Over-the-Hill “Dabbler” Discovers the M-P-N Formula for Success

For 22 years, I tried to crack the code for running my own successful business. One that would actually support my family and allow me to “thumb my nose” at The Man.

Ad sales, life insurance, soy candles, and software consulting are a few of my attempts at a home business during those years. None of them generated enough revenue for me to quit my corporate job.

Something was missing. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on… until I had a breakthrough at the tender age of 40.

The M-P-N Formula

Shortly after my 40th birthday, I stumbled upon a formula that catapulted me from “dabbler” to full-blown entrepreneur in just a few short months.

At the time, I didn’t recognize the formula for what it was. I just thought I was “lucky.”

It wasn’t until I had repeated my success that I realized there was a pattern to what I was doing.

What follows is the story of how I first used the formula to create a business that’s now sold millions of dollars’ worth of products to tens of thousands of customers worldwide…

… and how I then used it to set up one of the largest Internet marketing product launches in history.

M Is for Mentor

Back in the spring of 2005, I was burning the candle at both ends, living in planes, trains, and automobiles on behalf of my employer. (Think “Up in the Air” with George Clooney.)

I was borderline obese, and was on the fast track for a heart attack or stroke.

Having been through a painful divorce, I now supported two households with a paycheck that never quite made ends meet.

I was treading water.

Then I get an e-mail from Early to Rise, an e-newsletter I had recently subscribed to.

It beckoned me to attend an ETR-sponsored Internet marketing conference in Baltimore.

As I recall, the tuition was pretty steep, over $4,000 for one of only 100 seats. The most I’d ever spent on my Internet marketing education was a few hundred dollars for a home-study course.

I don’t know what it was about this conference, but I was determined to attend. So I went.

And, boy, were my eyes about to be opened!

I took copious notes during the conference as the “Agora Model” was revealed to me, layer by layer. (Agora is ETR’s parent company — and they had used this model to build a $100 million publishing business while making the transition from offline to online publishing.)

Midway through the second day, something clicked. I had my “Aha!” moment and understood how to build a profitable online sales process from front to back.

As valuable as this was for me, it’s what happened after that conference that set a chain of events into motion that changed my life forever.

Shortly after getting home from Baltimore, I learned that a second Internet marketing conference was going to be held that same summer. (The first one had sold out quickly and demand was still strong.) I had gotten so much out of the first one that I decided to attend this one too.

One of the speakers for that second conference was going to be the legendary copywriter Gary Halbert.

That got me thinking…

I knew that Gary had endorsed a “how to” info product written and marketed by a guy who claimed to have quickly built a $100 million supplement business. I had been noodling on the idea of starting up an Internet-based nutritional supplement company, and somehow mustered up the courage to write Gary an e-mail about it.

The exchange went something like this:

Me: Hey Gary, I’m thinking about hiring this supplement guru as my coach and noticed you had endorsed his product. What do you think?

Gary: That’s OK, but I think you’d be much better off working with me instead.

Me: Cool. How about dinner in Baltimore when you come up to speak at the Agora conference.

Gary: Sounds good.

Over dinner, Gary’s energy and charisma were irresistible. But what really clinched it for me was his clear passion for the alternative health field. He rattled off one company after another that he had helped.

That night, we shook hands. I became his client and he my Mentor.

Gary not only wrote the first sales letter for my nutritional supplement business, but on more than one occasion he allowed me to come to Miami and “hang out” with him, introducing me to some of his closest friends and colleagues.

The aphorisms Gary reeled off during our time together were priceless, but the greatest gift he gave me was self-confidence — the  belief that I would succeed NO MATTER WHAT.

That was only the beginning.

P Is for Partners

Fast-forward to December of that year…

Gary invited me to a marketing seminar he was holding in Orlando.

My fledgling supplement business was just getting off the ground and I had already demonstrated the ability to generate profitable online sales using the sales letter Gary had written for me. (It was one of his very last. Sadly, Gary is no longer with us.)

During the seminar, Gary introduced me to some of his most loyal newsletter subscribers and clients. Many had multimillion-dollar businesses and had flown in from around the country just to hear Gary speak in this intimate setting.

As we went around the room and introduced ourselves, a big, strapping young man named Brock got my attention. In an “aw, shucks” sort of way, he talked about owning a nutritional supplement company that was generating more than 1,000 online orders a day.

Fascinated, I buttonholed Brock during a break. One of the things he told me was that a lot of his website traffic came from a specific type of online media. Something hardly anyone knew about.

After the seminar, Brock and I kept in touch — and we decided to partner up on the creation and marketing of a high-end home-study course. The course was to be based upon his knowledge and experience with that special source of prospective customers.

I had no idea what was in store for us down the track, but it felt really good to work with someone on a common goal.

N Is for Network

Around the time Brock and I became Partners, I decided to sign up for the “Partner Program” run by an SEO (search engine optimization) expert by the name of Brad Fallon.

We quickly became friends, and got to talking about the home-study course Brock and I were working on.

Turns out Brad had a speaking slot available for an event he was holding. After some arm-twisting, he agreed to let Brock and me do a presentation about our system for attracting website traffic.

It was a hit!

We sold over $60,000 worth of our product after our 60-minute talk — without even making a sales pitch.

We simply gave people in our audience a form to fill out and said, “If you have any questions about this system, please write it down with your contact info and we’ll get you an answer.” We had been smart enough to print an order form on the back of the “question” form — and people literally clogged the aisles waiting to place an order and chat with us while the next speaker looked on (more than a little irritated).

A couple of months after our successful debut at Brad’s event, he rallied his extensive Network of Partners to support an official launch of our traffic system.

With that Network in place, we were able to generate over $3 million in product sales in about 24 hours — something that would have been impossible for us to achieve on our own.

All of this was icing on the cake because, thanks to my Mentor, Gary Halbert, I had already been able to quit my corporate job. I had finally built up my nutritional supplement company to the point where I could cover my overhead expenses and more than support my family.

Now It’s Your Turn

Did you see how the M-P-N formula works?

Briefly, here it is again…

Step 1: Seek out a Mentor. If you wait for a Mentor to find you, it will never happen. Think Luke Skywalker and his quest to find Yoda and learn the ways of the Jedi Knights.

One of the best ways I’ve found to identify potential Mentors is to attend seminars and conferences related to my industry. Candidates can be found on stage or in the audience, but you have to physically be there (rather than on your couch) to have any chance of a match happening.

Gary Halbert, for example, was speaking at the Internet marketing conference I attended in Baltimore when we had our first dinner. While events like that cost money, I’ve always gotten a big return on my investment — either through something I’ve learned or a new relationship I’ve established.

Step 2: Find the right Partner(s). I’ve heard it said that being an entrepreneur is the “loneliest job in the world.” Going it alone in business is not only lonely, it can be downright intimidating. But working with a Partner who shares my values and passions and complements my abilities has allowed me to accelerate the achievement of my goals. If nothing else, Partners keep each other motivated and moving forward. This sort of accountability is very effective and rewarding.

If you’ve selected the right Mentor, he can help you find the right Partner.

As you recall, Gary introduced me to Brock — and we later went on to speak as Partners at many events, including Early to Rise’s “Profits in Paradise” seminar in Orlando. (It was surreal to be on stage when just a couple years before I was in the audience.)

Step 3: Tap into a Network. You, your Partner, and your Mentor form the beginning of a big Network of relationships. When the time is right, you can tap this Network at critical stages in the growth of your business. For example, to:

  • Raise capital
  • Launch a product
  • Secure endorsements for your new book

One thing that you must keep in mind when you’re building your Network is that you must give in order to receive.

Let me restate that: You should give consistently with no expectation of receiving ANYTHING in return.

Do that and your Network with bend over backward to help you when you need it.

So that’s the M-P-N formula. Simple, but amazingly powerful.

P.S. Feel free to drop me a line at buck@healthbusinessconfidential.com if you have any questions. If you’re interested having me as one of your Mentors and possibly tapping my Network down the road, my Partner and I coach folks on how to get into the online health info and health supplement business.

[Ed. Note: Just like Buck Rizvi, you could attend an Early to Rise event and change your life. At our upcoming 5 Days in July Conference, for example, you’ll learn everything you need to start and grow your own profitable online business.

In fact, before the conference is over, you’ll have picked out a niche (with a ready market for your products), have a live website and a ton of product ideas (if not a product), and be set up to start building your e-mail subscriber list. It’s the Early to Rise/Agora Model for marketing online — and we teach it to you step by step.]