He mastered the skill of branding while selling over $10,000,000 worth of Iraqi currency mainly using eBay. He now puts Hollywood style visuals to work for his clients.
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If he had to start over
"I don't know that I'd do anything differently because at the time, I was using eBay and it was working wonders. Things were going so well and I was bringing in so many clients, I neglected to build my e-mail list. Over six months this probably cost me 50,000 e-mails. It's very costly still to this day."
“The me back in my currency trading business might have passed up me today because now I think, ‘Oh, I've got to set this up first'. I'm terrible with that paralysis of analysis now because I know what I could do."
"I didn't reach out to enough people. I put out interesting things into the world and use it as a flytrap to get them to come to me. I think I should have been more proactive. I think I need a mix of both."
"A friend and I were chatting on Facebook. She asked me about ‘The Secret’ and John Assaraf. I had to look him up to see what he was doing. I saw a post of his on Facebook so I liked and commented. 43 minutes later, he commented back saying how much he loved my holographic iPhone video. He said, ‘We gotta work together.' It was The Secret in action. John and I worked together a couple months later."
People’s advice and opinions
"It's funny how people give their advice on things they know little or nothing about. They pull something straight out of their ass. They expect it's a valid opinion like all opinions are perfectly equal. That's just not true."
DISCLOSURE - Explicit lyric inside
This episode does contain 1 curse word. Marshall is an authentic guy who's passionate about sharing his message and helping his clients.
If you have delicate sensibilities or are easily offended take that into account.
Why Listen to Marshall Wayne:
- The cold Facebook “ping” that led to working with Jon Assaraf 2 months after first contact
- The failure to do this 1 thing cost him millions
- The perfectionism blinders and how to get past them
- His biggest mistake and 1 potential solution to fix it
- How to know what advice to listen to and what to politely (or unpolitely) disregard
Marshall Wayne is a guy who sold $10,000,000 worth of Iraqi currency to military contractors, government agents, and even regular folks who hoped to invest in the long shot that democracy would take hold in Iraq, and they’d make a bundle on their investment.
It was in that business that he perfected the art of branding and advertising, using creative ads that got the attention of national publications, winding him in a front page article on The USA Today Money section, WIRED Magazine, CNN, CNBC, and The New York Times.
He’s now built a secondary business called The Agency Declassified, a mix of advertising agency, and modeling agency, with a spy agency feel.
He once sent his cousin over to Jordan with $5000 US to set up a banking system there. This was during the second Iraq war so Marshall hired him a driver/bodyguard.
After the bank account was set up, Marshall wired in another $40,000. His cousin met with a currency dealer who had smuggled money out of Iraq. He then FedExed the Iraqi dinars over to Marshall and that's how his currency business was started.
He decided to get into this business because he realized there were sanctions on Iraq and he had some military contacts there. The sanctions meant their currency wasn't available on the Forex market so he knew there were people who’d want to speculate. That was the opportunity Marshall seized.
He felt like it was super shady. The FBI knocked on his door at 9 AM one morning. He was unprepared and scanning for the exits. They had given him a courtesy call before showing up. The agent scanned his bookshelf and asked lots of intrusive questions. Unexpectedly, Marshall found this more interesting than alarming.
Some Shareables from Marshall in this episode…
If he had to start over
"I don't know that I'd do anything differently because at the time, I was using eBay and it was working wonders. Things were going so well and I was bringing in so many clients, I neglected to build my e-mail list. Over six months this probably cost me 50,000 e-mails. It's very costly still to this day. I could sell them on the gold packages today. In hindsight, it's hard to look back when you're flying by the seat of your pants. I did a good job. I just didn't do a great job."
"I guess it would be that I didn't reach out to enough people. I put out interesting things into the world and use it as a flytrap to get them to come to me. I think I should have been more proactive. I still should be more proactive for whatever reason I spend my time thinking of cool things that will get people to come to me. I think I need a mix of both."
"I do reach out to people but I just don't feel like I do it as much as I should. I need someone to handle just this for me. My currency business didn't need that because it was a commodity. My branding and advertising is different. It requires a lot of my personal time. I'm learning a different structure."
Favorite part of the entrepreneur's journey
"Meeting cool people. It opens your eyes to new possibilities and how they operate. Maybe you can take little pieces of what they do and incorporate it into your life. It endlessly fascinates me reading how people work and figuring out how I can incorporate it. I love that."
"I don't know that this is weird like a circus act. A friend and I were chatting on Facebook. She asked if I'd watched the movie 'The Secret'. I said of course everybody has. She asked me about John Assaraf and the vision board. As I was talking with her I had to look him up to see what he was doing. I saw a post of his on Facebook so I liked and commented. 43 minutes later, he commented back saying how much he loved my holographic iPhone video. He said, ‘We gotta work together.' It was The Secret in action. John and I worked together a couple months later. I ended up dating his marketing manager Rafaela for over a year."
"I left an innocent comment on one of John Assaraf’s Facebook posts. I had no motive. I just liked what he was doing. I just wanted to tell him that I really liked it though I didn't even know if he would see the comment."
Winning on social media
"Listening can be a great way to get ahead. A like and comment I left for John Assaraf opened the door to working with him. Anytime you can make a genuine comment not flattering nor purposefully to get attention back to yourself, that really works. It's not a tactic. People really respond to it."
"I'm standoffish. A lot of times salespeople will have this cheesy smile that is supposed to lure in suckers I guess. It's like a clown face. I don't do that. You look on my Facebook and it's usually more of a movie vibe that's darker. It lures in the type of people I like. It repels the people I don't. A lot of people tell me I've got to smile in my photos. I don't know why they tell me this when they’ve got like two likes on things they post."
Bad conventional wisdom
"A lot of independent entrepreneurs are operating on a mentality of copywriting that was useful in the magazine era. This was before we could easily take great photos and combine this great imagery with well crafted shorter copy. It doesn't have to be Pollyanna, cheesy, over-the-top or carnival barker-ish. Too many people are still screaming as if they were a carnival barker yelling at people walking by. You can now afford to look good like Apple, Nike and red bull. My new iPhone 6 takes photos almost as good as my professional camera. Not for the way a professional headshot needs to be done. But for many other photos it does. Nobody has an excuse anymore for saying they can't compete with the big brands."
Learn more about Marshall:
To learn more about Marshall:
He calls himself a Facebook addict and encourages you to connect with him at:
http://TheAgencyDeclassified.com is where most of my high end stuff happens.
News Media Marshall Wayne has been featured in:
- The USA Today Money section
- WIRED Magazine
- The New York Times