Growing up with dyslexia in the United Kingdom, Michael Dunlop never much liked school. That didn’t stop him using it to earn him big money.
As an eight-year-old, Michael sold Pokémon trading cards to his schoolmates – often for ten times the price he paid for them. It was the beginning of a passion for business that earned him a handful of young business awards and his class’s vote for the student ‘Most Likely to be a Millionaire’.
At 16, Michael dropped out of school and began to develop websites, including RetireAt21.com. Today, Michael is 21 years old and, though he isn’t retired, he is netting six figures a year with his websites. His latest, IncomeDiary.com, has attracted over 10,000 subscribers – all eager to hear Michael’s hard-earned advice on how to turn everyday blogs into to profit powerhouses.
The following is a short excerpt from 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs (Volume 1).
Q: What has been the impact of personally meeting some of the top internet entrepreneurs – such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Yanik Silver, Carrie Wilkerson, and Bob Parsons?
A: Some of it is confidence. You feel like if you’re friends with these guys, there’s nothing really to be afraid of talking to anyone else. A lot of it is power by association. If you’re friends with one person, you’re friends with the others.
We [internet entrepreneurs] all have the same interests. We all want to work hard, make lots of money, and then enjoy it. So a lot of us click really well. They’ve also taught me plenty, recommended me to people, and opened doors for me. But I’m not friends with anyone just because of what they can do for me.
You can’t always get a real connection over the internet. I have some good friends online, but it’s different. Putting a face to someone really helps. It makes networking a lot easier. I don’t sell myself too well on the internet, because I’m really laid-back and I don’t really want to hype myself up. But at events, I get to meet loads of great people really quickly and I can call them friends because I’ve met them face to face.
When I got into the business, a lot of people gave me a lot of their time and they helped me out. Now, I like to do the same for other people. It’s a trait that you see in a lot of entrepreneurs. So you don’t usually have to have any traffic to interview someone. Then, once you’ve got that first connection with an interview, it’s really easy to keep that relationship going. I would call most of my interviewees friends.
Q: If you had to battle a giant, what weapon would you use?
A: I’m not someone who would want to kill him, so I couldn’t use a gun or an axe. I would set a trap with some rope and sort of use my knowledge. A lot of times winning is just about having more common sense than the competition.
I think that’s something I apply to business. The choice with IncomeDiary.com is that you can subscribe or you can click on an affiliate link and make me money. I give you two options. I don’t give you options to go to a friend’s site or to some advertiser. It’s called the no-leakage rule. Then, if I get you in my funnel system, I will give you great knowledge, lots of great tips, and updates. I give you a lot more than anyone else would. I sort of make you my friend.
Perhaps I would do that with the giant. After a while, I could use him to do something for me. I could sell him something.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Especially with blogging, there is practically no risk. It’s about eight bucks for a domain and you get your first month of hosting for about a cent. So, give it a few months. If you fail, you’re down 25 bucks, maximum. There’s no better feeling than knowing that you don’t have to rely on anyone for money.
This is an abridged version from Michael’s interview in our latest project, 50 Interviews: Young Entrepreneurs. When I was picking my way through Michael’s interview, I wanted to post the whole darn thing . In my opinion, Michael is the iconic young entrepreneur and his advice only solidified that opinion.
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Michael Dunlop’s Top Quotes
“You’ve got to stop doing all the things that people have tried, tested, and found out don’t work.”
“If you start with nothing and end up with nothing, there’s nothing lost.”
“I like computer games and I treat business a bit like a computer game. I count money as points. I’m doing really well: making lots of money and lots of points.”