Taking the Plunge & Starting a “Real Business”

Long-time readers may have observed that recently my rate of writing has decreased massively, and same for the effort I put into my posts. I also have stopped posting YouTube videos.

In fact, I’m not gonna lie- a lot of my old posts (especially from a year ago) make me cringe so much that I have seriously considered deleting them.

By not watching those videos or reading those blog posts, I’ve saved myself from my own cringe and thus have left them up, both for those that could extract value from it and as a testament to my own growth.

I’ve hinted at this before, but the reason why I’ve stopped writing so much is because I’m focused on starting a legitimate business now. And I don’t want to talk about it.

Seriously, shoot me in the balls then the brain if I start writing more about this new business that I’m starting.

One of the things my ex said of me that really stung was that I was “more talk than do.” It stung because it was true.

I was just a talker. Talking about the theory of business. Talking about the theory of marketing. The idea of getting wealth and all that crap.

For a moment I believed my own bullshit. But with the help of her truth and an icy reality check in which all my friends started making wayyy more than me, I couldn’t deny it:

I was a talker. Not a do-er.

I started out over 2 years ago way ahead of the curve. I was doing better than everyone I knew at this online marketing stuff.

But I became complacent and started talking about ideas & success, and getting too caught up with the “4 hour work week” instead of actually finding work that I was passionate about and committing to excellence.

It often felt like something was missing in my life, and I never realized that it was because I wasn’t committed to excellence in any area of my life. Working more not from a place of avoiding pain but of legitimate commitment to excellence has been one of the greatest things for my mental health.

Anyways, in the past couple years I went from being #1 of my social circle to last. Even those that were “not smarter” than me blew me away financially.

While I was stuck checking my budget when it comes to accommodation and searching for the cheapest flights, my friends could fly first class and get luxurious accommodation in first world countries.

Now I’m not saying here that I have started this new “real business” just to compete with my friends- that’s silly.

I’ve always wanted to start it. I’ve always wanted to do “real shit.” I just made excuses and got trapped in all kinds of other distractions.

My ex-girlfriend was one of those distractions and that’s no fault of her own. I didn’t have my own sense of self in the relationship, and so she became too important to me. Instead of taking alone time to work on my purpose, sheand the relationship became my purpose which was so unhealthy for both of us and unfair to her.

I’ve always been inspired to run Facebook Ads and get really, really good at them.

When I first ran my own online ads in 2016 they were a complete disaster. I spent like $75 just to make $15.

Then in 2017 I ran my own ads again while in Montreal. Surprisingly they were profitable for like the first $20- I sold a couple T-shirts online which was insanely exciting.

At that time I didn’t have a deep understanding of Facebook Ads though, and so I made some mistakes with the advertisements that led to their demise. I was tight on cash in Montreal as I was saving up for some medical treatment, and never ran ads for this business again despite it always being in my mind.

After Montreal I traveled through Europe, and let myself get too distracted by alcohol and fun and parties. It was probably a necessary thing I had to go through as I had never felt so socially connected and had so much fun in my life.

The downside to this was that I burnt down previous client relations. I vividly recall not having any WiFi in Belgium and having to frantically work to make a deadline.

In Budapest when I had WiFi again I discovered that my ads I made for this client were so awful and filled with English mistakes you would’ve thought I was an Indian scammer. It was embarrassing. I fixed the situation but the client relationship was burnt and I never received more work from them.

It was in early 2018 in Bulgaria when the stagnation really began, and thus my temporary decline. For whatever reason I stopped trying to get new clients. I made a little from Cryptocurrency investments (remember when BTC was blowing up??) but that was it.

I also had little concept of “taxes” and no clue how they worked. When it came time to pay my 2017 taxes in 2018, I thought I could write off many of the medical expenses I had- turns out my understanding of taxes was wrong, and I owed thousands to the government.

I was able to pay it, but I was complacent in replenishing my reserves. Things got dangerous when I started to spend too much in Bulgaria. Again this was me getting distracted on my relationship- I was spending too much on her and on myself and to make it very clear it was not her fault but my own.

Then when I left for Cyprus, I found myself unable to adjust to the currency exchange of Euros compared to Lev. Things were 2x more expensive, but I was too complacent to adjust my living.

It was quite unwise and I really lacked a concept of how difficult it would be to get new clients- I had gone too long in “easy mode.”

I didn’t realize it then, but I learned an important life lesson then (which you should write down):

Never, ever become complacent.

You can observe in governments, celebrities, and large corporations that they have a great product/service but then things get “too good” and they lose their roots with what originally made them successful.

They ride the wave of success, but because they’re not doing what originally made them successful their downfall is inevitable.

I was lucky to not fall completely- I always had a client which was supporting me (which was more of a remote job, to be honest).

The great mistake I made was forgetting my roots in 2018. However I should add it wasn’t all bad as I was fixing my health and social life, areas which had always lacked as well. It was likely a necessary stage in my development.

Backstory aside, here’s what happened next.

I had a big mental crash in late 2018 as my finances were tight, my relationship had ended, and I felt really crushed in Thailand. When I went back to the USA for a while I found more work and began to actually take shit seriously.

The crash served as a stark reminder to not lose my way ever again.

In fact, I now understand why you have to do what makes you feel passionate or gives value to others. When things get “good,” you get complacent if you aren’t doing something that you love.

This is so important you NEED to understand it.

You MUST find something you love or learn to be passionate about it, otherwise you will become lazy when things get “good.” You will sacrifice becoming great for being good.

The thing is, good never lasts. Being great as an ever-evolving art which takes daily practice.

Good can last a day, week, month, or even years but ultimately good runs out. Only those committed to excellence and being a great survive.

Now that I’ve understood this, I’ve made it my commitment to become excellent in Facebook Ads, stop making excuses, and focus on serving clients rather than trying to print wealth off of the internet.

Whereas before the internet marketing felt dark & scammy, it now feels like a moral pursuit because I’m focused on legitimately giving value to my clients.

For the past several months I’ve been taking action on starting a REAL business. And I don’t intend on doing a lot of writing about it because it already takes up so much of my time I have no time or care to write (especially because this writing isn’t profitable).

Step 1: Skill Development

First I developed my skills for free. I could’ve told Facebook Ads but I decided to work for clients for free or heavily discounted rates.

Financially I’m okay because I have a remote job in which I provide social media + content creation (like writing) which is a great job that I love. I also met this client in Texas in person after 2 years of working together, and we had a blast so I’m really committed to giving value now.

Because I am okay I was able to focus on skill development. It was hard at first, but I knew more than I could imagine.

Very quickly my skills became validated as I was able to acquire leads for clients at a low cost per lead. For 2 realtors I was getting good results, and the same for a software development agency.

However I realized a problem: clients didn’t value my work when it was free and often lacked the follow-through to get results off of my work.

I was able to get them leads, but they weren’t able to close the leads. This is because they had pre-existing beliefs about Facebook Ads that were negative, or they themselves were too complacent.

For example, the software agency was getting leads from me at $1.69 per lead. Given their services are extremelyexpensive, they only needed to close something like .25% (1 in 400) of the leads to still be racking in a massive profit.

Yet they ignored my advice about Email marketing followup, and contacting the leads within 24 hours or same-day. The CEO was lazy about is sales and had investor funding, so they weren’t sharp.

He complained that some of the leads forgot about them. I said, “no shit that’s what fucking happens when you contact the leads 5 DAYS AFTER I GET THEM.”

Noting that clients are lazy, I’ve made adjustments to the lead generation system so that clients get only the highest quality leads. 99% of people are not cut-out to be salesmen, and so I had to do a lot of the qualification myself.

My new advertising system helps to prequalify leads so that clients are only talking with leads that are the most qualified and warm to boost their morale.

Even when the results were so great they only needed to close 1 out of 400 leads to be massively profitable, clients were still upset that they had 10 rejections in a row.

Anyways, I realized that charging my clients was the way to go because then they’d take my advice seriously and I could invest more of my time to developing the pre-qualification system so that clients don’t waste time on leads which could blow up their sensitive egos.

Skill development? Check.

Step 2: Web Development

In Bali & Chiang Mai I created my own website, which you can view by clicking HERE. It is www.marketingtheuniverse.com.

The website isn’t perfect, and I’ve received a ton of amazing feedback from ya’ll about what could be improved. Thank you!

The most important part about the website is that it builds credibility and acts as an online portfolio. Even more important than that I’ve created an extensive application process that new prospects have to go through before they can even get on the phone with me.

I’ve had prospects apply but they don’t meet my qualifications. Great. I was able to cancel the call before it even began and save myself time.

Again the website is absolutely not perfect. However it’s “good enough” and that’s all I need to move forward. I’ll adjust it as needed.

Step 3: Testimonials

Next I wanted to collect testimonials from clients that I had legitimately served. I am not satisfied with my current list of testimonials- I want to help more clients and get more testimonials from even better results, but for the time being what I have is “good enough.”

One realtor created a video for me saying I “over-exceeded his expectations by far… Thank you Michael!

I’ve also created case studies of clients that I’ve helped. Examples include getting leads at $1.69 per lead, getting 400k+ page likes and making the client #1 in the niche, and getting a 17x ROI on some Amazon Ads.

Did you know I’ve also successfully worked with Owange Pranks, the #1 prank YouTube channel in the world?

Click the link “Ownage Pranks” for the case study. Being a long-time fan I was always super pumped to work with them and receive the testimonial, “Michael’s expertise has been quintessential in getting us on the right track.”

All this being said, I’m not satisfied with any of this. I want more testimonials, better results, and one day a giant catalog of videos on my website of happy clients.

One day I want so many testimonials that I have to delete all these testimonials because they aren’t good enough.

For example the realtor testimonial feels slightly fake because he ended up deciding not to cancel the contract once I requested payment. He was happy to give the testimonial and help me out, but not happy enough to stick around long-term.

For the time being it’s all good- but like I said I have my goals for a true list of happy testimonials.

Step 4: Biting My Own Words

Most advertising agencies are full of shit and you can confirm this because they don’t even run their own advertisements!

Who the fuck would I be to run ads for clients but not for myself?

Right now I don’t have the greatest budget, but I’ve ran ads regardless. I’m investing my own cash even though I don’t have a ton and that’s because I know I can get myself results.

No more excuses. I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do for years now.

Today I woke up and finally got almost all preliminary metrics within KPI, which stands for “key performance indicator.” It’s a fancy way of saying that I’m on track to be printing off clients off of Facebook Ads.

Step 5: Facing Uncertainty

I’m not gonna lie though- there were some emotional moments during the course in which my ads ran.

On one night I got results that were around $1.70 per lead and I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep all night. Then no one opened my Emails (but a few leads) from Email marketing, and my “free course” basically accomplished nothing.

When I created a revised funnel, I felt uneasy about my ads.

I found it quite difficult to not be super emotional about the advertisements. I doubted myself, questioned whether what I was doing was right, and wondered whether I was good enough.

There were times when I opened my ads dashboard and I just wanted to scream and cry because I wasted the budget to get something like $50 per lead- and then the automation system was fucked up so I wasn’t even able to nurture the lead, making the cash lost!

Another time I screwed up a code which meant that the Facebook Ads dashboard was reporting my results were exceptional when in fact I had 0 results. A whole day’s worth of budget was lost, which I think was just $15 or $20… but still.

During every step of the process of fixing my ads, my website, and my funnel I had to relax and not freak out from the fact that it felt like I was tossing my hard-earned money into a black void.

I had to relax, and diagnosis the problem carefully. Sometimes my targeting was off. Sometimes my ad copy was not good.

When I learned finally to see the situation objectively, I found it quite easy to fix my ads. Instead of ads “failing” they were simply “out of KPI” for various metrics, and then I was able to fix those issues.

For example, maybe an advertisement was receiving clicks to the landing page but no one was converting. Well it was either the landing page which needed fixing or the advertisement was misleading.

In this case the advertisement I had created was misleading, and it didn’t fit well with the landing page.

I then deleted the advertisement and created some new ones, and the results started pouring in!

Today as I said I got all of the preliminary metrics within KPI. Now I’m ready for a larger-budget test, but first I have to fix some of the other parts of my funnel.

Step 6: Creating + Fixing the Funnel

The exact strategy I’d use for clients is what I’m using for myself. It is an advanced funnel that pre-qualifies the leads and limits the number of bad leads I have coming into my system.

I went from $1.70 per lead to $10 per lead, but now they’re much higher-quality, my email marketing emails are being opened, etc.

It’s calculated that I could spend as much as $15 per lead as long as they’re qualified and still make a massive profit, so I’m doing just fine.

My current funnel involves sending a prospect from my ad to a landing page, then they have to input their Email in order to get access to a free video.

The free video is intended to excite people about my services, and from there they can apply for a “free strategy session” with me. This isn’t the landing page, but if you were interested in my services you could apply HERE.

Once they apply for the free strategy session they have to fill out an extensive application that allows me to prequalify them. I only want to be on the phone with leads that are ready to buy.

If they don’t schedule a strategy session, the Email marketing system will send them an invitation to the free strategy session and then if they don’t they’ll be taken through a lengthy automation sequence which is a series of Emails over the course of 2-3 weeks.

I created a free course which I’ve turned into an Email automation sequence! The goal is to warm people up and give free value, which then will excite them to schedule that free strategy session.

Step 7: Moving Forward

I’m super excited for this “real business” as instead of me working kind of like a glorified job remotely I’ll actually be helping clients. The skills are validated, I have positive testimonials, now I just need to fix this process and then the sky’s the limit (and not even).

As soon as I get a new client all of those funds will be reinvested into my ads. Once I have the process for generating & closing leads via my Facebook Ads (which I’m quite close to achieving) things should “explode” via the “Law of Explosions” (based on my previous post).

Right now I don’t have the system perfected, but I will soon. As soon as the system is working and I have extra funds to invest into it things will really get going.

I’m working on setting up other processes and getting organized, as disorganization is a huge problem of mine that I’ve observed as well as all of my friends have reported on as well.

With organization I’ve estimated both an income cap and a client cap that I can personally achieve until I have to start hiring help. That’s a problem for another day.

It’s Hard, Yet Easy

I’ve accepted the challenges of starting a real business, such as investing my own funds, embracing difficulty, and having to learn online phone sales.

In a way it’s hard. There’s a lot of work to do. On the other hand, I realize that as soon as I get it right it’ll be “easy” and things will just explode.

I have realized that many of the income goals I’ve set are too short because as soon as this system is perfected of signing on new high-ticket clients from my ads there will really be no limit to how many clients I can sign on.

If my goal was to 3x my income, well that’s just too small because as soon as I do that I can invest all the additional funds into ads to sign on new clients, etc. This process will really explode until I need to hire help and cap out my max work.

This is It

That’s all. I just wanted to share and announce to the world my goals and what I’m currently working on. If I write too much about this, call me out and make sure I stay focused. Shoot me in the mouth if I talk too much. Not literally, please.

I have talked too much for too long, and the only reason I’m writing this now is because it’s more of a report than just talk.

There are legitimate results which I’ve earned the right to talk about now. I am currently averaging around $10 per lead, and a 1 in 3 open rate for my post-lead Email marketing. I have spent hundreds in my own advertising, and actually biting the bullet I’m selling to others.

I won’t be writing that much from here on out for the reason that this is my purpose, and writing is not a profitable activity. It’s not even that enjoyable anymore. I am kind of cringing at this post just for the fact that it’s like an hour of writing that doesn’t move me closer to my goals in any way.

My mission is to become exceptional with online ads, service clients and get astounding results for them, and scale this up and start hiring people.

I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do, and it feels great.

Here’s to taking the plunge and doing some real shit!

Thanks,

-Michael