I Quit My Job and Made $9 Million on the Internet
Today we’re going to show you what happened when I quit my job and ended up making over $9 million on the internet.
I also want to share with you what I learned in my life, rather than just what I learned in business, because I think it goes hand in hand.
We’re going to take you back in my journey about 19 years. Because 19 years ago, almost to the day, is when I first started making money on the internet. Tomorrow is the 4th of July, and I’ll never forget it. It was like yesterday.
I had first opened my internet business in March of the year 2000. On the 4th of July of that year, I remember I was over at my dad’s house having a barbecue. (And the burgers weren’t that great, because my dad only thinks that there’s a high knob on the grill, he doesn’t know that you can slowly cook things. I’ve taken over barbecuing since then.)
I remember driving home late at night after the fireworks and everything. And I got home to my busted up crazy mobile home with a bunch of drug addicts (it was really not a good place to live).
And I logged into my ClickBank account and I saw that I had made $21 while I was gone. I had made money while I was out on 4th of July, having hamburgers with my family.
And to me, that was a mind-blowing experience.
I was like, “Wait a minute.”
I had made money online by selling things, but this was the first time I had actually made passive automatic income without having to do anything.
This was a site that I had set up months before, and all of a sudden, it made money.
And to me, that was a light bulb moment. I thought, “Wow, this really works.”
Have you ever had that light bulb moment in your head?
So here’s the question.
Do you want to keep struggling in a world of information overload and lack? Or would you rather learn the most efficient and effective ways of creating long-lasting economic freedom?
I want to make a commitment to you right now. My commitment to you for the duration of this blog post is to show you the exact skills and methods that are effective in creating a marketing career.
Not a job, not a gimmick, not a tactic. An actual career. Not just for me personally, but for many who benefit from the shared prosperity of the internet.
And we have to remember that this whole internet thing has a shared prosperity.
Many people think that there’s just a handful of people, gurus, and Amazon that are making all the money, and there’s not any left for the little guy. It seems like it’s all going to the gurus, and the gurus are only making money selling stuff, and the regular dude can’t make money.
I want you to know that this is absolutely false.
That’s a cognitive bias that has been fed by lots of other things. You’re not the little guy. There’s room left for you.
You can make it happen.
Because when I first started, I didn’t have a lot of money. I didn’t have a lot of influence. I didn’t have a mailing list. I didn’t even have a website. I didn’t have any skills.
And I went out there, and I said, “I’m going to learn this, and I’m going to do it.”
And while there are a few fat cats bucking the system, the fact is that there are regular, hard-working, honest people like me and you that are out there making a killing online every single day.
I remember being where you are. Sitting in that mobile home, saying, ‘This is gonna be me,” and everyone around me saying, “This ain’t gonna work. You better go get a regular job.”
And I said, “Hell, no. I’m going to do this.”
Now I want you to imagine being able to live life on your own terms, having the economic freedom to do what you want, when you want.
Some people want to make millions, and some people just want to make it work. Some people just want to make ends meet.
This training is going to be all about I got where I’m at today, what the steps were along the way, what the skills were that I learned, and what happened in my mind along the way.
Because I believe if I could take you by the hand and walk you through this journey that I’ve gone through for almost 20 years, I think those moments will teach you something.
It’s even easier now than it was 20 years ago, and it’s really pretty simple.
Back in 1999, I was a magician, and I was trying to make my magic stuff work. I was trying to get more people to sign up, and I was also working at McDonald’s.
I remember one day thinking about how I would make $5 an hour at McDonald’s, and then I was going to go over to Garden Grove and do a school show for a local school and make $600.
I remember thinking in my head, “That $600 is more than I make all month at McDonald’s.”
So I thought, “I’m going to do magic full time.”
And I took the risk.
I knew it might not work, and people told me it wouldn’t work. I was losing my guaranteed $5 an hour, and even the manager at McDonald’s called me names and said I’d be back here ‘cause I was a lose and would never make it work.
So I took a leap of faith doing magic, and I also took a leap of faith in taking $170 from that $600 and investing in an ad in a magazine.
My ad said, “Magic, Balloons, Comedy, and Fun. Magic by Marcus” and then my phone number.
Back then $170 was crazy. It was a big risk, especially for me, because when I was 15 or 16 I had actually moved out and had to find a way to fend for myself. My Dad helped a little bit, but not much.
So I had to make stuff work.
I had that ad, and I was nervous. I thought, “Am I going to get any calls?”
The minute that ad hit, I started getting calls the same day. People wanted to pay me $400 for shows, and $600 for school shows, and on an on.
I was able to get 5 or 6 shows a month, and $170 turned into about $1,000. I got repeat business, and I was making more than I ever was at McDonald’s.
But it was still relatively low.
I was still having a hard time, but I was learning more about this stuff.
I had a magic magazine, and I read an ad inside. It said, “Do you want to get more magic bookings?”
And I thought, “Yes, yes I do.”
It said, “Do this and this, and give me a call.”
So I called the number and told the guy that I didn’t have any money, and I just spent my money on an ad. What could I do?
And he said, “Here’s the deal. I’m going to tell you what to do with your ad, but after it works, buy my product.”
And I said, “Dude, of course.”
So he said, “Change your ad for “Magic, Balloons, Comedy, and Fun by Marcus” to “Make Your Child’s Party Unforgettable, Comedy Magic Show, Your Child is the Star. Call Marcus Today.”
So I changed it. And instantly, I got 5 to 10 times the bookings. It was the same $170 ad, same magazine, same everything.
So now I didn’t have to go to the budget grocery store (but I still did, ‘cause I liked saving money, and it was right around the corner from my house).
Now, I want to show you the skills that I learned along the way, because these skills are things that you’ll need to learn.
The big skill I learned is the ability to sell in print and in person.
This is very important. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at WordPress, or if you are a good video person, none of that matters.
What matters is that you know how to write words on paper that get people to respond.
If you learn that, you’ll never have to look for a job, if you do it right.
That’s the real magic. That’s where the real money is at. Learning how to write an ad.
A year later, in 2000, I graduated high school. I needed to make a little more money, because I wanted to move away from the place I had been renting with my brother for years, and I wanted to be on my own, because I just didn’t like living in the environment we were in.
So I moved out, and I took a leap of faith, but I told myself that I had to get out of there and do this.
I made a website for a local cigar company, for which I charged $10,000.
And then I thought, “What if I did SEO? What if I charged people to get ranked on the search engines? That’d by pretty cool.”
So I used what I learned with the magic business, and I built and built upon everything.
I took that website I made and got the cigar company ranking on the search engines. Then I did the same with magic stores and limousine companies.
My philosophy was to always find the keywords first, and only get words I could rank for. Because I wasn’t really good at SEO, and I’m still not. But I was good at finding keywords.
So instead of going out there and declaring myself as Marcus the SEO guy, I wrote letters on paper to companies and told them I could get more business to their websites.
And boom, the phone rang off the hook. I closed maybe two out of three of those people. I had this thing called the money table, where I’d go and ring people up when they used my services. We were all happy when the money table worked, because it was a loud credit card processor that could be heard throughout my entire house, and people knew I was making money.
Then I found a site called PayPal. I had a PayPal account, and I was able to take money via PayPal.
And I saw they had a “Shop” section, which I thought was pretty cool. It had all these shops organized by category for people who take PayPal.
I saw a site for people who sold gas powered scooters with PayPal. And I emailed them and asked, do you want to get more sales for your gas powered scooters? Call me.” It worked, and I sold a lot of them.
Then I got another idea. I was averaging around $100 an email I sent out. And I thought, “I wonder if I can do better?”
I was making $100 a call, so if I could email them a PayPal dollar, then they wouldn’t be getting an email from a random guy. They’d be getting an email from PayPal that said, “You just made money.”
And then it would say, “Hey guys, it’s Marcus. If you want more dollars, call me.” And it tripled the response instantly.
The first skill that I learned in 2000 was to find the people where they are. You can’t expect people to come to you, wanting what you have to offer. You have to go find them. You have to go get them. And it’s not hard to do, because they’re hanging out everywhere.
People really mess this up, because they don’t focus.
The second skill is personalizing the message to meet the people’s needs. So many people get into marketing, and they think about what they want, and not what they’re going to do about it.
And no one is just going to hand those people money.
In 2003, I moved to Oregon. I had my wife and child, and another baby on the way. I was still doing SEO. A guy named Frank Kern called me and said, “I’m going to order three of your most expensive packages.” And he signed up right there on the spot.
He said, “I want you to rank my site about teaching parrots to talk.”
I thought, “That’s an easy one.” So I took his site, I got him traffic that converted, and he ranked within days. He got tons of visitors and made lots of sales.
He asked me, “If you could get all this traffic, why don’t you go through and just rank everything you want, and send people to affiliate offers?”
And I said, “I think I could do that.”
So I set up two sites, one about cable TV, and the other one about how to get your ex girlfriend or boyfriend back. I thought that was an interesting niche.
I made those sites, and then I drove from Oregon down to South California for a vacation at my dad’s. It was around July 4th.
We didn’t have fancy internet, we had a little antenna that was on the laptop, slow as hell, and it only worked like 9% of the time. And so I had to wait to check how the sites were doing.
I just set them up, and it took me about an hour and a half. I went on vacation, and at then end of the vacation, I found out that I had actually made about $1,200 on those sites.
I didn’t have to do anything, I didn’t have to call anyone, I didn’t have to rank any sites. They just made money.
And this was an aha moment for me.
This was the same kind of aha moment I had back on July 4th of 2000. Because that’s when I made my first $21 without doing anything. Now, I made $1,200 without doing any extra work.
I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. This stuff is real. This can work.”
And then I thought:
What if I could set something up today that will generate money over and over, even when I’m not working?
What if I could figure out a way to make $5 a day, every day, just from what I do today?
I could make around $1,800 a year.
If I could do that ten times, that $18,000. You get the picture.
But the cool thing about this is that it’s not just $5. You could do this and make $100, or $500, or more.
I’ve done this and made as much as $4500 a day passively on a site that I set up in less than a day.
So after I had that aha moment, I set up over 300 sites purely on free traffic from Google, generating up to $1,700 a day or more.
The big skill that I learned here was seizing on the gap in the marketplace. I was able to see gaps and make them work at whatever cost.
I learned how to automate content creation, I learned affiliate marketing, and some basic web skills.
There are gaps all over the marketplace. They’re everywhere, and people are sitting there and worrying about the wrong things.
There are opportunities everywhere, but you may not have the skills the meet the opportunity. That’s why I’m going through these to show you what it’s all about.
In 2008, people told me that I needed to get into blogging. I didn’t like blogging, but I finally learned it, and it was a pain in the ass.
I set up some blogs, and I started teaching affiliate marketing.
People often ask me if I’m one of those gurus who teaches stuff but never really did it.
But I didn’t start teaching until 10 years after I had already been doing internet marketing, when people were begging me to teach.
The only reason I started teaching is because my friend Harris called me one day. He told me he had a teleseminar with hundreds of people waiting to hear from a marketing expert, and his had just bailed on him. He asked if I could hop on and tell people what I’m doing, and I said I sure would.
So I hopped on the call. I had just gotten out of the pool, we were at around $4,000 for the day, and I sat in my office soaking wet.
I did the teleseminar and taught things to people, and at the end, everyone thought it was awesome. They asked what they could buy from me, and I asked Harris, “We’re supposed to sell something?”
And he said, “Yeah, you always sell something on a teleseminar.” I didn’t know that.
So I told everyone, “I made a PayPal link, and you guys can have a DVD, and I’m going to teach you this stuff in a book.”
Even though I didn’t have any of that stuff yet.
And so I committed. I told myself, “I’m going to write a book this weekend, and I’m going to record a DVD this weekend.” I went into my garage, set it up like a little studio, and made my DVD, and it worked really well.
And what I learned there is how to listen to my market.
This is a skill that is so important that if you ignore it, you won’t make any money.
Your market wants to tell you things, and you have to listen to them. Why do you think I ask questions on my seminars? You guys direct the course of where I go. You guys are in charge.
Why? Because you guys are the guys that consume my stuff.
If I lean on my own expertise of what I think you want, it’s just going to be a guess. If you tell me what you want, it’s guaranteed.
So I learned how to listen to my market. I learned direct selling, and of course, I learned how to teach.
Luckily, over the last 10 years, I’ve gotten a lot better at teach, which is pretty cool.
Then 2011 rolled around. I started outsourcing software and tools, and then I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could have software and tools made?”
I thought they would cost like 10 million dollars to make. And I found that they only cost like 500 bucks to make a little plugin, or a tool, or whatever it may be.
And so I tried it, and I started making money with it almost instantly that year.
The big skill I learned there was creating super simple tools, and it was way easier than I thought, and way more profitable than I thought. And that was awesome.
In 2012, I started my YouTube channel. I brought it up on a webinar where I was selling people on Simple Sites Bootcamp, my training course that everyone should be in.
I told everyone, “I think I want to show you guys how to get traffic with YouTube.”
I had found out that I could get traffic right away. I did a test that same year and actually made $3,000 off of a video that only had 140 views.
2014 was a tough year for me. I had a nervous breakdown and suffered from alcoholism, depression, and a suicide attempt.
I got really depressed, I spiraled out and it just consumed me.
Here are some of the things I learned from that year.
One is that money isn’t the be-all, end-all. Money isn’t going to make you happy.
I also learned to not hinge my self-worth on my net worth, because they’re not the same. A person is not worth a dollar amount. A person is worth whatever or whoever created us says we’re worth. And that’s how I look at it.
I don’t deserve any more than whoever has the least. Anything above that is just a blessing.
I also learned that I’m not always right about everything. That philosophy of life is important. If you don’t have a philosophy of life, life is going to create a philosophy for you, and it usually looks something like, “Why is life so hard to me? Why is life so difficult?”
And I struggled and struggled with that, until I decided to purposely make a philosophy of life.
Throughout all of this, I learned that I really, really liked helping people before I had a hard time, because I was looking at my teaching business as all profit, and thought I had to get it as profitable as possible.
And then, when I got sober, I thought, “You know, we’re making enough to get by, we’re making more than enough, and I think I like teaching people.”
And I learned, and I grew, and I really invested in my students. I learned that it’s actually pretty profitable when people are really helped.
Last month, I actually hit five years sober, which is an accomplishment above the money that I’m pretty happy about. And I couldn’t have done it on my own. It had to be the switch in life, which is really important.
You have to learn that, because every time I see people that put profits above their lifestyle, they struggle.
What lifestyle do you want? What do you want it to look like? If you don’t have the life you want, and you’re not living the way you want, then go do it. Figure out a way to get what you want.
If your dream is to live on a sailboat, and it costs $60,000 a year, find a way to make $60,000 a year.
It’s not bad to have bigger goals, but don’t let them consume you.
(By the way, if anyone struggles with alcoholism, I have another channel on YouTube that’s called Talk Sober, where we go through every Thursday and have a live call about how to stay sober.)
In 2016, I started my Talk Sober channel. At the end of 2016, I had 10,761 subscribers. I have more now, and I have around a million views on it or more. And that’s in a market where people are paying $70 a click.
Now, like I said, I put people over profits, and this site is not profitable right now. It’s a little bit profitable but doesn’t make as much money as it could. That’s because I want to do my own thing here, I want to help these people more than pad my bottom line. I think it’s very important to do that.
It’s very important to say I run my business ethically. I want to run it responsibly. I want to take care of people as much as I can. Sure, some people will fall through the cracks from time to time. It happens. When you have a lot of people and you have a business, it’s going to happen.
But we try to take care of as many people as possible.
The skills I learned here were to build today what you want to make money with tomorrow.
I also learned to repurpose everything.
In April of 2015 I set up a little site where I tried to make some money. And we made $245 the first month, which I thought was pretty cool, and since then, I’ve made $145,856 off that one site.
The fact of the matter is that opportunity is literally everywhere, all the time. You just have to go find the it and tell yourself that you’re going to do it.