When I was a young naive feller coming up in Internet marketing, I was given advice that made me unhappy. Over the years, i’ve managed to let go of it a bit at a time, and in the process discovered that advice to be wrong.
It made me less effective as a marketer…
It made me feel inauthentic and less true to myself…
On the other hand, the more i went against the advice, the happier i was, the more i love what i do, and the better my results are.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy to let go of all the advice until my long hiatus from emailing you. It was only during this time, when i severed my ties with most of my peers that i truly found my voice.
So in today’s lesson, i’d like to share with you some of the advice, which i’m sure you too have heard in your online business journey…and how doing the opposite changed my perspective…and perhaps, just maybe, you feel inspired to try doing things your own way too.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll feel happier.
1. MAINTAIN YOUR POSITIONING
Well, early on, it was all about being the “guru”. You gotta sit on the mountain top, put out bits of wisdom, being all perfect and worship-worthy. If you didn’t have the results to back it up, the advice was: fake it until you make it!
I remember one of my earliest mentors saying to me a little speech along these lines:
“See my porsche? No one rides it but me. The minute you let them inside, the fantasy goes away and it becomes real. Same as my waterfront apartment I never let anyone in. If someone comes to pick up something, i’ll meet them downstairs. You gotta maintain your positioning at all times.”
Positioning is how you ensure people respect what you have to say.
You had to remain untouchable, unreachable, inaccessible. People shouldn’t have your number, you shouldn’t waste time responding to personal emails, and so on.
This stuff is great advice for creating a facade of being important, when you’re not.
But i always felt it was really unnatural, fake, and dickheaded. Especially that it was my business to teach people who wanted to learn and help businesses that needed help.
How does it make sense then, to push them down and so intently put yourself above them?
It just did not suit my personality. I come from a family of highly competent, highly educated, and yet humble people. My father, a university professor, a world-renowned multidisciplinary philosopher…when introducing himself will do so with no more than his first name, and even that, he abbreviates. This is in a culture where people use their ENTIRE title. Where, even if you have no formal title, you will take pride in your family name or tribe, or in the name of your first born son which itself is a title (ie, “Abu so-and-so”).
We sit on the floor to eat.
What money we earn is not spent on fancy showoff things, but rather invested into charitable projects and helping others out. My family have a scholarship fund for the less able, every member contributes from their yearly zakat to it. We have so many “Doctors” in the family that it was once mistaken for our surname!
So how much sense does it make then for me to keep my students at arm’s length?
I felt uncomfortable and inauthentic as i did it.
When i began using Google Ads, in my earliest days, i disclosed my phone number in the footer of my emails. And encouraged all my subscribers to call me for guided help. I was advised against it, but i didn’t listen. People would call and talk for hours getting my help for free. My earliest success in affiliate marketing was a direct result of doing this.
Later, as i got busier, i looked for ways to leverage my time. I personally manned my email address. Until this day, i reply to emails i receive from subscribers.
What i found as i did this, when all my peers were showing off about how they distance themselves from their customers…what i found, is it pays off. I have my finger on the pulse of my customers. I know what it is they need and it gives me ideas of what kind of products to create. It informs me as to what they are struggling with. Where my products are coming up short. And i constantly improve on my offerings as a result.
I found that replying to people’s emails brought in extra sales.
But it also told me what objections and questions subscribers had which they were not all voicing. When someone asked a question and i took the time to write an email response, they would buy. It wasn’t a matter of just a single sale which i “wasted” 30 minutes of one-on-one time to get…
Rather, i could take that very question and that very response, and repurpose it by sending it to my entire mailing list. All of a sudden, that same question that ONE person voiced…which was on the minds of hundreds of subscribers…now they had their answer, they too would buy.
My intern program was born as a result of this idea too. I decided rather than sell another coaching product, as many of my peers did for 20-50k to listen to their golden bullshit once a month… i’d just offer people the opportunity to work alongside me with unrestricted access to me. I would make it free and only ask they help me do my work in exchange.
I built an entire line of services around this and made a lot of money in the process while giving my interns the exact sort of help they needed.
So yeah, i don’t do positioning. I’m a regular dude and I’m working it out as i go, just like you. I might be a step or two ahead of you…or behind you. Either way, i’m grateful you’re here, listening to me.
2. AVOID CONTROVERSY / POLITICS
Another early mentor advised one to avoid politics because it is controversial and controversy is not good for sales. He argued that alienating your customer was not a good way to make your customer like you. People who do not like you will not buy from you.
I am not generally a political person. But i can be quite controversial as i learned a few years ago.
Here’s how it started…
When i was an affiliate for Magnetic Sponsoring, what most people did not know is that i was not a regular affiliate. I was actually HIRED to do their Google Ads and i was pitted against a professional traffic agency.
I was still pretty new and raw to the whole thing…so when they asked me how i’d like to be compensated, i did not have the confidence to ask for a recurring fee. Instead, i said i’d be prepared to do a revenue sharing deal. My thinking, at the time, was if i don’t do so well, they won’t be overly disappointed. Basically, if i generate few sales, they won’t lose much.
The deal, however, turned out to be a generous one. For the sake of simplicity, i was offered the same percentage as affiliates, and sales would be tracked through the affiliate system. Only difference is, they would be paying the entire ad bill. My commission was all profit.
So i agreed wholeheartedly and jumped right in and did really well. Within a month or so, the professional ad agency was fired and i became the top affiliate in their system.
Here’s the thing though…
They ASSUMED i was collecting the leads myself first and that i was building my own list. I don’t know until this day why they would assume that and even be ok with it. I did no such thing! I figured that since they were paying the ad bill, the leads belonged to them exclusively and it was not my right to collect even one for myself.
All the industry leaders, however, including Magnetic Sponsoring, thought i had this huge mailing list that i could mail offers to.
The reality is i had a small personal blog list, built with my own money and effort…and i had stupidly put my own business on hold while managing their campaign.
Everyone and their mum was asking me to mail for them. They were all releasing products and i was not. Each time i was expected to mail as a courtesy because at some point down the line, i was probably going to need all of these people to mail for me when i wanted to release a product of my own.
One day, i was asked to promote a product that i honestly found naseauting. but i was trying to genuinely promote it. I emailed about it using a technique that i still use until this day, called a “link centric email”.
What this is, is an email that basically looks like a personal message, written in a rush. Its only objective is to get as many people to click the link as possible, so they can read the sales pitch on the other side. I always use it as the first email when launching a new product and i want as many people as possible to see the sales letter at least once.
In this case, the style of email was a good way to avoid saying something inauthentic about a product i didn’t believe in…without endorsing the product…but still sending as many people as possible to read the pitch. If the product’s pitch was good enough to stand on its own without my endorsement, it should have succeeded in converting the people who clicked.
Now the thing that made this technique effective, was to point out a curiosity on the other side of the click as an afterthought in the email copy.
“Oh, don’t mind the bird that keeps trying to eat off my ear in the video…”
“Btw, some people told me the form isn’t working for them, so just let me know if that’s you”…
Something like that.
I pointed out the dude in the video looked a bit goofy, as part of the technique.
Next thing i know, i get a reply from the said mentor scolding me for how i emailed my list. Which, btw, wasn’t his fucking business nor his place to say. It’s my list and i can email it how i want.
But i didnt say this. Instead, being still quite a small fish, i felt bad that i offended him and apologised and sent out a second email to my list retracting my comment!
This was one of MANY things bothering me of course.
I found myself constantly compromising in my own values, doing things i didn’t care for, or agree with, that did not serve my interests nor my subscribers’ interests…
And one day, when the frustrations reached an intolerable level…
I said dude, screw this. I don’t actually NEED any of these guys. All of them sold traffic products, but not one of them ACTUALLY knew a thing about how to generate traffic. Because the only strategy they ALL used was (1) to have affiliates and (2) to use joint venture partnerships to promote each other’s shit.
On the other hand, i actually knew how to generate traffic by the bucket load. I did not need them and did not NEED to keep compromising so that one day i can maybe ask some of these guys to return the favour and promote for me.
So i turned my back on the industry leaders in a very public way.
And i began marketing in a way most would have considered at the time to be “unprofessional”. Because it was raw and real. It was unapologetic and i didn’t give two shits who would get offended. I cussed. I was offensive. I mocked and laughed and just had a good time with it.
What was weird is, this was working really well!
I found that by polarising the audience, people either loved me or hated me. No one was feeling “meh” about me. And this was EXCELLENT for sales.
Gooroos couldn’t understand what i was doing or why. They thought i’d lost my marbles. They began warning people off me and my team. Saying we were toxic and that we should be avoided and not modeled.
Breaking away from them was the best thing i ever did. Fuck them.
I was finally free to be myself and to run my business the way i liked. In the process, i wrote sales letters that … i swear to God, once i showed one of my early mentors and he LAUGHED! He thought it was weak…and yet, it was accurate, authentic, and most importantly it was WORKING.
One of the landing pages i ran on Google Ads used a left-aligned page content instead of center aligned. I remember people asking dicks like Daegan, Marshall, and Livingston about my site and how it was able to run on Google Ads when everyone else was getting kicked off..
And they said, oh he just got lucky, they’ll get him eventually.
They’re off. I’m still standing cocks.
It was fun to break all these conventions of the “proper way” to write an email or do a promo…or to write a sales letter or a landing page. It was profitable like crazy. And i attribute it all to being controversial.
3. DON’T GET ANALYTICAL
I was given this advice very early on by a respected colleague. He told me, “Dude you’re too technical. People are dumb. Just keep it simple.”
This is great advice, if you want to market to a mass audience.
It’s also great advice if you’re a gooroo who likes to sell to the lowest common denominator. Stupid people make easy marks. So you can trick them into buying things that are no good.
The thing is, for most of my career i fought against my technical / analytical nature. I saw it as a curse.
I’d write things and then go back and try to simplify them and bring them down to layman level. It wasn’t comfortable and it was unnatural for me to do it. And i think because this advice was a criticism, i saw it as a personal flaw i had to mend.
Thing is, detail can be quite important. Skipping it for the sake of “simplifying” can even be dishonest.
Only recently have i managed to break away completely from it.
My emails DO get technical and analytical. Fucked if i care anymore. Honestly, if “smart stuff” bothers you and “numbers hurt your head”, you REALLY shouldn’t be buying anything from me.
If you don’t like to read or listen, also, probably not a good idea to buy from me. I’m long winded as fuck. But what i’m saying is useful and it’s stuff i think about before doing things. Thoughts are what dictate actions. So if my thoughts aren’t of value, then you cannot value the actions.
I began to discover this analytical stuff was beneficial early on, of course. If you recall, when i was 14, i told you i was a consultant for a company in Malaysia and one of the tricks i used was to deliberately use technical jargon to demonstrate i knew what i was doing.
Later in life, when selling traffic services, i found it advantageous to show the complexity of what my team and i do. This makes sense–it demonstrates the value of hiring us instead of doing it themselves. Being analytical worked there and made a lot of money.
When i transitioned back to selling info products, i discovered there was actual INTEREST in my subscribers to learn technical things. Since i am technical, much more technical than any of my competitors in this space, it’s my unique advantage which they can’t touch if they lived thrice!
But i am also good at making technical stuff simple, without making it unnecessary. And i made a lot of money selling products that taught technical skills to internet marketers.
Today, i’m taking it to a whole other level.
Because now i’m deliberately trying to filter out people who are not particularly intelligent nor hard working. I want to build an audience of smart people who can comprehend complex things. I want to surround myself with people of SUBSTANCE.
They’re easier for me to root for their success. They’re better for me to deal with. They make good customers, partners, and colleagues. They challenge me and i challenge them.
To succeed in running a business of any kind, requires skills, smarts, and hard work. There’s no room for lazy people. There’s no room for greedy shortcut takers, unless i’m training scam artists. And i’m not.
More importantly though, there is HUGE value in deep analytical philosophical discussion. It allows us to consider WHY we do things and to challenge our norms. If you’re innovating or hope to innovate, you need to be running on a different playing field all together. Your thoughts aren’t simple. Your goals aren’t as simple as
“oh, *DUHH** i want to make 100k a week”…
…but more along the lines of…
“how can i spend 100k a week on advertising?”
(Btw, i learned from a guy who was spending 100k/day on PPC and he was the most impressive man i ever met!)
And finally, i want to bury the big revolutionary ideas in camouflage that only the deserving will reach.
That’s all i have for today.
If you’re interested in learning more about my crazy online business and traffic ideas, check out the Super Traffic Machine. It’s technical, it’s analytical, it’s practical. If you’re prepared to put in the time and the work, it will pay off.
Read more about it here…
If you’re bothered by the idea of it taking 8 months to get to the end of the training, it’s probably not for you. It takes time to build something good that works. You want a shortcut, you won’t find it here. You want a real business, get the program i’ll see you inside.
P.S. If you have missed previous messages in the series, check out the following:
- Part 1: The “Yaghi Way” of Traffic Generation
- Part 2: Sending Traffic Straight to the Sales Page of a D!CK PILL
- Part 3: Sell More With Amazing *Hybrid* Pages
- Part 4: Why “Funnel Templates” Cause Refunds & Support Nightmares
- Part 5: Making Google Apologise to You
- Part 6: User-Friendly Buying Pages
- Part 7: Watching Visitors
- Part 8: Fast, High Traffic, Unconventional Website Advice
- Part 9: Why I Don’t Do Email Marketing Like That
- Part 10: Your Professional Email Addy
- Part 11: Build Your Own Clickfunnels Clone for a Fraction of the Cost
- Part 12: How to Choose Your Website Tech When I’m Gone
- Part 13: How to Build Incrementally Robust, Reliable Revenue & Traffic
- Part 14: Mailerlite & Facebook’s Dumb Email Marketing Ideas
- Part 15: How to Make $3.5 Million When Your Campaign is Bleeding
- Part 16: Things to do before going live