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“there’s this thing called the internet… and one day businesses will be able to capitalize on this and they’re going to make billions and billions of dollars”

Mike Mann is a successful entrepreneur with several businesses under his belt. He’s well known for his success in the domain industry, stemming back to the early 90’s. Mike has captured some of those experiences which have made him successful in his book, Make Millions and Make Change!: Secrets to Business and Personal Success. The book is available on Amazon but also on Mike’s website where you can read it for free.

I had an opportunity to catch up with Mike on the phone recently and asked him about his book, his career and what he’s got coming up.

Mike Mann, MikeMann.com - Founder

Mike: You’re a serial entrepreneur, a social activist and also an author, so what prompted you to write Make Millions and Make Change?

Mike Mann: Well, I started out just by writing down my business philosophy for the people on my own team. I started just documenting a volume of best practices and I realized it wasn’t so proprietary that I couldn’t share it so I decided to turn it into a book essentially.

Mike: What will people learn from the book? Are there lessons there that you’ve learned that we can now apply?

Mike Mann: I think there’s lots of lessons, a lot of the things are things that I read about and learned then got reinforced from good business people that I learned from or read about, I watched in different documentaries, things like that.

And then I took all that and I thought it through and I worked in it for years and years with my team on various businesses and best practices and then we came up with our own new ideas that were sort of above and beyond what we had learned and based on our own studies and practices we brought it to the next level in some respect and documented it in this particular book. Once you get in there, there’s all sorts of a variety of different lessons.

The basic premise is about self confidence and about, sort of driving home your own message and your own narrative very assertively, consistently over a long period and having the determination to succeed at whatever you’re determined to accomplish.

So, initially one comes up with a business concept or a business plan, business model, they document it, they write it down, they talk to their team, they talk to their family and at some point the have to decide to make an assertive bet on if they want to be in business, if they don’t want to be in business then that’s a separate alternative.

But assuming they want to be in business they essentially have to take this bet and once they’re in there, you really have to have this very serious determination and drive in order to compete and fight against ones’ competitors day after day even though it’s a friendly competition.

It’s all above board, legal, well documented, even so if you don’t feel like you’re competing and you’re not in a competitive environment then the chances of succeeding are much lower than if you took the correct approach, which would be to be very assertive and straight forward and aggressive, work long hours and be determined.

Make sure the people you work with and you hire and your vendors are all on board with that same narrative that you are. Given that sort of militant, religious approach to business then your success rate is much, much higher than it would be just running an average business without that extra determination.

Mike: You have a lot of business experience, a lot of background. Did you have any mentors along the way?

Mike Mann: My grandfather was a great business person and an attorney and he was just a very assertive, determined, honest kind of guy so in a lot of respects I copied after him. And then there’s some business and religious leaders that have certain philosophies and ways of conducting themselves that I like to copy and follow to some degree.

Mike: You’ve sold a business to Verio, you founded BuyDomains, which is a secondary market for domain name sales, in the entrepreneurial spirit can you tell me a little bit about how you got your start?

Mike Mann: I really started a courier delivery service and I delivered packages by bicycle, by motorcycle and sometimes by car. We just had a tiny business and worked really hard and then I sold that business for a little bit of money and then I worked in the delivery and courier business for a while but while I was doing that I was studying and studying and studying and trying to determine what sort of business I would start on my own.

I’d already done a courier business, delivery service then the question is, again, what would be the next big venture? I was always determined to have a business. And during this whole time I was doing charity work so it was kind of part and parcel of the same, the business and the charity are supposed to operate together essentially.

In any event, I just studied and studied and some of the things I read were like The Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Business Week. Back in the early 90’s those publications were talking about this thing called the internet that was being used by universities, that was being used by the military and the government.

They kept alluding to it, there were these scientists writing articles and these scholars writing articles saying, there’s this called the internet, it’s really cool, people can all communicate through this little packet network and one day businesses will be able to capitalize on this and they’re going to make billions and billions of dollars and a huge portion of that economy will be operated over this thing called the internet.

So at some point in 1993 I said, I’m going to be in the internet business, so I’ve been in the internet business ever since basically.

Mike: And even today you own some fantastic domain names right? Last year I interviewed the CEO of Phone.com, which is one of your businesses. How important is a keyword domain name to a business?

Mike Mann: The issue here is operating ones business with an entire suite of best practices and that suite of best practices includes branding and intellectual property. And in the branding and intellectual property arena, my opinion is the best bet for any corporation would be to use a keyword specific domains… the better the name, the more keyword friendly it is, the more hits and activity it has in Google and the like, then the better it is at meeting that branding criteria.

Mike: Do you think that will change in the coming years? Are search engines trending toward different criteria or do you think that’s still important?

Mike Mann: Yeah. If you remember people talking a long time ago about things called “real names” and of course today and every day there’s this enormous phenomenon of alternative TLDs, country code TLDs, so the question is will people still need to use keyword.com names?

They won’t have to use them but they will use them. There’s a certain number of billions of people that already use them, the number of people getting online in the world will increase and there will never really be an alternative to DNS, the domain name service.

You could use IP address numbers, which are much more awkward which is why the domain name system was invented, to translate those IP numbers into easy to use, easy to remember, easy to brand, keyword heavy, alpha numeric names and words. So the issue there is that there will never be any alternative.

The real names thing won’t work. People can go into Google and type in what they’re looking for, phone or SEO but Google loves the keyword.com so if you go into Google and type in SEO, one of the top links, the top corporations for SEO is my corporation, SEO.com.

And then if you go and look for phone and phone services my company phone.com will be on the first page because Google cares if you have a serious corporation with a serious name, with serious keywords in them. So then the question is, why can’t somebody just buy phone.eu or phone.co or phone.xxx or whatever and save themselves millions of dollars instead of buying phone.com?

And the answer is, the more people invest in alternative domain names, the more alternative and country code TLD domains exist, the more people build on them, the more people index them, that only makes the dot com more valuable. It makes it more index-able, it make it more valuable to the companies that have those other sites, it makes it more valuable to competitors, it has a lot of typo traffic and the domain name system is not going away.

The keyword heavy dot com’s that are spelled properly and are the real deal, the real premium domains, will constantly go up in value for indefinitely for the very long, foreseeable future.

Mike: You mentioned to me that just today you bought 300 domain names. Do you feel that if there was someone new to the market today that decided to be in the domain name business, that it is a viable option to walk into that business and be profitable?

Mike Mann: If you were going to do it today the only smart thing to do, first of all you’d have to have a lot of money. If you don’t have a lot of money, you’re absolutely screwed, but if you have a lot of money and you did not want to do a lot of transactions, your best bet–you do not have to know a lot about the market–you could just buy some of the really good, high-quality stuff that will always go up in value.

You would not want to speculate and buy hundreds of names today if you did not know what you were doing. If you did not know what to buy and how to buy them and how to price them, but with the same amount of money that I bought 300 names, you could buy 1 fantastic name, sit on it for a long time, build something cool on it, and probably make a lot of profit if you buy the right name. But I would not recommend trying to even buy hundreds of names a day, because you will get wiped out by somebody like me and my automated system.

Mike: What is next for Mike Mann?

Mike Mann: Well, what is next is if you go to http://www.prohr.com/executives/.

Those are the next ten companies I am going to start.

What happened is it is part of a family of companies. If you look at MikeMann.com, you can see our family of companies, and then these other ones are the new ones that we are bringing in.

Mike: Okay. Can you tell me a little bit about them?

Mike Mann: Sure. Well, first of all, you have to understand what our current family consists of, so again we have an incredible new phone company, not new, but newfangled, a new style of phone company, called Phone.com, which has tens of thousands of customers, and has a lot of very innovative applications and services, and fantastic customer support, better than any other phone company, so that is Phone.com.

Then we have DomainMarket, which is a domain trading platform, as you know, and there are hundreds of thousands of domains in that marketplace, which again, is heavily automated. Then we own a search engine optimization company called SEO.com, which has over 100 employees and has a lot of Fortune 500-style clients, Dell Computers, for example, Mrs. Fields, 1-800-Contacts, all sorts of high-end corporations are customers of SEO.com.

Then we own a company called PurePPC.com, which is the pay-per-click side of the house. We own a company called PRMarketing.com, which does what it implies, PR and marketing, and we own several other companies as part of that same family: WebConcepts.com; ProHR.com, as I mentioned already; AccountingMatters.com.

That is my existing family of companies, and they all work together to build the next generations of electronic corporations, essentially, and so then, there are all these holes in the picture, like, “What are we missing?” and so again if you switch over to ProHR.com/executives, those are the new companies we intend on adding to the family, so the question is, “What are we missing?”

In this case, there are companies in there like InternetEngineering.com, so that would be engineers that manage the servers, the routers, the security, maybe fiber optics, databases, things like that. InternetEngineering.com, so again, that is a company that we would propose to bring into our family, and you can see other ones in there.

There are ones called BusinessImprovement.com, which is really a consultancy, a business consultancy that helps people build and grow their businesses, that, even though our other companies do that, they do not really do it as consultants. They do it as internet consultants, engineers and experts, but not as business process experts, so again, there is this group of new companies that we are going to add to complete the family, and then we will have maybe fifteen or twenty companies in our family.

Mike: How do you keep up with that, with so many companies?

Mike Mann: Well, that is the thing. It is part of a family. They all keep up with each other. You know, AccountingMatters.com does the accounting for everybody else and helps keep them organized.

Pro HR hires for everybody else. Web Concepts does the web development for everybody else, so that is the point. We are missing certain holes for ourselves, and we also sell the exact same services to the outside world that we provide to our own family of companies, so really, if you look at this site, I think it explains it pretty well, called http://AnotherCorporation.com.

That explains how the family of companies glue together, essentially. What happens is, again, we sell services to each other, so Accounting Matters sells accounting DomainMarket.com, for example. ProHR.com sells HR to Domain Market, for example, and so at the same time, we attempt to get the clients of our other companies, so again, SEO.com has thousands of clients. Domain Market has thousands of clients. We want to use those clients and try to upsell them services of PurePPC.com and of PRMarketing.com, for example.

We are still sort of in our family at that point, but then the next level is just selling services to the outside world, which we are very good at because, again, we own a PPC company, an SEO company, a marketing company, and if you look back on that list, we are trying to start new companies. One is called Selling Force, which would be just a whole group of sales people. One is called Affiliate Referrals, which is a company that specializes in setting up affiliate relationships.

So again, once we set up Selling Force and Affiliate Referrals, those groups will be instrumental in growing Phone.com and bringing it to the next level, in growing SEO.com and bringing it to the next level, in growing Domain Market and bringing it to the next level, and then we will try to sell services to the clients of those companies. Then we will sell services to the outside world, so it is really a whole engine. It is a whole system, and it already works extremely effectively, so we can only assume the more fuel we put on the fire, the better it will work.

Mike: Right, so it is like a self-contained ecosystem, yet you still can reach out and get clients from the outside.

Mike Mann: Yes, exactly. It is a survival mechanism so the companies make money and do not go out of business.

Mike: Thanks for all the great information Mike. Any parting thoughts?

Mike Mann: There is just a huge wealth of information that I have documented. Again, if people go to MikeMann.com, there is a link to my book where they can read it for free online, download it in PDF or listen to the audiobook. My second book is on there, called Applied Evolution. There are links to Another Corporation. All this stuff is free. It explains everything we do and how we do it.

Domain Market, people can search for keyword domains. Phone.com–they can get inexpensive excellent phone services, so I think it is all kind of linked into MikeMann.com. There are thousands of hours of potential information if people want to look around and try to absorb whatever they want. They can link to me on Facebook if they want to chat me up.

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