Akbar Sheikh has gone from homeless to helping create several seven figure funnels. He specializes in psychology of sales and has been helping scale businesses from all around the world.
Your Big Idea: Successful Entrepreneurs have One Big Idea. Follow JLD’s FREE training & you’ll discover Your Big Idea in less than an hour!
Google – Akbar’s small business resource
The Ad Week Copywriting Handbook – Akbar’s Top Business Book
Free Podcast Course – A free 15 day course on how to Create, Grow, & Monetize YOUR Podcast!
The Mastery Journal – Master productivity, discipline, and focus in 100 days!
3 Value Bombs
1) You don’t have to be focusing on your competition, you just have to connect with your own audience.
2) Make your funnels simple and have an impactful message.
3) Successful people are in their position because they don’t give up.
DesignCrowd: If you’re not much of a designer, but are looking for ideas for your next logo, websites design or even your new business cards, then DesignCrowd can help! Visit DesignCrowd.com/fire for a special one $100 VIP offer for Fire Nation!
Pitney Bowes: Print postage right from your office and take advantage of special discounts! Plans start AS LOW AS $5 per month. Visit PB.com/fire to learn more and sign up for your free trial. Terms apply, see site for details.
Klaviyo: Klaviyo helps eCommerce marketers save time and make more money through super- targeted, highly relevant email and advertising campaigns. That’s why thousands of ecommerce companies use Klaviyo to increase their sales! And right now, you can sign up for free!
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[01:15] – Akbar used to be homeless
[01:32] – Not finding his why as an entrepreneur led him to making bad decisions
[01:59] – “Funnels have totally changed my life”
[03:30] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: What people don’t realize is that your competition is irrelevant
[04:29] – Your competition don’t matter, as long as you’re connecting with your audience
[05:38] – Simplicity is key when creating funnels
[06:10] – Messaging and content is important
[07:30] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: For 10 years, Akbar only had failures. When he set out to become an entrepreneur, he changed his mindset about God – he started to believe that everything happens for a reason. A few years ago Akbar went to a Shark Tank event with a mattress product. He went on stage and ended up winning a $50,000 prize. Unfortunately, the sponsor didn’t come through, so no one really won $50K that night
[10:23] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Akbar went to an Internet marketing conference in the UK. Instead of sitting in the front, Akbar intentionally sat at the back to listen to the people in the backroom. He listened to these peoples conversations and realized they made adjustments last minute as they’d go through their presentations. Akbar realized that even top people in the business are no different than any other person — they just don’t give up
[13:04] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “My dad kind of… you have to be in business”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “I was a kid and he said, I quietly go every night alone in the corner of my room and I sit there and I think about my day”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Prayer”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Google
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The Ad Week Copywriting Handbook – “everyone really should know more about copy”
[18:54] – The more you give, the more you receive
John: Yes, Akbar has gone from homeless to creating several seven-figure funnels, he specializes in the psychology of sales, and has been helping scale businesses from all around the world. Akbar, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Akbar: Yeah, man. God, it’s been a wild ride, honestly. Last year was my first full year into this internet marketing world. Yeah, I used to be homeless. As a matter of fact, I was half-dead. I ended up in the hospital from, really, my life not being right, actually, my orbs being off. I was physically very unhealthy, I was mentally unhealthy, my relationships were terrible, I didn’t have the right mindset, and I couldn’t find my why as an entrepreneur, actually, and this all led me to a string of terrible decisions, which ended me up at the emergency room, Yale New Haven Hospital.
What’s kind of ironic about that is my dad always wanted me to attend Yale University. I didn’t but I did get to end up in their emergency room, which I always kind of thought was funny. Yeah, man, it’s been an honor. Honestly, funnels have totally changed my life. It’s given me the ability to five funnels hit seven-figures to really make a big impact. Yeah, honestly, we’ve really – why we do what we do, bro, is because I truly believe entrepreneurs are inherently awesome people, and I’ve interviewed a bunch of them from beginners to people like me over a half a billion.
And inherently, people just wanna make more revenue, bro, so that they can give back to their families, communities, and favorite charities. I’m like, dude, you know what? All of us have been given skills, and if I can help people generate more money and these entrepreneurs are gonna give it back to their families, communities, and favorite charities, then, bro, we’re helping make the world a better place.
John: It’s true and I’m actually listening to a John D. Rockefeller biography right now, and he was a very religious person. And he was surrounded by religious people, and they were always like, dude, why are you spending so much time making money? You shouldn’t be doing that. He’s like, what are you talking about? The more money I make, the more money I can give to churches and to religion and other great causes, so if you wanna spend your time praying, praying, praying, you go ahead and do that. I’m gonna spend time making money so I can really actually make the world a better place, not just pray for myself, which is a pretty selfish act, to be realistic.
Now, Akbar, let’s talk about what you consider your area of expertise, and I’m actually gonna answer that for you. You’re a funnel specialist.
Akbar: Oh, you think?
John: Let’s go deep. Don’t give me some lame, pathetic, surface-level answer here. What’s something that we don’t know about funnels that we probably should?
Akbar: Bro, beyond funnel – because funnels is just a tool, right, but I feel like this is so much bigger than funnels. I feel like what people don’t realize and what I really want to tell people is that your competition is really irrelevant. Your competition is actually pretty stinky stew where it’s like – I’ll give you a perfect example, bro. Like I said, I’m new. I can actually call myself an internet newbie, right, because this is my first year, my first full-time year. Some of the things I do is I sell high-end coaching packages, right, and they’re priced at the same exact levels as some of the top guys that have been here for decades, like Tony Robbins, Gary V, all these top guys, right?
But, I have people, bro, and think about this for a second. I have people who have never met me before from all corners of the country, all corners of the world call me for the first time, talk to me for the first time, some dude with a funny name, and whip out their card and pay a high five figure amount on the spot. Why is that? It’s because your competition doesn’t matter, bro. It’s about your connection with your audience and it doesn’t matter what they’re doing.
You talk about me building funnels, right? I do. That’s one of the things I do is we build funnels, and I filled out a form recently to join a mastermind. They’re like, dude, tell me about your competition. I said I honestly don’t know, I can’t tell you. They said list your top three competitors. I said I’m sorry, I just don’t know because it doesn’t matter what they’re doing, because as long as I’m connecting with my people and I’m doing my daily Facebook lives, and I’m being me, then they’re buying from me because they like and trust me, and they connect with me. Do you know what I’m saying?
I just wanted to – I just really like to tell people that, to let them know that, dude, you can honestly be at the top of any sector you’re in just by being you and not worry about what the other guy is doing.
John: Okay, so I get that. Fire Nation gets that. I’m really glad you made that point because it’s super important. Fire Nation, I hope you are listening and absorbing that. Now, let’s get to a tactic, a tool about funnels that I don’t know, and again, get specific here, Akbar. I’m gonna challenge you here.
Akbar: No, no, no worries at all. Bro, honestly, here’s my thing, if you really take a look at some of my more successful funnels, it’s simplicity is key. I think a lot of people kind of shoot themselves in the foot, right? If you take a look at one of my funnels, my main funnels on my website; it’s one of the ugliest things you’ll see in your life. I mean, it’s a simple opt-in page to a webinar, and then the call to action is to book a call with me, right?
John: Okay, so, I’m gonna fast-forward what you’re about to say. Make it simple. I get it. Let’s go somewhere else. I want something more, with a funnel that’s really been a seven-figure funnel. What have you done with that funnel that’s really been cool, unique, different?
Akbar: Okay. Really, one of the main things is messaging. Take a seven-figure funnel we did. Massages, the dude was running massage – he had a massage clinic, right? Massage messaging has been the same since the beginning of time. It’s like, hey, come get a massage, you’re gonna feel relaxed and you’re gonna feel great, and all this stuff, right. We sat down, and we stewed for a second, bro, and we’re like, listen, you now what? Check this out. You guys do massages a little differently. You guys do it a little holistically, right? You talk about the middle class because you know, check this out, massage 2.0, massage of the future.
And people just had like – they got slapped in the face with a cold, wet fish. The funnel did phenomenal because they’re just like, what? They’ve never heard of this. What? Massage 2.0, massage of the future, what is that all about? No one’s ever – people have been marketing massages the same for, I don’t know, 100 years, so it’s about really just taking the same thing and making a proper narrative and messaging about it that will relate to people different and change people’s mindset and kind of make people wake up a little bit and turn it around.
That’s what I feel a lot of people lacking, bro, is that you could do that with any product or service. It’s just, change the message and make it unique and enticing where you’re turning heads a little bit and making people pay more attention.
John: Akbar, I think you shared with us one of your worst life moments, of course, being half-dead and being homeless, etcetera. Give us your worst entrepreneurial moment. What’s that story?
Akbar: I’m gonna tell you, bro, but I have to kind of say this about that, right – is that when I – for ten years, I had nothing but failures, and when I started seeing some success, I changed my mindset. I actually changed a couple of components of my mindset, one of which was to truly understand that god really, really loves us, and that every single thing happens for a reason, like we were supposed to do this interview a little while ago, but I was in Italy and the Wi-Fi was the worst in the world. It didn’t work. We had to reschedule, right?
You know what? That could be so depressing, but I was like, no, dude, it’s fine. Everything happens for a reason. God wants what’s best for us. Do you see what I’m saying? It’s like, no, it’s cool, so that way, I have no regrets and now my mind is not cluttered like that. It’s like it’s focused because I’m like, oh, would’ve, could’ve, should’ve, and it really keeps me uplifted at a high-level of momentum so we can keep scaling. I truthfully don’t have that mindset of worst entrepreneurial moment. I’m gonna answer your question but I just wanted to say that first, because I truly believe everything happens for a reason.
That being said, one of the worst things that ever happened to me – entrepreneurial is a few years ago in San Francisco, my birthplace, bro, we had – there was a Shark Tank event. And everybody is Silicon Valley. Everyone’s got some tech idea. We go up there with a mattress idea. We just wanna sell mattresses online and everyone looking was like, dude, do you know where you are? You’re in Silicon Valley, bro. We’re talking about apps and the next Twitter, the next Facebook. You’re talking about selling mattresses. They’re kind of snickering at us.
Anyway, we go on stage, serious judges, dude who invented iTunes, right? Couldn’t believe that we end up winning. Now, we didn’t have a dime into our names. The guy brings up a $50,000.00 check, and it’s one of those big super checks and he puts us in front – he puts it right in front of us. And they’re taking pictures and everything, and we didn’t even know there was a prize and I’m looking at my brother and my wife in the car and we’re like, oh, my god, this is the answer to our prayers. Oh, my god, we’re gonna have some money to get this thing off the ground and we’re so high.
And then, they make this announcement and the room just went drop-pin silent, and they’re like, yeah, no, our sponsor actually didn’t really come through, so no one’s really gonna win $50,000.00. Everybody’s like, no. It’s one of the highest highs we’ve ever had and then it quickly went to one of the lowest lows we’ve ever had just like that.
John: Wow, I mean, that’s quite a flip of emotions right there. To actually have the gall to bring out the check onto stage and then make the announcement, I gotta scratch my head there, for sure. But, Akbar, you’ve had a lot of great ideas over the course of your life, a lot of aha moments. What’s one of the best entrepreneurial aha moments that you’ve had? Tell us that story.
Akbar: Bro, when I was first getting started in this game, I went to this internet marketing conference in England, and everyone’s sitting at the front. And this is when I first went. I was fascinated. There’s a bunch of speakers, top guys. I mean, Mike Dillard is there, $100 million guy, top, top guys in all the different industries. Me, purposefully – and all the speakers are kind of in the back of the room, they’re doing their thing, so instead of sitting in the front, which is what I usually do, I sat in the back and I kind of tilted my head back, and I’m listening because I wanna see what these guys are saying behind the scenes.
And when I was listening to them, I’m like wait a minute; these guys were not even prepared for the next segment. They were writing the PowerPoint slides in the back and they were kind of planning it as they go along, and I’m listening to the way they talk to each other behind the scenes, not the showman in front of the stage, And I’m like – and I’ll never forget that because I didn’t really have any success at that point, and I was like, oh, my god, these top guys, they’re no different. They’re no different than any one of us.
You know what it is? They just don’t give up. They just keep moving forward. They just keep taking [inaudible] [00:10:30] and I know that’s so generic, but I’m like, wow, these dudes are no different. I can do this, I can do exactly what they’re doing, and there’s like that permission to myself. I mean, a lot of things changed for me at that aha moment. I don’t know if you’ve ever – I know you’ve been at a lot of these top – well, you are one of the top guys out there, but I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that before.
John: Absolutely, and I really think that, for me, like when I first was speaking at a conference, I went there being like, I don’t belong here. I mean, yeah, I’ve spent all of these hours and hours and hours on my presentation, but these are professionals. These guys are like the best of the best and these girls are so great, and then I got there, and everybody was just like, in the speakers’ little lounge finishing their slides and being like, I don’t really know how I’m gonna finish this.
What am I gonna – and I was just like, oh, my goodness, these people don’t have a clue. I’m like, I don’t have a clue, really, but the definitely don’t have a clue either and it was such a revelation to me, and again, it took me actually being a speaker at one of these events and really feeling like, this is back in 2013 when I was like, I just don’t belong here, but then realizing, wow, everybody that’s speaking at this conference is just maybe half a step ahead of me, maybe one step ahead of me, and I’m only half a step of the attendees here and I still feel that way at most of my conferences that I go to.
I’m just like, hey, yeah, just because you’re on stage and you have a huge PowerPoint behind you with images, you really don’t know much more than anybody else. You know a little bit more and maybe you’ve applied one or two more things, but not a ton. And Fire Nation, if you think Akbar has been dropping value bombs, you’re right, and guess what? More are coming on the lightning rounds when we get back from thanking our sponsors. Akbar. Are you ready to rock the lightning rounds?
Akbar: Yes, sir.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Akbar: My dad kind of – my whole life, from birth, he’s like, you’re gonna be in business, you’re gonna be in business, you’re gonna take over the family business, you’re gonna take over the family business, and when it got to that point to take over the family business, I hated the family business, therefore I hated entrepreneurship, therefore I went through a string of ten years of nothing but failure. It wasn’t until I understood that, wait a minute, there’s more to entrepreneurship than retail and I start exploring things.
And it wasn’t until I fixed my health; I lost 50 pounds, and got mental clarity, and dropped all my toxic relationships and became a little bit more spiritual, until I actually found true success. That really held me back because I truly feel, if you’re not fixed from within, you cannot be a good business man or business woman. I don’t know what the term is now, but I think those things were really holding me back.
John: Business peeps, that’s what we’ll call them.
Akbar: Business peeps. Nice, yeah.
John: Fire Nation, you have to drop your toxic weight. You have to drop your toxic relationships. You’re not gonna win at any high level if you’re carrying toxic weight. And I mean physically. If you’re carrying toxic physical weight, you’re not gonna – even if you win on some level, you’re really losing in a lot of levels of life because you’re not gonna be able to fully enjoy that success, and definitely, the same goes with toxic relationships. Get rid of both of that crap, get it out of your life. And Akbar, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Akbar: My uncle, man, who was a simple – you know, one of the stories, came to the country penniless, owns like half the town in real estate, one of those stories. And he taught – I’ll never forget. I was a kid, actually. He said, listen, you know what I do every day? He says, I quietly go in the corner, every night, alone, of my room and I sit there, and I think about my day. I think about, what did I do right, what did I do wrong, what could I do better, in other words, self-reflection? And that way, every day I’m reflecting, every single day I’m improving, so I’m acting on that reflection daily.
And, I tell you, I’ve been doing that. I’ve been doing that for a while and it holds me accountable and it allows me to microscale daily and just put my mindset on a different level. I absolutely love it and it’s free, and I highly recommend that everyone tries it.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Akbar: It’s really just endless gratitude on a higher level. Right now, I’m speaking to you. My tongue is functioning. My cheek bones are opening, my jaw bones opening, my eyelids are opening. There’s this lady, man. You need to blink to secrete your eyeballs, otherwise they dry out, and there’s this functionality that secretes them. There’s this lady, that functionality doesn’t work. She has a mechanism installed and it’s very difficult for that – manually does – drops fluid into her eyes. It’s like there are so many things to be grateful for and if you fill your mind with all these things, bro, you don’t have room for any of the negativity which puts your mindset higher and you can produce at a higher level.
John: Fire Nation, I just got really aware of my tongue, actually functioning and now I’m having a hard time talking, but that’s okay. Thanks, Akbar. Now, recommend one internet resource.
Akbar: Bro, you gotta let me explain this one because you’re gonna be like, what?
John: Do it.
Akbar: Now, listen to this. Google.
Akbar: Okay, yes, let me explain.
John: I go over so many funnels, bro. I’ll give you a perfect example, lady selling Dead Sea salt, right? Funnel is boring, boring, boring. There’s nothing there. I’m like, dude, come on, what is here? This is so boring. I have no interest in buying this Dead Sea salt skin care thing, right? I very quickly Googled benefits of Dead Sea. You know what I found? Cleopatra, one of the – in the history of the world, one of the most beautiful women ever. She used to bathe in the Dead Sea salt. Are you freaking kidding me? This should be an entire section on your funnel, Cleopatra, one of the world’s most beautiful women ever used to bathe in this and now you can have that right here in your house, delivered to you today.
Do you know what I’m saying? And it’s all from good – people do not utilize it. Yeah, it’s right there and every – I think the number one website in the world, but people are not utilizing it properly. I see it daily, they’re not. They can improve the messaging and the enticement of their funnels so much more just by honestly spending seconds on Google. I’m gonna tell you. I’m sorry, I’m not gonna –
John: Now, that’s the kind of specific stuff I was looking for, Akbar. I love it, and one thing I’ll say about Cleopatra, I think that your beauty grows over time and I think that her beauty has just grown with age, and she’s just been around for – she was around so long ago that of course she’s the most beautiful woman. We can’t really prove that she wasn’t, but let’s just kind of move on to what you say is the number one book that you’ve recently read and why.
Akbar: Adweek by Joseph Sugarman and the thing is, if you master one or two timeless concepts, I honestly think that you’d be set for life. You don’t have to be a jack of all trade. Joseph Sugarman is a master copywriter. So, if you master – I mean, everyone really should know more about copy because the better your copy, obviously the more money you’re gonna make. Communication slash copy is endlessly profitable, and it puts you way ahead of your competition and this is one of the best books I’ve ever read on copy, hand down.
John: Akbar, let’s end on Fire with you giving us one parting piece of guidance sharing the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Akbar: Parting piece of guidance, no doubt, is an age-old classic. I gotta say it, though, because it works so well for me. The more I’ve given, the more I’ve gotten, but, my thing is, find a passion about it. Lately, my passion has been you can actually give the gift of vision to blind children because in third world counties, they can’t afford a very simple, very affordable cataract surgery. So, for actually less than $100.00, you can give the gift of vision to a blind person.
And why I say that is because when I first heard that, I literally started crying, and I want you guys to – whatever that is, whether it’s to support dogs, squirrels, abandoned houses, whatever it is, whatever makes you cry, support that. Why? Because honestly, truthfully, I don’t really have to work, I can take the next few years off. The reason I’m working, honestly, around the clock, one of the main reasons is that I can help all these kids get vision, because that just drives me wild and gives me endless passion.
So, that’s my parting advice, is really to give, give, give, and find a passion to give about. Best way to connect with me, bro, is Facebook. I put a lot of my stuff out there. You can just look me up, my name, Akbar Sheikh on Facebook. I got a Facebook [inaudible] [00:18:40] group that I drop a lot of value that helps people scale to seven figures.
My gift for all y’all is my boyhood dream was to become a number one best seller, I don’t know why, but we’ve made that happen this year. I was so proud of that. I wrote a book it’s called seven – oh, god, it’s a long title. 7 Figure Funnels: A slap you in the face with a cold wet fish blueprint on how to build a seven-figure online business in just seven ethical steps, smiley face, and that’s on Amazon right now for $47.00. But, for Fire Nation, it’s totally free at my website, AkbarSheikh.com, A-K-B-A-R-S-H-E-I-K-H.com/fire and you can enjoy that book, which is a very short blueprint on exactly what I’ve done to help build or help five funnels hit seven figures.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with AS and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type Akbar, that’s A-K-B-A-R, in the search bar, his [inaudible] [00:19:44] page is gonna pop up with the link to that $47.00 book for free and everything else that we talked about. So, Akbar, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we solute you, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Akbar: Thanks, bro. It’s been a complete honor and privilege.
1) Free Podcast Course: Learn from JLD how to create and launch your podcast!
2) Your Big Idea: Follow JLD’s FREE training & you’ll discover Your Big Idea in less than an hour!
3) Funnel On Fire: Learn how to create a funnel that converts!