I am super excited today to be chatting with our special guest, Armand Morin because he’s someone who’s become something of a figurehead in the world of online marketing. In the photo on the left, Armand is presenting me with a check for $25K after I’d been chosen as the winner of his “Better Your Best” contest in 2009. He’s done over $200 million in sales and he heads up what has become the longest running internet coaching program in history. He’s written books, he’s been a keynote speaker at countless conventions and above all is a great guy who practice what he preaches. So it’s a great pleasure for me to welcome Armand Morin.
Armand Morin: Oh, thank you very much for having me. I’m excited and I think we’re going to have a lot of fun today.
Editor: Me too. Well, Armand, you’ve been around the internet now for many, many years, but how did your journey start?
Armand Morin: When I got started on the internet, it was many, many moons ago. It was back in 1996 is when I first got started and what happened was, I had just had one of my first companies created and it was a long distance company, which means that we sold long distance services to local people, home residences and businesses and things of that nature. I just sold that company for a stock in another company, which by the way, isn’t always a good idea because I kept that stock and a few years later, I got a notice saying that all that stock that I sold my company for was valued at 1 cent.
Editor: No, no.
Armand Morin: Yeah. It was just a crazy, crazy experience, but it was great. It was my very first company and that first company did a $1.8 million in seven months and I was extremely excited. Of course that’s the gross, that’s not what I kept, of course, because basically what it turned into was only 1 cent. After that, I had a bit of time on my hands and at that time I was the technical person. I was the CEO of the company and I handled all the tech things within the company.
So, when I closed down the company, I kept really two things. I kept my laptop, which back in 1996, was state-of-the-art. It had a CD player and a three and a half inch floppy disc. So it was very special, but at that same time, I also kept my desk. So those are the two things I left that company with and everything I read was about the internet and Bill Gates made a statement way back then and that was, “If your business is not on the internet, your business will be out of business.”
At that time, Bill Gates was the richest man in the world and I thought, if he said this, then I must pay attention to this. So I did what everyone else did at that time. AOL was sending out these discs and I popped it into the computer and I jumped on and honestly, I didn’t even know what to do. I surfed around AOL a little bit to see what it was and then someone told me later on that day that that’s not the internet. That’s just the AOL.
So I’m confused. I said, “Well, what’s the internet?” They said, “Well, you have to click little E. That little E.” Of course, they were talking about Internet Explorer at the time. So I opened that up and I’m like, “Well, what do you do now?” They said, “Well, you search for things.” I’m kind of flabbergasted.
I’m like, “This is never going to work. People are not going to do this. Who’s going to sit around all day and just search for things on the internet?” Little did I know that that’s what I basically do now all day. The fact is, is that at that time I started doing what other people are doing. I started searching around and within a few minutes, I started searching for my competitors in the previous company that I had and I discovered that they were actually selling things on the internet.
Now, again, this is 1996. We have to put things in perspective. There was no Google, there wasn’t Facebook, there wasn’t all these social media. Social media, wasn’t even a thought at all back then.
So when I discovered that someone was selling something, I just thought, well, what should I sell? Again, remember, this is actually still day one. I’m probably about two hours into my whole internet journey. So, of course I’m a pro at this point. So now what happened is I ran across this one website and this one website changed my life forever.
When I went to this website was a very basic plain website and it said, “If you give me $25, I will list your website on my website and because I’m driving traffic to my website, you in turn will probably get traffic to your website.” So it was like a link directory, if you will. So I thought, “Man, that is the most simple idea that anyone could possibly do and need to do something like that.”
My website said this, “If you give me $25, I will put a link on my website to go to your website and because I’m going to advertise this, you should get traffic to your website.”
So basically, yes, I admitted, I copied basically that other person’s website. The other thing that I kept from my company though, was a tiny software program that at the time was legal where people could give you their checking information online and you could print a check that didn’t require a signature on your end.
Editor: Oh, wow. Okay.
Armand Morin: It was very interesting. So I put this website up in my … Now again, I had everything going against me because my website address was something like this, members.aol.com/some name/some name/some other name and then you finally get to my website. So it wasn’t the easiest URL in order to remember and also it wasn’t on a secure server and I was asking for people’s checking details on an unsecured form.
So, everything was going against me, but I advertised it on AOL and their classifieds and their different forums and message boards and at the end of that first week, I had in total around $8,000 in sales.
Editor: Wow, wow.
Armand Morin: I had $25 each and I had this big stack of checks now that none of them had a signature on that I had to go to my bank and try to cash. So they didn’t believe me at first, but I brought into the law that actually told them that it was true that you can do this. I had no problems from that point on, but again, this was my very first internet venture. We made $8,000 the first week and there was a lot of work that had to be done because every person that ordered, I had to add another link to their website on my website.
So you can see that my website went into multiple pages and it was very crude and it was all manual. There was nothing automated about it and against all odds, it succeeded. That was my very first venture where I made money but I also knew that that wasn’t going to well, be long standing as far as a business idea.
I started looking around at other things on the internet and I started saving things. I started saving things. Different bookmarks, different websites, websites that said free internet access, free magazines, free calendar, free this, free that. I thought, “Man, all these things sound really, really cool.”
I had this big list of bookmarks and at that time it was about six or 700 bookmarks and I had this idea one day. That idea was basically, well, if I think these things are cool, I bet you that other people might think these things are cool too. So I said, “Well, if I could put these bookmarks in an area where people could access them, then I could charge people for it,” and that’s what I did.
Armand Morin continues to be a thought leader in the area of online marketing. I hope you have taken away some ideas for your own business with this interview.
I’m bestselling USA Today and Wall Street Journal author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and my goal is to connect with you if you have more than just a passing interest in getting started with an online business. I most recently released Really Simple SEO Tips and Keywords for Beginners and this is an excellent place to begin. Please take a look while it’s still at its introductory pricing.