Matt Zavadil on Helping People Break Free from the 9 to 5
Matt Zavadil was almost bankrupt when he made an important decision to dive into internet marketing and master it. Here’s his story.
Thank you so much for this interview, Matt! I’ve been watching your blog for a couple years, so it’s exciting to learn from a fellow blogger. Let’s get started!
What was childhood like and what did your parents do for a living?
My childhood was a good one. A happy time. My parents were two amazing people who helped my brother and I grow up in a stable, secure environment.
My Dad was the band director at our local high school. Many people have asked me what it was like to be taught by my father and participate in band with him leading the way. It was great. He always treated me as just one of his normal students and it was full of fantastic memories.
My Mom was a nurse. For a time she worked at a hospital but when my brother and I were in elementary school, she got a job as a school nurse. This meant both our parents had the same schedules, holidays and summers off as we did. This made sure we were a close-knit family.
My parents were instrumental in my life. My Dad taught me a lot about commitment, working hard, doing your best, and making sure others are treated fairly and with respect.
My Mom taught me a lot about how to be a nurturer, see things from the viewpoint of the other person and how to have patience.
All of this has helped me inside my online business, my past sales experience and coaching others successfully.
Was there any Entrepreneurship in the family?
No, not at all. There is not one person in my family now or history (that I know of) that took the difficult, sometimes lonely, path of entrepreneurship 🙂
Just me! I always felt different about work and how it should be. As a teenager, while I did well in school, I saw through the conditioning for “how to be a good worker bee” and have always been a rebel in terms of the 40/40/40 plan.
I’ve always felt constricted in any job I’ve had. Never felt right taking orders from others. I’m a self motivated individual and being told what to do is something I’ll never take too well.
What did you eventually do for a living, and when did you find out that the 40/40/40 plan wasn’t for you?
I knew the 40/40/40 plan wasn’t for me when I was at least 15 years old. I remember telling my parents at the table one time that the whole thing was stupid 🙂
However, that doesn’t mean I got out of it early in life. I struggled through many jobs over the years trying to figure out my path. My first job at 16 was at McDonald’s and boy did I rebel there!
I went to college for one year for classical guitar. Didn’t like college at all. Thought it was glorified high school. The next year I moved to Canada, near Toronto, for 6 months and attended a recording school there.
I found out that recording wasn’t really what I wanted to do…I wanted to play music. By the way, coming from upstate NY where the drinking age was 21, I had a good time at age 19 in Canada, since their drinking age was 19 🙂
The next year my brother and I moved to Hollywood, CA to attend a music school there. Then, we played in bands throughout the mid to late 90s, hoping to become rock stars.
That didn’t happen, but these were some of my most fun years. I met my wife through that journey and wouldn’t trade those years for anything. The last musical experience I had was joining a Foreigner tribute band, which was also a blast.
I never had a “career”. Never wanted one. I went through several jobs over the years. Telemarketing, fire insurance, carpet cleaning, etc. Each job was something I did to make money while dreaming of and working toward “freedom” from the “The Plan” they told me about in school.
When did you begin network/internet marketing, and how were the first two years, and what kind of struggles did you experience?
I started in network marketing way back at age 19, after coming back from Canada. I had long hair, earrings and a nose ring, so you can imagine the success I had with that presentation.
I struggled a LOT with it for more than just two years. First of all, I was always shy. So doing the belly to belly thing and prospecting was very hard for me.
However, like my Dad, I never backed down from doing what had to be done. I made my list of contacts and called them all…miserable and afraid the entire time.
My first business was with Matol, introduced to me by one of my Mom’s friends at our church. I went to the meetings, bought the product and sold a few things here and there…but nothing amounted to anything.
Fast forward to living in Los Angeles…the year after school was over, I tried all kinds of things. I spent thousands on real estate stuff.
I went to Texas on one of those deals, learning from some RE guru about buying property. I bought that course for selling “tiny little ads” that was a rage back in the early to mid 90s. I bought stuff about making money with tax liens.
None of this panned out as I was more focused on my music and band at that time in my life. Unfortunately, I was doing what I see many people doing.
Jumping around from opportunity possibility to another without giving any of them the time needed to succeed.
In 1998, I joined Primerica. It was the first “deal” I truly committed to. I did everything they told me to do. I made my list, which was short, based on my few short years living in CA.
It was also dominated by other young musicians, which didn’t help. I took to cold calling from the phone book at one point. Ouch! I took to trolling local Los Angeles malls trying to get store managers to our opp night in Burbank. Ouch!
One great story from the mall trolling was when this big 6 foot+ guy (I’m 5′ 7″) looked down at me and boomed, “Get the F out of my store!!”. I was so humiliated. I remember crying in my beat up 1987 Honda in the mall parking lot as I thought about my wife and what I was promising her.
I worked through the warm markets of my local recruits. I asked for referrals. You name it, I did it. I even quit my telemarketing job I had back then to go “full time” at the encouragement of my upline. Not a good move.
This is one area where I see network marketing hurt folks. The “fake it til you make it” stuff. Keep your job until you get your MLM or online business rocking. Then, make an educated decision about quitting your job.
Another story from my Primerica days is the one I call the Filet o Fish heater story. A buddy of mine, Kyle, joined forces to help each other in the biz.
We were in different downlines but hit it off. One night we were in Torrance, CA. We did our dog and pony show for a single girl.
She wasn’t interested in life insurance and mutual funds. Really? Surprise there LOL Then we met with a family where the husband made sure he could see his big screen TV and the Laker game while we did the dog and pony show.
We ended up at McDonald’s. Kyle and I were so broke we could only each afford a Filet o Fish sandwich. California actually gets cold in the winter.
Before we ate the awful food we used the sandwiches as little heaters because we were cold and dejected from our wasted night with zero sales.
Yes, like everyone, I’ve gone through the typical struggles we all go through as we find our way.
When did Attraction marketing look better than offline marketing, and how did you start online?
I started online in 2004 after I decided to leave Primerica. I had had enough of dragging folks to meetings, inviting 20+ people to an opp night, seeing 1 or 2 (or as many nights went, zero) people showing up…people telling me it “looks interesting” and never seeing them again, dragging new recruits to product presentations with their mom or aunt, etc.
I just had had it at that point in my life with the entire process. I worked harder than I ever had at anything. While I saw a small measure of success, built a sizeable local team, rose through the ranks until I was one level from Primerica’s Regional Vice President level, I just didn’t see the money, consistency, or team that equated to the work involved.
Spending all your time away from your family inside a business promising “time freedom” became ridiculous in my eyes.
And I started really paying attention to others in the business making the “big money”. They honestly didn’t have residual income. They were just as busy as I was. If they slowed down their pace, their team did as well…and their income suffered.
So, in 2004 I started searching online for “how to make money online”. I started building sites. I made money from Adsense and affiliate marketing.
Later, I parlayed that knowledge into working for a buddy with a debt consolidation business. I built his website and helped him literally make millions in that business through the online leads the site brought in.
In turn, he was paying me over $200,000 a year. Good times. Until it all came crashing down when regulators shut his business down.
From there, I became a coach for a leading hosting company…coaching their clients on how to make their sites better, building sites from scratch, creating social media accounts for them, etc.
This is when Attraction Marketing became a big term out there. It made so much sense to me based on what I had already done online.
So, I joined another MLM back in 2010 and quickly built an international team 9 levels deep and became Platinum in that company.
I did that using the Attraction Marketing methods we all know well. I was getting close to a true, walkaway 5 figure a month income stream and once again, regulators came in and shut that business down.
From there, I decided that I needed to take more control over my future. Yes, MLM is great for teaching us business, overcoming shyness or an unwillingness to put ourselves in front of others, personal development, etc.
However, you don’t truly “own” your own business. This is a misrepresentation in the network marketing community.
Today, I have far more control because of my blog, my own products, and my own unique way of merging my own teachings that in turn lead to affiliate income from several different companies.
No longer do I rely on one company or business that can be shut down or taken away if one of their policies is “broken”.
I encourage others to look at their business pursuits in the same way and create more than one income stream.
How old is your blog, how many posts are on it, and what is the daily traffic like to it on a daily basis?
I started my current blog about 3 years ago. It has about 70 posts. However, based on the current state of SEO, there will actually be less posts there soon! Less is more today. It gets about 200-300 daily visits.
What has helped your blog get the most traffic?
Creating what many people call “epic” or “pillar” posts. I’ve started deleting older, weak 500 or so word posts that don’t really deliver the value the way my 2000, 3000, 4000+ posts can and do. These epic posts get the rankings and traffic.
I haven’t had the time I would like to focus on my blog the way I want to, based on the coaching I mentioned earlier.
I’ve recently let go of many coaching opportunities so I can invest more time on my true residual income practices: online traffic, lead generation and sales. I’ve also sold off other sites I used to have so I can focus entirely on the newer blog.
I expect my blogging results to move up mightily with this renewed activity in 2017 and beyond…exciting times ahead for anyone who invests in the right activities online.
If someone wants to start internet marketing, where should they start?
Start their blog. Get going. Then, start learning what makes a blog successful. Unfortunately, there is a lot of old, outdated info online that will get a person penalized by Google.
Things like generating thousands of spammy backlinks, blogging daily (this is not effective anymore), etc. Ever since Google’s Panda and Penguin (and resulting updates over the last few years) the game has changed dramatically.
So, learn what works today, not yesterday. Quality content will always be in need. But there are certain strategies for creating that content that will result in long-lasting rankings, traffic, leads, and sales that must be adhered to.
And don’t quit! Don’t quit when it seems like your work isn’t getting the results you want. Get “some” result. Then, adjust and improve. Get a new result based on that adjustment. Then, adjust again. Keep doing that.
We live in a society that expects instant success, instant fame, instant everything. This is exactly the type of thinking that does not result in “success”. It makes you stop one activity and jump to another without giving the first a chance to “live”.
Take it from someone who used to jump from one opportunity to another far too often. Find what gets you excited and stick to that. I mean stick to it for YEARS, not days or months. If you’re not willing to stick with it long-term, you honestly will remain frustrated forever.
Be consistent for a long, long time and you’ll find the success you seek.
What’s one of the biggest mistakes new network marketers make?
Believing in much of the “training” that’s out there. Unless you’re a very successful businessperson, or maybe a lawyer, pastor, etc, don’t expect much to come from your warm contact list.
Think about it for a minute. What makes the people you happen to know expert business builders? Also, in our “I want it now” society, very few people will stick with something long-term.
This means that instead of trying to convince your drinking buddies to work your business, why not use the Internet to attract the people you don’t know about yet?
The people who are just like you and seeking out something and someone they can sink their teeth in and find success with.
One of the biggest mistakes is using 1985 methods (people actually answered their phones back then..today? If they don’t know your number, expect voice mail and to be added to the Auto Reject list).
A big mistake is failing to understand and use the power of the Internet to find the people who will work hard. Attraction Marketing is the most effective way to get this to work for you.
I notice you have a lot of videos on YouTube. How important is video for an internet marketer?
Very important. Studies show that over 70% of the web will be video by 2018, 2019 or so. Video allows others to feel closer to you. It’s a great way to teach something and then ask a person to become a prospect or to buy something from you.
I read a quote by Napoleon Hill on your blog that states: “It is nearly always more profitable to listen than it is to speak.” What does that mean to you and where can people implement this?
Great quote, huh? To me, it means we need to keep the needs of others at the forefront. Not just in literally listening to them when we communicate, but in the spirit through which you live, interact with others and conduct business.
Are you truly interested in the other person or just waiting them out so you can speak again? Patience is underrated in today’s society but one of the most effective “weapons” for success.
How can others implement this? Be patient with others. They will never do exactly what you want them to do. But why should you expect them to?
They’re on their own journey. Do you want to do what someone else wants you to do at every turn? Of course not.
So, listen to others. Understand them. Speak in a way that helps them see you have their best interest at heart. Become a helper. Helpers win in business.
What is your favorite book right now and why?
The Law of Success in 16 Lessons, by Napoleon Hill.
It’s simply chock full of important life and business lessons. Some of the ideas I’ve expressed throughout this interview come straight from lessons I’ve learned in this book. A must read.
It’s also long. Which, to me, makes it even better. If someone can get through this entire book, I know they have something inside most “give it to me now” folks don’t.
What are your goals for 2017?
To move my blog into the realm I’ve moved past sites into: 1000, 5000, 10000+ daily visitors that I help understand what they must do in order to see the success they seek.
To start a podcast that can help me more effectively reach others. My coaching clients tell me my written word is nice, but it’s my voice that truly reaches them. They tell me I have a talent for taking the complicated and making it simple to understand and implement.
So, my biggest goal for 2017 is helping more people see that what they may see as complicated (blogging, attraction marketing, lead generation, closing online sales, etc) really isn’t that at all. It’s simply a matter of taking it step-by-step…block-by-block.
What is your favorite quote and why?
This one will probably surprise you because of who said it:
“Don’t be afraid of excellence.” – Marshall Faulk, Hall of Fame NFL running back
I used to suffer from this. I see so many people suffer from it. We all want what we each define as “success”.
But, we live in a world that encourages each of us to be small…to be less than what our potential says we can be.
This is a tough mental, emotional and spiritual issue for each of us. Should we stay comfortable and safe? Should we hide that rebel inside of us?
Or, should we rebel against the mediocrity society tells us is all we’re worth? Should we become EXCELLENT in all we do?
Should we reach the people we need to reach in order to help those people reach the potential they have inside?
The answer lies in every inspiring story we hear that brings us to tears. We’re inspired by those who decided to become EXCELLENT.
You need to become EXCELLENT too.
Thank you so much again for this interview, Matt! This has been one of the biggest interviews and full of wisdom, sometimes hilarious.
***P.S. If You Need More Traffic to Your MLM Website, Try MLM Solo Advertising.