Alex Bender on Escaping 50K in Debt with Internet Marketing
Alex Bender was a struggling laborer and construction worker with 50k in credit card debt. He was going down fast when he discovered internet marketing.
Thank you so much for doing this interview, Alex. You have a powerful story that I’m really excited to learn more about. So, let’s get started!
Where were you born and raised, what was life like growing up and what did your parents do for a living?
Thanks Erik for asking me to do this interview. I appreciate it.
I was born & raised in Adaminaby, a small town in the Snowy mountains in Australia.
We had a small farm where we raised sheep & cattle.
My father & his family came to Australia after WW2 from war torn Europe. Dad worked hard his whole life, was a surveyor in the Snowy Mountains Scheme – one of the biggest engineering feats of the common era, then he went on to be a construction project manager for some huge multinational companies.
He did the crazy thing of leaving his very very high paying Project Manager / Superintendent job which was in the 70’s paying 6 figures & deciding to be a farmer in the 70’s, where he met my mum.
Adaminaby is also a tourist town where trout fishermen & snow skiers come to stay so dad decided to start farm stay accommodation business that was a very popular.
So I was always interacting with different kinds of people from all walks of life. I guess that’s where I got my ability of liking people from all walks of life, not caring about their religion, skin color, nationality – everyone I met from all backgrounds seemed to me to be amazing people
You eventually got into construction and labor. What was that like and did you think there was more to life?
Yes, I’ve never been afraid of hard work.
Growing up on a farm there was always something that needed to be done.
My dad instilled in me a strong work ethic & also the ability to think outside the box & to just “Get shit done”.
There was a big mining & construction boom going on in Western Australia, which is 3000km away from where I was living in Adaminaby.
I heard of the big pay checks unskilled people were getting over there, so I packed up my gear & headed west without an idea of what I was going to do for work.
But within 2 weeks I had landed a 6 figure job in construction….. Was hard for me to believe considering I had previously really not earned much money at all.
I did like the job – it was hard work, long hours & living in remote areas, but I’m a down to earth blue collar guy, I get on with everyone, love a beer and a chat at the end of the day & had a great time with the other lads.
However living in construction camps does wear thin at least it did for me.
I was working 4 weeks on 1 week off roster & one day it just got to me that there had to be more to life that just working hard.
You were at one time, 50k in debt and owed $25k on a car. What had happened and what was the turning point for you?
Yeah that was an interesting time in my life.
I was working as a rural labourer with a good friend of mine at the same time trying to get my home business I was doing at the time off the ground.
The company I was involved with was a “High Ticket” MLM that truthfully was a great business last decade, however they failed to change with the times & failed to learn how to market their business properly online.
However, I sold out to what they were teaching, I believed everything they were saying, and doing ridiculous outdated unduplicatable marketing methods.
So how I got into all that kind of debt is a fault of my own stupidity……
I lived above my means – I really didn’t think I was doing that & I always had this belief that a few sales in my business & I would be fine….
I didn’t have really anything to show for my debt to be honest – I just went out and drank too much, I went on the occasional trip I couldn’t afford, and I kept of forking out lots of money on advertising that just didn’t work.
One day early in 2014 I looked at my finances and realised that I had stuffed up big time & I had to make a change – a big change.
It was like a lightbulb had been turned on inside me that the marketing I was doing had been a complete waste of time, I lost complete faith in the company, I realised that the products I was trying to sell were outdated and overpriced.
I realised I needed to make a change in a huge way – I called up my old boss back in Western Australia, got my old construction job back, moved back there to start to get my head above water, I applied for a government legislated debt agreement that was just a shade below bankruptcy – freezing my unsecured debt and paying it off every week for 5 years.
I knew I had to completely change my surroundings, some of my mates are still pissed off at me for picking up and leaving so quickly – but I knew the change I had to make was a complete overhaul of my life, and it started with leaving my hometown again & starting fresh.
You discovered Empower Network, what is that and how did you begin?
So yeah I had failed miserably in my previous MLM, however I knew online home business was my future & had found my home in Empower Network actually through a leader in that previous MLM that I had become friends with at company events.
I did my research, I knew the products were brilliant & it provided the training I needed.
I also knew that I needed to take this business serious. I needed to be All-In & own all the products.
However I had just destroyed my credit ability, I had sold all my possessions besides my truck to move back to Western Australia.
So my plan was to work hard – get a good position at my old job & save lots of money to buy all the products. That’s exactly what happened – Within 4 months I had saved up enough money to own the entire product suite in Empower Network.
That was all well and good – but truthfully at the time I was earning so much money at the time and enjoying being back into the black with my bank balance that I didn’t take the time to learn the skills in the business.
I actually didn’t even open up a training for 4 months.
It wasn’t until the project I was set to work on cancelled & I had no work for 6 weeks that I decided I better start to learn this business.
What was the first two years like in internet marketing and what was the biggest lesson you learned?
Well I can really look at it 2 ways…. My first 2 years in my previous MLM I learned what not to do in marketing – they were brutal times…. On the phone all the time day – calling leads, following up people, buying leads – I can’t really call that internet marketing – it’s really old school MLM that had a website.
So I really look at my online marketing career when I started blogging & doing things serious with Empower Network – and that’s really been just 2 years now.
It has been a fun journey… I have learned lots – I’ve stuffed up lots, I’ve spent a bunch of money of all different kinds of things, I’ve had many Facebook ads not approved, I’ve been tempted to promote all kinds of things on my journey.
I guess the biggest lesson I have learned is stay focused, get yourself a goal to work towards and work your ass off to get there.
You had mentioned to me on Facebook that you had one article that was at the top of Google and making you pretty good money.
What was the article, how did you get it to rank in Google, and what is your best advice for bloggers out there?
Yeah that’s a great article and makes me money everyday and will make me money forever – kind of double dipping here, having a page that ranks well, signing team members up in Empower Network, making me a residual income that will grow as those people build their teams.
Back when I first started to take notice of the training in Empower Network, I heard Dave Wood, the owner of Empower Network, talk about how he had blog posts about other companies and he had lots of sign-ups and sales from those posts.
So I decided to do a blog post on the previous MLM I was in, Polaris Global, there was no good ranking blog posts on them at the time. All that came up for them was haters calling them a scam & stuff about scientology.
I learned a couple of things to do that will help get my post ranked on Google, nothing shady – just a few things that as a general rule Google likes:
- Use the name in the header and several times throughout the article – not in a spammy way but just make sure it’s used lots of times.
- Get comments, and reply to the comments – I had a few friends comment on there & I also joined a blogging syndication group on Facebook to comment on each others blogs
- Embed a Youtube Video on there – because Google owns Youtube I was told it helps with the ranking.
- Get backlinks to the page & off the page – So I wrote another blogpost on their product and linked it back.
That was all I did – nothing technical at all.
And now that the post ranked I was able to fine tune it and test different things on it.
Any time my offer changed I was able to shoot a new video & it got eyeballs immediately.
One of my mentors Lawrence Tam said to me once you get a page to rank on Google, you will want to keep on making it better so that it will stay there.
I had been told that the biggest key to a successful online business is getting traffic – once you have traffic then you can keep on working on your lead generation & conversion rates.
I had the traffic down packed…. I had a page to rank #1 on Google for a top tier MLM, where these prospects had money & wanted to invest in a business & their distributors pay up to $40 a lead (Yeah you read that right… $40 a lead).
So my biggest advice for bloggers out there…. First up, write about stuff you think people will truly want to read…. I always tell my team members that you are either solving someone’s problem or entertaining them or if you’re good doing both at the same time.
Always have a call to action on everything you do. Learn some influence techniques, and blog from your heart – people want to read from real people, or watch videos from real people, not fake bullshit scammers.
I like your blog. How old is it, how many posts are on it, and what is your daily traffic like?
Thanks – I have fun with my blog.
At the moment I have only 100 blog posts – I’m getting back into blogging and will be adding more and more posts every week – I dropped the ball big time with blogging even though I know that it works – buggered if I know why I haven’t been doing at least one post a week – it’s not difficult to blog once you’re in the groove.
As for my traffic…. Its really crappy, i’m hovering at the 100 views a day, however now I’m back into blogging, and going to be really focusing on syndicating my posts I have a vision of hitting over 1000 hits a day by the end of the year.
What’s the best way to get free Leads these days?
Right from the first day I have been blogging I stand by blogging to be the #1 way to get free leads – not only are they free leads, but they are the highest quality lead you can get online. I would consider 1 blog lead to be worth at least 50 solo ad leads.
I’m starting to use Instagram for lead gen – it’s easy to get free leads from instagram but the quality of the lead will not be the same.
You now are 35 and travel the world. You can do business anywhere there is internet. How did you get to this point in your life and how is life being an “laptop entrepreneur?”
Well i’m 36 now….. I became unemployable the week before my 36th Birthday last month.
How I got to this point was first the belief that I could do it.
I learned a lot – I found mentors, I went to events, I networked, I set goals, I did what it took to get here – and I’m only getting started…..
Life as a laptop entrepreneur…. It’s fun! It takes a while to get used to travelling lots – running everything from a couple of bags of clothes, a laptop, iphone and a vehicle (soon to sell the vehicle & travel the world….).
None of my old mates can understand what I do… They all say i’m a lucky bastard….. It has nothing to do with luck, I worked my ass off to get to this point.
What is your best advice for someone who wants to make money online and in a relatively short time?
First up there are no legit get rich quick schemes out there. There are some great system, but you will have to learn them – all these big quick success stories you hear about there are always a lot of behind the scenes stuff you won’t hear about.
What I would suggest is don’t try and re-invent the wheel. Use a system that is proven to work & looks like it will be there for the long haul.
There will always be a new shiny thing that looks great & truthfully I have almost been tempted to jump in on a few that I have been pitched.
Find a mentor and a team to work with, follow the system, choose one lead generation strategy, master it & work your ass off.
What is your favorite book right now and why?
I love reading personal development books.
I’m on a bit of a Grant Cardone mode at the moment, just re-reading his amazing book the 10X Rule – I first read that book in April and from when I finished that book I went on to have the best 30 day online income to date. So now it’s time to get back into that book and make December my best month ever!
What are your goals for 2017?
One big goal I have is to hold my own Mastermind Workshop Event in Australia. As much as it’s great having an online business, it’s really important to meet with people face to face, and currently there are no Empower Network events in Australia, So I’m working with some other leaders to put together something special for us Aussies.
Also to have 6 frontline team members of mine to get to a point where they are making a full time income in Empower Network.
I’ve come to a point where I know I can make a full-time income online, however I truly want my team to succeed, and with the Empower Network compensation plan, I would be looked after very very comfortably by helping others to have their own freedom.
What is your favorite quote and why?
Ha – this is from the TV show How I Met Your Mother “When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead” Barney Stinson
That quote has actually helped me through some tough times, just a quick attitude adjustment and I feel a whole lot better & be awesome!
I really appreciate you Erik, it has been great connecting with you, I love the idea of these interviews for posts, it’s actually re-sparked the flame I had with an interview series i started earlier this year, however dropped the ball on it too.
Thank you so much for this powerful interview, Alex!
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