I started this new blog, as opposed to returning to Life with the Quirky Boys, as a way to chronicle my journey through the legal process of getting Private a specialized school placement through the school district. As usual, I busied myself with the technical and design details of the website rather than writing posts. I need quiet to concentrate on writing and that has been a rare commodity in my house for a while.

About a month into the tech only phase of development, I came across a webinar sponsored by the guy I had bought a Scrivener course from a while back. It was about how a woman had made lots of passive income selling ugly mugs on Amazon. I like mugs with cute designs and sayings on them almost as much as I like t-shirts with those things and I’m KNOWN for my collection of t-shirts, so the idea of selling my own without personally interacting with people appealed to me.

I liked what the woman had to say, so I signed up for her course at the end of the webinar and began selling mugs and other items like t-shirts and jewelry on Amazon and Etsy. It surprised the hell out of me because, were I ever to appear on Inside the Actor’s Studio, my answer to Bernard Pivot’s question about what profession I would absolutely not like to attempt would have been anything sales-related.  And rightly so, it seems, because I still haven’t sold very much. But I enjoy the designing part.

Cut to six months later and the lawsuit had settled before it became a lawsuit and I had become a webinar/course junkie. I had lots of plans and irons in the fire, but none of them were going anywhere. Then, on one of the sales pages, the webinar guy offered to disclose the one thing that he did that helped him bring his internet business from failure to success for $1. I think the $1 part was there only so that it wouldn’t say “free” because people generally don’t place value on something that’s just given away. I’m pretty sure I was never charged that dollar.

I clicked thebutton for three reasons. One is that I liked the City Slickers reference, whether it was intended or not. The second is that I liked the guy’s demeanor. He didn’t seem slick at all to me and he was retired Air Force. I’m an Air Force brat, so I guess I identified with him in a way that I didn’t with most of the other marketers out there. The third is that I really wanted my business to flourish and knew I needed help to do that. We had just finished a year of private school for both boys and are facing another two years in a more expensive private school for Rico because, while he doesn’t have an official placement through the district, he is attending the same school as Private. Having a steady second income stream would help a lot.

The guy’s one thing turned out to be finding a mentor to teach him what to do. Then the Air Force retiree extended an invitation to a webinar he was hosting for his own mentor. This also appealed to me because, well, course junkie, but also because I liked this guy so much; he seemed to care about people in a genuine way. I thought that someone who would mentor him might also be a good fit for me.

The mentor in question was John Thornhill. I loved almost everything about John’s presentation, but my favorite thing was his philosophy of helping people over making money. That aligns perfectly with my own philosophy. He talked about only making and offering quality products that you are proud of and the importance of having your own product to sell, not just those of other people. He talked about people in his program helping each other. And he said that you couldn’t fail with his program, so long as you followed it, because he wouldn’t let you. He would walk you through everything and be there to help you with whatever you needed to knock down barriers along the way. It’s even in the name of the program: Partnership to Success.

Plus, John’s British and I love the way he says HTTP.

His presentation helped me  start thinking about ways to bring all the irons I had in the fire together under one umbrella. You’re welcome for the mixed metaphor.

The main thing that was unsettling for me about his presentation was that all the products he described seemed to be geared toward affiliate marketing. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not in alignment with what I do. It’s not my focus. Not my audience, so to speak. I’m a writer and my subjects tend to be either geared toward family issues, particularly those of families with special needs, or fiction. At the time of John’s webinar, I had just written a children’s book. It will be published in early November; I’m just waiting for the illustrations to be finished. I wrote it to be entertaining for kids and parents while also being useful for kids who need speech therapy. So, while speech language pathologists and parents of kids with special needs may find it interesting, I don’t think marketers would unless they happen to fall into one of the other categories as well.

I identified with everything else about John’s Program, though, so I joined. I’m just now getting to the part of the program where you start networking with the other members and commenting on their blogs. I looked at almost all of them last night and my apprehension kicked up again because all of them seem to be about marketing.

But I’m used to being the one who doesn’t fit in the group, so I’m going to make this work. I’m looking forward to learning a lot about marketing and I’m hoping maybe my take will be refreshing for them, even if it’s not directly applicable to their lives.


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