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I wanted to know how all of us can find new opportunities to make money online in this new economic environment. So I connected with Greg Monterrosa who built the 8-figure company from scratch.

Money was so tight in the beginning, he had to sleep in his office for the first six months. Greg had a lot of practical advice as far as retraining, reskilling and, most importantly, changing your mindset.


Greg Monterrosa online:

The hustle free business news: business opportunities paid newsletter 14-day trial for $1: (full disclosure: if you sign up through this link I'll get a couple bucks)

Recession-proof skills My First Million Podcast episode - highly recommended: buy and sell online businesses:

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Welcome to the addicted to learning podcast. My name is Gabriel Horvat, and each week I get to bring you inspiring stories. Lessons learned and insights from people who forged their own paths in life. Appreciate you guys spending time with me today. Let's get right to it. This is episode number two with startup community builder, Greg Monterrosa.

Before I get into his background. I just want to say how much I enjoyed this episode. Greg is such a fun guy and he just brings that energy. Greg Monterosa has mentored hundreds of startups in the U S and overseas. He's the founder of one of the nation's largest leading business formation companies. My

He's also the founder and community manager of hub one Oh one hub one Oh one is a nonprofit startup incubator and co-working space in the greater Los Angeles area. And this episode, Greg and I talk about actionable steps people can take right now as far as making money online, no matter your background, how I should get started marketing my podcast and how to cold email people the right way without further ado.

Here's my man, Greg Monterosa. Greg. Thank you so much for coming on the show. So happy to be here. Thanks for having me here, Gabriel. Yeah, totally. Um, so yeah. How do you maybe want to, um, start off by just giving us a short, quick backstory about who you are, what you're up to these days? Um, just so people can get a general idea of.

Yeah, what you're about. So my name is Greg and my passion lies in two places. It's like startups and tacos. Um, I was born and raised here in Los Angeles. So tacos street tacos are a staple in our diet. So, uh, so then that led me to my startup career, right. Or my startup life. Um, at an early age, I was working for a big company.

We built them an amazing product. Um, I didn't like how they compensated me financially. And the CEO was like, you should go work for a startup. So he told me what a startup was, and this was like 12 years ago. So that led me to go launch my own company and the company's, my We help people set up corporations and LLCs, and that's been an awesome ride.

We wrote the book LLC for dummies. Our team continues to grow. Um, a few years ago I replaced myself. So I've called the E-bay playbook where you bring in somebody smarter than you to help you grow your business. So, uh, they did that with Meg Whitman. She came in, bought PayPal, cleaned them up and turn them into the machine they are now.

Right. So, so yeah, harden my replacement. And then after that I was managing musicians going on tours. And, uh, that led me to purchase a one way ticket to Paris. Yes. And, um, then you obviously started investing into European startups. Um, which, um, I'm German myself. So I love it when people come from around the world to like check out Europe and get this European experience.

Right. Um, yeah. So, my attitude with that was let me go somewhere to be uncomfortable, right? And well, I don't know anybody. So before I left for Paris, I emailed a bunch of VC groups and accelerators incubators co-working spaces tapped into the startup weekend network. And I was like, look, I'm this startup fanatic from LA coming out to Paris.

I'd love to bring your startups value. And they received me with open arms. Let's actually talk about this because, uh, prior to starting, um, the podcast, we're talking about cold, cold emailing and reaching out to people you want to connect with and how that's really uncomfortable. Um, obviously you've been doing this a lot.

You're like, like a sales and marketing pro you know, having done this awesome company, um, What are like maybe your top two or three tips or takeaways as far as cold emailing and connecting with people. So to me, LinkedIn is my favorite CRM in the world. So on LinkedIn, I can go on there and I can identify people based on city, based on companies.

And so I'm going to leverage that, right? It's a free tool that's available to all of us. So, so I went down that LinkedIn rabbit hole and, and I started connecting with people through people. Um, I started asking friends of mine that were connected to people. If they could make introductions for me. And here's why, and the vibe was, I don't need anything from you.

I need to bring, I want to bring your life value. VC or accelerator group kind of vibe is awesome, right? Because people are used to getting emails where they're like, Hey, I need something from you. Please respond or click this link to buy my course. Right. Okay. Let me just like, let me just, um, I'm sorry to interrupt, but like, okay.

So how about I'm a 20 year old dude? Like, I haven't really done shit in my life, but I have all those successful people. I look up to that I want to connect to and I know I can send, I'll bring value. I'm hungry, I'm passionate. I'm driven, but maybe I'm not the most skilled person yet. How do I, what do I do?

W w what's the, what's the actual email look like? Okay. So, so an email like that, I'd, I'd go along the lines of like, What is something you need help with right now? So, um, I have a case I have this really good friend of mine. Bob, Bob's a billionaire. And this one time I had one of, uh, one of my doers sticking around and he really didn't have anything going on.

And so I'm like, Hey, go ask Bob, what do you need help with right now? So long story short, Bob just needed. He bought a whole bunch of new Mac equipment and he just needed a dialed in. And so he hired this person to Dow his equipment in and then eventually asked him, Hey, what's your career path? What do you want in life?

And then was able to get him there immediately. So you want him to go work at this big investment firm and be this guy? So he was like, you know what? I know somebody there. So he came with that gift first attitude. Right. So he approached Bob and was like, Hey Bob, what do you need help with right now? Yeah.

And Bob was able to identify like, Tell him his needs, where most people at his capacity are used to people coming up to them and say, Hey Bob, can you make this introduction for me? Hey Bob, can I hold a million dollars from you? Hey, Bob, I'm trying to raise around, like, what can I do? Right. So that's how they're used to people approaching them.

But if you approach them with that gift first, just attitude, it's a game changer. Yeah. It's 20 years old for them to identify somebody or an organization and go mentor somebody in their organization. Or ask them if they can connect them to a mentor, people are happy to connect people. So I have people reach out to me all the time asking me, Hey Greg, can you connect me with a mentor in this type of industry?

And I am more than happy to yeah. As opposed to, if that email were to say, Hey, Greg, I need to sell something to somebody. Can you connect me to them? It's a little tough. Yeah. Yeah. Cause it sounds like you're based. Exactly. Like I've been, I've been at this cold emailing, you know, game for like one or two weeks now.

Like I literally just started with podcasting and people are so giving and so helpful. Like I get the attitudes, like people want the pay it forward. Right. So imagine if your attitude with me would have been like, Hey Greg, click here to go buy my product. Like, Hey, Greg, love what you're up to. I'd love to have you as a guest, you brought my life value.

Right? So that response was immediate. Yeah, not in your heart when you're drafting that cold email of how is this person going to win with me and his life. I know how I'm going to win with them in my life, but how are they going to win with me in their life? And so let me hit that first. Yeah. That's awesome.

That's so good. Like I'm literally feeling compelled to write this down right now. You can watch this later. Exactly. I like to rewatch it. Like there was this one instance where I ran into, uh, uh, Jaden Smith. Uh, at a juice place here in LA. Right. So I had two options. I could have either walked up to him and been like, Hey, let's take a picture.

I wouldn't be your fan. But instead I was like, Hey, what are you working on right now? And like, what do you need help with? And this was a time when he was launching his box water company. So he was like, bro, like my company is growing really fast. I don't know what I'm doing now. You know, as opposed to me approaching him as a fan, right.

I was like, no, no, I want to be an ally. I want to bring your life value. So again, that give first attitude goes a long way with the cold email, a hundred percent, like a hundred percent. Um, so, uh, what was I gonna say? Um, Wait, did I just leave you speechless? Yeah,

I was like, let's see what he's going to tell me about, you know, out of cold email people. And you're kind of like, well, back to the story. So I'm in Paris, I'm working with startups, I'm bringing them value. And this university in Los Angeles hits me up and they're like, Hey Greg, we have this amazing entrepreneurship center.

Help us come bring it to life. Yeah. So I bought a ticket back to LA and lived in a motel for a few months and was able to bring this space to life that turned into a hub one Oh one. So the attitude there was to be a resource to founders to help them create launch and grow their businesses. Yeah. And that was a really beautiful adventure.

I was a part of that for three, four years and watched it grow. We became one of the best places to work, um, was recognized, um, by local people, government people, it's beautiful. Like the value you can bring founders and how long that can go. Yeah. Yeah. Can you, um, can you sort of actually, let me, let me pick your brain for a second here because let's do it.

Yeah. So. Um, as far as I'm just going to self, uh, selfishly, um, you know, use the moment. Um, so, uh, cold, cold, cold emailing, uh, for, for podcasting marketing for podcasting. Right? So knowing what you know now with your like decades of sales and marketing experience, how would you market a podcast in 2020 with zero budget?

I would leverage relationships. So I know friends that are running podcasts that will create fake ads, uh, just to get you want to advertise on their podcast to engage, right. They'll blend in like fake ads with real ads in hopes of that company they're reaching out to them or their competitor reaching out to them.

He has it as a script of like, Hey, your competitors advertising with us. Would you like to jump on our next episode? Oh, right. Uh, so you know, this guy, Jesse Itzler that's, that's literally, I was listening to a podcast the other day with him and he was like, literally calling up, I think Pepsi and telling them like, yeah, Coke is about to, you know, sign this ad deal with us.

And that's how he got his business started. Right. Right. So like that's one attitude. Another attitude is, do you know that 98% of text messages are opened? And the click-through rate on a text message is ridiculous. And how few people are leveraging that tool. That's there we go. We do every, every other method, but text message, right?

So it'll be like, Oh, I'm going to do a Facebook campaign. I'm going to do an Instagram campaign. I'm going to do an email campaign. Meanwhile, if you open up your contacts and you scroll all the way to the bottom of your context, you'll see how many contexts you have in your phone. And ones that are out there in the world have hundreds, if not thousands of contacts in our phone.

So then when you think about what percentage of these contacts am I actually touching or have a relationship with, I'm going to guess it's like three to 5% of these people. Yeah. So the power of text message, the power of text message telling you like this buddy of mine was having these communities, zoom, Hangouts, and no one was showing up until we started texting people to link as the event was happening.

Uh, the click-through rate is just like you can't beat the click-through rate on a text message. Hmm Hmm. Yeah. So that's, that's also why people like Gary Vaynerchuk started being all about text all the time. Right? Right. So I'm been working with a startup called SuperPhone, um, founded by Ryan, Leslie.

Who's a rock star in the music industry and it's a CRM for text messaging. Huh that's that's yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. So something podcasters should think about is how do I leverage my existing contacts, people that mess with me, you know, like I played this game in my phone where, um, when I'm sitting there doing like not nothing, but when I'm like, Oh, let me go on, take talking brows, pull up your text message type in a random letter and send a text message to somebody.

Within that field. Yeah. And just ask them how they're doing, what they're working on, because I need to be touching people in my contact list. Yeah. So yeah. A free hack to grow your audience would be like leverage the existing people that mess with you. Yeah. Yeah. And then have them subscribe, have them go do the reviews because these people love you.

These people are in your contact list. So like if you shoot me a text and you're like, Hey Greg, go a review and subscribe to my podcast. If you email it to me, a cool story, bro. If you text it to me, right? Yeah. So like in order for your podcast to trend, like it has to have a lot like subscribers and reviews when episodes come out, so you to do that double campaign.

Right. So I'm going to promote my episode and I'm going to promote the subscribe and review our podcast so that it charts and the Apple picks it up. Yeah. Or something that's trending, it's like that hand to hand combat in the beginning. Right. That's what you gotta do. You gotta put in the hours, right?

Like just text hundreds of people. Call hundreds of people. Right. Knock on doors. Right. Sorry. That's displayed, you know? Yeah. So grow your podcast real quick. Leverage your contact lists. Yeah. Cool. Cool. That's good. So let's kind of switch gears a little, um, cause obviously we're recording this in, uh, late May, 2020, there's the Corona virus crisis happening right now.

A lot of people are losing jobs, um, scary times, um, knowing what you know now, if you had to start all over, how would you make your first $1,000 online? Oh, so the Risa hustle is there, right? Like given I could go out there then a couple of bucks and make a couple bucks. Right. But what I would do is I would leverage a platform like Flippa F L PPA.

Right. So what Flippa is, it's a platform where people sell websites, apps, and I would set my budget to whatever money I had there. Right. And then you get the demographics for that website. Here's the users or the game. Here's how many people are playing the game. And here's how we're monetizing the game.

Here's how much revenue has been coming in. So I will start there. I will start on, Flippa identify something where the UI just sucks. Come in, show us some love real quick, you know, put lipstick on the pig and then put it out or another cool hack is. So if you have an app developer account, you can sort by, uh, the last time somebody updated their app.

So like, imagine that really smart person who built that really cool app whose user interface just sucks. So many of those people for me to, so for me to come in understand like how complicated what they built is, but the user interface just sucks. They haven't updated it in over a year for me to offer them a couple hundred bucks is not unreasonable because they're like, Hey, I haven't been doing anything with it.

So yeah, here take it. Jump on a platform like Fiverr or Upwork, have somebody with the skills come in, clean it up for us relaunch. Yeah. So I'm going to take life into my own hands is what I'm getting at. Like, yes, I can go out there, apply for a job, make a thousand dollars two weeks later, but like almost survival, this, like, we're going to go out there.

We're going to flip it. We're going to generate it. We're going to grow it. We're going to launch it right. And identifying opportunities. So a lot of people are like, Hey, focus on what you're passionate about. But passion typically doesn't pay the bills. So the attitude is like, you focus on opportunity.

Where does the biggest problem lie? So for me, it was exciting when I saw all my friends go from like the DJ to now he's selling masks. You know what I'm saying? Like they adapt, like they refuse to die. They're not going to wait for something to happen or unhappen right. They're going to reinvent themselves.

They're going to go out there and solve a big problem. And like, those are the people that we see in our social media feeds, right? The people that are making things happen right now. Like those are the kinds of people when things are go back to normal, if they do, we need to acknowledge and remember that like, wow, it was people like Gabriel that kept me motivated and moving throughout these tough times.

You know what I'm saying? As opposed to that other person, who's quick to complain and like not make things happen for themselves. A hundred percent and it all starts with courage. Right? Right. Like the courage to take the first step to like, just take action. Like just like jump like in the, in the, like throw yourself in the deep end.

Right? Oh. It's like that experience of like jumping off a cliff into a beautiful body of water. How, how scared and frightened you are up there and people have done it before you people will do it after you. Right. But it's like us taking that step. Deb. And then once we take that step, the excitement, the fear turns into excitement and then the excitement turns into pleasure.

Right? Exactly. So like, let's carry that into life. Like if there's moments where I'm scared, then something exciting is going to happen. That's going to lead to something.

Sure. Yeah, fear, fear. Fear is good. Especially, uh, especially in this day and age where like there's no like tigers or lions chasing you. It's just like, you know, you know, most likely you're going to be fine. Oh, how about this? It's your subconscious is chasing you, like, like, like that, that dialogue you have in your head when you're in the shower or when you're in the car, you know, when you're laying in bed, that dialogue that happens in your head where they're like.

Oh, my God, you're going to die. This Corona is going to be the worst. Like when the Corona first hit, I think I diagnosed my son with the Corona virus every other day. He'd be like, that's it I'm dying. Like, am I dying? But that's just my conscious, like messing with me. Yeah. So like when you stand that, we create that dialogue in our own heads.

Right. So where it's like, all right, let me turn this fear into something. Yeah. So, yeah, massive Nestor. The subconscious and fear will just be a passing. Something that just passes by. I was just actually listening to this other, um, just referencing so many podcasts today, but do you know Sam Parr of the hustle?

No, I know. Oh, you got to check him out. So he's like a very gifted, um, communicator. Um, he has this content company, the hustle where it's like a paid newsletter, all about trends and business opportunities. I'm a subscriber. And. Um, super valuable stuff. And he has a podcast also called my first million and he did this episode about like recession proof skills.

And, um, so essentially, you know, sales, marketing, influencing people copywriting, but also controlling your emotions. Being able to like push through the fear and, um, just like do it even if it's uncomfortable and. I feel like a lot of people just need to writ a need to really like hit their personal version of rock bottom.

Right. That's certainly been the case for me, where I had to hit my own rock bottom, bottom, uh, in order to then, um, you know, continuously like execute even though like it's uncomfortable as fuck. And it hurts. Right. So, so imagine the era that we're going into. So like a lot of people. 2020 have hit their rock bottom, emotionally, financially relationship wise, financially.

Right. So businesses are going down. Like a lot of people are hitting their rock bottoms right now. So it's going to be exciting and beautiful to see like what flourishes out of this and how are we going to thrive as a community. Right. And then utilizing platforms like this, like when we think about like our parents day and age, like.

Writing letters sending that fax, you know what I'm saying? Like we have all these tools at our disposal that allow us to connect with the global company. Yeah. This would have been possible like 10 years ago, even. Right. Anybody's feeling any, like if anybody's feeling like down, they're not feeling right.

Or they know that they're not at their best right now. Like those are the kind of people I want sliding into my DMS. Because it was like people I love like dialoguing with and getting them out of that. Um, because I still get like messages from people that like, I brought value to their life just by asking them what's good.

And they're like, wow. That one moment, like really like shook me up or like put me into the right mind frame to like get after it and not be a victim. Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent, a hundred percent, um, though, sometimes to kind of like maybe, um, look at another perspective, like, what do you say to someone like a 40 year old, um, 40 year old Sally, somewhere working in the Midwest or really anywhere for that matter?

Uh, she's been working, you know, maybe in retail for 10 plus years. Um, all, all of a sudden, you know, the retail stores are closing because of, uh, Corona. And she has to figure something out. Maybe she has like two, three months, uh, living expenses in the bank, but that's it like, what's what sort of like your, um, your recommendation, like how she started.

All right. So first things first, I want identify new skills. All right. So if I'm going from retail into like what the new world is going to look like, like I need to learn new skills, right. So. You go on places like a Coursera, you Demi Khan Academy and you identify something that peaks your interest, a field that you would like to go into, right?

And then you have platforms like remote work up work that, that allow people to work remotely. So what's happening right now is a lot of small communities are being shaken up because a lot of their retail establishments are closing down. Yeah. So like if I'm in retail right now and I need to rethink literally my career path, but like where things are right now.

Right. So a lot of retail is going to close at once. This is said and done, and it's happening now with, uh, Neiman Marcus shutting down and companies like JC penny going bank, like it's happening. So we're going to need jobs. So what I would say to them is go on Khan Academy, learn a skill, whether it's a learn, how to clean up a photo or learn how to edit video or the other day, I was on a customer service call with Apple.

And I asked this lady, where are you? And she's like, I'm working out of my house. And I was like, what a cool opportunity, right? Like you, you dialing your workstation at home and like you are a survivor, you know? So there's a lot of remote work that that's available out there. So like a lot of these companies are switching, like from call centers, into giving people the option to work remotely.

Yeah, so like don't die, go out there and like Google search, uh, remote work jobs. And there are plenty of companies out there. Like didn't Twitter just commit Twitter. Just said like all of our employees can work remote. And definitely if they want to Facebook saying, we're going to, we're going to phase into remote work.

I think it's like 20, 24, half of their workforce will be remote. So like that's the new world we're entering in. Right. So Sally, you're going to be okay. Go get yourself an inexpensive computer and download zoom and get your skills up and know that there's going to be work available out there. There's work available out there for remote customer service or remote sales, remote engineering, right.

It's out there. So don't that? Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I love this. I love this, you know, Sally, you're going to be okay.

Oh man. So, um, um, what was I going to say actually, cause I'm personally really interested in this. How did you make your first dollar online? I sold the website.

So this was, this was the era where like you would just go online and buy domain names and, uh, create a portfolio of domain names. So, so yeah, somebody ended up paying me $600 for like this $30 domain name I bought that just made no sense.

And I think I was like 17 at the time. So that was exciting for me to, to understand the value of commerce online. Right? Yeah. Nothing more rewarding than like hearing that touching hit your, your notifications. It's so magical when you get this email and it says like, you know, you got money and like, you didn't do anything like in there, like you obviously did something in the real world.

Right. But it feels sort of like this virtual thing yet you get real money. That's why putting in that work is so crucial. You know, like I have friends that are, that have developed courses and I have friends that have talked about developing courses. You know what, and it's those people that actually put those hours in to develop that course, to get it out there, to build that product, to build that subscription model out.

Right. Like it's there, but you just have to put in the work. So like lately I've been diving into like no code coding. Ooh. Yeah. Let's talk about that. So like talk about a great time to live in, right. We're like, I can pretty much put an app together that I can monetize without zero skills and I can go into the app store and I can see what's trending so I can see, like, this is what people want.

Like talk about being able to leverage, right? So there's a lot of like no code platforms. Uh, there's no code academies being launched now, one kicked off here in LA. Um, but yeah, it's interesting like this buddy of mine, he's a video developer. Well to Noah, uh, he, he, uh, he's a video editor. And so recently we watched a trailer online that Watson created.

So Watson's is a super computer that IBM's built. So Watson watching entire movie and then edited a trailer for it. Why? Right. So I'm jokey with Noah and I'm like, you better learn how to weld or something, bro, because Watson coming for your job.

Oh man. Yeah. But it's like, you know, that's the beautiful thing of being, you know, like. Alive in 2020 and beyond, like we're able to just adapt and re-skill and learn new things. Right? I mean, this is the addicted to learning podcast after. All right. It's crucial, right. To continuously learn new skills. And they don't have to be in tech like this buddy of mine had nothing going on.

Um, he shut down his startup and he went and became a lineman. So he would climb poles and fix electricity and he's making a ton of money. He's bringing value to his community. And like, he's like, wow, we have a shortage of people in our industry. So there's work outside of tech if it's really that bad.

Yeah. Yeah, there really is. There really is. Um, I feel like that's sort of like a great note to like, to end this episode on, um, before we go, like, I always have this question, this final question I ask all of my guests. Um, again, since this is the addicted to learning question app podcast, um, what is the most important thing you've learned in your life?

Greg? Oh, that it's not that serious.

Like we tend to over-complicate things in life. And sometimes, we play out scenarios in our head and in our hearts that don't exist when the reality is like, what do I want to accomplish? What do I need to do to accomplish that? And how do I build out my team? Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's such a perfect statement to, to end this episode with, um, where can people find you online, Greg?

So I'm really active on Instagram and Twitter and it's at Gregg Metro or people can visit Greg to see what I've been up to see what I'm up to and stay in touch. But yeah, if anybody wants to connect or needs a mentor, reach out. Great. And we'll link it all below in the show notes. Of course.

Um, Greg Monterosa thank you so much again for having on it was fantastic. And talk to you, I'll just say, bye. Bye.