He said, I’m starting my own website and I’ve taken all of our subscribers. I mean, those weren’t the words he used, but he’s like, yeah, I don’t want to be a partner anymore. I don’t want to be your partner anymore. And I’ve already got this website set up and on Monday I’m going to start publishing our newsletter. And I’m getting a little…thinking about that. Yeah. A little, a little worked up here.
Welcome Everyone to my interview series about human resilience and strength and internal fortitude. And I have an amazing guest here to share with you. I’m going to introduce him and I want to tell you why I think he’s so amazing and it’s probably not what you think. So this man, his name is Jeff Walker and Jeff Walker has all of these amazing accolades. Like he’s pretty much the guy that invented the way that we currently do email marketing. He’s a New York times bestselling author, a multimillion dollar business. And, and he trains people to be multimillion dollar businesses. I think if you totaled up all of the money, all the people that he’s trained, it’d be well over a billion dollars.
Like, all of these things are true about Jeff, but none of them are the reason that I find him to be so incredibly interesting and why I’m so interested in interviewing him for this series. So, I’m just gonna jump right in and tell you, I met him a few years ago and over the last year we’ve been getting pretty close. We were getting to know each other really well and occasionally not all the time, but occasionally when he teaches and he has a blog that he does, and he has books that he writes. And occasionally there’s one little nugget of his success story will come out about how early on in his career he worked really, really hard to build like business 1.0, if you will. And you know, at the time he’s got a family and a partner and he’s got to make so me money.
And he works really hard and dedicates himself to build this business. And then something traumatic happened to it. Something difficult happened to it. He just says like this really hard thing happened and then kind of moves on. And I’m really fascinated by this because there’s something about people that makes them capable of withstanding great struggle, difficulty, impact, and trauma, and then carrying on. And here’s a man who carries on who’s extraordinarily generous and extraordinary dedicated, extraordinarily successful. And I came excited to interview him because I want to ask him. how? I want to ask Jeff, what do you have inside of you that allowed you to withstand that impact and then carry on. So, I guess I want to start by asking, tell me how you built that first business.
Well, the first business started out purely out of desperation. I was a stay at home. Dad I’d been in the corporate world. It didn’t go so well for me in the corporate world, it just didn’t fit in. I couldn’t figure it out. And my wife was getting out of school with an engineering degree and she got a job offer. And so I just walked away from the corporate world as a stay at home dad for a number of years. This is early 1990s when that was not a normal thing whatsoever, not normal whatsoever. And after five years, we were just, you know, my wife had a good job, but it was still a one income family and we needed some more money, what it was. So I started publishing a newsletter about the stock market. There’s a big, long story, but eventually I had a free newsletter. Eventually came out with a paid newsletter, started selling that paid newsletter and gradually grew the business very, very slowly.
And what was it Like? So just take me back a bit and I’m going to apologize ahead of time. I don’t normally ask people questions about hard things, but I think it’s important here because I think your story and your ability is quite inspiring. So what was it like when you first started that business to realize, oh wow, I’m making money online and this business is actually like working to the point where I can do things.
Well, when I started out, the story is actually very involved. I actually started this first newsletter to try to get into graduate school. My thinking was so bad. It was so bad because I had failed,basically failed in the corporate world, left it, ran away before they could fire me. Then after five years, I’m like, we need money. So the only thing I knew was to try to go back to the corporate world. So I thought, but I had five years of doing nothing but changing diapers and making peanut butter sandwiches. And especially in the nineties that I committed career suicide. I thought I’d publish this newsletter. I could put it on my resume and that could help me get into grad school, I’d go to grad school for two years and I’d go back to the corporate world. And then what short-circuited that was needing some tuition money.
And so I tried to sell this paid version of that newsletter. I’d never sold, I was not a salesperson. I was not a marketer. I had no experience. I’d never sold anything outside of a couple of bags of donuts as a boy scout and only two, because one to my parents and one to my direct next door neighbors. And I was scared to go beyond the next door neighbors. The idea that someone would actually pay me for something was, it was a revelation that they would pay me for something that I created, so that when that first order came in for the subscription to that newsletter that I was promising, it was a watershed moment. That people actually pay me for something I created that there can be a value exchange that it’s not like I’m being slimy or I’m taking something from them. I’m giving them something of value in there. They’re going to pay me for it. So that was mind blowing.
But the thought, I did have some really crazy thinking, man, I immediately gave up on the idea of grad school. I went the one class and I walked out in the middle of the class because I was like, this isn’t my future. My future is, I just did this what we now call a launch, that did $1,650. And so this is the thought I had. That might’ve been one of the most important thoughts I’ve ever had. It’s like, if I did that once I could do it again and again and again, and I might even get better at it. And that’s what happened.
And how did you grow that business? How did you do that, if I did it once? How did you grow that?
So this is 1996, 1997. There was no social media. There was no way to advertise online. There was none of the tools we have. There was no podcasts. There were no blogs. Google didn’t even exist back then. Right? And, and so what I did was I kept on publishing that free newsletter. And I kept on publishing content on my website, which by the way, was really hard. These days you can build a website like that. Back then, you almost had to know how to code and I didn’t know how to code, so it was just through content, content, content, word of mouth, and getting found for that content and then getting better at marketing.
So, okay. First hard question. What happened to that business?
I actually had a partner in that business, not when I first started that first newsletter, but once I started going, I realized I started to build an audience. At that time, the reason I was publishing about the stock market wasn’t because I was a stockbroker, I didn’t have any initials after my name. I had no credentials, zero credentials whatsoever, but I’d studied the market. And I actually really thought my future might be as a financial trader. And I had met a man online, a person online, and he became like a mentor for me in this pursuit of this knowledge of becoming a trader. I didn’t have any money to actually trade because times were really tight, but I wanted to be a trader.
So after I’d been publishing for about six months and started to build up my email newsletter list to, I dunno, maybe five or six hundred people. And I started to think, wow, I can attract people. And people are coming to me. And they like reading my stuff. And I do have that tuition bill coming up. And I went to my mentor and I said, hey, would you like to partner with me? And you can basically provide this content from your 20 years of trading experience and I’ll handle everything else in the business. And, and he said, yeah, sure. Let’s do that.
So we had this partnership that went from early 1997, up until one Friday afternoon in March, of 2005. And I don’t remember the exact day, but it was a Friday afternoon. And my partner wasn’t the most loquacious person. We rarely talked, we mostly emailed message. He was really anxious to get on the phone, really anxious. He really wanted to talk to me and I’m like, okay. So it was Friday afternoon. And it was March as a beautiful sunny, sunny day, you know, in Colorado here, sometimes March can be just like, feel almost like a summer day. And it’s like three o’clock in the afternoon, or approximately. And I picked up that phone and he said, I’m starting my own website and I’ve taken all of our subscribers. I mean, those weren’t the words he used, but he’s like, yeah, I don’t want to be a partner anymore. I don’t want to be your partner anymore. And I’ve already got this website set up and on Monday I’m going to start publishing our newsletter.
And I’m getting a little…thinking about that. Yeah. A little, a little worked up here, because these are folks that some of them who had been paying us as paying subscribers for 5, 6, 7 years, and you know, some of them, after someone’s been your subscriber for that long, you get to know them. They’re almost like friends. Right! Now, I will tell you that at that time, the business had started to feel old to me. I was feeling tired of it, because we were publishing every single trading day of the year. There’s 252 trading days per year. And we are usually publishing multiple times a day.
So we were publishing five to six hundred times a year. And after, you know, eight years, it was starting to feel like a bit of a drag. And it was tough for me to get away, to take a vacation. I didn’t have to work a lot, but I had to work every single day consistently. Yeah. But I remember him calling me up and telling me that, and I still remember where the phone was at. You know, it was still at a corded phone. And I remember that I was like, I put down the phone and I actually laughed.
That’s not what I expected you to say.
I laughed. And there’s a little bit of bravado in that laugh, but a little bit of a, we were talking about this earlier today when we were hanging out, that button, that button, and that was that button that’s like, okay.
I want to talk to you about that button. So, one of the things that I find so incredibly fascinating about that button, that had to have been a hard moment. I mean, here it is. However many years later, you remember it was a Friday afternoon in March. And even talking about this story, like language is such an important thing. I teach this all the time to people, your, your experiences will often follow your language. So just talking about this difficult moment, like it brings about difficult emotions, but I know that you didn’t stop there because I have the pleasure and opportunity to talk to you in your then hoped forfuture. So what I want to know is after the hard moment, how did you access that stuff inside that helped you keep going?
Now, I want to be clear. It’s not just impressive that you kept going and built the business that you now have built and run. I think I want people to understand, just keeping going is the win. And then whatever happens, happens. Like you could’ve just, as easily said, you know what, I’m going to just be a stay at home dad and enjoy my kids. And that would have been a win, that would have been success. What I’m really fascinated in, that moment didn’t stop you. It didn’t cause you to go drinking or drugging or coping in negative ways. How did you access that button that caused you to say this won’t be the end of my story.
That’s that’s an interesting question. So, first of all, I had a young family, you know, by this time my wife had left her job and this business was supporting the family. So there were mouths to feed. So it was like, you know, it just as a responsible adult, something has to happen here. That was one. Number two is I had this business and I built it for eight years and I knew, you know, he supplied content, but there are times where he was gone. I wrote the content and I did every single other thing in the business. And so I’d built it once and I knew I could build it again. It was just so intuitively obvious to me that I had spent eight years building these chops and I’d gotten, I got pretty darn good at it. And so it was just, that’s why I laughed. I was like, okay, you think you’re going to go do this. I
know what it takes to run a business. You’ve been writing a couple hundred words for me to take and turn into a product. I mean, there was a competitive piece to me. It’s like, yeah, you think, you know, you think you’re the star of the show. Let’s, let’s see, who’s the real star of the show. Right? So there’s a little bit of that, of like, I don’t know if you would call it a negative or just proving him wrong, but then there was also this feeling of I can go back and I can rebuild. I can build what I want to build.
Hmmm. So this is a bit of an unfair question because I’m going to ask you to go back in your memory.
Right. Because, because I’m completely aware that what I’ve just said to you may have been a significant whitewashing of what I was really feeling, so.
Right. So do you remember the first clue you got that confirmed, I’m right. Like, do you remember what the first indicator was? The first piece of evidence?
So, this all happened in 2005 and in 2003, I had gone to a marketing conference, the first marketing conference I’d ever been to. And at that point I started meeting people and I came to realize that I had these chops that most of the people on stage didn’t have. I’d been networking with a number of these people in the sort of the online or early days of the online business, building, entrepreneurship, marketing, and just building those connections with them. I realized that I had real chops. I was ready to move on at that moment. I was like, I’ve got this. I know how, I’ve done it once. There’s just no way, there’s just no reason I can’t do it again.
How did you do that? I know that’s kind of an unfair question, how did you access that in that moment? You know, I think true, brilliance of resiliency is knowing how to access it at the moment at which you need it. How did you do that?
I think that the initial spark was the I’m going to prove you wrong.
I’m going to prove you wrong.
I Think in the one year after Bannister did that, I think it was like 20 some people.
So to me, the thing that stands out that you just said, and I just want to make sure I heard it right. Is even though you had that, I’m going to prove you wrong. It was not easy. It didn’t happen in an instant. It took some, you had to do some things. It took some action orientation, But it happened.
But it happened, it didn’t happen in a snap or it wasn’t easy, but it did happen.
Yeah. No, It was a process. And I mean, that phone call’s the first piece. And then a few weeks later you filed suit against me, takes the business and then filed suit. It was like further pieces that he couldn’t take. But there is another, I forgot about this piece of the story, so this is all in like the second half of March, but in April, I was actually going to speak at a marketing conference just because I’ve been to these marketing conferences. And I gotten to know some of the people and they’d heard my stories and they realized I had some chops. So they said, come and speak. And I agreed to speak at this. I think it was like later April. So like three or maybe a month later. And I’m like, okay, well now this thing I was just going to go do, because it’s, you know, it seems like it might be fun to get on stage.
Now. I want to be a little more strategic about that. And that was actually the kickoff of everything because I actually went on stage and I gave the best talk I could and worked on that talk. And at the end of the talk, I made an offer. I said, Hey, I just told you how to launch these things the way I’ve been launching stuff. If you’re interested, I’m going to take a small group of people and work with them and their launches to teach them how to do it. So I think I immediately, I had that I’m going to prove you wrong. And then it’s like, I went into planning mode right away.
I love that. I love that. So let me tell you why for me, this is so exciting and interesting. You know, I work as a psychotherapist primarily and have been for 15 years. And I would often tell my friends and colleagues, I feel like I have the best job in the world that has this one little horrible nugget to it. And that is I watch people do amazing things. People go through a trauma, like sexual assault, significant mental health diagnoses and issues. And they stay in the fight. They keep going. And then they overcome these challenges and they get that job or they marry that partner or they achieve some level of joy, happiness, and peace in their life. And because of confidentiality, I can’t tell them, I can’t go tell the world, this is what humans are capable of.
And I literally have goosebumps listening to talk because this is what humans are capable of. And I’m not just talking about like the bazillion dollar business and all of those things. I’m talking about, I imagine if I had asked you if I was there in the room, when you got that phone call, the drive was to provide for your family. I would guess if I said, Jeff, what do you need right now? You’d say, man, I need money to provide for my young family. And this is what humans are capable of. Like every single one of us is capable of taking a blow and going into planning mode, taking action steps, being strategic, following through recognizing it’s not going to be easy. Recognizomg it’s not going to come quickly, but all of us are capable of this. Now I would love to say, all of us are capable of bazillions of dollars and all of those things. And I’m happily going to tell you, some of you are, but all of you are capable of staying in the fight a bit. Right.
And Every one of us is going to get those blows.
A hundred percent.
Every single one.
A hundred percent. So if you could say, and I know you spend most of your time talking to online marketers, but just like talking to people, if you could talk to that person out there, that they just got that blow, like they just found out their partner’s having an affair, or they just found out that their kid has been removed from the third school because they’re continuing to bite other kids. Or they went to work the job that they’ve had for 17 years and just got told that you’re not necessary anymore. If you could say something to that person to let them know that they have that stuff inside of them too, what would you say?
So I’ve been around a lot of successful people now in what’s one of my joys, the joys of my life is I get to hang out with people that have really taken those blows and been able to turn it around. And I think for me, whenever I’m faced with a really difficult situation, I try to look around and find someone who was in that same situation, who was even more challenged than me. Who had even greater challenges than me. And my thinking is like, if they did it, I can do it. I can do it. You know, because there’s always someone that no matter how dismal your situation is, there’s always someone that’s been there, but they didn’t have any legs or they’re blind or they’re, you know. I mean, the human spirit can be indomitable.
If there is one thing I want people to get from watching this video series, as it continues and evolves, and we have more guests it’s that, that the human spirit is indomitable. Like we were talking before, just kind of chatting as we were setting up here that my personal heroe is Nelson Mandela, and the reason he’s my personal hero is he went to prison for 27 years. And when he came out of prison, he ran for president of the country of South Africa and won. And I often think about exactly what you just said. There are always people in more difficult dire situations. And I think, how did he do that? Like, what must’ve been going through his mind every single night for 27 years when he went to bed that would allow him to hold onto the belief that he would be able to affect change.
I think what I just said is if someone else did it, I can do it. And I’m not saying that from ego, but from a, you know, inspiration. I think if you can look at other people and take inspiration from their achievement versus going to envy, I think that’s like the killer skill for becoming successful.
You know Jeff, so like I said, I’ve known you now for a couple of years, but I feel like we’ve been get to know each other a lot better in the past year or so. And again, I get goosebumps even thinking about this. I think people watch you strategically, like they watch you to get your tactics and you’re generous and you teach those tactics. Like, if you want to do a launch, do these things and your launch is likely to be successful. And I think that’s great that people watch you tactically and strategically, I’m not sure enough people watch you inspirationally enough. Because for me, I find that incredibly inspirational that no matter how positive the outcome was, you had challenges just like everyone else in some cases, even probably more so than everyone else. But you had that, that internal ability to keep moving forward. And I would argue that’s why you’re here. Product Launch Formula wouldn’t exist had you given up with, you know, big body blows that you took back then.
I think you could be that for other people. So it’s not just your tactic and strategies I want people to follow, like, it’s your heart and your mindset that allows you to hold on to confidence and belief. And again, not confidence that it’s going to work, but confidence that I can take one more step.
Right. Confidence that I can figure it out one step at a time. You know, so like I said, he filed a law suit. Well, I’d never talked to a lawyer in my life at that point. I had never, ever talked to a lawyer in my life. And all of a sudden, I had some buddies and they’re like, oh you better talk to a lawyer. And I’m like, I don’t even know how you even do that. How you even get, so I had someone recommend a lawyer and then it got moved to federal court because he’s in a different state. And all of a sudden, I’m like on the phone talking to three lawyers at one time and just thinking, this is costing me $900 an hour. And it was so stressful. Every time I talked to those lawyers and I mean, this was, it was a hard time. Like I said, I laughed because I knew, I put down that phone and I laughed. I’m like, okay, I know I had a few words that I don’t want to, I’m presuming it’s a family show, okay, okay. You think you’re the star, you think you’re the man. Let’s see. Let’s see.
And then I remember talking to them, one of the lawyers she’s like, okay, when you’re talking to me, I want you to take this moment and all those feelings and just put that in a box. She’s like, I know this is stressful, just put that in a box. And that’s going to be your little stressful box when you talk to me, when you have to deal with this loss stuff, but just leave it there, take the rest of your life away from that box because yeah, it was, you know, it was crazy. I remember the next year. So this is the less inspirational, this is a more spiteful Jeff. A year later, and by a year later, my business was three times the size of that original business. And I remember mentioning it to my lawyer. I’m like, I think I’m going to send my ex partner. I want to send on my tax return, let him see. She’s like, that’s not a good idea. Don’t do it.
It’s okay to be inspirational and human Jeff, you can be both. That’s funny. That’s totally funny. But you know, I think that’s the lesson, right? Like I want people to watch people like you. And in this case specifically, you, and think if he could do it, I could do it. Because I think you’re remarkably special. I genuinely believe that. You are one of the most generous people I’ve ever met and oftentimes have no reason to be generous. Like really remarkable generosity is when you do something for someone that couldn’t do something for you. But simultaneously you have the same ingredients inside of you that everybody else does. You just have the ability to access them at the point with which you needed them. And I hope by sharing that story, people watching would think to themselves if he could dig deep in that moment when this body blow happened, maybe maybe I could do.
You know, I think the reason that when people find me inspirational, the reason they do is be as I am so completely average. I mean, this empire that I’ve built, this business that I’ve built is now 50 times bigger than that original business, right. 50 five zero. And you know, I’ve had a best-selling book and I have had all these people, I’ve been able to help so many people, impact so many people, but I am just so freaking average. I mean if you would’ve went back and no one would have bet on me, no one would have ever bet on me 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago, I’m just, yeah.
In your averageness is Extraordinary. You know Like, cause this is going to sound weird, Jeff, but yes, you’re average, meaning I’m just like everyone else. But what made you extraordinary is you could push the button when necessary just like everyone could. And sometimes as you already said, we need to know that it’s possible. You know, my favorite story about possibility, Roger Bannister. Very interesting thing. I think Roger Bannister is a lesson in like, I’m going to call it the Jeff Walker lesson right now. What Roger Bannister did, is he wanted to run a four minute mile. So he got a friend in England to time him and he ran and failed but he failed within seconds and he knew, I can shave that time off of my time. And at that time, no one had ever done it before ever actually like scientists thought the human body couldn’t move that fast. Like the human body couldn’t take in enough oxygen and burn enough fuel to move the body that fast for that duration of time.
But Roger Bannister knew, I could shave a couple more seconds off my time. And then he tried again a few weeks later and he successfully did it first time, human history, anybody had ever done it since he did it. 20,000 people have done it to. What changed? They knew it was possible. So the only thing that changed is the subsequent 20,000 people had an open door with which to run through because Roger Bannister showed it was possible.
So forever for 10,000 years, when timekeeping started, which I don’t know when that was, since there was no four-minute mile for time immemorial and then one man does it. And then all of a sudden 20 people that can do it in the next year.
And that’s a Hundred percent right there.
And that’s why I’m so excited to like introduce people to the man that did it. And again, not talking about launches and all that kind of stuff, but I’m not excluding that either, but just was able to wake up the next day and say, all right, game on. I’m gonna, I’m going to take steps towards rebuilding and just discover what that looked like. And I’m sure at that time, you wouldn’t have known that it would be 50 times bigger, but what you did know is I’m going to figure some things out. And I think we’re all better for it and grow better for it.
Now Jeff you did not ask me to do this, but being a fan, I have to say, I’m going to tell a quick story on how I came into your world and how your generosity touched me. So I told you, I remarked about Jeff a couple of times through this as a New York times bestselling author. And I was really struggling in my professional life. I had a private practice. I was seeing a bazillion people, but it was impacting my health. I was going to my office at 10:00 AM and working until 10:00 PM and then going home. And it wasn’t good for my family. It wasn’t good for my health. It was really, really difficult. We have a mutual friend that introduced me to your work and I read your first book launch. And it helped me figure out that I could transition to doing things online and gave me a process with which to do it. And it just so happens that around the time of this interview.
And again, I asked him, do you want me to say anything? And he said, no, but I’m breaking the rule because it just so happens around time I’m doing this interview, your second edition of that book has been released. And if you guys want to experience this man’s generosity, kindness, wisdom, and inspiration. It’s in this book, you can get it, Amazon and you know, every place you can buy books. And if you enjoy this interview, you probably will enjoy this book. And if you’re looking to be empowered and maybe you’re going to be empowered to do a launch, or maybe you’re going to be empowered to just be a little bit more of a better version of yourself, because there’s awesome case studies in here, people just figuring out how to be better versions of them. I think this is a good book for you.
You know, you mentioned Nelson Mandela and,a couple of decades, thank you, thank you for that. But decades in prison came out and became president. But to me becoming president wasn’t the achievement, it was coming out with the generosity of spirit that he had, where he could knit a nation together that had incredible strife.
Yeah, I agree. I couldn’t agree more.
And it’s that, I mean, you know, that generosity of spirit is just incredibly inspiring to me and if I could bring any piece of that.
Yeah. And I mean it, when I say you’re the most, one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, I mean, with your time and with your knowledge, tell me the biggest launch that someone has done financially from buying your book.
There Have been many, the first one that leaped out to me is Dylan Frost and his launches. I think the first one he did just from the book, I think his first launch was about a hundred thousand dollars. And then he’s progressed from there and he’s done a million dollar launches.
So I bring that up. This is actually my copy of the book by which you can’t have it. But I bring that up because we were just talking about generosity in this book is like everything on how to do that. And a lot of times books in the business world. And I’m just, I’m just speaking to like how important that generosity is. A lot of time books in the business world, they’re kind of like a literary sales pitch, but you can literally spend 20 bucks on this book and have a $10 million business.
And that’s not typical or average, or anything like that.
No, but my point, Like you can, you can have whatever it is you want to have. And that’s because of you really are such a generously remarkable person. And I think the evidence is in the outcome of your students, which again, I don’t want you guys thinking about financially. I want you to thinking about life. Like I know people in the launch world that are so happy that they get to do launches and they make a few hundred extra bucks per week, but that allows them to pay for their kids’ extracurricular activities. And they’re as happy as can be. And I know people in launch watch world making eight figures, and it’s because of how willing you are to share this stuff for, you know, 20 bucks. So I don’t just advocate for people to buy this if you want to do launches. I mean, if you just want to just think differently about your life, getting the knowledge from this guy that you would get in this interview and then hopefully in his brand new book, I think it would be life changing. Thanks, Jeff.