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I was born in the South Wales Market town of Abergavenny in 1959 and brought up in a village just 3 miles away from the town.
I went to the local primary school which was only across the road from where we lived so there was no such thing as a “school run” for me. The only major concern during those early days was our dog, a corgi called Pip, who followed me to school and sat by my desk and wouldn’t let anybody come near me. The teacher had to go over to get my mother to take him from there. I don’t actually remember this event, but it has been a regular tale of my early school years told by my father whenever it’s brought up!
I started to learn to play Piano when I was 8 and can remember practising over at the school and my hands and arms hurting so much because I was so keen I played so much. I had an ambition to be a musician, in particular a concert pianist, but I was never really good enough to do that. During my late Junior to teenage years I took part in local Eisteddfodau all over South Wales and winning various competitions both for playing piano and singing. As I went on through school, music still occupied much of my time and I went on to learn to play church organ and afterwards, aged 14, was organist at a local church (this lasted for 25 years, after which I had to finish due to work commitments).
Later I was accepted for the Welsh College of Music and Drama subject to A level results but unfortunately only got one of the two I needed and so I had to leave school and started work with my father in his electrical business. To carry on my musical ambition I played in local clubs and then I joined a band. Having met several people and having some good experience (including nearly “making it” following interest from record companies, but the band split up and that was the end of that), I went back to performing in pubs and clubs on my own singing and playing keyboards. During this time I had qualified as an electrician to technician level.
A couple of years went by before I met my (now ex) wife and after 2 years, 1 of engagement, we married and over the following few years had 3 sons. (It’s funny how at 24, 22 and almost 21 (at the time of writing) they don’t like to have their photos taken – lol!!!) The boys still live with me and have been great support when times have been hard.
I carried on working the Electrical Contracting Business during this time. We had made some new friends and were shown a business opportunity that I thought made a great deal of business sense. It was MLM – Network marketing and was the first time I had been introduced to this concept. I spoke with several friends who warned me away from it because it was “pyramid selling”, which confused me because I had never heard of it and though to myself ‘we were told the products were cleaning products and more, nothing about pyramids!’ Of course they were talking of the structure and the make up of the business. Needless to say, because my wife was so much against it because it was “too good to be true”, I didn’t join. My ex wife didn’t support anything to do with my business when it was moved to our house when my parents moved to a smaller property. In fact she wouldn’t even answer the phone! The amount of business I lost was astounding! It also affected my credibility and business sense in the eyes of those trying to contact me.
In our marriage, we had a particularly hard time during the early part of the new millenium, which was part of my reason for selling the electrical business (the ownership had transferred to me) in 2002.
Between the trouble and the selling of my business I was introduced to another UK MLM, which I am still involved with. I tried and tried, working very hard to get customers and recruits but to no avail. I didn’t have too much money to invest in marketing or leads and I was uncomfortable calling people and my “warm market” all thought I’d lost my mind!! I don’t know why because it all made total sense to me. After all, who wouldn’t want to save money and make some money too? All leading to a residual income and time freedom.
Anyhow, I worked for the new limited company that was set up for 2 years and I was frustrated and miserable. The main reason for this was that I didn’t ever like the job, but to do the work for somebody else was like hell on earth!! At least doing the job for my own reward led to greater satisfaction for me personally. Another major thing was I worked away a lot and therefore whatever I could do with my MLM was lost with working 12 hours a day and travelling to and from home on the weekend. I was exhausted!
I was eventually made redundant in 2004 and started a new company, still in the electrical industry based on a conversation with one of my best friends who convinced me it was the best thing to do because it was “what I knew” (and he still wouldn’t listen to me about the MLM or the benefits of the product). The electrical business ultimately failed and closed down in September 2009, partly because of the economic climate and partly down to my frame of mind. My marriage had also failed in 2008 and financially things were very bad.
This leads me to one important tip for anybody – if you want to run any business it’s important to LIKE what you do, because if you don’t you are likely to fail because you may not have the drive to make things work properly and be a success. Not liking the job certainly created this problem for me.
I had gone back to the idea of building my MLM business and went to do more training. My fear of contacting people still existed but eventually I overcame that. The thing is I thought there was a better way and so I move on……
Having done some websites for my electrical business and getting a page together for my MLM, I did some research. I “dabbled” and found that I enjoyed the creative part of this work and so I researched and found out about search engine optimization and other things required to have a successful website. While I was working in the electrical business there was little time to develop these skills properly so after the business closed and I was unemployed for quite some time, I did some courses that helped “fill in the gaps” of my knowledge in HTML and other scripting and then I went on to develop more knowledge and fill in even more gaps in doing SEO properly. I had some training in the areas I believed I was weakest, mainly marketing and growing a customer base and more recently developing skills as an internet marketer with the help of my new found friend and mentor, Jay Roberts. The main problem I had was my “upline” told me to keep to the traditional methods of selling the business. Getting some leads was great, but we still needed to close them the “trusted” way.
This led to me being totally confused and the biggest mistake I made was – I didn’t build a list! I read about the need for an email list and an autoresponder and all the usual internet marketing routine and system. I was told there was already a system and I didn’t need all that stuff! How wrong was that? Thanks to Jay, I now know the error of my ways. I needed to develop a list to market to and then make money by using a proper system. Online is different to offline in many ways, but one thing is true – We ALL need to work to a system and have a plan of action to progress. Most important we need to be consistent.
So I looked and managed to get some work as a self employed agent for a loan company, I was able to earn some money and develop website and SEO skills around that job, which was basically part time.
These new skills in website building and development and internet marketing have “opened up” my creativity again and also has helped me to focus on what I really want to do. Not only that, I have started to do some music and performing again after several years of not being involved – thanks to my youngest son, Gavin – joining a small local drama group.
More recently I have been developing the other skills needed, including getting a list and building relationships. I’ve never had so much fun – or been so scared!!! (Thank you Jay, you’re a star!!)
One of my main ambitions now is to share my knowledge and experience so that my “bad time” struggles can be avoided by those I am able to help.
It goes to show that even in one’s 50′s it’s possible to change course and make a difference.
Here’s to the future everybody.
My Location: Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent