Frank vs Matt is a concept I (Andre) came up with to help demonstrate the two camps or categories (or models) that us marketers operate within.
Although Frank and Matt are not real “flesh and blood” people per se — their traits are absolutely real and based on real people.
You’re currently one of ’em.
Which one? … well, you’ll need to read the rest of this page to discover that.
But know this … one of them makes no money online (nothing meaningful anyway). The other one crushes it.
One last thing … I’m not selling anything here. Nada. So get a coffee, get comfortable and relax.
well, I say “part-time”, but I’ve really been “dabbling” in internet marketing since 2008. that’s what? … a little over 9 years now I guess.
which is like forever in internet years 🙂
i do many different things online. difficult to explain really. i’m what you’d call a “jack of all trades”. lol :p
like my buddy Frank, i’ve been doing this crazy internet marketing thing since 2008.
the beginning was difficult as hell. but as soon as i realized a few “truths” – it got a whole lot easier.
i now run an online business called ‘sexy you inc’.
we serve various tribes of women within sub-niches of the weight loss and beauty markets.
Recently I read a book by the late Paul Arden (the former creative director for Saatchi and Saatchi at the height of their advertising might).
One of the things he wrote, is worth mentioning here:
I’m going to circle back to this quote at the end. Why I’ve written it will make perfect sense then. It’s important … for you.
But let me first continue to explain the big DIFFERENCE between Frank and Matt.
You see … back in October 2003 I was thrown into the deep end. I was made redundant. Like millions of others I had become “replaceable”.
But a few months earlier I had seen the writing on the wall.
Rumors were circulating. That management was going to cull a bunch of staff at the end of the year.
Right then and there … I made a decision that completely changed my life.
I didn’t take the safe road, like everyone else in the office. You know, start looking for another job — then jump ship when one was found.
I’m certainly not judging them. But for me, I wanted to hit the reset button on how I earned a living.
I was 29 years old. I was foolish and hungry enough to believe I was brave.
So I took the risky decision.
I found the guts to roll the dice.
I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was going to do. I just knew I didn’t want a boss. I didn’t want to commute three freakin’ hours a day to work and back.
So I went looking online.
The BIG CULL came two months early, on October 22nd, 2003.
I wasn’t exactly ready. No one was.
But then I guess, looking back — I probably would have never been completely ready.
The “chop” didn’t take long. Prob’ly two hours tops.
I can’t remember how many colleagues were given their marching orders. But our entire department, bar one, were told:
“Thanks pal, but we no longer need ya! …”
Everyone was mad, frustrated, sad, angry … all the negative emotions. They were feeling ’em all. The company had betrayed them.
But I was happy.
It felt strange. Because I was supposed to feel like my friends and colleagues did.
Yet I was as happy as fuckin’ Larry.
A weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The weight of working for someone else.
The next day, October 23, 2003 … well, that was my very first day being self-employed … or was it just “out of work” 🙂
Didn’t matter though.
Because this was when the rubber hit the road.
I wasn’t earning money online (yet). I didn’t have a business model. I didn’t have a “master plan”. Truth was … I really had fuck all.
It was scary as hell.
… and this is when—without knowing it—I started “operating” as a Frank.
The FRANK Role
During my “honeymoon period” I had joined a bunch of marketing guru email lists.
So I was getting hit with offers every damn day. Three things were 100% certain back then.
- I was making no money.
- I will die one day.
- There would be a new “shiny-object” offer in my inbox each morning.
… and with the little bit of redundancy money I had in the bank, I went on a buying spree.
It started slowly because I was broke.
Perhaps a new magic pill each month. It was like heroin. I was helpless. I constantly needed the next shiny-object “fix”. The big promises of easy quick “push-button” riches.
But each product pulled me in a completely different direction.
- I was doing SEO (white hat, grey hat, black hat cloaking — you name it).
- I was writing articles (myself).
- I was doing mind-numbing link building (myself).
- I was building lists (cause the gurus said I should).
- I was driving PPC to affiliate offers (al la Google Cash, AdWords Miracle, AdWords Black Book).
- I was creating products, reports, giveaways (you name it, I was probably doing it).
- I flipped sites (before site flippin’ was popular).
- I participated in the AdSense gold rush (al la Traffic Equalizer).
- I leveraged outsourcing (but that didn’t work because I had no focus).
- I was building this, creating that (it was never ending).
… I was spinning my wheels. I felt like blowing my brains out at times. What I had didn’t feel like a real business.
I was an “opportunity seeker”. No two ways about it (honestly, I think this is where most of us entrepreneurs start our journey into the unknown).
My flawed process looked something like this:
… meaning that any little “opportunity” that presented itself to me — I would drop whatever I was doing at the time — and shoot off on a tangent as I explored the viability of the opportunity.
That workflow pretty quickly turned into a CANCER as I played the game with little results to show for my efforts.
Opportunities (the perception of an opportunity that will produce a quick and easy result) in the “make money online” MMO space is rife…
… and it is cancer.
But you probably know that already.
I’m not telling you anything new.
Our personal inboxes are a stark reminder of this fact, each and every day…
… as the next “magic-bullet” tactic pierces our mind-space and wrestles for our immediate attention.
Before I knew what the hell had happened … I was a year into doing this online marketing thing.
Not a freakin’ clue.
That was one full year “lost”. So I chalked it down to lack of experience.
That was 2004. A lifetime ago.
I was savvier in 2005. I felt I had learned from my early novice mistakes. I had my stripes now.
I would not “go after” every opportunity that would inevitably present itself to me.
I’d be more selective.
I was wrong.
I went on a massive SEO campaign as I followed the James Martell business model of building content sites.
I bootstrapped the whole operation and did almost everything myself (big mistake).
I wrote all the articles myself. I felt like I was giving myself brain damage.
I probably was.
At the same time, I was selling an information product I had created (multitasking: another mistake) and driving traffic via PPC.
I was also creating presell pages, and playing the affiliate marketing game too.
2005 ended and I was F###ED!
Better. But still, shit (in terms of my potential). I was earning between $2K and $3K per month. For the WORK I was putting in, that just didn’t cut it.
Not really — I was “jack of everything” and I still had the focus of a 3-year-old child.
Then 2006 rolled around. About the time Google put an end to the AdSense gold rush…
… and I had an epiphany!
… the penny dropped.
I realized that the “role” I was operating as was a Frank (although I had not yet labeled this trait a “Frank”).
… and I had probably maxed out the potential of what a Frank could earn (consistently).
The MATT Role
A Matt operates completely differently to a Frank.
Matt “manages” his attraction to shiny objects. He’s not addicted. He can control what he purchases and what he chooses to ignore.
His attention is more selective and focused. He values his time.
Matt’s MO looks something like this:
Matt doesn’t create isolated money makers. That’s not how he views what he does.
Matt builds assets … long terms assets, that he can leverage over time.
Matt builds a business.
Matt serves the needs of a specific narrow tribe (pocket of people) — the zealots on the fringes.
Matt is not all thing to all people.
We now do business in an age where it is far better to be everything to the right someone than it is to attempt to offer something for everyone (al la mass marketing — which btw — we are exiting the age in which mass mattered).
The second that I changed my mindset (and my perception of what I was doing) — positive change happened, almost instantly.
I became a narrow-minded marketer.
I focused on building a real business … a real business because I had repeat customers.
Repeat customers are the backbone — the lifeblood, of every successful business.
What I did from that day onwards—the epiphany moment—was to operate far more focused and strategically.
As an affiliate, I built up a tribe of followers (many of whom are still with me today).
In fact, I established myself from the very beginning as THE ONLY VIABLE SOLUTION (from their perspective) to a problem, a challenge, an issue, or an opportunity in their life (al la Jay Abraham’s Strategy of Preeminence ).
I positioned myself as their most trusted advisor.
The shift in thinking was a game-changer.
It was about giving value upfront BEFORE any money changed hands. I realized that content is king.
Products stopped being commodities. They were solutions to problems…
I looked at everybody out there that I wanted to do business with, completely different to everyone else.
I made it a point of deciding I was not going to wait for money to change hands before I started contributing, guiding, counseling, advising and protecting them.
… because that’s what a fiduciary does. They protect and they create value for the weird. It was a game-changer.
By the end of 2006, I was having $20K months. Hell, I even had a $70K (net) month. Big difference from a year earlier where I was struggling my ass off to earn $3K.
I’ve taught others to do the same. And the results they got were amazing (if even a little unexpected by some).
A Frank sees opportunities as events — where results are, at best, a flash in the pan.
A Frank is a “jack of all trades and master of none”. That’s primarily how a Frank rolls.
Each “shiny-object” is the big answer — the reset button — for a new life. But, of course, that’s just an illusion setup by the gurus.
The gurus know how a Frank operates. So they write copy specifically for the Franks of the world…
… copy that acts as a Frank “venus fly trap”.
The outcome is always inevitable and predictable.
Matts are different…
A Matt knows that building a business is a process, not an event.
It’s something that gets worked on, continuously.
The road ahead is not easy. Hell no. Not one little bit. It requires pigheaded discipline and determination.
A Matt is focused on creating value for an audience. Providing tangible solutions for real problems worth solving.
Matt’s are all around you. From leaders at the top of Fortune 500 corporations to bootstrapped lean startups operating out of a garage.
It starts with the right mindset (anyone can think like this). It’s executed through customer development (creating products or solutions that people really want).
I’ve probably said enough already. I’m sure you get the point by now.
But I will say this to end off…
There are different “layers” to both a Frank and a Matt.
Some Frank’s are (very) content operating as their Frank role. They seek out the heroin rush of a new magic pill.
When it earns them $500 (once off), they see that as a big win. They’re happy. They’re ready to move on.
But if it bombs — and it almost always does — they cry wolf…
Get a refund.
… and complain on forums where thousands of other Franks hang out. They feel comfortable in a pack of Franks.
Some Franks consciously know they’re a Frank … but they want to change. But mostly, they just don’t (yet) know how. They wanna be a Matt — if they only knew how.
There’s still hope for those Franks.
Matts build businesses. Some Matts build 6-figure businesses. Some 7-figure businesses. Others 8, 9 and 10 figure behemoths.
… but the essence of a Matt is always the same. Building a business is a “process”.
The most successful Matts are those that:
- create real value for the weird (Microsoft creates products for the MASS market. The normal people in the middle of the bell curve. Apple does the opposite. They create niche products only for the weird. And in terms of market share, they’re now the most valuable company on earth.)
- have a customer-centric approach to business (Zappos being a classic example)
… and the rarest Matt trait of all — truly great entrepreneurs don’t get in this to make money (as their primary motivator), but to change the world.
More recently, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out his personal philosophy — the one he says will guide the company moving forward it.
It is a 21st-century manifesto for a new way of doing business. In it he says:
- We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.
- We don’t wake up in the morning with the primary goal of making money…
- These days I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximizing profits.
- By focusing on our mission and building great services, we believe we will create the most value for our shareholders and partners over the long term…
Consequently, the side effect of “changing the world” (the betterment of others) is typically a crapload of money.
For better or worse, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page & Sergey Brin, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Bill & Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Seth Godin, Tony Hsieh, Simon Sinek, and probably thousands of faceless lean startups are changing the world.
It’s no surprise that a lot of ’em are self-made billionaires. Like I said, the payoff for choosing to “changing the world” can be big.
It can make you millions.
It’s all choices and decisions and attitude. None wrong. Just depends on what you want, and for what reasons.
Paul Zane Pilzer said that millionaires are made as a result of “choice & attitude“.
What about you?
Are you a Frank or a Matt?
If you’re currently a Frank — then you have a decision to make (reread the Paul Arden quote).
But whatever you choose, know that it’s the right decision (for you).
I made the decisions I made because at the time I thought that was the right decision. I didn’t know I was a Frank. I didn’t know how to think like a Matt.
In 2006 I decided to change my core thinking. I become a Matt. That was my decision. For me, it paid off. Massively.
I choose to give a fuck. I choose to be different. I choose to have a personality. I choose to reject the status quo. I choose to maintain my core values and never “sell out”.
I choose to change the world, if only in a small way:
What about you? Have the guts to roll the dice. Perhaps it’s time to make the right decision.
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