Q: What’s got 9,000 legs, raises money for charity and knows loads about making money?

A: It’s Andrew Reynolds’ Entrepreneurs Bootcamp!

If you weren’t standing in the mud at Glastonbury, this weekend, then you should have been at Andrew Reynolds’ Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp in Brighton.  The world and his dog went off to the seaside to learn about making money.  There wasn’t a free hotel room as far west as Worthing – I for one had to drive over half an hour inland before I could find a place to stay.  It’s easy to see why – the speakers list reads like a ‘who’s who’ of marketing expertise.  To name but a few, Tom Hua, Armand Morin and Andrew himself all spoke from the stage.  The event was the biggest entrepreneur’s meeting I’ve ever seen.  It was so big it had to be held at the Brighton centre – a venue more used to hosting leading music acts – but the atmosphere was just as electric and the visual spectacle no less impressive.  You could see the beads of sweat on speakers’ heads as their images were shone across a vast backdrop screen that made your local Odeon look like a laptop.  It’s one of the most impressive spectacles I’ve ever seen.

It wasn’t just the speakers that made this event special, it was the clientele each of the attendees were selected from Andrew Reynolds’ and Tim Lowe’s customer lists.  These are people who have proven themselves able to take positive action to increase their wealth – and the huge volume of products sold at the event shows just how willing the crowd were to take action.

The only cost of the ticket was a donation to the ‘Make a Wish’ foundation.  I can see the point of this policy.  Not only did it raise just under half a million for Andrew’s favourite charity, but it also made sure that people felt committed to the event.  The hall was just as busy first thing in the morning as it was in the middle of the day, and Friday was just as busy as the weekend days.  Obviously, paying to get through the door results in a bit of commitment from the delegates – regardless of who the money goes to.

Because it was a free event (the entry price going to charity), the speakers’ attendance was entirely funded by ‘back end’ sales.  Each one was there to demonstrate their skills and knowledge by handing out genuinely useful tuition and advice, in the hope that delegates would be sufficiently impressed to pay for learning materials, seminars and software after their presentation.   Mostly the sales were relatively high ticket items, with prices ranging from under £700 for a Paul Hartunian publicity course up towards 10K for Mr. Reynolds’ package of resale rights.

Does the bootcamp offer good value for money?  Definitely!!!  You won’t see such an amazing selection of speakers for such a low price in any other type of event.  You also have all the networking benefits of being surrounded by 4,500 entrepreneurs and the fun of being by the sea for a beautiful summer weekend.  It’s all for a good cause too, so few cared much about the entry price.  This event was an absolute must in my opinion – a fantastic conference for very little money.  Hopefully, the conference will re-run next year, so keep an eye out for it.

I couldn’t possibly cover every detail of the mammoth event in just one short article, so here are just a few highlights based on what worked for me personally.

The day kicked off with Pat Mesiti on Friday and Saturday.  This chap’s amazingly energetic and seems as genuinely passionate about his charity work as he is about his business. After spending 15 years volunteering for charities I’ve got a heart of stone, but even I felt myself getting emotional about the tales he told.  I know that for some people that emotional potency is just what they need to kick them into taking action.

Andrew Reynolds came on stage personally each day.  His was, by my recollection, the most expensive package on offer, but the advantage is that it came with the rights to resell a large array of products – giving you money making opportunities that last indefinitely.  I’ve never looked in any detail into re-branding and re-selling other people’s products with my own sales pitch, so it was all a bit new to me.  However, this approach replicates many of the methods Andrew has used to make his fortune over the years.  One of his students, Tim Lowe, is now a guru in his own right and was in attendance on the bootcamp dispensing advice and answering questions.  Simon Coulson is also a former student. Andrew’s advice is therefore clearly capable of delivering results.  Andrew trod the boards twice during the weekend and on the second occasion offered a subscription-type service that promises a two new product resale licences each month for £197.  So if you’re happy to re-sell information products that without having exclusivity, Andrew’s your guy.

Paul Hartunian was promoting a course in using the media to get publicity. As the man who achieved worldwide notoriety for selling the Brooklyn bridge (the legitimate way), he’s clearly a man who’s worth listening to. I’ve used the media myself on countless occasions to promote various charity projects I’ve been working in, and I know how powerful a timely, relevant and imaginative media message can be.  With nothing spent, your brand can fly around the world.  I’ve done it, lived it and seen the results.  If you’re not capturing the power of the media in your business, you’re walking on acres of diamonds and leaving them uncollected.  This was the cheapest course of the weekend at less than £700.  Did you spend more than £700 on advertising last year?  You could have kept it and had publicity that was twice as effective for free.

Dan Kennedy was one of my favourite speakers over the weekend.  He has a sober and engaging style, and looks at what makes individuals and companies successful.  Often it comes down to breaking rules, doing things differently and swimming against the tide, hence the title of his course – ‘Renegade Millionaire’.  Definitely a speaker worth seeing, although I understand sales of his course were weak at this event.

Armand Morin was another top speaker in my opinion.  He’s a long standing and hugely reputable internet marketer, and his presentation was loaded with quality tips and content.  Thousands of sites reference his work, and he gives the very genuine impression of being a ‘real deal’ guru – a do-ru if you like, who makes his money from what he teaches, not from teaching it.  I picked up several tips applicable to my own business from his talk.  What I felt particularly set Armand out from the other speakers was his unique combination of being a hugely knowledgeable speaker and a very helpful ‘hand-holder’.  I spent most of the morning on Sunday listening to delegates asking him questions, which he answered with genuine interest and patience for people at every level of expertise – a far cry from the critical, arrogant and high-handed approach of some other ‘gurus’.

Matt & Amanda came up on stage to promote their ‘Bidding Buzz’ Ebay-based approach.  Being the world’s most searched site, Ebay is the obvious place to start your enterprise, particularly if you don’t want the technicalities and hassle of setting up your own website.  Personally, I quite like having my own site – but for many people it’s quite daunting.  Ebay’s a great alternative.  Some people love the classic trading strategies that would be as familiar to a Victorian market trader as they are to modern entrepreneurs – buy low, sell high; split bulk; bundling etc.  If you’re a natural trader and marketer, Ebay offers an easy way to get started and Matt and Amanda offer a introduction that will put you head and shoulders above the idiots trying to sell their unwanted junk online.

My personal favourite of the weekend was Andrew & Daryl Grant.  They were a refreshingly down-to-earth couple who inspired me with the feeling that ‘I could do that’ – something often lacking when I see the slicker and more polished presenters.  They were selling an ebook course which turns conventional wisdom on its head – abandoning opt-in pages and other established practices.  They were helpful, credible and refreshingly honest, combining innovation and insight with the impression that they were very human – and their students therefore didn’t need to be able to walk on water to follow their business methods.

Bill Gazer is the other half of the Kennedy-Glazer business partnership.  His pitch was for a copywriting course that you could try out free for less than $50.  I found his presentation compelling and benefitted a lot from it.  Bearing in mind you could try the course with such an astonishingly low commitment, it’s got to represent the most outstanding offer of the weekend for those on a budget.  I’m always impressed when people are prepared to take the initial sale for such a tiny sum.  What it says loudly to me is, ‘I’m so confident you’re going to keep buying from me, I only need to take a nickel off you to get started.’

Tom Hua was notable for his viral marketing scheme.  This effectively generates traffic from other people’s work.  Many years ago, he wrote an ebook which promoted his web-hosting affiliate link.  Whenever anyone read the ebook, the website link to his affiliate site was embedded in the text.  He allowed anyone who bought the book to resell it for a profit and keep all the money.  Many, many people did, and everyone who read the book therefore read the advert for his hosting.  That way, he’d enabled people to earn money by advertising his product.  Even when he bought his own hosting company, and wanted to promote this new service instead, he found he couldn’t actually ‘turn off the tap’ from the ebook.  He still takes over a grand a month that he dearly wishes he could divert elsewhere.  What a lovely problem to have!

Simon Coulson presented his proven system for information publishing on Sunday morning.  I missed this presentation as I’ve seen him speak a couple of times recently.  His offer is a course teaching the good, sensible technique of writing and/or publishing information products on the internet.  This is based on building a quality customer base out there in the real world, not just promoting business opportunities.  Simon’s style appeals to me greatly. He’s just as successful as many other gurus – but he has an approachable, down to earth style that allows him to wear his wealth lightly.  He’s built his business the hands-on way, carying mailsacks around full of products destined for customers.  Beyond this down-and-dirty approach, he’s also got an incisive ability to critique other people’s business models.  I genuinely believe that his offering is better able to deliver reliable, long-term results than many potential competitors.  I’ve marked his card, and he’s definitely a man I’m going to be watching out for.

Finally, the weekend wrapped up with Ted Nicholas.  This chap’s been writing killer copy since the Pilgrim fathers landed, so he knows a thing or two about direct sales.  His techniques can provide a core of sound marketing principles that can easily be added into the new world of embedded video and scribbled-note copy.  Andrew Reynolds personally credits him with bringing in an extra £1m of profit to his business by applying one single technique.  It would be a brave man who wrote off that kind of experience and multi-billion dollar track record of sales.  It was great to finish off the conference by seeing Ted bouncing round the arena, dancing with the audience.  Even if you didn’t want to go on his course, you’ve got to admire the man for growing old in style.

As for what’s on sale, I can’t comment in detail as I haven’t experienced the products.  Most were delivered as internet-based training plans, with notable exceptions such as Simon’s course.  Most of the packages on offer were comprehensive packages with selling prices of a couple of thousand or more.  Clearly, the price wasn’t putting many people off, as there were very large volumes being sold at the back of the room.  Many people were happy to invest heavily in their future, and often the sales room was bursting with dozens of hungry customers queuing to buy.

Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  As always, many people who buy training don’t actually use it.  That applies equally to the knowledge from this bootcamp or the speakers’ ‘boxset’ of digital products.  Making the effort to follow up is everything.  I’ve pencilled in the rest of today to put into practice the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the weekend.  I know for a fact that it’s totally changed my outlook on at least one of my business projects – a great scheme that I previously couldn’t work out how to implement.  I’m raring to go on this now, and that kind of personal result is well worth paying £150 for.

Just to cap it all off, included in the package was the right to resell loads of Andrew’s licensed products – so if you’re prepared to put the effort in, then you could recoup your investment many times over.