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The Hero’s Journey – To the Top

The Hero’s Journey – To the Pinnacle – Internet Marketing From Home

KIMBO THE BIMBO

A Very Naughty Boy

This is a story that is partly about gratification, the instant kind. We all seek it at various times, sad to say. 

But it’s also a lesson about Business and Marketing, including Archetypes. I’m featuring two personality and behavioral types for this lesson. I’ll get to the lesson shortly and then discuss the bigger issues associated with each archetype.

But for now, I want to set the scene by sharing a little of my back story and show you how the lust for instant gratification affects the decisions we make and what sort of business we ultimately build. Get it?

For me, the thirst for quick results manifested in all sorts of ugly ways. One thing that magnified the pain was my poor money management habits. In essence, the lack of discipline was a pain avoidance technique. The old me would rather spend now and face the consequences later.

I bet you can identify with some of the foregoing. Add to the mix the hunger for instant results, and presto – a lethal cocktail.

But here’s the thing – I wasn’t always like this. 

When I was a kid, I was passionate about saving my pocket money. I loved watching it build in my first piggy bank. Once filled, my Mum would go to the bank and get another one. On it went till I had about 6 of them, all filled to the brim.

I could practice delayed gratification, no problems, although I had a mild addiction to chocolate. Can’t win ’em all, eh?

Fast forward to my late teens and like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to the world of sales. Which is kinda strange – I was timid with zero self-confidence. Looking back, I took this career pathway because of an innate desire to improve myself. 

Another reason was revenge. I wanted to earn more than my mates so I could rub their noses in it.

The final reason was – you guessed it – the lure of quick money. It was commission sales; one sale would generate a higher commission than the average weekly wage at that time.

The lust for big commissions started when I was in my late teens, and it affected my actions for a long time.

So, I commenced working for a large life insurance company at age 19. Lo and behold within a couple of weeks – and with the help of my sales manager – I made my first sale. Boom! I made $200, which in today’s money would be at least $1,500. 

And that’s more or less how my life evolved for decades. I did the work, made a sale, then celebrated. That cycle was repeated thousands and thousands of times.  

The celebrations came in different forms, such as a slap-up meal at a fancy restaurant (usually French – yes, I’m a foodie). 

At other times I bought my wife expensive jewelry. But my fav reward was to buy a car. Over the years, I’ve bought Porches, Mercs, and Lexus. I nearly bought a Ferrari once, but after a test drive, I decided it was too damn noisy. Did I mention the waterfront home? Another story for another day.

 I hate to say this, but I’ve let millions of dollars pass through my fingers. If only I had a different attitude to money way back then. If only.

Which brings me to my online journey. I decided to do affiliate marketing in 2006. But rather than choose a low-cost product or service to promote, I reverted to my past and went with the big-ticket/high commission option. It paid commissions of $1,000 to $5,500. Way to go.

And because of my background, I took to it like a duck to water. Within a few weeks, I made my first sale, then another, and one more for good measure. In the dying days of that first month, $9,000 was dropped into my bank account. Not bad for a part-time gig, eh? Months 2 and 3 were even better with $17,000 and $25,000 commissions respectively.

And to top it off 12 months later I had my first $40,000 month. Crazy – a technophobic dufus like me making big money online.

So yeah, as an online guy, I’ve done well at various times. But here’s what I found. It wasn’t sustainable. My income mix was loaded with temporary instant income, yet not much in the way of residual income.

Let me tell you something.

If you’re producing non-recurring income – as a consultant, course developer, digital agency, expert, coach or affiliate marketer – you don’t have a business. Rather, you have – at best – a way to put food on the table and pay the bills but not much more than that.

The moral of the story is this. Gratification comes in different forms. For me, it was fast cars and high living. For others, it’s binge eating, booze, and drugs. Some get their fix from buying shiny objects like courses, miracle software, and ‘push-button easy’ money-making schemes. 

Choose your poison, eh?  

In essence, the foregoing represents the early stages of my Hero’s Journey.

Before we go any further let’s take a look at the Hero’s Journey structure as created by Joseph Campbell.  In his book – The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Campbell developed his concept called the Monomyth.  It was then adapted to the Twelve Stage Hero’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.

Take a look at the above image. You can see the 12 steps in all their glory. In the context of the movie world, we might see a hero facing many foes and overcoming various obstacles to conquer his enemies and reach the summit.

Lots of people embark on their Hero’s Journey even though they don’t know it. They just want a better tomorrow for themselves and their families. Relating it back to the above model they want to enter a Special World.

The problem is that they have no idea of the pain and the crap they’ll have to endure to reach the Pinnacle. Maybe they don’t want to know, eh? So they embark on the journey with ridiculously unrealistic expectations, and as a consequence, they often quit and abandon the dream.

The other big issue is that they often refuse to embrace the concept of change. After all, if the old you has gotten you to where you are right now, and assuming you’ve been bumping along without much forward movement for a while, we must assume that the ‘old you’ ain’t up to getting the wanna be you to your own personal Summit.

When I kicked off with my Hero’s Journey I was still in old Kimbo mode. I wanted to change but didn’t know how to do it. But I figured that if I armed myself with some key understandings and principals, I’d learn as I go.

Soon enough it became apparent that I didn’t require just incremental change – it had to be transformational.

Let me tell you that there were plenty of times when the old me was dominant; he prevailed for a period. Success is not a straight line. It is replete with leaps forward and retreats to the comfort of the old life.

How to make the leap forward? In the parlance of the Hero’s Journey, the best thing you can do is say YES to the Call to Adventure. Embark on the journey and join the battle.

Face the challenges, overcome setbacks and slay the dragons.

Does everyone triumph? No. Many start the journey and fall by the wayside. Why? Unrealistic expectations about how easy it will be, plus a willful refusal to change their behavior.

Or to put it another way; there wasn’t enough commitment, because they didn’t fully buy-in. So they’re stuck in their old versions of themselves, like a time warp.

For this article, I was going to feature two protagonists – Old Kim and New Kim. But then I thought it would be better to broaden it so I created two new archetypes that are similar to – but not the same as – the old and new me. I call them Jim and Andrew.

Let me say that very few make the transformation. Moving from a seemingly hopeless position to one where you are confronting the obstacles (of which there are many), overcoming them, and ultimately reaching the summit, is not easy. It’s damn hard.

Note this. The Old Kim was incapable of reaching the Summit. To do that only profound internal change would do.

Another point is that deep change usually doesn’t happen instantly. It comes as a result of fighting various battles along the way.

Most people don’t have the stomach for battle so they shrink and recoil into a world of defense posturing (denial) and blame-shifting (the namers and blamers stage).

Let’s continue now with the rest of the story – The Turnaround.

The Turnaround 

First up, it’s important to accept one profound truth. A change in results can only happen after a change in thinking. Often the shift occurs when someone enters your life and offers to help. I met my ‘one person’ in March 2012. His name was Matt (still is!).  

Matt was a lot younger than me. But after he gave a talk at a marketing conference in Singapore, I thought that ‘this guy has something I want’. What was it? A different approach to making AND keeping the money. Over the next 2-3 years, Matt helped me make a lot of money. But more than this: he helped me change the way I viewed money.

So, I became much more frugal and lo and behold, my bank balance started to grow exponentially.

But this is not a post about money management; it’s about business, mindset, and marketing. The three are intertwined. So, I began to think long term. I wanted to emulate those few online marketers who had built strong businesses with long term viability. 

Have I changed since the early days? You betcha. I may not have reached the Summit in my Hero’s Journey but I’m well beyond the foothills and the peak beckons.

I’ve morphed from the Old Kim to the new improved version. Here was a dude who was shallow, foolish, and addicted to the instant fix. You could call him the last of the big spenders. But the New Kim was strategic, obsessed with the creation of value, and a long-term thinker. He was also frugal.

Who are you? Are you like the Old Kim or the new version? If you’re like 95% of people I talk to, you’re still stuck in the old model. Of course, your issues will be different from mine, but I bet you can identify with many of the core themes in this post.

And that’s why I decided to create two avatars, as stated. The first roughly (but not entirely) represents the old me. The second is the new me. Take a look and see where you fit. But before you do, I need to say this. Get rid of your EGO. Your ego may be preventing you from moving forward, so to get value from this exercise you’ll need to banish it for a while.

So, let’s talk about Jim and Andrew. The first one roughly represents me – the way I used to be – while the second represents where I’m at now.

 Most people are struggling. They struggle to build a following and attract clients and customers. This is because they have specific issues they must address before they can take their business to the next level. 

Which avatar are you? See for yourself – it won’t take long to figure it out. Happy reading!

MEET JIM

Jim could be male or female – it doesn’t matter. What matters are the behavior patterns that determine his current results. I estimate that 95 percent of people who are trying to do business online represent Jim – he is them. 

Is this you – are you Jim? Take a good look at this list and decide.

1. Addicted to Hype and Hoopla. Jim and his ilk are raw meat for the get rich quick gurus. These are the hustlers who are forever thinking of ways to exploit Jim’s weaknesses and extract more money from him. It’s better to be less emotional, but Jim is incapable of coolly analyzing the latest miracle offer. What about you?  

2. All Tactics, No Strategy.  Jim is obsessed with ‘how-to’ s,’ but misses the big picture. Short-termism seems to be in his DNA. Can he change? Time will tell.

3. All Hat, No Cattle.  The Jim’s of this world are full of hot air. They play the ‘fake it till you make it’ game to create the illusion of success. But in reality, they’re hollow. Sure, they might make some sales, but because they lack a strong strategic foundation, they’re sitting ducks for the next big thing. 

4. Not Building An Asset. Even when Jim makes a few sales, one thing is obvious – he is not building a long-term asset. All he’s doing is making some ‘here and now’ money to pay the bills. Without a change, in ten years, he’ll still be spinning his wheels with little or nothing to show for his efforts. 

5. The Mindset of An Engineer. No offense to real engineers, but there are various behavioral patterns reminiscent of the engineering class. For example, they often immerse themselves in a lot of detail. In the real world of engineering, this behavior is justified. But in the world of marketing and sales, spending vast amounts of time on non-essential, non-income producing detail is a recipe for disaster. Days and weeks can elapse before the penny drops – they haven’t made money this month, this quarter, or even this year. This has happened to Jim many times – what about you?

6. Hiding in His Comfort Zone. Jim rarely stretches himself. He is fearful of venturing forth into the big bad world outside of his comfort zone. So he keeps doing the same old things in the same old way. Thus, he doesn’t grow, and as a consequence, he fails to learn the skills borne of the school of hard knocks. 

7. Commitment-Phobe. Jim never commits to anything. He skirts the boundaries and rarely goes ‘all-in.’  Sure, he may go all-in on a get rich quick scheme and spend a fortune, but when it comes to doing the grunt work – nah, not a chance.

8. Allergic to Thinking. These folks don’t like thinking for themselves, so they transfer responsibility to others. How does it manifest? They love cheat sheets, copy and paste templates, miracle software, and of course, ‘push-button easy’ make money schemes. They may even steal other people’s content rather than create their own. Jim has a lazy brain; it’s not that he is dumb; it’s that he rarely uses his mind the way God intended. 

9. Ego Driven. Jim does everything himself. He never outsources. He thinks he’s doing a great job, but his results prove otherwise. Our Jim likes to posture on social media, including Facebook groups. People believe he’s a real deal expert, yet, in reality, he’s broke like everyone else. Our boy doesn’t think he needs coaching or mentoring either. That’s ego, NOT truth talking once again. If it weren’t so sad, it would be laugh out loud funny.  

10. Information Junky.  I call them the walking dead – the brain overload zombies. These are the folks who stuff their brains with information and do precisely nothing with it. Our Jim is not quite that bad – he is committed to taking action. He devours information like lions devouring a carcass, but when he tries to implement, he does it very badly. 

12. Product Driven NOT Value Driven. ‘I gotta make a sale’ is Jim’s mantra. He and a vast cohort like him are always chasing sales rather than leading with value.  

13. Warped View of Sales Work. Like Jim, these folks think sales work is about chasing, pitching, and hustling people. They don’t understand or apply pull marketing methods, nor do they have a growing audience of TRUE FANS. Oh dear.

 MEET ANDREW

Poor Jim. What a mess he’s in. But there is hope – although only 5 percent of the Jim’s of this world make the transition and become Andrew (or is it Jill?). 

Andrew is the polar opposite of his alter ego, Jim (more like a brother from another mother).

Andrew manages his impulses and rarely succumbs to the lure of bright, shiny objects. Rather he thinks long term and eschews the flim-flam of the get rich quick world. He is obsessed with building long-term income streams and business assets that grow in value over time.

But more than this.

Andrew is not just about making money. Rather he sees it as a way of keeping score. His main focus is simple: to make a difference. A difference for his clients and customers, his community, and his world.

Take a look – are you Andrew yet?

1. Focused on Value Creation. Andrew starts with two questions: ‘What are the wants and needs of my target market?’ and ‘How can I help them solve their problems and have a better tomorrow?’ 

2. Driven by Intention, Purpose, and Meaning.  He knows that money is not the primary motivator; it’s a by-product of the value creation process.  Andrew wants to make a difference, and not just for himself and his family. He sees himself as a cog in a massive machine. But he knows he has a contribution to make and will make a difference for a lot of people, given enough time. That is his purpose, his raison d’être.

3. The Focal Point. Andrew is the go-to person in his space. If people have questions, they come to him. If they need help with something, they go to him. They know that even if he can’t help them, he will point them in the right direction because he has created a formidable network of supporters, enablers and experts. 

4. Values Commitment.  He is the opposite of wishy-washy and expects the people he works with to be the same. His philosophy is simple: he matches commitment with commitment, energy with energy. 

5. Seeks Discomfort. Hard over easy, slow over fast. During the journey, there will always be setbacks and hardships. While Jim avoids pain Andrew revels in it. He sees delays and problems as mere challenges yet to be confronted and overcome. 

6. Growing Long Term Assets. While Andrew understands it is imperative to keep an eye on cash flow in the short term, he is also acutely aware of the need to build business assets in the long run. These assets come in the form of a sorted customer and prospect email list, an active email campaign to drive sales, well-trafficked websites that build authority, demonstrate competence, and generate a steady flow of leads/inquiries/bookings. Andrew also creates a recurring income from subscription-based affiliate sales as well as his own monthly subscription-based offerings. 

7. Learns by Doing. Buying courses and watching how-to videos can be a good thing to do. But Andrew instinctively knows that without urgent and sustained implementation, results will be illusory. His attitude is simple: learn and do. If he buys a course to improve his skills, he won’t study the entire course before he lifts a finger to implement the strategies. Instead, he studies one lesson, then takes massive action on what he learned. 

8. Underpinned by Strategy. Getting into action and taking care of business is vital. But sustained long term results can only happen when a long-term game plan underpins the day to day activities. Andrew developed a strong strategic foundation, but it’s not a static thing: it’s continually evolving. 

In summary, Andrew is building a business, not just an income, whereas Jim is always chasing the next sale. the next chunk of cash.

So, when I kicked off with my online gig in 2006 I was a lot like Jim. I was clueless and still operating under the old paradigm. Sure, I made money but I was chasing the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And when I made money it soon disappeared into a vortex of bills and indulgences. Like a rat on a wheel, I was spinning around and around, with nothing to show for it.

I bought plenty of courses and joined various money-making programs and ended up becoming a paid-up member of the hallowed opportunity seeker club. Whoopee.

So where do you sit on the totem pole? And where to from here?

Well, you can keep doing things the same way. Or you can choose to join the transformers journey – the Call to Adventure. Can you do it without help? I doubt it and if you think otherwise, it’s probably your phony baloney ego talking once again.

Maybe you only need a nudge or a sounding board. Whatever. Take THIS STEP now.

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