People sometimes ask me about my background; not the career stuff as a marketing visibility and SEO consultant that you’ll find on my about page, but the stuff people may not know. Some may even remember me as a copywriter than an SEO consultant and wonder why I switched. (If you’re curious, I explain that here.)
I believe I’m an open book. Or I think I am. But I also realized that, even though I’ve been doing this for 30 years, I get new followers and subscribers all the time who don’t know a thing about me.
So here are 10 facts about me, listed in no particular order.
1. My name is Michel, pronounced “Me-shell.” No, it’s not female like Michelle Obama. It’s the French version of Michael but without the “a.” I live in Ottawa, Canada with my wife Barbara, a Canadian-Portuguese immigrant who works as a nurse in labour and delivery at The Ottawa Hospital. Right now, COVID is making her job exceptionally tough and stressful. She inspires me so much.
2. I was born and raised in the small town of Aylmer, Québec. It’s a French-Canadian town that is now a suburb of Gatineau, which is a city adjacent to our nation’s capital of Ottawa, Canada (where I currently live). Aylmer was mostly bilingual (French and English), which is why I speak both fluently. Recently, I learned Portuguese after meeting my wife so I could recite my vows in her language. (Yes, it sounds almost like a scene from Love, Actually.)
3. As a child in the late 70s, I was quite active online. There was no Internet back then. But I surfed bulletin board services (BBS) using an agonizingly slow 300-baud dial-up modem. By the age of 12, I learned to code and actively played Scepter of Goth, which was the first-ever multiplayer online role-playing game (or MMORPG). This is where I fell in love with what would later become the Internet.
4. My first job was working at McDonald’s as a teen in the early 80s. My wage was a paltry $2.54/hour Canadian (less than two US dollars per hour). But my first grown-up job was selling insurance — the job in which I failed miserably and declared bankruptcy, and then succeeded after I discovered marketing and copywriting.
5. I left the insurance business, moved to Ottawa, and became a marketing consultant at a nearby hair restoration clinic. I worked on commission. Not satisfied with the number of leads coming in, I took over the clinic’s marketing — including writing their ads, direct mail pieces, TV commercials, and eventually, their first website. The clinic grew and expanded to open multiple clinics across Canada and the USA, where I handled the clinic’s marketing, copywriting, advertising, and training of their new sales and marketing staff.
6. This is where my marketing career accidentally took off. By taking care of my employer’s other clinics and their marketing, my own sales suffered and, as a result, my income plummeted. So I eventually hung my shingle as an independent marketing consultant specializing in doctors and clinics. I launched my first website in 1995 and later incorporated my business as The Success Doctor, Inc.
7. How I entered the Internet marketing industry was a bit of a fluke. I wrote a booklet in the early 90s called Power Positioning. It was really a booklet marketing my services. By the mid-90s, I split it into standalone articles, which I offered to a variety of online magazines that wanted to publish them. But it also caught the attention of a magazine called The Internet Marketing Chronicles. They hired me as their editor and main writer.
8. At its peak, we had 120,000 subscribers. After writing for a few years, The Internet Marketing Center owned by the late Corey Rudl acquired the magazine. Luckily, Corey kept me as the editor, and I also wrote his marketing materials and website content, along with his autobiography, as a ghostwriter, titled: “How to Create a Fortune on The Internet in Just Four Simple Steps.”
9. This led to a stream of work and speaking gigs at marketing and business seminars around the globe. I spoke on stages in front of a few hundred people in New Zealand to about 10,000 in the UK — and everything in between. I shared the stage with other famous marketers like Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Gary Halbert, Mark Joyner, Russell Brunson, Ryan Deiss, Mark Victor Hansen, Jay Conrad Levinson, Brendon Burchard, and countless others.
10. Recently, David Garfinkel, a longtime friend, interviewed me on his Copywriters Podcast. He asked: “What topic makes your heart beat a tad faster these days?” My answer was SEO. As I told him on his show, SEO is no different from copywriting: know your market, the problems they have, and the questions they ask. And just answer them — whether it’s with great content or sales copy. Doing this will improve your SEO just as much as it will your conversions.
Now it’s your turn. What are 10 little-known facts about you?