Hi! I’m Mike Mancini.
If you’re wondering who I am, how I got here, or maybe you’re just asking yourself “Why am I listening to this idiot?”, you’re not alone. In fact, that’s the same question my wife asks every day of our 11 year marriage!
My passion is helping businesses use the power of pay per click marketing to grow their businesses to the next level. And I’m not just talking about getting one or two new clients a month. I’m talking about GROWING their businesses.
Oh, I also like hockey, playing guitar and embarrassing my children as well. And in case you missed it, I like to inject a little bit of humor in just about everything because… well… why not?
I truly never thought I would go from a twenty something washed up ex-professional hockey player to a Pay Per Click marketer. But it truly is a journey that is something that I will cherish forever.
It’s a bit of a longer read, but if you want to find out more about me, then continue on.
“I’m going to play in the NHL!”
That’s all that I used to think growing up. And one of the benefits of being born in Fairbanks, Alaska is the fact that there is a lot of ice to skate on. So I spent my childhood playing hockey about 10 months of the year.
During the summer (between hockey camps), I had a few yards that I would mow in the neighborhood for some spending money, as I caught the business bug early in life.
That business passion stayed with me when my family moved to Fargo, ND right before high school. Yep… that Fargo (Yeah, you betcha!).
When we moved to ND, I expanded my little lawn mowing business and took on more yards (of course my mom still had to drive me to each yard if it wasn’t close enough to push the mower to). I worked hard and had jobs constantly when I wasn’t playing hockey.
“You’re not selling drugs, are you?”
Then in my senior year of high school, our hockey team wanted to print some team t-shirts (yes, this is an important part of the story). No one really knew how to do this as this was back in 1992. There weren’t all of the online t-shirt shops yet. In fact, nobody was online yet.
None of my other teammates jumped at taking on the task of printing t-shirts, so I did it.
I came up with a design, took it to a local t-shirt shop who gave me the final design on a piece of paper and I took it around to my teammates. They loved it. I said that if you wanted a shirt, you had to put 1/2 the money down, that way I didn’t have to front any cash of my own to print them.
But once the team saw it, so did other kids in the school. Then, pretty soon, so did their parents. Then the parents wondered if I could print sweatshirts as well.
“Of course!” I said. Then I quickly called the t-shirt place to see if they could print sweatshirts (I should have probably asked that first instead of taking money for a dozen sweatshirt orders).
Pretty soon, I had 2 MASSIVE boxes of t-shirts and sweatshirts in my bedroom (all paid for). These boxes were about half the size of a refrigerator and each one contained a lot of product. The next day I took them to school and handed them out and collected the rest of my money.
After school that day I came home and emptied out my pockets on my bed. More than $1500 of profit in ones, fives and tens. Right then my mom walked in my room and had an expression of horror on her face as she stared at the piles of cash laying on the bed of her 17 year old son (who didn’t have a job).
“You’re not selling drugs, are you?”
The College Years… a Break… The College Years… a Break…. etc.
After high school, I went and played Junior Hockey in Iowa. After a stint there, I took off for college. It was a small college in Western Minnesota with a hockey team that I could play on and even already knew some guys on the team.
What I didn’t realize about college was that you needed to go to class EVERY SINGLE DAY! I thought is was optional since I was paying THEM to attend the school.
So after a couple of semesters, I was asked to attend a meeting with the Dean of the college and was politely asked to take a semester off of school to get my S**T together. Now I need to reiterate that…. I was NOT kicked out. I was simply asked to re-evaluate my priorities.
At this time, I had a friend living in Las Vegas and he called me up and said “Hey. You want to move out here with me until you’re ready to head back to school?”
“Las Vegas? Hell yeah! Is that a trick question?”
So I packed what I could in my busted up Jeep and hit the road.
When I arrived in Vegas, I knew I needed to stay on my skates as I would be returning to college and would want to continue playing hockey for my college team. I went to an open skate in a rec league and immediately got picked up by a team.
The thing was, there was a member of my team who was also a coach for a professional roller hockey team and asked me to join that.
“Professional Roller hockey? Hell yeah! Is that a trick question?”
“Wait… there is a professional roller hockey league?”
The next morning (literally), I was on a plane to San Antonio, TX for my first professional roller hockey game in front of 6000 people. It’s a good thing I’m not a planner.
So my return home was delayed until the summer roller hockey season was done. Then I returned back to college to finish up… or so I thought.
Since I had to pretty much retake my entire first year of classes because of the fun I had when I first arrived at college, my hockey eligibility was over before my classes were completed. I had a decision to make.
I had the opportunity to try out for a professional ice hockey team that fall. But if I didn’t go, there is no way they would take a look at me next year if I wasn’t playing competitively for 12 months. I either had to go, or my career was over.
So I left school again, but this time it was to follow my dream….but it was very short lived.
I made the team and 6 weeks into the professional season, I broke my hand AND had a MAJOR concussion (my 7th) as a result from a nasty hit from behind into the boards.
My hockey career was over. Too many hits to the head does not a smart boy make (or something like that… I forget how it goes).
I Don’t Work Well for Others…
Depressed and concussed, I returned home and enrolled back in school the next semester and finished up my classes and graduated. People talk about how hard it is for someone who drops out of school to actually go back and complete their studies. You know what? They’re right. It’s even harder the 2nd time.
After graduation, I immediately moved to the Minneapolis, MN area and began a string of jobs working for other people. Shortly after this, I realized that I had a problem.
The problem was that I had a severe aversion to working for those people.
I was in sales for a few years and then moved into executive recruiting. They were OK, but I liked working for myself better.
During this period I was always messing around with the Internet as I had been building websites to sell info products since about 1998. I wasn’t new to the space, but the technology was getting to the point that it was much more cost effective to start an online business and had become so much easier. So t-shirts came calling my name again.
Whenever someone (or something) pop culture related became main stream, I would make a t-shirt and sell it on eBay because I’d had good experience in the past with the t-shirt thing.
I purchased a small tabletop t-shirt printing press and learned how to print the shirts myself so I wouldn’t have to fork out a bunch of money and order hundreds of shirts that I hoped I could sell. I would print them as they were ordered.
Remember when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were married and he divorced her to be with Angelina Jolie? The tabloids were all over this and there were “Team Aniston” and “Team Jolie” t-shirts everywhere. I saw one of those shirts and thought that I could make a better looking one. Well, I did. And I sold a lot of those… and that was just the beginning.
And yes, as I look back now, I find it quite embarrassing that I was making money off of the heartbreak of a celebrity couple. But it was working! And I promise that if I ever get divorced, they can make a “Team Mike” or “Team Leah” t-shirt (my wife) and sell them online.
Anyway, the tabloids were selling my t-shirts for me as that story was on the cover of every magazine for MONTHS!
Honey… I Want to Sell T-shirts For A Living
Business was starting to take off and the recruiting job was killing me slowly. I actually really loved working for my boss at that time, but I hated the recruiting game.
There’s nothing more defeating than sending a Vice President level candidate on a final job interview who blows it when they offer him the job because he says, “Well, I’m not sure if I want it”.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????
I’m pretty sure that when we discussed this yesterday, you said, “I want the job!”
So I went home that night and told my wife… “Honey, I want to sell t-shirts.” Her expression was priceless.
“GRRREEEAAATTT. And are you going to be getting paid to do this? We kind of have a kid on the way.”
Time To Go To Work
When I started the t-shirt business full time in 2007 I had 12 t-shirts on a website and eBay. With my son on the way, I’d better find something that works (other than celebrity divorce) and find it fast. That’s when I found PPC marketing.
It was such a big moment in my life that I wouldn’t realize it until much later because it changed business for me forever. When I started with PPC marketing for the t-shirt business, I went from selling 12 t-shirts on a website to having more than 300 products and selling to more than 90 countries around the world… in 6 months (no that is not a typo). It was 6 months.
I was hooked and it wasn’t on the t-shirt business. I was hooked on the fact that I could sell t-shirts all over the world from my garage using nothing but my computer. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it.
I could make an advertisement and show it to someone in Australia, Russia, or even Turkey (yes… I actually sold products to Turkey) and they could purchase a t-shirt from me in Minnesota. It was awesome.
It was so awesome until I realized I had to also print, package and ship that t-shirt as well. In fact, that’s all I was doing. Printing, packing and shipping… for 6 years.
Over that time I loved learning about how to market my company online.
I was making it work (and making it work well) with PPC, but I wanted to market my business with other types of online marketing also. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, etc.
For the first few years of the business, I spent more than $100,000 paying other companies to do my internet marketing for me. I’m not sure I ever saw a penny in return.
But there wasn’t many people teaching online marketing and if they were, it was usually a scam. So I learned how to do it myself. And there’s no quicker way to learn then when you’re spending your OWN money and your OWN time.
After trying (and succeeding) with a lot of those other types of marketing for several years, I noticed several things. Those other types of marketing became harder, took longer, became more expensive, and none of them worked as well as pay per click marketing.
Now don’t think that they’re not important. It’s just that I found the most (and quickest) success with PPC. I could literally create a new t-shirt idea, make a mock up of it on my computer, list it on my website and be selling it within minutes.
And yes… I’ve done this. I once saw a viral video (of a kid and a turtle…really) that the local news was covering. I ran to my office, made a design (I used the quote that the kid in the video said), posted it on my website and crafted a PPC ad and posted it online. All of this took 30 minutes.
12 minutes after I posted the ad, I had a sale. And it was to someone who lived in ALABAMA! I came up with the idea for a new product and sold that product in 42 minutes to someone across the country. There is NO other form of advertising that can make that happen that quickly.
That’s it, I Quit!
I work 60 hours a week, every week except during the holidays. I work 20 hour days during the holidays. Internet retail is 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I’ve had one vacation in 5 years. And I’m sick of t-shirts I could scream! Not to mention that my boss is kind of a… WAIT!
I can’t quit! It’s MY business. I AM the boss!
But I’d had enough. I loved the marketing part of the business, but I HATED fulfilling the orders. The business had grown to the size that I either had to invest a LOT of money to expand or get out… and get out now.
I couldn’t print any more t-shirts without more (bigger) equipment, getting a larger space (expensive) and hiring other people.
PPC marketing had helped me grow the business to the point where I couldn’t keep up.
So now I had to figure out what I was going to do. I decided to take what I learned about marketing my business and take it to others.
I spoke to a couple of friends of mine who had businesses and offered my services to them to see if they liked it. They did and it worked really well for them! So I decided to try and sell the t-shirt business and move on.
After about 8 months and a chance encounter with a woman in San Francisco, I sold the t-shirt business.
The best part about that is the woman that bought my business actually lived 8 miles from my house in Minnesota. I’d gone out to the West Coast to attend a marketing conference and sat right next to her. Three months later, she purchased the t-shirt company. Not that it’s an important part of this story, but talk about timing.
Back to Work… Again.
It was 2013 and I was starting over. But this time I knew how to market my business.
4 years later and I’m branching out again. After meeting with hundreds of businesses and speaking with them about their online marketing, I found that there was a LARGE audience that wasn’t being served.
The majority of the businesses that I came in contact with were small businesses that couldn’t afford PPC agency set-up fees, management fees, or a minimum advertising spend (pretty common in the PPC industry where your required to spend a certain amount for a period of time, usually a year or longer).
But all of these people were capable of doing it themselves… with the right tools… and the right kind of training. I knew that they could understand it and do it well.
All of these people deserved to be able to build their businesses without having to mortgage their house to afford it. All of these people should be able to do what I did 10 years ago.
But they would need training that allows a business owner to run their business and not spend weeks learning about how to do it.
Training that they can consume with just 10-20 minutes a day. Training that required no technical expertise, and will allow them to see REAL results. The same kind of results that I had in the past and that my clients today get to experience.
So PPC Video Training was born and now I’m getting the opportunity to help even more businesses than I was before… from all different industries… from all around the world.
The Personal Stuff….
I am TRULY a blessed person. I get to help people each and every day grow their businesses. I used to start a business to just make money. Then I realized that it’s pretty cool when someone sends you an email letting you know that they just had to hire 2 more people because of all the work they have from the marketing that you’ve helped them with. I’m thankful and appreciative of it all.
When I’m not helping others at work… I help others at home.
I spend my free time helping my wife Leah, by painting the bathroom for the 3rd time because she didn’t like the first 2 colors.
I help my son Parker understand that concussions are bad (but he doesn’t understand me when I’m drooling).
I help my daughter Skyler understand why it’s OK that she has food all over her face constantly (no boy will EVER want to date her and I’m OK with the no dating thing).
I help my dog Barley understand that if he barks at the UPS guy one more time… well… (you can fill in the blank).
But in all seriousness, I have an amazing family, an amazing job and a great life. I’m not trying to rub it into anyone going through tough times, but maybe just let them know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Well, thanks for reading about my journey…. I hope that someday I may be able to help you on your journey.