rivals. It’s the Democrats versus the Republicans, the Liberals versus the Conservatives.
Martin: Oh my God.
Eric: It’s city passion plus political passion. And the words that I learned in the stands were not the same as the words I learned in Hebrew school when I was in the Hebrew classes.
Martin: What are the words, huh?
Eric: All these new words I got to learn like the street slang. It was the things they were yelling at the referee it’s that I was learning not the other team.
Martin: Wow! Yeah. The referee is the most hated man on the field.
Eric: I would not have wanted to have been a referee at any Beitar Jerusalem game. Especially in away game because they go in mass like hundreds of them. They’re the ones known to cause the riot-est outbursts at the end of games if things don’t go their way.
Martin: The worst part was sometimes a team will be losing like big time. And they have the nerve to blame me. I’m like you lost by like five goals. What can I possibly have done for you? You know what I mean?
Eric: If it was one goal you might be able to say referee you were too hard on us that one call, but yeah, five goals. They are just looking to blame somebody I think. That’s a bad day.
Martin: My favorite complain was one time they complained because the other team’s jerseys were too intimidating.
Eric: But if you watch American Football, I’ve seen one time a team traveled and brought the wrong color jersey with when they traveled. And there was this whole big uproar about from the home team, and we wanted to wear that color. And we had to change colors, and that put us at a disadvantage. So people will blame anything for losing or winning a game.
Martin: That’s how life works though. That’s a life for us, some things don’t work out. There’s always someone or something to blame.
Eric: If the color of your jersey is I think you need to find something better to do with your time than complain.
Martin: Yeah. You might need a better game plan.
Eric: So speaking of game plans. You made it through high school. You were in summers doing the lawns, doing the soccer refereeing. Did you do that all through high school?
Martin: Yes, I was very busy in high school. I worked all throughout my summers. Those are my summers. There’s lots of work, and lots of sports.
Eric: What did you do the next step after high school?
Martin: I didn’t really want to go to college. I mean, you have friends and have their life figure it out? I have never been that guy. From me as I mentioned earlier it’s all on the job training. And it’s just like my whole life has been just seizing opportunities and just one day at a time. I went to a community college first actually.
Eric: In Toronto?
Martin: Yes. In George Brown College in Toronto. I did it totally different. Like I said I’ve always been greedy. I always wanted to go to school and I did what I wanted to do. But I knew I wanted an education just because I come from an immigrant family and my parents were unable to study. The one problem was that I was greedy. I wanted to work! I wanted to work right away. I didn’t want to go to school. I’m like, ‘All right, that’s eight hours I can’t be working. I should be working those hours. I should be making money.’
Eric: You didn’t want the delayed gratification of a degree. You wanted the income right now.
Martin: Yes. So then I went to community college because this way I figured it’s a lot cheaper. I don’t know how it is over there, but community college is like fraction of the cost of a major school.
Eric: It’s the same here. Community college classes here could be under a hundred dollars, where public state school, it could cost thousands of dollars per class.
Eric: At a private school many thousands per class.
Martin: I have like older friends and co-workers, people I spoke to who were like, they were in there 30s and they were still paying off student loans. And to me this made no sense because I wanted to buy a rental property. I don’t want to get into a [inaudible] [00:19:47]. I remember when I was 17, I told my neighbor Greg. I said I’m going to buy a rental property before I ever buy a car because a car is depreciating asset. I want to invest.
Eric: That’s actually a really an interesting thing you bring that up. I worked at a bank that was my first job after college. And I noticed all of the management level people and up, all had nice cars but not the fanciest cars. And all of the cashiers and the lower paid hourly employees, they have like Escalades and this pimped out rides with cool speakers systems and all. I was talking one of the other managers and I said, ‘I don’t get. They’re putting all their money into this depreciating asset, and we have cheap cars, but we drive to a nice house that keeps growing in value.’ It’s a mindset that it’s important to get. It’s hard to understand at a young age. I know adults that still struggle with that. I want the new cool car, well you can’t afford a cool car, you can’t even to pay your mortgage.
Martin: I struggle with that daily, too. I just knew that life will be better if I had a condo as supposed to have a car.
Martin: My friend spent all his money on a car and he was cool, he went on more dates to me, but he had no money.
Martin: He had to steal gas from his parent’s lawn mower one time just to get home.
Eric: That’s pretty low stealing gas from the lawn mower. You can’t get much out of a lawn mower it’s like half a gallon.
Martin: I went to community college like I said I was greedy. And then when I was in community college something strange happened. I actually liked school. It’s funny because in high school I was just forced to take courses, that you never really enjoyed anything. I find it in high school, you don’t get really prepared for the real world. You don’t learn anything about like solving problems, investment properties or real life skills.
Eric: They teach you Biology and Chemistry.
Martin: Yeah. It’s just these random courses that I just barely pass, and I just didn’t see the point of it. But in college I get to take my own courses and I really like it. I really like business and management and finance.
Eric: Did you keep going at the community college or did you ever switched to a different university?
Martin: So being the greedy guy that I was, I found out that I can transfer to a university. So, what I did was I took my 3 years at community college. It would take me longer, but I will save my money. In those 3 years I can take university level courses and transfer them over. I did 3 years at a community college, and I worked the crazy hours. I was working odd jobs. I was just doing whatever I could save my money. I started to blogging, which we can get into later. And then I went to a university for 2 years. I transferred most of my credits. It was 3 years in college, 2 years university. And I finished, it wasn’t easy, but I finished with zero debt. And that was my goal. My goal was to start my life as early as I could. I don’t want to be 30 and broke, and pissed off at the world. I wanted to be in my 20s and financially free and able to do whatever I wanted to do. I never got to go away for college. It was an option, but I just couldn’t do it. My eyes are so focused on the prize when it comes to being free in my 20s. I sucked it up. I had a girlfriend. It was tough having a girlfriend living with your parents. I’m not going to lie. I won’t get into to details but that wasn’t easy. But then I finished college with zero debt.
Eric: That’s great! How much does a university cost up, up your neck of the woods?
Martin: I’m kind of out of touched now it’s been five years. That’s seven to ten thousand a year.
Martin: That’s just the tuition and the books.
Eric: So it’s comparable to a lot of the state schools.
Martin: I could have easily gone away. My brother went away which I visit him a lot just to catch up, and make up for the last time, but I chose to stay in town. I lived at home and I took the bus. It was an hour each way.
Eric: That’s a ride, right there.
Martin: Yes, it’s kind of funny because people always say, ‘oh it must be nice, that you get to travel.’
Eric: To what…
Martin: It was a struggle, I woke up at 6 A.M. just to take that stupid one hour but ride to school.
Eric: What degree did you end up getting when you finished.
Martin: I got a BCOM – Bachelor of Commerce in Management and Finance.
The Birth of Studenomics
Eric: When you finished school, did you put that degree to work and go out and find a job or did you start working on your own stuff right away?
Martin: I didn’t use the degree for one second. I went to university because like I said my parents wanted me to go. I ended up liking the program. I really quickly figured out that it wasn’t the life for me, working in that field full time for the rest of my life in the next 40 years. When I was in school I started my website which you may know of, Studenomics, whatever you want to call it.
Eric: I’ve heard of it.
Martin: Yeah. One of the few word.
Eric: It’s studenomics.com, for listeners. S-T-U-D-E-N-O-M-I-C-S just like it sounds.
Martin: You got an A+ for spelling, Eric.
Eric: I always did well on spelling tests when I studied in elementary school.
Martin: It’s funny but everything kind of changed from the university because I started reading more. I started investing in myself. I was already in school. And I found out that even though I like my courses, the whole educational system was just flat in general. I was studying business and were learning about this new thing called PayPal. 2009 and we’re learning about PayPal. Like come on, it’s been around for a while. I started reading and once I started reading, I start to invest myself by attending events and reading more. And my whole perspective just changed totally. And at that point I knew that, as I told you I was into personal finance saving money. All my friends have come to me for their like money related questions kind of personal finance stuff, right? Like stuff that to me was common sense, but I figured that I realized the money isn’t logical, money is very emotional, and there’s no one size fits all answer.
Martin: So since I was studying finance and I was helping all my friends, I thought that I could start a business based around finance somehow, someway. Me and my buddy we got together then we decided to do something in this field. We had business meetings. We met up. We did research, which we hang out and talked about it. And then guess what happened?
Eric: Your friend quit?
Martin: Nothing happened. We spent 8 months just talking about business ideas.
Eric: It was plan, plan and plan but didn’t execute on anything?
Martin: Execution over everything else. Execution over education. I learned the quick lesson. So one day after 8 months of talking about this, I went on Dough Roller, one of my favorite blogs. And I read a quick article on how to start a blog. Because I was actually writing articles, I just didn’t know that there is a thing called the blog. I don’t know these are blog posts. I thought that I could write a bunch of articles and sell them and give financial advice. Then one day I read Dough Roller and I’ve learned how to start a blog. So I did the ‘Start a Blog in Three Easy Steps’ whole gimmick. I start a blog, I needed a name. I thought Studenomics, how clever. I thought that was the coolest name in the world, you know like nobody would see this one coming. And I’m so grateful I chose that because this is during the era where everybody was keyword stuffing their names.
Martin: It was either Studenomics or studentpersonalfinancesavemoney.com. Luckily at least I thought of a brand name. And then I used the most basic, cheapest theme and I launched Studenomics, November 7, 2008.
Eric: That’s day that will live in infamy.
Martin: The what?
Eric: The day that will live in infamy.
Martin: Oh! Forever and ever.
Eric: So, where did that journey take you? How was your life changed from starting that online business?
Martin: Just like when I first got my first soccer tournament, I worked all day, I made like a hundred dollars. After one month of blogging I got contacted about a text link, about someone selling an advertising space on my blog. And they offered me $20 per month for this text link. And I had it made. I had life figured out.
Eric: I remember my first ad I took on my blog was $10 for a post with a link to a..
Martin: That’s embarrassing
Eric: It was a link to a UK payday loan site or something I think. The post is long gone. But at that time I was like ten bucks for doing nothing other than sitting here. What better could you do on that, right? It paid for me to go to the bar that night and have two beers. I was made in a shade with ten bucks.
Martin: You’re on top of the world. So Studenomics, I made my first twenty dollars, so you figured out you should just drop out school, but luckily I didn’t drop out. I finished college.
Eric: That’s good! You have that education to fall back on in case the twenty dollars a month didn’t support you.
Martin: Exactly. And the best part it was this is why I wrote this book, Failure to Launch No More, because life is all about launching. Launch, launch and launch. If you’re not launching, you’re not doing anything.
Eric: So listeners just see now, Martin’s book that you just mention came out last couple of months, right?
Martin: I’ve launched two books this year. 2015 is the year of launching.
Eric: Awesome. We will end with that. We’ll talk about what we’ve been doing this year at the end. So let’s keep going with your Studenomics story. You had your 20 bucks a month. Things were going well. What happened next?
Martin: Well, what I realized that I loved helping people. I know it sounds corny like I’m a bit of a jerk sometimes. I really do like to help people. I love to see people accomplish their goals. For example my friend Mike just showed me his bank account the other day, he saved $30,000 in the last two years by applying the Studenomics advice.
Eric: That’s awesome! Thirty grand’s not chunk change. That’s serious.
Martin: That’s a lot of money.
Eric: Yeah. That’s awesome.
Martin: That’s in a savings account and he’s ready to invest now. I learned that I like to help people. I also learned that I don’t want to be stuck in a job that I hate. You know you go on Facebook and then you see people, ‘oh, TGIF, oh, FML, I hate my job, blah blah blah’ Like I don’t want to be that guy. You know what I mean? I never wanted to be the guy that Friday night comes around and gets hammered by 6 P.M. because he is so pissed off at the world.
Eric: Yeah. You got hammered by 6 P.M. because it’s fun, right?
Martin: Exactly. It happens by accident.
Eric: That’s just after you have a beer, and then another beer. And keep going it’s a side effect of enjoying a quality beverage.
Martin: I’m not a quitter you know. I don’t have just one. Actually, I just pointed it. I want to mention one of my favorite quotes is by Seth Godin. He says, “Instead of thinking about your next vacation, you need to setup a life that you don’t need to escape from.”
Eric: That’s an awesome philosophy. I love that. That’s really cool.
Martin: So to go back to Studenomics. I’m blogging, I’m writing. All of a sudden I keep on getting more ads and more ads and more ads. Then I thought that I was like you know, I have a personal finance blog and I’m a pioneer. I’m a trailblazer. And then I found the forum, and I realized that I had the least popular personal finance blog.
Eric: Which forum?
Martin: Do you remember the Money Blog Network forums?
Eric: It sounds familiar.
Eric: I think I remember that. The forum that really changed my blog was the Yakezie. That was the one…
Martin: Yeah. I was on there too.
Eric: Yeah. Connecting with all those people. That was a huge game changer for me in terms of traffic, in terms of understanding what I could make online. I was making more than ten dollars a post when I found them. I was seeing people making like a hundred dollars a post, two hundred dollars a post. This is like easy money.
By the way just a little disclaimer for everybody out there. This sponsored post thing has changed a lot since the days we’re talking about. You could just put a link to a website on your blog and that website’s Google ranking will increase automatically. It was pretty much a step by step process to have your site rank highly. Since then, Google looks for unnatural linking practices, so if a website gets 20 links in a day, and it’s never gotten the link before. Google got to say that’s weird, and it’s kind of not just penalize the sites that got the links. It’s going to penalize the sites that linked to it. So you can’t do this sponsored post anymore. And some people do but you can’t do them the way that we used to do them to make money like this. That’s a little disclaimer. You might not want to try this at home. Some people if you start to blog, well, but it’s at your own risk.
Martin: That’s also beauty about blogging is that it’s all been on the job training like I said. I realize that there’s other bloggers out there. And I also realized that my design sucked. I had the desk, do you remember the desk theme, it’s like a theme with a picture of a desk?
Eric: I think I remember it on your blog. I don’t remember the theme..
Martin: I was the one moron that actually thought it was cool. Studenomics. I got a desk. This is like awesome. No, it just looked ridiculous and corny as hell.
Eric: But you have a new theme and hired an awesome designer to help you build it.
Martin: I’m not sure about the guy personally, but professionally he’s alright.
Eric: That’s alright. So if you didn’t pick up on that everyone, in my freelance web design business that I’ve mentioned on the podcast before, I gave Martin a buddy rate because he is a good friend. We go back a while and we got him an awesome new theme. So if you haven’t gone over and checked it out yet it’s pretty cool, I’d like to think.
Martin: I hope that every single listener gets to check it out because, I mean, the design and the content will just change your life.
Eric: The design looks good but like any blog, it’s really about the contents, about the words on the page. And Martin does some amazing posts. He just did one recently. Just to jump the gun a little bit, he’s been doing some Uber driving, and wrote this really in depth post about what it’s like to be an Uber driver. And if you’ve been wondering if it’s worth it to make the money, definitely go check that post out. It’s totally cool along with everything else Martin writes.
Martin: That’s another on the job training aspect of our life. Sometimes I’ll just take on completely random challenges like becoming a cab driver for a couple of months and writing a blog just to share it with you guys.
Eric: That’s cool. So Studenomics has grown, developed. Does that pay for a good chunk of your living expenses? Or is that still a minor thing on the side as far as income goes?
Martin: The thing was that I discovered very fast I got my theme going, I changed my content. You know my writing changed a lot like when I looked back, and I’m sure you can attest to this to yourself. I looked back at the post from 2008 and I just cringed. I’ve gone back and edited, I’ve been deleting and editing. It’s just embarrassing. I’m not even going to sugar coat it.
Eric: I probably deleted a hundred and fifty posts from way back in the day. My new posts are longer. They are better and more in depth. Definitely, higher quality guides.
Martin: Oh boy. It’s funny because I’ve been doing it for seven years now. I don’t even feel it because seven years is like the few years or just like… Some of the articles are like two hundred words. I just had to delete them. I’m like why did I post this. Why would be people so engaged in this?
Martin: The whole blogging experience is a fluke for me. So like I start a writing content. I got the design. I’m getting comments. I’m meeting other bloggers. And then I started reading about these blogs on how to make money. And then I soon discovered that there are so many ways to make money right now. In 2010, 2011 especially right now 2015. The world is such a beautiful place for now. I went from selling text links and I started offering coaching. I’ve done personal finance coaching. And then opportunities would just spring up. For the first four years I almost never emailed anybody. I would get emails. So, for example a few years in I got an email to appear on Fox Business News.
Eric: That’s pretty cool. That’s a fun media appearance.
Martin: And this was before I was a pro wrestler. Now I wrestle topless, so I’m used to being in front of a crowd. I was like 21, 22 and I have to go on a news, and it was a satellite hit, so I just sat in the room staring at the camera. I have not gone back to watch the footage. I don’t even want to see it.
Eric: I feel like I should go find it, and put a link to it that show notes if I can find that. That could be kind of fun.
Martin: Actually, I do have a clip last year. I spoke to the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago. And I was in a local news there. I did come up better there. Now I’m a much different person than I was seven years ago.
Eric: Do you think your microphone skills have improved a little?
Martin: Yeah. I’m not afraid to talk now.
Expanding the Online Business
Eric: So, Studenomics it’s still going strong, doing well. I notice, I know you’ve done some other projects too. You’ve had a dating websites and workout websites. Can you talk a little bit about those?
Martin: I realized that when it comes to money, sex, health, people turn to the internet.
Martin: Because that’s the reason I start a blog because in real life we wanted to start a business. I soon realized that nobody would actually take advice in person. When you write about it, and you actually look at your search engine traffic sometimes. It’s pretty amusing how people find you, you know.
Eric: Totally. I’ve had people find me through the strangest keywords before.
Martin: I know. I wish could contact these people and say good luck brother or sister. Or offer them a beer or something, I don’t know.
Eric: So how did those sites developed? How did you get the ideas? Have they been successful?
Martin: Well, define successful, I mean I’m not still a billionaire despite my best efforts. But after having Studenomics for seven years, in 2013 I started teddybellrebels.com, because as much I love money I also love fitness and working out, and looking good, feeling amazing. I started writing about fitness in an unconventional, like you know like fitness lifestyle. I share a lot of my pro wrestling journey on there. I do a lot of BJJ, a lot of MMA. I share a lot of stories on there. And as I said with the blog, there is more than one way to make money. The text links are the thing of the past. But now I started writing books because I realized anybody can sell and publish a book as you know. So, my newest venture has been publishing books. My next book is actually about dating. It’s about getting out of the friendzone, but I don’t want to get into that right now because that hasn’t been released yet.
Eric: Everyone stay tuned for Martin’s book. The friendzone sucks man. I remember in my dating days. I got there way too many times. When you’re into a girl and she’s just like ‘Let’s hang out’, I don’t want to just hang out, let’s go on a date.
Martin: It was my moral obligation to write this book. I had to write it. A moral and social obligation.
Eric: But even though I was in friendzone many times, I have done okay. I have a wonderful wife, so I managed okay.
Martin: I’ve met your wife, she’s awesome.
Eric: A lot of people are still having in trouble. Those young guys, they are the ones who need it. Those high school guys trying to break into the dating world. They are the ones who get stuck there the most. It’s a learning curve, dating.
Book Author and Publisher
Martin: Just like blogging, just like business everything is all about, it’s little experiments and testing out ideas. I started writing articles about nothing. Now I sold coaching, I’ve sold courses. I sell books. Public speaking I do. It’s just amazing with the opportunities that exist out here. You have to just be willing to put yourself out there and shift to the market.
Eric: Right. Can you find links to all that stuff on Studenomics? If people want to..
Martin: You go to Studenomics, you grab a copy of my book – that should keep you busy for the next couple of months. I promise you. The main book right now is called ‘Next Round’s On Me’. It’s the whole financial freedom during your 20s. I take you from broke and pissed off to financially free by the time you hit 30.
Eric: Have the books overall been selling well? Has each book doing a little better than the last? Have you learned any awesome self-publishing tricks to get more sales?
Martin: Oh yes, yes. My first book was just total, total experiment. I didn’t even really announce it. I was very timid. Because, you know, when I first launched my blog as I said, I had the worst design, worst everything, and I slowly told people about it. And now it’s taking me a while, but now I’m very open, I’m very out there. But just took me 7 years to get to this stage now. They call me the Latin Lover in wrestling, and I sell my own shirts. People wear my shirts to gym. It take me like 7 years to get the level where I can wear my own shirt and actually talk about my own blog, my own books. My first book I didn’t even tell anybody about it. The girl I was dating she was like ‘You released a book?’ So as you can imagine if don’t tell anybody about your book, you’re going to get many sales.
Eric: I did the same. I told people who already read my blog, it was really the only place I told anyone when I put up my first book – The Personal Finance Arsenal.
Martin: Never heard of it.
Eric: See, that’s because I don’t tell anybody
Martin: Just kidding. Actually, June was my best month so far because I did this called self-promote. I did a lot of guest posts, I sent out review copies like crazy. Well, first I wrote an amazing book like I stand behind this book. I’ve one bad review and I’m very offended because I offer free promotion and the book says ‘Next Round’s on Me’, it’s all about having fun, and the person downloads a free copy and complained that I talk too much about partying. The book is called ‘Next Round’s on Me’. What do you think I’m going to talk about?
Eric: I think you’d get that from the title.
Martin: Yeah. This bad review. There’s one bad review, but that’s fine. So guest posting, sending review copies. I got friends take pictures with the book. And I’m proud to say June was my best month so far.
Eric: That sounds like it’s a lot of hard work. A lot of hustle, but it’s paying off. That’s cool.
Martin: And the beauty is that I know now for my next book exactly what to do, what not to do. And I can only learn in the process.
Eric: You’re going to have to write a book on how to launch a book, so people like me can figure out how to do that better.
Recognizing and Creating Earning Opportunities
Martin: It’s funny because I think we live in a, a bit off topic, but I think we live in the era where there is more money in teaching how to do something than doing it. The article about Uber, I’m making more money from referring Uber than I did from driving for Uber. It makes no sense.
Eric: That’s awesome though. All you need to do is crack your own code. Some people don’t have the drive or the talent or what not to do write a blog, and that’s okay. There’s so many different ways to make money as you said today more than ever before. In the coming weeks and months there will be a mega post on my blog about how to start freelancing. There’s ton of things you could do if you’re in to photography, video, graphic design, writing, web design, almost anything you can do. If you can come up with something that someone else can’t do and is willing to pay for, and you’re at least moderately good at it you can make money. It’s amazing you can connect online so much faster than ever before.
Martin: The beautiful part is that it takes not to put yourself out there now. I learned this…this is a whole different topic, but I bought a rental property and I was going to hire a property management firm. And one of my mentors pulled me aside and said ‘We’re going to have problems if you hire proper management firm.’ He goes “You’re on your 20s. You’re full of energy. Don’t tell me that you’re too busy. Don’t act that you’re busy. I know you’re not that busy. You can do this on your own.” I said “How?” he said “Just use the internet.” So just by using a couple of Google searches I found a lease agreement and an application form. Then I have to advertise this condo when I was renting it out. How do I do that? I just go to Kijiji and I looked up all the rentals and the building, and I almost copy them word for word.
Eric: There you go.
Martin: So I went from clueless to, within a couple clicks and searches, I was able to rent out my property. And I’m lucky that it all worked out. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was doing screenings and people are asking me questions. And I was just making up answers.
Eric: But somehow it’s all worked out. Is that providing good cash flow for you?
Martin: I got really lucky. It was a condo. I bought it from a developer. It was pretty shitty area, you know, like I’m not going to sugar coat it. And then after I rented it out. I lived there for a bit. And then I rented it out then I travelled. Went to Europe, I won’t get into that, that’s another story.
Eric: We will have you back and have a whole talk on travel because where going to be running out of time in a few minutes, but keep going. Keep going.
Martin: So then I just realized that the building is just horrible, but the location was developing. Long story short, somebody made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I took the money and I’ve been investing, I’m going to invest in another property. And just investing in myself – traveling, attending conferences, reading books, meeting interesting people. I just try to create more.
The Latin Lover
Eric: That’s great. We’ve touched on the pro wrestling thing throughout, but let’s talk about that for a few minutes because it’s totally interesting thing. I’ll admit I am at some point not so secret pro wrestling fan. Way back when my dad took me when I was little to see Hulk Hogan versus Sgt. Slaughter. I saw the Ultimate Warrior. I saw these classic wrestlers way back when I was little.
One time when we lived in Indianapolis. My dad got us second row seats, and we were there. It was like the most exciting thing for my dad to take me as a little boy. I was 3 or 4. We left Indianapolis on my 5th birthday, so I was young. I got so scared I thought it was real.
Martin: It is real.
Eric: They kept throwing each other into the, and they throw him into the fence right in front of you that metal rail. Though they’re going to fall on me I was a little kid. Like sweat, when they punch the guy, the sweat flies on me. I turned to my dad and said “Dad, I think this is PG6. I’m not old enough to be here. Take me out.” How did you get into this pro wrestling world?
Martin: So you said when you were a little kid. Kids are awesome like these kids come to the show and I’m villain, and they hate me. The best part is there’s a little girl who comes to shows and she’s like a huge fan.
Eric: I saw the pictures online. That’s awesome that you have a… you have stolen a girl’s heart already.
Martin: God bless her parents. Her parents have to make a new sign every show. And they try to convince her that she can bring the same signage. But she told them, ‘nope, he’s going to notice.’ So she brings a new sign every show. When I’m out there, I try not to acknowledge it because I’m a bad guy. But after the show when everybody leaves, I always find her just to say hello. And at first she was nervous because she thought I was going to mean her. But we always we have a good little chat whenever I see her and her parents.
Eric: So how did you start wrestling? What got you on the path of becoming the ‘Latin Lover’?
Martin: Everything ties down to financial freedom and saving money. So, I always wanted to save money. I was always greedy. I was always into investing money. But in the back of my mind I always wanted to chase dreams. But I’ve always been very logical. I did everything you’re supposed to do as I said. I went to school. I saved up, all that boring stuff.
The one thing I never got to do is to chase my pro wrestling dream. I turned 25 and I said, ‘It’s too late now. I was a fan for life and I’ll just continue being a fan. I’ll just go to shows. I belong in the crowd, like I should stay in the crowd.’ A school opened up near in my house and everything, just the stars just aligned then I said ‘That school was put there for a reason. I have to join this place.’ So I joined and it was just for fun. We got in the ring and started doing some MMA training. I did some BJJ which I still do. And it was just all like fun and games, you’re on the ropes, you do some wrestling, you train. It was all fun until they announced the show. I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s cool’. And then I realized I have to be in the show. I’m like wait I have to actually do this? I thought I was just here for fun living out a dream. I get to go on the ring then run around and make a fool of myself. I was put in the show. Eric, I was terrified like 400 people in the crowd. I have to go out there and wrestle. I swear to you the first moment I went out there I realized like I love performing. I love being a bad guy. I love the attention. I love all eyes on me. I love just having fun.
So, it’s kind of like a fluke. It just worked out though, you know. I was 25, a school opened beside me, I joined. My hair is growing out at the time. They like my look and they started putting me on shows. And now I’ve been, almost last two years, I’ve been in almost in every show. I’m one of the main characters, I’d like to think so, at least in my mind I am. And I was taking it one day at the time.
Eric: Before we wrap up, let’s say you’re on stage about to cut a promo on video. Will you do a promo for us all to hear on the podcast?
Martin: On who? On what?
Eric: Be the Latin Lover on anything you want. Like you’re doing a show, if you were put on right now and they said do a Latin Lover, 15-20 second promo. What will you say in character?
Martin: Eric Rosenberg, you pencil neck geek. You should be thanking me for being here. I’m the Latin Lover, I put the harm in charm.
Eric: That was awesome!
Martin: I will just go on from there just picking on you because you’re smaller than me. It would just be easy, you know.
Eric: I get that totally. So people want to find you. Where should they go?
Martin: Studenomics.com. Grab a copy of my book, enlighten yourself. [email protected] Studenomics on Twitter. Send me a message and I’m here for you.
Eric: That’s awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here and sharing your stories. It was totally fun. Everyone please do go out. Check out Martin’s website, it’s a great resource. As I mentioned, that Uber post, I’ll put a link to that on the show notes. He will go out connect. He will respond your messages and your tweets. He is a great guy and he won’t be as mean to you as he was just to me. If you ask nicely.
So, until next time everyone. Thanks for being a part of this, Martin. Thanks for listening. All the listeners out there you can always reach me with any questions, [email protected] If you like what you heard, hop on iTunes, leave a rating. If not let me know what I can do better. And until next time. Stay profitable.