Episode #162 – Ian Stanley On Email Discoveries OF An Online Batman (And Water-preneur)
Ian once lived in an RV and made money with what he calls “sports investing”.
He’s written dating books and sold satellite TV at big box stores.
He majored in Netflix and procrastination.
When he ran some Bing ads to make his first dollar online he did the pony dance around the room and hasn’t looked back.
Focusing on a single skill he could become great at he leveraged his time…
and went from 5 dollar emails to $1500 dollar emails.
After immersing himself in email copy for big clients and starting his own water company…
Ian’s paying it forward.
Listen to the journey of a hilarious marketing renegade as he details his journey.
The tools, opportunities, habits and outcomes of a real success story.
What’s are you waiting for?
In this episode, you’ll discover:
- Can you trust internet marketing email advice? The discoveries Ian made writing emails in the “real world”.
- The only success barometer Ian used when learning to write copy.
- What resources did he use to educate himself? Some thoughts on popular email writing courses – and why he created his own.
- The three core parts of his new water business “Fixt.”
- Hilarious anecdotes, green Jaguars, and a real lesson on split-testing – all in this episode.
- Ian Stanley on Facebook
- Ian’s FIXT Water Company
- Ian’s Standup Conversions
- David Allan’s Make Words Pay
Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO
David Allan: Hey, everybody We’re back with another edition of the podcast. I’m David Allan. We got a very interesting guest. You have sorta heard from before. His name is Ian Stanley. He’s got to become a little bit famous for his email copywriting as his own water company now we’re sort of going to get the lowdown on all of that here in the next little while so Ian welcome to the show.
Ian Stanley: Thank you sir.
David Allan:It’s good to have you on here. Man I don’t know a ton about you I know little bits and pieces like we talked about off the air. So maybe first of all anybody…
Ian Stanley: nobody knows the real story. It’s all shrouded in mystery and now it is in characters.
David Allan: I’m guessing he’s like he’s Batman.
Ian Stanley: I mean I can say I’m not that. I will say that you’ll never see Batman and me in the same room.
David Allan: So maybe take us back to your Bruce Wayne days before he became Batman…
Ian Stanley: Maybe this is going to let the cat out of the bag he’s bad at it. Well a lot of it gave a good idea. I mean I genuinely thought I was going to be Batman. And I know that sounds like a joke it’s probably the most serious thing I can say.
I mean I had all of my plans. I had like intricate setups for how I would do it. I had researched all the ways to actually make it happen. And I was really convinced I would become Batman.
So that was your plan to become like mega-wealthy and then like fight crime.
Yeah well it wasn’t about. It was about skill acquisition and wealth at the same time. So what would make me the most useful vision of Batman.
So there were different avenues that I thought about going and that’s and it had it had a sort of Batman on a budget as well.
It was going to say I think they could see what I was going to have to aliens or you know or or Brislin that early but I figured I could develop it once I was an enemy. Sure. You know I could figure it out. But yeah that was I mean I actually had a moment so in like one of the I’m more of a Christian Bale that I’m jammed in like a comic book and I enjoy the realism of that one.
But is like the intro’s Batman as a character back in the 1930s 7.
There’s a moment where Bruce Wayne sitting in his in his home where is man a man and and a bat flies in and it’s you know flying around the room and he’s like oh fuck. I’ll be back in the room and that’s how he sort of has the realization. And weirdly enough when I was like 20 I had a bat fly into my room and I had this like look at my parents place and I’d just like you know we call it the hobbit hole. It was not really a guest house nor a room that was separate with no water or anything. I had the bat flying around my room and I. And it’s actually really interesting watching a bat
trying to leave the room because they they’re trying to locate their way out so it just it circles for about seven minutes. And then finally got out of this. There’s like a stained glass window that had broken. And he finally figured it out and got out and so I was like come on really.
This is clearly it. And so it’s meant to be.
And so you know I’ll say publicly that I’ve given up that dream because if I do it you know it will be like what can be going on.
I’m getting three calls from the same number in a row. I hate to do this but this is think this is the conflicts and to me this would be good to be interested in our podcast. It’s not a rail on the car fixer.
Yeah. I’m coming up my my body’s coming up right now. I’m on a phone call so he’s trying to keep. It’s on the second floor it’s a green jag. Yeah it’s Pam.
Gate code. Now.
You. See students on the second floor. All right. What you like about the green Jack. Yes. If anybody on this stall now comes to Austin Texas you know the gate code to get into my apartment complex. It took me a few weeks to locate the building but then you’re good to go. Yeah it’s I’m sure it’s somewhere on the internet I’ve accidentally put my address out something I’d bet on.
So some mistakes or it leave a couple of those digits just to get just to keep it exciting.
Yeah they can get it together after all bad bad you know yeah. Come on try to steal.
So maybe you have. Obviously would listen to this. You have an accent. Get off the air you told me you had to start a cruise.
Yes I’m having this North American which means everything is a mystery and so out of that I grew up partially in California and in England.
So my mom is from Ventura California and my dad’s from Liverpool. And so over time it’s just morphed into a basically an Australian accent my business but it is a strain as well.
Sorry I was with him in New Orleans and after a couple hours with him I’m just like my it full on Coghill so I’m sure if you listen to the podcast with John you guys would probably really like by the end sound the same.
So what were you doing before. Like what do you suppose you were. It was the exact address. And then what what led you to where you are at. Malik how did this start.
Know when I was a sophomore I transferred there from SMU in Texas and then moved to Santa Cruz and I was living in a mobile home and the store is a live in a mobile home next to a 400 pound woman named ape who had a mullet.
And I’m like a 70s and she. She got around in a wheelchair not because she couldn’t walk but just because she preferred not to.
So it was as I was living that I was basically doing like in between my transfer I was taking my two classes at a community college because I’d applied so late that I wasn’t studying till the next trimester was I could go get some glasses and so it was like two hours a week though so the rest of the time I was just sitting at home and playing tennis. But I was playing with CNN. So I did that but other than that I was just in my apartment or in my mobile home just on the Internet and I clicked on ads and different shit and I bought some you know how to make money in your underwear. I got into Herbalife. I actually made money sports betting.
I was investing in.
I called it and I did well do that and then I but I kept basically buying clipping products I said when I did the first time I went to a quick break. I thought that the 50 percent commission was the conversions I was like OK half like half the people who see this page will buy it and if that was the case we’d all be billionaires. But so you know it wasn’t the conversion rate. But I kept on buying quick buying products and how to make money on mine basically not making any money on my own to do anything. There were a lot of them are pretty shitty products as well. I like the God which we call bullshit and it’s sort of that and then I it. JR I had
gotten some coaching at the guy actually who now ironically lives in Austin and it’s kind of funny because I was a complete nobody and had made a dime. But then he told me to get orders on the madness that I did. And then I started writing and I decided to submit Jouni. I wrote a book on how to pick up women and called sexual and sexually which is potentially still out there somewhere. It’s actually very you look to me like three days I just sat down and read it and saw it and then I did it. Little bit of you know copy for other people like say like to clients I was in Brazil for a month over the summer and it made like eleven hundred dollars and I said
whoa she’s crazy. But I also I think it came out to like five dollars an e-mail which now it’s 15 under G.M. So it’s like a little bit of a difference in the time commitment it took. Sure. But it was an exciting prospect. And so from there I tried to you know do what everybody else did which is build the website and create a product and run transit write copy and all that shit. And I was like no. So I wrote a pretty seltzer down bad ass and me bought some buying ads and that was how I actually made my first like dollar on my mine my senior year.
And I remember I had $613 sale and I just went running through my apartment spanking my ass like he’s riding a horse just so excited and then I remember like taking a final and I came out of my final and there was a $113 in 68 cents. Again an account like this is amazing. I just got paid to take a test and then I after college should’ve majored in Netflix.
Felt a university degree like six seven months of that I was I worked selling direct tv like a best buy. Well and I actually did quite well I got to be top salesman after a few weeks but I was like working 60 hours a week and Saturday Sundays with 10 hours and I was like this sucks. So I was coaching tennis and I was making 17 hour coaching tennis something like that makes more sense. So I just coached tennis like 10 hours a week and finally made a commitment to get good at one thing instead of doing what everybody else was doing which was trying to build the site and do the go and all that shit. I was like I’m very good at college because I think I’m decent at it.
You know let’s just do that. Did that. And I would hand-copied I did copy out Derek Franzen’s product is now because he’s got mine and we would my only barometer for success of the day was you know did I hand-copied today. So I’d do it half an hour of handicapping and and then I got a job contracting job that pretty much close to full time teaching writing copy for the personal finance space land shifts and we had like a 1.2 million person list. And so I just Sektor the shit out of every now and and you know squit tested you know four to eight variations on every single email and just got crazy data. And from there
I turned that into sort of a system and then I actually originally was creating this like teaching it so that whoever took over from me could write emails so. OK so you’re like a yes or that they want to start over and then turn it into a product that I sell on occasion. And in this 80:20. Yeah how I open it up everyone so I could do a ton more with it but my focus is I just never wanted to only make money teaching people how to make money. You know the coach the coach he coach coaches some coaching coaches about coaching and all that bullshit. So I waited until I’d actually made money writing books because I could’ve created a product club for them but it would have been a lie which is what
most people do. So did that name. And then I worked with a company called Crisis education wrote all the copy down and we had if you had a supplement company and a water company. And then I left there about a year ago and I started my own company about seven months ago. So I still do some copy and some consulting on the side because it pays sort of have an equation that I’ve used. Not really on purpose before now I’m pretty aware of it. It is basically leveraging high dollar per hour tasks to build assets that aren’t paying high dollars per hour now. So like when I
was coaching tennis I was getting 70 to 100 an hour. A lot of cash and I was writing copy for $20 an hour. And I was you know writing I was doing that work for about 30 hours a week and then coaching 10 to 15 hours a week. So that allowed me to make money and so on and sort of basically Actually all I did was just save the $20 and stuff I just saved everything and then I only spent cash and so saved up and then from there by and then so now it’s going back and I did quite well. You know I did a. I was paid quite well as a copywriter. The next job because I had a big bonus. But I mean quite
well relative is a relative term. But in the six figures and then from there now basically will leverage the. So I sort of go. It’s like you know now there are tasks that a 2000 to 5000 an hour. And so you go why don’t you just do more of those. And it’s like well I could there’s no asset being built. Whereas with with the water company it’s an asset. And so I don’t pull cash out of that. And I just use the other money to fund the business and grow that as an asset. So and it’s a lot more cash than when you’re building a physical products business. There’s a lot of inventory and a lot of cash flow. It gets tied up restructuring the beginning. So it’s definitely a long
game but email is still the backbone and VSL is the backbone of what I really do. And then sort of the viral video type stuff as well is something you’ve.
Stepped into. Yeah.
Maybe walk it’s like you got that first job with the financial person and hook you up with they come to you through the hour. How did you get that first.
So I applied for a job actually through andrÃ©’s under Shepherd was listed as a job to work with. It would’ve actually been Steve Gray.
So I was working with the recruiter and I got down to like the last two people and it was going to be like a six figure job and I was like why are they still talking to me. Obviously done a good job of pretending it’s not mine. They’re not hiring a guy who is like 40 and lives an hour away from them and had 10 years experience and like OK whatever that’s fine. But during that time she connected me with the guy who actually might Colella her as sort of the best media buys around. And he was going to hire that person to do like H-G mantle and some coding and also copy and all these different things and I was like Yeah all right copy. And he was like OK well or pay you and somebody else we hired two people and we were bigger
that business. So it’s just through we might things always just taking every opportunity possible always saying yes until you get successful and then it’s all about saying no which is really really counterintuitive because you’re like OK I got here by saying yes all the time. Now I keep saying yes and I want to get to myself.
So how do I say no.
And you like where you start with that and you end up with that.
Stop fucking worrying about missing out on stuff. So I just take an opportunity.
Absolutely. It’s a hard habit to break.
Once we work your way it would be like playing a sport and you know you get to the top by practicing for 30 minutes a day and then go at once you to something like oh no that’s actually going to hurt you now. Right now like why that doesn’t make sense this is how I got here. Like no no no. You’re going to lose if you do that.
That doesn’t make sense but in this world it’s that is what happens is basically your path ends up becoming its own obstruction.
So as the auto responder madness was out was I your only.
Aside from that you know copying and so you mentioned was that the only course you take him aside for copy hours the only resource I think so I I sort of ended up like my thing with orders one Amandas and I honestly don’t know and I did then settle stuff as well. And like get those great copywriters in my grade. My only thing is just like once you get out of the internet marketing space it’s a completely different world. And so it’s nothing against them it’s more just like when you get into a list of a million people that you don’t you can also just say well don’t worry about spam complaints we’re going to say well
that means you don’t get deliverability on a million people. You can not wear it you know you can’t just also be so a lot of these people don’t know how the Internet works. And so like I say like with the e-mail copy stuff that I write to my own email list like throughout the for my course I get 80 to 90 percent opens and 50 to 60 percent click through just through the entirety of the first month. And those are buyers and that is but the whole thing is like that people who worry about e-mail who want to write you know who will read your e-mail only if it’s to see what you’re doing with e-mail. And so it’s like to pretend like that’s normal is all extra year. And so it was a much different game so I took a look at Andre has some great
stuff. I think it’s very complex. The new people and it’s very sexy though it’s the sexiest shit out there. Right. It’s. But it’s about how to implement you know taking an hour or two to write an e-mail. It’s just not my thing I wrote I wrote most I mean I was in five to 15 minutes and right so it’s just like that’s too long. So what I did is I took that as concepts of open loops nested loops and stuff and and I what I do is write the stuff and then I’ll go back and put those and so takes about 10 percent of the time. As you know writing these intricate stories and all this and then the other thing is it’s like when you’re buying a traffic scale you can’t you know you know waiting 14 days to make it to get you purchase
like 90 days zero value you need Day seven do you and you can sort of avoid that right. I mean it’s selling today. Yeah. And so you know you may base it off you may take a 14 day loss but you can’t wait till the 14th. And that’s what this really does. But it’s really good stuff. I just think you also have to become quite a good writer. If you do it well it can be done very well but it takes a lot of time and effort.
And then then the stuff I think there’s some really great stuff just in daily emails and the worst thing that stuff though is that because I’ve fallen into this trap sometimes it’s like me the sun daily or you don’t send it all you’re much better off sending two or three times a week consistently and sending seven in a row than zero. Then wait two weeks then send seven men right cause you get this idea of it’s not a daily it’s not worth it. It is months. So that’s the only thing where I think mindset wise to get stuck if I’m not reading daily It doesn’t matter.
It’s like no you still make money. So I do send mostly daily with the water list and then with adults you know we send up to twice a day. Right. And typically the more you send the more you make.
I’ve had clients and I talked clients to send it three times a day.
What’s the most I could do.
You know it really depends I mean also it’s like people track e-mail in a vacuum. You know it’s based on individual stats and it’s like all you really have to look at the whole picture because which is tough and is never really going to be a solution to that because you never know that maybe e-mail for a set the frame too.
And for the for you know for you know six seven men in that. So I also found out my car is not going to be fixed.
So it’s there for the taking. I think we got those numbers earlier. So that’s basically what you were doing your. You got the luxury I would say the it’s like how I would put it because I learned how to do e-mail originally from Matt fury.
Yeah I know. Actually I have done some of that stuff and I was with I met Matt a couple months ago. Son in Florida I think he’s kind of sort of you know been kind of took a lot of his stuff and made it available which is which is good because I mean it wasn’t available so that Matt really writes in a unique way that like really pulls you through. I read that when when he sends e-mail still open it can answer.
I really enjoy his writing.
Yeah he uses it just like he’s done it the right way sort of like crafted this.
I mean it’s who he is. So that’s you know who he’s become I guess in a way. But he’s just is an intriguing person over also makes that translates well to his e-mails where he writes this. Yeah absolutely. A big bonus. Now when it came to about You’d be lucky to work for such a big company because you got the opportunity to sort of look at you know most people the person today is only really three people.
But we had this on this list and so think a list right. And so what I did is I mean I could have just sent e-mails and do whatever. But I had this spreadsheet I’d put together. And I’m like Meet me in person or hang out with me I’m like the least spreadsheet person needed to.
But if I to that though I oddly why I got my emphasis in accounting in college. And so even though I’m like the last person who could ever be an accountant I might be good with numbers right. Like on race I used to for sports betting I had these intricate spreadsheets that I would use that I’d made and then with email I did the same thing so I would dissect the top and bottom subject lines and then. And so we would test anything from four to eight subject lines to two separate body copy to link text to. So I got to test all of these different factors because we had so much data and so every test was at least
20000 people so statistically significant. And that was one of the biggest things I learned there too is how much of the data people publish on line is spoken bullshit because it’s like they don’t have a picture of themselves out of 100 I have a 7 percent conversion rate and was my internal list and were crushing it and it’s like you just don’t even talk to me. And I’ve seen big companies do it like. And they just publish something like 400 visits and you don’t get to do that like an insignificant no. And so but it was really cool because I would I would do every test at least three times and then I became a principal. Awesome. And then I would. So I created like I like 70 different subject line just formulas like you just plug in at any time and they just give you ideas to write and
then I had like eight to 10 different types of e-mails and my two boys made more money than the rest. And so I just dissected this deconstructionists sort of my skill in money. So I would just deconstruct and then create principles and strategies that would then dictate the tactics and techniques. And that was you know so I just got a netted out on on actually analyzing what I liked and what didn’t.
And one other people when I don’t know if it’s people when doesn’t take a lot to get. Like I said because that’s why I feel like this is an opportunity to do that. And you took it.
Absolutely. Every list is so different like when I manage a few different lists and like this one it’s the center of app downloads and it’s decent like a hundred some thousand in it.
They respond well to like CBL offers like if we had them opt in for something else to make money but I’ll send them to one of my office and it’s a lot of people who would be interested in health and just anything over 60 you know 60 bucks they don’t seem to buy it and it’s like sometimes the list just doesn’t buy its things at a certain price and sometimes they’re not interested in that. So it’s like you got to figure out how good your copy is if they’re not buyers it’s those things that matter.
So that was one of the big things I learned too is like I I would you know right it could be the best e-mail possible and it would be about tax and taxes just never with that interesting people just didn’t care whereas I could write an average e-mail about credit cards and get much better results.
It’s like the actual type of stuff you’re sending is a huge part of that. So how could you this if you’re talking to. Yes. He is about snowboarding.
Yeah it’s one of those things where you’ve got the opportunity to sort of find those hot buttons through trial and error. You know you said like people are really receptive to credit card stuff like they want to.
That’s a big obviously a big issue in their lives like most people. So that was a hot button and they were like oh I want to hear what he has to say. Man it’s been great. If people want to get in touch with you you can go to a fixed water site. Obviously all it’s going to get.
You can follow my stuff on Facebook is where I post all my comedic ideas and stuff. Justine Standley or feed the wolf with you instead. I had a page or if you want to opt in and get reminders that says stand up conversions dot com. So Terry diverted Perth. But yeah depends on what you look in to Lance conversions if you opt in and that’s where all occasionally released email Korku product coonhound.
So awesome awesome and it’s been fun it’s passed by extremely fast and it’s always a good indicator.
It’s good conversation going on.
Awesome awesome man. Thanks for coming on the show. For everybody else of course is going to listen to this.
We’ll be back again next week with another edition of the podcast and hopefully it will be as entertaining and as Batman like as you can stand.