Lloyd Irvin – Martial Arts Entrepreneur

One of my core, fundamental, base principles is that once you have an idea you have to bring it to life. You have to get started on it within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

Lloyd Irvin Jr. grew up in Suitland, Maryland. Lloyd is a proud dad, husband, and lifelong entrepreneur. Lloyd was taught as a small boy, the power of being his own boss. He used to watch his Granddad play Craps in the local bar. His Granddad would always tell him, “better to work for yourself than to work for other people’.

Lloyd attended Bowie State on a track scholarship and later earned a scholarship to play football. He loved college life, playing ball and being a part of his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity INC. In 1993, he graduated Bowie State with a degree in Business Marketing.

When it was time to go into the work-force, Lloyd knew he would make a terrible employee and started multiple small businesses, from printing t-shirts and even having his own entertainment group, Dog4 Entertainment. Lloyd was bold about taking chances and making his name known in the world.

In 1996, he started his martial arts school and in 3.5 years, earned his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It was with his martial arts school that he launched into the world of Internet Marketing.

After attending his first conference and doing exactly what he was told to do, he launched his first product and made $180K on his first day.

Since then, he has become a major player in the Internet Marketing world. Lloyd has his own coaching and consulting group, with clients investing $60-$100K/yr. He has taken all his specialized knowledge and passed it on to many business owners, doubling and tripling their profits.

Where did the idea for your internet marketing business come from?

When I first got introduced to direct response marketing and sales talk and everything, I was first doing it for my martial arts motive and martial arts academy, for my martial arts school.

Then I started hearing about all these different people making lots of money online, marketing products and services, and so forth. One of my original mentors told me about a guy named Kim McCarthy. Kim McCarthy is like the grandpa of internet marketing.

Every Internet marketing guru out here that you see has either come through Kim’s program back in the day or used to attend the systems seminar. I attended the event and what I saw absolutely changed my life.

I saw real people, average people, every day making money online, selling products online. People were selling some of the craziest things ever–from different niches. It was an incredible experience. I got the bug and that was in 2003. The rest is history.

What does your typical day look like? How do you make it productive?

A lot of people have different models, you know? I have some friends who wake up at four or five o’clock in the morning. I can’t do that. I have some friends who work between 8 P.M. and 3 A.M. Everyone has a different model.

But, for me, the key thing is this: every single day I must be working on something that’s improving my traffic, something that’s improving my conversions, and/or both. As long as I do that I’m fine, mentally.

Of course, there’re all sorts of testing and activities and once you get to a level where you have employees, you don’t have to do all of them. My whole thing has been: traffic plus conversion equals cash. And, of course, offering an amazing product and take care of your customers.

My average day is: I wake up in the morning and I get my son out the door. Then I pull up my laptop and get to work. I work by myself, in the house, relaxing. I have no need to go in the office; I get a few hours of work time in the morning at home.

Then, I head off to martial arts instruction. We have a lot of guys fighting in the Ultimate Championship and fighting at the World Class Elite level who train at our facility. That’s where my passion is. Teaching and training is my love. So I go teach those classes and later I come back home and get back to work.

My wife works from home, also. We may go out to eat or spend a little time together during the day, but we both work several hours from home each day.

My goal with work is to surround myself with a team of people who are smarter than I am. We have a guy who creates the funnels, we have a click funnel guy, and we have a graphic design team. We have this entire team we put together and, so, my role is to focus on traffic and conversions.

That’s conceptually my model. I have an office with white boards all the way around it. I use the white boards to flesh out ideas, flesh out funnels. We have little mastermind groups and coaching groups. Sometimes I’m doing my webinars and getting on the phone with my mastermind coaching members. We bounce ideas off each other when needed. But my primary day is working toward conversion and traffic generation.

How do you bring ideas to life?

One of my core, fundamental, base principles is that once you have an idea you have to bring it to life. You have to get started on it within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
A lot of people will try to kill your ideas, thoughts, dreams, and hopes. As a result, you never take action on the idea.

We built this business from scratch. We built a multi-million-dollar company from the ground up. I’ve seen people do it on a much bigger, larger scale.

For example, my friend Russell started a business and within 8 months, he had an eight-figure valuation.

So, it’s about having an idea and not procrastinating. Don’t put it off for months or years. The first thing I do, if I’m able to, when I have a new idea is, I do it right then and there.

Within the first twenty-four hours, I have a brain dump, meaning I’m going to dump out every idea, every thought, no matter how big or small and get it out onto the white board to get it out of my head.

We have to understand what we’re good at and what we’re bad at. So, when it comes to execution, I don’t even try to tackle the things I know I’m bad at because if I tackle them, it’s going to cause a roadblock and if a roadblock comes, nothing gets done.

So, based on what my idea is, I already know just from experience, what kind of people I need to have with me when I do this brain dump. Once it’s out of my head, then you can flesh it out and get on with it.

We create a plan of action. If it’s too much to crank out, then we organize things into a 60-day timeline. Then, we start lining up what’s to be done every single day, so at the two-month mark, we’re rolling.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I like the new and shiny marketing products out there. But when it’s all said and done, I don’t care what they come out with, as long as it creates traffic and conversions.

Once you start converting your traffic, you can find ways to scale it. We look for products that help us scale and increase the revenue we generate from our customers.
I’m excited about the internet marketing products and services that help us increase traffic sales. Things like YouTube marketing, re-marketing, re-targeting and Facebook ads are exciting to me.

We test maybe five internet marketing tools per month. We have a team dedicated to that. Some of the tools that look like they’ll work, we put in place, but I don’t get mesmerized by all these different things.

Right now, the big talk is sales funnels. But when you think about it–I’ve been doing sales funnels from conception. The people who taught me when I started were doing sales funnels when they first started. They just weren’t calling it a sales funnel at that time. But, now, it’s the cool, hot term so you are doing what? Sales funnels!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I think it’s a combination of a few things, but the one thing that stands out is my speed of implementation. As I mentioned before, I try to take action on any new idea within 24-48 hours.

I also have times where I do it much faster than that! I have no procrastination whatsoever.

The other skill that I have mastered is I have absolutely zero fear of loss. I have absolutely zero fear of failure. I have zero fear of what people say or think of me while I’m trying to pursue something. If other people think it’s a great idea or horrible idea or they think it’s the craziest idea in the world, it doesn’t matter what they think.
A lot of people get held up by what other people think, whereas I’m not.

Or, some people fear failure. I know failure is part of the game. So, when I see it, I’m not turned away by it. I understand that that’s just what it is.

So, if I have to say one thing: it’s implementation. I am ruthless. I am aggressive when it comes to getting things moving.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did it you learn from it?

Actually, I’ve never had a “job” before. I’ve always set up my own type of business.
But I’ve never had a nine-to-five job. I’ve always had my own business and tried to do my own thing because what I realized early on from studying is that you’re either going to be an employee and work for somebody else or you’re going to be the employer. You’re going to be providing jobs and you’ll be your own boss. You’ll set your own hours so you can do what you want when you want with whom you want on the terms that you want. And that’s what I embraced early on.

I went to college and got my degree but the thought of working for somebody and being an employee never appealed to me. I’m the proverbial, unemployable type of person.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Number one, I would’ve embraced outsourcing much faster. There was a time when the business was much smaller and I tried to do everything myself. That cost me a lot of money; a lot of years.

I would’ve understood that growing a business to seven or eight figures requires bringing other people on–that is, other people who are smarter than you in different areas, whereas, before, when I first started out of college, you think you’re the smartest person. You don’t think anyone can do it but you.

You get stuck in that rut and then you hit the ceiling. I would’ve scaled the solutions faster. Everyone’s resistant to change –this is human nature.

Some examples include staying with the wrong E-mail solution longer than I should have because I didn’t want to change and go through the grind. I’ve stayed with employees too long, too. I had an accountant and we went from making six figures to, like seven figures. Just stupid money and then that accountant wasn’t ready to handle the seven figures and beyond.

Other employees, I’ve had it was the same thing– they weren’t ready for the increase in business level that I had. I kept them around so long they hurt the business.
So, if it had to be one thing I would do differently, it would be changing my environment, changing my surroundings, changing my employees and people I’m working with as the business scales. Be excellent at building a team and outsourcing.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

The thing I recommend that you do is to make sure that you never, ever rely on one source of anything. Not one key employee, not one key traffic source, not one key widget.
Beyond that, the one thing I do over and over is continuously trying to find new traffic sources and continuously try to improve my conversion rates.

The number one thing that a marketer has to do for their business is have control. Control your website and your advertising. Whatever is bringing in customers right now, you have to have control over it.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Probably, if I had to say one strategy, it would be lead generation. When I finally understood that, no matter what you sell or no matter what service you offer, there’s always going to be more people walking the earth that may be interested at some point in their lives life in what you’re offering or what you’re selling. There are people who are ready today, right now, to buy whatever you’re selling or whatever your service is.
So, if you’re only advertising to try and get people to sign up today, buy today, get involved today… then you’re always going to be marketing to and selling to the minority.

You have to understand that even if someone is not interested today, they might be interested in buying six months or a year from now. So, offering them some type of widget, some type of incentive, for them to give us their contact information so we can communicate with them online, through social media–whatever the channels may be – this is important.

If we can communicate with them over a period of time, so that we’re the ones that are viewed as an authority and we’re the ones that are constantly in their minds, than when they do decide to buy that service or that product, that increases our chances that they buy from us because they are familiar with us.

So, that’s the main thing I learned. Focus on lead generation and nurturing. Keep the funnel full of new prospects, every single day, keep working it.

Part two of that lead generation is to communicate with them. Believe it or not, there are marketers who have taken the time to build a list but don’t actually get back to communicate with those people on a regular, ongoing basis.

What is one failure you’ve had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

I had a big failure. We had a high, seven-figure business at one point and it was doing really, really well. I broke the rule of–the number one–we were spending probably like thirty-to-fifty thousand dollars a month on radio advertisements and another twenty-to-thirty thousand on TV.

Then the economy broke down a little bit and things kind of changed. I’m 47 at the time and it’s my first time seeing something like that in my lifetime. So, I started throwing more money into advertising, thinking I was creating more traffic, but I didn’t understand that the majority of my buyers were using credit cards. When the economy started to go down, the banks tightened up on lines of credit and the business plummeted. I didn’t really realize what was happening until later. It stopped producing revenue pretty fast, so I decided to get out of that business and do something else.

That experience made me pay attention to various factors such as economic climate and the demographics of my customers. I think about things differently now in terms of what radio stations we’re using and who their target demographic is. Now, we’re smarter – we’re not marketing to the wrong people, with the wrong price point, at the wrong time.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our audience?

I have a lot of business ideas, but the one idea I’ve said over and over is traffic and conversion. Continue marketing to your list on a regular basis until they buy or die.
People laugh when I say it, but here’s a good example. I have a gentleman who was on my E-mail list for, literally, nine or ten years before he bought anything. He knew who I was, he saw me out at events; we’d always speak, but he never gave me one, single penny for nine to ten years. Then, his first purchase was a thirty-thousand-dollar purchase.

Think about that. Had I given up on him in year seven, year eight, year nine–it would have cost me thirty-thousand-dollars. Everyone doesn’t have things that they can sell for thirty-thousand-dollars, but if you spend time and energy to get these people on your list, then it’s your responsibility to market to them until they say, “Hey, I’m not interested anymore” and they get removed from the list and you no longer market to them. But if they don’t and you’ve spent time and money and energy to get them onto your list, you’re doing them a disservice by not letting them know what you offer.
I know a lot of sophisticated marketers who aren’t doing this. You can think of it as the level of conversion, but this is money being wasted if this is not happening.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best one hundred dollars that I probably spent recently was on a Facebook advertisement that drove traffic to a specific funnel that is producing extremely well right now. We’ve made about four or five thousand dollars from that one Facebook ad.
If you gave me a hundred dollar bill and I gave you four thousand dollars, how many times would you give it back to me?
Personally, the best hundred dollars I’ve spent recently was getting my son some very nice football equipment and seeing him out there, playing with it.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I don’t use any one particular one. I use InfusionSoft, Click Funnel, and Lead Pages. I have AWeber.

I’m really falling in love with Russell’s Click Funnels. I use it a lot to great success. I use Optimize, as well.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Everyone that’s ever seen me at any period of time has heard me talk about my favorite book, which is Think and Grow Rich.

There are a lot of other books, but if I’m forced to say one, I would say Think and Grow Rich. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s amazing.

I recommend it because you have Andrew Carnegie who at the time was one of the world’s richest people. He introduced Napoleon to the world’s richest, most successful people in the world. Napoleon “hung out” with them and it sounds crazy, but this is the story. He “hung out” with these rich, successful people and interviewed them over a twenty-year period. A twenty-year period!

After he “hung out” with five hundred of the world’s richest, most successful people, he came up with, basically, thirteen commonalities–thirteen common traits that the world’s richest, most successful have. Then he put them down and into the book and handed it to the world.

And, now, people throughout the world have a book with thirteen of the most common traits of the world’s richest and most successful people.

So, it’s like a blueprint. People have to read it, internalize it, and follow it. People say, “Okay, I read that book. What book next?” I have been reading the “Think” book almost fifteen years now and I’m still learning from it. I’m still trying to get in line and follow its thirteen principles. So, it’s a book you can be with for a very long time.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Kim McCarthy changed my life when it comes to Internet marketing. Danny Kennedy was direct response marketing. Bill Glazier did a lot for me. Stephen Oliver introduced me to Dan Kennedy.

A lot of these guys are personal friends now. I learn a lot from when we were masterminds together. Perry Belcher–my man. Ed O’Keefe. I learn from my wife, although she’s not too involved in the business now. I don’t want to leave anybody out, but there’s a lot of people I have learned from.


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