Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mother of All Problems

The following is a story from Perry Marshall ( about Bill Bailey (visit his website - who was sent to prison for 3 months for violating Federal laws on data collection and still made over $100,000 whilst in prison and without access to the internet or a computer. Read his story.


    I'm willing to bet you have never received a letter like this from one of your clients.

    I just returned from 3 weeks in Greece and Spain and you sent this out 2 days after I left. I saw it when I checked my email in Mykonos but waited to reply till now.

    You know my business.

    I already knew that I could take 3-week trips to Europe and my business would do just fine. Of course, I would check my email every day (I don't bring my laptop anymore... I either use the internet room in the hotel or a local internet café) and respond to any "emergencies" but that was about all it took.

    However, the ultimate test was when I went 3 months without email... indeed 3 months without the internet or even a computer... courtesy of the American taxpayer in federal prison!

    I have never discussed this with you but March 30-June 28, 2007 I spent in the federal prison camp in Pensacola. Long story but basically I was a little too aggressive in some of my data collections methods and got the attention of the FBI (!) and next thing I know I'm being indicted and sent to prison (not to mention the $700K in legal fees and $150K in restitution.. ouch!).

    Pensacola Federal Penitentiary

    I prepared for my little ‘vacation’ as best I could and, you know what, my business ran just fine without me. I made just as much money in prison as I did OUT of prison. Plus my personal expenses were a lot less! :) I had no access to the internet whatsoever for 3 months.... I had my customer support girl in Florida answering phone calls and emails... that's it. I was able to talk to her occasionally to find out how my sales were doing but I really couldn't do much to run my business.

    My wife continued to live her life (minus me of course) just as she did before. I did not suffer from any of the collateral consequences that many ex-inmates suffer from (such as difficulty finding employment... I decided not to fire myself).

    And I also found a new calling... writing about life in prison and our bizarre federal legal system.

    I started a blog ( a week before I entered prison (60733-066 was my inmate id #). I spent about $5K in Google ads during my 3 months in prison to drive traffic. I would write my observations on paper and send them to my wife who would then enter them to the blog. Once I got out, I was able to continue it myself. I think you might find it rather interesting reading. Of course you have start at the end to start at the beginning since the posts are in reverse chronological order.


You will surely wonder, why on earth am I asking Bill to come and speak at my seminar?

Three reasons:

  1. It is literally THE most fascinating customer story that I have encountered in seven years of consulting. And it’s got a great punch line: In three months he spent a grand total of 100 minutes on the phone managing his auto-pilot business. (Prisoners’ phone minutes are parceled out very carefully in a Federal penitentiary.) Equating to an income of something like $100,000 per hour. Truly a man working ON his business, rather than IN it. "Marketing On Autopilot" at its finest. Wouldn’t you say? (Hey, I wasn't kidding about the autopilot part!)
  2. In ANY room full of entrepreneurs, there is always going to be SOMEBODY who's run into problems with the government. Yes, occasionally even big problems like this one. Doesn’t matter ‘how clean your nose is’, either. Because even if you're as honest as Abe Lincoln, it is still impossible to live and breathe in the United States and so much as get out of bed and brush your teeth in the morning without violating some law, somewhere. Bill unfortunately breached a little-known Federal law related to data collection and one day at 6 o’clock in the morning, seven FBI agents pounded on his front door. Bill is going to share his experience and provide information that will help you avoid any unanticipated ‘vacations’ in your business.
  3. This was the ULTIMATE test of ATTITUDE. (Ya think?) Of Bill’s resolve, of his mettle, of his spiritual, mental and psychological toughness. You think you’ve got probs? Try coughing up $850,000 for fines and litigation expenses and spending months in prison. I think most people would take their own problems back, thank you very much.
How does a man endure that kind of crucible? What personal and spiritual resources do you seek? How does your faith in anything hold up? After you hear Bill’s story, you’ll know how to face any problem."

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