Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the episode today, we have Marco Torres. Marco, welcome.
Thank you, Thomas, glad to be here.
It is my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do?
Sure. Thanks. So I’ve been an entrepreneur really all my life since very early on in age about nine I started a paper out and by the age 12 I had the biggest paper route and was featured on the front page of the newspaper of the local newspaper that I had built the largest route. and what I did, you know? And then from there I went on and by the time I was 23, I had five restaurants and a nightclub. I went on to become very early adapter to internet marketing in the nineties and the mid-nineties. You know before when everybody had an AOL account. I was email spammer before they even called it spam. I was doing 100 million emails out of my garage with a bunch of servers and a bunch of every affiliate marketer that was out there in those early days with email marketing back then people loved their email.
It was you know you got that message from AOL. It was you know you’ve got mail and people loved getting on their computer and opening up email and reading their offers and taking advantage of the stuff. So it was like the coupons of the newspaper. It was new for all the housewives out there worldwide. I’ve gone on to in my career to work in the corporate world as well for, you know, a dozen or so years and between the corporate world and my own businesses and others that I’ve supported, I’ve influenced over a billion dollars in sales throughout my career. So I’ve got a little bit of knowledge on how to help entrepreneurs, what consumers you know what, what, how to make people take that call to action, how to create impulse buy and how to, how to help people get over that, you know, get off the jump off the fence and go ahead and purchase your product or service. So that’s a bit about me today or overall in my career, we’ve launched a company called marketing boost in 2017 and that product, this company is all about providing incentives to help business owners compete with the big boys and level the playing field so that a small entrepreneur, the solo preneurs are, can really enhance their offers by adding value to their calls to action versus discounting.
For example. Well, there’s a lot there for me to pick up on lots of good stuff to ask. The first question I wanted to ask almost immediately was based on how should we say entrepreneurial you are? I was surprised to say to hear that you went back into the corporate world. So what was it that happened? What were the events that happened that made you want to go back into working life as it were? Well, that’s a good question. When I, when I sold my restaurants and the, and my nightclub in San Juan Puerto Rico. That’s where I grew up. I’m not Puerto Rican but Mexican descendants. But when I was in Puerto Rico, I had the restaurants and the nightclub and so I sold the nightclub and we sold the restaurants to Taco Bell. Before of the five were fast-food restaurants and all the big food court malls throughout the island. And so Taco Bell went into that marketplace and brought us out and I moved my family to Florida and I did not want to get back in the restaurant business.
I kind of had it up to here with restaurants, you know, to be in the restaurant business. You really got to love people and I was burned out on it. I didn’t really. I didn’t love people enough to be continuing in the restaurant business. I mean, I love people today, but it was the restaurant business just really took it out of me when you know, having to take to do that. But anyway, so I moved to Florida and you know, I wasn’t ready to. I didn’t know what business I wanted to start or what have you and so I wanted to be in sales, I knew that was the best place for me to be and to, so I got into sales in the corporate world, started as a, as a salesperson, moved up the ladder, became a marketer from sales to marketing, I decided I’d rather have 1% of 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own. So I got into the marketing world. I did start my own business in a in a big travel company, a big company called Westgate Resorts in Orlando. Big time share resort company. And I ended up starting my own business as I was an employee eventually sold that company to the owner of Westgate Resorts.
Once I built that up, I built our Latino and Brazilian Latino sales line that focused on prospects from international markets around the world. And they bought me out and then I became their director of marketing. So that lasted for you know, over a dozen years where I was the director of marketing and took them from and became an expert on the internet. So from 2000 to once they took over their internet marketing from 2000 to 2008 we I blew it up to $200 million a year in sales derived from internet marketing. And then in 2000 and eight it all crashed and burned. I had to lay off 2000 telemarketers. I got fired myself and basically thankfully in a way at the time it didn’t seem so I couldn’t see past the victimhood feeling that I felt, you know what I’m saying, why me, You know, I’m up here in the corporate world and making very, very good money and also had, you know, my previous business that I sold and I launched a long story short that year 2000 and 8, 2009 was one of the best sales years of my life.
I mean, I sold everything. I sold my house, my cars, my boat furniture. It was like holy smokes, you know, by the time I was able to recuperate after a couple of years of trying to live that same lifestyle, trying to, I figured I’m gonna be able to me kidding me, I’m gonna be able to jump from, you know, and linear and find another position or, and roll into the same vice president position somewhere else or what have you. And that didn’t happen for a while. So, and instead I leveraged relationships and got back together with some buddies of mine that I had done business with in the past and what have you. And we launched a travel company in 2000 end of 2009. And that became in a way that leads into the story of how marketing works was born. That, that, that became one of the fastest growing travel companies in north America. We were booming. We were moving very quickly and when you start, when you are a startup company and you do start doing some volume, it’s inevitable that you’re going to, you know, drop the ball here and there.
And we were getting some negative reviews that were out of our control. You know in part because they were coming from you know the resorts and the hotel side but they were really negatively affecting our, our business because you know of course a negative review lives forever on the internet and it’s right up on top google, make sure anything negative ends up right up on top. And so we had to overcome that and figure out how do we offset these negative reviews. So we started came up with an idea to ask our travellers at the peak of their of their, which should be their happiness right when they’re on the trip. So they, we after day after checking, we sent everyone an email survey and ask them, hey how’s the hotel living up to your expectations? How do we rate on a scale of 1 to 5? Score us. And if they gave us a four or five, we would immediately follow up with an email and a text message saying wonderful. We’re thrilled that you’re having a wonderful time. We’d like to ask you a big favour, would you please give us a video testimonial hotel review, you know from the beach, the pool somewhere brag about the hotel brag about our company and will reward you with a complimentary hotel state and that took off before we knew it.
We had dozens and then hundreds of video testimonials that really helped. That we could leverage those video testimonials all over our website, all over our travel site pages. And of course, at the beginning, we were having to fund those complimentary trips out of our pocket. So it was an expensive campaign to generate those video testimonials. But we were leveraging them very well. So then we went back to all these resorts that we had, you know, incredible relationships with and came up with a way to create a win/win for everybody. One, we knew that they had rooms that go unoccupied nearly every night of the week. You know, they’re never most hotels are rarely 100% occupied year round. They’re typically, you know, 30% of the rooms are open except for maybe weekends, peak season holidays rather than that, you know, 70% of the year. They’ve got a lot of rooms available so we went to them so we can help you fill these empty rooms that would otherwise go empty with warm bodies that are going to spend money at the at the restaurants, the bars, the casino, the spa room service and all the other, you know, the gift shop, all the other revenue outlets that the property would have, they would get, the government would get their taxes.
The client would, you know, when you use one of our complimentary incentives, someone’s got to pay the government taxes. They’ve always got their hand out. But other than that, the client would get a free room and the hotel would see the benefit of additional revenue because they have the same fixed cost regardless they still got a front desk staff, they got a mortgage to pay. They’ve got lights, water, all their bills. So the only additional expense when somebody is in that room is really the maid service. So if they if the room goes empty, it’s lost revenue forever. If there’s people in there, they’re likely going to spend some money. Maybe book additional nights and all the other revenue opportunities. So we convinced the beginning just a few hotels to join us in this process. And resorts and we launched what became today marketing boost dot com. Today we offer complimentary hotel stays and over 125 destinations all over the world. Really sexy stuff like five nights in Cancun at triple diamond five star resorts on the beach. We offer rather triple A. Four diamond hotel on the beach.
The fives in Cancun, for example, we offer seven nights in Phuket Thailand four nights in Valley. Three nights in Las Vegas at places like the Valley, the Rio, the Westgate Resorts in Las Vegas. We have, you know, destinations in Myrtle beach. 30 destinations throughout the US about a dozen in Australia, a bunch all over Europe, a bunch over in Asia, Singapore Philippines. So we really kind of cover the globe so that now we are a global big company and I have business owners all over the world that use our service and use our incentives to enhance their calls to action. Great. Great answer. The thing which makes me think that I want to follow up on a particular part of your story is you started funding it yourself and had maybe relationships with smaller, shall we say a smaller number of hotels. At what point did you start thinking, actually, this could be a business for us? Well, we kind of felt it really could be a business.
When we saw the results, we were getting to control our own reputation management. When we were generating today we’ve got over 30,000 video testimonials from people, happy travellers from all over the world. And we knew this is powerful. I mean, in today’s world, if you don’t have to testimonials, reviews, you know, people aren’t buying from you, they’re gonna look up, you know, depending upon what you do or not. But when you can add real reviews to your to your website and your offer or your landing pages, whatever you refer to them. That’s gonna be a powerful tool to get people to trust and believe in you and buy from you written reviews are great. You gotta have those as well. But you know, a lot of us today, you know, you might doubt written reviews. You can pay people to write them, you can write them yourself. But the video reviews, you know, there, that’s really personal. I mean, to get people to do film and not everyone is willing to do it right.
So if you get people to actually film a video testimonial and go out of their way to do that film it posted, you know, that’s a lot to ask. And so that’s one reason why we were rewarding them to do that. But boy did it really, you know, help and continue to leverage and grow and shoot our business to this guy. So we thought this could, you know, and we’re not the first to invent the travel, it’s insert incentive, business travel certificates. It’s been around for decades. But we decided that we were going to get into business and do this. We wanted to revolutionise the industry and totally turn it upside down all of our competitors for at the time, for example, where they sell the individual certificates, you know, for as much as $100 apiece. And, and then you would um, you know, you’ve all probably seen it, you’ve, you know, win a free cruise and you get a certificate for a four day, three-night cruise, little Bahamas or what have you. But then what you realise is all of our competitors, essentially the business model is to make the certificates practically impossible to use. You’ve got to, you know, give them 45 days advance notice for your travel dates that you want, you got to give them two dates that you’d like to travel 90 days apart.
You’ve got to send it in snail mail. I mean, they were really like impossible to use and we turned it upside down and said we’re gonna make ours, you know, super easy. No hoops to jump through, no timeshare presentations, no sales presentations at all, Log in online right after you activate the certificate and you have 18 months to travel, you log in and you search the dates that you want to go, you see the hotels that are available at that destination and you click it, book it, get instant confirmation, instant gratification. And again, no hoops at all to use the incentives. So we made one easy to use incredibly affordable because by the way a being a member of marketing boost is only Right now $37 a month. We’ve recently we went back to our classic price, our original price, in 2017. And for the last so many months so that’s still available that are you want to get that and lock that in and be grandfathered in if you do $37 a month, which gives you unlimited access to be able to give away all of these complimentary hotel stays.
And also we’ve got other products as in hotel savings cards, restaurant savings vouchers, we can get more into that in a moment. But you were asking me about how we thought it was a business. So, because of what it did for our business, we thought you know this is a possible standalone business that people are going to love. If we, if we can, you know totally make it you know, easy to use again, a win/win for everybody. So what we have today is it’s a super win for the resorts. They love it. We’re helping them fill rooms that would otherwise go empty. It’s a win for the client who received the incentive, they’re getting a complimentary stay outside of paying their own airfare, food and beverage and the government taxes. When they receive a certificate, they have to activate it and then when they activated their paying essentially the government taxes and fees for that hotel. And then there the business owner wins the marketing boost. Member wins because they’re getting access to these incredible high perceived value incentives that they can add to their calls to action, which I can give examples of that in a moment, but all for only $37 a month.
And it’s the business owners little secret, this is the mastermind secret of many an entrepreneur because your client will never know, Well we don’t they’ll never be the marketing boost is never disclosed to them when they receive the incentive they redeem it at redeemed vacations.com. So they’re never seeing that. It only cost you $37 a month there, assuming you’ve had to pay substantially more to send them on this complimentary trip. And I suppose the discounts that you’re referring to can actually be more than that amount anyway, I suppose can’t. Oh yeah, the client discount is you know, the average of three nights day is valued at about $8,900. And you know the activation fee is you know, say maybe 100 or something. So the savings is huge for the client. The savings is huge for the for the business owner to be able to add $1000 in value to his offer without him having to pay that $1000 to fulfil it.
So, for example, instead of discounting his price, I was on the phone yesterday with one of my clients who has been in the wedding photography business and they do the photographs for videography and what have you and their competitors. You know, our average around $5000 for a photography video combo for a wedding. And so he’s set up a business that goes that nationally here in the United States and the office. He’s got photographers all over the country. He focuses on the sales and marketing. And once he gets a client off, you know, outsources it to his local photographers. He’s got all over the country and he’s been selling it discounted. And what he’s doing now is by including a complimentary hotel stay in Cancun, for example, he’s including a five night honeymoon. So they’re now, he’s adding the perceived value of $1250 a five-night stay at a five star resort in Cancun to his offer. So now he can get, you know, almost double what he was getting before getting, you know, from 2200 and $4500.
And that’s his 24, 4500. It’s still cheaper, you know, lower price than his competitors. But now he’s boom, he’s getting more money and he’s fulfilling that with a complimentary trip from marketing boost that only cost him $37 a month. So it’s a super win for the business owner. It’s a win for the couple that hires him to do the photography because they save money compared to the typical competitor. Plus, they got a Cancun trip thrown in. I mean, everybody in the circle wins, the resorts happy to receive him. So it’s a super win/win for everybody involved, interesting from your perspective, is it more difficult to get the people who are Paying the $37 or the hotels who provide to stay, it’s obviously more difficult to get the resorts to participate. So we’ve, you know, they are stuck in their ways for, you know, so many years.
So they need to be, they need to be enlightened on how, you know, we’re helping them fill rooms that, you know, they’re looking at it, I can’t give up the room for no money, you know? So it does take a lot of whining and banging and convincing and visiting and showing numbers from other resorts, et cetera. We’re putting them in touch with other resort owners for them to, you know, join in and participate. So they give us the inventory of what They know, it’s likely gonna have times of the year, they’re gonna be, you know, high and dry with empty rooms and that’s what we help fill. So if the consumer, it can be somewhat flexible, it’s with the complimentary trips, for example, we have, we offer typically about 32 weeks of availability out of 52 weeks a year. So they’re not they’re not gonna be able to travel on demand. They have they do have to give us 30 days advanced notice for most of the resorts. We do we do have some, we have right now, one in Cancun only requires 14 days advance notice, but all the rest are 30 days.
They can’t use them, there are restrictions, you know, you can’t use them for group travel. So for example, as a business owner you can’t say okay I’m gonna put on an event and invite all of my clients too to Las Vegas and we’re gonna put on a you know a seminar for my clients. So everybody’s going to come on this complimentary trip from marketing boost that won’t work because the hotels, their bread and butter’s group travel. So they don’t allow group travel, they don’t allow what else they got to have. Somebody has got to be at least 21 years of age have a credit card or debit card. So there’s a few simple restrictions but it works very well very well. And then we also have the hotel savings cards. I was telling you about it. And those come in increments of $100 you know $100 or $500 in hotel savings cash credits that bring down the price of the of the hotel compared to retail. So they work like a gift card but they don’t cover the entire room. You can’t get $100 room night for free.
But you will be able to save for example, if Expedia has a room at 200 a night, $100 hotel savings card. And you booked a three-night stay and expedient B 300 with us. It might be 200 for the same three nights. You know with the application of the of the hotel savings card for example. So those again you can give them away unlimited and then we have restaurants. Savings vouchers that are available in the US and Canada with over about 100,000 offers from participating restaurants and what have you, where the user gets a phone app, puts in their zip code and then sees all the participating restaurants in the area that they’re at. They can use it while they’re traveling or while they’re home and find discounts, you know 25% off buy one, get one ah You know 10% here, whatever it might be and so they can you know activate that. Those are free to activate as well as the hotel savings cards. There’s no there’s no fee to activate. And those we teach our business owners use what we call micro incentives for micro calls to action.
So you don’t want to give away a five-night stay in Cancun to join your email list. It sounds you know, way too good to be true and you know it will negatively affect the offer versus and instead of helping it. So if you’re asking him to do something simple like join your email list then you want to you know maybe offer a restaurant. Savings voucher. You know we’re offering for the first 100 sign up today, $100 restaurant savings voucher when you join our newsletter may be the first to call the action. Is something simple with $100 purchase, you get $100 hotel savings card. You know if they are. Well, for example, that wedding guy I was telling you about yesterday that I spoke to, he uses the hotel savings cards for booking an appointment. And then so he’ll offer them $100 hotel savings card for the appointment to. If they show up for the appointment on time to talk to one of their sales representatives, they get the $100 hotel savings card whether they hire his services or not.
And then when they’re on the phone of course they can switch that out and say, okay, I’ll tell you what, instead of the restaurant savings card, I mean the hotel savings card, I’m gonna, if you go ahead and hire us this, you know, this week we’re running this promotion, we can include the five-night honeymoon trip to Cancun if you, you know, book us today. And so now it’s scalable. And because he’s getting a lot more, you know, bigger, bigger package price, he can throw in a much higher value, perceived value, complimentary trip. It’s sort of an intelligent way of using bonuses, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve seen bonuses used in loads of different ways. I just haven’t seen it in this particular way. So yeah, it’s really interesting stuff in terms of you mentioning the hotel’s being perhaps more difficult to get than anyone else. Have you got any say wins or big stories about how you got a great hotel to, to take part? Well, recently we’ve been really bragging about our newest featured resort in Cancun Mexico, which is the fives resort on the fives on the beach and it’s in the Plaza Del Carmen area.
It’s a three diamond, it’s a three triple a four diamond resort on the beach, 15 restaurants, gorgeous property, you know, with pools and beach front. And then we’ve also brought in their entire sister resorts that are in Puerto Morales in downtown Del Carmen. So we now have three of the resort properties that are participating in Cancun. We just brought on Cancun right now we’re getting a lot of really nice properties joining us. That’s why I keep talking about Cancun, but we’ve got the crystal resort on the beach, it’s on the, coming in, you know, be online in about a week or two. The crystal resort and the Omni are coming on board. the crystal is in the top, the best part of the beach of Cancun. It’s right in the Cancun area versus the Carmen, it’s right next to the shopping and the nightclubs and the whole, you know, the best swimming part of the beach in Cancun, 100 yard wide beach area just beautiful and so that’s coming online here.
The Omni a little further down in the middle of the hotel zone is coming on board were also just signing up 15 new hotels in Myrtle Beach coming on soon. So that’s going to be a new, very top and we’ve had that destination for a while, but now we’ve got some new great relationships coming on board and so we’ve got the Westgate Resorts coming back on board with us now and in for Orlando and las Vegas, these are, you know, beautiful five star suites instead of just hotel rooms at the West Gate properties, they provide, you know, huge suites that are studios or what have you that, you know, they are much bigger than a standard hotel room. And so yeah, we’ve got, you know, in Phuket Thailand we’ve got, you know, villas that are, you know, available. So it’s, it can, we’ve got a really nice variety of, from resorts to very nice hotels throughout the world. Your previous answer, you mentioned the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis and how you went through some tough times after that there is a possibility that someone perhaps listening to this now might be going through something similar as a result of everything happening in the world.
And what did you learn from going through all that, that you could share with someone else that might be going through something similar? Yeah, thanks for asking that question. That brings back some tough memories. It was, yeah, it was devastating and it was very hard to pull myself back. You know, I for many, many months, I was not worried initially. I’m like, not me, you know, I’m Teflon, I’ll bounce back. I’ve done it many times. I’ve reinvented myself several times, you know, many times in my career. So I’m thinking that this is not gonna be a problem and I’m gonna, you know, move laterally and find something else in the similar, like, you know, insisted to myself first being very optimistic, I will, I will bounce somewhere else. But as time went on and you know, the year went by and then the second year when it was going by it. And I had not really, you know, reduce all my expenses is because I kept saying I’m going to find something else. And, and then it turned into victimising feeling as a victim, you know, why me?
You know, mad at the world, mad at the universe, mad at God and you know, here I am losing, you know, everything I’ve worked for, you know, decades and, and I’m no young spring chicken anymore. I was probably 45 years old and finding myself losing, you know, everything, you know, watching, you know, tow trucks come and pick up one of my cars and you know, you’re just a disaster, a total disaster. And so the hardest part was, you know, once I got all the way down to the bottom and was, you know, literally feeling that victimhood was to get over that and realised it’s no one’s picking on me, the world is not out to get me. It’s not because I’m Hispanic, it’s not because I’m black, it’s you know, whatever, you know, the victim mentality is what keeps most of us down forever. I really hate that much of the world today when, you know, teaching people that they are victims of racism and so on and so forth because you’re not, you know, everything, especially, you know, in many parts of the free world, you know, you might be a victim if you’re growing up in Russia, but if you’re not, if you’re anywhere in the free world, you know, there’s, it’s up to you, you can make it happen, you can, you can learn, you can teach yourself anything today, there’s never been a better time than today to be an entrepreneur and get away from having just the J-O-B. You can teach yourself almost anything on the internet today on YouTube. The information is available, the technology is available and affordable for just about anything from automation to you name it. I mean to building your website today is easy, anybody can build a website with multiple different sites or sales funnels can be built by the way we do offer as well and up sell product we call automation booster automation booster dot com and that is where we provide a complete CRM system implement, you know, text messaging, email marketing as voicemail, broadcasting all automated, all in one place, all for one low, affordable price, including the automation of the marketing boost incentives that get delivered automatically with the call to action and so forth. So that’s an upsell product that we offer. But the point I’m making is today, you know, we can all find excuses to stay wherever we are and stay down on the dumps or we can start, you know, get rid of the victim mentality, teach yourself what you need to learn.
Start reading books, self-help books, that’s really the only kind of book I’ve ever read in my life, I’m not interested in sci fi or fantasy, you know, fiction. So self-help books, teach yourself sales. A lot of people fear sales, they feel like, you know, I’m not a salesman, I’m not a born salesman, no, nobody is a born salesman. It’s a skill that you have to teach yourself and it’s the skill of learning how to win friends and influence people, which is one of the first books that changed my life by well suddenly authors get my mind how to win friends and influence people by dale Carnegie. Thank you dale Carnegie. A very old book, but it’s still relevant today and he’s going to teach you the, you know, the basics of how to make sure that you are finding ways to win and win friends and influence people in the proper way, You know, you gotta, you gotta want to And so my passion today is to help, you know, I get up every morning and I love the fact that I’m helping entrepreneurs around the world to grow and scale my Facebook group alone, one of them as over almost 28,000 members of entrepreneurs and what we do in this group is we’re putting on webinars and training and daily content to guide and help people and our members are participating, you know, posting their next campaign and getting all of us to, you know, many of us to review it and critique it before they go live with it to the public and stuff like that.
Where were we are helping each other, you know, reach back down and help pull somebody else up the ladder to help that next entrepreneurs start seeing successes as well. So correct me if I’m wrong, the summary of the answer would be focused on self-reliance and don’t listen to the inner critic is that fair conclusion. Very much very much so. And the other thing is leverage your network you know, when I in order to one of the things that we did, when I pulled myself back up out of the 2000 and eight debacle, it was leveraging friend relationships from, from the past and we got together, you know, four of us that were pretty much in the same boat with and we couldn’t, none of us could have hired each other, none of us could have afforded to have hired the quality of individuals that we pulled together our strengths and launched this new business. so we were all investing our time and money to launch this new business and none of us would have been able to have hired that kind of talent.
So if we had done it on our own, We would have been, you know, not that probably wouldn’t have succeeded, but because we each came in, one of us focused on sales, one of us focused on the marketing, one of us focused on the resort relationships, one of us focused on the financing and of the business and together we built, you know, a very big travel business which eventually became marketing boost, not became didn’t change, we still have the different travel sites but then we launched this new marketing boost product in 2017. And so leverage your net worth is directly related to your network. So if you’re if you’re not making a lot of money right now, you might want to look at who’s in your circle, who are you spending time with, you know, who’s your circle of friends and contacts and business associates and if they’re not the right people then change your, change your network start participating in networking organisations start reaching out to finding people that are smarter and making more money than you, those are the ones you want to be around.
Those are the people you want to learn from. And there’s an old saying, you know, show me who you’re with and something along those lines, show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you’re gonna become. Forget exactly how it goes. But that’s very true. I mean if you the right circle of friends can make a big difference on what, what starts flowing your way, thank you for that. Just coming back to your clubs and your restaurants that you exited. is there anything that you, I know you said you didn’t particularly like that business anymore, Maybe a bit burnt out. Is there anything that you learned from going through that process that you still used today? Yes. You know what one of the things you learned about it when we got into the business? I was 19 years old and convinced my older brother and my mother too, let’s get into the let’s open Mexican restaurant. My mom was Mexican and every she cooked very, you know it’s incredibly well and every time she was always very social, throwing big parties, which threw parties. You always cook Mexican food and everybody loved their food.
So we can convince the family to open a restaurant and my dad was in finance. So he was like, well if you really want to do this, I can help you find the financing for it. But you guys don’t know anything about the Mexican about the restaurant business, prove it to me first. So we, my brother and I went to work. We went to Texas where you know the home of Tex Mex restaurants, some of the best Mexican restaurants all over the in the world. And so we went to San Antonio Texas where I’m from and we had some family there and stayed with my uncle and we went to work and today we would probably call it funnel hacking, right? But we were we were working in these restaurants picking up the midnight shifts so we could go in there with cameras, we were taking pictures of the kitchen layout, where did they get the food from? How do they order? How do the schedules look? How do they, you know, employ people? We didn’t. I’m 19 years old, so I had to learn, you know, we wanted to learn everything.
There was to learn and do everything from mopping the floors to learning to cook too, you know, trying to be the run the cash register to, you know, later I went to work in a full service restaurant and I remember when I went to employ, apply for the job, I told the manager, you know, I’m gonna be the best employee you’ve ever had and he kind of laughed and chuckled and then I said no I’m serious I’m gonna be the first one here, the last one to leave. I want to learn every position there isn’t this restaurant including yours, I want to learn you know I’m just a kid of 19 right or 20 by that time and I’m like not even 20. I was actually anyway regardless I went in there and I said I’m going to learn everything there is to learn and so he called the owner of the restaurant you know Larry come here, you gotta hear this kid. And so I told him yes sir I’m going to be the you know hire me, I’m gonna be the best employee you’ve ever had. I’m gonna I want to learn everything and a matter of fact a year from now I’m gonna open my own restaurant and they both burst out laughing and they didn’t know we had already signed the contract for our first restaurant in in in in Puerto Rico at the plaza Las Americas but you know it was a year of construction away and so we were but I was still needing to learn more and more about everything to do with restaurants.
So again, I told him I’m gonna I’m gonna open my own restaurant in a year. Anyway, they hired me and I did do exactly what I said, I lied. I needed to learn how to bar 10 bus boy wait tables. You know, cook, you name it. And a year later, I invited the manager and the owner to the restaurants to the first restaurant we opened to the grand opening. The manager did not come and but the owner did and he was incredibly proud to you know be there, see me opening our first restaurant and you know that’s a story that so the lesson learned is was you know early on. I loved it. We I loved it all the way through and I say I always burnt out on it but you know it can become the restaurant business is not only people difficult with us customers but worse employees. So dealing with that with that many employees. So the lesson learned there was you know, well I don’t regret any of it.
I mean, we got through it and we had an exit plan. So when we sold it to Taco Bell, it all worked out just fine. But I walked away knowing this isn’t really what I want to keep doing. It’s too much of not enough money in it. The restaurant business is very tight margins. So I wanted to go get and try different things. That is a great story and I’m a bit disappointed that the manager didn’t come. Did you feel any of that or were you just proud of what you, what you accomplished? I was, I expected him not to come. And matter of fact, after we sold the restaurants, I didn’t tell you this part of the story, after we did sell the restaurants and my nightclub. I met the owner of the restaurant. Now this is years later. I met the owner of the scotch and sirloin was the name of the steakhouse at the high end steakhouse. That I was working at, the owner of that restaurant, Larry Sweeney. And he I met him at a bar in San Juan years later. And so he said, so what are you doing now? And I said I’m on a sabbatical and you know I was I was sailing all over the Caribbean with different friends of mine, different books and he goes well I’m opening a new restaurant at the El San Juan Hotel and Casino and I need a general manager, why don’t you help me get that restaurant launched?
And so I did. And I came back to work for Larry Sweeney now as his general manager of his of his brand new high end steakhouse. it was called Dark Tiffany, a steak and lobster, you know high end and a super beautiful resort in San Juan, the el San Juan hotel and casino and that manager that didn’t come to my grand opening now was my subordinate? So life has a funny way of, of careful whose feet you step on because they might be, you might be kissing there. I have heard it before about don’t, don’t burn your bridges. And that relationships are important for that very reason. But it’s a, it’s a great lesson that for people who are considering. I have heard it regarding the restaurant business, but it applies to most businesses is that if you go and get a job in that business and learn all the various different roles, that is fantastic experience if you want to go into that business.
So I think that’s a great lesson. The same would apply if you’re doing something online. If you’re, you’re trying to open an online retail store. You know, maybe you be better off getting a job with one first and learn from the inside the dues and the donuts and then step out and launch your own. you have to be an entrepreneur. You’ve got to be willing to burn the candle at both ends. You’ve got to be willing to, you know, I’ve done it many times. You know, hold a job and work your 40 50 hours a week at the job and then come home and work another 30 40 50 hours a week. You know, to launch your own business until your own business replaces your income. So you can walk away from the main job unless you’re fortunate enough to have a spouse or a partner or somehow that you can, you know, somebody can fund you while you build it, but you still want to better know a bit about what you’re doing and don’t assume it’s gonna be easy, you’re gonna have to learn it whether it’s schooled or you know, today we call it, you know, you can funnel hack and learn to see what other people are doing successfully and model it well that’s one way or you can go work in the industry, learn it and then come out and be on your own.
And I bet you were the best employee, right? I think I was. So after that you talked about, correct me if I’m wrong, you did you start a business and then which someone bought from you, then you then worked for, is that right? The internet business? So before I got into the yeah, before I went to work for the corporate world, I did launch my own travel sites, you know, in early 1996. And we were, you know, I was struggling with it figuring it out doing, you know email marketing, what have you did the same thing then I leveraged a partnership. I found a guy who wanted to do the same thing. He had a bit more money than me. So we, you know, he funded the office and what have you and I became the expert on the internet marketing and we grew that pretty strong and so that’s when from there I went and, and I ended up getting my own, like I told you the, the sales operation for West Gate, which I eventually sold the Westgate resorts and became there at that point, I became their director of marketing with a very, you know, very attractive package to be the take over their internet marketing for this big corporate company.
And so that’s how I ended up in the corporate world. But I have learned it from scratch by, you know, early on the, the early days of the internet. It was, you know, it wasn’t easy either because everybody was learning. However, it was the Wild West. It was a little, there was, you know, there were no rules yet, as far as you know, having multiple, you know, multiple sites on pay per click. It was email marketing was easier. But it’s always, that’s part of the deal, You know, over the years it continues to evolve and it means that we have to continue to be on top of it continued to learn, continue to educate constantly to stay up to speed on what’s coming next. And when you sold that on, was that was it part of the deal that you stay on as an employee? Yes, they wanted me to keep it, you know, keep it going. And so yeah, and turn out I spoke to someone previously, Tracie Egan who talked about how more often than not, it’s those types of deals where you actually get a buyer for your company because of the type of person that’s buying it is that they need your expertise.
But yeah, just a side note in terms of your, which were current day, your current business. Um, and I think it’s a fascinating business because I just, you know, I speak to people who are doing lots of different businesses, but there does appear to be themes of what’s popular and what’s, what’s, should we say a bit more rare And I’ve never spoken to anyone who’s done what you’re currently doing. So of all the people who let’s say use your services, the, the monthly fee version of it. Who is that and who is it best suited to? I know you said business owners, but who do you typically do? Yeah, that’s a great question. We, our product is for entrepreneurs business, you know, business owners, obviously marketing directors, direct sales people. Um, really Realtors, insurance agents. I mean I’ve got literally clients from the other day, I found out I have a client who has multiple lemonade stands in the Northeast.
So I’ve got everything from lemonade stands to auto dealers to two doctors too solar panel sales people, you know, home improvement companies, pool pulled, you know, construction companies because you know, it’s, it just can be used to so many different ways, let’s talk about the ways that you can use the incentives and practically any industry, you know, one you can use them for, for lead generation. So you can run a sweepstakes type program, you know, hey, I’m running a contest, I’m giving away, you know, a vacation. Although as a marketing boost member, you have the ability to give away as many of these incentives as you’d like. We do recommend, you don’t give them away like candy or they will lose their perceived value. So you want to, you want to create scarcity and urgency. So for example, you’re running contest, I’m giving away a trip at the end of the month, so sign up today and you know, and join the, you know, join your sweepstakes.
So as they join the sweepstakes your lead for now and after they give you their name, phone, number, email, maybe you have a survey asking some questions to see if they’re qualified for whatever product or service you’re offering. And now you’ve got to lead that you can begin to drip mail, drip, email campaigns, text message campaigns letting them know that the winner will be announced in five more days. Stay tuned here, you know, and that kind of thing. And then you’re, you’re also at the authority promoting whatever product or service you sell one way to referrals after you do sell whatever product or service you offer, you might be saying, hey, if you would give me, refer me to five or 10 of your friends, I’m going to reward you with one of these incentives. Um, it could use it for viral growth to build a social media following. I’ve got many, many clients that have developed, including up to 100,000 followers in their Facebook groups that use the incentives to virally grow. For example, they run contests once a week and they’ll be throwing, saying, invite your friends, invite 50 of your friends to join this group and for every 50 friends you invited, you’re gonna get a chance to win 53 nights in las Vegas or seven nights in Phuket Thailand or whatever it is.
And every other week or every week they’re joining a different destination and different contests to get their existing followers to invite more friends and give them a chance to win. And when they pick that winner, they’re making a big deal out of it, they go live on the, on the Facebook stream, they, you know, the certificate, so that the winner is holding up the certificate and so forth. I’ve got people that, that do lead, that lead by giving, so they use, they use our incentives to help local charities in their communities in their areas and they can set themselves up, they can grow their personal brand by being set up as the philanthropists that can support local charities by giving away, you know, four or five of these vacations at a, at a live event for, for auctions. So folks are bidding on the free trips, raising money for the, not for the, for the cause. And then they get a chance to speak at the, at the, at the, at the event with, you know, yeah, an audience that’s, you know, stuck.
They’re listening, they got a couple of five minutes and get up and say, hey, I’m the expert in this, X, Y and Z. And you know, I’m thrilled to be here and support this cause. So, you know, please bid for the following. But if you need any insurance needs, if you need, I’m the realtor, I’m an expert at this, that and the other. So if you need a realtor, if you’re buying or selling, don’t forget me. And so, good luck on your auction, you guys win, good luck. And then when the winners, they get to deliver the certificate and they’re setting themselves up as obviously the authority as they talk about my business is sponsoring these complimentary trips and they look like the authority of the hero. And people say that’s pretty cool. I mean, if I need a realtor, I’m gonna look for a job, you know, if I need, insurance agent, I’m gonna look for a job because look at the kind of stuff he does in the community. That’s another example what else using it for Upsell just I can just go on for the next hour or so. But the point is when you join our Facebook group, for example, that’s one way you can continue to see that you know, the other ideas on how you might implement these powerful incentives. Using your unique business.
Great answer and also marketing lesson as well in terms of all the various different things that you could be doing if you’re not. But I mean, what’s next for you? What are your goals for the business? Yeah, we have one of the reasons we used to charge $197 a month to be a member of marketing boost and will likely be going back up on the prices here pretty soon. But we decided to lower our price back to our classic rate of 37 a month because we intended to go global. So the goal for marketing boost is too, we have gone global but we’re you know we’re really trying to grow that even more. We next we intend to offer the multi-language, multi currencies. We do have the hotel savings cards in multi-language and multi-currency, but not the complimentary hotel stays. So we currently look for business owners around the world to essentially speak English so they understand you know and that their clients because all the materials etc are currently known only in English.
So we do intend to expand on that so that the certificates, the incentives, the customer support etc, it would be in multi, multi-language. So that’s part of our future growth. The reason we got, we went back to the $37 month price was to make it a one low price for any solo preneurs entrepreneur wannabe entrepreneur to be able to afford this our service from nearly anywhere in the world. So we’ve got members, you know in India and the Philippines, we’ve got business owners and you know Singapore etcetera and around the world Australia but making it a lower price made it a really a no brainer decision for anyone to give it a shot. And one of the first benefits that any business owner gets is you know, you can give yourself one of the incentives to test it so you can give yourself immediately a complimentary hotel stay when you join and test one out. It’s not a free trip travel club. So it’s, we don’t, you can’t use as a member, you can’t use one, you know every destination and travel for free.
So you can test for one of them, but you can give to your clients you know one every year. So there’s a limit, they don’t allow none of the hotels want to participate in a free trip travel club, so they’re looking for fresh blood, new blood, they want new clients, new prospects and so they require that, you know, they be limited to, to whoever you give one to, you can give them one the following year 12 months later. But to a different destination, they don’t want to come back to the same hotel every year either. So they have different destination and you can, so you can create loyalty programs. You know, if you’re with me, you know for you without a subscription program, you can say okay, you’re Stick with it, you know, at your anniversary date of 12 months with us, we’re gonna reward you with another complementary stay and another destination you’ll be able to choose from you can use. So just another idea there. the restaurant savings cards can be given away unlimited to the same client and so can the hotel savings cards. I forgot what we were talking about here with the question but the goals were the goals with the question and I think growing internationally more was the answer, is there anything else you wanted to add to that?
Well, one thing I can go ahead and give everybody is a call to action if that’s okay. Ah yeah, the next question is, where’s the best place for people to go to if they want to sign up and maybe also follow you if you’ve got any socials? Sure. So yeah, go if you go to Facebook, you can look for marketing boost and let me slow down here. The entrepreneur sales and marketing support group. you’ll see. I’ve got, you know, 27,000 members strong. So that’s one place to go is on Facebook, join the Facebook group is free to join the Facebook group or you can go to marketing boost dot com forward slash podcast and your listeners can get 30 days of marketing boost for $1. So that’s one, you know, to your podcast listeners that put this page together, marketingboost.com/podcast and get 30 days of marketing boost for $1. Otherwise, you normally can get a free seven-day trial. If you just go to marketing boost dot com, you can get a free trial for seven days.
And then it’s $37 a month. So either way, it’s easy and affordable to come. Give us a shot. Give yourself a free trip which you can keep even if you don’t stay on past the seven-day trial. Okay, well yeah, I reiterate, I mean there’s lots, lots of good lessons in this episode. So, and you’ve obviously got a lot of marketing knowledge, which marketing boost is a good name for the company. So I appreciate your time today, Marco. Thank you very much.
You’re very welcome and I look forward to helping anybody who joins our group. Reach out, say hello, look forward to talking to you.