Lately I've been asked by more than a few people: “Which Internet Marketing teachers should I listen to?”
Often that question is followed up with: “And who are the ‘Bad Guys' I should avoid?”
I'm not in the business of judging who the so-called ‘bad guys' are. But what I can do is recommend the people who have helped me. I was going to write up such a post, and then I realized I had already done so — back on January 1, 2009. As I went back and read it, I realized it needed very little editing… so I present the updated (only aesthetic updates, really) list of people I have been helped by.
When I originally wrote this, it was at the beginning of a New Year. I had been reflecting on who I owe my success to in the copywriting and internet marketing world. Because you know, none of us do this “internet business thing” on our own. I’m not an island. I’ve been helped by a number of people along the way. And I wanted to publicly thank and acknowledge a number of them.
Disclaimer: making a list like this always opens up the risk that I’ll leave someone out. If you have helped me, and I somehow forget to mention you, remind me privately and I’ll add your name to the list. Also, this list includes people who have strong points of view on some matters – in many cases, points of view that are in conflict. I think a diversity of opinions is a good thing, don't you? I don't agree with everything any one person says. But I do value and recommend them all. How do I reconcile their differing opinions or approaches? I take personal responsibility for making my own decisions, after having considered their advice.
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs [15:22])
Armand Morin. Armand is the guy who has taught me the most about Internet Marketing, and he pushed and prodded me to create my own info-products (I went from zero to over 20 in less than a year) and to get serious about my speaking career. Without a doubt, I recommend Armand’s Big Seminar and his Internet Marketing Newsletter.
Alex Mandossian. Alex taught me how to use Teleseminars to build my business (even though I was a copywriter at the time, my first year using Alex’s techniques easily made me over $100,000). He’s also a man of deep integrity.
Brad Callen. One of my top clients, I am actually involved in a site with Brad and his brother Matt. These guys have been with me as clients for a long time now, and have been a great encouragement to me.
Willie Crawford. One of the first friends I made in this business. Willie and I had some pretty amusing adventures together.
John Carlton. Possibly the world’s greatest living copywriter. I have learned so much from John, I can’t even begin to tell you. I attended a seminar once just so I could buy his “mother of all offers” where he sold a $5,000 box of his materials. Pay attention: I went to a seminar so that I could spend $5,000 with John. That ought to tell you something. I had the privilege of hanging out with John in Vegas recently, and it was the highlight of my trip.
Harlan Kilstein. Killer copywriter and Carlton’s top student, Harlan is also a master of hypnosis and NLP. Harlan taught me how to get paid what I’m worth as a copywriter. Seriously. After attending one of his seminars, I TRIPLED my fees. Thanks Harlan.
Matt Bacak. One of my top clients, Matt was one of the very first people to hire me to write copy. We met because I saw him sitting in the bar… with his laptop! I knew he was a kindred spirit. We’ve done some great things together (recently we did a $3.5 million promotion), and I’ve learned a lot from Matt. He’s also been a good friend.
Mike Litman. Mike was the first Internet Marketer to pay me for copy. He paid me a scandalously low amount of money. When he ordered 2 more sales letters from me, he coached me on raising my prices – on his project! His was the first IM event I ever attended, and it’s where I met my long-term friends (and now clients) Armand Morin and Matt Bacak.
Mike Stewart. Mike showed me “lifestyle business” at its best when he invited me to spend a couple of days at his lake place in Georgia. We played around on the lake, ate a lot of good food, and created a new video product (on copywriting) in his home studio (said product to be released soon).
Frank Kern. I’ve learned a lot from Frank, and he’s hired me more than once to write copy for him. Frank gave me my all-time favorite testimonial (it’s a bit off-color, so I won’t quote it here). It’s through Frank I first met John Carlton, Sarkis, Neil Strauss, and a bunch of other “fancy people”. And Frank recommended me to Tony Robbins for some copywriting work – so how could I not acknowledge Captain Kern?
Ed Dale. I actually met Frank Kern and Ed Dale at the same time. They had hired me to write copy for their Underachiever Conference before we ever actually met. What endeared me to Ed first was his love for all things Apple. Instant bonding. And Ed actually gave me the testimonial that ties with Frank’s for my all-time favorite. Since it doesn’t contain the “F Word” I’ll quote it in full: “Ray, I bless the day your copy met my bank account”.
Jeff Walker. The creator of the Product Launch Formula, Jeff taught me the art of Product Launches. I was one of the first customers for the original PLF, and ended up in Jeff’s high-end Platinum Coaching group. Jeff coached me through my first launch (of my own product). Jeff has made me… well, a lot of money. And he’s also a good friend. Jeff credits me with being the first person he’s ever actually paid to write copy for him. I can’t thank him enough for all the guidance, encouragement, and generosity he has shown me.
Jon Walker. Jon is Jeff’s brother. I actually got to know him before I got to know Jeff, and I count Jon as one of my very favorite people. He’s kind, diplomatic, and has a razor-sharp business mind. He is truly one of those “guys behind the scenes” who is responsible for some big stuff in the online world. Jon has given me some invaluable counsel, advice and insight on my own business, and he’s one of the people I love to bounce ideas around with.
Michel Fortin. One of the first people I got to know in the copywriting world, I owe Michel several debts of gratitude. I’ve learned a lot from him about copy, marketing, and online technology (Michel convinced me to migrate from Movable Type to WordPress, for instance… and was at least partially responsible for getting me hooked on Photoshop). He’s also helped me navigate through a couple of difficult situations, and has unselfishly helped me grow my business.
Sylvie Fortin. Sylvie is one of the most vibrant, determined and principled people I know. She has the courage to speak her mind even when it might be unpopular to do so. I am astounded by her willingness to share personal challenges publicly so that others may benefit. And her keen insight played a crucial role in rescuing me from total burn-out in 2008. Really. I love Sylvie Fortin for these reasons and more.
Craig Perrine. Smart, funny, intelligent, and willing to encourage me in my tendency to sit in the back of the room and cause trouble, Craig is a great friend and a smart marketer.
Kirt Christensen. One of the first people I bought an information product from, Kirt agreed to meet with me not knowing for sure whether I might be a stalker. We ended up become friends and business partners. Kirt helped me define my pursuit of the “ideal business”: working 20 hours a week and making $100,000 per month. That’s not too much to ask, right? (Still workin' on it, FYI…)
Christina Hills. Christina is the CEO of “Shopping Cart Queen” – a company that educates online businesses on how to use their shopping cart software. They also teach a lot more stuff, including other software and systems. Christina was crucial to my first product launch coming off well, and she’s helped me in a pinch on more than one occasion.
Stu McLaren. Stu was one of my early clients. I wrote the copy for his Idea Incubator Seminar. I was so excited by it I decided to attend. Stu and I became friends, and through him I met Stephen Pierce, David Frey, Alex Mandossian, Jeff Walker and many others. Now Stu not only is a big-shot Internet Marketer but is now working with his wife Amy to change the world. Bravo!
Mike Filsaime . I met Mike before he was “famous”. We had a conversation outside the seminar room in Denver where Mike told me the story of this new product he was creating called “Butterfly Marketing”. We have remained friends over the years, and Mike recently had me work on the “7 Figure Code” launch with him (which was a blast). We've worked together on several other projects, too. I'm amazed by Mike's willingness to work harder than just about anyone else I know, and his adaptability to changing trends and technologies.
Tom Beal. Tom and I were in a Mastermind Group together for a while, and when we met through that group I only had a vague idea that he worked with Mike Filsaime. Tom and I have laughed together, hung out in the back of many a seminar room, and worked together on a few projects. I count him as both a friend and a great marketing mind.
Joel Comm. Joel and I knew each other a while before we ever did any work together. Joel has been a true friend, and has done a lot to help me as a person and on a business level. Joel got me my publishing deal, invited me to be a guest expert on The Next Internet Millionaire, hired me to write copy, and has been a true supporter.
Andy Jenkins. You know him as the StomperNet guy – and so do I. I’ve written some copy for the Stomper guys (Andy and Brad Fallon). Andy has been encouraging, enthusiastic, and promoted me in places where it counted.
Rich Schefren. Controversial, smart, challenging, and able to wear you down. And that was just my first dinner with Rich! Rich is not only a client, he’s one of the people I’ve learned some of my most valuable business lessons from.
Brian Johnson. You may know him as Schefren’s right-hand guy. I know him as a trustworthy friend and tireless supporter. He’s also a guy who will be there to get the job done, even when other people have gone home.
Ryan Healy, Ben Settle, John Angel and Daniel Levis are all part of a secret mastermind group I belong to. The weird thing is we’re all copywriters. And it’s one of the most profitable and enjoyable groups I’m a member of. This group has been referred to as “The Five Horsemen of the Copywriting Apocalypse”.
Jeanette Cates. She’s organized, she’s diligent, and she’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever met. She’s also fun to hang around with.
Dave Bernstein. One of the first products I ever created, I created with Dave. He’s absolutely nuts about all things audio. And he is smart enough to live where it’s warm all year.
George Callens. George works with Armand to run a $25 million dollar a year company and makes it looks easy. He’s on top of things, he’s in charge, and he’s one of the most stunningly competent people I know. George has helped me sort through some important challenges in my business.
Chris & Jim Howard. I’ve been friends with Jim & Chris just about as long as anyone in this business. They are a continuous inspiration, and “go to” people when I need help or advice.
Dr Mike Woo-Ming. He's a friend, he's a client, and he's an International Man of Mystery.Remember that time you rented that house in Vegas and we all hung out there? That was awesome.
Howie Schwartz. One of the smartest and funniest people I have ever met and someone I am proud to know and call friend.
Yanik Silver. Brilliant marketer, tireless entrepreneur, and peerless promoter. I love the Underground Seminar, and his YSS is brilliant. I’m also inspired by what he’s been doing with the Maverick Brand.
Dan Kennedy. What can I say about Dan that hasn’t been said? I think he mostly invented the info-product/coaching business. He’s a writer’s writer. He lives the life he chose to live. And he seems to be a true genius when it comes to this stuff.
Jason Moffatt. Jason and I are probably about a much alike as East and West – but I count him as a friend, a keen marketing mind, and one of the very best salesmen I have ever met.
Tracy Childers. Tracy and I have held a few late-night brainstorming sessions involving large quantities of what another friend of mine calls “barley pop”. Every time I talk to him, I get about two dozen new ideas. And Tracy is inspiring in his ability to get products created, and his integrity and kindness.
Marlon Sanders. The first marketing product I ever bought was “The Amazing Formula”. It blew me away. Since then I’ve had a chance to get to know Marlon as one of the funniest, most intelligent, and most interesting people I know. Plus, have you seen this guy’s hats?
David Frey. He’s the “gentle giant” of Internet Marketing, He’s been an encourager, a good teacher, and someone I’ve felt inspired by since we first met at Stu McLaren’s Idea Incubator.
Ken McArthur. One of my favorite clients, Ken has been another ardent supporter of mine. He’s someone who is universally loved by everyone who knows him. And he invited me to speak in Orlando in February (Orlando is always a great place to visit in February!).
Clayton Makepeace. One of my copywriting “heroes”, Clayton is one sharp guy. And Clayton is the guy about whom I have the strangest “how we met” story of all. Sorry, I’m not telling. Not today, anyway.
Mary Mazzullo. She took the pictures that make me look good. Of course, that ‘s what she does. She also got me into the mysterious “Club 33”. And she’s a true friend.
Bob Bly. The copywriter's copywriter, a scholar, and a gentleman. Bob really got me started down this road, and one of the highlights of my career was being quoted on the cover of his “Secrets of a Freelance Writer”.
Mari Smith. First she was my student (in copywriting) and now she is my teacher (in Social Media Marketing). Thanks Mari!
Seth Godin. Some of the most intense learning I ever did, I did at Seth's office. His books are amazing. His blog is legendary. He is generous. Thanks Seth!
This post grew as I was writing it.
The truth is, there are so many people I should thank I probably could never write it all down. So please, if you don't see your name here, don't take it personally. I love and appreciate you — and if you know me at all, I hope you know that's true.
Bear with me, I have a couple more acknowledgments: my business could not exist without the support of my family (both near and far).
My wife and son are the two most important people on earth to me. I love you both with complete and reckless abandon.
Finally, and most importantly, I would be nothing if not for the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Every good thing I have (or ever will have) comes from Him.