21 min

Tom Libelt – When You Face the Choice of the Easy or Hard Way Take the Hard Way My Worst Investment Ever Podcast

    • Investing

Tom Libelt was born in Communist Poland and escaped to the US when he was 11 in the early ’90s. At 9, his father sold products at soccer stadiums in Eastern Europe, where he learned the hard way how to sell and how not to be hustled. He is hyper-focused on helping course creators market their online courses.
 
“Becoming a big fish in a smaller pond often is not only more profitable but will make your life easier.”
Tom Libelt
 
Worst investment ever In his early 30s, Tom was running a reasonably successful SEO business. Back then, it was easy to rank on Google using what people today consider as blackhat methods. Tom would pay bloggers to get backlinks.
Tom had a team of 14 writers at the time, spending a lot of time, money, and effort getting into these blogs. Their goal was to get 50 backlinks pointing to a website every month to keep it ranking higher. While he had other tactics, this model worked the best.
Google gets smart After riding the wave for a long while, Google smartened up and was out for businesses doing shady stuff. Google destroyed almost all the blackhat networks. They looked at IP addresses and de-indexed them. Thousands of SEO companies were pretty much back to square one.
Tom now had a massive team of writers with nowhere to put the blog posts.
Trying option B Tom learned about Amazon Kindle (e-books) at around this time and decided to see if he could make a business out of it. He had a ready team of writers anyway.
Tom told his team to pick topics of their choice, do keyword research and write up short books of about 30 to 40 pages, then use images to fill in some gaps and just publish them on Kindle. Competition at the time was little and so getting into Kindle was pretty easy.
Striking gold About three months later, Tom’s writers broke even. So he thought this could work. Tom would now sit down with the team for two days, go over hundreds of topics and then pick the best to run with.
Eventually, the team was pumping out about 250 books per month, and for about four or five years, the money coming in was quite good.
Kindle shakes things up Making money on Kindle was pretty straightforward. You’d get 70% of sales made, and $1 for every book rented. Tom’s business was making a killing by pushing rentals.
One day, out of the blues, Kindle killed the rental payment model. Now they would focus on pages read.
Turning to blackhat tactics again After the new payment model, Tom turned to a blackhat marketing tactic where he told people in the introduction of the books to skip to the end to get the “Golden Nugget” and then come back to the beginning of the book. So everyone would just go straight up to the end of the book, and Tom would get paid. While this still got him money, it just wasn’t as lucrative.
Closing the doors for good Tom’s...

Tom Libelt was born in Communist Poland and escaped to the US when he was 11 in the early ’90s. At 9, his father sold products at soccer stadiums in Eastern Europe, where he learned the hard way how to sell and how not to be hustled. He is hyper-focused on helping course creators market their online courses.
 
“Becoming a big fish in a smaller pond often is not only more profitable but will make your life easier.”
Tom Libelt
 
Worst investment ever In his early 30s, Tom was running a reasonably successful SEO business. Back then, it was easy to rank on Google using what people today consider as blackhat methods. Tom would pay bloggers to get backlinks.
Tom had a team of 14 writers at the time, spending a lot of time, money, and effort getting into these blogs. Their goal was to get 50 backlinks pointing to a website every month to keep it ranking higher. While he had other tactics, this model worked the best.
Google gets smart After riding the wave for a long while, Google smartened up and was out for businesses doing shady stuff. Google destroyed almost all the blackhat networks. They looked at IP addresses and de-indexed them. Thousands of SEO companies were pretty much back to square one.
Tom now had a massive team of writers with nowhere to put the blog posts.
Trying option B Tom learned about Amazon Kindle (e-books) at around this time and decided to see if he could make a business out of it. He had a ready team of writers anyway.
Tom told his team to pick topics of their choice, do keyword research and write up short books of about 30 to 40 pages, then use images to fill in some gaps and just publish them on Kindle. Competition at the time was little and so getting into Kindle was pretty easy.
Striking gold About three months later, Tom’s writers broke even. So he thought this could work. Tom would now sit down with the team for two days, go over hundreds of topics and then pick the best to run with.
Eventually, the team was pumping out about 250 books per month, and for about four or five years, the money coming in was quite good.
Kindle shakes things up Making money on Kindle was pretty straightforward. You’d get 70% of sales made, and $1 for every book rented. Tom’s business was making a killing by pushing rentals.
One day, out of the blues, Kindle killed the rental payment model. Now they would focus on pages read.
Turning to blackhat tactics again After the new payment model, Tom turned to a blackhat marketing tactic where he told people in the introduction of the books to skip to the end to get the “Golden Nugget” and then come back to the beginning of the book. So everyone would just go straight up to the end of the book, and Tom would get paid. While this still got him money, it just wasn’t as lucrative.
Closing the doors for good Tom’s...

21 min