“£2,000 from 25 emails, on an order form you had to send by fax.”
That’s how I got started in email marketing and selling courses.
That was the moment I realised I could make money from anyone in the world, at any time of day or night, with skills tools I already had, just a year out of university.
The mantra that had been drummed into me about going to university, getting a “respectable” job, and hating yourself for 40 years, suddenly collapsed. I didn’t need the huge infrastructure of the company I was working for. I could do this for myself from anywhere with an internet connection.
The boomers who dismissed the internet as a “fad” were proven wrong, and I could see the fear in the eyes of the sales Manager wondering how he could justify his next BMW for sales meet sif a 22 year old kid could make sales to accounts he could never reach.
I’d just landed a sale to the IBM sales department in Sao Paolo, Brazil. And it closed it while I was making coffee in an office in Essex, England.
Everyone has a moment when they’re shocked awake to a new reality, when the “penny dropped” and they find a purpose that can keep them going for the rest of their lives.
I can guarantee that if you ask a few people close to you, they’ll tell you that you have a skill that they wish they had.
And if you go far enough back, you’ll find a moment when you didn’t have that skill, but started to develop it. It didn’t appear by magic. You worked at it. Maybe you were forced to by circumstances, maybe you were inspired by someone else.
What’s certain though is that you went from 0 to 1, and you can teach someone else how to take the same step.
Our most enduring heroes aren’t the likes of Superman, with his inherited powers and perfect hair.
They’re Batman, Frodo Baggins and Luke Skywalker.
Humans with no superpowers who faced unimaginable challenges, overcame their own fears, and worked their butts off to survive and win.
Now, it’s unlikely that my email exploits are going to make it to Hollywood, but there are elements of a good story arc in there, and the fact it’s a bit lower level means it will serve our purposes.
A good origin story is how you turn back the clock, show your readers that you were once like them, and start them towards the same destination, but with a clearer set of directions.
(And if you’re teaching any sort of technology, probably a far better set of tools than when you started out.)
So, how do you create a good origin story?
It starts with the first line.
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