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Focus, Mastery, Systems and Success with Guest Sam Bell: MakingBank S2E38

with Sam Bell



MAKING BANK is now a weekly YouTube TV show and iTunes Podcast full of #Success and #Business with Josh.

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When we’re kids, we often think that traditional, white-collar jobs (doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc.) are the only means to a financially prosperous life.

But as we age, that perspective changes, and we discover there are actually a lot of ways to make money, including entrepreneurship.

Born and raised by a single-parent in Trenton, New Jersey, entrepreneur Sam Bell used to think the only way he could climb out of poverty was by becoming a doctor. Little did Sam know at the time that entrepreneurship would actually be the conduit through which he would achieve financial freedom.

Starting at the age of 18 as a photographer for nightclubs in Atlanta, Sam discovered his passion for entrepreneurship, and eventually parlayed his photography business into a real estate investment company.

By 2005, real estate investment was Sam’s full-time job, and by 2008 that job was G-O-N-E.  When the bubble burst in 2008, so did Sam’s financial security.

But inside every cloud is a silver lining. Instead of sitting on his hands while his real estate firm collapsed, Sam made a hard pivot into digital marketing—a pivot that would turn out to be the smartest move he’s ever made.

Today, Sam is a successful Internet marketer and IT professional committed to helping others reach their Internet marketing goals. Not only have his products and services helped other internet marketers make millions, but his rapid traffic generation techniques have made him an undisputed leader in the industry.

Join Making Bank host Josh Felber for this intriguing interview, where he discusses Sam’s business—PPC Boutique—and Sam’s strategies for entrepreneurial success, including…

  • The importance of having an accountability partner
  • Why good habits are the little steps that lead to the big leaps
  • What it takes to clearly understand and speak to your target audience
  • Why you need to stay in your lane and master your ONE skill before learning others
  • How expectation setting and the cultivation of a constructive culture can lead to exponential returns in business

And more…

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Focus, Mastery, Systems and Success with Guest Sam Bell: MakingBank S2E38

Josh Felber:        Welcome to Making Bank. I am Josh Felber where we uncover the success strategies and the secrets of the top 1%. So you can amplify and transform your business and your life today. I’m excited and honored to have a great internet marketing guest with me. His name is Sam Bell. He’s a successful internet marketer, IT professional, real estate investor. He’s done this for over a decade. Sam is committed to helping others reach their internet marketing goals. He’s also the brains behind several popular internet marketing and real estate tools that produced millions for his clients and students.

Sam partners with the top marketers and real estate investors and serves as an internet consultant for both pay-per-click, and SEO. So we’re gonna dive in and really learn some cool stuff today. Sam’s passion for the internet and all things technology makes him a true new-age mentor. He teaches internet marketing strategies such as rapid traffic generation, and many other techniques that are essential for today’s virtual marketplace. Sam, I wanna welcome you to Making Bank.

Sam Bell:               I’m happy to be here, Josh. Thanks for having me, man.

Josh Felber:        For sure. Tell me a little bit about I guess, how’d you get started as an entrepreneur? Was it one of those things when you were a kid, or did it just kinda happen later in life?

Sam Bell:               Yeah, man. Os ever since I was … Yeah, ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be rich. I’m originally from Trenton, New Jersey. And I’ve definitely didn’t grow up wealthy at all. I come from a single family household. However, I always knew I wanted to make money and earn money, but I never really knew how that will happen. So I used to tell my mom and my grandma that, “One day, I’m gonna be a doctor and I’ma take care of you.” Because in a child’s mind that’s what I associated with wealth. “You wanna be rich? Doctors are rich, so I’ll be a doctor.”

But as I matured and really, I was fortunate and blessed enough to meet a mentor at a very young age. At the age of 18, I met my first mentor. And she actually enrolled me into my first business opportunity, which was actually a network marketing company. And she gave me some great books to read, Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. And it really just opened up my mind to entrepreneurship and business ownership. And since the age of 18 I’ve always known that if I wanted to build wealth and have freedom, then I have to be a business owner.

So ever since then I’ve been going down that path. Even before I started in real estate, I mean I’ve done everything from sold ADT Door-to-door. I had my own digital photography company back in Atlanta, man. In the club scene, when digital photography was like the new hot thing. So just that, and take pictures. And actually, that actually led me to real estate, ’cause one of the … Actually the owners of the club, right? So where I took the pictures at, they were these young guys. They were in their 30s, 33. I’m like, “How the heck did y’all guys get all this money to buy a club?” And they said, “Real estate. Real estate investing.”

And I wound up doing a barter deal. So one of the guys in the club, he said, “Hey, come take some pictures for me and I’ma give you some training on real estate investing.” I’m like, “All right. Cool.” So I went and did some pictures for him. And he gave me some tapes. It was a box of tapes, like old-school tapes. And it was all about how to get rich with cashflow real estate. And I started following this guy by the name of Ron Le Grand. And wind up going to one of his seminars. And obviously purchased all the different packages and coaching, and training. And started down that path of real estate investing as my first venture.

And that evolved over time. So this was around 2001, 2002. Around 2005 I actually went full-time with my real estate investing business. And I was always into the internet and technology, since my background was in IT. So what that allowed me to do was to actually leverage technology. And I started to look at my real estate investing business, and see how I could apply what I knew about the internet to real estate. So around ’06, YouTube was new, Facebook new, you had all these new social media platforms. And I actually started using those platforms to market and sell real estate.

I think I’m probably one of the first investors to actually have one of their wholesale deals on YouTube, actually doing a walkthrough back in ’06. And so I started actually teaching other investors how to do this. And I created my first info-product called, Real Estate Wealth 2.0. And this actually taught other investors how to use Web 2.0 and search engine optimization to actually market their properties and build their buyer list, and things like that. And that’s how I got into this whole information marketing, internet marketing world.

And from that I kinda developed a relationship as the internet guy in the real estate space. And that allowed me to form some relationships. I started doing some consulting work and helping out other real estate info-marketers with their PPC campaigns. Around 2009, Google did a big ban. And they banned a lot of people’s accounts. So if you were … Back in the day, you could just run ads on Google Ad whether it was to a squeeze page. There wasn’t all these compliancy issues. So when it came down hard on everyone, a lot of people lost their accounts. And that was like their main source of leads and traffic for their info-marketing business.

So I started consulting with people and helping them either get their accounts back, or setting up new accounts so they can run compliantly. And that’s how I evolved into actually starting a digital marketing agency. I was just kinda doing some one-off consulting, and that brought me to the point to where now we actually run paid traffic and media buys for real estate, verticals, multiple verticals on Google, and Facebook, and YouTube. And it’s been a wild ride.

Josh Felber:        Yeah. I mean, you’ve been just crushing it. I mean, you just … One thing kinda like sounds like it parlayed into the next, and into the next and kinda got you where you are today. I know one of the things you mentioned, is you were kinda that go-to guy by building up your real estate, and learning, and diving into all that. But it all started it sounds like back, you had a mentor. I think that’s such a big piece is, I know for myself when I was little, 14 starting my first computer business, and reading Think and Grow Rich, and Tony Robbins, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad and all those. Is you [lisos 00:07:30] and you start learning that, how to kinda look outside of what you’re normally used to.

And having a mentor is a big key piece in, I think, driving us forward to reaching our goals and everything. And so I think that was a huge key point that you said. As well as then really, diving into your learning the real estate ins and outs. So I guess obviously along the ways you’ve built, you’ve run into different challenges I would suspect, and things that may have derailed your progress, or sidetracked it and stuff. Maybe share with us one of those biggest challenges that you ran into, and then kinda how you got through that or overcame that.

Sam Bell:               Yeah. So when I really got active in the real estate investing market, everything was hot. And I was making money hand over fist. So I mean, I just thought I was the smartest guy in the world. I mean, “I got this real estate thing figured out.” Not really realizing and understanding that we were in a bubble at the time. And so needless to say when the crash happened, that was definitely a major setback. So a lot of rental properties I had, I lost those rental properties. A lot of the wealth that I had accumulated on paper pretty much just disappeared overnight. And that was a hard setback. I mean at the time I was about 28 years old, 29 years old.

So you’re on top of the world one minute, making all types of cash, doing deals and then the next thing you know you can’t do anything. You can’t. So that was an opportunity for me to pivot. And it was actually great timing, because that’s really when my consulting in digital marketing begin to take off. And that’s really one of the beauties of internet marketing, it’s not necessarily market specific, because our marketplace is the world. So we’re not really tied to what’s going on in one local market. Now does the economy overall affect buying trends and things like that? Absolutely.

But for the most part, there’s so many different opportunities online, and especially in the services business for what we offer, there’s … I was just fortunate enough to catch another trend, which is the digital marketing and the advertising dollars. And if you look at advertising dollars moving from traditional channels such as television and print, they’re all moving online. And I’ve been able to kinda ride that wave. And I don’t see that wave trending down in the foreseeable future.

Josh Felber:        Yeah. For sure. Can you stick around for a minute? We’ve just gotta take a quick break.

Sam Bell:               Absolutely.

Josh Felber:        Awesome. I am Josh Felber. You’re watching Making Bank. We’ll be right back after these messages. Welcome back to Making Bank. I am Josh Felber. And we are here with Sam Bell, internet marketing guru, real estate investor. He’s been filling us in a little bit about his background how he started with a mentor, and has been able to build multiple businesses. As well as now he currently has a successful internet marketing, pay-per-click advertising agency helping consultants and authors in different industry gurus build their brands and create opportunities for themselves. So Sam, welcome back to Making Bank.

Sam Bell:               I’m happy to be back.

Josh Felber:        Cool. Now you’ve kinda made that transition. And you’re building your online marketing business and everything. What are some of those initial challenges? I know you’ve kinda learned bits and pieces with this as you were going along, and had some good successes with your info products and everything. But I guess, moving from working kinda mainly for yourself and doing that, to be able to go out and start helping authors and speakers in the different consults, really scale up what they are doing, and branding themselves and become more known?

Sam Bell:               There’s been a lot of key points. I mean for me, I think one of the biggest things was focus. The internet provides so many different opportunities, and I know for a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs it’s very easy to kinda lose track, because we all … Entrepreneurs in general have the kind of bright, shiny object syndrome. So just to really sit still and to focus on one thing, and to just keep doing that one thing until you see success. As opposed to jumping from thing, to thing, to thing.

And that’s what really helped me. Like when I decided, “You know, I enjoy buying traffic. I enjoy media buying.” And just really the whole process, kinda the analytics of it. It kinda works with my left brain, analytical brain. And I committed to just really becoming the best at that. It’s been a really sole success when it came to internet marketing. So just focusing on one thing.

And when it really comes to marketing online, we can a lot of times get overwhelmed with all the different tools and tricks, and tactical things that you can do. What it really boils down to … When it really boils down to running a successful online business, there’s really a few core things that I found that really matters. So it’s one, understanding your market, right? Really knowing exactly who it is that you’re selling, okay? Understanding what the needs of the market is, and also the sophistication of that market. Where are they?

The next thing is being able to communicate your marketing message effectively, right? So that really comes down to understanding copy writing. How to use written words, and actually spoken word, ’cause now I mean we have a lot of video, to be able to communicate your product, your service, your offer to the marketplace, and really to be able to provide value. And to impact people, compel them to take action using certain emotional and psychological triggers, but still making sure that you’re obviously able to fulfill on that. And then traffic. The traffic side. Once you have an offer, you know exactly who your target market is, you know how to effectively communicate your product or service. Then basically just getting eyeballs in front of that product and service, and letting the marketing message do the selling for you.

Josh Felber:        And so I know one of the points you mentioned was focus and commitment. With all those distractions and everything that we have kinda coming at us, and their whole bright shiny object syndrome, what steps or how did you do it so you really were able to maintain that focus?

Sam Bell:               That’s a great question, man. Again, I think it was having relationships and surrounding myself with people that were focused themselves, and just really having people to kinda hold me accountable and say, “Hey look, this is the thing that I’m gonna be doing. This is what I’m gonna focus on.” So having that accountability partner. When you’re first getting started, there are people who really wanna see you successful. So surrounding yourself around successful people that are doing the thing that you may want to do, or that you want to go down and see how you can add value to them. See how you can help them.

And that really helped me have that focus. And then just a sheer determination. I mean, at the end of the day, we have to be an adult and say, “You know what? This is a commitment I’m making.” And having that integrity with the commitment you make to yourself, and being able to follow through. And it’s very difficult. When I say, “Difficult,” we are our biggest challenges. The actual act of marketing online, the actual act of all the tactical and strategy stuff, that can be learned.

So the biggest challenge that we all face as entrepreneurs is really the challenge that we look at in the mirror every day. So just waking up and then forming good habits. When I started forming habits and saying, “Okay. I’ma get up at this certain time. And this is what I’m gonna do. And this is the routine.” Once you start to develop those habits, that really helps as well. ‘Cause you have a routine, you have a routine established. You know that you’re doing something every day. So you’re making little steps forward, which over time will build up to be a big step, if that makes sense?

Josh Felber:        Yeah, definitely. No, and I think that makes sense. As with the whole the focus and surrounding yourself with the right people makes a significant difference for sure. And I liked what you have to say about the whole accountability partner. And I think so many of us is, we’re out there and we’re going, and we’re going, and we’re going, we’re going. But we’re not checking in, even though we may check-in with ourselves. But somebody else that you say, “Hey, here is where I need you to hold me to,” is gonna give you and hold you to that better than a lot of times you do yourself. You always give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

And then habits and routines are definitely important. I know I try to make my habits and my routines every day, set me up for success that day. And if things fail, we have a bad day, or whatever, you always gotta understand that happens and just push past it and move on, and don’t dwell on that same area. So definitely some awesome information.

I wanna dive in a little bit about what you found successful for you from a, I guess, being able to create leads. ‘Cause there’s a lot of people online like, “Hey, I’ll go out and help you create leads for your business, or your consultant agency,” or whatever. And it just doesn’t happen. You spend 10, $20,000 and you get nothing. And so what has worked for you, and maybe what are three strategies that you found successful in being able to generate leads?

Sam Bell:               Yeah. That’s a great question. This is a skillset that I developed over time, right? I’ve been doing this for quite some time. So really understanding, and it goes back to what I said previously. If you know who your target audience is, okay? And you understand how to communicate to that audience, I think one of the best skills that you can develop in business, not just in online business, but regardless of the business, is being able how to effectively communicate your product, service or offering to your prospect or customer.

So understanding and learning copy is critical. Understanding and knowing who you’re going after. And then once you know who that is, decide on one channel. A lot of times we hear about, there’s traffic in videos. You can get traffic through YouTube, you can get Google traffic, you can get Facebook traffic, you can get PPV traffic. So it’s like all these different channels. And the challenges is that you try to do all of them, and you never really master one.

So my first channel that I mastered was Google. Google AdWords, specifically the display network. I took the time, and I just stayed in that lane, and you got really really good at that. And then I moved over the Facebook once I already mastered that one channel. And then I really just focused and stayed on Facebook. And my agency has actually shifted. When I first started, it was probably 80% Google, 20% Facebook. And that’s kinda switched around to more 80% Facebook, 20% Google.

But really focusing in, and mastering those platforms. Now, the beautiful thing about Facebook that I loved is that if you have a clear understanding of who you’re going after, it’s very easy to target those individuals. ‘Cause you have demographic targeting, you have psychographic targeting. So if I know for a fact that my core audience are males between the ages of 35 to 54 who have an affinity towards certain types of products or service, then I can target those individuals directly on Facebook. Now, the differences is when you are running say, traffic on Google, then there’s intent there. People will go, they’ll go type in a specific key word. Whereas Facebook, you don’t have the intent, but the targeting is there.

So you have to make sure that you convey your marketing message based on the user experience that people are used to having on that platform. So for Facebook, it’s all about stories, right? So people go on Facebook to check their … See how their friends are doing, see how their family is doing. They may catch news there, things like that. So you want to be able to tell a story, as opposed to just put in a marketing message like, “Hey, buy my stuff.” You’re not gonna really sell a lot if you’re just like, “Hey, buy my stuff,” on Facebook. So whatever your marketing message is, you wanna create a story around that, bring people into your story. And then start taking them down a path to lead them to whatever the end result is that you’re looking for.

Josh Felber:        No, I think that makes sense with the whole story aspect. People are on there, and like you said, they are looking through their Facebook feed. So one of the things too I know you’ve done really well with is, building a team for your agency. And I know some of it’s outsourced. And do you still have people working directly with you now as well, internally?

Sam Bell:               Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So my whole agency is all virtual. And that was a lifestyle choice for myself. I had the office, and I did the whole office thing before. And honestly, I like to be able to pick up and go. So there are a lot of tools that allow for you to have a virtual business, and be in constant communication and contact. So I think your communication tools and having systems and processes for how things get done.

So some of the tools that we use for our day-to-day communication, we use Slack. So that’s how we use information in terms of organizing our projects, we use Teamwork PM. So all of our projects, we have everything segmented. We have standard operating procedures that we establish. So a lot of checks and balances are already in place, so when we have campaigns that we need to launch. Or we have a new client that we’re onboarding, there’s a process for that. And people know exactly what needs to be done.

So I would say that it makes more sense to not only … Obviously you wanna hire the right people. But when you do hire people, even if they’re not the best fit, have them document everything that they do. Because if you have them document all their steps that they do, if they decide to leave you, at least you have a framework to start building on. And that’s probably one of the best decisions that I made in my business was to have my team document all of the steps, create a framework, and then develop processes from that framework. And then incorporate those processes into the tools that we use. So once those processes and frameworks are established, then we can incorporate that into Teamwork PM. We can incorporate that into Slack, and to how we actually conduct our day-to-day operations.

Josh Felber:        And so, building your virtual team and everything, I guess how do you maintain that level of quality and performance? Obviously people are kinda on their own to do what they want and when, and especially when you have deadlines.

Sam Bell:               Yeah. That’s a great question. So setting a proper expectation when you hire people, I think is very critical. So hiring the right people. But then also creating a culture. So even though we’re virtual, I created a culture of, we all hold each other accountable and we all help each other. So my team members know if they finish a task and they know another one of their team members is trying to finish something up, they go and help that team member. So that way they can complete that task. And that’s kind of the culture that we created.

I’m kind of a very laid back boss, if you will. My thing is, we have certain tasks, and we have certain deadlines. As long as the tasks are done and done correctly by the deadline, I’m not gonna check in with you. I don’t wanna check in with you every five or 10 minutes, “Is this done? Have you done that?” But that’s something that has been instilled over time. So when you’re first starting with someone, and you’re just building out, you may have to be a little bit kind of a micro-managing to a degree.

But once you have those systems and processes, and check and balances in place, you really don’t … You don’t have to do that. And again, you wanna create that culture, because people don’t like to feel pressure. I don’t want my people to feel pressure like I’m always harassing them, or they’re gonna lose their job if they’re not available every second on the dot. It’s like, “Hey, here’s what needs to be done. Here’s when it needs to be done by.” And I put that into our task, so they know, “Hey, this needs to be completed by this date and time.” And as long as it’s done and done right, hey, no problem.

Josh Felber:        No, that’s cool. It’s always challenging when you’re building virtual … I mean, whether it’s internal of virtual. But it … Especially when you’re not seeing the person on a daily basis for questions and things like that. No, definitely some great advice for everyone out there that has a business. And whether you have an online e-commerce business, and you need an assistant, somebody to help you do graphics and things like that, there’s so many different resources and everything out there now these days.

And then I know you’ve really created some cool ways to scale your campaigns, ’cause a lot of times when you scale campaigns, your ROI goes out. And you start losing the ROI, and your costs go way up. So what are maybe a couple ninja tricks that you’ve done that have helped you scale your campaigns and still maintain profitability?

Sam Bell:               Sure. So as it relates specifically to Facebook, most beginning advertisers or even some of the experienced advertisers, a lot of times what they’ll do, they’ll start off with a certain budget, and then they’ll start increasing the budget. So if you start off with a campaign and you only have $20 a day allocated. Well, if you just automatically increase that to $50 a day, a $100 a day, a lot of times you will see your ROI just go kaput.

So one of the things that we do, there’s a few different things that we do. One of our first scaling techniques is to simply duplicate. Duplicate our existing ad sets, right? So we’ll duplicate our ad sets within the campaigns themselves. So if I have five ad sets at $20 a day, so that’s a $100 per day in ad spending. If I wanna scale that to 500, then I will just duplicate that 20 times, right? So now I have 20 ad sets within one campaign. So that’s one scaling strategy.

Another strategy is that we will create another campaign. And we’ll start off the ad sets with a high budget upfront. So as opposed to starting off with a $20 budget, I’ll start the ad set off at maybe with a $200 budget out of the gate. So I might have five ad sets that I know perform, in terms of the targeting, the ads, like all of that will be the same. But I’ll start with a $200 budget. So Facebook knows, Okay. I’m starting and I’m gonna optimize this campaign off of a $200 budget, not a $20 budget. What happens is when you ramp up from a $20 budget to a $200 budget, Facebook has to then go and learn how to optimize on a $200 budget. And that’s why you see your ROI just kind of fall to the bottom of the floor. So if you start with a $200 budget, then you’re optimizing based on that budget amount.

Josh Felber:        No, that’s awesome. That’s definitely some good advice, ’cause a lot of people, especially if they go out and pushing out their ads for the first time, and things like that, and like, “Oh, it’s working.” And then all of a sudden, it’s not working. And so definitely some really cool insights in ways to make that better. So we got a few minutes left. What’s one of the piece of technology that you can’t live without?

Sam Bell:               One of the pieces of technology that I cannot live without? I mean, obviously my phone, man. I mean, my phone. In terms of tools, when it comes to running my business it’s Slack, because there’s an app. So even if I’m not in front of my computer, and I’m out and about. My team is still there, so I can communicate with them, I can look at … I can look at everything. And the Google Apps. I use Google Apps for pretty much everything to keep things organized. So between Google Apps and Slack, and Teamwork, ’cause there’s an app for Teamwork. I mean, I can pretty much run my business from my phone. So I wouldn’t say so much my phone in terms of the hardware, but just those specific applications that allow me to communicate day-to-day.

Josh Felber:        Really cool. And then, I guess where can people find out about you? And whether it’s your personal website, your business website. And anything that else you wanna mention while you’re at it too.

Sam Bell:               Sure. So I have two websites. So if you’re someone that has an offer, and you basically have an established business, you’re spending anywhere between $10,000 a month or more on Facebook ads, and you’re looking to maybe outsource that, then you can head over to PPC Boutique. Or you can just Google, “PPC Boutique.” And there’s some information one there how we can help you out. If you’re someone who’s maybe just getting started with Facebook ads, or maybe you’re looking to kinda build your own agency using Facebook paid traffic, and you wanna just really kinda develop that skillset and sharpen the ax, if you will. You can head over to That’s Ad Agency Secrets. And I have a free training webinar you can go through. And I actually go through some case studies of how we are able to actually optimize and scale some campaigns for our clients, and walk you through our processes there.

Josh Felber:        Awesome, man. That’s some great information. Guys, if you need any insights on media buying, making things happen in your business from an internet marketing perspective, gotta get over and check out Sam Bell’s information. So Sam, it’s an honor to have you on the show today, and learning and hearing about your story, and how you’ve created your business. As well as some really cool tips and tricks to make our internet marketing process better. So thanks again for coming on Making Bank.

Sam Bell:               My pleasure, man. Thanks for having me, Josh.

Josh Felber:        Cool. I am Josh Felber. You’ve been watching Making Bank where we uncover the success strategies and the secrets of the top 1%. Get out and be extraordinary.