GE 185: How Jon Carder Compelled 80 Million People To Use His Product, Empyr (podcast) With Jon Carder

Jon Carder Empyr

Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Jon Carder, co-founder and CEO of Empyr, a B2B platform that helps websites and apps generate revenue from online to offline commerce.

Listen as Jon shares inside info on how he got a deal with Yelp, the Holy Grail of enterprise-level customers, how he dealt with the “dark period” where the company struggled to move forward, how he got 50% of Empyr’s deals from “old school” conferences and 15% from cold calls, and the abundance mentality took Jon from zero to 8 figures of revenue within a year.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Jon Carder Compelled 80 Million People To Use His Product, Empyr TRANSCRIPT

Times-stamped show notes:

  • 01:01 – Eric introduces Jon Carder to the podcast
    • 01:29 – Serial entrepreneur, beginning at the age of 10
    • 01:38 – “Empyr is a business that helps websites and apps generate a new revenue stream from online to offline commerce”
  • 01:48 – Partnership with Yelp, provided them with 10,000 restaurant offers
    • 02:05 – How it works: consumers link a debit/credit card to Yelp, when they go into that restaurant and buy, they earn 10% back in cash automatically
    • 02:25 – Yelp earns a percentage on every transaction
  • 02:33 – 10,000 restaurants and national brands have joined
  • 02:45 – Called “online to offline” and has been running for a few years
  • 03:08 – If you’re a merchant, you sign up, give them your merchant number, and are online in 7-10 days
    • 03:23 – Make an offer like “10% cashback” and market it on Yelp, Microsoft Coupons, Living Social, and major airlines
    • 04:26 – End of the month, the merchant gets an invoice of impressions, people who linked their card, and how much money they generated
    • 04:45 – Empyr charges a “pay per sale fee” which is 10% and is distributed to to whoever signed up that consumer gets a piece
  • 05:12 – Going with the “Big Guys” because of the broad audience
  • 05:18 – Opened up with whoever has a decent size consumer base
    • 05:28 – A decent size is 1M members to 100,000
  • 05:48 – Launched an API with developers
  • 06:37 – $2/month per active user
    • 06:45 – If you have 1,000,000 users that’s $2,000,000/month
    • 07:04 – Hundreds of millions of consumers you can reach
  • 07:32 – “People link cards a lot more openly than they used to”
    • 07:52 – If the offer is compelling, consumers will link
  • 08:00 – Jon has a couple dozen enterprise users such as Yelp
  • 08:06 – How did you get your first 10 big clients?
    • 08:10 – Living Social came in the last year
    • 08:23 – 1 full-time, 2 part-time staff going after the high-end deals
    • 08:45 – The deals came from conferences, face-to-face
  • 09:15 – How Dan got the deal with Yelp at a conference
    • 09:54 – Dan took the chance and met the Yelp representative at the bar and made a deal
    • 10:37 – “Chance combined with a little bit of effort”
  • 11:22 – 50% of deals from conferences, 10-15% cold calls
    • 11:52 – His employee writes a line or two, by email, and gets responses
    • 12:03 – Got deals with LinkedIn and Facebook through cold-email
  • 12:59 – Have an abundance mentality and tell your idea to as many people as you can
    • 13:12 – People may try to copy you, but you might miss important business deals to grow your company by keeping your mouth shut
    • 13:43 – You can also get feedback quicker if you just share
  • 15:43 – Empyr is a pivot from an original business model
    • 15:56 – The original plan called Mogl didn’t work, the numbers did not hold
    • 16:12 – Empyr as a platform is way more efficient
    • 16:28 – Troubleshoot, it was difficult to get users to sign up to a point where you can start creating revenue
  • 17:00 – Their cold email was 2 lines: “Hey, we’ve got an online to offline monetization platform. Not sure if you’re the right person to talk to about this, but who would be?”
    • 18:12 – Empyr is sharing something short and tailoring it to the possible client—this makes a world of difference to get people to respond
  • 18:39 – Jon’s  biggest struggle was pivoting from Mogl, a consumer-facing brand, to a B2B brand
    • 20:20 – The average successful company has pivoted 2.7 times
    • 20:59 – There’s a lot of stress, you end up losing great people
    • 21:09 – Jon had a COO and CFO quit during the beginning of the pivot
  • 22:05 – How Jon got through the “dark period”
  • 22:43 – Hope is such a powerful thing that an entrepreneur needs to hold onto
  • 23:17 – It took a few “mini-pivots” to get to the idea that landed zero to 8 figures in revenue is less than a year
  • 23:53 – Don’t take it personally when people leave you and keep the relationship intact
    • 24:09 – Jon’s COO returned to the company because he was dissatisfied with the job he took when he left
    • 24:29 – Jon stayed really good friends with his former CFO
  • 25:45 – You have to have resilience—you take incredible amounts of abuse and stay energized to motivate your team
    • 26:48 – You owe it to yourself, your investors, and everyone involved to pull it off
    • 26:57 – People give up way too early
  • 30:47 – Jon created a system to reach goals: The Five Steps to Great Execution (the “Great” in the title is an acronym to those 5 steps)
    • 31:04 – Jon explains the 5 steps
  • 32:22 – One must-read book: Delivering Happiness as it relates to establishing culture
  • 32:51 – Reach Jon on his blog or through Twitter

3 key points:

  1. Celebrate RESILIENCE—keep working at your goal regardless of however many setbacks you face.
  2. Don’t take people leaving you personally and try to keep the relationship positive—you never know what your future with that person may look like.
  3. Emotions can FUEL you to keep pushing for that next step, so don’t resent the highs OR the lows; instead, USE IT!

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