We have the opportunity today to “read the mind” of a person who found a way to successfully mix the offline job with having an online business. He has done that for years which practically qualifies him as a master of time management. Somewhere inside the interview, John has a little teasing for us! :)
Thank you for accepting this interview, John! To get things started, I'm curious about your nickname. People call you "Doc" John Novak. Are you a Doctor in the offline world?
No, I am a Physician Assistant. I have been a PA for a bit over 25 years. Most of my career was in Emergency medicine, but the past 3 years have been in Urgent Care/Family Practice.
The nickname came about a few years ago when I was participating with several owners and Tim Tech in some planning Skype calls. After a few sessions, Justin Ledvina did not like having to denote who he was addressing, Jon Olson or me, so he said “I’m just gonna call you Dr. John, and it kind of stuck from that point on.
Close enough, you work directly with M.D.s! Can you walk us through what is a regular day for "Doc" John Novak?
So I actually have two regular routines, based on whether I am working at the clinic or not.
When I work at the clinic, I get up, go to the computer for about 40 minutes where I check email and do my daily log in at a few select sites like Click Track Profit and Adian’s Hub. Depending on how long the email takes, I will usually start off surfing the Daily Challenge site for CTP teams.
On days that I do not work at the clinic, I start the same but then move into any updates I need to do at my sites and work on any promotions that I need to set up.
You are the owner / admin of the ListBuildSurf.com traffic exchange and also have a site called XPTasker.com which leverages the experience points (XP) offered at CTP. What drove you to the traffic exchange niche?
I think what made me decide to first launch ListBuildSurf was that I wanted to offer a way to help marketers discover how important list building is as opposed to just affiliate marketing. This idea has somewhat been lost recently but will be reinforced even stronger when I launch my newest site soon. It will focus directly on list building and the tools and methods needed to do it.
I think the focus on list building and email marketing is a fraction of what it needs to be. Do you find it difficult to be both the owner and administrator of your sites, especially since you already have a job offline?
Not really. At this point in my life I generally only work about 12 shifts a month. Administrating the sites is not really work since I do enjoy it and it is a stark contrast to what I do offline. For the most part, it has taught me to manage my time more efficiently over the years.
What do you find more challenging in owning a traffic exchange: the beginning with the initial investment plus its steep learning curve? Keeping the members engaged on the long run? Keeping the business profitable after the initial boom?
The beginning is by far the easiest part, once you get things set up correctly. There is most definitely a learning curve, which I probably underestimated at the time, but I have been able to hook up with some very successful site owners and have learned much from them. Keeping members interested and engaged is the toughest job especially with all of the new competition. Once you do get to know your members, and engage them from time to time and most importantly, be available to them when they have a problem or the site has an issue.
I can't avoid this question... What do you think of the issues many TE (and other) owners have with Paypal? Would a softer approach from Paypal had been nicer (to be nice myself)?
As an independent business, PayPal can certainly make whatever decisions they feel they need to make to protect their business.
I believe the recent decision to stop accepting sites in our market was a combination of things. The Traffic Monsoon lawsuit combined with new rulings by BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION which essentially treats online payment processors the same as prepaid debit cards, and holds them responsible for fraudulent charges.
Regardless of the reasons, it would have been nice if they had at least given some warnings rather than just freeze accounts.
What's the single most important thing that gives you great satisfaction in owning an online business?
Probably the most important factor has been the ability to meet marketers from all around the world. Without this business platform, I would never have been able to meet all of the awesome and sometimes not-so-awesome people, that I have met over the years.
Final question: Please name three qualities you think an online entrepreneur should have.
- Passion. Really wanting to build a business and network with like-minded individuals
- Financial resources. This does not mean to mortgage your home, but to make sure you have enough funds set aside to launch and sustain your business for at least the first year.
- Integrity. This business is full of people who want to make a bunch of money overnight. This is not going to happen unless you are planning to scam people. You must understand that like any other business, you are not going to be making a profit for the first few years.
Thank you, John, it was great! Anything you'd like to add in closing?
I would just like to thank you, Adrian, for this opportunity to share with your members.
What can you take home from my interview with “Doc” John Novak? Here are a few key points:
- routine, great time management is your ally, not your enemy.
- in John’s words: “discover how important list building is as opposed to just affiliate marketing”
- or, mostly useful for TE owners wannabies: “Keeping members interested and engaged is the toughest job especially with all of the new competition”
- An online entrepreneur needs passion, financial resources and integrity, also said “Doc” John Novak.