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Origin Story: Down the Alice in Wonderland Rabbit Hole

“Click”

That was the sound of my left mouse button as I clicked the ‘submit’ button on the checkout web page.

I sent $47 to an online education and mentoring company called Elite Marketing Pro.

I decided to bite the bullet and buy the eBook.

The title was the Attraction Marketing Formula. It was written by Ferny Ceballos.

Little did I know that my adventure down the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole was about to begin.

We were hemorrhaging money.

Every month, our bank debited $50 from our account for a company website that never saw any visitors.

We spent money on a starter kit where the unsold inventory sat in our closet.

And Shaneice was prospecting all around town.

Only to deal with suspects prospects who only acted interested.

The business cards and other promotional material we bought didn’t turn out to be money well spent.

We only had one sale (to my father-in-law),

And we only recruited one person (my sister-in-law, who never did anything in the business).

Yes, this was our first 8 months in network marketing.

I thought this was going to be the answer.

The solution.

But instead of moving closer to firing my boss…

Our network marketing biz was making me more dependent on him.

Time wasn’t on my side.

At any moment - when you least expect it - another merger or downsizing could be right around the corner.

This was the risk of working for big pharma.

Pharmaceutical companies are under constant pressure of reducing drug prices.

Plus they still have to be profitable and competitive.

Meaning all the cost-cutting measures fall on the back of the little man.

While CEOs crap in their gold toilet bowls.

It’s part of my back story.

An experience that has forever tainted how I see things now.

It’s what led to all this craziness in the first place.

Before I took my trip down that rabbit hole…

Something happened six years earlier...

It was a beautiful late October morning and I was in the passenger seat as my wife, Shaneice, was driving.

We were passing through the Smoky Mountains.

We were listening to Fred Hammond's classic album, Spirit of David.

The mountains of western North Carolina can be breathtaking during that time of year.

We were about the cross the North Carolina border into Tennessee.

And that's when we saw the welcome to Tennessee sign.

And we both got emotional.

Ok, I’m gonna keep it real...

I was crying my eyes out.

Because it hit me that this was real.

That this wasn't a vacation trip.

It was a relocation trip.

And for the first time in over 20 years, my wife and I were leaving the place we called home.

I rubbed my wife's belly.

She was 7 months pregnant.

We were expecting a girl.

And I was trying to quietly reassure us that it was going to be ok.

You see, about a year earlier, I was caught between the merger of two companies.

The company I worked for was on the losing end of that merger.

And most of the colleagues - who were like family to me - were laid off.

I was one of the few lucky people who got an offer with the new company.

It was either take the offer or get laid off and collect 7 months of severance pay.

That was also around the same time that my wife and I found out that we were expecting our first child.

I couldn’t take that chance.

The chance of being jobless with a baby on the way wasn’t worth the risk.

So I accepted the offer.

Our final destination was in the middle of the country.

Missouri.

St. Louis to be exact.

We had no family or friends there.

And Missouri didn't have the “down home” Southern hospitality of North Carolina.

Plus making friends was kinda hard also.

But what do I know - I’m a bit of an introvert.

I hated my new job.

The company culture sucked.

Starting over was hard.

I hated every day that I had to be there.

I was miserable and depressed.

I vowed to myself that I would never allow myself to be in this position again.

The position of being at the mercy of corporate bean counters.

I didn’t know how I would do it, but I just knew that I wanted FREEDOM.

Freedom from the corporate grind,

The morning and afternoon commutes,

and punching an alarm clock.

And the uncertainty of having a job the next day, week or month.

I no longer wanted to be stuck.

I had a burning desire to be free.

Five years had passed since our move to Missouri and it was now the late summer of 2015.

I was as miserable at work now as I was when I first arrived.

Things at work had actually gotten worse.

The big pharma company I worked for had bought another smaller company.

And yes, there had been further downsizing.

But I had been busy working on my plan B.

I started giving private tennis lessons as a side hustle.

Shaneice learned how to build WordPress websites.

She was building affordable websites for small, local businesses as a result.

And...

We got into the home based business industry as part of an MLM company.

But it was the network marketing gig that was the thorn in our side.

We couldn’t sell a darn thing.

And we couldn’t get people to join our business either.

I was already fed up and told Shaneice...

“I know there must be a better way to find the right people”.

And that’s when I started searching for a solution.

I started entering phrases in that little Google search box.

I don’t remember what search terms or phrases I was using back then, but I do remember one thing…

I found what I was looking for.

A smarter, faster way to prospect high quality people.

All done without approaching strangers in public.

"CLICK."

And my crazy, wonderful journey began.

"As soon as you open your mind to doing things differently, the doors of opportunity practically fly off their hinges".

Jay Abraham

Reading the Attraction Marketing Formula gave me a new option.

Something that very few people were doing.

A new way of dealing with the painful process of approaching people.

I was now able to see and understand how I could build our network marketing business online.

I got more specific steps by taking advantage of EMP's training resources.

I also made sure to take advantage of the free coaching.

I was also interested in promoting EMP products.

EMP's affiliate program allows you to make commissions promoting EMP products.

Plus EMP already everything you would need to promote their products.

I could use their resources to make commissions while I learned to ropes.

I decided to upgrade my free EMP membership to a paid  VIP membership.

I wanted the higher commission payouts (50 - 80% depending on the product).

So right when I was about to embark on my new journey...

I heard the news about our network marketing company founders...

I couldn’t believe it.

For us, it was a deal breaker.

So we decided to leave our network marketing company.

I then put all my focus on earning enough commissions through EMP to pay back my VIP investment.

I gave myself 12 months to do it.

And for the next 18 months, I struggled.

I only made 2 sales totaling roughly $300.

It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I realized why I struggled.

It was because I never left the EMP nest.

I never took it upon myself to go beyond what EMP was hand feeding me.

EMP provides everything a beginner online marketer needs to get started.

And I mean everything.

My membership came with my own website.

It came with blog articles that were already written that I could use to attract prospects,

They even had pre-written follow up emails that I could send to my prospects who joined my email list.

But these resources were training wheels.

I never took it upon myself to start creating my own emails.

Or my own blog articles.

Which is why I never grew as a marketer.

I was too lazy.

Plus I was dedicating more time to my tennis business than I was to EMP.

Because for me my tennis was instant cash.

I wasn’t willing to put in the upfront work required to establish my own brand.

I couldn't see the long term benefits of expanding and building upon my skill set.

So I made up my mind to commit.

I got my priorities in order.

And I drastically reduced my commitment to my tennis business.

I put everything into being a better internet marketer.

I began learning from other gurus on how to master Facebook ads.

How to tell stories that resonated and attracted the people in my cold market.

I began creating my own brand through my stories and experience.

I spent 6 months dedicating myself to my craft.

The same way I did to my tennis coaching.

And in late summer 2018, it was time to put what I had learned to the test.

Time to take the training wheels off.

I put together a couple of “test” ads to see if I was on the right track with the audience I was targeting on Facebook.

I wanted to know if my story and message resonated.

If I got a few sales out of it that would be great.

I just wanted to make sure that this wouldn’t bomb.

I submitted the ad for Facebook review and waited.

About 3 hours later, Facebook had approved my ads.

(meaning it was compliant with their policies).

My Facebook ad was LIVE.

And I waited.

I went to bed.

The next morning I got up and got dressed for work.

I checked my phone.

Nothing.

I was waiting on a special email notification.

One that comes from EMP when you make a commission.

So anyway, I went to work.

I tried to take my mind off those darn Facebook ads.

Then at 10:34 am I heard an email notification from my iPhone.

It was from EMP.

16 minutes later, I got another one...

And this continued off and on for the next several weeks.

And by the time it was all said and done…

I had raked in $2169.63 in commissions.

Never approaching a single person.

All from the comfort of my home.

And I could have made more commissions.

Why?

Cuz I didn’t follow-up with the people who didn’t buy on the first touch.

I still hadn’t created my own email follow up system at that point.

But I was beside myself.

The hard, upfront work paid off.

Long lost was the guilty feeling of not prospecting someone.

Or the pressure of prospecting someone when they came within 3 feet of me.

My days are now spent on my laptop.

Not chasing people around.

Not driving to appointments.

But creating Facebook posts and becoming a better writer,

A better creator.

But this story is far from over.

And I’m just getting started.

But there's one thing I learned from promoting a product using Facebook ads...

...and this also applies to promoting a product using traditional means also...

And that's this...

95% of the people in any given cold market,

AREN'T ready to buy or join right now.

Sure, there’s the 5% who are spontaneous, 

Or even impulsive.

But again, they represent only 5% of the masses.

You can't run a sustainable business off of the 5%.

So what about the other 95%?

Well, in my case, most of them joined my email list to learn more.

But at the time, I didn’t have my own email follow-up system.

I was still using EMP’s training wheel version of follow-up emails.

Nothing wrong with that. You gotta start somewhere.

But it was time for me to graduate.

And so I realized I was missing out on thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.

The $2100 that I made in commissions came from only 6 sales.

92 more people joined my email list instead.

They needed more warming up.

So I felt good I could run successful Facebook ads but…

I now had to build my own email follow-up system.

One that wasn’t the cookie cutter version that EMP started me with.

And that’s when I met Andre Chaperon…as I continued deeper down that rabbit hole.

To be continued...

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Steven Thomas