They say it all starts with the right mindset. This is true especially when it comes to managing and growing a business.
In this special episode, I had a wonderful conversation with Dennis Yu about Billionaire mindset, using AI, and social media ads.
Dennis Yu has over 20 years of digital marketing experience ranging from mastering FB and LinkedIn ads to scale people’s personal brands and businesses. He is a speaker and mentor who has worked with brands like Social Media Examiner, Forbes and a multitude of personal brands.
We talked about AI for social media ads. What do most people do wrong when it comes to running social media ads? And what results have Dennis gotten using your dollar a day strategy and how does it work?
We also discussed mentorship and mindset (How important are they?). And habits all billionaires have in common, what are they?
This is your chance to learn from the best in the digital marketing space, tune in now and get valuable insights!
Get this podcast on your preferred platform:
03:34 How to create a ‘Content Strategy’?
06:35 Is AI going to replace search engines?
12:41 How to make Ads work?
14:53 “Dollar-a-day strategy”
26:47 Mentorship and mindset
34:30 What do billionaires have in common?
42:25 Check out more of Dennis Yu
Courses & Training
Courses & Training
➥ For content strategy, Dennis suggested that online business owners can create personal stories, reviews, and podcast (which are compelling, relatable, and captivate the audience). Then, use AI tool like Chat GPT to enhance their content.
➥ If you have content that’s already working well organically, you can repurpose it for other channels or use it as Ads. Repurposing content allows you to extend its reach and maximize its impact by adapting it to different formats. Furthermore, using successful content as Ads can help you capitalize on its effectiveness and target specific audiences. This approach enables you to make the most of your well-performing content and increase its visibility across different marketing channels.
➥ Dollar a day strategy is a cost-effective approach to advertising. This means putting a lot of pieces of content, testing them for a dollar a day for a week. The key idea behind the “dollar a day” strategy is to leverage the advanced targeting options and reach specific audiences with relevant content. By allocating a small budget daily, advertisers can continuously test different variations of ads, targeting parameters, and content formats to optimize their campaigns and achieve desired outcomes.
About The Guest
Dennis Yu has over 20 years of digital marketing experience ranging from mastering FB and LinkedIn ads to scale people’s personal brands and businesses. He is a speaker and mentor who has worked with brands like Social Media Examiner, Forbes and a multitude of personal brands.
Connect with Dennis Yu
How would you like to know what most billionaires have in common, how they operate, and why they're so successful? Hi, I'm Jaryd Krause. I'm the host of the Buying Online Business Podcast. And today I'm speaking with Dennis Yu, who has over 20 years of digital marketing experience ranging from mastering Facebook and LinkedIn ads to scaling people's personal brands and businesses. I'm talking about getting Facebook ads up to a million dollars a day in ad spend. He's a speaker, a mentor. He's worked with a lot of massive brands, like Social Media Examiner, Forbes, and a multitude of huge household names that a lot of you guys probably know about.
In this podcast episode, Dennis and I speak about AI, content generation, and why we need humans. And he says a really good quote around tools, “Tools using tools and AI.” And I think it's fascinating for you to hear, especially from one of the leading industry minds in social media and digital marketing.
We also talk about the Dollar-a-Day strategy that he's used to help scale brands to get them to a million dollars a day in ad spend alone. We talk about the power of mentors, how much of a role mentors have played in his actual life, in mine. We also discuss the difference between a mentor and a coach. And I think it's really fascinating. I break it down into long-term versus short-term guidance.
We also talk about a billionaire's mindset. And he's got a lot of friends that are billionaires; he hangs around a lot of very wealthy, very smart people who have done absolutely amazing things. He does a lot of name dropping just to boost himself up, but to talk like this is how this person operates and this is what he learned from this person and why and how that's invaluable for us.
We also talk about the power of sharing knowledge and how valuable that can be for you on your journey as well. Now, whoa, this is such a valuable episode. Dennis has a brilliant mind. I'm sure you're going to absolutely love it. Let's dive in.
What's up? This is Jaryd, and I am stoked to have you here. Before we dive into the show, I want to remind you that for a limited time, you can get one-to-one voice note mentoring with me to help you buy and grow your online business. I'm opening up just a few slots of voice note coaching to give you one-on-one access to me via Coachvox. You'll tell me your goals and challenges, and we'll work through them together.
I'll ask questions, I'll tell you what I think, and we'll get you ticking boxes and achieving your online income goals. You can message me anytime, and I'll respond within 48 hours. Right now, you can get 20% off by using the coupon code JARYD. That’s J-A-R-Y-D. And I'll drop the link in the show notes so you can find out more. Until then, let's get on with the episode.
Dennis, welcome to the pod.
Jaryd, it's good to see you.
It's good to see you too. Now, I just want to dive straight into it. I want to get to the digital marketing aspect and the paid ads, which is what you're very well known for. But I've also seen you speak about SEO and content creation, right? And the theme of the day, the flavor of the year, I guess, of 2023 is really about AI content—creating AI content and then mixing it, making it SEO-worthy as well. Now, I'm a big believer that SEO is going to evolve as it always has. Maybe not as fast as most people believe. But have you been talking about how to create a content strategy that is good for SEO with AI, and what's your take on that?
A lot of people, as you've seen with other tools, with SEO, are using tools as shortcuts. They're being lazy by spinning content and auto-generating content. And my job at the search engines 25 years ago was to bust people who were trying to do that. So I understand there's the view of people that are trying to do businesses that want SEO benefits, people that claim to be SEO experts that do SEO.
My view is from the standpoint of the search engine. So I have a different view than these other people because I was at the search engines like that. We're always trying to protect search results. So my view of ChatGPT and whatnot is that it's just another set of tools. And if you abuse it, then it'll hurt you because they can spot when you're using ChatGPT. They can spot when it's been recycled, regurgitated, and whatnot.
So you saw that Google came out with EEAT. And it used to be expertise, authority, and trust. They added an extra E. And why did they do that? Because they knew people were going to use ChatGPT to write articles about all kinds of stuff.
So how do you make your stuff bulletproof so you don't get in trouble? You start with the seed of your own experience, your own stories about what happened. And I think the best way to do that is with little video stories about what happened. Podcasts like this where, I mean, maybe in a year or two from now, you can have these fake podcasts where you can't tell if it's actually Jaryd or Dennis. But what I tell business owners and founders to do is start with little stories of your best customers, reviews of videos, and FaceTime-ish kinds of videos, then use ChatGPT to enhance them.
So if you've got, let's say, a law firm in LA and you've got cases in different areas of LA and you've got location service pages, you want to rank on Beverly Hills personal injury attorney, Culver City dog bite, and Long Beach slip and fall. Combinations of city plus service. Well, then you've got customers in Long Beach, Torrance, Culver City, Redondo Beach, and these other places. So why not leverage your database of what you have and then use ChatGPT to enhance that?
We could take this podcast and the AI. There are a bunch of tools now. Every day there are like ten new tools that AI can use to chop up this video and edit it into different clips, find the cut points, find the hooks, and add the lower thirds, just like Fireflies.ai can do the meeting transcription and the summary. That's what you use AI for—to create efficiency, not to replace humans.
Yeah, spot on, agree. So this podcast is going to be edited by humans, but I have a tool that I have just decided to use. And I asked my assistant if it would reduce her time and make her job easier. And she said it would, and it's going to cost
Descript is the one I recommend.
Descript, yeah, there's Descript. And there was another one by HubSpot that we're looking at. You can buy a certain amount of credits, and it basically helps with episode highlights, guest authors, and bios and brings transcriptions and everything together. But the fact is, it's only going to be used as a tool to make her job easier and better and to make the content better. It's not the answer, and she should be replaced. She's using it as a tool. Whereas most people are freaking out about AI going to take over and nobody's going to have any jobs.
Well, the reality is, if you're going to use a search engine and all the content is regurgitated, it's all linear, and it's boring to read, are you going to read it? No. And then there's no more Google because Google makes this money from users who see ads and click on ads, right? So I'm glad that you mentioned that because there's so much fear mongering around AI. I think it's an excellent tool, but it's just not the shortcut or the answer.
Well, a tool using a tool is still a tool. And I just had dinner with the VP in charge of AI at Google tonight. And I was over at her house, and we talked about what this means. And of course, she wants people to use Bard, and she's got different things to say about OpenAI, which created ChatGPT. But the basic idea, and I agree with her, is that a large language model that basically writes words one at a time based on probabilities is not the same thing as search because of hallucinations, because you don't really know if it's accurate, and because search engines are built upon the idea of the canonical.
Now I'm biased too because I come from a search engine background, right? Which we do have a lot of machine learning. We do have a lot of AI involved here. But using AI to produce content or thinking that it's going to replace search engines, I think, is naive.
Yeah, I totally agree. Now, you've moved from search to paid, from what I see, and you know a lot about both obviously. But are you seeing tools that can help with social media ads? I know that, like this podcast, it can be split up into Instagram reels and chopped up and used for that. Where else are you seeing something being implemented that you feel is actually a good use of a tool?
So the AI is an amplifier of what's already working well. So I got my start in Facebook ads. Was it 16 years ago? I started in May 2007, when it first came out. And remember, I'm a search engine. I started as a search engine engineer, but I found that if you had something that worked for a particular audience who had a particular need, maybe they searched for a particular keyword or watched a particular YouTube video, you could match that audience on Facebook and use that same content. And when that same content and that same audience intersect, you get a sale.
So I thought, Well, this is great. If something's working on YouTube, I can get it to work on Facebook. If it works on Facebook, I can get it to work on TikTok. If it works on TikTok, I can get it to work on Snapchat. So I don't really see a distinction between search and social, except that social might be more driven by who the user is, and search is more focused on direct intent. But even those lines are blurred. So the idea of someone being a social media expert versus a search expert is like saying, Does someone use their left hand or their right hand? Well, you need both of your hands for different things.
So I guess I've been doing this for 30 years, so this makes me look kind of old, but I think it's a false dichotomy to categorize search versus social or TikTok versus Facebook. Because if your goal is to sell, you run an online business, and you want to get more people to buy, why wouldn't you set all the remarketing pixels at the same time in your tag manager? Why wouldn't you take content that works on one channel and make it work on all the other channels? Why wouldn't you create content independent of all the other channels?
So if you're going to make the content, it can be repurposed for YouTube, your blog, Google My Business, TikTok, Twitter, Quora, or any of these other places. It just needs to be formatted slightly differently. But if you have something compelling to say or knowledge about something, why would you only put it on YouTube?
Well, you'd be crazy not to because then you'd be single source dependent on just that one medium, right?
Yeah. And then you're not dependent on just paid or organic sources. The way I view paid is as an extension of organic, something that's already working well. A content targeting combination is a certain audience you're solving a certain problem for. If it's working organically, why wouldn't you put ad dollars behind it? And if something stinks and it's not compelling content, putting ad dollars on it is like flooring the car when the e-brake is on. It doesn't make any sense. You can't force your way there.
Yeah, I agree.
So our whole Dollar-a-Day strategy is to find something that's working, and let's try to replicate that same content across other audiences. Let's set up all the remarketing pixels. So if you don't have any remarketing, then set the Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn remarketing pixels, and that gives you an extra 20% in sales. Create lookalike audiences. Your best content, maybe it's a video—turn it into an article. You're taking the thing that works and just reformatting it to work in other channels, then running ads against it on top of that.
This happened to me. Do you find there are people that, and I guess mainly with e-commerce, this is the thing where people really go heavily down the paid ad route and don't focus on organic and end up struggling at some point when their ads don't work as well?
Well, the paid side ends up being an LTV versus CAC issue. So because the cost of ads is always going to keep going up, and it's always been the case for the last 20 or so years, you have to do things to increase the LTV, which allows you to compete and be able to pay more for acquisition.
So what I hear is that people that specialize in paid advertising say, “Well, if I can get half my traffic from organic, then my effective CPAs or CACs fall in half,” which isn't true because the thing that allows you to do paid advertising is the fact that it worked organically. If you have customers that love you, that's a sign that you can now go into paid work. You don't use pay as a way to try to figure out the business model. The business model has to exist first.
I see a lot of folks that do less than seven figures in e-commerce, and they think that they're going to use paid as a way to figure out their strategy. No, no, no. Once the strategy is working, then you use paid on top of that because then you know it's going to scale up to the limit of what the market size is, what your LTV is, or what your acceptable CAC versus LTV ratios are.
Yeah. I put my hand up and just flat out said that that was me. I used ads to work out my business model, and Facebook, I think it might've been 2018, decided, “Look, Jaryd, we're just going to shut down your account and you're never going to be able to use Facebook again.” And I had to rethink my whole business model to suit the organic route. I still can't use ads on Facebook, but I can in many other places.
But why not YouTube? Why not Snapchat and TikTok? Why would you be dependent on one thing? It's like having only one supplier, one manufacturer. That's just too risky.
Yeah. I definitely learned the hard way. So tell me about the Dollar-a-Day strategy. I want people listening to know what the Dollar-a-Day strategy is because you've helped a lot of brands, not just influencers, build from the Dollar-a-Day strategy. So what is it? How does it work?
We spent a billion dollars using this Dollar-a-Day strategy across every single channel and almost every kind of business. And we did it for Rosetta Stone, for Nike, for Starbucks, for Ashley Furniture—all kinds of companies. And even for small companies—little real estate companies, restaurants—the key is this, it's very simple. The Dollar-a-Day strategy involves putting out lots of pieces of content and testing for a dollar a day for a week, which is $7 per piece of content.
So we did the Golden State Warriors, which is a basketball team, for five and a half years. And we would have a grid of all these different videos and offers. Some would say Steph Curry made this amazing shot. One would be a new jersey that we have or tickets to this game. We have all these different ads, for example.
And if I gave you a grid of a hundred different ads and said, “Jaryd, here's a grid of a hundred different ads,” you would not be able to pick out the winner. And if you gave it to me, “Hey, Dennis, what do you think of all these ones? Which ones do you think is the best one?” I'd be like, “I think this one,” right? And you and I would be completely wrong because the data will tell us who the winner is.
So Dollar-a-Day is just a testing strategy. And other people say, “Well, why only a dollar a day? I spend $100,000 a month.” Well, good for you. It allows you to run more experiments. Because when you find a winner, you can put in $100 or $1,000. We've had some campaigns. We've spent a million dollars a day. Like Rosetta Stone, the language company. We were spending over a million dollars a day on Facebook and Google.
So you can imagine that Facebook and Google flew in to see us instead of us flying in to see them. And they brought food, hockey tickets, and everything else that we wanted. Sheryl Sandberg talked about it. Mark Zuckerberg talked about us as a case study; the largest ever user of Facebook offers all kinds of great stuff. But it was using the Dollar-a-Day methodology.
Even in horrible, boring industries like Infusionsoft, which is now called Keep, which is marketing automation like HubSpot or ActiveCampaign. And they made a hundred different things; you don't have to make a hundred. In this case, with Natalie Ferreira, who ran digital marketing, we made a hundred different videos. I contributed a few videos about, Hey, here's what you need to know about marketing automation.
Put in your email address, and they'll give you 10 more tips or whatever. And then Natalie would make one. And then the CEO, Clate Mask, was eating fried chicken. Because there's a hook to get your attention. He's answering questions while he's eating fried chicken, just like the hot sauce ones.
We had a hundred of these different videos, and no one would have guessed which one would have been the winner. Clate Mask, the founder, couldn't guess. I couldn't guess. Natalie couldn't guess. The other folks in digital marketing couldn't guess. But for the winner, I forgot how much we put in, but in total, we put in $1.3 million.
Into the winner?
Into two or three of those ones that were winners out of the hundred initials. So we spent $700. You know, like in sports, they have these playoff brackets where initially there are like 64 teams. And then, there's 16 and four. And eventually, there's one at the top of the bracket. That's what we're doing with Dollar-a-Day. We're letting all the ads compete, and we're letting the system determine what the best one is.
Now, the cool thing about Dollar-a-Day is that people say, “Oh, but you don't have statistical significance, and you should be optimizing the CPA.” And, yeah, ultimately, we're optimizing the conversion. But if you're running ads in a social format, especially on Facebook or TikTok or whatnot, you could have an amazing offer or whatever, but if people don't stay with you for the first two seconds, if they scroll past you, it doesn't matter what happens in the rest of the video.
So in Dollar-a-Day, the first part is just determining how many ThruPlays you get, how many people get past the first two or three seconds. And then it's a matter of, Can we convert them? Can we convince them? But you can save the majority of your testing budget. You don't have to waste your budget optimizing for full conversion if you know that 80%–90% of people are going to skip past your video in the first two seconds. It doesn't matter what happens after two seconds; they've already left you.
So we're using Dollar-a-Day as this initial filter. And then, of those that remain, we optimize for conversions. And the ones that convert, then we'll put $1,000 a day, $10,000 a day against them. Because people will say, “Well, the Dollar-a-Day strategy doesn't work for our business because we spend $100,000 a month.” Great, it'll work even better for you because you can test more.
Yeah. You're putting most of your work into the testing phase. And I think most people forget—well, most people that start out that don't know much about digital marketing, are like, “I want to spend maybe $1,000 a month, $2,000, $3,000, up to $5,000 a month. What sort of results should I expect?”
And they put it on one ad. And then they say it didn't work. Yeah. You tried one ad. “Oh, Facebook ads didn't work. I tried it.” Yes. Show me your testing. Show me your goals, content, and targeting. Show me that you have an existing creative that already works, and you're trying to make something better than that because you're already taking the seed of why it's already working and why people already love you.
If it's a new product, then people don't know about you, your product, or whatever. You have to solve the strategy issue first to understand what exact problem you're solving in the market. Then you can make videos from different angles around that. But at least you're starting with the winner. Dollar-a-Day is assuming you're starting with a business strategy and that you're starting with the winner, where you have happy customers that use your products.
Yeah. And you can use social proof in those video ads and whatnot, right?
Yeah. And the ones that celebrities don't convert as well because people assume we've tested this with A-list celebrities. People say, “Well, my buddy, Josh Snow, paid Floyd Mayweather, who's a boxer, a lot of money. And then he paid other people that are not even well known.” And those other people that are not even celebrities, they're not even influencers, converted even better because people assume that the A-list celebrities are being paid to say that.
Which they were.
They were, but you figure fame is better. And the big influencer who has 14 million followers and all that? No, I think people want something that looks real.
Yeah. And even Handycam videos of not just Tai Lopez in my garage
Not even a handycam, but just selfie walk and talk videos outperformed the professional, and you can tell when it's an ad. It's landscape. The lighting is too good. Obviously, it's a model. The way they're saying it doesn't seem very natural. It just screams ad. I don't trust this. And then there's a call to action with the big button.
It's heavily edited. So you can tell some video editors had to go. Some of the best converting ads we've ever had had no editing at all. And you could tell it was an amateur who didn't even speak very well. But they seemed authentic. It seemed like someone you could trust.
And that's why people buy—it’s trust, right?
I love going to companies where they have a professional videographer who's done cinematography, movies, and this kind of thing. And the brand will spend $50,000 on this professional thing, red cameras, and all of this stuff, right? The full deal And then I walk in with an iPhone, and I record a few different videos from a few different angles with real customers, showing them actually using the product. I filmed it vertically. I do have good sound, but I hide the microphone. And I run different combinations. 10, 20 combinations. This other company makes one masterpiece.
Who do you think is going to win, Jaryd? Me? I'm not a professional videographer. I'm a search engine engineer. I didn't speak English until I was six. I'm a math guy. Who's going to win, the math guy with 10 or 14 different attempts or the professional videographer who has just one attempt? Who's going to win?
Well, it comes down to you being real with the customers and just having a chat, right? Having a bit of a yarn And just how could you not win when it's like, “Hey, I'm not trying to make this too polished?”
We did this with Ashley Furniture, which is the world's largest furniture manufacturer, and retailer. They're bigger than IKEA and whatnot. And they were running ads that were made by a professional agency. I won't name them, but you could tell they were TV ads, okay? And these were not professional actors. I just had these store managers in different stores get videos from the different salespeople and the delivery people as they were carrying the sofa up the stairs. Like all these different sorts of scenarios.
And we tested it for a Dollar-a-Day, and we had 22 ROAS. We spent a dollar, and we drove $22 of provable sales in the POS that we matched back via offline conversions, right? Not leads, not store visits. Sales in the POS map back to the name and phone number, right? And it was using all this amateur video.
And this is when I knew it worked, Jaryd. This is what happened. It was a mistake. But we had one in Alabama, and people in Alabama talk with a strong accent. Alabama football was a go around on Sunday. We watched football on TV. And those were working well in Alabama. But one of our people goofed up and accidentally ran those in Seattle, Amherst, New Hampshire, Cleveland, Ohio, and other places where they don't talk like that. And I thought, Oh, they're going to fire us because we totally goofed this up because it's supposed to be in the south, right? And it converted just as well.
And then we realized, You know what? I used to think that if you live in Miami, where there's a beach and it's sunny and all this, you can't run that in Dallas, where it's a different area. All these different areas are also geographically different, but they're actually not as different as you think they are because people buy from other people. And if you're going to buy furniture, a pillow, a table, a painting, or whatnot, you're going to buy from other people that you resonate with.
And because Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube target people who, like you, watch YouTube videos and see other videos that are like that, they will naturally show that video to other people that identify with those people. And that's why TikTok has taken off so much. You're counting on the system to find other people who will resonate with that black girl with frizzy hair or whatever.
They will find those kinds. And in every city, in every scenario, there's different proportions of people in different niches, but you'll always find every kind of niche in every city. So you don't have a demographic target. It works amazing. So franchises, we've done a ton of this with franchises. It works well. We can reuse creativity nationwide.
And we discovered this with Ashley Furniture, and there's a whole case study that Facebook put out there. I think Google put out a case study as well on what we did that shows that this testing strategy works.
Plus, nationally, you get way more data, so you get to statistical significance a lot faster, right? Instead of just testing in one market. If something works and you test nationwide, nobody can beat you, right? Because you just have way more data.
Yeah. The person or business with the most data makes the smartest decisions.
If they use the data properly, yeah, and they build their custom audiences properly if they have a tag manager set up, Just because someone spends more money doesn't mean they're smarter.
No, correct. And they could be spending that amount of money in the wrong direction if they didn't analyze the data correctly, which is why it's helpful to have somebody who knows how to understand what's working and what isn't working based on the nuances of the different ad sets.
I want to talk about mentorship and mindset. First and foremost, mentorship How big has mentorship been? What sort of role has mentorship played in your becoming more successful at what you're doing now? Have you worked with many mentors? Do you advocate for mentors? Tell me about your connection with mentors.
Everything in my life came about because of a mentor. Every failure that I've ever had was because of me. I got my start in business because one guy who happened to be the CEO of American Airlines believed in me. And had he not opened that door, who knows where I would have been? Maybe I'd be at the convenience store. I don't know. Maybe I would have done something with my life. I've been a real estate agent.
Who knows? But every door that's been opened for me has been because of a mentor. I consider having a mentor to be cheating. It's just so good. And a lot of us are super smart. We believe the entrepreneur works really hard all by themselves, and they figure it out. Every successful business person I know has a mentor or multiple mentors. Mentors in different areas.
And the best way to find a mentor—because anyone's going to want to give you advice, whether they're qualified or not—is to find someone who's done the thing that you want to do. I wanted to grow an agency to several thousand people. I knew how to grow it to a few dozen people, 50 people, or 100 people. But there's a difference when you want to go to 2,000 people. So, of course, other people who are business people wanted to give me advice. My mom wanted to give me advice, but she's never grown an agency to 2,000 people. So I talked to Dwayne Nesmith. Dwayne Nesmith is the founder of Viant and has grown the agency to employ thousands of people.
And I said, “Dwayne, give me advice. Look at my situation. Don't be afraid of being rude. Just go ahead and tell me. What do I need to know? Look at my situation. Look at how I'm organizing. Look at what we pay. Look at our operations. Look at how much we charge. Look at everything.” He said, “Yep, Dennis, according to what I can see here, you need to do this, this, and this.” I've kept in touch with Dwayne for the last 20 years. And now his son might come work for us, which I think is really cool. Maybe it's a way of paying it back, but he's helped me, and now I'm going to help his son out.
But mentorship is everything if you have a clear goal of what you want to achieve, so you can find someone who's achieved that very goal. If you don't have that goal already set, how do you figure out who the mentor is? The mentor should only be someone who's achieved the goal that you want to achieve. If you just want to make money or whatever, then anyone can be a mentor. Figure out exactly what that thing is and find other people who have done it.
This is going to piss off a lot of coaches. Those people who will be mentors for you will probably not charge you. There are a lot of people who will charge you a lot of money to give you coaching or advice on your online business. There's nothing wrong with buying coaching, but if you want a mentor, I believe a mentor can't charge you.
They can give you great advice. But the only legitimate mentors—and I get a lot of hate when I say this, but I still stand behind it—are those who have achieved the thing that I want to do. I only accept advice from a mentor if they have achieved the thing that I want to do. They have personally achieved it multiple times. I need to see if that's the case. I don't care how many books they've read. I don't care what certification they have. I don't care how confident they think they are. It's like an obese weight loss coach. You might know what to do, but you're not practicing it.
So with that one rule, who's credible? That knocks out 99% of the people, like your mom, that want to give you advice; they love you to death, but they are not credible in providing it.
Yeah. Well, they haven't walked that journey and been successful in that avenue multiple times. And the question that's on a lot of people's lips now that you've mentioned it is, “Don't pay for mentors.” I'm a coach. I'm not offended at all. I'm still going to charge for my help, but I would love to hear you explain how you get mentors for free.
Well, you figure out a way to get them.
Not that you want to get them for free.
It's really easy to find mentors as long as you don't make these common mistakes. I've been lucky to have some successes, and I get hit up all the time by people who want mentorship. And they say mentorship because they really just want free coaching. Coaching and mentorship are not the same thing.
The way you approach a potential mentor is by learning about them. You have to know what they care about. You can't just say, “Hey, can I just get with you on the phone every hour and just ask you all kinds of questions? Every week, I just want to ask you questions.” No, that's coaching. With a mentor, you believe in what they're doing.
You've already put in the effort before you ever reach out to read the books that they've written, to see what they're up to, and to really care about what's going on in their life. And when you become a disciple in a way, then mentors—I don't care how important they are, unless they're like Richard Branson or Elon Musk—outside of that, the people I know—some of these people are super successful—are happy to mentor because they see other people that are up and coming.
So today, I was at the house of Andrew Cartwright, and this guy has probably made hundreds of millions of dollars in 32 businesses. And he had a 22-year-old who he was mentoring. And I told this guy, “Will, what an incredible opportunity you have to learn from a business legend and be able to hang out and help them do video and edit stuff and go through all these proposals where all these people are trying to hit them up to be a spokesperson for their thing. What an incredible opportunity.”
And that's great for the figurehead because you get someone who's an apprentice who's going to stay with you and learn the ropes and maybe eventually become like a business owner that you fund their business or whatever it is, and that the apprentice gets a lot of opportunity. But it's not the same thing as a business owner who just wants to get free coaching. That's what most people get wrong. They go, “Oh, I can get Dennis as a mentor. Great. Why would I join any of his coaching programs when I can just get free mentorship?” They’re not the same thing.
Yeah, I like that. I like that a lot. The person who wants a mentor is going to be prepared to do whatever is needed for their mentor and make their life better, basically. I guess the difference is short-term versus long-term. Somebody that wants coaching is like, “I just want this for the short term.” Somebody that wants a mentor is like, “Hey, I'll work with you for decades and I know that I'll get the education. I don't even need finances right now. I'll get the education.”
It's not about decades. If you look at the guilds in Europe, if you wanted to become a blacksmith or whatever, you worked as an apprentice for six or seven years. You didn't necessarily go to college, but you worked enough to the point where you could run that business. And for that business owner, it made economic sense to invest in these younger folks. These could be people that work in your business or that run your business because you're going to retire at some point. And it makes sense.
You look at Jiro Dreams of Sushi, that Netflix documentary. And the son, who becomes 50, because Jiro is 80 or something like that, is in line to be able to take over the franchise or start other businesses. It works for everyone. But with mentorship, it has to work for both sides.
Yeah. And be fulfilling for both sides. So, like you said, you've worked with so many people who are quite successful—billionaires, if you will. What do you see that these people of this caliber have in common with each other? And it might be two or three things, or it may just be one standout thing, but what is it that you see?
There's two things about billionaires. And I'm qualified to talk about this because I've met enough of them. I've been very fortunate. One is that they're really nice people. Now, for people who are rich, you could draw the line at making up to $100 million.
Money rich or like…?
Money rich or whatever, like materially successful.
Okay. Yeah. Good point.
They are still climbing the ladder. They're still hungry. But people who have made it to the billionaire level are just the coolest people to hang out with. Not because they're rich or have jets and boats and all that. I love flying on these. When I get invited to go on the jets and boats, I always say, Yes, so I guess I'm a human, you know? But that's not why I go. It's because they have this abundance mindset.
So when I was with Naveen Jain, who's a billionaire, it was kind of neat hanging out with him. He and I are having dinner, and other people are coming up. These rude people are interrupting us while he and I are having dinner. And they're asking questions like, “Hey, I've got a business pitch. I'd love to tell you about this idea. Maybe you can invest.” You've got to be kidding.
But he would be polite. He'd say, “Well, Dennis and I are having dinner. But let me tell you one thing. If you want to be a billionaire, create $100 billions of value. Solve a $100 billion problem. If you want to be a millionaire, solve a $100 million problem. If you want to be an employee, solve a $100,000 problem.”
I've just been very lucky. I'm not special or anything like that. I just happened to be around these people at the right time. I would have dinner all the time with the richest man in the world under 40, who was David Filo before Mark Zuckerberg. And he was at Yahoo. It's not because I'm special. I just happened to be there in the early days when the thing kind of got going.
And David Filo was just the most down-to-earth kind of dude. He drove this beat-up piece of crap BMW. It was like gray, rusted Bondo. He had old shoes. He had t-shirts with holes in them. He did not look like a billionaire. But he was. He was just totally cool. And he would wait in line like everyone else. It was just cool hanging out with him.
So the abundance mindset is something you don't see in everyone else. It's only people who have made it who don't feel like they have to prove anything to you. You don't see them driving Lamborghinis. They drive Toyota Priuses, and they wear cheap watches.
Hey, I'll give you another example. I'm not trying to name drop, but I'm just giving you examples because I believe that the only people who can give credible advice are those who have actually done the thing. So I'm with Bill Harnisch, who's the guy who funded Costco and Best Buy. He put the money behind these two. You've heard of these companies.
We're in Park City, and we're on our way to one of the ski resorts that he owns. And we stopped at Costco. He buys the gigantic six-pack of blueberry muffins, which is one of the best things to get at Costco. And we're walking back to the parking lot with some of the stuff that we're going to put in the ski resort for the few days we're going to be skiing.
And I noticed it out of the corner of my eye. I said, “There's a Nike outlet store.” I just blurted it out. I wasn't thinking. I said, “Oh man, I want to get a new pair of running shoes.” He's like, “Oh, Dennis, go ahead. Why don't you go ahead?” “Are you sure?” “Yeah, yeah, I got to make a couple phone calls.” So I made a billionaire wait in the car for 40 minutes so I could save $10, $15 at an outlet store on a pair of Nikes. What do you think that guy's time was worth for another 40 minutes while I made him wait in the car?
Super nice, right?
I never thought about that. I don't think he thought about it. I don't think he was like, “Dang it, that Dennis guy is just wasting my time making me wait in the car. I'm a billionaire. I make more money than most people just when I brush my teeth than they do in the whole year.” There's none of that. They're just so cool to hang out with.
And so because of that, they're willing to give advice. They're willing to mentor. I'm not saying seek out only billionaires for mentorship, but people who have been successful, and I don't mean financially successful. People who are successful in something feel the need to pay it forward and give back.
And that's the sign of when someone can be a good mentor because they're at that stage in their career where there's more behind them than ahead of them, which is sad in a way. But in some ways, they adopt you as a surrogate child, which is really cool.
Yeah. I don't know what it's like, but I could see from their point of view that having more behind you than ahead of you, knowing that you've done some really impactful things in the world, would make you crazy. And if you wanted to continue to make an impact, it'd be hard for you not to want to share that and give your wisdom and your knowledge to somebody who can carry a legacy, even if it's not their own, but build out another avenue of impact in the world.
Yeah. You know Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba? A billionaire now. And I remember that in the early days, he came to Yahoo. This was 25 years ago, before he was a big deal. And this guy was this skinny, wiry, high-energy man who said the way he made money was by just answering all kinds of questions we'd ask him about, like popups and email and all these crazy kinds of things. And then recently, he said there are three stages in life.
So in your first decade of life, you're a worker, and you want to start a career, gain skills, move up the ladder, and make more money. You work really, really hard, right? In the second decade of your life, you're more like a manager, and you're managing a business. You've got people that you work for; you're hiring and firing; you're buying and selling. But then you enter the third decade of your career, and that's when you're a mentor; that's when you're giving back. That's when you're helping others, right?
And he's said this, I think when he was officially a billionaire and people said, “Oh, you're amazing. You're a billionaire.” Because once you become a billionaire, I don't know, I'm not a billionaire, but I've been around enough other people who have, and they've told me what the deal is. But these people undergo this transformation where instead of celebrating and Scrooge McDuck with all the money, they throw the money in the air and dive into the swimming pool full of money. Instead of those cartoonish things, you've seen those cartoons. But instead of that, you see them more reflective, thinking more about how I can make the best use of the rest of my time on this planet.
Maybe the best example is when you see Ray Dalio. He's one of the most successful men on the planet. He's written two amazing books. Principles, which is how to think objectively and make decisions. And another one about the big, long cycle—what's going to happen with the rest of the world, the US, China, and this kind of thing? And when you see him do this, he is just giving. So it's like sitting down with Ray Dalio, and he's just sharing so much knowledge.
And he's on so many podcasts regularly as well, just hanging out.
And he's not cocky, boastful, or anything like that. But you hear his methodology and how he's thinking about giving back. And people who think that way are the kind of people you want as mentors.
Yeah. Yeah. Wow. This has been such a great conversation. I know that we're on the hour here, but I just want to say thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for coming on. I'm going to link to The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads, your book.
I'm also going to link to BlitzMetrics and your own domain, dennisyu.com. Is there anywhere else we can send people to check out more of your stuff and what you guys are doing with your agency and stuff?
Follow me on LinkedIn. Follow me on Facebook. Follow me on any channel that you like. And I have content on all of those. I understand some people prefer to watch YouTube videos, and you'll see all our stuff on Dollar-a-Day, HubSpot's channel, Infusionsoft, and my own. Some people like to read articles. However you like to read, or learn, use that mode. I believe anyone who's an educator respects the fact that people learn in different ways, and you just put your stuff out there across all the channels and just engage with me on Twitter. Whatever your favorite place is, let's engage.
Awesome. Guys, there’ll be links in the show notes. Check out Dennis Yu. And Dennis, thanks so much for listening. Everybody who is listening, please, please, please. I never really ask people to subscribe. So I'm not going to even ask people to subscribe to this. But what I want people to do that are listening and that got value from this is just share it with somebody because it's going to be helpful, yes, selfishly for Jaryd and Dennis, but the things that we mentioned here around mindset and how billionaires operate are just great life lessons. I think it's going to be valuable for you to share this with your friends who are business owners and are thinking about getting mentors.
The best way to learn something, to lock it, to kick it from short-term into long-term memory, is to share something, to put it into practice. And when you share it, it causes you to re-groove those brain thoughts to test your comprehension. You might think you understand something, but until you have to explain it to someone else, you don't really know whether you do or not. So it's actually really good for you to be able to share it.
And so when I've learned something from somebody, I literally pull out my phone and tell them, “Hey, let me just make sure I understood you correctly, Jaryd. What I hear you saying is this,” and then they can correct me. And it's an opportunity for me to practice my listening skills. So I think this is a great way—just discipline. Otherwise, you're just watching TV, and it's just entertainment. But if you're doing this to improve yourself, you have to actively be paying attention, sharing it, and then reflecting that against other people who can then tell you what your blind spots are.
Spot on. People will hold you accountable for what you're sharing. And that's really good. Awesome. Thank you so much, Dennis.
Thank you, Jaryd.
I really appreciate your time.
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Jaryd Krause is a serial entrepreneur who helps people buy online businesses so they can spend more time doing what they love with who they love. He’s helped people buy and scale sites all the way up to 8 figures – from eCommerce to content websites. He spends his time surfing and traveling, and his biggest goals are around making a real tangible impact on people’s lives.
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