Death Row, Online Marketing and My Journey to Change the World

Death Row, Online Marketing and My Journey to Change the World

Prequel

The perception is that you’ll find the worst of the worst humans on death row. That they are a scary bunch of men, or maybe even “animals,” that you and I would never have a single thing in common with. 

And maybe you won’t believe me when I tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. That you could learn more about life and success and failure from many death row inmates than you will from 4 or 6 or even 12 years of higher education.

But it’s fact. (You might find an interesting tidbit of support for the fact in this article about prison inmates beating the Harvard debate team!)

Anyway  . . . what’s that got to do with online marketing, and changing the world? You’ll see in a minute. Stick with me.

For 25 years I was a criminal defense attorney. Not the kind you see on TV, where the actors choose the cases they take, and free the wrongfully accused after 60 action-packed minutes.

And not the “real” attorneys you see on the TV news, who wrangle the multi-million dollar athletes’ murder charges down to traffic violations. 

I worked for the poor. Appointed to represent those who couldn’t pay, but were facing jail time. Fresh out of law school, it started with drunk driving and suspended license charges.

Within seven years, I had devoted my practice to representing those charged with crimes carrying the death penalty, who didn’t have the 100K+ it took to defend against such charges (or even $100 without the “K” in most cases). 

Ten different times throughout my career I had to make that phone call. “All of your appeals have been denied, and the Governor has denied clemency. I’m sorry.”

Left unsaid but now inevitable was the fact that the man on the other end of the phone would be dead within minutes, at the hands of the state.

You could probably think of a hundred reasons you wouldn’t want to do this work. But for me, it was the “dream job” for many years.

I’m at my best when I’m helping people. Especially when those people have an “underdog” status.

So what happened? 

Did I tire of being the one to stand up for, and advocate for, people who had done unspeakable things? Never. To the end, I was proud to do that. None of us are as bad as the worst thing we’ve ever done. 

What I couldn’t do anymore was be part of a process I didn’t believe in. And one that was doing a huge disservice to those it was supposedly designed to help. 

The state was consistently executing people in violation of its own laws and the U.S. Constitution. To me, an unbearable reality even if you believe in the death penalty. (I don’t).

Many of the small handful of other attorneys who do this work were becoming ego-driven to the point of hurting the clients we are suppose to protect. 

No matter how many hours I worked, sacrifices I made, solid legal arguments I presented, I was being ignored by those who had the power to see that the right thing happened.

I had become a wheel in the machine that allowed the state to kill people.

The opposite of the impact I set out to have.

So I couldn’t do it anymore. It was effecting my sleep, my finances (often the judge in charge of approving my payments would randomly decide not to do so, because he could), and my ability to be fully present with my children (which is the one thing that matters most to me).

We All Do Stupid Stuff at First

I actually started my “side hustle” — which is how I thought of this “online marketing” thing — in 1997. The purpose at that time had been to bring in some consistent income while I built my own law practice. 

My first venture was medical coding and billing. (Investment $7000, return $0). No, I knew nothing about this industry. And yes, I wore the newbie shoes and fell for all the “proven ways to make money without doing much, if any, work” ads for more years than I want to admit.

I learned to love the MLM atmosphere with all its energy and excitement, but I sucked at recruiting people. In retrospect, I just didn’t know how to develop a quality lead, and quickly got tired of talking to tire-kickers. 

Babies Change Everything

In 2004 my life changed with the birth of my daughter. The 2% chance a fertility doctor gave me of ever getting pregnant hadn’t really ever deterred me. I’ve been a 1%er pretty much all my life, so knowing I only had to show up in the top 2% was a challenge I welcomed. 

What I realized shortly after my daughter was born was that raising children was even a bigger passion for me than helping people in any business I might have. 

I had no intention of giving up my law practice, but saw the beauty of “passive income” and knew I needed to create even more of it. 

And Then There Was Money

I was thrilled when I discovered affiliate marketing. Sit at the computer and sell stuff without talking to people? Just what I needed after the thousands of painful phone calls and meetings I’d had in my network marketing “career.”

And honestly, when I started affiliate marketing, it wasn’t that hard. It was a more trusting time. You could just use the promos and sales pages provided by the product owner, and people would buy. They didn’t have to know, like, and trust you to buy from you.

Of course the proliferation of bad stuff out there on the internet has changed that, and affiliate marketing has become much harder. And that’s probably a good thing. 

Since being introduced to Jim Rohn sometime around 2000, I have been a personal development junkie. It never really occurred to me that I was good enough to create my own product in this market, but buying up products and promoting them as an affiliate was something I loved. 

From there, I developed an informal coaching practice. The number of people who want to know how to make money with an online business is endless.  

Before too long, I was hooked. Like I said, I love helping people. Being a business coach, who could help people go from financial stress to comfort was a natural fit that quickly turned into a passion.

But Eventually, It All Came Crashing Down

For the last 18 months of my legal career I faced execution after execution, with little down time in-between. As a result, I was able to do very little work on my online business.

I was basically just treading water, taking on small consulting projects as I could. But I had big plans for getting my momentum back in my coaching business as soon as I finished my other obligations.

As I began to look forward to the transition, something really unexpected happened.

I started feeling not so good about my coaching business. To the point where I seriously wondered whether I was trading one bad profession for another.

Not because I didn’t like the work, I loved the work involved in both my legal career and my coaching business.

But just like I didn’t like what the law had become, I realized there was much I didn’t like about what online marketing had become.

I’m a serious student of online marketing. I buy a lot of products, follow a lot of people, and keep a close eye on what’s working in the industry. And here’s what alarms me:

  • The number of people selling high dollar coaching programs who have never achieved the results they’re selling others;
  • The number of $1997 online marketing products being sold that are worth about $197;
  • The number of frustrated hopeful entrepreneurs who pull out their credit card for product after product on how to grow their business, yet never make their first $100;
  • The number of successful entrepreneurs who tell their “rags to riches” story, yet leave out the reality of the struggle behind (and throughout) their success.

It often feels like those who are suppose to be teaching others how to make money online are the only ones making any money online.

Looking In the Mirror Got Kind of Ugly

When I took a look at where I would be, and WHO I would be, if I reached my business goals, I didn’t like what I saw.

I thought I was being “authentic” in telling my story about getting fired from my job, having to start with nothing, and bringing two six-figure businesses to life. 

But honestly, that was just the “highlight reel” of my life. The reality of my fears, frustrations, and failures ~ which still make their appearances more often than I’d like to admit ~ was left on the cutting room floor, for the most part.

I kept it that way because who’s going to hook up with a business coach who is less than perfect?

Shouldn’t you give your money to someone who has what you want — that worry-free, always on track, laptop lifestyle? 

Problem is, selling that image is a lie. Leaving out the struggles results in leaving out the most important lessons too.

So while I knew I could reach my goals, I also knew that I would end up in that group of people who were taking money from people who weren’t making money.

And that was unacceptable. 

I wanted the responsibility of insuring results for those who paid me. They needed to see a positive ROI from their work with me. A life-changing ROI, really.

Unfortunately, I was on this same path most other business coaches are on, and I knew the percentage of success stories that result are minimal, at best. 

So I decided to quit.

Quit being the “expert.”

Quit being the perfect example of “success.”

Quit acting like I’m the Buddha who possesses some magic that I’ll reveal to those who pay me enough.

I no longer wanted to identify myself as an “online marketer” and a “business coach.” Because I don’t like the way those words make me feel.

And I don’t believe in doing business the way most people with those labels do things.

And, in fact, I don’t like some of the things I did when I identified myself as those things.

Not that I ever lied in my marketing, but I sure was guilty of “sugar-coating” at times. . .

Let’s Do Something Different

I didn’t want to walk away from the world of online marketing though. The more children I had, the more parents I saw having to make tough choices.

Either spend lots of time with your kids and be broke, or have the money you need but only have a couple of hours a day with your children. 

I had both the time and the money. 

And I met parents every day who could have both too. If they knew how. 

And I could show them how. In fact I was passionate about the opportunity to do so.

Over the last month I’ve thought a lot about how to reconcile this passion with the urge to quit being a part of the online business coaching industry.

Here’s what kept coming to me: Do something different.

I once had a complimentary session with a business coach who within 5 minutes told me I needed to do a teleseminar and build a prospect list from there.

Maybe not a bad idea, but she hadn’t told me this based on any analysis of MY business. She gave me this advice because that’s what she teaches in HER coaching business.

I’ve looked at a lot of coaching programs that offer packages with cool names like “silver,” “gold,” and “platinum.” (even “ruby” and “sapphire!”). The commonality of them is that they offer a set curriculum for your business that might, or might not, work. 

I’m not saying these are bad.

They just aren’t me anymore.

Because they don’t produce enough results. 

I’m not your coach, who sits on the sidelines and sends in a play that I hope you can successfully execute.

I’m your problem-solver, your business growth leader. We’re in the game together.

I’ve won lots of games, and lost a lot too. And I’ll use my experience to lead you to a successful finish. 

And when I say we’re in the game together, I mean it. I’m going to pull back the curtain and show my successes and especially my failures, because that’s where the real lessons are at. 

I’ve decided to tell the whole story, leaving nothing on the cutting room floor. 

I’m 100% committed to seeing people get results. It may be unrealistic to have a 100% success rate in my new role as growth leader and problem-solver.

But that’s my goal.

Which also means I’ll be more picky about who I work with. I don’t want your money if my services are going to be an expense to you, rather than a successful investment.

Discover Your Online Identity

So what do you think? Is it time for you to do something different? Should you quit “online marketing” in search of a path that will get you real results? You know, the kind your dreams are made of . . . 

No matter what your niche is, you can go from being a marketer, to a problem-solver.

Because people don’t really want to buy stuff from you. They want you to solve their problem. 

I’ve got a quick quiz that will tell you whether you’re best suited to be a marketer, or a problem-solver. Take two minutes to answer these four questions, and you’ll uncover the path that’s right for you. (Go ahead and click here, the quiz will open in a new window.)

And as always, if you want to talk more about your business, get your 45 minute problem-solving session here (on the house, of course).

I promise you’ll feel better about your business after we’ve talked, and I’ll even pay YOU if you feel like I wasted your time.

I look forward to a new, different, and better journey with you.  

 

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