Young entrepreneur success stories…
I got some cool updates from some of our 10 scholarship winners at the Underground Online Seminar® 5 – but before I get there here’s what nudged me to write this up…
Tomorrow, I’m off on our Maverick Business Adventures® Totally Rad 80′s Road Rally from LA to Napa. (Follow me on Twitter @yaniksilver) for some random pics and observations along the way.) There’s going to be some great footage from it because it’s a video scavenger hunt with teams competing for cheesy 80′s prizes.
Our celebrity business icon guest is John Paul DeJoria, who holds the rank of #261 on Forbes list of World’s Richest with an estimated $2.5B net worth. He’s the co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Hair Care Systems and Patron Spirits Company, however he started with incredibly modest beginnings – even finding himself homeless at times. We are contributing to the Boys and Girls Club of Echo Park, CA in his name. Plus, with October being Breast Cancer Awareness month we are also contributing to another charity John Paul supports, which is Cancer Schmancer started by comedienne, Fran Drescher.
If you’d like some of the priceless info from our Maverick Business Adventures® members – we’ve set up a donation page here. For a $50 donation you get exclusive audio plus some “blackmail” pics to boot!
I’ll be around interviewing a few Maverick members about business topics, tactics and secrets while they’re getting their mullets coiffed. John Paul has a personal philosophy of “success unshared is failure” and this echoes MBA’s commitment to always pay it forward to the communities we visit. From the charitable donations to actually taking the time out from every adventure to teach and mentor young & aspiring entrepreneurs around us. (Note: if you’re around the San Francisco area – this Saturday, Oct 3rd we have our next free Young Entrepreneur session.)
All of this is part of our 2020 mission -
“To have 1,000,000 Young entrepreneurs, between the ages of 13-23, impacted, engaged and mentored to create their own business start-up.”
I get so excited thinking about the Golden Opportunity, for truly anyone, to get going with their own thing now – but I really feel the most passion around young entrepreneurs. There’s such a low cost of getting started, tons of tools & resources to help you and some gumption.
If you’ve read the book “Micro Trends” by political strategist Mark Penn, there is a trend he identified called “High School Moguls”. He correctly assesses the Internets help in making possible for young “kids” to start making some major money online. In fact, according to a Business Week survey in 2000, 8% of all teens were making money online. Obviously, some were just making a few extra bucks on eBay but many, like the winners of our Underground® scholarship, are doing some really impressive things.
I’ve been getting a few updates from our Underground Online Seminar Young Entrepreneur scholarship winners, who attended the last LIVE event.
A recent one came in from Alex Maroko via an IM:
Not too shabby – before his senior year in college he’s sold over $100k of valuable info online, helped a ton of people and bought himself a convertible. I love it! [Side note: I just did a candid interview with Alex about how he started and what he did to build this business from scratch after attending the Underground®. It was in the latest issue of the Underground Secret Society newsletter. If you hurry you can subscribe and receive that interview.]
Here’s part of our candid interview
Yanik: This is going to be really fun. So we had 10 Young Entrepreneurs between the ages of 13 and 21, I think. And we had 10 scholarships to our Online Underground Seminar, which is a $3,500 ticket, and you got in.
So are you 20 years old now or 21?
Alex: I’m still 20.
Yanik: You’re 20, going into your senior year in college. And what got me really excited was – you and I have IM’d every once in a while and you’ve emailed and kept me up to date on the things that have been going on – and you sent me an IM the other day and said “Hey, I’ve made $100,000 in the last three months selling my products, and now I’m getting ready for my senior year so I’m really excited!”. I was like, “Wow, that’s pretty good!” So I’m sure the people listening and that will be reading this transcript would love to know just a little bit of the background and how you got started. You got started when you were 16 or something, right? Or was it before then?
Alex: Yeah, I was always doing things at a young age. I started training athletes when I was 16 years old, I had my first certification as a personal trainer and things like that. I was a basketball player originally so I was mainly training basketball players when I was younger. When I was 17, I was already training some NBA and pro-level type players. So
I had a lot of experience with that, but I never thought I could take it online or anything like that. Basically I would say it all began in November of 2008. I had a couple of other trainers who were doing some marketing online in the fitness
niche and who were big, like Ryan Lee who is an awesome dude who does a lot of cool stuff there. They said “You should check this out, we’re making some money online. Just give it a shot and see what happens”.
Yanik: Did you know them personally or did you just see them online and see what they were doing?
Alex: It actually happened when I was in college. My first year I went to a different college and was a basketball player. The school was in Florida and there were a couple of trainers who had a gym a couple of blocks from school and I was training there. I started talking to them. I’d be there lifting weights and they’d be up in the office on their laptops all day. I was like “What are these guys doing?” It was kind of eye-opening for me that they were putting their training businesses online all because they were making more money online.
Alex: Yeah, it was very interesting. So my eyes were opened and I said “I’ll give this a shot”. So I put together my first ebook – kind of like everyone else, that’s the first thing I did. I wrote the whole thing, it was like 100 pages, in one week, just to knock it out. One of my friends who knew the internet better than me put up a WordPress site and put up a
simple sales page. We were taking orders through PayPal. It was very rudimentary and we probably made something like eight or nine sales within a few months, between November and February.
Yanik: What was the subject, was that on the basketball stuff?
Alex: It was just a book about ball handling, teaching players to dribble better. So I had the niche part down without ever knowing it, so I guess that was pretty good. That was probably the smartest thing I did. But obviously I didn’t know anything about internet marketing at that time. I just thought you put a product up and people started buying it. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? It sounded great, it just didn’t actually work out like that. So that’s basically what happened for the next few months. I wasn’t actually doing anything to drive traffic to the site. If you had told me something about testing, I’d have said “You’re crazy”.
So I heard about the Undergound Online Seminar scholarship offer from a friend of mine. He was like “Dude, you’ve got to apply for this. You’re young and you’re trying to do stuff online and you should give this a shot”. So I filled out an application. And what’s funny – I don’t even know if you know this, Yanik – but I was the 11th person to win a scholarship. Number 10 apparently couldn’t make it and I was fortunate enough to get that last one. Going to the seminar was just a huge break for me. Obviously the speakers were incredible and there was a lot of technical information to be learned, but I think it was definitely the people I was able to meet and the relationships I was able to build that really made the biggest
difference for me. Just talking with people in the lobby and going over ideas. It was just so eye-opening for me at that event, just seeing what possibilities there were for me online. And at that point, once I had that belief that I actually could do something online, that nothing was holding me back, it was just like a slingshot. I just took off. I knew what I was going to do and I started putting all my plans into action for my ebooks.
But the first thing I thought of, there was a guy named Greg Poulis who spoke at your event who actually lives about 15 or 20 minutes away from me. So we actually So we started talking and I had this great idea: I’m going “relaunch” my ebook that’s been on sale for a few months. So I basically put the whole thing together within a couple of weeks and we
did something like $20,000 immediately the very first week.
Yanik: Okay, let’s back up a little bit. So when you walked in to Underground 5, what were you doing with your ebook business? About how much?
Alex: At that point I’d probably sold, I think, eight or nine books, I think at $14.95. And I think I chose $14.95 because in my head that was the price. I was like that is the most amount of money anyone will ever pay me for anything online. So that was what I’d done up to that point.
Yanik: Okay, so you were still kind of struggling. So then you met a bunch of guys. You were actually on the hot seat, I think, during this lunch that we put on with the Maverick Business Adventures members. Is that
Alex: Yes. At the luncheon I got to go up in front of all of the Maverick Business members. I had like 10 minutes. I talked about business for a couple of minutes and then had everyone firing ideas and improvements and tests and things like that. So that was obviously awesome.
And then after the luncheon, basically right after the hot seat, I stood up and went back to my seat. And a friend of yours, Craig Ballantyne, came up to me. We’re in similar niches, he’s kind of like the top guy in fitness right now, and he started talking to me. We spent probably two or three hours together that whole weekend after that and his entire focus was on
my business. And that was just huge for me. A guy who’s doing so well online in a similar niche to be working at my business for me and planning things out for me for the long term. It’s just so motivating and
inspiring when you see something like that.
Yanik: So you went home from Underground, obviously all excited, pumped up, had lots of ideas, met some contacts. So what did you do then to get this ball rolling so to speak? That was a bad pun to use with ball handling, but… So you met Greg Poulis who was at Underground, talking about launches and relaunches and…
Alex: What I had in terms of internet marketing product: I had a digital version of Mass Control and I went through that in like a couple of days. And it’s not just for launches, but I figured out exactly how I was going to launch it. And then I had all the technical stuff from talking with Greg in terms of how many days it’s going to go, what I’m going to do on each
day, things like that.
Yanik: Tell us a little bit about that. Do you remember your plan?
Alex: Yeah. The launch date I had set up, I think it was April 21st, and I think I got that from your event, maybe 5 or 6 weeks before that. So I had a small time to plan out this entire launch. So it was an April 21st launch, we started the pre-launch on April 14th. We just went with a seven day pre-launch period. I don’t want to jump in too far but when I got back from your event, which was probably very smart of me, was research and start contacting affiliates, JV partners, people I thought had subscriber lists or had a lot of reach to people who would potentially buy my product. So I started contacting people, and I probably found 50 or so people online and I put together a good email and I sent the same one to everybody. I only had something like five or six affiliates who actually took part in this launch with me. I was fortunate that one of them was actually a pretty big affiliate and he’s a really cool guy and he made a ton of sales that week. So finding good affiliates was really big for me.
Yanik: How did you find those affiliates?….(continued in full version)
—Snippet from Interview from Secret Society newsletter. If you hurry you can subscribe and receive the full interview –
Another shining star is Danielle Herb. I think she turns 16 years old in a few weeks! When she came to Underground® she was having some tremendous success working with ADD/ADHD & Autistic children. At the event she got on the Hot Seat and let the Maverick members dissect what’s she’s doing and give her some direction for how to make it bigger.
And she has – currently she’s working on raising $50,000 by Oct 1, 2009 to secure a world class training facility in Ocala, FL where she will be able to provide free horse therapy to kids. Nicknamed “The Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala lends itself to being the perfect location for Danielle to give support. I just donated and hope you might consider too. Go to www.DropYourReins.com to see what she’s doing.
There’s also Michael Dunlop, who is the 20 year-old son of Maverick Business Adventures® member Barry Dunlop. Michael and Barry attended my recent Millionaire MasterMind group and Michael shared his incredible results from blogging. Once again, one of those ideas that really doesn’t make much capital but can yield some incredible byproducts and revenue. Michael has 2 blogs he actively runs and has become quite a crusader in the Young Entrepreneur space himself with Retireat21.com, IncomeDiary.com and WebDesignDev.com among others.
I really enjoy spending time with Michael and seeing how he’s developing as an entrepreneur. He’s been able to land some pretty cool interviews including Craig Newmark (from Craig’s List) and Gary Vaynerchuk among dozens of other young entrepreneurs and success stories. Michael and I are talking about holding a pre-day at the next live Underground® devoted to young entrepreneurs. The idea would be to bring in these real online whiz kids to share what they’re doing and then maybe do a “Dragon’s Den” style session where others share their ideas and let the Maverick Business Adventures® brainstorm and make them better.
I haven’t decided yet if this is the direction we’ll go – so drop me a comment and let me know what you think.