Antonio R. Thompson on Masters in Music, MLM, and Blogging
Antonio R. Thompson received his Masters of Arts in Music Performance and Arts Administration, but there was something missing. Here’s our interview.
So glad you accepted this interview, Antonio! You have an exciting story and I’m excited to explore some of it in this interview, so let’s get started!
You were born and raised in Brooklyn. What was life like growing up for you?
Oftentimes, when I meet someone for the first time and I share with him or her that I‘m from Brooklyn, New York they have a difficult time believing me because my New Yawk accent rarely comes out. It is only apparent when I say “New Yawk,” water or soda.
But to answer your question, yes, I was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bed-Stuy) section of Brooklyn, home of Jay Z, Chris Rock, Lena Horne, Norah Jones, Mos Def and many others.
If you’ve ever watched the Chris Rock show, “Everybody Hates Chris,” my Brooklyn neighborhood was exactly like that, a mix of working middle-class, poor and criminals. The tagline of the community back then was – Bed-Stuy, Do or Die.
Now that I’m older, I often ask myself how did I survive? How did I not become another statistic?
How did I, a young boy living across the street from one of the worst housing projects in Brooklyn at the time, where every other night, I was tucked into bed to the sweet lullaby of gunshots, manage to not just survive, but thrive?
I clearly didn’t come from an affluent background. In fact, my family straddled the line of poor and middle-class, leaning much closer to poor.
I recall several times in our household where we didn’t have hot water and we had to boil water on the stove to take a warm bath.
But how did I, a young boy living across the street from one of the worst housing projects in Brooklyn (where every other night, you’re tucked in to bed to the sounds of guns shoots ringing in the air).
I survived and thrived, because of my mom and my family. Of course they instilled in me the value of education, but more importantly, I learned from them the value of hard-work and always giving it your all. I literally watched my mother work multiple jobs and attend night school to learn new skills.
That determination, that hard work has been the driving force behind everything that I do.
Harlem had a strong music scene in the 20’s, what’s Harlem music scene like now and does that influence Brooklyn’s music?
As a classical and jazz trumpeter, I’ve had the opportunity to study and perform with some incredible musicians, including Wynton Marsalis, Laurie Frink, Bryan Lynch, James Moody and Frank Foster. But what I’ve noticed, as I’ve reflected over the years, is that although New York is often dubbed “The Cultural Capital of the World,” music has essentially lost much of its footing here.
In the 20’s and even 30’s, Harlem had a very vibrant music and cultural scene. This decade, also know as the Harlem Renaissance saw African-American writers, musicians, and thinkers embrace their black heritage and culture, which integrated the black experience with the American cultural landscape.
During this time, you saw the emergence of cultural icons like Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Langston Hughes, Josephine Baker, Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Robeson, to name a few, and interest in black culture through innovative works and productions, like George Gershwin’s, Porgy and Bess. Unfortunately, Brooklyn’s cultural scene is pale in comparison to what was occurring in Harlem, but influence of the Harlem Renaissance, especially in Jazz was felt in Brooklyn and throughout the country.
Fast-forward to today, music is still a vibrant and integral component of New York’s cultural landscape, but in Harlem and in Brooklyn the vibe has pretty much dissipated.
Cultural venues like the Cotton Club, Lenox Lounge, Savoy Ballroom have either closed or been converted into condos.
Additionally, the community’s musical interests and taste, as we’ve seen throughout the country has shifted to more popular music (rap, hip-hop, etc.).
However, with that being said, there does still exists a small pocket of venues and communities throughout the city who long for, support and contribute artistic works that continue the legacy and tradition to the music of that time.
So, you got the network marketing”bug” in 2013. How did you discover network marketing and what was the first couple years like?
Full-disclosure, I was formally introduced to the network marketing industry as a kid. My mom was a rep with Mary Kay and Avon for several years, but at the time, I had no idea it was network marketing.
I joined my first company back in 2008, but quit after just a few weeks.
What happened you ask? My friend’s told me “No,” “That’s a Pyramid Scheme, “ “No one makes money doing those things,” and so I quit.
In 2013, while I was trying to make sense of my life and start planning for my future, I began to ask myself some serious questions about what I was taught.
I was told, as I’m sure many of you who are reading this were, that you should get a great education, find a good paying job and then when it’s time to retire, life will be all rainbows, unicorns and sunsets on beach.
Well, I was already doing the first two parts of the master plan. I attend college (New York University and Columbia University), earning not just one degree, but three degrees and landed a good job, with benefits in higher education. But as I was looking at this plan and road map, the numbers started to not add up.
How was earning a mid five-figure salary, before taxes and paying off my student loans, current bills and obligations going to afford me the ability to live amongst the unicorns and enjoy long walks on the beach?
The math just wasn’t there.
Even if I got a second or third job, the math still didn’t add up.
It was later in that year, that a college friend shared with me a network marketing opportunity that she was involved in.
At first, I was skeptical because of my previous experience, but when I compared the individuals who had or were having success with the math that wasn’t adding up, I decided to give network marketing another shot.
The first 18 months back in the profession were exactly like the few weeks I spent in the industry in 2008. No leads, no sales, no sign-ups.
In fact, I actually paid for a few family and friend’s memberships, just so I wouldn’t feel like a loser. (Don’t do that). And then something magical happened. The company I was promoting closed their doors.
I say magical, because I wholeheartedly believe in the notion that everything happens perfectly.
When the company closed their doors, I began to conduct research on the profession, top leaders and earners and discovered secrets that no one was sharing on how to build a profitable business, without making a list of 100 friends and family and hunting and chasing them.
Top earners and leaders were leveraging attraction marketing, where they attract people who actually had an interest in what they were offering and promotion and when I realized this and learned how to do this, everything changed.
What was the hardest lesson you learned from that time?
One of the hardest lessons I had to come to grips with at that time and you if you’re reading interview and you’re new to the profession or maybe you’ve been involved for a while, your friends and family will most likely never join in business.
And even when you start to have some success, they will still be skeptical.
Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. They are just uneducated about entrepreneurship and our industry. We see it time and time again, even in the public conversation (i.e., Gary Vaynerchuck – http://rayhigdon.com/education-gary-vaynerchuk-world/)
When I was finally able to no longer be addicted to the outcome of my friends and family join me in business that’s when belief level and posture skyrocketed, and yours will too.
What has been the best thing that network marketing has given you?
The best thing that network marketing has given so far is the belief that freedom (time and financial) is possible for anyone who wants it.
Once I realized that you don’t have to be tied to a job, you don’t have to allow someone else to control and dictate your future, and you can legally print money, the fear of stepping out on my own disappeared.
Because I’ve found this profession and have started to have a little bit of success, I was able to fire my boss and focus on the things I really care about, like my non-profit organization, the BKSTEPPERS, which provides in-school and after-school marching arts programming to youth in New York.
You blog consistently, almost every day, how many blog posts do you have, how old is your blog, and do you consistently get Leads from it?
I’ve been blogging for about 18 months. Early on I would blog practically every day. Right now, I’m consistently blogging about 2 – 3 times per week.
In total, I’ve written 439 blog posts, which also includes about 406 related YouTube videos.
As I’m sure you know, blogging is a slow process starting out. You’ll rarely see leads and sales coming in immediately for your business.
But it is truly a leveraged way to produce residual leads and cash flow. Unless you want to be prospecting in the malls and chasing your friends and family forever, blogging is something you must do.
Once you have several pieces of content out there online, like I do and you’re promoting your content, traffic, leads and sales will start to kick in and you can’t turn off even if you tried.
Are you promoting just MLSP, or do you have an MLM opportunity as well?
I prefer to say that I am promoting skills, my knowledge and myself and when I encounter people who have a particular need, I offer them a program, tool, or resource that can assist them.
MyLeadSystemPro is one of the tools and affiliate programs that I promote. I also have an MLM opportunity that I can share with someone who is interested in the company’s products or if they are open to and looking for a way to generate additional income.
What has been the best SEO hack you’ve done to your blog that gave you positive results?
Two cool SEO hacks that have been very helpful for me are related to keyword research. The first is Google Keyword Planner. Most people are familiar with the Google Keyword Planner as a tool to find keywords to use in your blog that are being searched for on a monthly basis.
With the Google Keyword Planner, you can also enter a website’s URL into the “Your Landing Page” field, and Google will give you a series of phrases they believe to be related to the website.
This hack allows me to rank for keyword phrases that similar sites are getting a lot of traffic from.
The second hack is related to your blog. My blog averages about 2,000 unique visitors each month and I periodically dive into the analytics section to see what are the most common searches on my site in order to create additional content around those keywords.
If someone wanted to start a MLM blog, what would you tell them?
For someone who wanted to get started with an MLM blog or blogging for their business, I would recommend they follow my simple 4-Step Beginning Blogger Process (maybe I’ll turn this into a blog post).
- Who do I want to connect with? Identify your target audience. Be very specific about them – demographics, age, gender, location, etc.
- Research: What are their problems and challenges? – Visit Amazon.com, forums, Facebook groups, read magazines to uncover what their biggest challenges and problems are. What questions does your audience have?
- What do you have to sell or offer them? – List the products and services you offer and articulate how they can help your target audience solve their problems.
- Write, Publish and Promote – get to work and create content.
What is your favorite business book right now and why?
My favorite book right now isn’t a business book per see, but it is very much related to business. Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One really hits it on the head with respect to getting at the core of why we follow a particular behavior pattern and how we can re-wire our brains to be the person that we would rather be.
I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Dr. Dispenza speak in August and his look at quantum theory, modern neuroscience and how we can truly change our minds is riveting.
In all honesty, in some small way I’ve always relied on my external environment to manifest that which I desire but through reading Dr. Dispenza’s book, I fully believe that we have the ability to manifest that which we want, we just need to see ourselves there and experience it in the present.
What are your plans for 2017?
Right now, I’m starting to reflect on 2016 and will begin to set my vision and intentions for 2017 shortly. But in very broad terms, my plans for 2017 are to assist and help more entrepreneurs reach their goals, adding public speaking engagements to my calendar, continue to grow my non-profit organization and on more personal and romantic side – begin the journey towards marriage. 🙂
What is your favorite quote and why?
My favorite quotes or sayings are – Everything happens perfectly and I believe in my ability to figure it out!
Through Dr. Dispenza’s book, I’ve come to realize that nothing in life happens by accident. It is a combination of decisions and choices that we make.
So in saying that everything happens perfectly and I believe in my ability to figure it out, I am personally accepting full responsibility for what happens to me, without blaming others, the environment, or the government, knowing that I have the power, control and skillset to figure any and everything out.
Thanks so much for this interview, Antonio! This has been the most in-depth and colorful interview to date! You’re a brilliant man who will go far in anything you do.
For more info on Antonio, please visit his Blog HERE.
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Erik Christian Johnson