Joey Kissimmee says that he’s not techy, but he has created iPhone apps, SaaS products, WordPress themes, and is now working on WordPress plugins.
He says that he has always been a hard worker. His first job was washing dishes in a beat up old sandwich shop in Chicago when he was twelve. In 2000, he started working at Walmart and doing a little business online to make some extra money to have fun with his wife and kids. “At first,” he says, “it was just selling junk on eBay.”
But he found some mentors, he listened, he learned, and he implemented the things he learned. He created a few tools that he couldn’t find and then turned these tools into products. Somewhere around 2008 or 2009, he realized he was making some pretty good money from his online business and decided to take it seriously. By early 2010, he was able to retire from his job at Walmart to work his online business full-time.
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- [03:00] Joey is not a developer, so how did he get into the SaaS world? He says he’s not techy. Joey wasn’t even sure what SaaS meant until long after he was creating SaaS products.
- [03:55] He didn’t set out to become an entrepreneur; he just wanted to sell some junk on eBay.
- [04:25] When he first started to get involved with marketing, his mentors were creating little tools to perform tasks.
- [05:05] He started creating iPhone apps in 2011, and that’s where he really learned to hire people to create things.
- [06:25] Anything he had to do repeatedly, he would pay someone to automate for him. He systematized his processes and created tools for himself.
- [07:00] In about 2010 a buddy in the affiliate marketing world told him: “Dude, you could sell this stuff.”
- [07:40] He was a good listener, and he took action. He just implemented what worked. He created TubeSlicer.com as a tool to do the five things he knew how to do with Photoshop for creating YouTube thumbnails and then turned this into a product. He did the same thing to create Image Ad Creator a product to create images for split testing Facebook ads.
- [09:15] Every product he created was to solve his own problems, and then he figured out a way to turn it into a viable product. He created Tube Slicer, Image Ad Creator, TimelineSlicer, and Podcast Artwork Slicer out of his own needs. Appendipity, his premium WordPress theme, was created the same way and turned into a huge success.
- [10:00] “I don’t care who says what, outsourcing is an art form.” When you’re outsourcing you don’t have to know coding, you have to know the lingo.
- [11:30] Rule #1: Know how you want to use the product. The coder doesn’t really care about or understand the Ux (user experience). Your problems aren’t unique. There’s a good chance that a dozen other people have the same problem; so if you can figure out how to solve it for yourself, you just solved it for a dozen other people.
- [12:14] Rule #2: Know the lingo.
- [13:00] To communicate Ux to the designer for his WordPress designers he draws on a legal pad and then scans it and sends it to them. For iPhone apps, he used Balsamiq to do wireframes.
- 14:30 Once it’s working the way you want it to work, fiddle around with the look of it. Once the mock-up’s done and you’ve got a working prototype, send it to the designer.
- [16:00] His go-to place for designers was oDesk. He also used Freelancer and eLance. (Note: oDesk and eLance merged in 2015 and formed Upwork.)
- [16:40] You could get hosed in many ways. The developer and the designer could overcharge you. People could also steal your ideas. One way Joey protected himself was not to give too much information on the job posting.
- [17:00] Joey gives an example of how he does a job posting and then explains his filtering process for hiring.
- [18:50] Once he has filtered out the best candidates, he shares more detail privately with them. If he has a good feeling about an individual, he does a live Skype session with them. You have to trust your gut. No matter how qualified someone may seem, if you don’t feel right about it, and there’s just something off, forget it.
- [21:55] For design work, he now goes to 99designs but uses a slightly different process because of their crowd-sourcing-like model.
- [23:00] Now, he can also put the word out to his email list that he needs people and use a survey on Google Forms to collect responses. Requirements are in a question format. He doesn’t use a code word in these surveys, but the rest of the process is the same.
- [24:50] Joey has developed four different types of software products but uses one well-refined process to find people in all cases. Joey picked these things up by paying attention, listening, being connected to a few good people, and doing it.
- [27:40] Joey recommends The 4-Hour Workweek, The ONE Thing, and Influencer (see Resources Mentioned below for additional details).
- [29:00] Joey takes the end of one year and beginning of the next to spend with his family and to reflect on his business. He reflects on how things have gone in the past year and what he might want to try in the next.
- [32:15] He is fortunate to be able to take himself out of the equation. He learned to create evergreen businesses that don’t need his name or his face to make money. Create brands that can stand on their own.
- [35:15] Don’t become brand dependent. Don’t become the brand because you won’t make any money if you take yourself out of the equation. Build the product as the brand.
- [35:45] You can create a SaaS product, and you don’t have to be the actual product. Be behind the scenes. Let the product breathe. Build the product into a brand. Make it the best thing possible.
- [36:55] You don’t have to make it the best thing possible at the beginning. The beauty of SaaS is the ability to release versions. Build a working prototype, release it for free or dirt cheap, and then get feedback from the customers. Let the customers build the features into it then package it up, raise the price, and sell it. People will buy it because it’s customer driven. They built the product.
- [38:20] You will get a lot of crazy requests from guys who think so far outside the box, they lose the box. Filter by the majority of requests.
- [41:15] “You just gotta go out there and do it. I always tell people, and I preach this off the rooftops: ‘You must listen. It doesn’t matter where you’re listening from. You have to listen to everything that they say. Learn as much as you can. There’s no possible way you can learn everything that they say and jot everything down. Just jot down and take mental notes of the things that resonate with you. Then when you’re done listening and learning, go out there and implement it. That’s the freakin’ key thing right there. If you don’t implement, if you don’t take action, the only guaranteed results to zero is if you do nothing. You might as well do something. If you’re gonna get zero anyway by doing nothing, you might as well go ahead and try to do something so you’ll get some kind of result.'”
- [42:05] “Do something. That’s the way I go about it. You know, hey, it’s gonna be zero anyway if I do nothing. So I might as well get a zero by doing something. ‘Cause at least, I gave it a whirl.”
- [42:55] “If you can use your own product, you’ve got something good to share with people.”
- 99designs – web-based service for design freelancers.
- Appendipity – premium WordPress theme created by Joey Kissimmee. Appendipity is particularly well-suited to podcasting. This site uses Appendipity.
- Balsamiq – wireframing app.
- Freelancer – web-based service for freelancers of all kinds.
- Google Forms – online form app from Google. Results transfer into a spreadsheet.
- Image Ad Creator – SaaS created by Joey Kissimmee “that allows you to create beautiful and professional looking image ads to use with your Facebook advertising.”
- IncomePress.com – Joey Kissimmee’s primary personal website and podcast.
- Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition – book by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler about making change happen.
- Photoshop – SaaS for processing images.
- Podcast Artwork Slicer – product by Joey Kissimmee to create inexpensive album artwork for iTunes.
- The 4-Hour Workweek – book by Tim Ferriss free yourself from as many tasks as you can so that you can live differently, doing only the things that you alone can do.
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – book by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan describing a simple, powerful concept to focus on what matters most.
- TimelineSlicer – app created by Joey Kissimmee to “create custom cover photos for your Facebook Timeline.”
- TubeSlicer.com – app created be Joe Kissimmee to create thumbnails for YouTube videos
- Upwork – web-based freelancers of all kinds.
*Disclosure: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you purchase through these links. These commissions help to cover the cost of producing the podcast. I am affiliated only with companies I know and trust to deliver what you need. In most cases, affiliate links are to products and services I currently use or have used in the past. I would not recommend these resources if I did not sincerely believe that they would help you. I value you as a visitor/customer far more than any small commission I might earn from recommending a product or service. I recommend many more resources with which I am not affiliated than affiliated. In most cases where there is an affiliation, I will note it, but affiliations come and go and the notes may not keep up.