Back in my early twenties, I was a rabid buyer of business opportunity products. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was what the industry calls a “hyper responder.”
I bought all kinds of different info-products that taught different methods of making money. If the idea appealed to me… and the premise for making money seemed reasonable… I wanted to learn about it.
Here are just a few of the “crazy” opportunities I bought into…
- Fix and Flips – This was a popular business leading up to the real estate crash in 2008. Buy a distressed property at below market value from a homeowner on the brink of foreclosure… fix it up… resell it for a profit of $10,000 up to $50,000+. I spent $5K on H. Roger Neal’s Fast-Flip Real Estate program, but I never pursued the idea because it involved taking advantage of people in financial distress. (Today, this business would be more in line with my values because you can get plenty of fixer-uppers from banks.)
- Commodity Option Trading – I bought a manual that taught me how to trade commodity options. I read that thing two or three times. I even opened up a trading account and started trading futures contracts. I made some money and lost some money. I think I wound up with a slight profit when I decided to pull the plug.
- Waste Auditing – Apparently, most businesses overpay for trash removal service. The idea: Measure how full a company’s dumpster is when the trash service empties it. Do this for a few weeks. If the trash level is consistently low at the time of removal, renegotiate the contract and split the savings 50/50 with the company for the next 12 months.
- Multi-Level Marketing – I was in Amway for three years, from age 18 to 21. A year or two after I quit Amway I signed up with Herbalife. They had a good pitch and I wanted to believe it. I quickly realized their marketing plan was a numeric impossibility, so I bailed out and got a refund.
- Vending Business – I bought five soda/snack vending machines from a company called Antares. I actually placed half of them (the soda and snack units could be placed separately or together) and serviced them for about half a year. Unfortunately, this little foray turned into the most expensive mistake of my life.
- Horse Betting – Yes, I even bought a horse betting system. I read the manual twice. It was really a clever idea and seemed it would work. I never went down to the track to try it out though. (I’d still love to hit the local horse track just for the fun of it. It’s just 27 minutes from my house.)
You might think I would have given up somewhere along the way. But, thankfully, I’m emotionally resilient when it comes to failure. Plus, I’m persistent.
I just knew there was something I could do that would allow me to work for myself. So I kept digging to see if I could find it — whatever “it” might be.
Along Came a Magalog…
During most of the time I was buying all these biz-opps, I was working for Merrill Lynch in their MasterWorks branch, a 401(k) division they’d bought from Barclays. I eventually left Merrill to become an apprentice copywriter for a homeschooling company.
The owner of the company mentored me and taught me how to write sales copy. That was a very exciting time for me because I felt I was learning something that had real value… and… meshed well with my personality and skills.
So… It was while I was still learning how to write direct response copy that I received a magalog in the mail. The headline on the cover was “How to Land Your Dream Career.”
Although that’s not the greatest headline ever written, I was curious enough to open the cover. Inside I saw another headline:
How I tripled my income
in three years after finding
“the best-kept secret in
corporate America” –
for a traditional corporation
with none of the drawbacks!
by Stuart Jurs
All that next day I was full of excitement and anticipation. So when I finally got home, I grabbed a drink, sat down on the love seat, and read that magalog cover to cover. Many parts I read twice — especially the stories of people who’d already succeeded.
And then… I ordered the product.
And Thus Began My Early Mornings
When I received the program, I had to figure out when I was actually going to do the work.
So I began waking up at 5:30 a.m. every morning so I could read and do the lessons.
Some of the lessons involved hand-copying letters. I hand-copied all three letters three times each. I then went on to complete the program.
I even wrote a mock sales letter for an imaginary product and turned it in for feedback from the AWAI team. (My letter was merely okay, they told me.)
It took me more than a year to finish the program because, like any good entrepreneur, I was working on multiple things at the same time.
But I’m extremely grateful I finished the program because it — coupled with my experience at the homeschooling company — provided me with a solid foundation for my freelance copywriting career, which commenced in June 2005.
A “Who’s Who” of Copywriting Legends
It was sometime in 2003 when I got that “Dream Career” magalog. And flipping back through its pages is like reading a “who’s who” in the coypwriting world.
There’s Bill Bonner… Porter Stansberry… Addison Wiggin… John Forde… and even Michael Palmer, the guy who wrote the now-famous “End of America” promotion.
There is no way I could have ever imagined that 10 years after I responded to that magalog that John Forde and I would be copied on the same email because the creative director needed some extra copy from us.
Not only that, the claims inside that magalog have come true for me. I’ve been freelancing for eight years now, and I’ve grossed more than six figures every single year since I started.
Much of my success I credit to AWAI’s copywriting program.
I’ve tried dozens of ways to make money, but AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting was the only one that ever truly lived up to its promises.
I didn’t just learn how to make money… I learned how to create my own dream career.
-Ryan M. Healy