Stoicism: the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.

I was first introduced to Stoicism by Ryan Holiday in “The Obstacle is The Way” and then further explored the subject when I read “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius.

Whether they know it or not, all successful entrepreneurs have to have some degree of stoicism in their personality.

In my 3.5 years as a full time entrepreneur I’ve gone through some serious peaks and valleys. That’s just the way it is and you have to expect setbacks as you grow and your business progresses.

As the title of the post suggests, I’ve been enduring a ton of shit. Over the last 50-60 days it’s been almost like the stars have aligned to cause catastrophe after catastrophe to just wreak havoc in my business and personal life.

When I look at the past couple years of writing on this blog, I think I’ve tended to write mostly about the positive things going on. I’ll touch on the negatives, but I never truly do them justice. I’ll elaborate on a big win for 4 pages, but when it comes to some giant setback (and there have been many), I’ll normally knock it off in a few paragraphs max and move on.

I don’t brush over the setbacks because they’re not important. In fact, they’re probably the most important part of me keeping this whole journal so I can reflect and learn. It’s just that for me it’s very hard to dwell on the negatives. I just want to shrug them off and move on, not spend 6 hours writing about them and reliving through it.

I can honestly say that this has been one of the toughest valleys I have ever gone through. I’m struggling to find a way to put everything down on paper in a way that will truly portrait how difficult and stressful this valley has been for me. One thing after another compounding on top of each other really fucked with my psyche.

Don’t worry though, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel and I’ve had a few kick ass wins towards the tail end here.

Promoting Amazing Selling Machine as an Affiliate Round 2

Last year in September Jarod, Shane, and I promoted ASM as affiliates and we totally kicked ass. After all expenses and our 3-way split we ended up each coming out with around $20,000 in commissions.

Between September and April a lot of things changed. For starters, the 3 of us had our break up. I’ve written about the break up here on the blog already, but basically Jarod felt that Shane wasn’t contributing anymore and he was too distracted with other things he had going on to really commit to our partnership. A lot of this was true, but a lot of it was also Jarod’s jealousy of Shane’s success and Jarod’s own insecurities.

I played things in the middle during the break up and retained my relationships with both guys, but Jarod caused a big rift with Shane. Even though they made up later, it was one of those things where their relationship was cool on the surface but damaged down below.

When we got to Vegas in February, I hung out with Jarod and his wife Shannon most of the time. Shane was too busy doing stuff with Matt and Jason to really spend any significant time with and he was still bitter about the way things went down. By default I pretty much sealed myself in as being partner’s with Jarod.

At this time in February I still hadn’t committed to doing the ASM 5 launch again with Jarod or Shane. I was planning on launching my own course with Ricky on Udemy and competing against ASM. As the conference went on, I decided that I was going to do the Aruba Mastermind trip with Matt and Jason.

I remember being out to lunch with Jarod and Shannon and telling them that since I decided to go on the trip with the ASM guys I thought it would be a big conflict of interest if I was also going to launch my own competing course. With my course now out of the picture, it made sense for me to partner up with Jarod again to do the ASM 5 launch.

We discussed if it was worth it to ask Shane to come back in again as a partner. In the last launch he didn’t do too much of the operations/labor involved in promoting, but he did have the network and some extra clout as Jason’s brother. Both of us agreed that we couldn’t do as well again without Shane and it was worth the extra split so we asked him to join up with us again.

For a couple weeks he held us at bay and kept saying he wasn’t planning on promoting the launch. Eventually we found out that he partnered up with Dave Kettner’s team. This caused an issue because Shane still had access to all of our stuff we put together and our whole community of ASM Elite member’s so he could see everything we were doing and he was competing against us.

Since he was competing against us, it made sense for us to ask him to leave the facebook group. Jarod and Shane weren’t on great terms so I had to ask him to leave. He seemed to understand and was cool with it. But as soon as he was out of our group he changed the passwords on the Jason Fladlien membership that we all purchased together for $3,500 last launch. Fladlien is the top affiliate so basically Shane took away our ability to spy on his launch. This wasn’t cool because we actually paid for that access. When Jarod confronted Shane about it, things got heated and you could tell there was a lot of animosity and both of them felt like they got the short end of the stick.

So that’s the whole sociopolitical side of things leading up to the launch. On the launch preparation side I was dealing with my own set of issues working with Jarod.

The price of the course went up from $3,500 to $4,995 which was a significant increase and meant we needed to change our strategies up. We needed to bulk up our bonus packages and do a much better job of relationship building with our prospects if we wanted to sell them because it was a higher ticket item.

Of course bulking up the bonus packages meant that I personally would have to add in a ton of new training material. Jarod can manage some software development, but when it comes to being innovative and developing marketing strategies I don’t think he’s ever had an original idea in his life. He’s constantly chasing the ball and basically just relies on me to share things with him. The way I would describe it is that I’m the type of person that pays it forward and would never want to be leaning more on the take side than the give side. Jarod is the type of person that consciously tries to manage it in his head where he never shares more than he gives so that way in his head he is always making out in the relationship.

So when it came to the bonus packages, I was pretty much responsible for creating everything and teaching all of our students (and Jarod) a bunch more strategies. It was more work for me again, but I figured with the increased price tag and one less person to split with, the commissions I would make would be worth it for me.

As far as the launch itself went, I was the leader. As the marketing guy, I came up with our strategy again and the steps for implementation. But literally the entire way for weeks leading up to the launch I had to keep fighting with Jarod over everything. He kept questioning me on every single step because he couldn’t conceptualize the strategy. This was basically the exact same strategy we employed last time to crush it in the launch. But every step of the way he kept wanting to follow traditional strategies like running ads to cold traffic because “That’s what everyone else does.” The problem with following what everyone else does is that we don’t have any of the assets in place that major affiliates do, which is why I had to create a totally different strategy in the first place.

It was incredibly frustrating because I had to explain myself over and over again every step of the way and show him why all of these traditional methods wouldn’t work. The only way I can explain it is like having a little kid ask you Why 50 times in a row over something that should be clear cut.


By the time the launch finally came around, it was like an all-out witch hunt. Right away we received a violation because our domain name was and they updated the TOS so no affiliates could have “asm” in their name. We had 24 hours to take down the site or we would be suspended from the launch.

So we bought a new domain name and transferred all of the content over so we were in compliance. We also held a webinar for our sub-affiliates to let them know about the change. Our sub-affiliates were basically a bunch of people that we signed up that would promote the course using our bonus package and we would split the commissions with them. They each had their own pages on our site as well so we had to redirect all of those links to the new website.

We replied back to ASM that we fixed everything and they were cool with it. Then about 8 hours later they told us that redirecting the site was not enough. Even though you couldn’t go to that old domain anymore, they wanted us to take it down completely. Basically this was their way of fucking up all of the previous work we did and all our sub affiliates did because any links out there on the internet wouldn’t even redirect anymore.

We weren’t happy about it, but we complied and were reinstated. Right after we were reinstated we received another warning because one of our pictures was “misleading” to them. The wording was cut and dry about what ASM was offering and what we were offering, but they thought it could be confusing so we had to change the image immediately or be suspended. This exact image was used by at least 3 other affiliates that I know of and was prominent on their sales pages. Again, we changed the image immediately and we were back in business again.

Keep in mind each time we received these bogus warnings they would suspend our account. For a 7 day launch each day counts so this was huge. We would see sales come into our account and then they would just take them away from us. Sometimes we would make sales during the couple hour period where we were suspended for bull shit and then they would just not count them towards our commission. It was ridiculous.

Meanwhile, I’m working 12-15 hour days trying to keep up on the launch, Hyacinth, and Cave Tools. Jarod still has a day job so every time I needed help he would hide behind his job. The work split was totally all on me, but at this point we were in the middle of things so if I stopped then neither of us would make money. I just had to push through and say fuck it.

At this point we are about 2 days into the launch. We are running our facebook robot and messaging people just like we did last launch. Last launch we did extremely well messaging Robert Kiyosaki people and converting them to our group so we scraped a list of his followers and started messaging them. One of the messages went to Dave Kettner and he freaked out. This time around Robert partnered with Dave so basically he was pissed that we were poaching his prospects.

There is nothing against TOS about this, we were simply presenting an alternative offer to people and letting them make a decision. But I became good friends with Dave in Aruba and on a personal friendship level that’s a dick move. I agreed with him and gave him my word we wouldn’t send any more messages to Kiyosaki people. The way I see it is that money gets spent, but relationships last. My relationships and reputation to me is so much more important than money.

I took me an hour to smooth things over with Dave. During the beginning of our conversation he was kind of heated and he started saying some things that were very telling. Specifically he made a comment about how he’s heard about how Jarod and I run our business and he can’t believe how immoral we are and that we resort to scumbag tactics and a bunch of other stuff like that.

At this point we hadn’t done anything wrong and at every step of the game while ASM was after us we were just complying and doing whatever they said. But there were a bunch of rumors going around that I had no clue what they were and it was damaging my reputation. The rumors were most likely started by Shane after the fallout with Jarod, but there is no way to prove that.

Next thing you know Jarod starts direct messaging Jason during the launch. Jason is in the middle of a multi million dollar launch and probably has a ton of shit on his plate and Jarod is calling him out and blaming Shane for trying to shut us down. He’s then calling up their CFO and complaining to him and making threats and all sorts of stuff without even telling me he’s doing it.

Basically I’m in damage control mode trying to speak to everyone and clear things up and Jarod is going out and just totally handling things the wrong way and causing more enemies for us.

Now we have a ton of people inside ASM super pissed off at us when less than a month ago we were all best buddies in Aruba hanging out. They’re just looking for another way to shut us down again. Jarod had started a Rafflecopter campaign to promote the launch. Basically it’s one of those things where if you share the link on social media you get “points” and at the end we would give a prize to the person with the most points. It’s supposed to induce virility to your campaign. Again, nothing  against the TOS for doing this, but they shut us down for another 24 hours over it because they felt like it.

Jarod calls the CFO again and prints out the TOS and timestamps it so they can’t change any wording around. We get reinstated again but are told any more violations and we are completely done. Keep in mind we still haven’t had a “True” violation yet. It’s all just been this crazy witch hunt.

Next thing you know, one of our members from ASM4, Sandra sends us a message. Her friend who she has been trying to get into ASM for months purchased the course through our link but was conveniently added to Dave Kettner’s group instead for some reason. She sent us the entire conversation for proof of the person asking to be in our group.

So now they are literally just taking sales and commissions away from us. We send the proof over to support and instead of transferring her friend over to us like they did last launch, they send a message to Dave to let him know we are stealing sales from him. This is after I smoothed everything over with Dave and we were cool again. So then he writes a letter to the girl just completely bashing us and making all sorts of ridiculous claims about how we are liars and cheats.  The girl thought that was very unprofessional and sent us the entire letter and still requested to be added to our group.

So we got the commission for her, but now I’ve got Dave bashing us. I ended up having a whole other hour or two conversation with him to clear things up and he admitted he was just pissed and should have contacted me first before he blew up. Again, tons of damage to my reputation was caused by all of this because in a state of anger he was freaking out and bashing us to ASM as well.

Next thing you know the final blow comes in and ASM says some of the wording on our sales letter was misleading and that this was our final violation so they were shutting us down for good. At this point I could give a shit about the launch and the commissions. All I cared about was my reputation and I felt like I was in constant damage control mode. The amount of stress I was holding during this month was ridiculous.

So finally I messaged Jason myself. Just like with Dave and everyone else, I smoothed everything over and made sure we were on good terms. Jason appreciated me reaching out and having an honest conversation with him and handling things like a man.

The next day we get an email from their lawyers saying that even though we were suspended they would still let us keep all of our commissions and everything. I’m pretty happy with the outcome and feel like my diplomacy was rewarded. I didn’t care about getting the last laugh, I just wanted things to be over and done with.

A couple hours after that email I get a phone call from Jarod and he tells me about how he really “Stuck Them.” Since Dave Kettner helped shoot some of the videos for the course, Jarod was trying to get them on Libel and sue them. He had spoken with his lawyer and because Dave made false statements about us and he was paid by ASM to work on the videos, that constituted libel. Every time I was trying to stick a fig leaf out and end things he was always out to get the last laugh and keep fucking things up.

Fast forward to today and now I have to coach these new members we added and I have to put together all of the bonus material. It made sense for me when I was expecting about 25-30K in commissions, but now at 10K for the amount of work involved it’s just not worth it to me. But I have to do it anyways.

Part of our bonuses are weekly coaching calls, which is supposed to be Jarod’s responsibility since I’m doing everything else. But he’s been pawning a lot of that shit off on me as well. Again, I’m in the situation where I can just hit things head on a cause a confrontation or I can just bang out what I need to do and get over with it. From a pride standpoint I want to just freak the fuck out on him and end my relationship, but in the long run that’s not the right thing to do. I’m just going to put my bonuses together and push the weekly calls on him and that way we do right by our students and live up to our promises.

After my obligations are over with, I’m just going to slowly move away from Jarod and keep doing my own stuff. By not causing a confrontation, the tension will diminish over time and if I ever need him for something I can keep that relationship open.

Firing Dorothy and Lessons Learned

Towards the beginning of May, right at the start of our busy season, I had to fire Dorothy. Dorothy was in charge of everything from social media to blog posting, blogger outreach, press releases, youtube video submissions, etc. This was a huge blow to lose her. She was great for the first 4 months (Or at least I led myself to believe she was), so what happened?

Basically she just stopped working for a full month and was sending me bogus update reports about work she didn’t do. I was too busy to check up on her work and I had too much trust in her that she was doing a good job. She most likely picked up another job and was just getting paid by me until I finally figured things out.

I did a full audit on her work and from what I could tell she maybe worked about 4 hours for the entire month of April (and got paid her full salary). She was working just enough to show some activity so she could bluff the rest and still get paid. Even the work she did complete was done half ass or started but never finished. Outside of the employer/employee relationship we had a lot in common and would probably be friends if we lived in the same city. So why would she do this to me? What would lead her to basically steal from me?

I don’t she think she’s a bad person. After reflecting back and taking an objective view of the situation, I actually take full responsibility and believe that I led her to do this to me. I did so many things wrong with her that I’m actually surprised she didn’t do this to me earlier.

Perceived Time Investment:

I hired Dorothy back around November and it took me a good couple months to get her trained to be my content marketing manager. In the beginning I used my training materials I created when I was running my Penn State internship program. However, those trainings were somewhat outdated and they were too process oriented instead of strategy oriented.

By process oriented, I mean that my video tutorials were focused on one specific operating procedure/process and that’s all they were good for.  As I started training Dorothy I reevaluated my training methods and started building tons of strategy oriented trainings.

Basically if you go into our training resource center now, you’ll see about 40 operating procedures geared towards specific processes. These are living step by step documents that can be changed and evolve as our strategies change. In addition to the operating procedures you’ll also find a bunch of videos. The cool thing about most of these videos now is that they are strategy oriented instead of process oriented. For example, you’ll see a video in there about all the different ways to optimize a youtube video, but it won’t be about our specific youtube posting process. This way the process can change but the videos can be used for training on a broad range of applications.

It took me about 3 months to create all of this and get Dorothy fully trained. What I was doing was building a reusable asset, but in my head I associated all that time as an investment in Dorothy. This really clouded my judgement and in my head made me feel that she was so much more valuable than she really was.

Salary + Time Tracking

Leading up to Dorothy all of the outsourcers I ever hired were hourly employees. To do this job the right way, I knew it needed to be a full time 40 hour per week job. So instead of hiring Dorothy on an hourly basis, I gave her a full time salary with the expectation that she would work at least 40 hours per week.

I wanted her to feel like she was not just a VA, but a part of the company. I very naively expected her to work really hard and put in the extra time to make sure everything got done on time. She would routinely take days off in the middle of the week and I was cool with it because she said she would make it up over the weekend. She never actually made the time up.

Usually we use a service like Upwork to automate the time tracking and payment of our hourly employees. However, with Dorothy we used a separate time tracking software that was not linked to her payment each month. The problem with this was that for me to actually verify she was working I would have to manually check the time tracker software. I was way too busy to do this and she knew I wasn’t checking.

At one point in the beginning she didn’t use the time tracking software for a full week and I never realized it. I think she was just testing the waters to see how much I was actually keeping track of her. Once I started checking the time tracker she started coming up with excuses about how it wasn’t working on her computer and it was slowing things down. Then she convinced me to stop making her use the software all together because she was flipping back and forth between her computer and her son’s and didn’t want tracking software on his computer. Again, I had full trust in her so I allowed her to stop tracking her time. As long as I could see that her activity level was up that’s all I cared about.

Firm KPIs and Management

When it came to activity level, I had no clue what that even meant and I’m sure she didn’t either. When I initially hired her the expectations were something like 1 blog post per week, 2 press releases per product per week, 1 youtube video submission, etc. Not once did she ever hit her marks and I even ended up removing press release responsibilities from her all together because she wasn’t a strong enough writer to do them properly. After the press releases were removed, I expected her to just focus more on the other tasks, but that never really happened. In fact, her overall activity level and output on the other tasks went down.

By the time she started not working on me, there were pretty much no key performance indicators in place to measure output and there were no incentives or penalties associated with not hitting certain objectives.

Everything looks so damn clear now that I’m writing it all out. Of course this was a recipe for disaster and there was no way anyone could be expected to succeed in this environment. Think about it from her perspective.

  • Manager is too busy to check up on me
  • There are no clear requirements on the amount of work I need to do
  • There is no way to tell if I’m working or not
  • I’m getting paid on autopilot regardless of it I work

What it all came down to is that I was just lazy and way too comfortable with having Dorothy in place. Hiring and training a new person is difficult so I justified everything and turned my back on the problems because I had other stuff to deal with. I knew she wasn’t working at full capacity, but it was still better having her there than to have to hire someone new.

Even when I did my full audit and had my phone call with her to discuss it, I had no intentions of firing her. I was planning on just talking through it and telling her she needed to “Get her activity up again.” How ridiculous is that? This girl basically stole from me and the pain of hiring someone new was so great that I just ignored everything that was happening. Luckily for me when I asked her about it all she just resigned on the spot. She knew she got caught and there was no way to even sugar coat it with an excuse.

Looking back on this whole situation now, the timing was horrible and the impact of losing her really hurt the business, but it needed to happen. I’ve learned so much from reflecting on this experience that I never would have learned. I have a new person in place now named Marian and I’m restructuring my entire marketing program to have performance based incentives.

I always felt like management was easy. You just make sure everyone is doing what they need to do and you’re good to go. But there is so much more to being an effective manager and this whole experience made me realize that I can’t just wing it as a manager. Just like I study marketing in detail I need to learn and properly implement the core principles of management.

Within the next year, I want to start hiring real full time employees in the US and building a true company culture. This is going to require a vastly different skill set than just managing a couple hourly VAs from my computer. People have different personalities and work ethic and different ways of needing to be incentivized and measured.

In order to take things to the next level I picked up the book Traction. The core message of this book is to install your “Entrepreneurial Operating Framework.” These are the principles that the majority of the Mavericks implement to scale their businesses and there are entire groups dedicated towards the application of Traction to your business.

I’ll discuss the Mavericks in more detail in my next post. Basically they are a bunch of impact driven 7 and 8 figure business owners that I now have access to and may or may not be hanging out with in August 😉

Meat Claws Infomercial Tanks

We finished up the infomercial production and aired our 2 week test market in April. The infomercial was shown on ESPN, Fox News, Food Network and Spike TV during the day from 6am to midnight in Tampa, Detroit, Chicago, Evansville and New York and had an estimated reach of 1.2 Million viewers.

Kick Ass Product, Kick Ass Infomercial, Kick Ass Audience size. With all 3 of those boxes checked you would think success was inevitable. It wasn’t. The infomercial failed miserably and we only ended up selling 12 units! I sell 12 fucking units a day on less than 100 impressions on Amazon alone.

For a little while we thought we may have gotten bumped by a bigger advertiser or maybe received tons of horrible air times. Not the case. We looked through the tv logs and everything was executed exactly according to plan. We just flat out failed.

Most infomercials fail and I knew that going in. The video shoot and test market cost me $7,000. I’m cool with that. It’s a small price to pay when compared to the potential upside of succeeding. If I could go back I would totally make the same decision to move forward and do the infomercial. You have to take those kinds of risks so I’m cool with it.

What I’m not cool with is the absolute ridiculous amount of inventory I have now.

Assuming all went well with the test market, the initial purchase from Landmark Direct would have been 10,000 units and I would have turned I think about $20,000 in profit if I remember correctly. At the time leading up to the airing I only had about 5,000 units on hand and some of them were reserved for The View (discussed below). Last Christmas the meat claws became hugely popular and we stocked out because we started selling a couple hundred per day.

I typically have a 90 day supply chain if I ship via ocean and closer to 60 days if I ship via air. The summer isn’t very long so I was in a big catch 22 type of situation. I lost a shit ton of money by stocking out over Christmas so stocking out during the summer was not an option, especially now that I had money from the bank. From a projection standpoint, could I expect similar demand numbers during the peak of summer? Would they maybe even be higher?

I needed to plan ahead and order enough units in case the infomercial was a success (for their purchase and the increased demand in all other channels), the view was a success, and my projected demand over the summer.

I decided to order 15,000 units and ship them via air (Way more expensive than ocean) so they could get here immediately. Approximately 10,000 would go to the infomercial, a couple thousand would go to The View, and with my 3 to 5 thousand units already in stock I would have enough buffer to match demand and then make more ordering decisions on the fly.

Looking back, that purchase order was based on a lot of best case scenario assumptions. But the alternative of low balling it and stocking out would also have been devastating.

As soon as I got word that the infomercial failed, I called up my freight forwarder, Jay, with an urgent message to switch the air shipment to an ocean shipment. This would have saved me literally about $10,000 and given me more time to move my existing inventory before the excess arrived. Unfortunately, when I spoke to Jay he told me the shipment had just arrived in San Francisco and the next day was expected to be shipped to my warehouse. Fuck! I have to say that is my biggest and probably only regret. Looking back there had to be some way I would have been able to meet deadlines and still ship ocean.

I have no clue how long it will take me to move that inventory now so keeping it all in the warehouse in short term storage would kill me in fees. So instead of sending it to the warehouse, we had all 8 pallets loaded up on a truck and shipped cross country to my parent’s house. Shipping them across the country added a nice extra $3,000 to my purchase, but it had to be done to minimize the damage.

Instead of shipping them to the parcel place in Newtown, I had a them schedule a truck with a lift gate on it so they could be delivered directly to the house. A full on fucking tractor trailer showed up in our neighborhood with all the meat claws.

Our driveway goes uphill so I had to work with the truck drive to get each of the pallets up to our garage. He pulled from the front and I used my legs to push from the back. It felt like I was hitting a blocking sled in football practice trying to get those damn pallets up the driveway. Except I was pushing 5,964 pounds (3 tons) of meat claws and $42,000 worth of tied up cash flow and misery up the hill on a 90 degree day.

I could probably launch 3 new product lines with that money. I don’t even want to think about the opportunity cost of what I could be making right now if that money was liquid. I’m just hoping demand repeats itself over Christmas this year and we can start making a dent in the inventory.

On the bright side, my mom helped me break down the pallets and stack all the boxes in the garage. There was also very little damage. I think only about 8 units are unsellable. This is a miracle compared to when I used to receive 1,000 units of grill brushes and when we opened the truck gate about 300 of them were lying on floor and the boxes were all ripped up and destroyed.

Marc from Landmark Direct hasn’t abandoned hope yet on the Meat Claws. According to him, the way things typically work is infomercial > catalogs > retail. Sometimes certain products will work out in a different order though so now we are going to be trying catalog marketing with the meat claws.

I already signed the deal with them and they are working on the graphics and sell sheets now. For me it’s a cash positive opportunity (costs me nothing) because they still purchase direct from me at the agreed upon wholesale rate and the catalog fees are built in to the price they list them at. I’m not expecting huge things from the catalogue marketing but we’ll see what happens. Any time I can make money and increase exposure without having to manage the campaign myself, I’m all for it.

So Much For “The View”

Back in September/October of last year I was contacted about an opportunity for Cave Tools to be featured on The View. I ended up not doing the deal because I didn’t have enough inventory to support that type of campaign. However, I kept in touch with my contact Diana and planned to circle back for this summer.

The requirements from last time were that I needed to have 1,000 units of each product available for them to do a deal on the show. I planned ahead in my ordering and I ordered an extra 1,000 units of meat claws and bbq sets so they could be set aside for the show.

When I followed up in the beginning of the summer to start planning things out I was notified that Diana was promoted and I now had to deal with Teagan. They also let me know that now the requirement was 2,000 units of each product. When you have a 3 month long supply chain, you don’t necessarily have the flexibility in inventory to just spare an extra thousand units for one promotion.

At this point I was already pot committed so I wanted to figure something out because I had the extra inventory. For the meat claws this was around the same time as the infomercial test market so I thought it would be the perfect mix of being on mainstream tv at the same time as the infomercial aired. We negotiated back and forth and they ended up telling me they would feature us on their Must Have Mondays online only segment.

In the beginning everything was structured that I would provide a deep discount deal in exchange for being on The View. Now I ended up with a deep discount deal where I literally was going to break even in exchange for an online only promotion. Not what I planned for but again at this point I figured we would just go through with it and hopefully the exposure would pay off.

The contract I had to sign with these guys to work with them was ridiculous. I discussed this in the other blog post, but basically I was taking a lot of risk and there were tons of penalties in place if any of the units were defective or if shipping wasn’t done exactly to their specifications.

At this point, we are getting really close to the air date of the tv show and must have Mondays flash sale segment. Part of the contract stated that all of our inventory needed to be in their warehouses by 3 days before the show aired. Teagan is completely dragging her ass and isn’t giving me the information I need to ship the products to the warehouse no matter how many times I ask her.

Everything is being coordinated via email to get this deal done. During the day I was attending an ecommerce conference in Philly called SCOE. Turned out to be an absolutely horrible conference and completely hyped up. I literally could have been one of the best presenters there if I was on stage. Way too many amateurs and completely unorganized. One of the presenters even stole word for word and image for image a marketing funnel that Ezra Firestone made and released in his course called social secrets. He just put the exact templates on a powerpoint with his name on it and hocked it as his own shit.

The only good thing to come out of the conference was that I met Dan Roitman and got to hang out with him. I originally met him briefly in Ezra’s mastermind in Vegas and tried talking to him when I found out he was from Philly. He basically just blew me off and seemed totally uninterested in speaking.

When I saw him at SCOE I decided to give it another go and speak to him. Dan is the guy that built Pimsler into the 2nd largest language learning program in the world after Rosetta Stone. I’m pretty sure Pimsler does in the mid 8 figures every year. He also owns a VC company that goes around and buys up people’s ASM brands. I forget what I said to him when I walked up to him, but I made it a point to discuss monthly revenue numbers fairly early in the conversation so he knew I wasn’t just some newbie marketer that was going to waste his time.

It sounds weird from the outside in to be so open with sharing numbers, but this is very common in the ASM/Amazon community and it’s almost like a grading system. It’s like where are you at? 20K per month, 50K per month, etc. Anyways, once I shared some numbers he really opened up and we actually hung out for all 3 days of the horrible horrible conference. It was basically one of those things where I paid to be there and I knew it sucked but I didn’t want to just leave because you never know if the next presentation was going to be good or not.

So I’m at this hotel for a conference on Wed, Thurs, and Friday. The show airs the next Monday and according to the contract I needed to have my products in their warehouse by that Friday. In between speakers I keep running out to the lobby to open my laptop and check my email so I could get the damn info from Teagan. It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon at 5pm that she finally sent it to me and I was still expected to get it there by Friday.

I’m freaking out and now trying to coordinate a shipment from San Francisco to Los Angeles (8 hours) by myself in the middle of this damn conference and get it done in one day without breaking the bank. Of course every time I call UPS I have to sit on hold for 30 minutes and their people are incredibly unhelpful and rude. I always have my freight forwarders handle the shipments from China and then UPS picks up from the warehouse to take stuff to Amazon so coordinating a shipment like this is a huge project for me and something I never did before.

I finally called Teagan up and forced them to give me an extension because there was no way in hell the products would get there on time. She gave me until Monday. Jim, the guy that owns the warehouse I use in San Francisco was doing his best to help. I would be running in and out of speeches to catch a call with him as we tried to coordinate everything. He even researched uHauls and was going to drive my products down to LA himself on Saturday and return on Sunday just so I could make it there on time. When we costed out his time and the uhaul and everything like that it came out to be like 3 grand just in shipping. That wasn’t going to fly.

Finally I got UPS to do the shipment and get it there by Tuesday and I told Teagan that they were just going to have to deal with it because there was nothing else I could do with such short notice. The whole process was incredibly stressful and was basically piled on at the same time that I fired Dorothy and all this other shit was going on. I was just happy that we got the products there and was looking forward to the show results and coupling them with my huge potential infomercial success.

On Tuesday night around 10pm I got a call from Talisha at the warehouse in LA. Apparently Jim and his guys at the warehouse shipped 990 bbq tool sets and 3,000 meat claws to them. WHAT THE FUCK! According to the contract that’s $10 per missing unit, so that’s $100 right there in penalties. For the extra 2,000 units of meat claws, I would now be responsible for shipping them back up another 8 hours to get back to San Francisco.

Keep in mind I was very very clear with all of the shipping instructions and made Jim and his guys aware of the strict penalties I faced if anything fucked up. Everything was provided in clear written instructions on how to prepare the shipment and how many units to send.

Talisha said they would waive the fine for the extra bbq sets, but we would still be responsible now for shipping all of those units back to San Fran. They are coordinating the return shipment this week actually and I’m expecting it will cost me about another $800 or $900 extra. Whatever it ends up costing, Jim is going to split it with me. I could have pressed to have him pay in pull because they fucked up, but he was going out of his way to help me with looking into renting uhauls and making calls to help figure everything out. I figure this way we just split the pain and move on.

As far as the Must Have Monday segment goes, they were projecting to sell the shit out of our stuff because of all the thousands of viewers and everything that would flock to the page. It turned out to be all hype and we only sold 158 units of each.

So let’s sum up this whole “View” experience. Get all hyped up in September for the show and then not have enough reserve inventory to execute. Plan months ahead to reserve inventory so we could be featured on the show only to be told at the last minute that requirements were changed. Suck it up and go through with the online only deal because there was still huge exposure expected. Go through a crazy stressful 3 day run around trying to coordinate a big shipment on a tight time schedule. Shipment gets fucked up and the online segment barely sells at all. Now I’m responsible for paying to get my products back from them and the overall net result of the deal will most likely be a couple thousand dollar loss.

Technical Issues

The Must Have Monday show aired on Monday and I’m finding a lot of this stuff out towards the end of that week. On Thursday at the end of my work day a little bit of coffee spilled on my keyboard. I’m talking a very little bit and I wiped it up immediately and the computer continued working fine that night. Friday morning I wake up and what do you know? My entire keyboard is fucked up.

One of the letters is basically held down and repeating itself. Not from a mechanical side, but from a circuit side so there is nothing I can do to stop it. After tinkering for about a half hour trying to find a way to type my login password in correctly, I was able to use the finger scanner to get access to my computer. I hadn’t used that thing in over 2 years so I was surprised it worked. From there, I plugged in an external keyboard and was able to locate the drive file for my laptop keyboard and disable it following the steps in an online guide from my phone.

After disabling the keyboard I had to restart the computer so the changes could take effect. That was last time I was ever able to log into the computer. My hard drive was at about 95% memory capacity from all my work shit and for weeks I had been telling myself I would set aside some time to clean stuff off and put it on my external hard drive. I think it just didn’t have enough memory to handle having a disabled keyboard or something because I could never get the laptop to go passed the login screen again.

So by this point it’s about 11am on Friday. Just recently finished up with the ASM debacle, Dorothy quit, Marc from the infomercial is giving me mid test market updates that we are way behind expected sales, and I just found out about the View thing getting all fucked up, and now I don’t have my laptop that I use to run both of my businesses and has everything I need on it. As if I wasn’t down in the dirt enough, you go and pull the plug on my life support.

No time to sit around and sulk and feel sorry for myself so I got in the car and headed 40 minutes away to Best Buy. Of course they don’t sell any Windows 7 computers anymore so I had to buy a Windows 8 touch screen laptop for over $1,000.

I then drive 40 minutes home only to realize that one of the wires was defective. Had to get back in the car and do another round trip of 40 minute drives to Best Buy to get that replaced. It’s now towards the end of the day and I have to set up an entire laptop on a new operating system (Windows 8 is a giant piece of shit) and install all of my software again. Luckily I had set up Carbonite for automatic backups about 3 months prior so none of my core files were lost.

The problem however was that I had so much shit on the carbonite cloud that it took about a full week before I got everything back and downloaded onto my new laptop.

For the entire next week I experienced the true pain of switching to Windows 8 and none of my programs working well with the new operating system. Quickbooks and my printer were the worst with integrating smoothly with Windows 8. Between those two things alone I probably spent a good 20 hours on support phone calls with people over in India that are fucking retarded and make you want to scream.

To be totally clear, 20 hours is not an exaggeration. I had multiple 2 hour phone calls with support reps from both companies literally like every day the following week. We would go over all of the same exact steps and I would have to re explain everything over and over again. They have to follow a specific process so telling them you already did a step didn’t matter, they would always start from the very top of the troubleshooting guide. It was absolutely horrible. After getting off a call with these guys I was just completely drained of all will power to do any work.

At the same time we were also experiencing separate unrelated issues with our router not working. I had to spend a couple hours with those guys as well and they could never figure out what was wrong. We basically just had to reset the entire router and create a new set up of everything from scratch.

This dumb technical shit pretty much ate up an entire week of work for me. Even the work did get done that week was unfocused and scattered.

Everything in this post so far went down between April and May with a heavy concentration in the middle weeks. Between the end of May and today, June 18, I’ve finally gotten out of the damn slump and have a ton of good shit going my way again. For now we’ll cut this blog post off. Next post will be much more upbeat