The Real, Unfiltered, Uncut Story of Rob

Hey, its Rob here.  And welcome to my About Page.

But before you start to doze, or click away, a word of caution:  DON’T.

Because in the least likely of places, you’re about to get a big surprise. And an even bigger jolt.

Now, if I was a “real” online marketer, this is the place where I would impress you with screen grabs of my PayPal account, a list of all the fancy places I take vacations, my sports cars, and of course, photos of me with all my big-name marketing buddies.

You know: The internet marketing crap.

But the problem is:  None of it would be true.

26-about-pageSo … instead of laying it on thick, I thought I would do something revolutionary: Tell you the truth. By doing so, I am sticking my neck out.  Because alot of you are looking for someone with an overnight rags-to-riches success story to lead you out of the financial wilderness. And I just don’t have one.

But I do have something I think is 10 times more valuable. And in just a few minutes, you’re going to find out what it is.

First … an admission:  I could never be on one of those marketing success panels. You know:  Where a line up of “successful” marketers dress pretty, smile even prettier and tell you exactly what you want to hear:  How quickly they built their business. How how easy it was. How all they did was “open their heart”. And the money poured in.

The problem is … those stories are BS. Well, they’re partial BS.

If you’re lucky you can have it fast. I was fortunate enough to stumble onto success quite a few times.

  • The first teleseminar I ever offered filled in hours. And I had to take on a waiting list.
  • The first product I created made money right from the get go, even though I was a total newbie, had absolutely no list, no website, and didn’t know what I was doing.
  • The first time I ever involved affiliates in a launch I shattered my previous launch revenue record by 500%. (Even though I didn’t even have an official affiliate program. Or list of affiliates).

The problem is … if  you can become successful … FAST! You can become UNSUCCESSFUL … EVEN FASTER!

(Just ask any child star.)  Real success comes from actually building a business that won’t tank when Google or Facebook come up with their latest update.

The kind that won’t blow over with the slightest wind of change.

I learned this in my very first career — architecture. Yep years ago I actually helped design buildings. I worked on huge projects, hotel complexes and office buildings. And smaller ones, like houses and office re-designs.

And the one thing that stayed with me is — unlike marketing — you can’t fake a building. It either stands up. Or it doesn’t.

There are no tactics you can use to make a building stand up. No tricks, processes or revolutionary tools. No scripts. No cool take-away lines.  No viral Facebook techniques. No amazing back door hacks. No scripts. No stunning secret “the gurus don’t want you to know about”.

You see, gravity is pretty unforgiving.

And if your building isn’t designed to withstand it, there are some grave consequences. And just like a building, if you want your business to stand, you have to do the things and obey the laws that allow it to stand.

The other profound thing I learned from architecture is there is a huge difference between having a great idea for a building … and actually getting it built. Because having a great idea for a building doesn’t mean a thing. Having a “passion” for your building won’t, by itself, get it built. Seeing your building “as an already accomplished reality” won’t do it either.

I learned early that hope and good intentions are a poor substitute for what really works.

And this infused me with a passion (bordering on beligerance) to do what it takes to build a dream. And a real disdain (sorry) for those who simply move on to the next dream when they realize some actual work is involved achieving the one they really want.

Because there are a few things you need to understand about the crazy, unconventional,  story of my life.

That doom me when it comes to being one of those shiny-faced do-it-right all the time big money gurus:

First: I didn’t live my life going forwards so it would impress you looking backwards. So alot of what you’re about to read may seem messy.

Second: I am clinically, certifiably, unable to simply reguritate someone else’s “formula”. When I find something that works, for the life of me I can’t just knock it off, pass it off as my own, and pretend to be happy with it. Instead, I decate myself to making it better.

And finally (and probably most important):

I never allowed the fact that I had never done something before get in the way of what I really wanted to do.

By the time I was 15, I had designed an entire amusement park. All the rides, all the shops. Down to the little cars that would transport you for each specific ride. Haunted house rides. Roller coasters. I even assigned corporate sponsorships to some of the rides.

I didn’t know 15 year olds weren’t supposed to design amusement parks. I just did it.

For my final 10th grade Biology report on artificial limbs, I created a prosthetic paper mache arm. That actually worked.  While all the other kids read from their reports, I was picking mine up off the table with the arm I designed.

I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do something like that in high school biology. I just did it.

A few years later, I was admitted to one of the most prestigious, competitive architecture programs in the country. Even though I had never worked a day in an architect’s office.

In college … I roomed for one year with Weird Al Yankovic. Yep, THAT Weird Al. (And yes, that’s him reading his History of Architecture textbook on our  couch.) He’s the guy who does all those funny parodies of popular songs. And yes, even back then he was creating hysterical stuff.

But none of us felt Al was destined for anything. After all, a nerdy guy with an acordian had never become a multi-millionaire pop icon before. Of course, that didn’t stop Al from doing it.

After I graduated college I self-published a book, The Colorado Ski Employment Guide. And to publicize it, got myself booked on several television talk shows in Denver. (I was even interviewed by Wally Schirra, one of the original 7 Mercury astronauts).

Even though I had never published a book before. Didn’t have a PR agent. Didn’t have a clue how to get booked on television shows. (In fact, at the time I didn’t even have my own phone.)

But the real story was just beginning:

In my mid 20s, I went out and hired a video crew for $550 to follow me around Los Angeles for 12 hours. I dressed up like a reporter, in a suit and tie, and filmed a few stories for a demo reel. Even though I had never created or submitted an audition tape before.

I then set off in my car visiting television stations around the country. And landed an internship at the NBC affiliate in Bakersfield, California. Which eventually grew into a position as a sports reporter and weekend sports anchor on the ABC station. Even though I had never been an on-air reporter or anchor before.

Yep, that’s me. I can’t ever remember looking that young!

Like alot of young people, I was trying alot of things. Challenging myself. Discovering who I was: Not by fitting in. Not by reading books on living your passion. But by actually doing it. It was the kind of amazing training you just can’t get from a course or workshop.

But perhaps the biggest, craziest thing I ever did, was realizing a childhood dream:

Ever since I first saw the epic movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, I wanted to create visual effects in movies. It wasn’t enough for me to marvel, “How did they do that?” I wanted “to do that”.

I remember after months of searching, finally finding the book, “The Making of Kubrick’s 2001” that actually described how they created that ground-breaking movie. (I can remember being glued to every single page). And as I plowed through the book, I wondered, “Could I do that? Could I spend my days crafting images that exploded the boundaries of imagination?”

And then one day I found myself “doing that”:

Working as an effects artist on the visual effects of an actual movie!  It was “Broken Arrow” with Christian Slater and John Travolta. The day I was actually hired was surreal.

I pinched myself. I was “doing it”. I was one of the folks creating those amazing, impossible images on screen.

And in the 7 years that followed, I worked on tons of movies:

  • The original X-Men Movie
  • Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise
  • Face / Off with Travolta (again) and Nicholas Cage
  • The TV remake of Stephen King’s “The Shining”
  • Even some 3D Imax movies.

It sounds romantic. But the excellence we had to achieve on a daily basis was off the charts.

And I discovered movies are even more unforgiving then buildings. Because when something you create has to pass as real. (When your audience knows it isn’t.) And when its projected 35 feet high (actually, in the case of IMAX movies, 7 STORIES HIGH), there is no room for error.

When your audience “sees the wire” they aren’t supposed to see. When they think your effects are lousy and your story sucks, there is no amount of cute little Tweets, blog posts, back door tactics or “secrets” that can convince them otherwise.

And in less than three years my income exploded — from $18,000+ as a struggling artist to six figures.  It was a very wild ride. After all, this was Hollywood. I had made it. I was “in”. And I spent my days hanging out with amazingly talented folks. Who pulled in multiple six figures every year. And had agents negotiating their next gig.

But there was a dark cloud in the sliver lining: I discovered there was something beyond movies for me.

Because while I was making a ton of money, and living out a childhood dream, I didn’t have a life.

Yes, I had more money than I knew what do do with. Yes, we were treated like royalty, with catered gourmet meals, private screenings, lavish parties. We hobnobbed with actors, directors and other famous people. Our names appeared in the credits at the end of the films we worked on. And in industry magazines, like Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.

But I realized the cost was too high.

I remember working almost six months on a single effects shot for the movie “The Relic” that lasted exactly 3 1/2 seconds on screen. Six months of my life for something that was over before I could say my name.

And suddenly I realized it wasn’t enough to have the trappings of success. I had to have the real thing. The blood and guts of it. The soul.

It wasn’t enough to be paid through the nose, and treated like a star. It wasn’t enough to see my name up on the big screen, and achieve the recognition alot of folks would die for. It wasn’t enough to work with fancy, state of the art tools, and rub elbows with high powered people.

I had to be creative. I had to work on something I believed in. And most importantly:

I had to live my own vision. Instead of being given someone else’s and told to make it work.

I was cooked. And as I took a hard look at my life, I discovered the thing I loved — and what I excelled at  — were achieving things I had absolutely no business doing:

  • Walking off the street getting a TV reporters gig
  • Landing a visual effects job (when I didn’t even have a demo tape)
  • Self-publishing a book and getting interviewed on network affiliate stations in a major market (when I didn’t even have my own phone).

All of it was crazy. All of it, improbable. All things I had never done before. That I simply decided on. Dedicated myself to. And made real. Out of thin air.

And I thought: Wouldn’t that be great to do that for the rest of my life? And help other people to do it as well? Because when you have the courage to commit yourself to something you really want, and mix in a little talent, a lot of persistence, a relentless work ethic, and the actual fundamental structure that creates success, the world eventually comes around. (It has no choice).

That is something you won’t learn at a Success Panel. Its just not sexy enough. Its not fast enough. Not easy enough. But its true.

So while I worked side jobs “in the industry”, I began looking for my way out.

Because I knew in my gut that:

When you are able to combine your dream with a path for making it real, that leverages stuff you are crazy about, every day is new. Fresh. Exciting.  Yep, getting paid alot is a hoot.  But it you have to do stuff you hate for a few seconds of pleasure or a fat paycheck, the cost is too high.

The trick is matching the goal that delivers the life you want.  With the profit model that allows you to do stuff you love to get there. And then working that process. Until its your life. Every single day.

So you not only reach your goal. But have a heckuva time on the way.

Because when the road to your goal becomes even more fun, more fulfilling, and more amazing than the goal itself, you can’t believe it. You feel like you are cheating.

So in the years that followed — even though I had never built a business before — that is exactly what I did. And along the way I helped people with this exact same attitude create businesses they have always wanted to build … and succeed. Big time.

Because I truly believe, having never done anything before is a really poor excuse for not doing it now.

And almost in spite of myself, I did some amazing things:

  • I helped Lynn Jericho, a stunningly gifted healer and visionary create a viral movie that took her list from 220 to over 10,000 total opt-ins. In around 4 months.
  • I’ve spent 18 months deeply involved in crafting the marketing for Suzanne Evans. Writing copy. Planing and strategizing launches. Creating long-term marketing plans.  As she tripled her list. And doubled her revenue.
  • I’ve worked with other amazingly talented and incredibly successful entrepreneurs: Adam Urbanski, Milana Leshinsky, Melanie Benson Strick and others … to build their lists and promote their products and events.
  • And I worked with Michael Port (yep, the best-selling author, and the guy you see on MSNBC) to launch his signature best-seller, Book Yourself Solid, to the top of the charts. With a little viral movie called Entrepreneur Idol. That not only helped Michael’s book climb the charts. And stay there. But is was still online building his list. Over FIVE YEARS LATER.

Ent-Idol-Screen-Grab-Collage-630But none of this happened overnight. It didn’t happen from a “foolproof formula”. It wasn’t effortless. Graceful. Or easy. And there were more nights than I can count where I wondering what I’d gotten myself into.

Not storybook material. Not guru material. And of course, not internet marketing star material.

But what I discovered in the process was far more valuable than any fabricated defnition of success:

  • Money is meaningless unless you love what you do to make it.
  • Recognition and fame are useless unless you are actually recognized for something you are crazy about.
  • Perks, glitz, sports cars, fancy vacations, screen grabs of your PayPal account and yes – photos of you horsing around with your guru buddies – are poor substitutes for having a blast every second of every day.

So yes, I’ve had some amazing success.  But what I ended up with is something far more enduring:

I know what gets my rocks off. I know the road that perfectly employs what I do best and enjoy most.  And no matter how the market changes. How the world changes. I can do it. And keep doing it. Every day. For the rest of my life.

Because if there’s one thing this amazing roller coaster of a road has taught me, its this:  Like a building, every element of your business has to work. It has to stand up. It can’t just be alot of crap thrown at someone with the hope they don’t notice you’re faking it.

It can’t just be something that is designed to change someone’s life.  It has to have the foundation and structure that actually delivers on that promise.

And that’s the same spirit with which I approach everything I do.  I don’t just want to help you grow your business. And your success. I want to completely change the way you look at creating a profitable enterprise.

So you don’t simply walk away with a quickie success. That rapidly fades when you realize you don’t have the tools or substance to repeat it.

But you discover the fundamental underlying structure of success. Something that can never be taken away from you. So like a building, your business will stand on its own.

And you can continue to build it. Bigger, better, stronger and more profitable. Every day. For the rest of your life.

Because I truly believe — every word I write might be the one that turns the tide for you. Every course might be the one that opens the floodgates of success. Every coaching session might be the one where your big light bulb finally goes on.

I doubt my work will change the current social order. But I do know it could very well change yours.

And that possibility is something I take very seriously. And being able to do it wasn’t something I discovered from a blog post, or a quickie course. Or an Amazon best seller. I worked on it, over time. Day-by-day. Hour-by-hour. Minute-by-minute.

Through years of not just dreaming about what I wanted. But doing it. Even if I had no business doing it. Even if I had never done it before.

So I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting to see me on a “Success Panel”. And if you do, you’re going to get a very different story than anyone else who’s on it:

  • Because my goal is not to impress you with what I’ve accomplished. But with what you will.
  • Not to dazzle you with my business. But with the one you want to build.
  • Not to wow you with my success stories. But to help you write your own.
  • Not with a bunch of crap about “the internet lifestyle”. But the real steps, the structure it takes to make your own business dream stand the test of time.

Because when you know the structure of what’s real. Of what doesn’t change. When you know exactly what you need to make the vision for your own business stand. Not with smoke and mirrors. Not with “secrets”. Or tricks. Or some back door search engine hack. But with what really works. Its something Facebook or Google can’t take away from you. (No matter how hard they try).

So you’ll know, with your very first (or next) product, service or offer — you’ve created something that can’t be copied. Can’t be knocked off. Can’t be mimicked.

But something you can ride. Like a magic carpet. Into your future. Every day. For the rest of your life.

30 Responses to The Real, Unfiltered, Uncut Story of Rob

  1. Rob – I am up early finishing a presentation – 5am

    So 1st I am surprised that I even went through your document because It is 5am and I am supposed to be working on something else…..so that is kudos #1.  But I did go through it – and I loved it!

    The second thing is what I thought you were going to say was actually quite different than what you did – always a sign of a great movie or anything in my book.  A pleasant surprise.  A "hmmmmm" moment" – what just happened.  Also, I thought you were going to have some crazy failure stories about you and I was going to get some really good "juicy" information on your history.  But, of course true to form, you brilliantly established yoru credibility and exptertise – in a very non threatining/non "tooting your own horn" way.  

    HOW do you DO THIS……you are sneaky and brilliant, predictable yet ALWAYS shocking!

    Have a great day – talk to you soon!

    Elizabeth

    • Hi Elizabeth:

      First … Congrats on being up at 5am to work on a presentation! A terrific success habit. (Of course, I am not surprised!)

      And thanks so much for your wonderful words of acknowledgment.

      One thing I do want to say … while you may not see any failure stories here, I see the whole thing as being, if not a failure story, than a "falling forward to success" story. Because I wasn't a prodigy, wasn't on Oprah by age 18, haven't shared the stage with Mark Victor Hansen. And all the other stuff you usually see in these bios.

      To be honest, it was very difficult to share alot of this because its wasn't an instant success story.

      But glad you were pleasantly surprised and this helped make your morning better. (Now go out and nail that presentation!)

  2. Nice post.

    The "internet marketing gurus" are successful because they sell a hot commodity of which there will never be any shortage of people paying to obtain: "How to Get Rich Quick and Easy and LIfe a Dream Life Making Zillions While Working 22 Minutes a Week"

    It's really nothing new, just a new modality for sucking the same old suckers in. The irony is, THEY in fact ARE doing it. But PT Barnum said it best.
    Thanks for your post. I've been doing stuff I have no business doing for a LONG time. And like you, I've lived a lot of "lives". Hopefully for me 2012 will be the year the work I've done on the "thing" that I've finally settled on,  about which I'm passionate, finally comes to fruition. There are no overnight successes. And when I'm asked about it one day, I will make sure everyone listening know that. (My husband says jokingly/derisively that he'll do the exact opposite. That he'll say "One day I decided this is what I wanted to do and in two weeks, POOF!" haha)
     
    Great post!

    • Thank you Madison.  I am hoping you will find that all the lives you lived actually help you create a more powerful, profitiable business.  Once you find the way to connect all that experience to what your ideal prospects are looking for. Keep moving ahead!

  3. Wow, Rob! You forgot to mention what a masterful storyteller you are…this page had me captivated until the very last word. 

    I love your refreshing honesty and your willingness to be so open and speak from your heart. Thank you for taking the time to write such a compelling and interesting 'about me' page. You are like a breath of fresh air in the cluttered internet world.

  4. Rob – Like usual, you captivated me with every word.  i love your honesty and how you show up in this world.

    Thanks for telling us like it is… because there are a lot of people out there wondering what they're doing wrong and why they haven't acheived overnight success like the dozen people who have actually acheived it – or the thousands of others who claim it.

    Keep doing what you're doing!

    Cheers,
    Carolyn

    • Thank you Carolyn. So glad you picked up on the idea that many of us feel we have "failed" because we don't feel we compare to the folks we look up to. Who we believe are more talented than we are. And who didn't struggle as many of us do, from time to time.

      When in reality, we are much more like them (and they like us) than any of use could guess. Hopefully this post will help folks see that, and give them the courage to move ahead.

  5. Rob,
    This is one of the most compelling about pages I've ever read. Not only did I love hearing your story but the reminder that doing what we love and making money vs just making money makes for a more delicious life. Thanks for being willing to let us in and see more of who you are. 

  6. Hi,Rob,

    I truly appreciate you being so real and transparent.  For me, that makes you not only admirable, it makes you very trustworthy.  I find that the kind of pathway you've taken—one that is forged through soul-searching and meaningful and consistant work—is the one that I not only learn from, it makes me feel empowered about my own path. 

    I don't trust the flashy stuff, partly because it implies something's wrong with the rest of us if we don't flash fast.  Since my life is devoted to self development from the soul on up, out into the world, where people manifest that which they desire, I only look for the next step that needs work/action/planning.  You consistently teach about "next steps" in learning how to write articles, use video on websites, learn how to build lists, etc. 

    Thanks so much for sharing and being vulnerable.  The truth about who we really are and what we've done is so much more compelling (for me) than any "razzle-dazzle" do this fast, hurry-uppy thing from some marketing corners.  It was also fun to know about your journey. 

    I only keep myself on a couple of lists lately.  Yours is certainly one!

    Many blessings wished for you in 2012,

         Nicki

    • Thank you Nicki for your continued Trust. I've acheived success both ways:  through flash and also by reloading when things didn't work out. I don't think we should ever turn our back on a quick success. But its what you do, and the actions you take when that doesn't happen that really determines whether you reach your dream.

  7. Thanks for the inspiration to not let myself use the excuse of never having done it before to keep me from believing I could do anything I really want to do, Rob.
    I love your story and it sounds like you've had a wonderfully interesting life.

    Warmest regards,
    Rosemary Heenan

    • Hey Rosemary I am soooo glad you picked up on that! One of the big things that stymies so many would be entrepreneurs is the belief they can't do something because they have never done it before.

      In fact, its one of the distinctions I see in successful people: The prospect of achieving their goal is more important to them than the fact they might not do it perfectly. So many of the folks we look up to didn't do it perfectly. But they did it. And now are enjoying the rewards.

  8. Rob, WOW!  What a powerful story.  Thank you so much for sharing this. It is very inspiring, real and gritty (in a good way!).  It demonstrates the power of consistency and choosing to constantly stay curious.  Seeing you make the choice to live authentically, despite all the money and attention, is just a wonderful blessing to read!  I will be sharing this with others.  I'm so glad I know you!  All the best, Eric Johnson

    • Thanks so much Eric! Glad you found inspiration in this. And, hopefully, the keys in your own story that will make your business successful.

  9. Hi Rob:
    I just printed the post out so I can read in comfort with my feet up 😉
    Will be back later…  Thank You for sharing…  I think we need more of that from others!
    Roz

  10. I am about to start another business ventrue.  This time it won't be just to get the tax write-offs.  My husband is very excited.  I don't like setting goals or writing objectives.  Just do it.  I enjoyed your article because you just do it.  I do have a tremendous fear of failure, but also a fear of success.  My solution is to help my husband find his success.  A cop out, but the best I can do for now.

    • Hi Dee — First congrats on starting your business. Yes, as you said, action is key. Here is a tip to start focusing on your own business:  Target small successes. And the go out and "just do them". Success doesn't have to be home runs. In fact, when you are starting out, it won't be.

      So find small things you can do. That are less scary. Telling your friends about what you are doing. Reserving a web URL for your business. Writing a blog post or article. I think you will find yourself gaining confidence. And losing alot of your fear.

  11. What an inspirational post! 🙂 I think that's what stops a lot of people — just going out and doing it. I'm gonna print this out and put it up. It's a keeper!
    Christine

    • Thank you Christine! I think about 95% of the issues people have with getting their businesses off the ground would be solved if they just threw the whole "ready" question in the waste basket once and for all. And just started doing the things they believe they're "not ready for". 

      Doesn't have to be a huge step. Even a small one will do.

      Because I think what people find is that they are more than ready enough to help the people who, at this very instant, are looking for what they have to offer.

       

    • Thanks Jean. I think if we take the time and look with a different pair of eyes, we all have pretty remarkable stories. Yes, looking forward to working with you this year as well!

  12. Damn boyfriend, I want to be you in my next life! What an amazing ride! Thank you for sharing it. I know so much about what you mentioned – everything from Relic to Michael Port and beyond. But I didn't know you were involved. Sweeeeet!

    Inspiring, definitely, inspiring. Thank you!

    Kathy

    • Wow, thank you Kathy. Glad you were inspired. I actually think we all have some pretty extraordinary stories in our past that got us to where we are now. The key is discovering the common threads that can also inspire your audience. Glad this story of my life did that for you!

  13. Hey Rob, 

    Just finished reading this and was so impressed that you gave us the true story.  You are so correct in that it is tiring seeing all the glitz and glamour of someone that made it to the top without telling us about the ride it took to get there. 

    I can't wait to get to know you better at our mastermind meetings and hear more about your story as it is awesome and I couldn't stop reading it. 

    Hugs,

    Jen Fitzgerald