We’ve all heard of the $6 million dollar man. But what about the $400 million dollar man? Meet Jeff Walker– Internet Entrepreneur Extraordinaire.
Yes — it’s a new day when a common man barely earning enough to scrape by and feed his family can leverage the Internet into an empire responsible for $400 million in sales over a 15 year period.
Yes — Jeff is a common man. Just like me. Just like you.
You see, he is the Founder and CEO of a company called Internet Alchemy, Inc located in a little town in Colorado. Never heard of it, right? Yes — I hadn’t either.
But therein lies the beauty of this story. A humble beginning: common man, in dire financial straits, turns on the Internet in his humble abode in the middle of nowhere, and starts to tinker. Starts to play around with selling investment advice via email. Has a total of 19 email addresses to start. And his own second email address and his wife’s are two of them.
Fifteen years later — he’s still a humble man; living in that small town in Colorado and driving a Ford pickup truck — but he’s sold $20 million of his product called Product Launch Formula which has been directly responsible for helping other business owners rake in a cool $400 million of their own cash.
One day I happen to come across Jeff and one of his emails. Intrigued with his ability to write (I’m very fond of good writers) and the story he told of his $20 million dollar decision, I decided to reach out to him. After spending an hour in a great conversation — I came away with a remarkable picture of how he grew his business from scratch into the powerhouse it is today.
Lesson #1: “He who dares — wins.”
There is no doubt about this one. If you dream of being an entrepreneur and having your own business — but sit around on your fanny doing nothing about it but dreaming, then you’re dead on your feet. You’re pretty much out of the race before the gun even cracks it’s pop.
According to Jeff, “Getting started is key. The SAS, which is the British Special Forces equivalent of the Navy SEALS; have a saying; “He who dares, wins.” And I think when you’re starting out, you have to dare. You have to say, “I’m going to change my life”. And when I started out, I was still a full-time, stay at home dad; full-time studying the stock market, and preparing to go back to school. But you just have to find the time to get started and realize it’s going to be serious.”
Lesson #2: Baby Steps and Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule
Other than fools who fall for those guys advertising on late night TV selling their program which guarantees instant overnight success — no one serious about starting and building a viable business believes in this concept of “instant wealth”. Of course, we all want to desperately believe it can happen to us. But the problem is the media in general over-hypes the super success stories who seem to come to life overnight. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger with their billion dollar payday from selling Instagram are a perfect example.
Jeff lays it out like this: “It’s about baby steps and moving towards your goal. First having the guts to even have that goal and then steadily moving towards it. I sent my first email out to 19 email addresses and I just kept on grinding it out. Then I started getting one new subscriber a day and then three new ones a day. So I just kept on taking those baby steps. I think a big part of it is the ability to delay gratification — being willing to put in the work now knowing it’s not going to pay off for three months or six months or two years. And just as a side note; I’ve now written more than 10,000 email broadcasts so there’s this magic 10,000 hour number from Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers — which is one of the reasons our company is at the top echelon of our market.”
Lesson #3: Relationships and Connections are EVERYTHING.
Of course you’ve heard the old “it’s not what you know — it’s who you know” routine, right? But as the words ramble off your tongue and pretty much glide effortlessly in the grey matter between your two ears, maybe you should read it again: “It’s not what you know — it’s who you know.”
Listen, just like Sir Richard Branson’s article in Entrepreneur on networking, the key to your success in business is relationships. Period.
Even Jeff strongly agrees: “My business in terms of traffic is largely driven through joint ventures — through partners who drive me traffic. One of the things I’m good at is building relationships with people. I was a kid in high school who got along with every group; the jocks, the stoners, whatever. I’m a middle child. I’m naturally easy going. I just get along with people and I’m one of the most networked people you’re going to find in this business. Even with people others might see as competitors, I end up working with them. So that’s one of my strengths is being able to build those relationships. And that’s another one of the reasons we are so successful.”
Lesson #4: Focus on Your “Unique-Abilities”
You are you. You are unique. But the key is in knowing what makes you unique. So you must dig deep to find out. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what you do better than anyone else. Your top core competencies. And once you figure out your core competencies?
I’ll let Jeff tell you; “I take three days a week where those are the only things I do on those three days. So I mean literally — they’re on my calendar. They’re my focus days and my whole team can see them and know the house better be burning down if they’re going to contact me. My goal is to truly focus on my “unique-abilities” during those days. Completely focused, no interruptions, not looking at anything else, no text messages, no Skype, nothing. Then I think if you can focus at that level, you don’t need to do a heck of a lot. It’s like exercising. If you can exercise at a very high intensity, you don’t need to do a ton of it.”
Lesson #5: New World — Give First; Then Receive
Do you want to know the core secret of what Jeff teaches entrepreneurs and business owners that has led to over $400 million in collective sales?
First Give; Then Receive.
That’s it. In a nutshell. The days of shoving product and services down the throats of blind customers are over. The vast reach of the Internet and social media have forever changed the model. And this is the discovery Jeff made — which has led to his powerful methodology of selling and doing product launches.
And a story Jeff told me when I asked him a question about his picture with Tony Robbins paints the perfect story of this in action. As Jeff explains it; “I call it abundance juice and it’s about investing a lot of time in relationships and helping people before I ever ask them for anything. So with Tony, I literally flew out to see him on my own dime to spend a day with him and coaching him. That’s why I was there. Did that pay off? Yes, it paid off — but not for another year. So being able to give first — then wait to receive is key.”
Lesson #6: Opportunity Discernment
As an entrepreneur begins rolling along and making progress in their business, something really cool happens. Opportunities start flooding through the door. This is a good thing, right? Yes — but only if you have the ability to differentiate between the ones you should go after, and the ones you should let slide on through.
Entrepreneur and author Perry Marshall called this skill the most important one for a business owner to have in the 21st century. It’s called “discernment”.
And this is a skill Jeff has honed to a science. As Jeff puts it; “Once you get some success, then the most important thing is opportunity costs and selecting the right opportunities. Because as you gain more success — more opportunities start to come your way. You get into the deal flow so picking the right one, picking the right horse, is extremely important to your success.”
Lesson #7: Never Stop Learning
As a part-time journalist and full-time follower of entrepreneurs; I can tell you one thing most every successful entrepreneur I’ve met has in common. Their insatiable drive to learn. I have the same problem myself. Constantly devouring book after book; article after article; magazine after magazine. Steam coming out my ears.
And so it was with great pleasure to hear Jeff having the same genetic trait of fanatical learning; “Part of my success is a result of my desire to keep on learning and studying. I mean I’ve studied incessantly over the years. And I still study incessantly. I was driving in Durango just yesterday listening to marketing tapes, listening to the business tapes, listening to self-improvement tapes. Of course they’re not tapes anymore, but you get the point. And having coaches and mentors is also a part of that. My current coach for the past 3 years is Dan Sullivan — a strategic coach who taught me the concept of “unique-abilities”. Having mentors, coaches and role models is critical. Absolutely critical.”
Toward the end of my conversation with Jeff, I asked him if today was the best time in history to start a business.
“Yes, absolutely. I mean literally anyone today could be a publisher in five minutes or less and when you’re a publisher — you’re in business. You can go to Google and for a few bucks – you can be driving traffic into whatever site you want.
I think these days, it’s not only easier to be an entrepreneur and easier to start, but it’s easier to make this impact where you can take an enterprise and grow it by 10X or 100X because of the leveraged nature of our communications, information and our technologies. Whereas back 50 years ago, you would have to build this huge factory and infrastructure. Very few people had access to that capital. People just couldn’t physically do it. But look at today. It all goes back to Moore’s law and the rapidly expanding capabilities and leverage we all have access to. It’s unreal.”
Yes Jeff. Unreal indeed.
A common man discovers how to be an independent publishing guru, creating massive amounts of content and leveraging his relationships to create over $400 million dollars in wealth for businesses worldwide.
Nicely done my friend. Nicely done indeed.
(Learn more of Jeff’s secrets in his 16 Rules of Internet Success.)
NOTE:If you don’t know me, I’m Eric. Husband, father & life-long entrepreneur…
If you’re an entrepreneur, let’s hook up. Seriously. Here’s a killer formula:
Your Wisdom + My Wisdom = More Success
My email is: eric at mightywisemedia dot com.