great Indian sage
Patañjali is said to have given this beautiful insight into the nature of a life
that is lived with purpose. He said, "When you are inspired by some great
purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your
mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and
you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces,
faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater
person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."
guest tonight has followed his passion to create an extraordinary life of
purpose. He left the corporate world where he was the chief marketing officer
for a major company on Madison Avenue to become one of the most successful and
best known personalities in the Internet marketing field. Since 1991, Alex
Mandossian has added value to his clients to generate over $233,000,000 in sales
and profits from short term TV stock, infomercials, QVS and HSN airings, VTL
catalogs like Sharper Image, and great magazines, like USA, Weekend, and
teleseminars are his primary money-making tool to boost sales and profits
without having to spend a penny more on advertising. In fact, that is Alex's
suggested key. As he talks to us tonight, I am excited and looking forward to
hearing from Alex how he has been able to be so successful in using this
principle of leverage to do much, much less and accomplish much, much more.
has consulted with Carnegie Training, New York University,
1ShoppingCart, Mutuals.com, and ChemicalCare, and top
business leaders like Mark Victor Hansen, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Stephen Covey
and many, many others. He is a founder of
ValueGenerator.com, InstantVideoGenerator.com, and ASKdatabase.com – all of which are powerful Internet marketing
tools. He is also a founder of
runs his information publishing business today from the comfort of his home near
San Francisco, California, where he lives with his wife, Aimee, and his two
children, Gabriel and Brianna.
I am pleased to introduce Patrick Coffey, of
www.EarlytoRise.com who is my
co-host tonight. Patrick is going to conduct this evening's interview. Early to
Rise is a division of a multi-million dollar publishing group that provides a
variety of tools and programs to support all of us in living lives that are
truly healthy, wealthy, and wise. I encourage everyone listening to check out
what Patrick and his team do by going to
www.EarlyToRise.com. Patrick, thanks so much for being with us, and I
am going to turn it over to you now to conduct tonight's interview.
Patrick Coffey: First of all, I feel like I
am interviewing Larry King. For those who don't know, Alex is really the Larry
King of the Internet world. I kind of feel like the tables are turned here, and
I am interviewing the master of interviews.
Alex Mandossian: I appreciate it. Thank you.
Coffey: Let's dive right into this, Alex. As many of you know, some of you
don't, Alex quit a very successful career in the corporate world. How did your
passion, the things that are most important to you, play into your decision to
leave corporate America and start your own company?
Alex Mandossian: That is an interesting question that
comes up a lot. For me, corporate America, whether it's a five-person company, a
hundred person company, or a hundred, thousand person company, corporate America
means living with someone else's passion. Now that I have gone through the
process, back between the years of 1993 and 2000, I was living for someone
else's passion. I added value to the company; I had equity in the company. I
loved working there.
was a challenge because there is a collision, a moment in time, and I remember
it like it was yesterday. It happened to be October 25, 2000 when my son,
Gabriel, was born at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. I remember watching
him with his little beanie on his head, to keep the baby's head warm, and my
wife, Aimee, sleeping after 18 hours of labor, exhausted; and I thought to myself,
"Wow!, I have really been in a collision of passion. The interesting thing is
that back then, I didn't have The Passion Test. I have read it several times now
when Janet and Chris asked the question, "When my life is ideal, I am blank,"
then filling in that blank and going through the passion test.
is here as a result an invitation I sent, please take that passion test. Get a
few books for yourself and everyone else. I didn't have that tool. What I asked
myself that evening is "What am I really living for?" I was studying the works
of Joseph Campbell back then, and he had this great quote which reads," The
privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." At that moment, who I was with my
family was a workaholic.
working 16 hours a day. I don't know if you are familiar with New York City, but
if you come home before 9:00 PM at night, you are not working hard enough.
People come back to their apartments and to their studios and one bedroom, two
bedroom apartments in three piece suits at 9:00 – 10:00 o'clock at night. That
is normal. That is just the way life is in Manhattan. I lived on the Upper East
Side in Manhattan. I worked on Madison Avenue.
what I did, but I was living into someone else's passion. That was the story of
my life. I didn't realize back then that there was a collision between personal
and professional passion. If I take the passion test these days, I ask myself,
"When my personal life is ideal, I am "blank." When my professional life is
ideal, I am "blank" whatever that blank is. It is a very elegant but simple test
to take. What I realized back then is that there is no way I could enjoy my
family life if I would have worked for another company.
really at their beckoning call for travel. I had equity in the business, but
that really wasn't a source of security for me. I gave three months notice and,
at that moment, from the 26th of October all through December 15th, when we
actually took off from JFK Airport and landed at San Francisco International, I
knew that of the competing passions I had between personal and professional,
personal won out. I was scared, I was terrified. We were on the runway, and it
was snowing, and the runway was icy. The plane actually skidded out and my wife
had my three month old baby, Gabriel, in her arms. Her fingernails dug into my
forearm. She was terrified. I was terrified, but not for my life; I was
terrified about how I was going to feed my family.
love to tell you that it was all planned out. I would love to tell you that it
was such an elegant plan that I had, but it was sloppy. It had nothing to do
with the plan; it had everything to do with my passion which is in my heart
knowing that I could not reconcile the competition between family and my
profession. I have to attribute most of it to Aimee. I went into my marriage
thinking that I would be a good personal trainer and teacher to my wife, and I
would be a good student to my kids. It turns out that my wife has been a good
personal trainer for me, and my kids have been good students. It is just the
opposite of how I came in to it.
never forget that when personal and professional passions collide, I decided to
choose the personal one. My wish for everyone listening is not to make that
choice for themselves, but just decide what is personal and what is
professional. When those two species collide and crash, which one is more
Coffey: What about those of us who do love our jobs and find passion in the work
we do. Is it possible to find passion, not necessarily in corporate America, but
the job for the company you work for?
Alex Mandossian: I think that it is. For example, there
is no reason why as a corporate executive at the VP level, a C level, or even in
the mailroom, that you can't turn a hobby that is part of your passion into
something that is professional. The difference between an amateur and a
professional is $1.00. The way I made my transition from the corporate arena to
becoming an Internet marketer, is after my son was born, I gave three months
notice to my company that I was working for. I realized then, the first day of
work is not the most important day. It is the last day. It is how you are
defined as an executive or someone working for someone else. How do you leave?
You are taking that day with you. That part was planned out. I gave three months
notice and basically, I took a $300,000 dive in income. I went from $300,000 a
year to zero, literally.
It was a huge risk. There was no other choice for me because we had
no babysitters on the East Coast. We had no family on the East Coast. My
mother-in-law took a trip out and said, "If you don't leave Manhattan, you will
lose your marriage; you will lose your family." I thought, "Wow." That is kind
of an alarmist approach, looking back and the way I was working, she was
absolutely right. I signed a non-disclosure with my company. All the contacts
that I had generated over eight years were gone. I don't need to remind anyone
that in 2001, you know what happened in the San Francisco area, right?
The bubble burst; there were no jobs. Of course, that was the year
of 9/11 and those atrocities. Basically, I went from $300,000 to zero. But, here
is the thing, and it is probably a little fairy taleish, and maybe it might be
surprising. I don't know how this will all come across. It is possible to go
from zero to making a little bit of money to make a living in a year if you
follow your passion. My passion professionally was training. My passion
personally was living with my family and making sure my kids recognize me before
I grow old. That goes for my wife, too. I didn't want to follow the footsteps of
many of my colleagues who, after a lifetime, maybe they are in their 60's or
70's, ask "is that all there is?"
Coffey: That actually kind of leads on to my next question which is, can you
tell us the story of how you made the transition from the corporate arena to
becoming one of the most well-respected and successful online marketers?
Alex Mandossian: I did the same thing. Rather than
training my corporate executive colleagues and vendors within the
corporate-executive arena, I trained my own students, and I became an expert in
a niche that nobody wanted. That was postcard marketing. That was strategically
done. No one wanted to be a postcard marketing guru. It is kind of like
plagiarizing a comic book. Many people think "What's the big deal about
postcards?" I launched
http://www.marketingwithpostcards.com which is still up right now. I
launched it in April of 2001. I did work like an animal. You know what it is
like, day and night, working like an animal, but I was doing it for myself.
Coffey: You were overlooking your family at that time.
Alex Mandossian: I did take a step back, but I was doing
it at home. Although I was working the same hours, what is interesting is that I
was doing it at home. I could take a five minute break; I could take a 10 minute
break and go check in on Amy, or go in and check in on Gabrielle, who was my
only child at the time. Two years later, Brianna came into the world.
Even if I
am working just as hard, this is my experience, it may be different for others
listening, I would rather work the same amount of time and take an 80% cut in
income, because that is what ended up happening during the second year. I bought
a new house. At that time, it was a one bedroom home. I went from $10,000 a year
to $63,700. I went pro in 2001. I made my first dollar in April and I just kept
doing the same thing, training, and teaching. In 2002, that annual income became
a quarterly income. In 2003, that annual income became a monthly income. In
2004, it became a weekly income and in 2005, a daily. It has become an hourly
income in 2006. It is like six or seven times this year. When time, in less than
10 minutes. I haven't done anything different.
Coffey: That is amazing. The one thing that I would say is that is sounds like
you can't put a value on the time that you're able to spend with your family. I
am sure that you would make the same decision today even if you were still
making that $63,000 a year.
Alex Mandossian: I don't know. It is a tough decision to
make. I feel like an overnight success, five years in the making. It is the
closest analogy I can think of is bamboo. Bamboo is the fastest growing tree. It
really is from the grass family, but I use this analogy a lot when I am
speaking. It takes three years to get established, but once the shoot emerges,
it grows about 12 inches a day, and it goes "all out" for 60 days. It reaches
its peak potential in height and diameter and then it is going for another 10 or
20 years. These colonies start growing. No one got to see the stuff that was
happening under ground for me.
No one knew the pain or the fear. When the annual income became a
monthly income, I felt like I had arrived. That took three years. Are people
willing to pay the price for passion? I think it is worth it.
The first thing I would do is not do it the way that I did it. Try
to do something on the side and have additional tax advantages and, whatever it
is, match your existing corporate income if you are in that situation. Then,
don't you think you have a better choice at the point.
Coffey: Absolutely. I know for many of the readers and listeners that this is
something that they face. How do they overcome the fear which arises when they
think about following their passion or pursuing their dreams? There is no
guarantee of financial support when you make those types of decisions. Could you
explain a lit bit about how you dealt with that issue and what advice could you
give to the listeners who are facing that same dilemma?
Alex Mandossian: I'm going to frankly candid and brutally
honest right now, and transparent, which we will talk about in a little bit.
Anyone listening, if you are in the corporate environment, you have no
guarantee. In fact you have less of a guarantee than if you are an entrepreneur
and working on your own. The history in the last five years is littered with
examples of people who have lost pensions. Many people on the call right now may
have been one of those people. I didn't have that fear because I just felt like
every day may have been my last in the corporate environment.
easiest way to overcome the fear is utilizing five principles that I have
followed. These aren't written anywhere, these are just private principles that
I have led. They are as immutable as gravity, I mean if I were to drop a pencil
right now, it would drop and hit the ground. If I dropped it again, it would hit
the ground. It is very predictable because gravity is predictable. Grab your pen
and write these down. They worked for me and I think it is possible to make
annual income into a monthly. I don't know if it is possible to make it into an
hourly, but definitely into a monthly income, if you follow these principles.
They have worked for me and many of my students.
and this is the easiest one to get involved with, principle is apprenticeship.
Ross Perot talks about this. If you want to start a business, don't start one.
Become an apprentice. Don't buy a franchise, work in one. Work as the person who
sweeps the floors, work in the mailroom. When I was reading about Jack Welsh's
story, he started at General Electric in the mailroom. Become an apprentice and
find out how the company works. You will find out more at an apprentice level,
working for free, than if you were paid. When you are paid for some reason
things are withheld by the higher-ups or the people who are running the company.
So the first principle is apprenticeship.
Coffey: Yes, absolutely. Working with Michael Masterson and Will Bonner, luckily
it was a paid apprenticeship, but I definitely, looking back on it, I would have
done it for practically nothing.
Alex Mandossian: There is no better way to learn about a
client's hidden desires or even fears toward a type of product or service, than
to work in customer service. You are in the trenches. When I used to do
consulting, the first thing I did was I never talked to the CEO or the sales
force. I went straight to the call center and asked them "What are the five most
frequently asked questions you get?" The C and VP levels would be shocked at
some of the questions that they would get. Apprenticeship is number one.
The number two principle is unique ability. You have to find your
unique ability. This is what one of my mentors, Dan Sullivan, has taught me.
Unique ability is something that is absolutely unique to you. I think Janet and
Chris talk about unique gifts. Unique ability is passion, plus talent. It is
interesting because talent is what you do. Passion is why you do it. You have to
find your unique ability. What makes you unique in your ability to do things?
What could you do all day long and still keep doing it? For me, it is training.
I could do it for hours. I could do it for weeks.
I figured out a way to monetize it. Finding out your unique ability
is the second of the five principles.
Here is the third, and this is kind of funny. We talked about this
when we were preparing for this call. Proclaim prudently. When someone is about
to launch into a new career or into a passion, my experience, and I'm guilty of
this, forgive me for stating this, if this is the first time you are hearing me
say this, but it is what it is. I vomit on the people about my passion. Here's
all of it. Take it. People don't want that. They don't want to be vomited on.
They say, "Hey, how's it going?" "Oh my God, I'm an amazing trainer. I just
started. "How much are your making?" "Nothing. I just read this great book and
this course, and I am going to be just like such and such."
I hear that a lot, especially in the beginning stages and, then all
of a sudden, boom. The passion is extinguished. It's not the other people's
fault. So proclaim prudently. Just give little bite-sized chunks. That's like a
defense mechanism. Don't talk about it. I found that when that energy is pent
up, I don't want to let it go until I am really, really ready. Ross Perot used
to say that the key to marketing is "ready, aim, fire, fire, fire". It is not
"ready, fire, aim". Proclaiming prudently is key. I love the alliteration and it
is one principles. Apprenticeship, find your unique ability, proclaim what that
The fourth principle is going pro. This is key. If you know what
your passion is, there is a part of that passion that can at least make $1.00.
If everyone has a sheet of paper, just draw a horizontal line, maybe six or
seven inches from one end of the paper to the other. You draw a little dot on
the very left hand side and then go all the way to the end and draw a dot on
that side. So you have two dots: one on each end. Then go about half an inch to
the left of the dot on the very right and draw a dot. Go from the left to the
dot you just drew, there is three dots now. The one on the very left and one
over about six and a half inches and then another one about a half inch past
that one. The dot at the very beginning at the left hand side – that's an idea.
That is the idea of wanting to make money from your passion. The dot at the very
end, the very, very end on the tip of that horizontal line is $1,000,000. The
dot just to the left of the $1,000,000 dot is $1.00. I firmly believe that
making a dollar is 90% of the journey. Then you can validate it. You have gone
pro. You made a buck and that is what really sets you apart from an amateur.
Rather than going after the million bucks, which most people do,
they vomit on everyone, they don't talk about proclaiming prudently, their
unique ability starts getting broken up because they get negative feedback. They
have never been an apprentice. If you look at is as "what can I make my first
dollar on?" and focus on that dollar versus a million bucks, I firmly believe in
fact that proves it. It is so easy to embrace that. It is a lot easier to
embrace the one dollar, than the million dollars. That is the point.
Coffey: It definitely seems a lot more attainable. But yet, like you said,
that's more than half the battle.
Alex Mandossian: I think it is 80% of the battle. After
you have made your first dollar, the bamboo shoot has just seen the light of
day. Then it grows up to 12 inches a day. No one was watching when it was
underground. It took about three years to gestate. All they see is that it is
the fastest growing plant on earth. Going after that first dollar and finding
the first dollar you can make the fastest, even if it is a one dollar
teleseminars. I encourage everyone to have a one dollar teleseminars because now
you have gone pro. You have just become a validated professional. I encourage
everyone to do that, versus going after the million bucks.
The fifth principle. This is going to sound odd if you haven't heard
me before. Number five is seeking roadblocks. Embracing roadblocks. Seeking
opposition, seeking resistance, seeking obstacles and specifying what they are.
The reason that is so important and, Dan Sullivan, my mentor, taught me this, he
said, "All those things that seem to oppose our goals are actually the raw
material to achieving them." I think the mind is hard-wired into finding
opposition. You have this vision and there is always to oppose it. If you seek
that out in advance, then it is not going to bite you' it's not going hit you
like a shovel in the forehead by surprise. You know it's there. Anyone can do
this. Right now you can do this.
For every opposing thing that is causing resistance, or the
roadblock to a strategy leading to your passion, or wanting to monetize your
passion, there is an opposing strategy. Most people go straight to strategy and
then, boom, all these roadblocks come up. If you seek the roadblocks first, or
the opposition, and then find individual strategies that dissolve and dismember
the opposition, it makes life a lot easier, and you can monetize your passion.
The five principles, I'll just reinterate, Number one –
apprenticeship. One of the world's wealthiest people on earth, Ross Perot, talks
about apprenticeship. I remember when he was running for president, he said,
"The biggest mistake professionals make and entrepreneurs make is that they
don't become an apprentice. The dive right in to it and then they struggle and
struggle." The second is finding your unique ability. This is what Dan Sullivan
teaches in Strategic Intelligence. To me, it is the single most important thing
that I do. I am a probing innovator. That is how I define my unique ability in
two words. I am a probing innovator, and with the Ask Methodology which is
Socratic, I probe and then I innovate through probing. This doesn't come from
the top of my head.
Unique ability is passion plus talent. Passion is why you do
something; talent is what you specifically do. Kind of like the way Janet and
Chris talk about passion and goals are different. Talent is different than
Number three is, this is key, I am sure we will get some feedback on
this because of what I am saying, proclaim your unique ability and your passion
prudently. Especially to the ones you love. If you don't do that, then many
times you will get knocked down before the roots have gone deep and before the
bamboo is even allowed to grow.
Number four is go pro. Go for just going pro. It doesn't mean a
million bucks; it doesn't mean 10 million bucks. One dollar – that marks the
difference between an amateur and a professional. One dollar is so much easier
to embrace. One dollar. Look at this question. "How could I make a million
dollars with my passion?" versus "How could I make my first dollar?"
Coffey: Professionally a lot more attainable.
Alex Mandossian: It just retrains the mind.
Coffey: It gets the positive attitude going where if you said, "How could I make
a million dollars?" It would be "Well, I don't know." But "How could I make one
dollar?" I could make one dollar. Of course I could do that.
Alex Mandossian: When I went on my own, check this out
Patrick, I'd fail for three years if I would have asked myself, "How do I make
my first million dollars?" I would have failed for three years, and I would have
probably given up. But I made my first dollar on the Internet on my own in April
of 2001. I continued to make my first dollar, so it just kept cascading until I
had a lot of positive feedback.
The firth principle is teaching roadblocks. Go for them. Check out
what they are. What is the obstacle? That is positive. That is not negative. You
talk about a "SWOT" period in corporate America, strength, witnesses,
opportunities, and threats. A threat is a roadblock. If you go in responsibly,
(What is responsibility? The ability to respond.) if you can respond to
opposition of any kind with a strategy, it makes life a lot easier. I would seek
out the roadblocks in advance because there are always things that oppose your
goal. Passions are actually the raw material for achieving them. I didn't say
that, but one of my mentors, Dan Sullivan, said that. I am an apprentice of my
mentors. Everyone should be an apprentice.
I would say that that is the easiest and the clearest explanation of
how to overcome those fears to achieve your dreams. It is a tough question, but
that is the best I can do right now.
Coffey: Alex, I'm going to go ahead and challenge you a little bit. Clearly,
everybody knows by now that your expertise is in training. A lot of people take
the passion test and get clear on what their passions are. The most common
question they ask is, "How do I support myself doing what I love?" How do I go
about answering that question? Obviously, it is easier to see how you make money
off of training, but how do you make money off of other passions? How do you
answer that question to find out what to do exactly with your passion?
Alex Mandossian: First off, as a preamble to my answer,
is I'm talking to you five years later when an annual income became an hourly,
let's rewind to December 15, 2000. I am terrified. How am I going to feed my
family? I had the same terror inside me, like "How am I going to do this?" I
burned the ship behind me. All I can move is forward. There is really no room to
budge. I made my only choice. I am going to follow what I truly, truly have
fallen in love with, which is training. I had no idea what that was going to
look like. If anyone is in that place right now, if you go to bed scared, it you
go to be terrorized or frightened, I was there probably longer than most. I can
remember myself waking up and crying in my sleep. How am I going to feed my
There is a certain lifestyle in New York City. It was $300,000 a
year versus going to zero. Rewinding back, it was not a fun thing, but that is
exactly how you know that you are on the verge of a breakthrough: when it is
uncomfortable. Feeling that level of discomfort, my answer to, "How do you
support yourself doing what you love?" Is the easiest answer that I have found
for myself is breaking down your passion into bite sized chunks and focusing on
those things that will make you one dollar, not a million dollars. It doesn't
end with a dollar. It just completely restructures your thinking.
If you are going after a buck, it is not a lot. You can do that as
an affiliate, selling other people's products. You can easily do it as an
originator in an area of passion that you have. If you are an apprentice, I have
a three step process that I tell my students they have to go through. The first
is being a student. That is an apprentice. The second stage is to be an
affiliate. In other words, now you are a graduate assistant. You have learned;
you share the same passion with your mentor; you have the security of a mentor.
Every great sage has had a mentor. Plato had Socrates. Aristotle had Plato.
Alexander the Great had Aristotle. There are great mentors in history.
If you find a great mentor, then that automatically makes you into
an apprentice or a student. The next phase is being an affiliate or spreading
that word. It may not be your only passion, but it could be someone else's, and
they are in alignment with you, because they are your mentor. That is kind of
like being a graduate assistant.
The third stage is being a partner or a colleague. That is where you
go out on your own. You could go pro with someone else's product who shares your
same passion. If the only thing that you did – and this is what I did, I found
people who had the same types of passions that I did in training. I found the
best trainers in the world, and I worked with them for free. I was an affiliate
for them for free. I wasn't even getting paid. Then I started going out on my
what not to do. I think the most important thing to supporting yourself is go
after the one dollar. Become a professional. When you go pro you are validated
as a professional, and if you monetize your passion then you know that it is a
lot more important than the goals that you have in life. I think that Janet
Attwood said, "Passions are how we live our life; goals are the things we choose
to create." If passion is how we live our life, if you are able to make a dollar
for a passion, and that dollar splits into two, then four, and then eight, it is
possible if what you did created a dollar, you are not going to just make a
passion is monetized to where your existing income, if you have one, is matched
by your passion income, then I think it is safe to make a choice, because now
you have doubled what you are bringing in. You can either say, "Okay, I'm going
for my passion, and forget this other job or this other wage," or you can keep
going. I know people, my students, they don't cut bait from what they are doing
on their "corporate job" or their current wage until they make three times as
much from their job that they are creating with passion. There is very little
Here is the thing. It doesn't happen overnight. It may take two
years. I think that the first year you are a student. The second year you are an
affiliate. The third year you are a partner or you are a colleague.
To hear the full hour long interview for FREE ==>Click