INTERESTED IN MAKING MORE MONEY? READ THIS...
– From the desk of Mark Attwood, Award Winning Entrepreneur
I was born in a Northamptonshire village in 1969. My loving family all came from long lines of “labourers” (at least, that what it says on all my ancestors death certificates) going back as far as the Domesday Book in 1089.
I don’t know why, but something in me decided at a very young age that I was not going to repeat this pattern. I was not going to get someone pregnant at the age of 18 like my Dad did, and I was certainly not going to get up at 4am every day to work in a factory like he did.
I was going to travel the world and make a fortune. At least, that’s what I told myself every day. But how was I going to escape my destiny?
I was 8 years old and sat in dusty old Miss Denny’s boring Maths class. I was daydreaming out of the window when a Harrier jump jet roared past at 300ft and 400 mile per hour. This was it! My escape plan from the village!
I decided to become a fighter pilot. Over the next 8 years I focused on doing everything I could to achieve my dream. People laughed at me…“You can’t be a fighter pilot, you’re from a council house”…“You can’t do that, you’re too short!”…“Dream on. You’ll be working in the local mill just like me when you’re 16”.
My careers office at school told me at 14 the best job I could hope for would be in a factory in the local town. He had to contain his laughter when I told him with 100% conviction that I was going to be a pilot.
I joined the Air Cadets as soon as they would let me in (I tried to join 18 months younger than their minimum age, but they sussed my short arse out).
I flew solo in a glider at the age of 16 (I could fly before I could drive). I won a Flying Scholarship which got me 30 hours flying training at Denham Airport, North London, for free when I was 17.
I won numerous Best Cadet Awards.
I studied extra hard at the subjects I needed to get into the RAF (they wanted a minimum of 5 “O” Levels including Maths and Physics – if you’re under the age of 45, an O Level is like a GCSE, but harder :))
I got 14 O Levels and then applied for an RAF Sixth Form Scholarship as a pilot (I couldn’t believe they’d given me money to study A Levels!). I then won the coveted University Cadetship (only given to 30 out of 10,000 applicants every year). I went to RAF Cranwell and trained as an Officer.
I got an “exceptional” grade in my Basic Handling Test from a former Red Arrows leader from the world-famous Central Flying School, the highest grade they had given out in 23 years!
But then… One day, my 37 year old Dad who had worked his fingers to the bone to feed and clothe me and my baby brother (who was born blind), collapsed with a cerebral brain haemorrhage on 19th November 1986.
Three days later it was left to me to turn off his life support machine because my Mum was too “out of it” to make the decision. It was the darkest day of my life. Everything was a bit of a blur after that. Everyone was in deep shock and said the same thing that everyone says to you when someone dies (if you’ve ever lost anyone, you’ll know what I mean):
“I am so sorry to hear of your loss.”
Everyone. Except one woman. She was my girlfriend’s Mum. A head teacher and a 60s hippy who liked to walk around her house in a kaftan with a cigarette in one hand and usually a gin in the other. She was an extraordinary woman who I felt like punching when she said this to me:
“I know it won’t seem like it Mark, but this is the best thing that could have happened to you”. What?! How could she say something like that to me?! My Dad had just died for Christ’s sake! But, inside there was a part of me that knew she was right, although I really didn’t understand what it was.
What happened over the next few years was astonishing. You see, my Dad’s sudden death had caused me to revaluate everything in my life, and everything about myself. It was like my whole personality had been blown up in the air. When the pieces came back down again, they came together in different places. I started to realise that I was just a number in the RAF and that I was actually being trained to kill people. (5206226Y, in case you were wondering. I still remember it 25 years later).
Now that I had experienced death first-hand in such a vivid way, I knew that killing other human beings was something I could never do. Also, two of my friends in the RAF had committed suicide (one crashed his aircraft into Southport beach on purpose and burned to death, the other stabbed himself with a kitchen knife because he couldn’t cope with the stress of failing his exams).
I had seen how coldly the RAF treated these incidents and how they covered up the truth of what really happened. So, after I had achieved that grade from the Red Arrows pilot, I handed in my resignation letter to my CO (Commanding Officer). They were not happy. I had to go through a year of visits from an RAF social officer to try and talk me out of it.
You see, in my youthful exuberance I had signed a 20-year contract. They had invested a lot into me, and if I was going to leave I had to “buy” my way out. The only problem was – I had no money. Every penny from my RAF salary had gone on cars, drinking and girls. I was 19 after all! So, I was left with a year to go on my degree in Economics and suddenly skint like every other student (as an RAF student, I was loaded).
My interest in my degree had waned, and I started taking an interest in writing. I was writing poetry and articles for local magazines when I stood for election to edit the student magazine at Manchester Polytechnic in 1990, and won. This gave me a year on a small salary to work out where my future was going to be. It also taught me how to publish a magazine (which went on to earn me over £3 million, but more on that later).
…and went to work in Canary Wharf in London for a few months helping them put their Student Extra publication together (a desperate attempt by a right wing paper to invest in getting your readers as most of the people buying it were in their 60s).
It was an amazing experience. I was in the main office when news of the Lockerbie bomb came through, so I really got to see how a paper works. It also put me off journalism for life. Nobody’s complete story ever made it to the final press because of the army of sub editors they employed to ensure the stories toed the corporate line.
I had also sat in the back of black cabs with middle-aged men drunkenly crying on my shoulder and telling me about how their job had caused the break-up of their marriages. So, I bounced back to Manchester and started to build a life for myself at the age of 22.
I realised that I really needed money. I had blagged a mortgage on a terraced house in Moss Side (one of the roughest parts of the whole country at the time) which cost £26,000, but I was starting to fall behind on the mortgage payments.
Although the monthly payments were less than £200 a month, I simply did not have the money. So, I looked in the local paper (this was pre-internet, don’t forget) and found an advert that said something like this:
I didn’t know what OTE meant (I found out later it stood for “On-Target Earnings”), but I knew £2k per month sounded bloody brilliant. So, I went for the interview and was offered the job in 5 minutes flat (I didn’t realise they took anyone on and had the policy of firing people that couldn’t make a sale). My job? To sell adverts to small businesses in the BT Phone Book.
What was really funny about this is that no one needed an advert in the BT Phone Book, because you would only use it if you knew the name of the company you were looking for, which would already be in the free listings! But, sell I did, and it got me out of a hole. I was a fast learner and quickly became one of their best salespeople. So much so, that I got head-hunted again to work for a magazine that one of the former sales stars had gone off and set up.
It was a trade magazine for the UK Taxi industry. So, off I went to work for this young entrepreneur. I could not believe how much money he was making! He was 24 and pocketing over £10,000 a month personally.
This was nuts to me. As a pilot, I thought £24k per year was a Kings Ransom. This guy, who had no particular talents that I could see, was earning FIVE times that! It inspired me so much that I decided to set up my own magazine, this one for the UK Courier Industry. There was a lot of talk in the early 90s of privatising the Post Office, so I thought this growth market would be the perfect place to publish a magazine.
I knew how to write and I knew how to sell, so off I went and set up my first business from my Moss Side living room. All I had was an Amstrad computer and a phone, and that was all I needed…
I had produced 3 magazines, a national exhibition at the NEC and sold that magazine for 5 figures. I was King of the World! Except I wasn’t. As I was only 23, that money disappeared fast. In the meantime, I had decided that I wanted to have a go at being an actor.
I had no time or money for drama school, so instead I just hired out a theatre and put a play on! It was a big success and I attracted some serious talent for my next production. I had to put my little house up as collateral, but the bank lent me some money to put more plays on.
This is where I got my first taste for marketing. You see, the theatres in Manchester rarely sold out. Lots of them were Arts Council funded, so there didn’t seem to be too much care or thought going into the commercialism of the shows being put on. I couldn’t afford to think like that, so I did the complete opposite to what everyone else was doing to market their plays.
Most shows that I could see were relying on nicely designed postcards placed in libraries and bars around town. They looked nice and pretty, but I wanted something that hit people in the face more. But, how to do this with a tiny budget?
I looked around Manchester and the one thing that really stood out was fly-posters. All the nightclubs and bands were doing this with massive posters advertising the Happy Mondays, the Hacienda and different club nights (for anyone that remembers the Madchester-era, it was a cool time to be young).
So, I did the same for my little theatre shows. It involved me meeting some gangsters and exchanging cash in back alleys, but it worked. Every show we did sold out! And we did everything from Beckett and Pinter to Abigails Party and the mega-successful Rita, Sue and Bob Too (which 40,000 people ended up paying to see my bare bum in a simulated sex scene up and down the country!)
This also led me to doing stand up comedy across the UK, making two TV shows and ending up in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights before becoming a West End director of a comedy show called Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf which also toured for 8 years.
So…a bit of a mad life so far, right? It got madder… At the age of 30 I decided I’d had enough of messing around. Theatre and comedy were fun, but I wanted to achieve more stuff and then get married and have kids.
I’d always wanted 6 kids since I can remember, and I knew I would need a considerable income stream to do this, so I decided to rekindle my interest in business. Although I had run my theatre company as a business, it was more like an expensive hobby. I needed to start making some serious dough and that’s when fate played me another funny hand.
You see, whilst I was making my (very low paid) TV shows, my girlfriend at the time said she was fed-up picking up the restaurant tab every time we went out for dinner.
In no uncertain terms, she told me to go and get a job. So I did. I ended up working for an advertising agency in Salford that was doing some very interesting things on this new thing called the internet. The guy I was working for ended up launching and selling LateRooms.com, a very successful hotel booking service, for £ tens of millions. He got me selling domain names to businesses for £200 a pop!
But I persevered and sold quite a few. I also hung out with the team of web developers he had and I got the internet bug there and then, despite the fact that it took me 6 hours to download a 30 second video commercial from the US for Doctor Who’s triumphant return with Paul McGann! (Not 🙂 )
This led to me creating a website of my own called Whoopydo.com, which got listed in Internet Magazine as the 26th best UK website (Lastminute.com was no.60!). It was all about selling deals on holidays, electronics, finance at massive discounts – taking the usual marketing spend out of a product and passing that saving on to the consumer. It was a great ego trip, but it was also a massive flop!
Like most of the “dotcom bubble” websites, it was ahead of it’s time and lacked the ONE thing very website needs to make money – TRAFFIC. The only problem was, no-one knew what a domain name was, so it was not an easy job to flog them (it was 1996 after all). So, I went off and set up a new business selling my marketing skills to corporations. I ran national promotions for companies like RBS, Specsavers, Panasonic and so on.
I made a lot of money, but I was bored stiff driving up and down the M6 to kiss someone’s backside to get some budget off them. Plus, I was fed up making millions of ££s for large corporations – I wanted to make some serious money for myself. I was still licking my wounds on the internet but watched with great interest as Google came onto the scene and started dominating everything online.
My business partner told me he thought the internet was finished, but I was convinced there were multiple markets that had not achieved their potential online yet, so I knew our time together was coming to an end. And it did when I met Katy, now my wife of eleven years and mother to our five little children here in Morocco (but didn’t manage 6, but we had a damn good try).
Katy’s Dad had a waste transfer station in Gorton, Manchester. During dinner at his house one night he proclaimed in his loud, straight-talking, Mancunian drawl:
“’Ere, you know marketing. Come and market my skips”
“What’s a skip?” I replied.
“Big metal box. You put shit in it and we take it away”
So, I was introduced to the world of skip hire. A £15 billion a year industry I was to change forever. I entered “skip hire” into Google and found practically nothing. Furthermore, Katy and I called about 50 companies to see how they operated.
If they did answer the phone (some didn’t), they would shout, be vague, quote Katy higher prices than me (because she is a woman) – generally, it seemed like a very backwards industry from a marketing point of view. And why wouldn’t it be? The majority of their business came from construction companies, not middle class housewives.
So, I saw my opportunity and set up the world’s first fully online skip hire service in partnership with my father-in-law (who was not convinced this idea was going to work at all, but wanted to keep his daughter happy I think) called Topskips.com, and so began the biggest ride of my career…
As soon as we launched the website, we got the first online order the same day, from a woman called Yvette in Rochdale. We were so happy that we sent her a bunch of flowers. And then… Nothing.
We’d spent £5k on a logo (that you could now get done for $5 on fiverr.com) and £5k on a PR campaign that got us half a page in the business section of the Manchester Evening News (i.e. a complete waste of money).
Now I was stuck. I was so obsessed with building an amazing website, that I’d missed the most important part of the puzzle. I needed traffic, and I needed it fast if I was going to impress the father of my wife-to-be. So, I had heard about this new thing called Adwords from Google, but I didn’t have a clue how to use it.
I found a guy in the States called Perry Marshall who’d written a guide called “The Definitive Guide to Google Adwords”. It was $99. I snapped it up, and ended up spending over $5000 with Perry to master this thing asap. So much so, that on one of our coaching calls he said to me:
“I really can’t do anything to improve that”
You see, I knew how important it was that I mastered this. I’d already wasted a load of money on stuff that didn’t work, so I decided to lock myself in my living room until I had built an Adwords campaign that was going to make money.
Those two days were the most productive two days of my life. The campaign that I built went on to be the foundation for a business that went on to generate over £40 million (and counting).
I have since spent (and managed for clients) over £3 million in Adwords. But, back to 2005… I came to realise that Adwords was just the beginning of the puzzle. Although the cost per click back then was low (about 17p), I wanted to get more free traffic. This led me to study and apply:
What I realised was that doing online marketing successfully is a bit like being a conductor of an orchestra – you need to pull everything together in harmony. And I became like Andre Previn.
The growth curve was incredible. We went from zero to £700k in year one, then £1.8m in year two, then £3.6m in year three, then £7.6m in year four.
Since 2005, it has generated over £40 million and continues to grow today. We employed over 300 people and were so successful that there was one month where we had 5400 leads than we could not physically answer! (A bad problem, but also a good problem to have).
We got featured in The Daily Telegraph and on BBC Radio 2 (three times), and I got awarded an award from Crains Business Magazine. Here’s the recording on me on the Chris Evans Show discussing the magazine I told you about earlier (I called it “The Skip”):
– I then re-branded it to become a national tool and equipment hire business called PAL Hire, and then moved to Morocco in 2014 with my family to run my Digital Marketing Agency, AttwoodDigital.com, enjoy lots of sunshine, much lower costs of living and an amazing cultural experience for our little ones.
Simply because I know you are looking for ways to make money. I know that anyone who wants to make money in 2015 and beyond has to master marketing on the internet, or at least have a good grasp of how it works.
Whether you’re looking to work from home, buy a franchise, open a restaurant – whatever, there is no business on Earth that can thrive without an understanding of how the whole internet thing works. It does not matter what type of business you end up doing – you will make more money if you understand the principles behind successful internet marketing.
This is why I started teaching internet marketing to other entrepreneurs back in 2008. I’ve done hundreds of seminars and workshops in prestigious places such as The British Library, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, The Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Business, and many more.
I am the real deal – what I teach people is not about “Get rich quick” or the latest fad. I teach people solid principles that revolve around the equation for true success online:
I have been so successful at this that many of my students with existing real-world businesses have recorded over 1000% growth in as little as six months.
To use the famous analogy, I teach people to fish rather than selling them the fish. So, in 2014, I decided to lay out my strategies in a 6.5 hour online video and DVD course.
I called it “The Technophobes Guide to Internet Marketing Success” because I wanted to make something so simple to understand, my Granny could do it.
In this course, I outline firstly what I call the “8 Pillars of Internet Marketing Wisdom” – if you get these nailed on, you will never be broke again.
“Mark is the go-to guy for all things internet marketing. He’s also one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen, making everything really easy to understand. Highly recommended.”
Shaa Wasmund MBE, Best selling business author and founder of Smarta.com
I have worked with Mark, and continue to work with him on a range of online marketing projects, and was delighted to speak at one of his events. As far as i’m concerned, his search marketing expertise is unequalled.”
Ben Hunt, Author of “Convert!” and “Save the Pixel”
“Following Mark’s advice helped me increase my turnover by 1000%+ in just six months”
Ellie Kirby, Entrepreneur
I also believe in giving away information that will help you right from the very beginning. One thing I pioneered in the UK back in 2005 was the use of video marketing. If you have never done any video marketing before, you will find my “YouTube SEO Magic Trick” really useful.
Watch it and then go and try it for yourself – as long as you don’t pick a competitive keyword (ie. A keyword that lots of other people have optimised videos for), you will be amazed at the speed of this:
But, the foundation for success with anything you do online, including social media, is researching keywords that people are actually typing into Google (not guessing what they are). But, more than that, it’s having the right strategy for those keywords. Once you understand the power of my Red/Amber/Green/Gold Keyword Research System, you will be blown away by what’s possible if you apply this to your existing or future business.
It is a system I have used over and over again to get top rankings in Google and made £millions for me and my clients. To give you a really good idea of the training that I offer in my course, I’m giving you the 41-minute Keyword Research Tutorial away for free – all you need to do is enter your email address below to get instant access to it: