Just listen to this interview’s first question and you’ll see why it headline reads like a warning. Some of the more challenging parts of this interview will probably make you uncomfortable. But it’s worth it because Mel Cutler will teach you something about dealing with tough questions — and tough business setbacks.
Mel Cutler, Success Academy
Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. And I don’t know how to actually introduce this interview, so instead I’m just going to go with these two sentences here. I’ve got them written right up on my screen.
Mel Cutler has been a serial entrepreneur since he was 19 and a millionaire by the time he was 25. We’re going to find out how he did it. What he did since then. And we’re going to do it all thanks to my man Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. He is the start up’s lawyer. Go check him out at walkercorporatelaw.com. Mel, welcome.
Mel: Thanks, Andrew. Good to be on. I’m a big fan of your show and you document and you inspire a lot of other entrepreneurs. So I’m glad to be here.
Andrew: Well, thanks for being on here. I told you before we started, I can’t find anything online about what you did at 19 and about this millionaire status that we’ve found out about. I think this came from you. How do I substantiate this? I’m at a loss. What do I do?
Mel: That’s a good question. Well, you know, I know I look like I’m 19, but I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for the last 11 years. And the companies, some of them that I started up, they didn’t do so well. Some did well, some didn’t do so well. And some were documented and some weren’t. So really all I can share is my own personal experience and kind of what I learned and it’s up to the viewers and listeners to take it for what it’s worth.
And, hey, if it’s something that can help you, if your mind opens up and you’re like, “Oh my God, that was a great idea.” Or there are some beliefs or some thoughts that really trigger and inspire you to start up a business or grow your current one, then, hey, that’s my gift to you.
Andrew: How old are you now?
Mel: I’m 31 now.
Andrew: Okay. So where did this big money come from? What did you do?
Mel: Well, the big money was a long journey for me. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Both of my parents are Russian immigrants. They immigrated from Russia. My dad had a few hundred bucks in his pocket. And he had to make it, he had to survive. It came from just trial and error.
Andrew: Here’s what I mean. My concern is, I’m looking at your sites and a lot of them are teaching coaches how to make money. Teaching people who organize meet ups, I’m looking at my screen that’s why my eyes are going to the right. Teaching people who organize meet ups how to make money with their sites. Doing conferences for entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses. My concern is that, and you know this as well as anyone, there are a lot of people in the tech and entrepreneurship space who are teaching other people how to do something that they’ve never done before.
Teaching other people how to do something that they may not even know how to do themselves. And as I was looking on your site, I see here when you were 26 years old, your website, actually, I think this is your website, which said at age 26 he has already been making, he’s already been the marketing director of three companies and worked with coaches and practitioners across the U. S.
So back then you were already starting to tell people that you were going to help them with their coaching business. But I don’t ever see anything, even going back as far as your mid 20’s that says, “Here, this is what I did.” Or showing what you’ve done. I can’t even see the businesses that you built.
Mel: Sure. I mean, part of it is I never really had to show it. It wasn’t my intention to really get into coaching. It wasn’t my intention to really train other entrepreneurs. When I retired when I was 25, a lot of people started to come to me and ask for coaching. They started to ask, “Well Mel, how can I achieve what you’ve achieved?” And for the coaching I grew a six figure coaching business coaching clients one on one.
The first 12 months I lost money doing it, but the next 12 months I started to interview six and seven figure coaches. People who were helping other people step into their purpose, their passion. So I created a six figure practice and then I’m like, “Well, there’s a ton of struggling coaches out there, so I’ll just teach them what I know.” So that’s kind of how that business grew.
Andrew: Okay. Alright, let’s go back then to when you were starting out. I guess this was at 19. In fact, why don’t we go back even before that to get to know you before we get to know the business part of you. You were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child.
Andrew: What does that mean? Mucus in the lungs?
Mel: Yeah, so cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease. About 30,000 kids have it here in the U. S. and it’s something that affects the lungs. Like this morning, I just did three aerosol treatments; thins out the mucus. With people with cystic fibrosis, they collect mucus in their lungs and sometimes even in their digestive system.
Mel: And for me every time I eat, I pop enzymes to help digest the food because my pancreas doesn’t work properly. And so this was diagnosed when I was 15 months old. And I was born in Canada and so my parents were freaking out. They’re like, “What’s wrong with our kid?” You know, a lot of guilt. And luckily, thankfully, they moved from Canada to California, where the weather was warmer, less snow. And my whole family’s actually still in Canada, so that was quite the journey and quite the reinvention for them, but I thank them every day for doing that.
Mel: So that’s cystic fibrosis. It’s . . . 15 years ago, kids weren’t living past 13 years old. And today, thankfully with new medicine and through diet and also, it’s a mental thing, too. With those three aspects, kids are living much longer now.
Andrew: And so did you grow up with this feeling that you were going to die?
Mel: You know, deep down inside, yeah.
Andrew: You did.
Mel: Yeah, there’s always been like an intangible motivation and drive that I had to get things done. And growing up in my family, it was we achieved love through success, right? They really pushed success and achievement. And so that’s what I did. I achieved and I tried to succeed as much as I could. And to this day, there’s a motivation that inspires me, knowing that my time is limited. All of our time is limited here, but for me, I couldn’t even imagine who I’d be if I didn’t have CF. And CF has given me the gift of understanding . . .
Andrew: When I was a kid, there was so much I wanted to do and say and I felt I couldn’t get to do it. I just couldn’t bring myself to say it and I almost wished that I would have a life-threatening illness, just so I would feel the urgent need to go and say it. And I felt if I had that, then I would absolutely be able to talk to people. I would absolutely be able to finally start my company. I would absolutely be able to I don’t know what.
Andrew: Did you feel that? Did it have that magical effect that I imagined when I was a kid on you?
Mel: You know, as a kid, I probably had to . . . I have a mild case of it. So there’s varying degrees. I mean, there’s kids that don’t see the light of day. They’re in hospitals with IVs and tubes and stuff we don’t even want to wish upon our worst enemies. And I have been there. I’ve been hospitalized a few different times. I’ve just been very fortunate to have a mild mutation of the gene.
But growing up, after probably 13, 14, 15 years old, I started to realize, and I think the full realization came in college. I got into Long Beach State and after a year and a half, I dropped out. And I realized that going to college, even though college is great and a lot of great things can happen from it, I wasn’t being fulfilled. My purpose, my mission, I didn’t have a dream.
Andrew: What do you think your mission was back then? Most people in college don’t know where they’re going, let alone what their mission is. What did you think your mission was?
Mel: I didn’t know what mine was. I just knew that what I was doing at that time wasn’t fulfilling me. I was working three jobs, working valet, working at a restaurant. I was partying full time. I had a full time girlfriend, which was like a fourth job, and I was just really draining my body and trying to go to school at the same time. It wasn’t working. And that’s when I was hospitalized.
Andrew: For what?
Mel: For dehydration. I was dehydrated. I had . . . just sick. I was ill and I had IVs in both arms, a tube down my nose, and that was like my ah-ha moment when the doctor comes in and he looks at me, 19 years old, and he’s like, “What are you doing?” And he’s like, “If you keep . . .” And he said this. He said, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting.” And he put the charts back down and walked out. And I’m like, “Oh, my God. He’s right.”
And so when I got out of the hospital, that’s when everything changed. That’s when I started . . . that’s actually when I met my first mentor, my first mentor. And I couldn’t have accomplished anything that I’ve accomplished without amazing people, without other multi-millionaires who’ve done it over and over again, without reading phenomenal books and when I got out of the hospital, that was the moment.
Andrew: Who was this mentor?
Mel: His name was Dennis.
Mel: And Dennis would frequent a restaurant that I would work at. I would valet. And he’d come in – he had what I called the trifecta – he’d come in with his amazing wife, he looked like he had amazing health, and financially, this restaurant, people would spend a few hundred bucks just for two people. It was a nice restaurant. And he’d be gone a few months out of the year at the same time. And I’d park his car and his car was as much as a house, and back then, that really impressed me. And he . . . I remember him leaving.
And growing up, I always had a negative impression of successful people, a negative impression of asking for help. Both my parents, they’re Russian immigrants, they’re middle class. I love them. They’re amazing, amazing people. They meant well but they just didn’t know well. And so successful people . . . they didn’t have any really successful friends. And so they said, “Mel, successful people, they don’t want to help you. Rich people, why would they want to support you?”
So I had all these limiting beliefs that I had to get rid of before ever achieving anything. And so this gentleman, Dennis, pulls up his car and I parked it five feet. We always kept it up front. And after he comes out, I said, “Today, I’m just going to ask him. I’m going to ask him two questions.” And these two questions turned my life 180 degrees around. 19 years old, I didn’t know anything. And I just asked him, “What is it that you do and can you help me, please?” And luckily, he said yes, handed me his business card, and we met for coffee that next morning. And he shared with me just things like someone from Mars was telling me.
Things, for example, he said, “Mel, imagine if your parents taught you never to exchange dollars for hours. Imagine if they taught you to make something one time and sell it forever. Imagine to build a team around what you do, to get clear on your . . .
Andrew: Why did he tell you all this? I’m kind of understanding . . . I don’t agree with your parents’ point of view but I am wondering, the way that they might, why would this guy just come and help you? Why would he give you advice? You’re just parking cars.
Mel: Totally. I, you know, to this day, I started to begin to understand human behavior a bit more because I’ve been studying it for the last 10 years. But what I realize is that people that have everything, people that are already successful, what is it? You know, you can only have so many Lamborghinis, you can only have so many cars and yachts. At the end of the day after you have all that, the most . . .
And I’ve met Richard Branson. And Richard Branson’s the same way. He’s the most humble, most helping, like, he wants to know about you. If you met him, Andrew, he’d come up to you and say, “Andrew, tell me what you’re about. How can I help you?” The most successful people are like that. They just want to help because at the end of the day, it’s about serving people and they didn’t get to where they’re at without somehow bringing a tremendous amount of value to the marketplace.
Andrew: Okay, all right, so you meet him, he takes an interest in you and where does that lead? What’s next?
Mel: Well, right at that time, this was in 2001. So dial-up Internet was just coming out and he implanted a few key principles in my head, which I didn’t know any different. I wasn’t judgmental. I didn’t critique him. I wasn’t there to say was he right or wrong because he had the results I wanted.
Mel: So he said, “Mel, what is something that you can create one time and sell it forever?” Theoretically, right? What’s something you can create? And so he came up with the idea of what if you sold dial-up Internet? And at that time, that was the hottest thing. And so what we did is a few of my buddies, we all pitched in some money with Dennis’s help and we started up a dial-up Internet company. And we were in charge of the marketing and the sales and the growth and the expansion. And so that’s what we did. At 19 I dropped out and we started up an Internet company and went out and sold dial-up Internet for $9.99 a month to everyone we could.
Mel: We cold-called door to door, whatever we had to do.
Andrew: Door to door you selling dial-up?
Mel: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: But by then, though, AOL was already around, EarthLink was already around, MindSpring had already launched and grown, and you were competing with them how?
Mel: Yeah, AOL was around. You know, that was the biggest name. EarthLink was a big one, too. And how we were doing it is we were going . . . it was all direct marketing.
Mel: So it was all referral. So what we had is where AOL . . . you know back in the day, you remember those little discs? When you would refer somebody, they would give you a free month of service. For us, when somebody would refer people to us, we would actually cut them a check.
Andrew: I see.
Mel: It was the same service, right? It was probably around the same, if not a little bit cheaper than AOL. But we didn’t have a huge marketing budget. It was all peer-to-peer and referral marketing.
Andrew: Was it affiliate sales or individuals were getting checks in the tens of dollars? Individuals?
Mel: Individuals were getting checks, yeah.
Andrew: Okay, at your height, what kind of revenue were you pulling in?
Mel: We had at our height, I would say about 3,000 clients.
Andrew: And how much money is that?
Mel: Well, you do the math. 3,000 – that was probably about 30 grand a month.
Andrew: So 30 grand a month, how does that make you feel? A guy whose parents are Russian immigrants who think no one can help except themselves, and here you are getting advice and following it and tens of thousands are starting to come in.
Mel: It was almost like . . . at that time, I would say it was almost like too good to be true.
Andrew: Okay. Why?
Mel: Like it took a lot of hard work but at the same time, it was I would say less appreciated. We thought once we hit that point and we were doing significant revenue, it was almost like . . . it was like a dream. It was a dream come true even though it took a lot of hard work, and I think our ego got in the way.
Andrew: How do you mean?
Mel: I mean that we stopped learning and we stopped adjusting and changing and adapting.
Mel: And this was probably two, three years after that. And that’s when high speed came out. And when high speed came out, we had a ton of overhead, we had a ton of employees, our office, we had to pay for all this stuff. And our overhead stayed the same and our income started to slowly dwindle down. But we didn’t transition. We didn’t move into the high-speed market.
Andrew: I don’t know how you would have moved into the high-speed market. I think EarthLink tried to do it by buying connections through some of the broadband companies who had the cables into homes, and it didn’t work out for them because no one wants you using their cables to sell to their competition. I mean, no one wants their competition to use their cables to sell the same service.
Mel: Yeah, it was. And it was just not feasible and not . . . we just didn’t do it.
Mel: And I wasn’t part of the tech side of it, but they didn’t do it and we didn’t do it and that was basically the end of that.
Andrew: End of that meaning bankrupt.
Andrew: And when you went bankrupt, how did that make you feel?
Mel: That sucked. That was the lowest time of my life. The people that I thought were my friends – gone. In debt, personal, the credit cards maxed out, the house I was living in gone, car repossessed. One friend, one friend stuck by me. And at that time, I was living in Dallas because we opened up the L.A. market. We went to Chicago, built up that market, and then we went to Dallas. And it sucked. And I kid you not, I went from living the dream to living in an apartment. The only reason we could get into that apartment was because it was zero down that first month and I had no clue how we were going to pay the next month.
Andrew: What about shame? How did you feel? I sometimes, if things aren’t going well and I project ultimate failure, I imagine the shame that I would feel. And I think even when we were struggling at my company, I felt ashamed. I felt less than my other friends, who seemed to all have it together.
Mel: Yeah, it was shame. There was anger, there was sadness, there was . . . Andrew: Anger towards what?
Mel: Just, all on different levels. Just anger not figuring it out, not being able to do anything supposedly, thinking I wasn’t able to do anything to keep it afloat, anger at myself, anger at others that they didn’t stick by me.
Mel: Just all sorts of different anger that if you have that in your business, if you have it in your relationships, it can’t help you. It…
Andrew: Did you have any personal… You weren’t dating at the time, right?
Mel: No, no I wasn’t, not at that time. It was all business.
Andrew: I feel like, and this is just me, well, maybe it’s not just me. I feel like at times when I wasn’t doing well at work I didn’t think that I could have a girlfriend. I didn’t think that women would be at all interested.
Meanwhile, it must be wrong. Because I look around at losers all the time who have beautiful women on their arms. So, what about you? Do you feel that, too? Did you at the time?
Mel: I’ve never… Well, I shouldn’t say never. I’ve never made it my focus to go out there and find babes. If I’m working on a project, if I’m working on a business I’m working on that business. The people around me are in line with my mission, with their mission, their purpose, and that’s it. If a great amazing gal comes along, awesome.
Andrew: I see.
Mel: But, she’s going to be helping me. That’s actually what happened. That’s how I met my fiance. I met her actually on the island of Roatan when… I don’t like to say I semi-retired, because I’ll never…
Andrew: Yes you do. You say it so much. You do.
Mel: I say it, but I don’t mean it. What I mean is you become financially independent. I don’t like the word retire, because…
Andrew: You came up with semi-retired.
Andrew: Because it gives you some credibility with an audience of people who are going to then want to learn to be like you.
Mel: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: But, it makes you a little uncomfortable, too.
Mel: Because I didn’t really retire. It’s like I wasn’t sitting there drinking pina coladas all day. I actually started up a few different businesses on the island.
Mel: I had a bar and this and that. Yeah, you know what I mean.
Andrew: But, to get to that the thing goes bankrupt, the ISP. You then need to get yourself going and start something else. What do you do to snap out of these feelings you expressed earlier, the anger, the disappointment? What do you do to snap out of it so you can think about the next step of your life?
Mel: That’s a really good question. You know, at that time I was in a bad place, a dark place. I mean I was probably on the verge of suicide, because it just sucked. I did not want to live.
Andrew: What do you mean by verge of suicide? Did you really legitimately start to dream of killing yourself? Did you legitimately dream of being done?
Andrew: You did.
Mel: I wouldn’t say, like, I dreamt of killing myself, but I was thinking it’d just be easier if I died. If I wasn’t alive it’d just be, like, easier. I had one friend who stuck by me.
Mel: One friend, that’s it. This guy, he actually still lives in Dallas. His name is Greg. He kind of lifted me up. He’s like Mel, look, if we can look up, if we can just paint ourselves a future and not dwell on the past then we can move forward.
Mel: He said Mel, it’s important to understand what you’re focusing on, because most of the time you get what you focus on.
Andrew: Okay, I agree with that.
Mel: I wanted to get out of that place as soon as possible. He dragged me to a real estate seminar. This is how I got out of it.
Mel: Dragged me to a real estate seminar in Dallas. This was about 2004. Dragged me to a workshop, and there’s probably 30 to 40 people – real estate investors. There are guys speaking in the front of the room talking about blah, blah, blah, how amazing real estate investment is in Las Vegas.
I was skeptical. I was skeptical. I’m like are you, like, seriously. That’s where the ego was. I was judging, and critiquing, and assuming. I was sitting in the back. Everything was crossed. My legs were crossed, arms were crossed, everything was crossed. I’m like come on. Is he serious? Like, Vegas is the best thing right now?
He continued to talk. By the time he was done I thought to myself what do I have to lose. I don’t have anything. I’m sitting here, and it sucks.
So, after this seminar he basically says if you want to learn how to invest it’s $10,000. I’m like well, you know, a month ago I had $10,000 to invest but now I couldn’t even fit it on a credit card if I wanted. So, I stayed afterwards. I got to know the guy… And I got to know the guy. I said look, I want to learn from you, I want to be mentored by you, I don’t have the money, but I’d like to stay in touch with you.
And so I stayed in touch with him. A month goes by two months go by, we emailed back and forth, we chat on the phone a few times. He’s a really nice guy. Again, I was just blessed and I would threaten him.
I would say, one of these days I’m just going to show up on your doorstep in Vegas, and you’re going to have to teach me how to do Real Estate. He’s like yeah, yeah, right, we’ll see. It came where I packed up all my stuff, and I’m like well, I’m going to Vegas. I took that trip, and that trip from Dallas to Vegas is a … driving through Texas is like driving through two states, it’s crazy.
I ended up in Vegas, I called him up, and knocked on his door, and I said look … his name was Doug, I said whatever I need to do I’ll do. I need to watch your kids, I need wash your dishes, clean up your house, I don’t care, just teach me.
And luckily he said yeah. I paid him back after the first deal I did, I paid him the ten grand. We did over, with his company, we did over $20 million dollars in Real Estate. Out of that, I did a few deals on my own. And …
Andrew: What do you mean, you did millions in Real Estate for his company? Is this Doug Fuller, by the way? I’m looking up on … no that’s not him.
Mel: Nope. His name was Doug [McKern].
Andrew: Doug McKern. So what do mean you did millions for his company in Real Estate?
Mel: Yeah, So, during that time in Vegas, you could buy houses for penny on the dollars, and that next month they would be two to three times as much, as when you … it was ridiculous, it was that bubble. And that bubble crashed pretty hard to. So, I would go out, and he would just say, Mel, you need to call these hundred people today, and he would give me a list.
These people would come from the assessor’s office and they would be people who’re in default, they’re pre-foreclosures. And he’d say Mel call them, I’d say, OK, I’ll call them. He’d say Mel, I need you to go walk in 120 degree weather and go knock on their doors. OK, so I went and knocked on their doors. It sucked, it wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, and deals didn’t fly in from the heavens either, but one came in. The first deal I got was, I made $20 grand on it, and it was a quick flip. So every deal that I got, and he taught me how to do those, was run through his business.
Andrew: I see. You weren’t buy it with your money, you were buying it with his backing?
Mel: Yeah. I would find the deals. I started off just bird dogging. Finding the deals, bringing it to him, he’d finance them, we’d fix them up, or maybe we’d flip them, or maybe we’d rent them back. Then we’d go on and do the next ones.
Andrew: Okay. So, at the end of that … well why did you end it then, if you’re finally doing well. You had a mentor who believed in you, you had a path, what happened?
Mel: The market crashed.
Mel: Market crashed, it crashed hard. And he lost a bunch of money, a bunch of properties. I lost a few, but I was able to get out of there with enough money to just say, I’m just going to go hangout for. . .
Andrew: How much money?
Mel: In my bank account, I had about $350 thousand.
Andrew: Wow. So this is from 2003 to 2006?
Andrew: Your life turns around that dramatically. Now when you’re at the low you told us how you felt, when you get to that high, how do you feel then?
Mel: It was awesome, it was awesome, but then again, for me it was … I’ve always had this attitude, that if I dedicate myself 110% into something, and if I surround myself with the right people, and the right mindset that, I’ll achieve it one way or another.
Mel: And so when I actually did, and I had the money in my account, and things were great again. In Vegas, you’re living in Vegas is a very tricky thing. You get, I know I got sucked into the lifestyle, so you’re going to clubs, girls, booze, drugs, you name it, it’s happening in Vegas. I’m not saying that good stuff doesn’t happen there to, but you can very easily get naughty in that lifestyle.
Andrew: What drugs did you do in Vegas?
Mel: (laughs) What drug didn’t I do in Vegas.
Andrew: Really, why did you do drugs? I’ll tell you that I wanted to learn to relax with pot, it didn’t work for me, but that’s why I went to do it. I wanted to get more, I think I went to it, like, for self-help reasons and it didn’t do anything. Why did you go to it?
Mel: Why did I do it? Because everyone was doing it.
Andrew: I see. And why do you feel like you needed acceptance when you were doing so well? I understand why I needed acceptance. I was a freak. Why do you feel like you needed acceptance?
Mel: It was looking for that next level.
Mel: Take me to that next high.
Andrew: A guy who walks into a restaurant takes you to the next level by suggesting different ways for you to build a business and you get there. You’re thinking, “If I could do drugs with people who are at that next level or could help me get to that next level, then that’s the reason to do it.” It’s not to tune out, it’s not to relax, it’s not to get firey. It’s that.
Mel: It’s artificially trying to achieve that peek state.
Mel: What is humanly possible? Because when you’re at the place where you’re driving, and you know, I was 22, 23 years old. When you’re driving the car of your dreams, I was driving a 911 Turbo, black one. When you’re driving the car, when you’re living in the house, when you have as many girls as you want, what’s next? When you have these external possessions and you still don’t feel a hundred percent fulfilled, well, what’s next? What do you do? And that’s where I hit that point.
And I was in the scene in Vegas, where it wasn’t a healthy scene by all means, not only physically, but also mentally. And a tragic incident happened that shifted my life. And unfortunately, sometimes these incidences that could be seen as horrible and often times they are, if you could translate them into some sort of learning, they can empower you. And one of the nights where, you know in Vegas the party doesn’t start till 12:00 AM. It was one of those nights. We partied till 5:00 AM in the morning. Spending thousands of dollars a night. Five grand a night was not unheard of. That was a typical night. We come home and we’re right about to go to bed and I get a phone call.
On the other line is my friend weeping, crying. She says to me, “Mel, you won’t believe what just happened, but Paul got shot.” Paul Stevens was his name. He got murdered. Out of the blue. We were just hanging out with this guy. Our friend, close friend. Killed. And that, that shifted something in me. I had to get out. I had to get out of Vegas and I left.
One of my real estate developers who I was working closely with said, “Mel, why don’t you come to Honduras?” I said, “Honduras? I don’t even know where Honduras is on the map.” He said, “Come to Honduras. It’ll be a lot of fun. It’s a small little island just north of Honduras called Roatan. Come out there. I’m building a hotel out there.” So I said, “What the heck.” I packed up. I moved out there for week. I loved it so much. It was such a shift in perspective, such a shift in energy. Like more relaxing. It was awesome. Came home. I packed up all my stuff in Vegas and moved out there for a year.
Andrew: Right. And that’s where, when we say that you were in semi- retirement, that’s where you were?
Mel: That’s where I was.
Andrew: Let me do a quick plug here. Where is this? Look at this. I come in and I see this package the other day. Right here. I shouldn’t even show too much because there’s an address on it. Package. Who sends packages? I open it up and I see this. Let me get my camera on my cell so I can see it. I see this. I see this book, this card.
Then I realize, ah, it comes from this guy. Which is Shed Simove. He’s a past interview. He’s a past interviewee. We talked about how he built up his company that sells novelty items like this one. You can put one of these talk bubbles over you and then take a picture of it. Anyway.
So why did he send this over to me? I open up the card. And first of all look, he’s so artistic he can’t just write my name, he has to do this. This is so Shed. Look at that. And it’s because I sent him a thank you note for something. And the reason I’m bringing this up to you and showing you what he went to the trouble putting in the mail is to tell you guys what I’ve said for so long.
I keep saying, “Say thank you to people.” It touches them. It moves them. If you go to your inbox right now, how many people are saying thank you to you and how many people are demanding something of you? Or angry at you for not responding to them yesterday when they sent their email to you?
That’s the way most people are, right? They just say, “Please, I need you to do this.” Or, “Why didn’t you do that?” If you’re the guy that stands out by saying thank you, you could have a dramatic impact on people. I’m not saying that they’ll all send you stuff. Shed [sp] sends stuff because he makes stuff. I’m saying they’ll appreciate it. And so, whether you’ve gotten something out of this interview or any of my past interviews, just send a thank you note. Even if you don’t like me and you’ve never gotten anything out of my interviews, but you got something out of someone’s blog, send them a note. Say thank you. It really, really has impact on them and it sets the foundation for a great relationship in the future.
You don’t know anyone to say thank you to? Here, email Scott. Scott@walkercorporatelaw.com. Scott@walkercorporatelaw.com. Don’t ask him for anything. Don’t check his rates. Don’t do any of it. He’s got the start up All You Can Eat package. Don’t even bother asking about that. Just say, “Hey, thank you for sponsoring Mixergy.” Or maybe you think this is too self-interesting to tell you the audience to say thank you to him for sponsoring me. Say, “Scott, thank you for sponsoring so many start up programs online. I really appreciate what you’ve done.” That’s it.
When you start a relationship that way, I’m telling you, you end up building a relationship on a strong foundation. Not a foundation of desiring something or trying to get something out of someone. But of just showing appreciation and showing that you care even when there’s nothing in it for you.
Maybe, who know’s, maybe Scott will send you a package. Maybe if you send a thank you not to Shed [sp], he’ll send you a package. That’s not why we do it. We do it because if you connect with someone on important, on a meaningful level like that, they care about you and they’re touched and it starts a good relationship. Try it. Do it a few times this year, 2014. See if it has any impact on you. If it does, send me a note and let me know. Thank you, Shed. And thank you, Scott for sponsoring Mixergy. Walkercorporatelaw.com, I should say. What do you think, Mel? What do you think of that plug?
Mel: I love it. I love it. I think it’s taking an approach like Gary Vaynerchuk talks in his book, Crushing It and The Thank You Economy, it’s thank you, thank you, give value, give value, earn their trust, earn their respect, give them something that’ll change their life and they’ll be begging to get more from you. I love it. Lessons.
Andrew: Why leave Honduras? There’s a realization that you had.
Mel: So, why did I leave Honduras?
Mel: Because it dawned on me that I finally realized when I was living on the island what, like, my higher calling, if you will, was. What I was really put here to do and that’s kind of when, when my mind was clear, because it was most of the time on the island. That’s kind of what came to me. And the island was phenomenal, but there’s only so many margaritas you can drink in one day. It gets boring after a while, too. Luckily I actually met my fiance now, who’s actually from Michigan. She was teaching English down in Honduras on the island.
Mel: And did a bunch of different things. From real estate. I opened up a little surf shop and I had a bar in the shape of a pirate ship. Actually if you go on my Facebook, you can see some pictures. And after about a year, I was done. I was just like, “What could I do something more?” I actually recommend everybody retire, or semi-retire once in their live because I asked myself some really good questions. I said, “Well, if I could do anything, what would I do? If I had unlimited amount of resources, if I had unlimited amounts of time, if I had unlimited amounts of money, and I could actually do anything, what would I be doing?” And I kind of meditated. I thought about that.
And I came up with, well, I would help other people achieve success. I would help other people overcome their mental barriers. I would help people gain better skills in the three major things it takes to grow any business. And step up and create a bigger impact in the world.
Andrew: Why do you think that that was your calling? Why did that mean something to you?
Mel: Because I believe humans are creatures of habit. We run so many patterns. And the patterns I’ve ran in the past creating something, crumbling, creating something again, then it crumbling. Creating something and then it makes some money, but then it dies. That pattern for me was… I never felt fulfilled, and if I did feel a temporary sense of happiness it wasn’t true joy. It’s not something that I could do for the next 30, 40 years.
That’s another question I ask myself. If I could do one thing for the next 30, 40 years, what would it be? Then, it dawned on me. Well, if I could support other entrepreneurs then, hey, some people will take the advice, some people won’t. That’s okay. We either learn through experience or we learn through wisdom. It’s really our choice.
That’s when I’m like well what could I do. Then, people started to come to me and ask for one on one coaching. I couldn’t coach that many people one on one because my time was limited. So, I started to do workshops. That’s when I created the Entrepreneur Revolution which now…
Andrew: How’d you get the one on one people?
Mel: The one on one people started to come to me from my network. I’m an avid networker. I’m out there always just sharing and inspiring and helping everyone I meet.
At first it was just people who knew people, people who were entrepreneurs or people who were getting out of corporate wanting help. They’re like well, you know, I just spent 30 years of my life doing something that I didn’t want that wasn’t fulfilled. Now I want to spend the second half doing something a little bit more purposeful. How do I start that up?
Actually, on the island what blew my mind was this book right here. Can I do a plug?
Andrew: Yeah, do it. What you got?
Mel: This book changed my life…
Andrew: “The 4-Hour Workweek” changed your life.
Mel: ‘The 4-Hour…’ Tim Ferriss, right. This is actually the first version. I think this… One of them has… I have a few different copies. This is not the one. But, I actually got to meet Tim. He signed one of my books. Coolest guy.
Again, see Andrew, he’s another guy that is… I met him at USC. Sometimes USC has me come speak at their eClub. I met him. He was doing a book signing there. I came out. There was a humongous line, humongous line – this is when he first came out with the book – of people wanting to get it signed.
Tim Ferriss stood up for each and every person. He stood up with them and took pictures with them, each person. Now, I’ve been to book signings where these authors, they’re pricks. They don’t even look at you when you come up. They just sign it. Or, it’s pre-signed and they’re just handing you the thing.
Tim Ferriss stood up and took the time to take pictures with everybody. Nicest guy. I asked him for his email. I told him what I was doing. I’m like you know I’d love to showcase you in front of our community of entrepreneurs. He’s like I’d love to. That’s the kind of giving and…
Now, not everyone is like that. But, there are people. There are enough people out there that you can find to help you support you in your dream. It’s just going out there, reaching out, showing up.
That book on the island changed my life. I’m like wow, he created such a powerful blueprint. It’s not everything, but it’s a damn good place to start. That blueprint, if you could model success, well then that’s what he’s teaching.
Andrew: What’s the blueprint that he had that spoke to you? I feel like that book covered mindset and processes, but they’re multiple different processes – how to create what he called a muse business was one, how to outsource. What spoke to you?
Mel: Excuse me. The number one thing that spoke to me was the possibility. That’s it. It was going from zero. It was going from slaving away exchanging your dollars for hours, and ingraining the concept that if you actually found something and set something up online and did it properly – because that’s a whole different thing – but just the idea of it is a breakthrough idea.
There are people right now every single day that are driving in this snow back and forth, and sitting at a cubicle, and have no idea how the hell to get out of there. They don’t believe they can. They don’t think it’s for them.
The biggest thing that it shifted was mindset. After I read that I’m like wow, if more people would know that the whole world could change. There would just be a big shift. That’s what fascinated me. And, I’ve used his stuff on multiple of my sites. I set up a bunch of sites that pay me. It doesn’t need to be millions of dollars.
Andrew: Give me an example. What’s a site that pays you money?
Mel: Well, I have a couple of different ones.
Mel: I’ve created different products. They range from home study courses to different type of… I’ll give you one example. I’ve created a course. I did a workshop. I did a two day workshop called The Entrepreneur Revolution.
The Entrepreneur Revolution covers everything, I believe. That’s my own hallucination. If you actually applied these things, which I’ve done on myself and done on my students, if you can apply these things then you can skyrocket your success. It’s part mindset, part skill set.
What happens is I recorded that workshop. There was a sold out workshop last year, 2013. I put it all on audio…
Mel: …to make it available so people could listen to it. If you go to entrepreneursuccesssystem.com, that’s one site. It’s just a landing site. It’s just a landing site that has the program on there. I market that site through different avenues. I’m not saying go to the site right now and buy it. I’m not selling it.
Andrew: I’m on the site right now. I’m checking it out. Okay.
Mel: Okay. That’s one site. Another site that you mentioned, clients4coaches.com, when somebody opts in, if they’re a coach or they’re a practitioner of some sort, or they’re a speaker… clients4coaches.com when you opt into that you get a month of free stuff. I don’t sell you anything. Free stuff. Value after value after value after value after value.
Then, there’s a program that I offer. You know at that point that I’ve given you so much value, you’ve gotten a few clients already, that you are ready for the course.
Andrew: Okay. That’s a business that you’ve told me before you put up. You don’t spend much time on day to day. But, it produces money for you on a regular basis.
Andrew: I see a bunch of these landing pages, like coachesworkshop.com. I’ve got more on my other computer than I could even bring up right now. Let me see what else I can…
Mel: If you go to speakerwellness.com…
Mel: …this is another site. speakerwellness.com.
Andrew: Okay. There was one for… wellness.com. There was one for AdWords. I forget what that one’s called. Yeah, here’s speakerwellness.com.
Mel: Yeah, so…
Andrew: Oh, look at this. Vocal-Eze throat spray, clean and disinfectant spray. This is where your money comes from right now?
Mel: This is an example of where part of it comes from.
Mel: Why do I do this? I did this because I found… The primary reason why I did this is for my students, for them to see that they can do something like this, too. This is not a million dollar company. This might not even make a hundred thousand dollars a year. But, you know what? To somebody to make an extra $1,000 a month that might be significant.
Andrew: And you’re showing them I can do an extra 1,000 a month with this new business, and if I could do it with this business you can, too, and here’s the process that I’ve taken.
Andrew: What is the process that you take? What I’m noticing so far, all I see is I see landing pages, I see one specific benefit, one really targeted audience, and the landing page asks for an email address where you follow up with me. Is that… Tell me more. What am I missing here? What is the full process here that you built?
Mel: Okay. The full process starts…
Mel: …with something called entrequiz.com.
Mel: entrequiz.com is an assessment. We have to start with where you’re at. Because everyone’s at a different place. Somebody watching this might already have a million dollar, 2 million dollar, 20 million dollar business. It just depends where they’re at. Or, they just might be starting. Or, they’re kind of in the middle somewhere.
Andrew: Here, I see it. The first set of questions are about vision. Question number one, I have a clear compelling written vision for both my life and my business. There’s a slider. I can slide it from one to ten. I’m going to set that at, I don’t know, what, let’s say nine.
A strong desire to advance to the next level of leadership with my company. Okay.
Then, I put in my address. Please select the option that best describes you. I have been in business for a while. I have a successful business. Okay. I fill this out. I hit submit. What happens next?
Mel: What happens next is that one of our… We have a lot of entrepreneurs who are already successful come through our course, entrerevolution.com. When they come through our course, they understand what we’re doing to inspire the community and to help grow and educate entrepreneurs. We have advanced courses for people to buy, but that’s not our goal. If they want to buy our advanced courses, on sales, on marketing, on business automation, they can if it’s right for them. If not, then it’s not, but they’re available.
I know as I was developing as an entrepreneur, I wished I had courses like this. That’s why I created them. After they take the assessment at entrequiz.com, they’re followed up with complimentary, no obligation, with a business coach. This coach already has a hundred thousand dollar plus a year business. Some business that they have outside of coaching.
Andrew: How do you find these coaches?
Mel: They find us. They’re someone who’s come through our workshops.
Andrew: Oh, I see. They come through your workshop, you know that they’re successful as coaches, and you introduce them for free for one session to someone who’s taken these assessments. Okay.
Mel: Yeah. And then they’re given choices. It’s all about options. Do you feel that you need mindset? Do you know and 99 percent of the time it is mindset. Do you know that you need to get rid of negative emotions in your business? Do you know that you need to empower yourself with more powerful beliefs? That you can even set up a team or go to the, are you a solo- entrepreneur? Do you know that building a team is one of the most important things that you can do, but you can’t build the team if you don’t have your purpose, your mission, or your vision clear?
Andrew: And then after someone takes these assessments, what happens next?
Mel: They go through a consultation that is giving them value. So after they go through this assessment, we know exactly what they’re doing great and what they need to amplify immediately to do even better this year. The next step then is for them to attend a two day workshop, if they want. And that workshop is called the Entrepreneur Revolution. You’ve seen the page, Andrew. Entrerevolution.com.
Mel: It’s just a bad ass workshop. I set it up like any successful business is set up. The first day is all mindset. And the second day is skill set. The three pillars I believe that if you start to master you can grow your business immediately is sales. You have to be better at conveying a value filled message. What is your unique selling proposition? And how can you explain it in benefit driven language? That’s all selling is. And often times entrepreneurs have a negative emotion around selling. They don’t believe their product is good enough. They don’t think they’re good enough. Whatever it might be, it always starts inside. So getting better at selling, getting better at marketing.
Andrew: And all this starts with entrequiz.com. Right?
Mel: Yep, it’s a free assessment.
Andrew: How much money are you making now? Not, well, yeah, how much money are you making now overall?
Mel: Overall, as in…
Andrew: With the different businesses. I got more websites up here than I can keep track of. How much money are they making? And then there’s the live in person event and, what kind of revenue are you pulling?
Mel: This is the key. With these businesses, I don’t do all of them myself. I have a solid team of 10 people that handle the majority of everything. Aside from actually doing the live event, then doing one on one consultations or coaching, they’re running everything. So right now, if we put everything together, the businesses are bringing in half a million dollars a year.
Andrew: Alright. And you got these people who are coming and watching you live. That’s got to be a high. To have people watching you live and dig your stuff. And I’m looking at one of these photos where they are all holding their hands out and shouting together and I’m looking to see do they look really, genuinely happy or they just posing for the photo.
But they’re genuinely happy. Including the woman who is on your right who is just posing in a different way. She’s getting into it. Everyone’s getting into it. There’s a guy behind with his eyes closed he’s so happy. That’s got to be a high, right?
Mel: This is the thing, is I’m not doing it for me to be famous or for me to have my picture there. It’s cool. It’s nice. I love it. But really, I’m not an expert in all things entrepreneur. My goal with Success Academy is to bring in other experts and to build like an entrepreneur university. Where someone can go and they can be a one stop shop for them to be successful in entrepreneurship.
Andrew: So these businesses that I looked at earlier. The ones that have a landing page, email process, and a funnel. Can you just describe the outline of how they work? Someone hits the site. Where do they come from?
Mel: Okay. So which one are you talking about specifically?
Andrew: Let’s talk generically about the collection of them. Typically where do people come from that hit one of these sites?
Mel: Okay. So three different ways. I’ll give you three ways right now, and these are also three different marketing strategies that really any entrepreneur can step up and utilize immediately to grow a business. So number one. Number one is live events. So figuring out how to position yourself as an expert. That’s the number one tip I could give. How can you mark yourself out as an expert?
Andrew: Okay. So being here, for example, helps you communicate your expertise?
Mel: Exactly. So a webinar, a teleseminar, a live event, anything that can position you as an expert will then peak someone’s interest. Hopefully, you have something great to share, some value to give. That will direct traffic to a landing page.
Mel: Second thing is you can do things that are online. Again, it’s all about positioning yourself as an expert. So people find my blog. You go to MelCutler.me. That’s my blog. There are different links. Like, I have something really cool that’s totally free. Actually, you can check this out, Andrew. It’s called EntrepreneurTelesummit.com.
Andrew: Okay. So another one is your blog. What else?
Mel: Yeah. So another one is JV partners. JV partners. So on EntrepreneurTelesummit.com, which got thousands of opt ins literally in a very short amount of time, which might not be that much, but to someone starting off, it could be really good, you joint venture and partner up with somebody that already has your market.
Mel: So whatever product or service you have, you find the person in your niche who already has a list. The list is one of the most important things you could develop.
Andrew: So, for example, if I’m also reaching an audience of entrepreneurs, you might come to me and say, “Andrew, if you e-mail this teleseminar that I’m about to do to your audience, I’ll split the revenue with you.”
Andrew: Okay. So I got the three different ways that people come to your site. They come to your site. They hit a landing page. It looks like you use WordPress for your landing pages, plus, what is it called, the copy blogger program for landing page creation, right? What software do you use to create your landing pages?
Mel: I use WordPress, and then I have a membership site, which is with OptimizePress.
Andrew: OptimizePress. There you go. Okay. So that’s the one that you use, and that creates the landing pages with the button and the circle around it, so that it draws people’s attention to it, and you do some cool things in addition to the out-of-the-box stuff that’s there. Like, you’ll have what looks like a video player on the landing page, but if I click the button to play the video, a dialog box comes up and says, ‘Hey, you see that box to the right where I’m asking for your e-mail address? Enter your e-mail address, and I’ll get you the video to watch instantly.’ So you do that. All right. Next step is I confirm my e-mail address. Who do you use for e-mail?
Mel: Couple different companies. I use AWeber. I use Infusionsoft.
Mel: And a company called Instant Customer, which is Mike Koenigs’ company, who started Traffic Geyser.
Andrew: Okay. So then you give them, I guess, it’s courses, and you’re teaching them via e-mail, but you’re also nurturing that lead, right?
Mel: Yeah, nurturing. They’re getting value after value after value, just great videos on sales, great videos on marketing, management, mindset, and then if they feel it’s right, which a lot of people do, they come to the live event.
Mel: Then I have a book that’s coming out.
Andrew: And before the live event and the book, they might even buy a course online, right, or a product online?
Mel: I don’t have to share, but do you want to know a campaign we’re running right now?
Andrew: Yeah, hit me. What are you doing?
Mel: So we’re running a campaign right now specifically to the Irvine Chamber, Irvine, California.
Mel: So we approached the Chamber, and for a very little fee, I’m talking about a couple hundred bucks, the Irvine Chamber said that they would put in an insert. They send out a mailer that goes out to 2,000 members of the Irvine Chamber.
Mel: All business [sounds like] owners. And so we put in the insert. That insert, it’s very well done, it’s persuasive copy, and it guides people to a website called SuccessOnTheHouse.com.
Mel: And from there, only the Irvine Chamber gets a highly discounted course that I sell, and they get that in the mail. Once they start listening to that course, they also get a ticket to come to the live event. And they’ll be followed up. They’ll take the assessment. And so that is a great way that we’ve discovered…
Andrew: Who’s doing all this follow-up? One of the things I’ve heard is very effective is calling up potential customers, but it’s also expensive and it’s hard to keep up with. Who do you hire to do that?
Mel: We have commissioned people to do it.
Andrew: And they just work for you and they’re commissioned?
Mel: Yeah. Well, I mean, they might have their own business, too.
Andrew: I see.
Mel: I mean, they…
Andrew: But they also get leads from you and then they get a commission when they make a sale?
Andrew: What’s the CRM you use for them?
Mel: Say that again.
Andrew: What’s the CRM you use for them?
Mel: They use Sales Force.
Andrew: Okay. Alright. I want to say one more thing as a follow up. People like when I give follow ups for other courses and programs on Mixergy that they could take if they’re into what they’ve heard in the interview. So I’m going to recommend if you like what you’ve heard here you probably are going to love the Jermaine Griggs’ course which he does for free for all Premium members about how he automates sales. That guy is insane.
He showed us the process that he takes people through when they hit his site, how he get their birthday, how he automates sending them a greeting card on their birthday, how he sends them a text message that they then reply to because they’re so flattered and excited.
Now he uses all that to create sales, all in an automated way. Jermaine Griggs is the course that I’m going to recommend. It’s all part of Mixergy Premium. Sign up and if you are signed up you can take that and over 100 other courses that are for free.
Alright. Here is the final question that I’ve been wanting to ask. Mel, at the start of this interview I was pretty prickly. I was pretty worried about who am I having on here. And I communicated it because I didn’t want to sandbag you, but I also thought this could be insulting. And frankly, I’ve done this long enough if I see that you’re feeling insulted, if I see that you’re feeling shaken up because of it or insecure because of it, I have ways to bring you back to confidence so that we can continue the interview and not have you fall apart. And you’ll feel good about having met me even though I pushed you like a jerk.
But I didn’t need to do any of that because you felt okay with it. Even though I came up with skepticism you were you and you were comfortable. Tell me what you’re going through mentally when I challenge you, when I question your very background that keeps you looking confident and continue with the interview. I want to learn from that.
Mel: I honestly know 100 percent that the value that I can share, it might be one sentence that someone watching this can get. That one sentence could literally transform somebody’s life. And I don’t say that lightly or gently. And I don’t say it like, you know, I believe the first step to anyone changing or going down a different path is a sense of awareness. And if I can deliver that awareness, no matter who is interviewing me, no matter who I’m speaking in front of, then I’m here to do good.
I know where my intention comes from, know what I sell is amazing, what I share is awesome, and I appreciate you, Andrew, because you don’t meet people every day that are that honest, that are that sincere, that are that to the point, and that will really rub you, maybe, the wrong way to really see who you really are. That’s a gift because most successful entrepreneurs I’ve found – I’ve interviewed a lot of them, also – they’re amazing judges of character. That’s a crucial skill that they’ve had to develop and learn. I think you are, too.
Mel: I really appreciate you just coming forward and being open, being honest because I don’t have anything to hide.
Andrew: So if your mind is I’m challenging your questioning, your background, and maybe your mind would want to go to… Maybe, I’m not as successful as some of the other people Andrew interviewed. Maybe, I can’t really… Maybe, this guy is going sandbag me. Maybe, it’s all going to fall apart. Maybe, I say something that will embarrass me or make my business fall apart again.
If your mind wants to go to that negative place, you just bring it back to I could have one thing that I say that’s going to be useful to someone in the audience. If your mind wants to race off into that negative place, you bring it back to if there is one thing that I can give to people that it’s useful, then I know that it’s worth it.
Andrew: Is it conscious?
Mel: You know, it’s coming to a place where I think it’s more unconscious now. It’s understanding are you coming from a place of fear or scarcity, or are you coming from a place of abundance and love and understanding when that little ego creeps in. Because when that ego creeps in that’s when the shield comes up.
And that’s when not who you are genuinely is shown. And if you can overcome that, when you overcome that, then that’s when you create an amazing following and you can help a ton of people. I appreciate what you do because you can see that through your interviews, Andrew. You’re just an awesome guy, and I appreciate you having me on.
Andrew: Thank you and, Mel, it’s been great to have you on. I always respect people who can express themselves even when inner doubt could come through, who can both tell a good story, the way you did, and teach something useful, the way we did. We got them both in there. I appreciate you coming on here. If people want to follow up, what website should we send them to of the hundred thousand different websites that you have up on the Internet? What would that be?
Mel: If you want to know where to start, the first step, go to Entrequiz.com. E-N-T-R-E-QUIZ.com. That will give you a lot of introspection of where you’re at in your business, what to do next, how to take the next level and we’d love to help you if that’s a good fit.
Andrew: Awesome. Mel, thank you for doing this interview. Everyone else, thank you for being a part of it. Bye guys.