One of the reasons I wrote my book, The One Percent Edge, was to give you the insight and inspiration you need to create sustainable success and remain relevant in today’s changing market. I understand how hard many business owners and leaders work with very little to show for it at the end of the day. Part of the reason for this stems from external factors beyond your control. However, it’s important to focus on what you can control as you’re growing your business.
When you change your focus to what you “can do”, rather than what you “can’t do”, you’ll see a transformation in your business results and no one knows that better than Matt Morris. Matt is a wildly successful entrepreneur, but that wasn’t always the case. At age 21 Matt was $30,000 in debt, homeless, and living out of his car and bathing in gas station restrooms.
Today he has earned millions as an entrepreneur so I asked him to share some of the skills it takes for you to do the same.
Susan Solovic: Matt, I read your story. It’s hard to believe that you were that far down, living out of your car, and yet you were still able to turn things around. What do you attribute your success to?
Matt Morris: I guess being stubborn enough to not quit. You know, I think most entrepreneurs who make it struggle, right? I mean the one common thing among really successful people is they’ve failed a lot. I got exposed to personal growth and development. When I was about 18 years old I was working as a waiter at a hotel, and another waitress asked me if I ever thought about being in business for myself. I said, “Yeah, all the time.” She invited me to an Amway presentation.
I signed up in Amway and you know the system there was all about books and tapes. You know your life is going to be the sum of the books that you’ve read, the people you hung around with, and the audios that you’ve listened to. I just kind of took it to heart. I started the growth phase. I think a lot of people come into being an entrepreneur at a different level. I came into an entrepreneur kind of, from a personal growth standpoint, a very low level. I had a lot of growth that I needed.
John Maxwell’s Failing Forward is the key to success —not giving up. Get up as many times as you’ve been knocked down. I think that’s it. It’s the personal growth that did it.
Susan Solovic: So in other words you reinvented yourself by changing your attitude?
Matt Morris: I had so much pain, it was like all right, I’m going to do anything to get out of this situation.I still have my journal that I kept when I was living out of my car. I remember, I need to go back and read it, but it was like I’m going to do whatever it takes. I’m never going to be in this situation again. I’m going to become hugely successful.
I read this article called What In the Cell is Going On? It was about how every cell in your body will regrow itself every three to seven years, so you don’t have a single cell in your body that seven years from now that you have today, right? You can reinvent your health. I just thought, wow, if you can reinvent your health and people can cure disease and all this kind of stuff, surely I can reinvent my financial success.
I started reading books like crazy, like a madman. I was reading a new book every couple days.Things really started to change. I had a lot of awakenings and that’s when it started going forward. Not that it was smooth sailing the whole time. Lots of other challenges came up, but yeah, things started to increase.
Susan Solovic: They always say knowledge is power, but it truly is. You mentioned Amway. I tried that in my early 20s and failed miserably. It sounded so simple to make a lot of money easily. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are interested in direct selling, and you’ve had great success in that field, and they get caught up in this concept of this is easy money. What would you say to people who are considering building a business in that field?
Matt Morris: I think it’s one of the biggest challenges among leaders in network marketing is the lottery mentality. It’s interesting because it can be used by some probably less than honorable marketers, it can be used as a recruiting tool. You know it’s like, just get in and you’re going to make all this money. You attract a bunch of people and they were really mislead because it’s not a lottery. It’s not get in, do nothing, and make money. It requires a lot of work, just like anything.
I think one of the biggest things that I’ve done that’s contributed to success is not turn people away, but just really tell it like it is. Like any business, it’s going to require a lot of work. If you think you can just come in, do a little bit, and make a ton of money, that’s just not the case. Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast. It would be easy to mislead people and just get a bunch of people in real quick, but then it dies out.
I’d rather attract someone who is a real entrepreneur. Someone who really understands if you want a lot, you gotta work a lot. I may not recruit as many from a percentage standpoint, but the ones that I do understand what they have their hands on and they understand what it really takes, so that ultimately I can grow really fast.
Susan Solovic: That’s true for just about anything in life, isn’t it? You’ve got to work hard to get there. Absolutely. If someone’s thinking about a direct sales or a network marketing opportunity, how do they evaluate whether it’s a really good opportunity?
Matt Morris: One of the topics I talk about in my book is if you follow your passion then the money will come. For a lot of years in network marketing I would market products that I wasn’t really passionate about. It was like I see an income opportunity here, so I’m going to sell this product, even though I don’t really care about the the product and whatever it may be. It’s not something I would naturally want to talk about.
I think it boils down to passion. What are you really passionate about? Some people are really geared towards health and wellness. I take lots of health and wellness products. I’m taking a health and wellness product right now that I’m not even a part of. Some people really love helping people and transitioning people’s health. If you’re passionate about that, find a company that aligns with that.
I’m an adventure junkie, a thrill seeker. I just wanderlust. I can’t get enough of seeing the world, so I’m involved in a travel company. Something I’m really passionate about. This is a business where, like any business, you’re going to have to work hard. You’re going to have to talk about it a lot. I know me, I want to work really hard but I want it to be something I love. I don’t want to get bored. I would get bored talking about a product I wasn’t passionate about. I’d work really hard for the money for a short period of time, and then after six months it’s kind of like, oh gosh, I’m only doing it for the money, not because I really love it, or love the product. It was tough to stay motivated.
Susan Solovic: Are there any other red flags, like for example, having to purchase a lot of inventory for yourself?
Matt Morris: That’s a huge one. You know there’s a network marketing company recently that had major regulatory issues with the Federal Trade Commission. One of the biggest things that they pointed to was people have to buy the product in order to earn commissions. It’s a pay to play rule that is fairly dangerous for companies to have. If you’re required to purchase a bunch of products, either when you join, or even every month, if you’re required to buy the product in order to make money, the argument that the government ends up making is it’s a pyramid scheme.
Susan Solovic: Right. Exactly. That’s a good policy and it takes some risk out of it too, because some people can get excited about it, and then they realize it’s not something for them. Speaking of that, when you’re in network marketing, you have to be willing to be a good salesperson. You talked about having passion for the product, but you still have to sell. Yet many of us out there, you know whether you’re running your own start-up business organization or you’re in network marketing, you’re just afraid to get out there and sell. How do you get over that fear factor?
Matt Morris: This is the number one reason why people quit network marketing I believe, is because they get their feelings hurt. You go out and you get the rejection and someone says no. It was someone you were sure wanted to join your team. They find out it’s network marketing and they try to talk you out of it. “I can’t believe you’re doing something like that.” That’s got to be the biggest reason that I’ve seen after 22 years.
We actually train kind of a very low-key sales approach. When you’re approaching someone, it’s number one, being very authentic. Share your why. Listen, I got involved in a company or I bought this product and here’s why I bought it. Be authentic because people have the bullshit factor. Their bullshit radar is always on. If you’re trying to be inauthentic and salesy, they spot it and they don’t want to hear it. Be very authentic and let them know, “Hey, either way, if you love it great. If not, that’s great, but I wanted to at least share it with you.”
Susan Solovic: Matt, you have excellent resources available for my readers. What are they?
Matt Morris: If you go to MattMorris.com, I’ve got a newsletter there you can subscribe to. You’ll get two or three free training videos per week delivered to your inbox. You can click on my YouTube channel. I’ve got about 300 different videos. A lot are entrepreneurship, sales, personal development, but my wheelhouse is really network marketing. If you’re a network marketer there are a ton of resources and a ton of training that will definitely help you in a big way. If you’re looking to go from amateur to professional in network marketing I think that would be the biggest resource I could provide.