On 2 Mar 2017, I interviewed Dennis Becker. Dennis is known as the “5 Bucks a Day Guy”. After 3 years of struggling trying to make it as an internet marketer, Dennis finally came up with a successful strategy that he wrote about in his book 5 Bucks a Day, and the results were spectacular. He started teaching others his formula and has been writing and helping others ever since.
To find out more about Dennis, visit www.earn1kaday.com
If you’ve found this interview helpful, and would like to support a cause which Dennis cares deeply about, please donate to Food Bank at www.feedingamerica.org. Feeding America works to get nourishing food – from farmers, manufacturers, and retailers – to people in need. They also seek to help people build a path to a brighter, food-secure future.
[content_toggle style=”1″ label=”Read%20transcript” hide_label=”Hide%20transcript”]Kristina Coyne: Hi. It’s Kristina Coyne here and I’m talking with Dennis Becker, the Five Bucks a Day guy. So Dennis started marketing online in 2002, while he still owned a retail store. He started accumulating a lot of credit card debt and decided to see if he could take advantage of online methods to start to whittle that down. After three years of total failure, and this is his words, he finally came up with a successful strategy that he wrote about in his first book, which is called Five Bucks a Day, and the results were spectacular, so he then started teaching others his formula, started his first membership site and has been writing and helping others ever since. Hi Dennis, thank you so much for your time today.
Dennis Becker: Oh, no problem Kristina. I’m glad to be here.
Kristina Coyne: Thanks. So, first question. In your book Five Bucks a Day, which is available from Amazon, you wrote about how you finally got successful. Can you give us a quick rundown of the things that you did?
Dennis Becker: Sure. Well, like you mentioned in the intro, it took me like three years to get to success, so some people think that you’re an overnight success but people very rarely are and I certainly wasn’t an overnight success. I tried a lot of things over the course of three years and I had, as you mentioned, accumulated a lot of debt, an unbelievable amount of debt and I still had a retail store. It was sort of failing I guess. We did pretty well for the niche that we were in. I was selling sports collectibles, and at one time when I started it was doing pretty well but you know the economy had brought it down. It was sort of kind of discretionary purchases that parents would make for their boys and girls and when they lose their jobs they have to buy food and milk and whatever and pay the rent and the mortgage and whatever, so sometimes things like that aren’t purchased, so that didn’t help my store at all. So I was doing the best I could. I was keeping going by racking up credit card debt, taking cash advances and the end was in sight for the companies who would let me do that.
At one point I tried a lot of things, and I bought every course out there, we call them today, or at least I call them today, the bright shiny objects where someone will come along and say, “Just do this and then you’ll be rich overnight, you’ll make a thousand dollars a day in your pyjamas at the kitchen table.” I believed it because I trusted these people and I tried things and they failed, but I did have a fairly decent technical background because I was a computer programmer at one point before I started my store, so I was familiar with computers and eventually PCs, even though PCs didn’t exist when I even started my store back in ’89, but eventually I got involved with them.
And I got involved with Ebay in 1998. I was selling a lot of products on there and I decided, because the Ebay fees were taking so much money out of my pocket, that I should start learning how to create a website, so I did that, and it was pretty ugly. There was no such things as broadband and cable and whatever. There was no videos back then, so you put up these ugly websites and that’s what people visited and hopefully you make some sales, so I started doing that, and I started seeing emails come into my inbox with links to all these great ideas to make more and more money online, and I said to myself, “Well that’s what I’d really love to do. I’d like to close the store and just work on my computer,” so I tried things and over the course of three years it didn’t work out.
At one point when I decided my back was sort of against the wall, and we’d had a couple armed robberies in the store, so my wife no longer wanted to work there. She was sort of scared and to a certain extent so was I, and I said, “This has gotta stop.” And I was of the age where I really couldn’t see myself going out on the job market anymore, especially in the economy that we had at the time, so I said, “I’ve gotta make online marketing work,” so I sat down and I devised a little strategy and I took advantage of some of the technical skills that I had. I knew how to create webpages and I was familiar with Ebay, and I was familiar with Google AdWords, although it was something that I had never succeeded with. I’d always lost money every time I’d tried pay per click, but I was following a guy who was doing pretty good with it so I sort of got with him and learned some of the tricks of the trade from him and I put together some simple little pages. It was the holiday period in 2005 and I started doing pretty good, and I did so good that I decided, “Well maybe if I ramped this up a little bit, maybe I could do even better.”
And I did and I did do better, so I started talking about my ideas, what I was doing with some of the people in a membership site I was in, and they said, “Well I’d like to know more about this, so why don’t you write up a little report?” So I did. The report became a little ebook, and I wanted to put it on ClickBank, and ClickBank said it’s not big enough to sell it for the price you want to sell it for, so it’s gotta be more pages. So I added more pages and so it expanded and it grew and it took off from there. And that was my start. At one point after I started selling the book, it was doing so well, I was getting a lot of questions by email, people asking for extra information to clarify some of the things I had written about. And there was so many common questions, I decided to start a little membership site, and it was free to people that bought the book. It was the Five Bucks a Day Forum, and it got right away, maybe a thousand, fifteen hundred members, because I had sold that many books. And people were anxious to learn more than what I had written about.
And that took off and then after a while I said well, “This is all good but this forum is taking so much of my time, that … I gotta make a living too.” And I said, “How many people, if I were to create a paid membership site, and give more information and more perks to joining, how many people would be interested in joining?” And we got enough people that raised their hands, and I started a paid membership site called Earn 1 K a Day, so that’s where I got my start, and my initial sort of recurring income to sort of tell myself that, “Hey this really does work.” And it’s grown a lot since then.
Kristina Coyne: Well, that’s great Dennis. Thanks for sharing all of that. So, I think you still have some membership sites as well. The Earn One K A Day site, is that still active?
Dennis Becker: Yeah, it’s still active.
Kristina Coyne: Wonderful.
Dennis Becker: And I’ve got a few others as well and they all grew out of that one little decision to get myself out of my comfort zone, though I never knew how to start a forum, I never envisioned myself as an author even when I’d sat down to write the book. It was really just supposed to be a little pamphlet that I was going to give away, sort of a report for people to sign up for my list. And people told me that, “Hey, no, this information is too valuable, you really gotta share it with people, and you really should get paid for it.” And I said, “Okay, that sounds good to me.” So I’ve written quite a bit since then, but that was where it started. That first membership site is where it started and I’ve done a lot more of the same ever since. In my book, I don’t know if you read my book, but one of the phrases that I said all the time was, “lather, rinse and repeat,” and I sort of kept doing that.
Kristina Coyne: Wonderful. So yeah, I’m particularly interested in different internet business models, so you do, obviously product creation and membership sites and you’ve got a coaching programme, I think as part of your offerings?
Dennis Becker: Yeah.
Kristina Coyne: Yeah, and I am on your list. Have been for quite a while-
Dennis Becker: Okay, thank you.
Kristina Coyne: And you offer absolutely great value and I notice that you also do some affiliate marketing, so you promote other people’s products as well.
Dennis Becker: Right.
Kristina Coyne: So, out of all of the different things that you do, what do you see as advantages and disadvantages of each of those different models?
Dennis Becker: Well, the advantages are that those are the things that have worked for a long time. The email marketing, affiliate marketing, as well as the fact that when you have an email list, you sort of have control of your own traffic. You don’t have to worry about if you’re relying on Google, or you’re relying on Facebook ads or you’re relying on Google AdWords ads or you’re relying on whatever to send you traffic. I could send an email and I know that a certain number of people, predictably are gonna open that email and they click on the links and if what I’m recommending to them is something that they’re interested in and I’ve done a good enough job of vetting the offer for them, then they might make a purchase and that’s good. Or they might make a purchase of one of my products. If they’re on my list a certain percentage of them are interested in what I’ve done before, and are there because they want to know what I’m gonna do next. So there’s the advantage there.
Disadvantage is you do often have to get outside your comfort zone. That was tough in the beginning, but as I learned the trade, and I started doing things, I believe in incremental progress, taking one step at a time and seeing what works and what doesn’t work and if it doesn’t work then I need to figure out why and improve upon it or just scrap that idea. Step by step you move forward. That is somehow difficult for a lot of people to do though. I have a lot of people with me and in my forums that I’m sort of coaching my email or in my membership sites or whatever, that say, “I’d love to be able to do affiliate marketing, but what if I’ve sent an email and people just unsubscribe and they’ll send me hate letters and they’ll tell me to get lost and all that.” Then they’ve sent you hate letters and they unsubscribed. Not everybody’s gonna like you and a certain amount of people are gonna appreciate what you’re doing and those are the people that you’re hoping to help and to serve and to make a difference in their lives and that’s why they’re following you.
Kristina Coyne: Absolutely. Not everyone is gonna to click with you and if they don’t that’s fine, you just find the people who do.
Dennis Becker: Right.
Kristina Coyne: Yes, so I’ve been reading your daily success plan, which is a report that I got from you quite a while ago, and I was rereading it and went, “Hey this is a lot of good stuff here.” So I’ve actually been starting to implement that for myself each day and it’s really been helping me with my focus and my ability to get things done, so can you talk me through how a typical morning works for you and what your daily success plan looks like?
Dennis Becker: Okay, well, first I’m glad the report’s helping you. It’s an old report and I don’t really think about it much anymore. When you mentioned that you wanted to talk about it and you were using it, I downloaded a copy again and started refresh my memory as to what’s in there.
Kristina Coyne: Good stuff.
Dennis Becker: It’s all sort of been ingrained into me, since I put that out, but I know it’s helped a lot of people. A lot of people have downloaded it, so that’s good and I have no idea how many people have downloaded it and not even read it and how many people have taken it to heart and have, like you said, it’s been of good help to them. It’s just based around the idea of proper mindset and positive expectations and systematising what you’re doing along with goals and these are things that I think are very important for success for entrepreneurs and coupling that with a ‘do this, do that’ list and focus, you really can’t go wrong. So it just sort of gives you a system to follow every day until you get used to it and then it sort of becomes part of you, becomes a habit. Habits take three weeks, four weeks, a month or two to become ingrained into you and eventually they are.
Personally, I do use that system, even though I don’t think about it, but I also have a software tool called Action Enforcer, where it’s a desktop software that keeps me on track, in focus and I have listed all the tasks I need to do on a certain day. Like today, I put down an interview at 4 o’clock pm, my time, that way I knew I couldn’t forget that and I had that time slot all in there and I couldn’t put more things into my day than I could possibly achieve, so that’s been a big help to me. It also as much as possibly, it helps me avoid distractions, bright shiny object, social media, and interruptions from telephones and things like that. If in the middle of a task that I’m working on and I’ve given myself an hour to do something, then I’m gonna keep working on that until it’s done. The great thing I like about Action Enforcer is when you say that you’re done with that task, you get a big neon green check mark, and it’s reward for me that says you got something done, and now let’s go on to the next thing or I could take a break and do that social media or look at a sales page that I was interested in, so yeah that’s pretty much how I do it.
Kristina Coyne: Fabulous things. Yeah it’s a bit like that. It’s a an electronic sticker chart with the big green tick.
Dennis Becker: Yeah.
Kristina Coyne: Yeah. So one of questions which I think always gets asked for successful people is, how do you keep going while dealing with lots of setbacks? What do you do when you just want to throw the whole thing in?
Dennis Becker: Okay. That’s a good one. I don’t remember the last time I wanted to throw the whole thing in, but I guess there was a temptation back when I was failing back in the mid-2000s, before I created that strategy and wrote that book. I just realise now and I’ve written about it so many times, failure can be good. Part of my book, I wrote, “failure is your friend,” because it’s sort of progress. If you learned what didn’t work, so you know, if you’re watching other people that are successful, and whether they’re really telling you the whole story or whether they’re giving you a big line of BS about how successful they are, at least there are successful people out there. Not everyone who says they are, are, but some are faking it ’til they make it, but still you know success is possible online.
If you failed doing it one way, then you just have to adjust your methods and again like I said, that’s still progress. Progress never goes in a straight line. If you’re driving your car from the east coast of the US to the west coast, it’s over 3,000 miles, but there’s bound to be detours. You’ve gotta cope with that. As long as I can do things like take two steps forward for every one step back or three forward and two back, I’m still going to eventually reach my goal. And success, if you keep at it long enough, it’s the inevitable.
Kristina Coyne: Great. Thanks. So what makes your products and services outstanding?
Dennis Becker: Again, another good one. People tell me that they’re believable and I try to inject some of my stories into most of my products, whenever possible, and people say my style is homespun and it probably is. I came from a small town, where I grew up and looking back on it now, I probably grew up in poverty but I didn’t realise it because I had everything that I needed and that was before television really. That was quite a while ago. I mean we did have a TV set, but our town only had access to two channels at the time, so it wasn’t like we had cable are anything. So this probably gives me the ability to relate to people who are struggling and in some cases desperate, because I’ve been there and done that and written about it, and I can empathise with a lot of people’s problems and some of the things that they’re going through that I’ve gone through, I can write about.
Kristina Coyne: Yeah. Yeah, well I’ve certainly when I’ve been reading your reports and things, they’re really clear, well written and very easily able to relate to. I get a lot of stuff out of your products. They’re really helpful for me.
Dennis Becker: Great. Thanks.
Kristina Coyne: So, what do you think is the most important piece of advice you could give to someone who’s starting out in internet marketing?
Dennis Becker: Well, they need to look at themselves in the mirror and decide if they really wanna be an online marketer and are equipped to be an online marketer and do they have what it takes to cope with the struggles that they’re inevitably gonna have? I’ve tried to help people many times, including people in my family, that wanted to … they say, “I want to do what you do and earn what you earn.” I say, “Okay are you willing to go through what I went through?” And often the answer is just, “No.” Or if they answer says yes, or they say, “Sure, what do I have to do first?” And I tell them what they have to do first and they come back in a couple weeks and I say, “Well how’re you doing with that?” And, ” Well I had other things to do, didn’t have time.”
Everybody has time. I have the same 24 hours as anybody does, the pope, the president of the US, the queen of England, wherever, we all have the same amount of time and it’s just how you prioritise our time that makes the difference. So the first thing that the people have to face is, are you really meant to be an online marketer? And not everyone is. If we didn’t have people that are working in the factories and civil servants in the government, and people serving hamburgers at McDonald’s, and the accountants and the construction people that are building these bridges and roads and all these wonderful things. The inventors with PhDs at Apple and Google and where ever. If we didn’t have those people working for employers, where would this world be? We can’t all be online marketers, and we all aren’t meant to be. If you are, then great.
If you’re meant to be working for someone who’s gonna be your boss, who’s gonna tell you what to do every day and what time to be there and what time to go home, if you can do that and you can make a decent enough living, well that’s great too. There’s nothing wrong with that. I really think though, the most important factor in my success, and the answer I would give to people when they’re first starting out, as to what they should learn first, is to focus on their mindset and many of the favourite books I’ve written are based on that theme. Even Five Bucks a Day, even though it was sort of disguised as a ‘how I make money’ kind of book, it was really about mindset. You know, ‘failure is your friend’ and ‘money loves speed’ and ‘good enough is good enough’ and some of those things that I kept saying in there over and over again. So many people, when you talk like that to them, they sort of roll their eyes. They think it’s some of airy fairy and they think the law of attraction, but they don’t believe it. People say, well just think about getting a new car and it’s gonna show up in your driveway. It doesn’t work that way.
Kristina Coyne: It’d be nice, but no.
Dennis Becker: It would be nice. Yeah. But I think the law of attraction exists. If you focus on things, if you go into something with an expectation of success, and you tell yourself that you won’t be happy until you experience that success, and you stay focused on what you need to do to achieve that success, and the prize at the end of the journey, I think you will experience success. It just not gonna happen overnight. You’re not gonna win the lottery just because you buy one ticket and say I wanna win the lottery and be a millionaire and retire to the beach. I’m not talking about luck-based success, I’m talking about successful outcomes that you can control. So if you have an expectation of success, to me it means that you won’t stop until you achieve it, and you won’t be discouraged, and you won’t stop at half way to your destination, and decide to start something else.
That’s what all these bright shiny objects do to people, they interrupt your train of thought and say, “Well that isn’t working so if you follow this new method then you’re surely gonna do it this time.” Though you’re halfway through that, and it won’t work and then you’ll start on something else an they never really follow one particular method through to success, and maybe all of them would’ve worked, if they would’ve given them a chance. I think back in the three years that I was failing, that was one of the things that was stopping me. I was doing things that really would’ve worked, but I wasn’t giving it enough time and focus, and when I did focus, that’s when things started to change for me.
Kristina Coyne: That is such valuable advice Dennis. That’s certainly one of the things that I struggle with a lot.
Dennis Becker: Everybody does.
Kristina Coyne: I want the immediate result, and when it doesn’t happen, its like “Okay well I need to change everything.” And no, you need to give things time and just keep going …
Dennis Becker: We all have that struggle. I still have that temptation to stop what I’m doing and take a break and come up with a get rich quick kind of idea, but what I’m doing is making me a living, a decent one, so I’m gonna keep doing that and if there’s something comes along that I might be able to create another income stream, well I might try it, but I won’t give it my total focus.
Kristina Coyne: Yeah. Okay. Right. Yeah. I’ve been doing some research of how people do things, and how do you build up connections with other people that you can then use for affiliate marketing, cross-promoting product. How do you connect with people to get them on your list? That’s certainly something that I’m finding challenging.
Dennis Becker: Yeah. That’s something I found challenging too.
Kristina Coyne: Oh good, not just me.
Dennis Becker: My background is I’m a very shy kind of person and some people were very gregarious and they’ll go out of their way to connect with you and they won’t take no for an answer and they’re very salesy and marketing oriented and I’m not that way. So my list started building when I wrote my book and people got onto my email list when they purchased and then word of mouth spread when I started my membership site. Some of the people that were true believers became affiliates and started bringing in others that I didn’t know, but they did, so then they became on my list and a sort of slow but sure but still essentially viral kind of growth.
I started creating more and more info products and wrote more and more books, and more and more people bought them, they started coming on my list and some of them became affiliates. Even though most people who become affiliates don’t really promote the products, but they’re still on the list and that still gives me a number of people that I can build relationships with and hopefully at some point they’re gonna make a second purchase or a third or a fourth or they’re gonna tell a friend. It takes a while. Especially when you start a membership site or like I have a Facebook group, that’s free, when you create those kind of things you’re sort of seen as in a position of authority, so people sometimes assume that you’re brighter than you really are, which is okay.
Kristina Coyne: Yes.
Dennis Becker: But they become sort of friendly and then they ask for help and if you can help them, you give them help and then they appreciate that and things just grow from there.
Kristina Coyne: Great. Thanks. There’s a lot of people doing internet marketing. How do you stand out from the crowd? Are there particular things that you do?
Dennis Becker: I don’t know. Do I stand out from the crowd?
Kristina Coyne: Well, okay. Yeah, to me you do.
Dennis Becker: There’s a lot of people out there that I think are waving their own flags. Not that I don’t think they’re talented or anything. The Frank Kerns of the world and Mike Filsaime and a lot of people that are going the speaking circuits and get people all aroused on the stage and sell these high priced products and coaching programmes and all that, that’s not me. And maybe I stand out because again, I’m shy, so I sort of back off and I’m a little bit wary of charging higher prices for products, than like some people do and I think that a lot of people that are on my list appreciate that. I try to give them value for their money than what other people do, but then again people that are building these high prices products are … If someone buys a thousand dollar product, then they might be more anxious to actually use that product for its full value than someone who buys a seven dollar product or a $27 product and the value might be the same. Between the $27 product and the thousand dollar product, but people that buy the $27 product, might say, “Well, it’s worth $27.” But this thousand dollar product is what I really gotta focus on.
Kristina Coyne: Yeah, they’ve got more skin the game with that one.
Dennis Becker: Yeah, more skin in the game. But some people can’t afford the thousand dollars product, so those are the people I try to connect with and help and maybe some day they’ll be able to afford a thousand dollar product, whether it’s something that I might create at some point in time, or somebody else’s.
Kristina Coyne: Okay. Yeah, so I guess what I’m hearing from that is that you play to your strengths, and different people have different strengths and it’s a question of working out what those are and make that work for you.
Dennis Becker: Right. I’m not into marketing. That isn’t my strength. I am comfortable marketing or communicating with the people that are sort of on my side, but I have a lot of times going out of my comfort zone to do things. Like I did some seminars. Earn 1 K a Day Seminars, it was on an annual basis for a while but I stopped doing that. And that was pretty mind-blowing to me to get up in front of a crowd and recruit speakers and get people to come and pay a decent amount of money to do that as well as the travel expenses. Those kind of things sort of frighten me. They’re good and a lot of people do them, but that’s not me. I like to sit at my desk at my computer and do some brainstorming and write and write emails and write books and put together products or whatever. That’s more who I am.
Kristina Coyne: Yeah. Great. And you do it well, Dennis. You really do. As I said, I have quite a number of your products and they’re all really helpful and really valuable. So we’re coming to the end and a last question, it’s a bit … I was gonna say, “out there.” It’s not quite out there. If you weren’t an internet marketer, what would you be?
Dennis Becker: Well, in all honesty I’d probably be homeless right now, living in a box somewhere. I don’t know. Really I consider myself pretty fortunate that I have background to adapt to this kind of work. When I was young I mentioned I was a computer programmer and I worked for a software company and then I took that skill and some of the context there and become a software consultant for a while and trained companies all over the US and Canada, but I really burned out on that, so I started my retail store and that went on for quite a while, until times got really tough. But I still have the background of computers and I love the ideas of personals computers. The first computer I programed was the size of a building, a big IBM Mainframe, back in the 1960s, 1970s, and having much more power on my desk, actually on the Smartphones now, is sort of mind-boggling and it’s … Really the opportunities for people is immense.
But if I wouldn’t have been able to adapt and get out of my retail store and start making some money online, I don’t know what would’ve happened. I said I was too old to get a job and I had too much debt. Even if I did get a job that paid well to pay down that debt, so I really I meant this is pretty personal, but I really had thoughts of declaring bankruptcy but that wouldn’t have helped and it would’ve really hurt my pride. And the other thought was suicide and that wouldn’t have helped either. My family wouldn’t have been in very good shape when they learned how much debt they were inheriting, so I just had to find something to make it work, and so here we are. My back was against the wall, I made it work and life is good now.
Kristina Coyne: Really pleased to hear that Dennis and as I’ve said quite a number of times through the interview, I have learned a lot from you over the years. So it’s been great.
Dennis Becker: I’m glad to hear that. I appreciate it.
Kristina Coyne: Cool. Well, thanks so much for your time today, Dennis. That’s the end of the interview. It’s been incredibly helpful and useful. Thank you.
Dennis Becker: Okay, thanks for having me Kristina.
Over to you
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