The Life I’ve Secretly Hated

Date: February 2010

$25,000,000.00 is what the check says. It’s dated June 6th, 2006.

And it’s made out to me…personally.

I’ve kept it pinned to a small bulletin board next to my desk for almost 5 years.

Next to it I have pictures of a Lamborghini, a private jet, a Humblot watch, a luxury home on the beach and many other items.

I’ve refused to cash that check for all this time.

Insane?

Not really. It was written to me…

…by me.

Like others I watched the movie “The Secret” with great intrigue.

After watching John Assaraf’s story about the “vision board” with his house on it I was inspired.

I immediately cracked open a new Rob Report magazine and cut out pictures of all the material things I wanted.

I also wrote a $25 million check to myself.

I bought a dedicated bulletin board for it all. I artfully arranged everything.

Then I hung it up in a prominent place next to my desk.

And there it’s hung. For almost 5 years.

These 5 years have been an amazing ride.

Five years with many grand successes and many colossal failures.

I don’t yet have a private jet or $25 million to cash that check.

But I’ve achieved most everything else on that vision board.

Here’s the rub…I’ve realized I hated it all.

I guess I shouldn’t say ALL. The people I’ve met, the relationships I’ve built, the lives I’ve changed, the things I’ve achieved, are all amazing.

By “ALL” I mean I hated the process. I hated the things I did to get here.

Not that I did anything bad or immoral (as long as blackhat SEO and fake blogs don’t count :) ).

It’s just not what fulfills me. I was doing all the stuff I’ve been doing for 5 years just because it made money.

Turns out money is really bad at fulfilling a person inside. Duh!

Just 3 months ago I finally realized that I would not have done ANY of the things that made me successful.

The cool thing is that I’ve realized this and I’m working hard to change direction and do what I truly love to do.

I guess that’s a luxury most people in the world never get. The chance to make enough to be comfortable and start looking inside.

So yes, I’m truly grateful.

But in the forever cliched “20/20 hindsight”…

…I would have done it all differently.

So what am I going to do? I’ll tell you.

But first I gotta tell you about losing my damn mind…

…to the tune of $200 million!

Yep, I started going completely crazy around the spring of 2010.

Inspired by a couple great friends, Frank Kern, Trey Smith and Amish Shah, I started really thinking and acting WAY bigger.

I’d decided to build a company that would get bought out for $200 million.

I made a plan. I backed into the numbers and started executing.

I got really riled up about it. My intensity fueled a lot of others to follow me.

And they paid me between $5K and $10k each to follow me.

With my usual intensity I quickly ramped up to almost 60 employees and $100k/mo in overhead in order to build this $200M machine.

Since I’m pretty much fearless I went BIG and FAST.

It was going like gangbusters…at first.

Three months in the cracks started forming and I saw them, plainly.

Bad thing was I didn’t have the skill set to make the corrections needed.

My life turned into a stressful hell.

I’ve been there ever since.

In a wave of desperation to make things work I created a couple more internal programs.

This increased the workload and the overhead…

…and made exactly zero dollars in profit.

Worse yet, one of the programs I started lost $50k.

In another wave of desperation to please the people that paid a lot to follow me, I created more and more content.
More and more tools. More and more tactics for them to use to make money.

All good stuff but nowhere near the same path as the original plan.

The feedback from the now unfocused training was insane.

I’d lost my focus and in turn those followed me lost focus and got confused.

This created a “death spiral” of me craving to please them and delivering more and more content and training.

AAAAHHHHHH!!!!

This all led to a major bifurcation (fancy word for SPLIT) in the attitudes of my customers.

Approx. 85% absolutely LOVE me and think it’s the greatest coaching program they’ve ever seen.

The other 15% constantly complain and are all over the place with trying every little thing I’ve taught them with no focus.

Those 15% keep me awake at night and have really made me look inside myself.

Through all this I’ve learned some valuable lessons:
1) It’s hard as HELL to scale up to a $200 million company in just a few months
2) I needed a REAL project manager and/or COO to run this beast
3) Hire the best people and pay a LOT for them. Cheap people suck.
4) Detailed business systems are NOT an option. They are REQUIRED.
5) Profits aren’t everything. They’re the ONLY thing. (Yes I stole this from George Cloutier’s book but it’s still a very real lesson I learned.)
6) And the most important lesson of all…I should not have been doing ANY OF IT from day ONE!

I should have never even started it. Knowing what I know now, I never would have.

All I saw was the money.

And oh yeah, I saw the big “fame” it would bring me in the eyes of those around me I respect.

I saw you guys patting me on the back and giving me adoration for doing something big.

I saw myself throwing a big party celebrating the $200M buyout.

I saw all you guys there with all your signifcant others.

I saw myself beaming with pride while giving a big speech thanking each of you for all the help and inspiration to achieve such a huge goal.

But it didn’t work out that way. It chokes me up a bit as that vision fades and we step back into reality.

I wouldn’t call it a crash and burn. But it’s certainly not a success.

Through it all though I’ve found myself.

So I suppose that’s worth more than any $200 million. Worth more than any party.

Even more than respect and admiration.

Now here I sit, finally doing what I truly love to do.

I love writing and creating great content.

And now I’m using those skills to ask for your help.

The good news is that I now I have a very clear path to follow.
I know EXACTLY what I should be doing.
I know EXACTLY what I love to do.
I know what fuels me.
I know what my passions are.
I know what I’m going to be doing the rest of my life.

The coolest part is that the things that fuel me also make shitloads of money.

You see, not all the things I put in place for this $200M company were failures.

I tested and found out MANY cool things that work like crazy…and will forever.

My over-arching goal from day one was to establish a company that was future-proof.

I wanted it based on strong STRATEGY as opposed to TACTICS.
Tactics come and go. Strategies are long term.

So, with all the staff I had in place we tested a TON of stuff.

In turn I made big contacts with other underground guys doing big stuff.

I got to test the things they were doing. I added them to my team and scaled big.

Through it all I finally nailed down a rock solid series of strategies that will drive my business forever.

Things I’ve learned through almost $600k spent on testing with my team:

  • SEO is mostly BS and is dying anyway. (Ask me about that later.)
  • The “Like” button is the new SEO and I’ve learned how to squeeze the shit out it.
  • Paid traffic only works ONE way and it’s not nearly as hard as we’ve been making it for years.
  • Press releases are WAY under-utilized and may be the single best “free” traffic tool there is.
  • Google is dying and they are scared shitless (I can prove it) so I don’t care about them anymore.
  • Connecting and helping REAL people is the only way to make this work long term
  • Celebrity and a “tribe” can be manufactured in just a few weeks
  • All this shit is WAY simpler than we try to make it out to be
  • We have WAY more power than we realize as Internet marketers

So, what have I decided to do going forward and why am I writing all this to you?

Simply to show how to get this wrong and how I’ve now turned it around to get it right.

It’s all part of my new product called ProjectLuck.com

Talk soon,

Matt

……