Joel Christopher: Physical therapist who found success online
January 22, 2008
There is, indeed, money on the internet. Because if there is none, why would a licensed Physical Therapist who topped the board quit his $70,000-a-year profession to focus on making money online?
Filipino-American Joel Christopher, aka the MasterListBuilder, is one of the few who found a goldmine on the internet. A lot would certainly be surprised to know that Joel graduated with a Physical Therapy (PT) degree and even topped the PT board exam in the Philippines in 1987. He moved to the United States in 1988 to practice his profession but, at the turn of the century, decided to shift to internet marketing as his primary source of income.
Now, Joel is regarded in the internet marketing industry as the MasterListBuilder, thanks to the popular list-building system that he created. He currently earns a 5-figure monthly income and charges more than $3,000 per person for his seminars.
Read on for an excerpt of our one-on-one interview with Joel Christopher, the MasterListBuilder.
Please tell us what internet marketing really is.
For me, internet marketing is a way of marketing products and services online. In another description, it is direct response marketing that is faster, cheaper, and better than offline or brick-and-mortar businesses.
What types of products did you sell in the past?
I had different products in different stages of my career. The first couple of years that I have been online (2000-2001), I sold mostly low-cost digital products like e-books, software, etc.
In 2002, I started selling my own products and services. I created a system called MasterListBuilder.com which is a list-building system to build an optimum list. When I started, my database grew fast from 1,000 to 3,000 in just a little over 90 days. By 2003, it went up to 8,000.
Up until 2005 and early 2006, I also conducted mostly high-end seminars in the US. In my first event, I charged $1,000 for 2 days and they were about 31 attendees who came from the UK, Australia, Canada, and the US. Then I started increasing my fees. The last one I did was for a 3-day weekend (with follow-up) in which I charged $3,300 per person.
I also used to do coaching and mentoring for $500 per hour but I don’t do that anymore.
What were the topics of the seminars?
Primarily list building. In the States, lists or database are important and if they are focused on a particular niche, you can charge more.
Can you tell us about the demographics of your customers?
My customers are primarily internet marketers and a few network marketers. I’d say 75-85% come from the US; 5% Canada; and 5% UK. The remainder is Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan. Most of them are employees who want to get into internet marketing. Few already have websites that want to increase their income by building a bigger list but for the most part, they are newbies or still just starting out.
What are you busy with at the moment?
Right now, my goal is to phase out all physical products and just focus on MasterListBuilder.com’s digital products. What I’m currently doing is license the MasterListBuilder system in another country. My first license was with someone from the UK, where I charged $33,000 for the one-time license and 15% monthly royalty coming from his sales.
We are also working on affiliate marketing websites that sell laptops. We have a website with links to laptops and if someone clicks on that link which has our ID, it goes to a merchant site like OfficeDepot.com or CompUSA.com or BestBuy.com. When that person buys, we get a commission.
Can you share to us your monthly income figures?
Up until 2006, a 5-dollar figure (in dollars) a month is already in the lower-end of my income range. Sometimes it’s $10k, $15k or $20 depending on the campaign. In 2007, my income has gone down a bit, but that’s by choice, because I really want to refocus on what I want to do long-term, that is, residual, passive income. My goal is to work a lot less, like less than 10 hours a week so I can spend more time with my kids.
How is your business set up?
My logistics staff is in the Philippines. I have people in the US who are my partners but I don’t have employees there. I used to, but got rid of that because, one, I save a lot by hiring people from the Philippines and, two, I can help out those who really need help. I keep the number of my staff to a minimum in order to minimize overhead, so right now, I only have four people working for me.
What were you doing prior to entering the internet marketing industry?
Actually, I was a physical therapist. I did it for 13 years. I graduated in March ’87 then went to the US in August ’88. For 5 years, I traveled in the States, then I was hired to run a clinic. I also started my own health agency where I experienced for the first time being my own boss. I really enjoyed it. But then health care went down in ’97-’98 so I closed my business, moved to Texas, and started running a small clinic.
But the urge to start my own business was still there. So in ’99 I turned to computers and started learning email. Then Y2K came and I remember sending my first email on January 1, 2000 at exactly 12:01 am. That’s how it started.
I lost a lot of money in the first six months, at least $10,000. The learning curve was high especially because I didn’t have a mentor. On my 6th month, I hired a mentor. Six weeks after that, I quit my job. I had many mentors along the way but I only saw them online until I went to seminars. I basically just read what they wrote and applied it.
What do you think are the Key Success Factors in internet marketing?
First one would be focus. Number two is to have a vision or goal that you want to achieve. Also, know exactly what you want from what you are doing. For example, 8 years ago, I was making good money from my PT profession. I was paid $70,000 a year. I guess I had 5 years of fame and fortune, but ironically it’s not something I wanted. I wanted something passive, residual so here I am.
Can Filipinos be successful in this industry?
The beauty about internet marketing is that you don’t have to leave the country and earn in dollars and have the financial opportunities which we didn’t have 20 years ago. Had I been given this chance 20 years ago, more than likely, I would not have left the country.
Yes, there’s big opportunity for people to succeed online. One example is Ian del Carmen who purposely set up an appointment with me to interview me. After just a few weeks, he applied what he learned and for a newbie, he did well. He netted more than P2 million in just one year.
If it worked for him, it can also work for others.
Any message to those who have just started or planning to start in internet marketing?
First is to educate yourself in the business. But don’t overdo the information. Get the information and take action. If you can do more action than information, even better. Information or knowledge alone will not help you succeed.
Second, you got to know what you want. What is it that you really want out of your business that will affect your life? What is your goal?
Third is focus. Once you’ve decided on what you want in business, focus, focus, focus.
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