Timothy Marc – Secret Society Mastermind – Follow Up Review
Secret Society Mastermind has been repackaged as 10k Blitz for 2017.
Last year I took part in, and reviewed, Timothy Marc’s Thirty Day Build A Freedom Business Challenge (TDC). I was positive about the set of videos and content contained in them, but a little more reserved about the Facebook Group that supplemented the free course.
I’ve been in that group since October of last year and have recently removed myself from it. The reason? The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I lost trust in Timothy Marc. If it’s even Timothy behind the account that (infrequently) posts, as he introduces a guy in TDC as the “social media” guy and another who replies to his emails.
Speaking of emails, you’re encouraged to email Tim as he usually ends his mailshots with a question and an invitation to hit reply, but be aware you’re only likely to receive a stock acknowledgement from whoever’s manning the email account that day or be ignored. Not that I’d expect a personalised reply to every email, they’re coming out of an automated sales funnel, and with the best will in the world Freedom Studios can’t address and reply individually to every message they get.
So it’s a nice touch, but a mock one.
But speaking of Freedom Studios, this is Timothy’s marketing agency that he makes many a claim for in terms of running high price campaigns. I recall him telling one story of turning down business – $30k of it – because the client “didn’t fit.” Another time, on this occasion within the Facebook group, he claims he’s so busy with his Freedom Studios that he’s had to turn down $50k projects.
Which makes me ask why the business guru and king of outsourcing and automation can’t find the temporary additional staff that’d allow him to accept this business? That doesn’t sound right. Especially as your only job is systems design – as Tim says and indeed previously utilised as his own job title.
But there’s a lot that doesn’t sound right or fully add up when you start examining Timothy’s story, based only on what he himself has said.
Tim says he’s been building businesses online for ten years. He repeats that most recently in his newest product The Scientific Cash Machine (SCM) and discusses his history in this Freedom Business Live Talk. That’d mean Tim began his online entrepreneur journey in 2007.
Except he was still thoroughly entrenched with dating company Real Social Dynamics (RSD) in 2007 and releasing his signature product, the DVD program Flawless Natural Method around that time. According to the backstory he presents in this Freedom Business downloadable PDF, it was after he left RSD and returned to Australia that he first began pursuing an online income. He doesn’t state dates so we have to work back a bit.
He also doesn’t mention RSD by name and skirts around that period to some extent, so it appears as if Tim is attempting to distance himself from his past as a pick-up coach with the same company that also gave the world Julien Blanc and Jeff Allen. Not surprisingly, as that association may be something of a negative in attracting the female demographic one would imagine.
Tim most frequently speaks of two successful business he created: a phone app – which he doesn’t name or describe to my knowledge – and Samurai Sales Videos (note the typos in the copy page) which he’s discussed on several occasions (and has been responsible for spawning numerous failed copies of in SSM).
The iPhone app is discussed in the downloadable PDF booklet, and it was created following the breaking point in his life and the breakup with girlfriend he was living with at the time. So according to that document, that’s Tim’s first entry into online sales and business.
That more or less corresponds with what he says in the Freedom Business Live Talk. In that talk he lists his marketing/business history as thus:
1st business marketing/dj local club.
2nd business iPhone apps.
3rd business One Key Fan – Twitter – “9 Sep 2011 Onekeyfan is born. Welcome to the future :)” Website http://www.onekeyfan.com/ – not archived by Internet Archive Way Back Machine – suggests it was live for only short period. Twitter account uses same logo as Tim shows in his Live Talk presentation, so assume it’s same business.
4thclick to convert Takes an age to load, is rough as heck, but that’s Tim in voice over. First appears in Internet Archive on August 4th 2012.
5th samurai sales videos – first appears in internet archive January 2011.
6th blog ‘Do Something Rad’ from which Freedom Business was born and launched in 2012.
This time line seems a bit confused, even allowing for a lag of several months before a website is archived. The majority of the action looks to take place in 2011 as well.
However, I can’t see how, from what Tim’s publicly said, we can get to a figure of ten years of creating businesses online? Unless I’m missing some additional article or talk, or Tim has omitted a lot of information re other businesses.
Tim has said he sold Samurai Sales Videos (SSV) a few months after creating the business, which is absolutely true. If we reference the sale on Flippa we can see it went up for sale on or around 29th April 2011, with sales figures provided to 23rd April 2011. The sale looks to have been completed around mid May 2011.
There’s a thread on Warrior Forum where Tim under the guise of djchariot promotes his service (I believe ‘chariot’ was also his handle on the now defunct PUA forum mASF), and it’s very well received under Tim’s management (or his manager’s). A few complaints and niggles, but nothing major under Tim’s stewardship. A big complaint later but that was well after the sale happened and nothing to do with Tim.
What’s of most interest though, other than the dates, is that SSV wasn’t promoted via SEO or paid traffic drives such as the advice given in SSM, but affiliate links. That’s clearly stated in the Flippa thread.
It’s also interesting for why SSV would be sold so quickly while in increasing profit? As again that seems to go against SSM advice of building a long term business.
But whatever the reason, following what seems a lot of activity in 2011, it’s in 2012 we have the first public announcement of Secret Society Mastermind I can find, and it’s within the PDF I’ve been referencing.
So, as I said above, unless there’s a swathe of other online projects that Tim doesn’t deem relevant to mention, it would appear reasonable to conclude that Tim didn’t possess ‘that’ much experience before he began teaching others.
To couch it in RSD terms, he got laid a couple times with HB6s and then started advertising bootcamps.
The same RSD base that’d be happy to ridicule anyone else caught doing this in the field of dating, were the said same people happy to accept an arguably comparable level of expertise when it came to instructing them on building online businesses.
And I think Tim knew they would accept him as an expert if that’s what he presented himself as.
He’d been with RSD for years, since his early twenties, and in that time been lauded by the client base, gushed on, revered, and generally hero-worshipped by disciples of the RSD way: a way that many critics of the company often called cult-like.
And Natural Tim as he called himself at the time, had an email list of all these people who’d willingly subscribed in order to follow his dating antics and advice. A list then, that’s a marketer’s dream.
Tim had access to the warmest of warm audiences who could more accurately be called fans than subscribers. These men already viewed him as a trusted brand, and best of all were young, impressionable and unquestioning.
It doesn’t really get any better than that. In fact, if it weren’t for Tim’s association to RSD I don’t think SSM or Freedom Studios would’ve been possible. At least not in their current form.
More zeros than in Tim’s bank account
Take a look of the make up of SSM; it is overwhelmingly young men. All agog with the fervour of newly inducted frat members. The program ethos is simply a translation of the RSD spirit from dating consultancy into business consultancy. Except now instead of tales of effortlessly indulging in sex with a beautiful Russian model garnered from the VIP section of the hottest club in town (back to your hostel floor – see Tim’s RSD Russian Mafia girl story), the tales are of effortlessly building and selling business services without any business acumen, or even what appears to be a competent high school education/command of English and grammar in many cases. All resulting in selling services for $$$$… to college educated, hard-nosed middle-aged businessmen and women who know their field and are experienced professionals.
You can guess how that works out.
Except we don’t have to guess when we can find out…
SSM Success Rates
On the SSM sales/join-up page for 2016, the question of success rates of students was addressed but sidestepped by Tim, saying he honestly doesn’t know.
But he does.
He has a whole closed forum of SSM inductees and conducting even a rudimentary audit would be an easy task.
They all have to maintain journals and document their progress when first going through the program, so I’d imagine that would contain details of at least their initial business ventures with links or names to follow up on.
In addition there would also be the general chit-chat and business discussion of the forum group, and as is the human condition, I’m sure those folks who are doing well are more apt to be active and posting, bragging on their successes to the group, and those aren’t or who’ve dropped out, conspicuous by their absence.
However, even if Tim isn’t willing to take a closer look at his SSM community, we can do so ourselves by following up on what must surely be the best examples: the members highlighted by Tim himself in the advertising for SSM 2015.
As can be seen, the copy proclaims “Freedom Studios launches hundreds of successful businesses all over the world each year.”
Well, let’s take a look at the people presented in support of that claim:
All page rankings N/A; Total Visits <5000; Avg. Visit Duration N/A; Pages per Visit 1.00; Bounce Rate 100.00%
That doesn’t look very positive.
If we follow through to the Facebook page we find out that the page was first updated on 2nd Dec 2014 and regularly updated until the last entry on 11th July 2016. The Twitter account follows a similar timeline and was last updated 26th Dec 2016.
I could be wrong, but this smacks of a dead/abandoned site to me. More than that though, it’s a very amateur effort, especially for someone claiming years of traditional marketing experience. I have to ask if this is indicative of the sort of marketing graduate SSM produces? Presumably this site would’ve been put up for critique in the group. That it sits as it does, in the state that we see it, says either the feedback was positive, or Chris ignored the advice of his compatriots. I don’t know, I’m not privy to that info, and can only judge by the quality of work I see coming out of SSM. I’d very much like to know what assistance and advice Tim and his management team gave Chris, though.
But maybe Chris Riley is a one-off. Let’s take a look at the “success story” case study videos, filmed during the Bulgarian SSM 2015 get-together.
SSM Case Studies As Success Stories
“Meet the people and businesses we help just like you”
Well, let’s do just that:
Tom’s made a nice site, much better than 30secondexplainervideos.com in my opinion, the site SSM instructor Matt Skelcher is behind, and no doubt responsible for inspiring Tom’s copy (that Matt himself copied from Samurai Sales Videos).
SimilarWeb reports site rankings in this case, which is more positive than Chris above. Other stats, however, are less positive: Total Visits <5000; Avg. Visit Duration 00:00:04; Pages per Visit 1.18; Bounce Rate 92.22%.
Checking out the social media links we discover the site’s Facebook page was first updated 17 Nov 2014, with the last update on 13th August 2015. The last Tweet was 14th Sept 2015.
It looks like a dead site but Tom created a limited company that is still listed as active: Portal Imagery Limited. It’s returned accounts for 2017 but I have no details on turnover, if any.
So despite Tom’s impatience to perform the Tim-ism to “smash it this year” it would appear he didn’t. Not then or any other year.
This poor guy strikes me as another impressionable young man harvested from the RSD/PUA scene, and is parroting all the same old self-development mantras he’s heard and read therein. You can see him start to get more animated as he warms to the opportunity to be singled out and presented as just the sort of person he’d like to be. Seeking Tim’s approval and gushing on the “the guys here” as if it really is a secret society of entrepreneurial masterminds – instead of a collection of failed, half-baked online business ideas created on the sale of a false promise.
Kitty is the token woman to prove that SSM isn’t just a boys-own frat club. I’d be interested to hear her story of how she came to find herself in SSM, rather than the Tim-ism’s like “day job of doom” such as she repeats in her interview.
Anyway, her business is listed as “I’m Free To Eat.” The only mention I can find of it on the web that matches is this single video on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/109633250
That video lists the website http://www.imfreetoeat.com/ – which is a dead link: site no longer exists.
Bear In mind that Kitty’s piece to camera is prefixed with “success story” too.
From the above it would suggest Kitty never achieved “living the life that you’re really looking for” but I wish her well.
Career Titans is Vince’s business and here’s his interview.
I can find no trace of a website or social media account that I can link to Career Titan and Vince.
I did discover a UK company registered on 5th May 2015, listed as active but accounts described as “dormant” – “The company was dormant during y/e 31.05.16.”
I may be wrong, it appears this is another dead business. Certainly officially dormant anyway.
Lova is actually occasionally active on the Freedom Business Builders Facebook group and is something of an oddity as his comments are intelligent and grounded.
Here’s his business: Lightning Video Editors.
That’s a pretty damn good site, and boasts some big name clients.
SimilarWeb shows rising rankings and monthly traffic as Total Visits <5000; Avg. Visit Duration 00:09:45; Pages per Visit 8.68; Bounce Rate 48.84%
Perhaps not a lot of monthly visits, but certainly healthy I’d say – as in alive.
Social media is tended to but last Facebook update was 27th Feb.
However, checking out the Instagram account it would seem Lova is branching out and snapping at Timothy Marc’s heels: http://whynot3.com/30-day-challenge/
A 30 Day Challenge complete with a fake countdown timer 🙂 Bet that makes Tim proud.
This site is getting some real significant traffic with rising rankings: Total Visits 10.46K; Avg. Visit Duration 00:08:01; Pages per Visit 8.21; Bounce Rate 41.98%
Lova seems to be a success story with it together, getting his hustle on…
I say that as it looks amateur to my eyes, lacking in all of the polish you would normally associate with a Coke ad. I can’t imagine Coca-Cola being very happy with an ad like that representing them. The ‘models,’ not to be unkind, seem below standard and so are all the production values. Lova says in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ clip further down that they’re filming for Coca-Cola and we see someone there dressed up in a Coca Cola branded coat to ‘prove’ that – but it could equally just be another youthful friend, suitably attired and handed a clipboard, to try and give that impression. Where’s the lighting and production crew? These sorts of corporate ads have the same look and feel as a major movie production, not a student project.
While Coke could undoubtedly afford to pay the song maker for the use of the backing track, I imagine that track would cost more to use than the production they’re putting it on! This smells wrong to me… but finally and most telling, where else on the web is this ad to be found?
As I say, that’s a pretty amateur rendition of an ad in my opinion, and the other two examples (‘Penta Hotel’ and ‘New Year Greetings Video’) do nothing to improve upon that impression, being on a par with what you could do in Ripl, Windows Movie Maker or download for free off Pixaby movie clips (the Christmas intro).
But I think Lova has got some entrepreneurial brass-balls! Certainly a better eye for design, and more creativity and fortitude, than many in SSM anyway.
I don’t think Lova’s adverse to gilding the lily to get your credit card out. Whether that’s a little or a lot of gilding I don’t know, but keep your eye on Lova because I have every expectation that he’ll go places.
Hopefully not the copyright infringement court, but places nonetheless.
If it was Tim filming these interview to camera ‘success stories’ – knowing now how all this panned out – then this must be what it feels like to watch exploitation porn. I don’t take any pleasure from this, I feel sorry for them. All these people paid out for SSM and then paid out again to attend the Bulgaria meetup, probably with money they didn’t have on credit cards, and as is obvious, none of them were an actual “successes” or made it.
However, these same people and clips were featured again in the SSM 2016 promotional pages as “Secret Society Mastermind Success Stories.” There’s more recent footage taken at the Live Talk and additional interviews from Bulgaria. This time though, no matter what level of success the interviewee is claiming, there’s no supplemental information provided to follow up on and check out. Many of the videos are just people gushing on how “awesome” Tim and the community is, not any financial success they’ve actually enjoyed from the program.
As I said at the start of this article, I left Tim’s group with a bad taste in my mouth, and uncovering this went a long way to putting it there: the vast majority of those interviews are plain misleading as “success stories” and either Tim knows that and just doesn’t care so long as he got what he wanted from these people (their money and a shot to camera) or he does know, which is just as damning as it hardly bolsters his image as a caring mentor who takes an interest in the progress of his clients.
But are these individuals featured in the case studies above typical? Is it just bad luck, or a bad lot or sample maybe? Well, the SSM promo page contains more info to follow up on and find out.
Successful Freedom Businesses
“Is yours next?”
Let’s take a closer a look at these twenty-four businesses listed above and try and figure that out…
1. Conscious web studios (DEAD)
Dead link: http://www.consciouswebstudios.com/
2. Videospartan (ABANDONED)
Amateur website. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/videospartan updated infrequently with a few examples videos.
Similar Web reports traffic < 5000 a month and no other info.
3. Lifetruistic (ABANDONED)
http://www.lifetruistic.com/ : Under maintenance. And that holding page doesn’t suggest this a temporary state of affairs.
There is a ref to a logo design on Freelancer: https://www.freelancer.com/contest/Design-a-Logo-for-a-Meditation-Consulting-Brand-91118-byentry-3407159.html
Follow up vid from same woman in 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYM1VS71Oik launching her new brand Lauren Ashton Studio.
I can’t find any further mention of Lauren Ashton Studio on web.
Latest show reel ends with credit to Lauren Altman and a gmail address, no company email. The reel posted on 28th Sept 2016 has 38 views as of 25/06/17.
4. Animated Media (NO TRACE)
I can’t find any results on web using that logo but the name is vague and results saturated.
5. Illustrated Infographics (NO TRACE)
Again too vague a name and I can’t find any match or reference in search results.
6. Akimedia London (DEAD)
Dead link: http://www.arkimedialondon.com/
First Facebook post 19th May 2015, last Facebook post 6th Sept 2015: https://www.facebook.com/ArkimediaLondon/
Content is a litany of RSD/FBB rubbish that no serious client would respond to.
7. Jozic Productions (ALIVE?)
Still alive http://www.jozicproductions.com/ and seems to have some success with some app if the ‘news’ section is anything to go by… but the app is never mentioned, or at least Jozic Productions aren’t. So I’m not sure if this is just general news, referencing something in the general area of what the ‘company’ does or actual product placements.
Again SimilarWeb lists “N/A” for ranking and < 5000 for monthly visitors… so to answer my own question above, I know what I think.
8. Upstaged (NO TRACE)
Way too many returns and I can’t find a reference to any company or site using that logo.
9. Envo Web Design (NO TRACE)
I can’t match that exact name or logo but there are many similar websites using a variation of that domain/name.
10. Videos On Point (ABANDONED)
Leads to single page abandoned site: http://videosonpoint.de/
SimilarWeb doesn’t list it in its database.
Can’t make out the name at the resolution I have?
12. Magnet Labs Design (ABANDONED)
SimilarWeb doesn’t recognise name or list it as part of its database.
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/magnetlabsdesign First post 27th Nov 2014, last post 14th March 2015.
I would class this as an abandoned site.
From the Facebook page 9th Feb 2015: “Just got some new business cards designed. Next step, world domination.”
Oh Timothy Marc, wherest thou were in this SSM member’s time of need? You took his money after all as his business mentor.
13. Pauw Webstudio (ALIVE?)
http://www.pauwwebstudio.nl/ – if that’s the same site then it seems to have become an ecommerce site selling shoes, not websites.
14. Synergy Media (ABANDONED)
I found this site sporting a logo, albeit a different colour, but same name to Synergy Media here: http://www.synergymedia.cz/
Standard is low enough to fit the FBB profile. Appears abandoned as SimilarWeb lists “N/A” for all ranking and page visit info.
15. Insight Studios (NO TRACE)
Can’t find a match I can definitely identify as Insight Studios on web, but lots of varying matches.
16. Jobmomentum (ABANDONED)
Appears to be an abandoned page: http://www.jobmomentum.com/
Similar web lists ranking as “N/A” but does list Total Visits <5000, Avg. Visit Duration 00:00:08, Pages per Visit 2.00, Bounce Rate N/A.
17. Vibe Production House (DEAD)
I found a vid on Vimeo from a kid named Matt Riches for Vibe Production House that had 8 views counting my own. No company link or info. https://vimeo.com/98264658
Same thing on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_2YGLCC2kzGkm7h_T7uaIQ “How to build a website.” Guy should’ve taken his own advice.
That domain is available for purchase at Crazy Domains if you want it.
But the kid had big ideas and went the extra step and even registered (as a now defunct) business: https://findaudb.com/b/v/Vibe-Production-House/MTExMDY0MQ== Money as well spent as on FBB, but just a lot less.
But of interest is something Tim posted on his now defunct freedombusinessblog and again on his timothymarc.com incarnation, regarding a music producer called Matt:
“One of our Secret Society Mastermind members, Matt from the UK (who is a wicked music producer) did just that – He made reality his best friend. Instead of praying for a record company to sign him and make him a superstar (which you know isn’t gonna happen with the state of non-existent music sales now days), he built his Freedom Business so he had the income and time to be free and creative.” Link
Is this a reference to the same Matt? Because if it is, then that’s not exactly an accurate statement. As the SSM Matt attached to Vibe House Productions appears to have paid and flunked SSM.
18. Wide Web Studios (ABANDONED)
I was expecting web design but turns out it’s another animation thing a la Matt Skelcher: http://widewebstudios.com/
SimilarWeb reports traffic as < 5000 and “N/A” for all other rankings and stats. I class this as an abandoned site.
19. Waystone Boutique (DEAD)
Dead site: http://www.waystoneboutique.com/
Only reference to be found is here: https://www.iterate.ai/Startup/Waystone-Boutique
“Waystone Boutique is a luxury market web development companies allowing customers to buy websites, iphone applications, sales videos (web infrastructure) with a single easy purchase. Waystone creates the luxury web development market that currently does not exist making it simple, easy, and hassle free for consumers to purchase web infrastructure and branding compared to all other available competitors while delivering products through a patented design process that customers in the luxury and high end markets are accustomed to receiving along with a enjoyable and easy to use consumer process that our clients delight in.”
Copywriting and command of English on a par with a school kid doing his or her homework in ‘Marketing.’ And this shit gets through FBB. Tim should be ashamed as group leader taking thousands off these kids who can’t afford it, putting themselves in credit card debt, and outputting copy like that.
Who in hell in business-land is going to respond to that? Shameful if that’s the standard of the coaching/feedback/mentoring of SSM members.
Can’t make out last piece of text to search on name.
21. Kutama… production?
Can’t make out last piece of text.
Can’t make out last piece of text.
23. Ares video productions (NO TRACE)
Can’t find matching company using logo on the web.
24. House/11? August? (NO TRACE)
Can’t find matching company using logo on the web.
From the examples provided above by SSM the final tally is (more or less , because as I say I can’t be 100% sure this is accurate but welcome corrections):
- Dead/Abandoned Sites: 11
- Sites with no trace on web: 7
- Sites I can’t verify due to text size in logo but no matches for logo on web: 3
- Sites alive but in receipt of minimal traffic: 3
Give or take
In answer to “Is yours next…” as one of the hundreds of successful businesses Freedom Studios claims to launch each year, then going by the example businesses SSM itself provides, then probably not.
Little wonder SSM doesn’t provide hard statistics on student success rates then.
However, I’ve read that (in US law anyway) if you market a product that makes income claims, you have to be able to provide evidence to substantiate those claims on demand. This is usually applicable to the multitude of MLMs that proliferate on the web, something which SSM is not. However, it does promise income from your Freedom Business in order to fund your lifestyle of “fun, freedom and adventure.”
Tim avoids the whole “guarantee” of that promise with a disclaimer on the SSM sign-up page, stating no results, or any results at all, should be expected. That’s standard small print in all such sold programs be it dieting, muscle building or making money, and Tim’s doing nothing underhand, as it’s standard practice to include that clause in the terms and conditions.
From SSM 2016 sign-up page
Which is just as well, and one indisputable instance where SSM is being 100% honest with its clients.
But it’s just that outwith SSM’s sales page Tim seems to be pretty sure he’s creating “hundreds of successful businesses,” yet seems to be less sure of the numbers when it comes to actually stating them on said sales page for his program.
So, as we can see, going by what info can be gleaned from the SSM marketing literature and what it advertised as “success” stories, the expectation of a return on the investment in SSM’s program fee seems extremely low.
Of course these ventures may be the first attempts at business, failures from which phoenixes rose from the ashes, and if that’s the case I’m happy to be corrected as I don’t wish anyone to lose the money they put to SSM.
Take for example Matt Skelcher, one of SSM’s instructors. His first attempt at a Freedom Business was this: http://www.infinitywebsitestudio.com/
I’ll give you the additional links to Infinity Studio as the home page is so poorly built it doesn’t include links on the main menu: http://www.infinitywebsitestudio.com/features.html
After an age, it really does load, trust me. And trust me again, it’s worth the wait to see “Amazing Website Design.”
This site is one that self-proclaimed SSM success story Rodrigo Flamenco says he took so much from… the mind boggles to what Rodrigo’s site must have looked like then if this was the design standard he was aspiring to.
Now, bear in mind that within the FBB group, Matt says that he was making money with this site (see screen capture further down), before he realised his true calling was as an animation outsourcer with 30secondexplainervideos.com.
A site wherein you’ll see he put to good use his earlier acquired web building and SSM copywriting skills.
Not to ridicule the truly afflicted, but Matt’s copywriting, even his Facebook ads, are so riddled with typos and schoolboy grammatical errors, that I wonder if he isn’t dyslexic? He doesn’t, how can I put this politely… strike one as the sharpest knife in SSM’s kitchen drawer when you view his instructor pieces.
I’ll be honest, it was discovering the mess that is Matt Skelcher’s handy work that first caused me to stop and ask myself what the hell I’m doing in FBB? If substandard output like that is being held up as the example to follow, you inevitably ask yourself if instruction like that is worth a fee of £5k sterling? And what you could expect from it in terms of your own success.
There are two ways of looking at Matt Skelcher’s sites: one, that it really doesn’t matter how amateur and incompetent you look, you really can still make money online even being a total feck-up with something like InfinityWebSiteStudio; two, SSM advocating “premium branding” is a joke with sites like that being hailed as something to emulate.
But we’re all assured Matt is doing phenomenally well and running a seven figure business with his perpetual “For this week only” sale price of $197 and phoney countdown timer (both of which violate advertising standards as the purpose is to mislead) that will reset if you refresh your page.
However, in the Day 3 video of The Thirty Day Challenge Matt says he was on the point of giving up with his explainer video business, on the verge of packing it all in but always thought he’d try “just one more thing”… and suddenly it all exploded.
But he was “seriously considering backup plans” he said. As in getting a job presumably?
But he also says in the earlier interview with Rodrigo that the website business was his first, and on the FBB that it “worked” which I assume means he was making money off that before switching to 30secondexplainervideos (with an intermediate step with something called Rocket Sales Videos along the way – check out the botched launch).
Please don’t do websites in future
So why if he already had a business making money like he claimed for InfinityWebSiteStudio, was he “seriously considering backup plans”?
And when he says his “business was going nowhere” just prior to that, Tim interjects to ask, “Before your current business?” and Matt clarifies that he means the start of his current business i.e. 30secondexplainervideos.
So like Tim’s backstory re marketing which doesn’t seem to fit the ‘legend,’ Matt’s seems to suffer from a similar incongruence: was InfinityWebSiteStudio ‘working’ or not?
No proof’s provided for the seven figures a year Matt’s explainer videos are said to make, other than a screenshot featured on the SSM 2016 sign-up page.
I would like something a little more substantive than a screenshot for a claim of that sort so I tried finding Matthew Skelcher listed as a company director in order to verify with his company returns. Such returns are available in the public domain and are a legal requirement: certainly for a business with a million dollar turnover. I tried searching within the UK, US and Hong Kong but couldn’t find anything for the companies he lists himself as a director of in his LinkedIn profile. That’s not to say Matt Skelcher and his companies aren’t to be found, just that thus far I’ve been unable to unearth them.
So in the absence of company returns to confirm, we have to take that claim of seven figures on the word of a screenshot: all part and parcel of the legend of the man nicknamed “James Bond.”
Johnny English may be more apt, but James Bond is the nickname Matt enjoys in SSM.
Spot the difference
But that’s true for all SSM instructors, that we take their success largely on faith, and who I think were chosen more for their nationality, location and inclusion in early SSM rather than any business acumen they may, or may not, possess.
However, much like success with women, while perhaps lacking it, many are more than happy to have others believe otherwise.
So I guess for a failed PUA if you can’t be a RSD instructor, then acting as a SSM instructor for your idol would be the next best thing.
Freedom Studios – A Melbourne Marketing Agency
Timothy Marc presents himself as a marketer conducting campaigns for successful businesses and individuals of high net worth. In Tim’s own words from FBB, “My main focus goes to my private clients who are more hands on for me. Second is SSM community members to make sure they are getting the result they want. Third is promoting myself through ad networks…”
Well, from what we’ve seen thus far of SSM, unless dead and abandoned businesses are the desired results, we’ve got to ask what Tim thinks his members do want?
However, one has to also wonder how these private clients that are mentioned are obtained because when you search Google for “Melbourne marketing agency” Freedom Studios isn’t to be found – at least not in the eighteen pages of results I looked through.
When you search “Melbourne marketing agency Derby Str” you get nothing on the first page of Google, but “marketing agency derby street melbourne” finds Freedom Studios and displays the business in the map insert.
Outwith that, I can find no further mention of the agency other than within Timothy Marc’s website. Note too that Freedom Studios isn’t in receipt of any Google-listed reviews either.
I find Tim’s page very puzzling, especially for a commercial marketing agency that is, as it states, “A Private Membership Club Of Business Veterans With Custom Marketing Campaigns Built Exclusively By Timothy Marc.” And membership is currently closed, you have to enter an email to be informed when you can apply to join.
Apply to join as a marketing agency’s client, for which membership seems to entail that Timothy has previously built your advertising campaign? And nowhere on this site does it provide testimonials or a portfolio of work from previous clients, or give the impression that the site is anything but a conduit to SSM.
So who are these secret clients, for whom the exclusivity rests with Timothy Marc, the former Mr. Woo of RSD, deigning to admit applicants as clients.
In one SSM video he does mention a client he’s working with and shows the campaign he’s working on which is for Thomas Rolland. I’m not giving anything away that Tim doesn’t, as he clearly shows the man’s Facebook in the video and talks him up like he’s a name in fashion consultancy – or at least an up and coming one.
After looking up the same Facebook profile though, it appeared to be a personal one, not a business page but it led to the following business page. That in turn led to the website Garment Brokers which appears to be nothing more than a small Shopify store for t-shirts.
SimilarWeb lists rankings (Global rank down 8,286,413; country rank down 246,539) and the following stats: Total Visits <5000; Avg. Visit Duration 00:01:15; Pages per Visit 3.64; Bounce Rate 24.53%.
I don’t know, but I wonder if Thomas Rolland isn’t a SSM member, and if this campaign isn’t further money he’s paid out to Timothy Marc? Because the business’s Facebook page currently boasts just 213 “likes” and was last updated on 20th March 2017. This doesn’t smack of a high-flying client to me.
Tim is big on advising his SSM members to include “trust symbols” and testimonials on their sites, and Tim’s page does list trust symbols – but they’re all from being featured in his own companies/brands.
Where’s the features outwith his own enterprises? The testimonials for something other than SSM i.e. his marketing agency work?
For that matter where’s the portfolio of client work? The sort of portfolio he advises his SSM students to include on their sites as one of the proven buying triggers.
I find that strange and have to question why? Why isn’t a marketing agency with the credentials Tim claims for it, ranking in Google as just that, and with externally verifiable references outwith its own marketing? As it is, Timothy Marc’s page just seems to act as the hub of SSM, and not as an independent marketing agency.
When you check out the sites of the other Melbourne marketing agencies it would appear that Tim has also failed to apply his own advice of not reinventing the wheel, and failed to swaggerjack (as he calls mimicking and improving upon the best design elements of competitor websites) the competition, because Tim’s site bears no resemblance to the other established agencies.
Speaking of the competition, Tim seems to be stuck in a marketing time warp from somewhere around 2010.
If you check out his copy for Freedom Business and SSM, it’s changed little since he first set it down in 2011/2012. Of course great copy is great copy… but is it such great copy that it can’t honestly be improved upon? That would be a first in marketing surely? Every brand evolves.
To see what I mean by Tim’s time warp, check out the page for his latest product Scientific Cash Machine.
As a client, I’d be happy with that if I’d paid $5 for it off Fiverr from an Indian outsourcer, very unhappy if I was presented with that from a marketing agency charging many multiples of $5.
Scientific Cash Machine
The Scientific Cash Machine (SCM) is Tim’s latest product, and frankly most disappointing one. Something that not even the fanboys in his group could conceal their dissatisfaction with.
Voicing that displeasure resulted in a refund and ban for one member, which was followed up by a separate post from Tim advising he would be moderating the group hard from now on…
So you have been warned: Tim’s products shall not be criticised, no matter how warranted that criticism may be.
It was warranted as well, as SCM was marketed as a book, or at least an image was used of a book emblazoned with the product title on it.
What you actually got was a set of three videos and some PDFs thrown together to go with it.
First vid is Tim telling you how great the ‘course’ is going to be, but it’s all just rehashed material he’s said before.
Vid2 is Tim fluffing out 31 “super secret” marketing tips that you can get for free on Neil Patel’s blog and elsewhere, and more repeated material you can find on The Thirty Day Challenge. There’s nothing of any real practical value.
Vid3 is him and the usual cronies who get trotted out whenever an example of “success” is required, lounging on a sofa somewhere in South Africa talking about how great their businesses are. Aside from Tim though, no one seems to be doing that well from SSM.
Bonus vid4 Tim congratulates you for having watched the course – which may well be an achievement for many Freedom Business Builders – and advises that his Secret Society Mastermind course will soon be reopening. Which is the main point of SCM I think, as a taster for SSM. So it would’ve been better free like the Thirty Day Challenge is, which is a far superior product.
Not that Tim dreamt up the 30 Day Challenge sales funnel concept, but he does a good one with his Build A Freedom Business.
The main contention anyone might have with this being a ‘scientific’ method is that at it’s core it refers to thirty-one scientifically proven psychological sales triggers… ignoring that it’s hotly disputed if psychology is even a science, never mind proven.
Tim talks all this up like you’re getting access to Hogwart’s library of spells, ominously referring to all the dangers of using these secrets for evil instead of good… all with a straight face.
With a build up like that, what follows can only be a disappointment if it’s anything less than learning the secret to Jedi mind control. So a bunch of collated psychology sales triggers that are freely available on the web on numerous marketing blogs is just that: a huge disappointment.
To be honest, I’m not sure what possessed Tim to produce and release this. It seemed as rushed and on the fly as everything else, except this time it didn’t work and backfired badly, making him look something of a one-trick pony, constantly recycling exactly the same advice.
He had the chance to do something unique and fresh and didn’t.
As I say, I can’t work out what he was trying to achieve with this other than create another pay day.
Secret Society Mastermind
Now, I didn’t pay the £5k asking price to join this program but I’ve seen the 2015 version, and the coursework PDFs. As such I didn’t have access to the SSM closed forum. I just want to make that clear.
What did I make of it? I think if you’ve been through the Thirty Day Challenge and bought Scientific Cash Machine (you can purchase this for as little as $1 as you’re currently invited to pay what you think’s a fair price), then you’ve heard everything Tim has to say about marketing.
SSM, while supposed to be fluff-free, is very padded out. A great swathe of it is dedicated to just getting yourself a brand logo and setup online with a website – like several full video segments of this.
The advice given about choosing an Envato WordPress template and hiring a designer to alter it via screenshots overlaid with your e-pen markup, is a recipe for disappointment in my opinion. And going to become real expensive, real fast, with multiple revisions – if they’re not included in the price.
Tim in many sections takes to the web to find examples of what he’s discussing – and frequently can’t find anything suitable. In other words, he doesn’t seem that well prepared, and often just winging it. I mean, how hard would it be to have done a run through or rehearsal and bookmarked all the pages he needed? Or even edited it to look that way and thus a bit more professional.
Because Tim frequently doesn’t come off as the consummate professional. Maybe a bunch of young college kids view him that way now that he’s older than ‘Natural Tim’ with the surfer look replaced with a crewcut and a suit jacket now that he’s in his mid-30s, but I was frequently under impressed.
You don’t get all Tim for your money either, as each instructor takes at least one stint. Some are better than others, but none are as good as Tim.
That symbolises so much more than just a $0.99 keyring
Tim is infectious. His instructors are dreary. They speak in monotone and could make the secret to turning newspaper into $100 bills boring. Not that the information they’re imparting is comparable!
This program’s billed as giving you a step-by-step process to creating a successful online business… but I wouldn’t really say that’s true.
It’s more accurately a step-by-step process to get either your own idea, or one of Timothy’s suggested businesses, furnished with a website.
You get told how to go about acquiring a domain, purchasing a website template from Envato, getting it altered how you want, and commissioning a logo from a freelancer on Upwork or 99Designs or some such. There’s some basic instruction on copywriting and advice to how to go about analysing the competition for inspiration – if you’ve never thought to do that – and not really too much more re the presentation of your business.
There’s a a drawn out segment breaking down how to go about finding outsourcers and estimating contracting costs that’s so protracted as to border on parody at times. The advice on Facebook ads is extremely basic, but the section on direct mailing novel but badly presented by an assistant instructor.
In between there’s pep-talks to pump your enthusiasm and assure you that you’re getting elite instruction and accesses to ‘secret’ information, but it’s just ongoing marketing to keep everyone onboard and stay away from thoughts such as, “Is this it?”
Overall, I was frequently bored and ultimately disappointed. The course is eked out in weekly modules, drip-fed over twelve weeks with the rationale being to give you time to undertake the tasks at the end of each video instruction. The whole thing could be condensed down to half that time and some of the content is little more than filler to stretch the course time out e.g. the segment on networking by Chris Pellwein which was delivered in robot monotone and contained little of value.
I thought much of the information common sense, nothing revelatory at all, and couldn’t help but take note of all the fluff Tim gushed that he promised his program didn’t deal in.
If I had paid £5,000 for that, I would not have been happy. And I seriously considered it in 2016.
In one video Tim apologises for being late in delivering the section he’s about to present, but gives some excuse that it was delayed due to him wanting to bring just the very best to SSM which is what they’re all about – and sheepishly looks away, not even able to look the camera in the eye while saying that.
I honestly think the free Thirty Day Challenge is better than the full fee signature course.
I say that as the reality is, once you get this skeletal structure the course provides, you then have to go off and do all the heavy lifting by yourself and figure out the remaining 90% of what’s required in order to get the successful business the course promises.
And then, as members certainly do in the FBB group, as soon as anyone gets a modicum of success, they can’t wait to post and give Tim thanks and all the kudos for their own hard work and achievement!
It’s a bizarre feature of all such closed groups not just FBB, but it’s great marketing for Tim to have people read these minor success vignettes and see it attributed it to him.
Ultimately, I feel courses like Secret Society Mastermind are just selling you a treasure map, with as much detail on how to find the treasure as these maps usually give.
Here be a $10k/month business
You have to fill in the blanks and slay the dragons along the way, and that if you get to where “X marks the spot” is entirely due to your own resilience and fortitude, not the map sellers.
Tim promotes SMM as “The Worlds #1 Private Entrepreneurship Community Of Successful Freedom Business Builders” but this is just a variation/extension of Tim’s “I’m the coolest guy on the planet.”
“Certifiably delusional? Yup. But do you think this mindset helps me? Absolutely.” Timothy ‘Natural Tim’ Marc.
Freedom Business Builders Facebook Group
If you’re under twenty-five, and find the “grown-up” business groups and forums intimidating (or lacking patience with your youthful exuberance) then Tim’s Freedom Business Builders (rebranded from the Thirty Day Challenge) group is the place you’ll fit right in and feel at home at (FBB).
You can regurgitate other people’s advice and endlessly quote Gary Vaynerchuck and Elon Musk to your heart’s desire. Even the smallest Shopify ‘success’ of posting a screenshot of that $9 dollar sale (and never mind the $20 you spent on FB ads to get it or the actual margin) will get you much back slaps and lauded. Tim himself might even chime in to congratulate you. Which might convince you to extend your credit and ‘invest’ in that course of his… now that you’re getting the hang of all this.
But if you’re over twenty-five, moved out of your parents’ place, had a job or two and some life experience under your belt, then you’re going to be sorely frustrated and have a hard time holding your tongue at the adolescent BS that gets posted in there. Soon enough you’ll drift or voluntarily unjoin to get the group updates out of your news feed.
Tim doesn’t post that much himself, or at least that was the case until recently. He closed the group for four months following the intake of SSM in November 2016, completely killing its momentum and losing a lot of members – and thus potential future customers. He then ignored the group for several more months and has only suddenly become more active again as he gears up for the SSM 2017 sign-up campaign.
Which is painfully obvious.
The master marketer completely mismanaged his own group of potential prospects and threw away all that ad spend by failing to cultivate the leads he got out of it. Now he’s desperately playing catch up, and no doubt about to embark on another expensive global ad campaign.
Much of Tim’s advice is confined to one line platitudes. Just enough so you feel assured he’s looking in, but not that much of any practical worth. “Hey great man” is what most of it amounts to.
Now and again you get a bit more but nothing Earth shattering. Maybe that’s reserved for SSM only members though…
The problem is you always get Tim in spates like that. Take his emailing. He started an email project called Operation Macu that was supposed to be a weekly email of challenges set between himself and his instructor buddy Matt Skelcher, documenting their progress on a set of goals they’d set themselves to achieve in the next six months.
There were three or four sent out before they stopped, and when it was brought up in the group, it was announced they’d decided to make it a monthly email instead. Then it just stopped altogether.
That’s kinda Tim’s style though, and one that got remarked on even way back in his Flawless Natural days, the tendency to be unorganised and just winging it as he pleases.
Personally, I think Tim took note of the engagement his emails were getting and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. I read a couple and then just started filing them. They weren’t particularly interesting as the reality is, that despite the fanfare, Tim’s and Matt’s day-to-day lives are as mundane as anyone else’s.
That’s not meant in a bad way, but it becomes a bad thing if you’re trying to write a weekly newsletter off your rockstar lifestyle when you’re still essentially working a daily 9-5, office or not. I don’t really think Tim thought that one through.
Or maybe it could’ve worked if Tim had someone more interesting to bounce off than Matt Skelcher. Even in the segments in The Thirty Day Challenge Matt appears in, he looks ‘absent,’ like he’s not fully there in the moment. It gives the impression that he’s perpetually perplexed at the world around him with a “what’s going on, what just happened?” expression.
Of the other instructors, they occasionally, and I mean very occasionally, look in. One might create an Ask Me Anything thread that they might reply to for anything up to four hours, then bon voyage again, and you’re just speaking to yourself if you post in the thread after that.
The group isn’t updated all that often. The other groups I have on my Facebook shortcut side menu always have update statuses in double figures when I check in, but FBB is either empty or one or two. Hardly surprising as the group has around 2,500 members and others have multiples of that figure: there just isn’t enough numbers to make it a lively discussion community.
Just about no one posts a link to their “businesses” so you don’t know if anyone’s even taking action. When someone does post a link for review, elements such as spelling and grammar aren’t so much of interest as pointing out that you need a footer area or testimonial section, or whatever else they remember Tim saying from the Thirty Day Challenge.
As a consequence you see some howlers when it comes to copywriting, which is pretty much on a par with what a schoolboy would produce if tasked with the subject. Given that a lot of them are in school at some level, that’s understandable. Also, in the attempt to ape and please Tim, they pepper their copy with words like “awesome” and “smash it” – at services aimed at the professional market, sounding like a page selling t-shirts to college kids rather than professional services to professional people.
But they’ve been told none of that matters by Tim, and they have the examples of his sites to follow. They’ve even been told that websites themselves aren’t necessary, and they can land $$$$ contracts just with email, maybe a Facebook page, and a bit of FBB moxie!
And hell, there are salespeople who can do that – but they’re not twenty-year-olds who’ve learned all they know of life and business from their Twitter feed.
These kids think they’re going to take the business and corporate world by storm with the ‘secret tactics’ Tim’s supplying – mostly so they can skip college or a job and go straight into entrepreneurial greatness – but the reality is this is ‘work’ too and comes with a lot of rejection, and even more of it for a kid with no education, specialism, life experience, talent or even the ability to write a mailshot that sounds like a grown-up penned it.
As a consequence you get kids touting resume writing services with a typo-ridden pitch, who’ve probably never even written a resume for themselves.
But that doesn’t matter because you’re going to outsource all that. The internet may be a big place saturated with real, professional, seasoned writers offering writing services, but never mind, because it’s still big enough to ensure you get a slice of that pie and you’re going to be contracting and managing those writing pros once you’ve landed your clients via Tim’s proven psychological tactics and buying triggers.
That only Tim and the whole of the English speaking world with an interest in marketing and a connection to Google or Amazon books, knows about.
So while you get a lot of unsubstantiated big talk in the group, there’s very little to inspire but a lot to shake your head at.
Unique Selling Point
I want to be fair, but I don’t think there is one? Except maybe the appeal to male youth.
SSM seems to be modelled on Dane Maxwell’s The Foundation, and adopts many of the same selling techniques and language – and also has a nod to Empower too. Take a look at this and see if it looks familiar:
“Finally…” Tim and SSMers like that start, nearly as much as they like using “Enter your best email” as if it’s a magic mantra to open wallets. Headline and video above the fold, enter your details to the right. Ticks all the SSM check boxes. I don’t know if it’s intentional that SSM advocates that your website resemble one of the worst rep MLMs on the web, or if that was just the fad in 2011 when Tim (and Empower) started marketing, and why change?
But SSM borrows heavily from these sorts of programs, with its “secret society” tribal psychology and claim to be the “THE WORLDS OFFICIAL #1 ENTREPRENEUR TRAINING PROGRAM.”
To greater, or lesser, extents all these four figure programs encourage a ‘cult’ member mentality, that you’re buying into something special, and if it fails, is your fault. The other members prop this up and support it. It gets to be more like a Scientology gig than an online course for many of these things.
But if you’ve shelled out $$$$ for this stuff, you sure are invested in supporting it, and not going to be too keen to maybe look inward and ask if you really got reciprocal value for the price – beyond what you’re being assured by the program guru that you are.
SSM guys, already coming from the RSD community, are even more susceptible to this in my opinion: a complete lack of critical thought.
But anyway, Tim’s not doing this for the money but because he wants to help people breakout of the day-job-of-doom. Credit – The Foundation (and Empower also did a good line in ridiculing the day job).
Well if that’s so, then why is the price so high? Because Tim only wants people to join who are really committed. Credit – The Foundation.
The application process that you go through to get the chance to give Tim $6k AUD of your money – a marketing ploy used by The Foundation too. Anticipation was built up on the FBB group last year by tales of people failing to get in the previous year, but I never saw any confirmation of that, nor any tales of anyone being turned away.
“Private Membership only opens up ONCE per calendar year to a very limited number of people because of the high quality and high success rate of our members being of upmost importance.”
Grammar error is Tim’s – “upmost” is used when he means “utmost.” This is the guy charging for imparting copywriting skills remember. As for the success rate, we’ve already examined that.
Like The Foundation – and I’m just using that as an example of a similar pre-existing program to SSM, not crediting it with coming up with everything in the arena of SSM – the pitch is to build a company from scratch, regardless of any expertise, knowledge or background in the niche/market you pick.
The Foundation limits itself to creating software but SSM takes on all markets! However, the principle is the same, as is validating the idea.
To quote from a person who paid the $5k for The Foundation: “It was overwhelming because to start a software business when you know nothing about software is kinda crazy in retrospect.
its not impossible– just highly unlikely
I took a ton of action… I made about 50-60 calls.. sent 2000 emails using the scripts they gave me– did in person visits — and tried to”extract” many problems in a business that were simple and easy to solve and no other solution existed
You had to totally understand a market like the back of your hand, and it was hard…”
This is from a full grown adult with some life experience, not a guy in his early twenties who’s done nothing in business or even the workplace.
From the same thread: “All of the Foundation marketing gives the impression that if you join, you will succeed…when it appears that if you join, there’s a 95% chance you’ll fail (by Dane’s own stats.)” “Dane” being Dane Maxwell, the Timothy Marc of The Foundation. Except SSM doesn’t provide stats like The Foundation does.
I said it above, but I think it’s crazy to tell the kids on SSM that they can “crush” and “smash it” in markets they’ve no experience in, and not just that, but with little to no work/business experience at all.
But as I also say, it’s just a variant on RSD/PUA claim that you can pull the hottest woman from the hottest club, broke and dressed looking like shit, all by force of your “woo,” “value” and “self amusing.”
Which is great and I wished life worked like that, but it doesn’t. Or it doesn’t work that way in the marketplace anyway.
To be honest though, I think the 18-25, maybe 18-30 crowd, is Tim and SSM’s niche. Anyone older or more experienced is going to cause problems and call attention to Tim’s shortcomings – question him and his methods in other words. And maybe also bring up the fact that he ham-fistedly uses many of the sales psychology ‘secrets’ he teaches on his own community.
That though, is Tim’s great skill. He is genuinely a great salesman, and as his voiceovers demonstrate, a great actor too. He is very likeable. It’s easy to think Tim is your friend.
But he is not your friend. You don’t know him personally.
Cheerlead him in his group as much as you want, but step out of line by criticising the wrong thing, no matter how respectfully, and you are gone. I’ve seen him do it.
The Facebook group has one purpose: a marketing funnel to SSM membership. Nothing more. It’s not there for your growth or because Tim or any of his instructors love giving their time and advice away for nothing. In fact outwith SSM promo time they barely spend any time in the group.
It’s there to convince you that you need to sign-up to SSM.
So where does all this leave us?
The Scientific Cash Machine headlines with “How I Built A $1 Million Per Year Business With No Office, Employees, Or Overhead!”
Except Tim doesn’t honestly reveal how he built that business on his association with RSD, with his warm list gleaned from his Natural Tim identity, and by selling marketing and business advice to an already primed audience he’d cultivated overly nearly a decade as a PUA coach. Marketing and business advice he was barely experienced in himself at the time. He sure didn’t build a $1 million per year business from selling plastic bauble-heads off Facebook ads or resume writing or offering web design services.
When it comes to ethics and integrity, Tim seems to have something of a selective perspective.
Why create a sales page aimed at your own subscribers and include a misleading countdown timer claiming a hard cutoff time to purchase – which reset on page loads – and then made no difference at all as the product (SCM) was subsequently made available again within days.
He stretches his length of time in online marketing if his own story is to be believed and contradicts that story with his own words. There’s little evidence presented on successes other than Samurai Sales Videos, for which we have to take Tim’s word in the absence of such.
Even accepting Tim at his word still means appreciating that he hadn’t served that much of an apprenticeship in online marketing prior to creating his fee paying program SSM in 2012. That he had some experience I don’t doubt, it just doesn’t appear he had much if his own supplied backstory is the reference.
Again though, I can only form a picture based on what Tim’s said, unless there’s more that he’s chosen not to reveal? But for why I can’t imagine as even if it’s for reasons of client confidentiality he could still paint the broad brushstrokes to help enhance his history.
Similarly with regard to SSM member results, he doesn’t reveal any program success figures, and not being a member of SSM I can only look at the members he has highlighted as successful examples in order to try and verify the claims. If they fail to measure up, then that’s not my spin, as you’re welcome to follow up as I did, and if you find differing information then by all means share it in comments below. But these are the people Tim held up as testament to his program, not me.
Do I think Tim’s a total charlatan? No.
I think Tim’s as experienced as anyone would be, doing what he’s been doing for the last six years or so. I don’t think he’s a total novice by any stretch, but I don’t think he’s some industry expert either.
If you want expert advice on Facebook ads I wouldn’t recommend going to Tim for it – and certainly not his group. I don’t think Tim would give you bad advice, but I don’t think he’d give you cutting edge or advice rooted in a deep understanding of the Facebook ads platform. Or any other advertising platform. I don’t claim that knowledge for myself, but I can see the difference in what comes out of FBB/SSM and other specialist groups/forums. The advice on FBB is pretty basic, not necessarily incorrect, but I wouldn’t go there to get expert opinion.
I view Tim as the ultimate example of his program, and in that he’s 100% honest: a regular guy with no great natural talent for business or advantage in the IQ stakes, getting his hustle on. Tim ain’t stupid, but he ain’t Einstein either.
He’s done well and exploited his association with RSD to full effect. I certainly don’t blame him for that. It’d be madness not to have made use of his Natural Tim mailing list and the audience reach RSD allowed him.
He’s played his marketing game superbly to that audience, and created a complement to the RSD girl-chasing lifestyle dream by adding the missing element: the means to do it. Or at least the program that promises it, because like the RSD bootcamp, not every attendee went onto live the life of Don Juan just by taking it.
That legacy leaves him a problem, though. On the one hand it’s his bread & butter, on the other he knows that as he gets older and his time and rep at RSD recedes, he can’t count on that audience in future. Newcomers to RSD, in an industry struggling itself (PUA not dating), won’t know who Tim is as he’s no longer promoted or regularly mentioned, and a new set of instructors are the focus.
Tim’s also unpublished his Natural Tim/Freedom Business blog, within which he still played up his Natural Tim PUA/RSD identity, and understandably removed it because as an advertisement for a serious entrepreneurial business it was always going to be a liability. The posts and comment history would immediately alienate the female audience, not to mention the many guys who wouldn’t take him seriously with the PUA past.
Except without that RSD/PUA base, he’s just another face in the Facebook news feed peddling another make-it-online program, and struggling just as hard to attract the clients. So he’s got a limited time to make the jump to mainstream as a seriously regarded entrepreneur before his RSD cache completely vanishes.
Personally, I’m not sure he can do it.
He’s done well thus far, but as I say, he’s running out of time. His Facebook group is heavily male dominated, as is SSM, and Tim can’t seem to fully shake the frat boy image despite the upgrade to a crewcut haircut and wearing suit jackets and shoes in place of hoodies and sneakers. You can see him try and transition at times – into playing the grown-up professional – but he relapses continually. As I say, he just can’t seem to shake it or get walking the tightrope between playing business ‘mogul’ and beach bum right.
On one hand he risks alienating his current audience that expects a variation of Natural Tim by going too “pro,” but then lacking appeal to a new intake looking for a real business solution, who won’t take well to an Aussie surfer boy (in his mid 30s) with a sun bleached mop-top dispensing it.
And even if Tim gets the balancing act right, the rest of the group will have a ways to go to catch up and eliminate that “bro” ethos that permeates as everyone tries to front the image of the happy-go-lucky globe-trotting entrepreneur effortlessly breezing through life – living a life of “fun, freedom and adventure” i.e. banging chicks on permanent holiday from the adult world of responsibilities.
That PUA past is a double-edged sword for Tim. It helped him launch SSM but is also a thorn in his side forever with anyone Googling his name and coming across Mr. Woo strutting the stage waxing lyrical on how to get the chicks. Is there any greater snake oil salesman than the pickup artist evangelical?
So Tim’s kinda hoisted on his own petard, and has been from inception.
How long this show can keep rolling for I don’t know.
I do know that Tim’s message is a good one, it’s inspiring, but like the PUA thing, I don’t know that you need to pay Tim $6k AUD in order to pursue whatever it is you’re hoping to make an online business out of. Not with so many free groups and support forums out there. Groups and forums that are stocked with way more experienced people, and dare I say it, experts in many of the platforms you’ll be working with. SSM/FBB is decidedly below par in that sort of breadth of expertise.
If you’ve got that $6k, then keep it. Put it towards the expenses of creating and running your business, and join FBB for free. And every other group and forum, and read all the for-free articles and books online that you can too.
Tim’s got a $1m per year business not from doing what he’s teaching you, but from selling you the info on how to do it.
In other words, he got rich from selling picks and shovels to the gold miners, not from going prospecting himself.
Well, this is the bit I normally paste my own affiliate link for the service I’m member of that I host my websites on, and get access to a keyword tool, all for my monthly membership fee – plus a discussion community of tens of thousands (mostly consisting of grown-ups) and numerous training modules. So, basically all of the essential tools that aren’t included in SSM’s price tag.
I am, of course, referring to Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate (WA) is something that’s been around for years, it’s very different to SSM, it’s bigger for starters, and teaches a much more patient and methodical approach to making money online. If you want get-rich-quick promises, then forget it.
If you enjoy writing, and I clearly do, then you might be better suited to it.
Check it out. It’s free to join, no “credit card required for verification purposes” nonsense, and you get a week’s worth of full membership which is more than enough time to decide if the platform’s for you. Thereafter you revert to free membership access.
I seriously considered paying $6k AUD to Timothy Marc last November, and I’m right glad I didn’t. I have been paying my monthly membership fee to WA since before then though, and it doesn’t tally to anything like that figure (not even the annual subscription!).
You can read my review here (if you have any reading left in you after this tome of a review!).
But don’t take my word for it, check out Wealthy Affiliate for yourself, and see if it’s for you.
Recommended further reading (that doesn’t cost four figures):
The entrepreneur’s guide to launching a fast, lean and profitable online venture.
By Robin Waite