Jeremy Schoemaker, aka Shoemoney, is a serial entrepreneur made famous by running one of the highest-trafficked websites in the world, Shoemoney.com, and by being a pioneer in the world of internet marketing dating back to the early 2000s.
He launched and subsequently sold three successful businesses AuctionAds, FreeSEOReport, and Fighters.com and was named 2010’s the Most Influential Person on the Internet, by Fast Company magazine. Jeremy has been featured in major news and media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, ABC News, Techcrunch, the New York Times, Business Week and dozens more.
In 2012 he published his first book, an autobiography, called Nothing’s Changed But My Name: The Shoemoney Story. The book was announced #1 best seller shortly after. Later in 2012 Jeremy started a new company, PAR Program, to revolutionize the way companies are doing their email marketing.
Exclusive interview for UnGagged, dated Aug 4 2014:
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Last January started the PAR Program as an enterprise level email platform with full client support on an agency level. Mostly catering to fortune 500 companies. That is humming along nicely but we are in the process of developing out a self service version leveraging all the core technologies from the PAR Program platform. The new company will be called Market Notify and will launch a private beta later this month, public beta in mid September, and full launch on November first.
How do you decide on which goals to pursue?
My wife actually coined the term “Prioritize the profitable projects” which is great and all but sometimes the small ones that are not revenue driven to start with end up being large. Actually my biggest accomplishments were just little fun things I was working on or testing that most people wouldn’t consider worth the time. So just to answer your question I focus my time on what I enjoy doing. From an overall goal’s perspective lifestyle is #1.
What drives you?
I love building shit that improves people’s lives. Free or paid doesn’t matter.
Who inspires you?
From a life perspective I would say my wife. She is a very accomplished anesthesiologist and marathon runner. Her work ethic is second to none. From a business perspective there really is no one person. I listen to everyone but rarely follow a “template”. Meeting regular people that are actually doing stuff inspires me. I love to go to conferences and meet people and talk to them about what they are working on. I come back amped every time.
Was there ever a moment when you thought ‘I’m going to give this up, it won’t work’.
Sure many times. Maybe not those exact words but a hopeless feeling. It started getting that the day I moved out of working in my basement and hiring employees. When you wake up and you have to make 3k/day just to cover payroll and expenses and your in the middle of developing a new project that feeling is very heavy at times. When you’re in the basement and doing all the stuff yourself if things don’t work out… big deal. When your half a million in development of a project and it doesn’t work out then thats quite a blow.
What do you see as your lasting achievement?
Out of everything my blog will probably be my legacy as far as associations with my name. I have been blogging for 10 years and its pretty hard for anyone in the internet marketing industry not to have stumbled across it at sometime. Its never been a significant money maker directly, however, its a great way to connect with people, give them value, and build trust for when I do launch something.
Where will you be in 10 years?
How enlightened is the digital marketing industry becoming?
That is a great question which I think is really a 2 part answer between businesses looking for services and the people actually doing them. I think the industry for the most part is very ignorant and inefficient. Companies don’t realize that anyone that is an “expert” at affiliate marketing, pay per click, conversion, SEO, and internet advertising in general is not working for someone. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone into a company and with very minimal effort increased their profit margin significantly.
On the other hand you have the kids (25 and under) working from home that really “get it” raking in 5 to 6 figures a month in profit. Unfortunately most are so financially immature they spend it as fast as they make it… and most of them they end up broke.
Specifically in which arena of the interactive world do you think the next clutch of thought leaders will rise?
I get the most value from people on forums that are willing to share their experiences positive and negative. This has been the case for over a decade with me and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.
What’s more important to you; privacy or infamy?
Thats a good question. I have never been a very private person but I don’t pursue infamy. I would actually choose legacy.
If you had the opportunity to change anything in this new digital era, what would that be?
The ignorance in the judicial system and government in general needs some serious catch up. Of course that is a double edge sword. I could literally write 10,000 words on this subject.
Do you think social media is here to stay or will everyone get sick of it?
It’s staying forever. Just a newer evolution of communication.
If you could choose the next President of the USA who would that be and why?
Myself. Although I would probably be assassinated.
Growing up, what do you think led you down the path of becoming a disruptive type of entrepreneur?
My ability to question things people take for granted and push the lines morally, ethically, and legally got me into a lot of trouble as a kid but in this world it allows me to be a pioneer.
Did you have any mentors as a child?
Looking back there were a few. I have always been infatuated with the legal system and loved Gerry Spence. Otherwise I mostly lived life as a youth day to day and never thought about the long haul so finding or listening to people about life was something I took with a grain of salt. There were however a few teachers that said things that still resonate with me to this day.
So what do you think gave you the confidence to take the big risks?
All boils down to experience. There is nothing that builds confidence like real world, hands on, experience. Experience is how I measure everything. They don’t teach digital marketing in school and no matter how many products you buy to do stuff your not going to really learn how to do anything until you actually get experience and learn for yourself.
Some of my, well some would say failures, were in reality the best experiences (education) in the world and gave me the confidence to go for it again and again.
What’s the best part of your day?
Building cool stuff.
Are you a regular user of the BHW forum and if so why?
I do read it a lot but rarely post. A lot of times if I post something in a thread the conversation will switch to me and not the topic. The posts people share when they open themselves up and share experiences are priceless.
Why do you want to speak at the BHW endorsed UnGagged conference?
I am really looking forward to a conference where you are free to talk about what really works even if some might perceive it as sketchy.
What can the attendees expect to hear or learn from you? Please don’t be too specific we want to keep your content mainly under-wraps, but can you moisten our lips with a couple of killer nuggets?
In todays world there are so many blanket restrictions on advertising niches that make it extremely hard for the little guys to compete. Over the years I have come up with workarounds for various internet niches to blow it out. I am excited to share these with attendees.
Keyboard warriors that just want to troll can blow me. Most of you can’t rub together 2 nickels let alone afford a ticket to this event. And if you are legit and have some bone to pick with me then show up and lets talk about it.
For me true happiness is helping others succeed. I want to help you succeed. I have a variety of expertise in many areas from arbitrage, lead generation, data monetization, subscription revenue, building your own company, managing teams, selling companies/websites, buying companies/websites, etc etc. Again like I said if I haven’t been there and done that I will simply tell you that. (Small print) Content and speech may change closer to the event if something blows up.