Posts Tagged ‘ direct mail ’

@ 30 yrs old, there is more to life than blogging

My birthday was Feb. 24th and I turned the big 3 Ohhhhhhh…

Funny how my goal was to be a millionaire at this point and I’m not even fucking close.  I’m on the right path, I’m positive about that however it’s just taking so fucking long.  I’m still broke as shit and still trying to get this company to take off.  Our marketing is still a nightmare.  Every campaign we try just fucking fails and I don’t understand what the problem is.  There is such a huge market for this service and we can’t seem to be getting people out there to see that.

One thing I’m beginning to notice is that more and more companies are doing this and I’m worried about competition.  We need to establish ourselves as heavy hitters before shit gets out of hand.  That’s not going to happen closing a deal or two a month, so we need to figure this shit out fucking fast.  I need, at a bare minimum, 100 properties on the books AND paying before the end of the year – no questions asked.

One thing that really pissed me off is that my business partner just decided to take a week long vacation this week and it’s the worst time imaginable.  For him to just leave when we are struggling with this shit really pisses me off.  We need to get this turned around and I’m beginning to think if I personally don’t turn it around, it’s not going to happen at all.

I’ve done a few small test mailing campaigns just to see the type of response we get.  It’s something completely different and I hope it generates some calls.  If it works it is easily scaleable so we’ll see.  Our last mail campaign was a fucking bust.  What else is new right??

I’m having trouble sleeping over this because once we get this one issue figured out the sky is the limit.

I haven’t been blogging much because there isn’t much to talk about other then my repeated failures.  I keep hoping that I’ll have something positive to write but it never happens.

Hopefully that day will come soon.

Apparently after Whitney Houston died, everyone was searching for “whitney houston crack head” because my blog got a shitload of traffic from that keyword.

Fuckin hilarious..

2 weeks into the month, first post for November; I’m slackin!

But for good reason!  I’ve been working both jobs now since November 1st so I’m constantly going back and forth between my two computers.  With the new business we are making some progress and it looks like we should close our first deal sometime next week.  It has taken much longer then we anticipated and we are having some lead and marketing issues, however we just need to get that first deal on the books and I think they’ll start to fall more frequently.  We tried a direct mail marketing postcard which yielded no results, but we’ve been using 1 other method which has been keeping us afloat.  The problem is that there is a limited amount of leads so we definitely need to get a few more reliable sources.

The bottom line is that things are going well and I’m super excited for when we close that first deal because it will show that it is possible and this dream is becoming realized.  Like I mentioned above, I think that will happen sometime this week.

Our goal was to have 30-50 deals on the books before the end of the year and the way things are going now I’m not sure if that’s possible.  I think 20 is a more realistic number to shoot for and even that will be difficult simply because we need to get our marketing figured out and because it’s the holiday season.  If we can get 3-5 days before the end of November, and an additional 10-15 before the end of December, I’ll be happy with that.

My regular job has been extremely slow and it’s been a relatively smooth transition starting this company.  Everyday I seem to spend more and more time with the new company and less and less with my current employer.  The way things are going now I’m not sure when I’ll quit but juggling both jobs hasn’t been much of a problem so it’s nice to know that I should be able to earn a living while I’m waiting for our own company to take off.  I cannot tell you how important this is!  In the past I’d just jump in with both feet and would typically have living expenses saved for 6 months to a year.  The problem with that is that business always takes longer then you expect for it to take off and I’d end up being stressed out in a matter of months because my savings would be getting low and my business wouldn’t be producing revenue yet.

For any aspiring entrepreneur’s out there I’d say to keep this in mind when starting a company because it helps so much!  Not having to worry about bills and living expenses keeps you much more positive during the start-up phase and relieves a lot of pressure!  This, in turn, will most likely make you more successful because you aren’t as desperate to close that first deal and you don’t come across that way to potential clients!

This is obviously more difficult if you have a wife and kids to support, but if you are single it shouldn’t be hard to do both.  Keep your living expenses as low as possible and work a regular job.  Then during your free time schedule blocks that you will work on the new gig.  As the new company grows those time blocks will slowly increase while you start to cut back your regular job hours.  Before you know it, you will be 100% self-employed.

Anyways, it’s sunday morning and I’m about to leave for the gym.  It’s overcast today in Arizona and I love this weather because it reminds me of Connecticut where i grew up.  There will definitely be a post made after we close our first deal so I’d expect that later this week!

Monday starts the beginning of a much better life

It’s Sunday night and I’m going to bed after I post this.  The newspaper ad didn’t work out as well as we had planned.  We only got 1 legitimate prospect from it and 2 calls, which is a terrible response.  I immediately figured that it had to be a result of limited exposure.  This local paper we ran it in only had 29k subscribers; not nearly enough to generate a response.  We had done some advertising with the Wall Street Journal in the past and the response rate was usually pretty damn good.  On average we would get 10-20 calls per ad we ran, but that was hitting millions of subscribers.

What I’ve decided to do is run an ad in USA today for this upcoming weekend and it’s on my list of things to get done tomorrow (Monday).

My schedule and life is about to change drastically in the next 6 or so hours.  Humans are creatures of habit and creating a new habit takes some time but once it’s done, it’s well worth it.  Some studies say it takes 14 days, some 21 and some 4+weeks, but the bottom line is that once you commit yourself to something, it doesn’t take long for you to mentally and physically adapt.  That has to be my though process for the remainder of June going into July and throughout the rest of the year.

This week I should be getting confirmation as far as my job is concerned and will hopefully start training and taking leads by the end of the week, or early next week the latest.  They will be the piss-poor leads that my business partner has been taking but he said they are good enough to at least earn a living while we get the kinks worked out of our marketing.  Regardless, it will be nice to start earning some money again and I’m flat broke so it’s not like I have a choice anyways.  We need to get our marketing down if we want to turn this into something big.  There is simply no other way.  We cannot be reliant on this company to provide us with enough leads to keep our pockets full and even if we could rely on them, you never want to allow someone else to have 100% control over your financial future.  If they are providing the leads they are in control; if we are providing the leads, we are in control.  Simple…

I’m bringing this up because my schedule has been somewhat consistent for the last 8-10 months since I shut down my debt settlement company.  I get up around 7am, eat breakfast, and take care of business until about 10am.  From there I go workout, come back and eat lunch, and basically work until 8pm or later depending on what needs to be done.  I won’t be able to work that schedule anymore and it’s going to be a big adjustment once I start taking leads.

I’m going to have to work out early mornings, which is a pain in the fucking ass.  I’ve done it before but typically it didn’t last longer than a few months.  One thing I do know is that if I have no other choice, then I WILL get up early and workout and that’s the situation right now.  I’m going to have to get up around 4:30am to be at the gym for 5-5:30am.  The reason being is that I will have to be home and able to take calls and work until 6pm or later and cannot be taking breaks during the middle of the day.  I know I won’t go workout after working all day long so my only option is to work out before I begin my work day.

I just have to keep in mind that this is all part of a bigger plan and it will all pay off in the future.  So right now, these are my more immediate
goals:

1)     Start working for this company and working their leads and learning their system.  Also start closing deals and earning money with their leads as well as our own within the next 2 weeks.

2)     Continue test marketing and fine tune our direct mail pieces along with Google Adwords and newspaper ads.  Start generating 10-20 good leads for each of
us on a weekly basis and start closing them.  Get this done in the next 2 weeks.

3)     After the 4th of July holiday weekend have a much better handle on our marketing and our ability to ramp things up, at this point in time schedule a meeting with the head of the company about getting a larger commission split on our leads.

4)      By the end of July start looking into office spaces and be generating enough leads that we no longer need the company’s leads and can work strictly off our own.

These are pretty much the same things I’ve mentioned in my “Goals” page but I wanted to rewrite them again with some more detail.  They are lofty; however I know from experience that once you get your marketing down, companies can explode seemingly overnight.  I think the USA today ad is going to be a game changer along with some of these new mailers hitting this week and my learning of Google Adwords.  Things are looking up and I’m getting excited as I type this but I honestly think the biggest hurdle is going to be just changing my overall routine and lifestyle.  Getting up super early is going to be rough but it’s something that has to be done.  I know myself and I know that I will not work out after I’ve been working my ass off all day, I’ll be way too tired.

So the coffee maker is set to start brewing at 4:30am and I need to go to bed if I want to get up so I’ll be sure to update later this week on what’s going on.  I’m anxious to get on the phone and to start making some money again.  It’s been way too long.

Night.

Direct mail marketing: Finally some fucking feedback!

As I mentioned earlier, the goal this week was to just get my business partner’s phone ringing.  Although it’s not just a matter of getting the phone to ring, but also getting it to ring with good qualified prospects.  Today we got our first call from the mailers that were sent and it turned out to be a good lead that will hopefully convert to business.  1 call isn’t anything to get excited about but 1 is better than none!

I also decided to pull the trigger on the mass marketing campaign.  The decision was made on Tuesday and I spent all day getting that prepared; it went out today.  Typically you are looking at a 2-4 day time period for these particular mailers to hit so I’m expecting to see some sort of response by Friday-Saturday and going into next week.  A total of 685 went out, so if we get a 2.5% response we’re looking at 17-18 calls.

This mailer is a very important test because it’s the one mailer that I can really turn up the volume on without a problem.  There are no shortage of potential prospects to mail to and sending out mass mailers with the system we use does not take long at all.  I also decided to open a new google ad words account and will start running some tests with that later on this week if possible.

I put in a lot of calls to various newspapers to see what their rates were for a print ad in the classifieds and I might run a test there depending on how well this mailing does.  During my conversation with my business partner today he repeatedly voiced his disgust for the current marketing within the company and said repeatedly; “they really don’t know what the fuck they are doing.  The phone should be ringing off the hook.”

I agree, and it’s up to me to make that happen.  I wish budget wasn’t an issue because TV and Radio is definitely the way to go with this but that costs money and it’s something we won’t be able to do until we’re more established and making some cash.

I’ll most likely post at the end of the week or over the weekend with an update on what happened with the mass mailing campaign.

Positive thoughts!

Peace.

Dreams of my own personal “Entourage”

I absolutely love this show and own all of the seasons on DVD.  I watch them repeatedly for inspiration.  Ari is just a maniac and I love watching the whole process of a deal happening and what it takes in order for one to get done.  To me the show is about much more than just some young rich movie star hanging out in Los Angeles with his boys.

Whenever I’m dragging ass or feeling down on myself, I’ll pop in a DVD from one of the seasons and just watch and think about how great that life would be to live.  Having the nice houses and the nice cars, being able to buy practically anything your heart desires on a whim and just having the feeling of “young and successful,” but my outlook has changed so much on what acquiring wealth means to me.

5 years ago it was about money, Ferrari’s, diamonds and cash.  Now it’s about humility, humbleness, freedom and giving back.  This is not to say that I wouldn’t love to one day own and drive an exotic sports car, but that is nowhere near the top of my priorities list right now.

The mailers I mailed over the weekend have not generated 1 call thus far.  There were almost 100 total and they went out on Saturday.  Again, these were based on a list that we weren’t really sure would work so if it doesn’t work I honestly won’t be too upset about it.  It will just be a learning experience from which I’ll know not to do those types of direct mail campaigns again.  It cost me time and postage, that’s it.

More importantly, I’m doing a new mailing this week based on a list that I know other real estate investors target and have used with success in the past so I’m more anxious to see what happens here.  These are all hand-written mailers so they take all fucking day and it’s monotonous as fuck.  There are places I can send my list to in order to have them done for me, but I’m obviously trying to keep expenses down until I know it works.  I have about 880 names to mail to and I sent out 30 yesterday and another 50 today.  My goals and plans for this week are to get 50 a day out until all 800+ names are done.

From my research the mailer should give me a 10% response or close to that which is 80 calls.  Will that happen?  Who the fuck knows, but I’ve done all the research I can and I just have to try it on my own to find out.  This upcoming weekend is Memorial Day and I’m not sure if that will affect things, but I’d like to start seeing some calls trickle in by the end of the week.

I also made a personal decision not to drink anymore.  I started up again for awhile and was going out routinely.  Not only do I NOT have the money to be wasting at the bar but things are coming down to the wire here and I need to keep my head clear.  Life contains a shitload of highs and lows but when you hit a low the worst thing you can do is start with the booze; it’s something I realized and put a stop to.

I think the hardest thing of this marketing campaign has been reading and seeing countless testimonials online on how different people are all getting fantastic results from the same exact direct mail campaign.  Yet here I am for hours a day, writing these fucking things out, and have yet to receive 1 phone call.  If it works for them it has to work for me right?  I mean what the fuck?!  Am I cursed or something??

Whatever, that’s not important.  What is important is getting that first phone call, and getting that first deal.  From there repeating the process and earning some cash.

If I can do that, my life will change and I need a change desperately.

Peace.

I’m a hypocrite and I contradict myself

But let me explain!

I’ve made tons of blog posts in the past about my situation and how “this is going to be a big week,” or if “this doesn’t work this week I’m done,” yet I still come back and talk about how I tried something and it didn’t work, but I’m going to “try 1 more thing.”

What I’ve been realizing is that no matter how much I’d like to say it (and I do on my blog) I simply cannot and will not give up.  I think my life would be easier if I just would give up and maybe subconsciously that’s why I’m making those posts.  I tell myself, “after this I’m done and it’s over but at least I tried,” but here I am again writing about another marketing idea I’m going to try.

I know this reasoning is NOT normal by any means and 99.9% of the population doesn’t think this way.  I guess it’s the curse of being an entrepreneur; I simply will not allow myself to stop until every last option has been exercised, every possible fund exhausted, and every potential breakthrough explored.

To summarize what happened last week; this goes hand-in-hand with my last blog post, the marketing didn’t work.  So what does that mean???

Well in my post I said it meant that I would be packing it in but I’m here to tell you that’s not going to happen.  My business partner has given up and moved on which puts me in an awkward situation because now I’m thinking, WHEN I DO close my first deal, is he entitled to any of it?  I still kept
faith, spent more marketing money, and did all the work so should I give him any of the profits?  He did put in several months of time/effort but I really don’t know what that means.

Do you think the people whom helped start Google but quit when the going got tough received any sort of monetary compensation for their efforts; after the company took off?  I honestly don’t know…

I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Anyways, enough of that bullshit and back to more important things; why did the marketing campaign not work?  Well it can be a number of different reasons all of which I have theories on but I will not go into 100% detail about.  1 thing I will mention is that the envelopes I used were fucked.  With this particular direct mail campaign you are supposed to use smaller envelopes that look more like they contain a card or invitation, not the legal sized envelopes I used.  Apparently the smaller envelopes increase response rates dramatically because people will almost always open an envelope
like that.  It doesn’t look like a marketing piece at all and obviously it’s just human curiosity to see what’s inside.

All of last week I prepared another mailing which went out yesterday.  Same mail piece but this time I used the smaller envelopes.  I used all of my contact information in the mailer since my business partner threw in the towel.  This upcoming week I’ll be able to see how much of a difference the smaller envelopes make and I did some other little things to try and make the mailer more attractive.

I also made the decision to do another mailing to a different type of list and that will begin this upcoming week as well.  That will be checked and confirmed on Monday and if possible, the mailing will go out by Tuesday the latest.  I setup a different phone number for that mailing as well so I can test the effectiveness of it.

The goal this week is 1 thing and 1 thing only – to make the fucking phone ring!  I need leads and they need to be good leads.  I have investors waiting to buy but can’t seem to find motivated sellers.  The REO market is a complete crapshoot out here so I’m trying to find another niche with less competition.  If I can get a smaller niche to work I can focus on dominating it and making some serious cash.  Right now the REO market is way too saturated and I’m not even going to fuck around with that anymore.

I just need to find 1 motivated seller and I know I can flip the property, I fucking know I can.

I think that’s why I’m unable to give up on this.  Half of the puzzle is already done (my buyers/investor list) and once I figure out this other half I should be golden.

I also began thinking; “ok, absolute worst case scenario, if this doesn’t work what happens?”

Well, I’ll be broke and I’ll need a job.  I’ve been there before and done that.  It’s a shitty position to be in but I know I’ll survive and figure out a way to sustain myself.  It’s not like I’ll fucking die or anything so I at least owe it to myself to try and make this thing work for as long as I can.

So that’s where I’m at right now.  I have to make the phone ring this week by any means necessary.

So this is it

I’ve said this before, but this time I really mean it.  The last marketing campaign we ran was a complete bust.  We got basically no response whatsoever.  Prior to doing the direct mail campaign we spoke to 5 people who’ve done the same exact campaign in the past, using the same list, and every single one of them said the list was the “real deal,” and that we’d get business from the mailing; it didn’t happen.

The only explanation I could come up with was that the list had already been saturated with mailers prior to us even sending ours out.  The company we purchased the list from gets a new list every quarter and they claim they sell each name up to 3 times.  When we placed our order, it was towards the end of April and the guy we bought it from said he was almost sold out already.  To us it seemed like he already sold the names he sold to us.  Regardless, the response we got was not what all of these other people were reporting and I cannot believe that every single one of the individuals we spoke to lied about the quality of the leads; that’s just unreasonable to assume.

We did our homework on these leads and the marketing campaign and found:

1)     That the leads “work” according to everyone we spoke to

2)     That the mailer we are using “works” according to everyone we spoke to

3)     So why did it work for everyone else but not us?

After we sent out the initial mailing my business partner figured out a way to generate these leads ourselves 100% free.  Last week I spent the entire time generating our own leads and doing a test mailing to them.  There was 100 total that I mailed to, and I did the mailers on my own.  They all went out this past Saturday.  Since we are generating these ourselves we know they aren’t being “sold to 3 other people” and most importantly, they are generated real-time.  The list we bought from prior only comes out once a quarter versus the leads we generate ourselves which we can mail to once a week.  I’m hoping and praying this is the difference maker and we should know between today and Wednesday.  It’s the only thing we can conclude as being the reason why our campaign didn’t work.

We’ve been told that the mailer we use has been tested over and over again and we should expect around a 10% response from it.  With that being said, we are looking at getting about 10 calls from our second mailing for it to be considered effective.

If it doesn’t work, then it’s over.  I did the mailing myself because I know my business partner is pretty much done.  The decision to do the mailer was all my own because after all of the time we’ve spent I figured I might as well give it one more shot and one more week of my time, what the fuck?  He pretty much gave up after the last campaign failed and I was there with him but for whatever reason (after talking to some people) decide to do 1 last mailer on my own.

I’m confident that these mailers will be much more effective but I’m nervous as hell because I know what awaits if they aren’t.  A job in the workforce being a slave to the grind like everyone else.  I’ll be miserable to the point of suicide and I don’t know how I’ll maintain my sanity.  To be honest, I don’t even want to think about it because the thought alone makes me sick to my stomach.

We should know today but more so tomorrow and Wednesday what the deal is and in the meantime I can only wait and see what happens.  If my business partner’s phone starts to ring we’ve got a chance.

If it doesn’t it’s all over.

%d bloggers like this: