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Justin Cooke

Empire Flippers

Justin Cooke

@0:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Hello everyone and welcome to The Shades of Entreprneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I weclcome Justin Cooke, co-founder of Empire Fliperss. 

So Justin, tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey. Let's start from the beginning. How did you get an entrepreneurship? 

@0:40 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, so I started a real estate company with my current business partner, but this is before we got into what we're doing now.

And this is during the kind of like the mortgage boom, right? 2004, 2006, and things were going quite well.

We started working for a broker and it kind of went off and started brokering our own deals. until the financial crisis hit.

And we failed miserably, our business failed, we had to go get jobs. we ultimately ended up working for like a mid-level SEO company, kind of like managers, right?

Mid-level managers, this mid-level SEO company. And did a couple of years of that, we realized we missed entrepreneurship. We missed kind of like wearing all the hats and being an entrepreneur.

so we convinced our employers to let us start a company in the Philippines to become service providers for our employers.

So we moved to the Philippines in 2010 to set up an outsourcing company for our previous employers. That lasted about a year, and then they started cutting back significantly on us as they started feeling the financial pain.

So again, we in a business that was basically paying the bills, but barely. And we're living in the Philippines going, what the hell are we gonna do?

And that's when we tried out a few things. So this is like a win fail, get a little further fail again.

And then we came across the idea of creating niche websites monetize with something called Google AdSense. We'll make money based on display advertisements.

We start building these sites out of the Philippines in our office. We had a team of people doing it and we built an audience of people that wanted to buy these small niche websites.

that's kind of how we got into the online website business game.

@2:19 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

And you know folks, the interesting part about this is, you know, folks that have a website, if you build an audience, right, you built a brand, right, you built a value.

And the thing about it is, folks like Justin, right, they can go in and they'll purchase your website and they'll put a little things that make it better.

Bring more SEO, bring more volume, more traffic and then they go and sell it.

@2:41 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, that's the interesting thing, disconnect between buyers and sellers, right? So, you know, we started off building our own kind of sites.

were small sites making a hundred bucks a month and people were buying for like $1,500, $2,000. started getting bigger and bigger.

Eventually we started letting other people sell their websites with us. And then went from selling for $2,000 to $2

20 to 200 to now we sell anything between 50,000 to I think our largest deal is 13 million. So we've done like kind of the end story kind of where we ended up.

We've done like just under 500 million dollars in total online business sales over 2,200 or so transactions. But this all started off with my business partner and I in a small townhouse in the Philippines just hustling.

And you know, we had a small team of people and an office in the Philippines. and I lived together in a townhouse and we just started hustling.

Now we have a team of you know 40 something people around the world. So that's kind of what started.

But what's interesting about buying and selling businesses is there's always a disconnect, right? Like the buyer is kind of skeptical like why is the seller selling it?

The seller's like in many cases they you know they think it's maxed out. They can't get any more value to squeeze the the great for as much as it's worth.

Or they have you know kind of terrible personal situation where they're getting divorced or their business partner and they are having issues or whatever.

Or they see kind of they think that you know the future isn't looking good for the industry. And then the buyer is

Some of them are skeptical, those are people that buy the ones that do looking at business and say They're missing the boat on this like you know the sellers like I got this up to ten thousand dollars a month in profit That's as good as it's gonna get and you got the buyer that says I don't get on a bed for anything under ten thousand dollars a profit This is kind of like a flyer for me It's a small one and they've done nothing on Facebook ads.

They don't have any of the short-form video content I can crush it with my TikTok reels Facebook real strategy whatever and they're not doing any of that So they buy it thinking wow I got a I got a steal from this seller and the seller's going You know I pull one over on the buyer and that's kind of like how businesses like ours are in businesses We can kind of show you know here the listings here the ones that are available here the ones that are the best fit for you Yeah, and that's that's so impressive You know like kind of having that insight to kind of look at those things and then also look at the Operational support that's kind of needed and the technical support that's needed just to add a little bit more value Because again at the end of the day it's it it's your your

@5:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

essentially finding the value that the consumer finds valuable, right, to make them come back to this thing to purchase this item again and again, right?

Now, but now, Justin, you didn't start out successful. In fact, the one of the things you mentioned was that your first failure, right?

So can you share a personal story of your entrepreneurial failures and setbacks and how your entrepreneurial ship and your own personal journey, how have you used that failure to go and succeed?

@5:25 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, just a good example, I think, you know, we were in the Philippines, they mentioned with our outsourcing company.

And it was struggling in that, you know, we have a client leave that had like four employees of ours, were hired, hired four of our employees, we'd hire a new client that needed three, right?

So we're like, okay, or we're net loss of one. And then we gained two, and then we lose two, and it was just really just kind of surviving.

And it got to the point where I declined a little bit even further, and we had this office in the Philippines, and this is 2010, 2011.

And you know, we're living in the Philippines, right? Just we're able to pay the bills, but not by by a ton.

And we got to the point where we didn't think we're going to able to pay the internet, flights, rent, on everything on the office.

And so we had the tough decision to basically close down our office. And, you know, all this remote work and stuff wasn't really a thing then.

And we were like, Oh my God, if we're closing this office, we're here in the Philippines, we're losers. Like, this isn't a real company anymore.

You know what I mean? this big, like, feeling of dread and like, Oh, I'm gonna go back to the US and my tail between my legs are the group failures.

Like, this didn't work. How close are we to having to go back? What we didn't realize at the time was that while it sucked that we were in that financial situation, it was an eye opener for us and that you don't have to have an office.

You don't have to have a physical location. You can work in our business from anywhere. Now, if you're running an oil change company or like a small like franchise or something, like locally in your city, well, yeah, you know, requires your presence or someone's presence there.

But with our business, Bill, building and helping people broker the sale of online businesses. We don't have to be anywhere.

So we started working from home and continued to hire people, started to grow that side of our business to the point where in 2014 my now wife and I started traveling around.

We spent 2014 to 2019 living out of suitcase and spending time in Singapore, Manila, the US, And so even today we spent half our time in Asia, half our time in the US.

And so this isn't an apply to me as a founder and my business partner. Our entire company is completely location independent.

So we've got Americans living in Medellin, we've got a British guy living in Prague, we've got people living wherever they want, whenever they want.

As long as they can get their work done in the location they're in, that's great. a failure, we're like, oh my God, we're shutting down this office and we're going to be working from home.

kind of losers are we turned into a real strength in that? We hire people. tell them you can work from anywhere.

We're not going to hold you to certain hours, certain time zones, but make sure you get your done.

@8:07 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah. And you know, let's talk about that because you built this multi-million dollar business with the remote team. Right?

So how did you leverage remote team to help grow your business into a multi-million dollar company?

@8:20 - Justin Cooke

Yeah. So there were some people doing it at that time in like 2011-2012 time for a amount of a lot.

I mean, it wasn't for showing us like it was during COVID and the pandemic and everything where like everyone kind of saw, oh, this is a new way of working.

@8:35 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Were you remote before COVID or did you switch because of COVID?

@8:39 - Justin Cooke

Oh, we were already remote. We weren't remote in like 2011-2012. So yeah, this is a long time ago. In fact, COVID heard us a little bit on the hiring side because we had this unique value proposition where we like, hey, we would bring people out like a new hires, particularly early on we were getting our first kind of Western hires.

We would bring people out to the Philippines. They would live with us or near us for three to six months before they became like fully location independent.

So we had this cool value proposition of like, look, make dollar, spin pesos, or bot, or whatever, and you can live quite well, right?

But then when the pandemic hit, was like, well, our hiring proposition of being able to live and work from anywhere was like, well, everyone does that.

know what I mean? I got all these crazy additional health benefits of 401k from this other company. We were like, God, that hurts us a little bit.

So that wasn't as helpful. But yeah, we were doing this way before anyone. what was helpful for us is we figured out that like by measuring outputs, by individuals and by their departments instead of inputs, that was super helpful because we could just measure the quality of the work they were doing, the total outputs they were doing.

Now if there was a problem with a team or an individual, well, then we can start looking on the inputs, we can back out a little bit and say, okay, what, what, what are the hours you're putting in, how many of these things

things you're doing per day, a per week, per month. And that was helpful in solving problems where we saw issues with the outputs.

@10:07 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, that's interesting. Because one of things you mentioned, said COVID, the pandemic, it was a very difficult time for your team, recruiting, yet you still were able to scale this business into a multi-million dollar business during the pandemic.

@10:20 - Justin Cooke


@10:20 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

how do you do that?

@10:22 - Justin Cooke

So it was a double-edged sword. So when I mentioned it was a more challenging time to hire, that's one because our business was growing so quickly.

So it was this unique thing where like, it's one of those high class problems to have, whereas like, oh, we need more people.

so one of the things is because we broke with the sale of internet companies or online businesses, pandemic really opened people's eyes.

like, why am I going into this office every day, living in this high cost living city, just for this paycheck?

I'd rather go build my own business or buy a business that I can run from the beach and bawling.

You know what I mean? And so there's this real push toward like, looking at online business. This is the purchase, working remotely.

so we started selling a lot more businesses. We had our best year ever in 2021. It declined a bit.

had a COVID peak. So while everyone else's business is struggling and it was a difficult time, ours was game busters.

So it was a really weird time. So yeah, mean, that was a real push in 2020 and 2021 in terms of growth for our company.

@11:26 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

One of the things you mentioned too is when you kind of started this out, you went from corporate to the Philippines and you started this.

How did you fund it? Did you just go bootstrapped it? did you get some venture backing funding?

@11:39 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, bootstrapped. So we built the business from scratch. so that's why it took quite bit longer. I'm a big believer in bootstrapping.

I think I prefer it between raising venture. One of the benefits of bootstrapping is that you're not forced to grow, where you have investors breathing down your neck to take a 5% chance at a 100%

100x exit, right or whatever, which is good odds. Like you should probably take that bet, but I don't want to risk the farm.

We, Joe and I, my business partner, didn't want to risk the farm on this company. We put lot of blood, sweat and tears on the tubes.

We were able to grow it a bit more cautiously than investors might require. Now, I think that was, it felt right and was a good move at the time, but there are businesses that require like larger amounts of capital to get started.

So either in very fast growing industries where you're competing with people like at a very high level in situations where there's just a ton of infrastructure and needs to be built up or a lot of research behind a lot in the medical field, for example.

So we weren't in that boat and didn't require the investment, which was helpful.

@12:47 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, you know, and I think that's a, you know, you brought up a very, very valid point. A lot of, you know, the folks that are interested in entrepreneurship, I don't mean this in a malice way against venture capitalists, but their goal is to make money.

And so when they're going in and they're helping you financing, their end goal is to get recoup that money back as quickly as possible.

Whether that was aligned with your goals or not makes a little difference sometimes to them, their goal is to kind of finalize that deal and get that funding back, right?

Because that's added to their risk and they were trying to close their risk as soon as possible. So again, to each their own, everybody should go down every route they want to explore.

But just be mindful when you're going down that venture capital route, making sure that the venture capitalists you are working with, their goals align with your goals.

Because at the end of the day, they're usually not just investing in you as an individual, but they're also investing in your brand, your operations, right?

If they see something of value within the organization that they can improve, like Justin mentioned, and you can come on the website and just put a little tweaks here, help a little operational support here.

@13:58 - Justin Cooke

And now you've got a viable multi-millionaire. on our revenue business. If they're able to see that they'll do it.

But again, sometimes it comes at the cost of the entrepreneur's own kind of mission and driven in values. Well, that's true for raising investment and working with VC funds or private equity groups forever.

It's also very much true for selling your business, maybe little less so. here's because we saw a lot of online businesses and depending on the business, you're going to have some involvement in the transition of the business.

Potentially, they're going to hold you on because you're going to retain seller equity and they're going to need you at an advisory or an employee position or just to help them reach earn out targets so you can get the rest of your money out or whatever the business.

you're going to work with this investor or buyer. So you need to make sure that you're vibing as the kids say today.

@14:46 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

But you need to make sure it's cool, right?

@14:49 - Justin Cooke

You agree with their mission that you think their strategies sound like it's important. And even if it's an all cash offer, there's going to be at least a couple of months typically, a couple of months transition where

@15:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You're going to want to make sure that you guys are on the same page. yeah, very, very good point.

know, starting your business obviously has its rewarding moments. What are some aspects that you found relatively easy or enjoyable during the early stages of your entrepreneurial journey?

@15:14 - Justin Cooke

I liked building an audience, right, building traction. We'd, you know, Joe and I had always kind of operate in business, which is wrong, but this is how we thought.

was like, look, you know, if you find something that works, that makes money, shut your mouth, make your money, don't tell anyone about it.

Like just kind of like, keep it quiet, keep it silent, know, not really transparent about it at all. And we had an opportunity with Empire Flippers because it was kind of like a side gig, something we were trying out.

was more of a trial of something than like everything, you know, of ours initially, because we sold our outsourcing company, that was kind of making the main money, making our, you know, paying our bills.

And so we were able to like, try something. And what we were able to do is like, we had this way of building sites that was probably

possible. Instead of just shutting our mouths and building them, we said, look, why don't we just talk about it very publicly?

We're not going to hide it behind a paywall. We're not going to charge people for the information in ebook or course or whatever.

We're just going to lay it all out there. Here's how we do our keyword research. Here's how we build our websites.

Here's how we monetize them, everything. 90% of the audience, they're not going to buy websites from us. But 10% will.

more we build that audience, the more buyers, we're ultimately going to build for our what became our marketplace. The cool thing about that is the 90% didn't buy from us, but they were following our process and shouting to the rooftops about, this is cool, these guys are on to something.

They'd help promote our brand through word of mouth without our doing anything. We end up meeting a bunch of future partners out of that kind of content, whether it's through our podcast or our blog.

We talked about failures we had where we got sued, where we got scammed. We talked very openly and honestly about these things.

It's our business and it really resonated with people that are like, damn, that's real. I've gone through that or I've been through a situation like that.

The you don't talk about is the stuff people want to hear. You know what I mean?

@17:11 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, it's true. In fact, that's a good point and kind of leads me to my next question. Entrepreneurship comes with its fair share of challenges.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you face in your entrepreneurship profession?

@17:23 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, I think there's a whole bunch. I mentioned shutting down the office is pretty terrible. One of the things we dealt with more recently was Joe and I had gone through the process of potentially selling a portion of our company.

It was a little less than 50% and we were deep into it nine, ten months. Even though we advised people in selling their business, we used advisors ourselves and we were in the process.

Met with their management and the private equity groups multiple times with our whole management team. Everyone's remote so we had to fly them all into the US a couple of times and put everything in the air as a real hassle and we got toward the end and the deal didn't happen.

This was January, 2022. And we've been through a nine month process. were a couple of weeks away from finalizing the APA and everything done.

they bailed. Smartly, I'd add to our business decline after that. So a smart move on their part, but horribly devastating from my business partner and I.

I mean, just put us in such a funk. And so we had a problem where we were rudderless, we were captainless, and we kind of back from the business.

And didn't pull back a bit over the years, but pulled back even more. so we left this situation where our management team was kind of vying for leadership.

And we weren't kind of like filling the leadership role. And they were frustrated with us about that. And they were kind of competing against each other.

Because we were like, we don't know what's going to happen. And so this is kind of a very specific problem.

But us kind of going through that funk and leaving our business kind of rudderless left us in a position where our managers were competing against each other and working my business partner and I to see.

who would kind of come out on top and run stuff. until we figured that out, it took months in our funk to kind of like come out of it and say, Hey, it's us.

You know, business partner, I screw in this up. They're doing everything they're supposed to do. They're trying to run the business and make everything happen and like get us back on track and we're screwing up.

So we had to like grab each other and say, Hey, man, we got to get back into this. We got to figure out how we're going to run this going forward because this isn't working.

So that was, that was, happened last year, 2023.

@19:29 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

And you know, I got to say, that's one that having that insight into understanding like, you know what we're screwing up, got our staff over here busting our and we're over here screwing around.

It's us that needs to fix it. And sometimes I think, you know, from the entrepreneurship world, that is a very difficult thing to say, right?

Because in the entrepreneurship world, we're always the best. We'd wanted to, we always want to succeed. always moving forward.

However, we do have our folks.

@19:55 - Justin Cooke

We do have those moments.

@19:56 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

How do you guys get out of that?

@19:58 - Justin Cooke

How do you get out of the funk? Yeah, I think it's helpful. So I tried it. I don't always do this, but I tried to take the philosophy of like, you know, when when something's going badly or when there's a problem, like ultimately Joe and I are responsible for that.

Right. And if I try to do it, it's me that's responsible for that. And even even things that are that are outside of our control and there are things that happen outside of your control right there's market conditions, whatever pandemic.

Yeah. Right. And I still try look at that. Okay. Well, yes, the pandemic happened, but what was my or our response to it?

Like, how could we have handled that better? How could we have done better there? And so also on the flip side of that too, when things are going well, I'll pat myself on the back a little bit, take a little bit of pride in that, but also realize that there's a lot of a lot going on.

Right. And so, you know, people ask, how did you do this? And can people recreate the process? like, well, yes, we worked hard and these are the things we did and it worked for us, but it does not, it's not guaranteed to work for you.

Right. we got lucky because we took a lot of shots at it, right. we continue to put our head down, got through the dip, but it doesn't, you know,

are people that try to do that and don't, it doesn't work for them. So I try to take too much credit when things go well and try to take all the responsibility when things go bad.

don't always do that right. I don't always accomplish that. That's where I try to comment it from. I think it makes you really look at kind of like where you could have done better and not be too high on your horse when things are going well.

@21:21 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, no, it's kind of interesting, right? You're kind of talking, you have this moment where you guys are down on your luck.

You guys are, you know, the business is kind of flailing in a way. How did you rebuild the brand?

@21:33 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, it was difficult. So what we realized is, you know, we have a manager between this done a really good job of kind of running our business for the last couple of years.

mean, Joe and I are involved, like from an advisory perspective, but on the day to day, we're not there.

So we effectively pick someone's Andy Allie way to run Empire Flippers. He runs an internally, does all the weekly meetings with everyone and seem like a great pick.

Joe and I, when we run into like stalemates as a business partnership by putting in and charge, he can really kind of navigate a smaller ship because we were, you know, in 2021, we were larger than we are today.

And so we kind of went from going to be a much larger HR corporate company to a smaller, more nimble ship.

And so we need one person that can kind of more quickly make decisions that can turn us around faster.

And so that's kind of what we chose, and we still are able to advise him, what's the challenge now is determining like, when do we step in with Andy and say, no, no, I don't think you should do this.

Here's our reasons why toward letting him have enough rope. Right. And so those are new challenges and like, how do you advise on a business versus running it?

And I don't have that figured out, honestly, we're, that's that's something we're going through now. Yeah. So so that's kind of where we are now with Empire Flippers.

On the flip side, you know, we have another company, let me let me explain. Yeah. Part of like brokering, uh, internet businesses is that there's a limit to how many people, um, have the time.

and were the skills to buy an online business. Like a number of years ago, my aunt came to me and said, hey, I love what you're doing.

I've got money put away. I'd like to buy an online business that I can tinker with that I can work with.

But she has no internet business skills, right? She doesn't know domain hosting. She doesn't know anything about it. And I'm like, sorry.

You just need to go to these sites. send them elsewhere to go learn, right? her a go to learn every niche pursuit, smart path of income, whatever.

then come back to me and you got the skills. But that's kind of crappy because we're sending people money and an interest in investing away.

So we're like, what can we do about this? mean, because there's a limited amount of people that have the skills to buy business that's growing, but it's not very wide.

And so we end up creating a company called So basically it's another marketplace, but it pairs investors, people looking for passive investments with all these experienced operators.

know, over the decade, more than a decade we've been doing this, we have all these people that have successfully run businesses, small businesses, bop businesses, grown businesses.

this unique network of operators. We're like, look, what if we compare the investors with the operators? Operators put up some of their cash and then investors put in the rest to make a passive investment for them, give them quarterly distributions.

So we've done that since over the last three years and we've raised right around $33 million for a number of operators.

They've acquired about 40 assets or so and so we run them a portfolio. So that's kind of how we went from Empire Flippers with I think, there's limited amount of buying pool to Web Street where we can match a ton of investors, capital is looking for yield.

So a ton of that with a number of operators that is limited and that's kind of our value on that side of things is we've got a bunch of operators who got a nice pool to pick from in terms of people that are experienced.

@24:52 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Nice, I think that's interesting because you really kind of used a lot of your old expertise and experience to kind of create

all of this, you know, empire flippers and now you're almost like a holding company, right? Which is really, really cool because I think that's exactly where I kind of see vision, you know, long term, right?

Now, what, with all of this, you know, insight and experience, you know, what valuable experience with your own valuable experience, what advice would you give, you know, aspiring entrepreneurs that are thinking of jumping into the entrepreneurial, you know, deep end, so to speak?

@25:28 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, I think, I think particularly if young, I think it changes as you get older, have children, know, married, have children, have other responsibilities.

But if you're in your 20s, even early 30s, be super bold, be bold, right? Everyone, you know, you kind of have this kind of career path or even an entrepreneurial path that you think is kind of laid out.

Like, you have to start here and then you go here and then you can level up and finally you can just, the dig podcasting, for example, you're like, look, maybe I'll start off with the

Like the smaller guys and then like I work my way up to the guys with a bigger audience and then I'll approve myself.

Now Burger King, I'll work in the fries and then you can work good. Anything. And there's no path. There's no requirement that you start off as the fry guy or you start off with a small entrepreneur.

I mean, reach, reach, right? So maybe you're not going to get Elon Musk that first time. You might get someone else.

Maybe you can get Seth Godin. Maybe you can get other like crazy, like well-known entrepreneurs on your first podcast if you really take a stab at it.

So I'd say particularly if you're young, take a stab. I'd also say it is and this is from personal experience, it's really nice to make dollars and spend pesos or whatever.

So I know a lot of entrepreneurs, I've traveled a lot over the last 10 years. There's lot of entrepreneurs in places like Chang Mai, Thailand, right?

is the north of Thailand, the weather's decent, the better than Bangkok. And there's just a ton of entrepreneurs up there hustling, right?

they're paying not much money to put, you know, $300 a month for a cool apartment. They're eating $5 meals and $3 meals.

they've got a maid that cleans their place for $10 a week or whatever. You go over there with $15, $20, $30,000.

And you've got way more runway than you would in San Francisco or even places like Austin. So I mean, you can go over there with $25,000 and have a year, year and a half of runway, right?

Which gives you 12 to 18 months to figure out and try to make it work. Now you've got a hustle.

You can't go over there and just hang out and had tile day. But it gives you an opportunity if you really want to be an entrepreneur to get more runway than you would have otherwise.

@27:36 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah. And in fact, folks, if you have not had the opportunity to visit Thailand and visit Chiang Mai, I highly recommend it.

The Blue Moon Party is something you should definitely do once in your life. That is the New Year's party there.

And it is phenomenal. And I also want to apologize for folks listening. said younger earlier, I met anybody under the age of 100, is in my fact, younger to me.

So please don't scourful me. It's a school. me online for saying younger because again, all anybody can be an entrepreneur at any age you can step into start doing this business.

And I really like Justin's advice, know, be bold no matter what it is you do, try to be bold in doing it.

Because again, innovative and thoughts, you know, I think I talked about this on a previous episode is, you know, we're always taught at very young age to stop, stop imagining, you know, stop being, stop drawing, stop, you know, getting your head out of the clouds kind of thing.

And I would encourage you to keep keeping your head in the clouds, keep innovating, keep imagining, keep trying to do things differently.

Because, you know, there's like, like Justin said, you know, one thing led to another, which led to another and it just continues to spiral in different things.

But it's all because he took the time and said, you know what, let me think about this. Oh, wait, this is an opportunity right here that we can explore, you know, and also failing.

Failing is part of that journey as well. But don't get stuck up on the phone. Like Justin mentioned, you know, sometimes you're going hit, you're going to hit a Brock bottom.

But there's also people around They're going to be there to help you bring you up. You know, it's usually your partner, your friends, your colleagues, you know, sharing your thoughts and ideas always important.

As Justin was also mentioning, you know, making sure you're previously, I would, I would agree back in the day.

was like, Oh, this is my thought. This is my idea. Some on, I can't share my thought and my entrepreneurial thought idea with anybody.

Cause they're going to go steal it. They're going to go make the business. Guess what, folks? Nobody's going to steal your thoughts or business because it's really expensive to start a business.

And if you have the passion for it, nobody will do it better than you.

@29:29 - Justin Cooke

That's always cute. You know, someone's just starting off when they're like, you know, I've got this idea, but I need to sign an NDA or I need this and these protections in place before I even talk to you about it.

I mean, it's like, Oh, I know where you're at. Like you're just, you're early stage or just you're, you're thinking you got this crazy idea and you don't want to share with anyone.

When really that, they think that golden goose is the idea. That's not true though, right? The idea is the egg.

Why the idea creation, the execution, that's your golden goose. That's what's going to keep delivering. Never in golden egg after golden egg.

@30:01 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Very true. Now to suggest and what's next? What's next for empire flippers and what's next for just and cook?

@30:07 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, so we're growing. We continue grow empire flippers. We're currently raising another round for West Street. We're going continue to grow both those businesses.

We're always looking at new ideas. think finances is of interest. think, you know, additional finance for buying online businesses will help to raise multiples for sellers, uh, well, to get more deals done and provide more liquidity to the market.

So I think they'll be really helpful. We're looking at ways to do that. Personally, I want to get back to doing what you're doing.

I used to run a podcast and I loved it, man. I love talking to cool entrepreneurs and having a good time.

I love like getting better at asking questions. And I feel like there's, it's pretty saturated, but I think, I think there's some interesting things to say and some interesting things to like ask entrepreneurs that, uh, that would provide some value of market.

So I'm working on a, working on a podcast right now that hopefully I'll have out in few months.

@30:54 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I love it. In fact, folks, this is a great time to plug the shades of entrepreneurs. mentorship newsletter where their

this information will be. You can visit the shades of to subscribe to the newsletter. I'll have Justin's information.

We'll also have information about Empire Flippers. And Justin, please let me know when that podcast airs.

@31:10 - Justin Cooke

I'm happy to make sure it posts it and kind of let the folks know the audience know that it's available.

Now, Justin, before we go, how can the audience get ahold of you? they're interested in Empire Flippers, maybe they're interested in getting contact with you directly, how can they contact you?

Yeah, if you want to buy businesses or potentially sell your business, take a look at We got a bunch of listings there.

also really good for like aspiration to kind of see kind of what's out there and what businesses are going for.

If you're looking for passive investment and you're looking for cash flow or you want to be an operator, you've got some experience running online businesses and you want to help like raising money from investors, go over to, and you can fill out the information there.

@31:48 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Take a Perfect. again, folks, visit the shades of and subscribe to the newsletter because this information will be on that.

Justin, thank you again so much for joining the show. I really do appreciate it. It really cool what you guys doing.

think again, finding value in a web page and being able to flip it and sell it, it's just, it's really fascinating to me.

it is a truly, I know a couple of people that have done it in the past and then very lucrative thing to do as well.

you know, congratulations on all your guys' success. If I got to Thailand again, I'll definitely let you know because man, I do love visiting Chang Mai or where you're at, actually you're currently down in Texas, correct?

@32:23 - Justin Cooke

Yeah, I'm in Houston. I'm going to be here till probably July or so this year and then I'll head over to Asia, do some like Manila, probably Bangkok.

@32:31 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

My wife's from the Philippines, we'll visit some family over there. My business partners in Manila is based there. So, I'll hang on there for a bit.

Nice. I'll be in London, and London, Greece and Paris and Long Beach this summer, this June.

@32:44 - Justin Cooke

So, June, don't call me in June, folks. I'm out of here. Well, thanks Gabriel so much and thanks for Shades of Entrepreneurship.

I think it's a great, great community, great channel.

@32:52 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Thanks, buddy. Yes, no. For those listening, again, please subscribe at can also find us on the social sites, LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook,

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