I’m John (Johnny) Smelt and I am intending to become an online marketer and make a decent living from an online business.
I was born in Manchester two weeks after the end of the Battle of Britain and after 18 months was whisked away to live in York where a year later my sister was born. At the end of WW2, my father was moved back to Manchester and 2 years later to what is now known as Teesside. I guess this gave me a taste for moving about the country.
I went through the usual Infant and Junior schools and having passed the 11+ and was packed off to a minor public school in Teesdale. Discovered a few things about myself there including a passion for Rugby, Amateur Dramatics and Athletics, because I could run rather quickly . The rest of it I endured.
In spite of being a somewhat distracted student for most of the time, I managed to gain enough ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels to get a place at Manchester University to read Chemistry. I chose Chemistry because I was interested and it took about a term and a half to destroy my interest. I am interested in the practicalities of things and endure the theory only when absolutely necessary. I became more interested in other activities. I joined the Territorial Army continued to Play Rugby and get involved in amateur drama. I also developed more than a passing interest in Motor Sport.
Inevitably I failed my exams and there being no such thing as a re-sit was told to go away and come back when I could pass them. “Woe Was Me”. Money was a requirement so I had to get a job which led to a rather hilarious two year period where I worked for a plastics company in Bolton in a variety of jobs. Eventually, I decided that this kind of life was not for me and decided to try and re-join my degree course. I settled down and did some of the work I should have done two years earlier and managed to scrape through the appropriate exams and was able to finish my degree course. I had a bright shiny new BSc in Chemistry, so what to do with it.
At this time and not for the only time I had no idea what I wanted to do. This led me to a series of rather uninspiring job interviews with nothing which fired my imagination.
However, during the previous 18 months, I had met and decided to marry my girlfriend so it was necessary to get a job to provide the necessities of married life. I took a job as Production Manager with a company making table mats. Table mats? Yes, we made thousands of them every day and sold them all over the world. The really entertaining part was that the factory employed 120 women and 5 men. For a rather naïve 23 year old this was quite a baptism of fire.
That was all very well for a while but not what I wanted to do. So what to try? I got a job in sales, selling adding and accounting machines. Bad move. I discovered very quickly that I was uncomfortable in the selling situation and that the product I was selling was not very reliable. So where to go now.
An extensive job search proved to be fruitless, either I didn’t want what they were offering or they didn’t want me. I had almost given up and was almost considering a return to a life of table mats when I discovered a company was running open interviews for jobs at a new chemical plant being built in the West of Scotland. To cut a long story short, I was offered a job in the Training Department – I was surprised as well.
Within a few days, I knew I had found the kind of career which would suit me and my peculiar talents. I learned a lot about the training operation and a lot about myself and what interested me as far as a career was concerned.
I had a good 4 years there with a good and satisfying job and the opportunity to be involved in Music and Drama and in Motor Sport. Alas, all good things come to an end. In the late 60s, the country was starting to get into mess and an oil crisis seemed to me to spell out future difficulties for any industry based on petrochemicals. I needed to find something else before the ship sank from under me. My instinct was correct, the plant closed just about a year after I left.
I joined a small petrol distribution company as Training/Safety Officer which also found me on the road selling petrol supplies. I was surprised about that as well. There was a lot of fun, a lot of sailing a bit close to the wind, there was another oil crisis and frankly some hysterical moments. I had the dubious privilege of managing one of the first self-service petrol stations in the UK. This was all very new and was an object lesson in how dumb the general public can be at times and how even the most overtly sensible people either ignore instructions or are confused by something new.
After three years of this, I had a hankering to get back into a full-time training role and I joined an Aluminium Rolling company in South Wales. New technology, new situation and oh so last century in attitudes and practices. Being in South Wales was a joy with plenty of Theatre and Music but working for a company which seemed to be resistant to any kind of change was extremely frustrating. I endured four years of that, mainly because the country was in a mess and job opportunities were few and far between.
I eventually was offered a job with a telecoms company in the North East of England. New technology and new challenges. I hoped also that it would help stabilise my marriage which was a little rocky at this stage and my wife was from the North East originally and I hoped a move “back home” for her would help. The job was a disaster which didn’t help my marriage. To cut a long story short, I needed to get out and my marriage finally failed. There is no point in regretting things, we make decisions for what seem to be the right reasons and there is no point in regretting it. So no job and no marriage.
Fortunately, at the time, a company who had offered me a job and who I had turned down, approached me again. This lead to one of the most hysterically funny job interviews I have ever attended. I was asked to fly to Brussels to meet someone I had already met. The following morning I was taken to Liege to the factory where the company made tyres in Belgium. After a factory tour I was taken for lunch and to meet the company Personnel Director. Several bottles of wine later I was poured into a taxi back to the airport and back home, having agreed to take the job. I’m not sure I shall ever drink Chateauneuf du Pape again.
This meant a move to Scotland near Edinburgh and stupidly as it turned out I decided to get married again. I had an enormous amount of travelling to do both around the UK but also in Belgium, France, Germany and Italy. This was great for the first two or three weeks but after that it became more and more of a trial. This was not helped by increasing complaints from my wife about my being away so often and the need for her to get a job to enable us to have a reasonable standard of living. The marriage lasted about 9 months before we split. The job lasted about 4 years before I go so fed up with the internal politics and infighting I decided to move on.
Quite by accident, I answered a job advert which was very low key and rather non-specific but was for a Training Manager for a software company. I got the job. The software company was Microsoft. Not the giant it is today but only 12 people in the UK. This triggered my fascination with computers and software.
After nearly three years which was interesting and during which I learned a lot, the UK company started moving in what I felt was the wrong direction so I decided to take the chance and set up my own business and do my own thing.
Take a deep breath. Could I really make a success of my own business?
I had done some arithmetic and came to the conclusion that as I was on my own, I didn’t have anyone else to worry about, day to day. I had enough in the bank to be able to pay a mortgage, feed myself, travel about and have a little fun for about 9 months if no one wanted my services. I tossed a few ideas around and decided that software training offered the best chance of success.
So, out into the big wide world without a safety net.
I have had a few strokes of luck in my life, not many, but a few and one came along almost immediately and quite by accident. A friend of a friend mentioned to someone that I was starting up and looking for business asked to go and talk to them. It turned out that a training company was looking for a trainer for a piece of software I did not know. End of possible opportunity or so it seemed. However, in conversation, it was mentioned that there seemed to be a niche in the market aimed at people who were working with mainframe computers and who were being asked to look after these microcomputers or PCs as they came to be known, which were starting to appear all over the place. A prototype course had been developed and I was asked if I could develop the course further and go on to teach it.
The upshot of this was that within a month I was more than breaking even.
The business took off like a rocket, I’m pretty good at this training business, and this is what I did for some 20 plus years. I travelled all over the UK and Europe and did considerable work in the USA. I survived a number of clients going bankrupt on me and even a partner who robbed me of a considerable sum of money. However, the one thing I could not survive was yet another divorce, yes I got married again and had a son, and yes it all went wrong and the divorce settlement cost me almost everything I had. On top of that, the financial crash of 2008 put paid to my US business and gradually the rest of my business as well.
It was fun while it lasted.
Two or three years ago I found myself living in a small rented bungalow with little more than a pension to keep me going. About 18 months ago I decided to have a look at the Internet as a way of making some money and being able to afford the things which I missed.
I have had a little success but it has not been consistent and I have certainly spent more than I have earned and after some serious thought decided to sign up for John Thornhill’s program to see if I can make this Internet Marketing Business work for me.
It’s early days but this blog is designed to cover my journey through the process and catalogue my successes and failures, my triumphs and cockups in the hope that other people ploughing the same furrow may gain some help and or inspiration from my story.
If you have waded your way through my life story, well done. May I wish you every success on your journey, wherever you wish it to lead.