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I made my first thousand bucks online completely by accident. What I learned from that first accident, however, was extremely powerful and I use the same skills to this day. On this episode, I walk you through exactly how I did it.
It’s November 2010 and it is cold outside. I’m pretty sure that it had just started to snow. Around 9:00 when I had sat down, I had put in a long day at the clinic at my chiropractic office and was sitting down after everybody else in my house had gone to sleep, and all of a sudden, my phone starts beeping like crazy. What the hell just happened?
Welcome to the Serial Progress Seeker Podcast. My name is Dr. Ben Adkins and on this edition, the third of the Serial Progress Seeker Podcast, I’m going to tell you how I made my first $1,000 on the internet and why that cold November night changed everything. All right, let’s do it.
You’re listening to the Serial Progress Seeker Podcast. My name’s Dr. Ben Adkins and I want to take you behind the scenes and show you how I built a multi-million dollar digital internet business and how I’m turning that entire business into something that I can take with me anywhere inside of a backpack. Let’s get started with the show.
There I am. I am sitting in my house and I had just had a really long day. Just to really set the stage here, my kiddo is about two, three months away from being born. This is my 7-year-old now, but he hadn’t quite arrived just yet, but the pressure was mounting. Just to give you a little background here. This is about the time when I suffered one of the greatest blows of my early chiropractic practice. We were making all this money I thought because we were seeing more patients than we’d ever seen before. This internet marketing stuff was working. I had people coming through the door like crazy and things were just booming and that’s a good thing because I’ve a kiddo on the way, right?
Then I look up and realize that we are about to go bankrupt, the practice. We were out of money. There is no cash coming in. That’s when I started to discover that I had someone in my office that was not doing the billing correctly and this wasn’t on purpose, just they weren’t doing it correctly. Stress to the max, with kiddo on the way, things are not good. It’s funny, right around this time is when I made my first $1,000 on the internet. It’s funny how all those things work.
I want to tell you the story. Flashback a few months beforehand, I had been successful with my chiropractic office for a little while at this point and I think I got my chiropractic practice going probably a few months before that. We’d been going a little while, had things going out and I was sort of at that point where I was teaching people. Had other people coming in and saying, “Hey, help us with our stuff.” I was helping other local businesses [inaudible 00:02:52]. They saw what we were doing with the chiropractic office, how we were growing through the internet and Facebook specifically, and they wanted to know what we were doing. I shouldn’t have taken on clients and pretty quickly because my practice was so busy at that point. I just didn’t have a lot of time.
I started just sort of taking this stuff that I was doing and writing it down in a Microsoft Word document. That was sort of the first thing and I got sort of where I figured out how to export that Word document as a PDF so that it can be read anywhere and started uploading them to the internet. Now right around this time, this is when there were no Facebook groups to speak of. A lot of the things that people did back in the dark ages of the internet, I’m kidding, but a lot of what people did is they met up on forums if they were interested in topics. There’s all these forums all over the internet that are full of people that just love discussing whatever it is they’re passionate about. They had forums that are dedicated to all these and these exist to this day. Facebook groups had sort of taken over a little bit of that, but they’re still there.
There’s all these forums and it’s just places where you go post and ask a question or you talk about something you teach and so, I discovered this internet marketing forum and it was pretty cool. It was called the Warrior Forum. Still around, not under the same ownership. It’s lost some of its prestige and that’s not just because of new owners. It’s with Facebook and all kinds of changes. Yeah, there was this place called the Warrior Forum.
I’m hanging out there and I’m just consuming as much information as possible and I’m just everything that I can do to learn how to grow my practice or grow the businesses of these other businesses that have taken me on, that’s what I’m taking in. I sort of discovered this area, and this one particular area of the forum was called Warrior Special Offers. In this particular area, you could post for like $20 to $40. You could post in this one area. You had to pay and you could sell stuff.
You could take the knowledge that you had inside of this post, write a little sales letter telling people what you knew, what your story was and what you were going to teach them inside of this thing that they bought and then, somebody could click a button, which was run completely off of this particular service. There was somebody else that had come up with this whole way to put a buy button inside of a forum and track the stats.
I decided one day that some of the stuff that we’re doing is good enough and I actually had months of where I was like, “I’ve got stuff to teach, but I don’t think it’s as good as the stuff that I’m learning inside of this forum.” The other people that had been doing this for years, this is their thing. My stuff, not as good. Finally, I just was like, “To heck with it. I think that I’ve got some stuff that’s awesome because it seems to be working for me, seems to be working for other folks.” I wrote it down and I created a sales letter. When I say sales letter, it [didn’t resembles 00:05:50] a sales letter at all. There’s no resemblance. This was terrible, but I put this thing up and I wrote it out.
I struggled for like two, three days to actually figure out how to put this buy button together so that when somebody bought, it would actually deliver the product to them and put whoever bought the product, it would put them on an email list. I had an email autoresponder set up where when somebody bought from me, I would get their email address so I could send them updates, things like that.
There was this system. It was called Warrior Plus. There’s this guy named Michael Lantz who is just an amazing human being and he’s a guy that I’ve really come to know over the last few years that is just as good as they come and for all the things that I’ve seen this guy come up against with his own business and how he’s handled it with such grace, he’s really one in a million. If you ever get a chance to meet Michael Lantz, he’s an amazing person.
He built this software that what it did was you could set up a sale. You could write your stuff down. You could upload your PDF to his software and you could create a buy button. When somebody clicked this button, they would be taken to a payout page. They could pay with Paypal and then, his system would deliver the product to the person that bought it, but also, this system would put the email address of the person that bought that they put in right before that they finished buying. It would send it to your autoresponder.
Now the other cool thing that this system would do is when somebody purchased the first thing, you had the ability to put an upsell on the other end. Now I didn’t do any of this, but you could put several offers in a row sort of like, “Would you like fries with that?” any time you buy something. Just a little extra. No, I didn’t do any of that stuff in the beginning, but this was the system that I used.
I was on this Warrior Forum. I had been there for a few years I think at this point and I had written down this thing. Just full disclosure, what this thing actually was, just so you know, in every city pretty much out there, there’s police reports and these police reports are public knowledge. They’re put out there, but you have to sort of go down to the precinct or wherever and sit and listen to this stuff because mostly this time, there was no online stuff.
What I did was is I had built this product that it was actually working pretty well for me in my spare time, but it was a product that you could go sit down at the precinct. You could listen to all the things. You could document it and then, you could put out a thing that for 20 bucks a year or something like that, you could send out to people’s emails every week or every month who had been arrested, what was in the news, things like that. That’s public info, but it’s something that people were super interested in and it was a membership. It was like a first membership that I had and I said, “This is kind of cool. This is a cool concept. I’ve never seen anybody talk about it.”
I wrote down, it was like 12 pages, this thing. Nothing crazy, but I wrote down how I managed it, how I put it together and I put into PDF and I put it up for sale. I put it up for sale and somewhere in the middle of the day, this Mike Lantz guy hit me up and said, “Hey, I like this. This is cool, this thing that you put together. I would love to send it out to my email list.” Now at this time, I didn’t know that Mike was the guy that owned the software that I was doing the sale on. I had no clue who this guy was, but he reached out. He was super nice and he’s like, “Can I send this out?” I was like, “Okay, cool.” He was like, “I’m going to send it out tonight and yeah, we’ll see what happens.”
I kind of forgot about it. This was sort of earlier in the day and I forgot about it. Because I had posted in this forum that had a lot of traffic, I was making a sale here and there so I think I was making like 3 to 10 bucks. I don’t even remember what. It was so cheap, but what I charged was 3 to 10 bucks for people to learn this method. This was something that was working for me so cool.
I was making a sale here and there and on the forum, you would make so many sales when you’re at the top, but as other people posted, your thing would get bumped down and people have to search for it and most of the time, people would go past the first or second page in the forum to look at what was going on. You could pay another $20 to $40 to have it bumped to the front page. When I started not making sales anymore, I’d pay another 20, and I was somewhat profitable.
What happened is, that was midday, I get to the other end of the evening and this is about the time, and I think it’s like 11:00 when this starts, but Mike had decided to email his list out, which was a pretty good size list and he emails his list out and he tells everybody that’s on his email list that’s interested in this kind of products because he had been building this email list full of people that were interested in this stuff, he tells them about what I’ve got and what I’m doing.
About 11:00, my phone starts going crazy. I can’t remember exactly. It was between 9:00 and 11:00 when this happened, so 9:00 to 11:00, it was somewhere in there. It’s been several years since then. [Forget them 00:11:13]. He starts emailing out and I start seeing all these sales coming in. It was just like I had this little notification on my phone every time a PayPal sale came through and it just starts going nuts. The first few minutes, it was just every 10, 20 seconds. Then it just got to being where it was like every two seconds, this thing was going off.
It got to the point that evening and it was exciting and I’d stayed up ’til like 3 in the morning that night listening to this thing go off ’cause so many sales were coming through and this was just Mike believing in my product and thinking that what I had written down was cool and he sent it out to his people and they were buying.
I woke up that next morning and I had to be at the office the next morning at like 7:00, 8:00 AM and I’d been up ’til 3:00 watching this ’cause it was fascinating to me and when I woke up the next day, I had made in my PayPal account so that it had next to nothing and it’s the day before because I didn’t use PayPal in my practice, but my PayPal account had like 1,000, 1,500 bucks in it in a night. That was amazing to me and that was my first night. I’d made a little money here and there with silly stuff before, but that was my first $1,000 that I had seen come in from something that I had written as an author teaching people how to do something, but not having to actually show up because it was written down in a PDF. It was something that could go anywhere in the world and it was interesting.
Something flipped in me that day. I remember just being like, “Oh.” When I go to the chiropractic office, I’ve got to actually be there and I only get paid when I am there and I perform a service. This thing, I did the work one time. I put it up for sale and I can get paid virtually forever as long as what’s inside of it still works. Something absolutely flipped in me and bless Mike Lantz for being absolutely amazing.
By the way, Warrior Plus is still out there to this day and you can still sell on it. It still makes people tons of money by selling products through there. Mike’s still running the show. They’ve actually grown to something that’s I think way better than just about anything else out there at this point because they’ve stuck around and done their stuff. It’s funny, there’ve been all these imitations of what Mike does out there, but Mike’s still going strong with what he does and it’s very powerful.
Anyways, I make that and that’s my first $1,000. Two weeks later, I had something else that was an old product that no one had ever seen before and some other people picked it up. Funny thing happens, when you start selling products like that and one big person in your industry, in that circle starts promoting it, you get other people with email lists that say, “Hey, I want to promote this too.” It’s sort of a waterfall of things because they’re on the list of the first person who sells it so they’ll send it to their people and you can end up making a lot of sales.
That was my first $1,000 on the internet and what it taught me was powerful. It taught me that I had gone to school for like 8 years to be a chiropractor and I had absolutely screwed up because as a chiropractor, I had to be in the room. I had to be present to make money and impact people. It wasn’t just the income. I had to be present to impact people. With this, I was able to impact people from something I wrote down and that’s really the fundamental thing that changed me.
From there, that was interesting. That was a huge, huge game changer for me, but what I didn’t tell you about my first $1,000 day is probably the more valuable thing. What happened with that, I ended up making $1,000, but in that one day, I had also put 300, 400 people, 200, 300, 400 people, I’m not sure exactly, the number, on an email list and at the time, I didn’t realize the power behind that, but over the next couple months, I realized that I could literally give all the money away … We had split, Mike and I had split that 50-50 or 50, 75%, I gave him a lot of it, and whatever the split was, that was great, but I figured out I could give away 100% of that front end product and the true value was getting buyers onto an email list. Even if I gave away something that was super cheap, but it provided value and people liked the way that I put something together, the value was having those people that had bought something on an email list so that I could send them things later.
The real lesson for me and the moral of this story, and I don’t want this to go on any longer ’cause I think we’ve told the story and gotten through that, but the moral of the story is this, that first $1,000 was excellent because it put 1,000 bucks in my pocket. It taught me that the power that I really had and what all experts, anybody listening to this has is you have an expertise that people want to hear about. If you’ll put it, write it down, or cut a video to teach people about it, that’s being able to put yourself into a portable piece of machinery where people can take you anywhere and you don’t have to be present.
Those were very, very important things, but the real take home lesson for me was you’re building a customer list. When you build a customer list, everything you come out with from that point forward you can send out and then instead of splitting the profits, you can make 100% of the profits because now you have the buyers. You don’t have to depend on someone else to tell people about it or run an ad online. You don’t have to do that because now, you have people on your list.
To this day, that’s an important part for me because even when I ran a Facebook ad to a product that we’re selling online, I want to build that email list because once I have the email list and on that email list are people that have actually bought something, not signed up for something for free, but have actually bought something, that’s where the true value is because now, you’ve got someone that you can send an offer to forever.
Now, I’m going to leave you with this because I think this is really where it gets super interesting. That email list, I still have people that buy products from me from $20 to $1,500 to $5,000 to this day that came from that first year of building an email list selling products. Some of those products were $3 to $7. That was pretty crazy for me when I found out the people that were on my list from those first year of products were buying from me two years later, but now think about this, 2019 to 2018 right now, I still have these people that buy products from me from way back then. That’s the true power of what I learned from my first $1,000 day.
I hope you enjoyed this story. Like I said, I’ve got lots of cool stuff that’s coming. I’m just going to walk you through the journey of how I got here and how we’re shifting our business to be completely operated outside of a backpack, but I think that that origin story of how I went from being a chiropractor to sort of how I got into this whole information thing and what my first real big win was was that, and the people that sort of made it possible along the way.
Hope you enjoyed it. I will see you on the next episode of Serial Progress Seeker. Lots more in store, lots of great stories. I want you to do me a favor. Jump on if you’re listening to this on iTunes, leave me a review. Tell me what you think about the podcast. If you have a question, feel free to fire it my way at serialprogressseeker.com. You can come check things out there. Also, click the subscribe button and you’ll be notified every single time we release a new episode.
All right, thanks for listening. Dr. Ben Adkins here. I’ll see you on the next one.