I first created the concept of Frank & Matt back in 2011.
I did it to demonstrate the two archetypes that make up the vast majority of internet marketers who go on the journey for “success” and freedom.
I named one archetype, Frank (the larger segment). The other, Matt (the much smaller segment).
Frank and Matt represent The Hero’s Journey for these marketers and entrepreneurs.
This short video video sums up the Hero’s Journey (start here):
The reason I wrote the story of Frank and Matt was because it was a tale of my own hero’s journey. From then being fired in 2003, to earning millions online. But these are the endpoints.
It’s the shit and the pain and the trauma and the never ending obstacles that happened in “the messy middle,” that’s important.
I recently watched an Impact Theory interview between Tom Bilyeu and Tai Lopez. In it, Tia cited a quote from his mentor, David Buss:
“Adults learn through massive trauma.”
— David Buss (professor of psychology)
When I had started my hero’s journey, I was the Frank archetype. No question about it. I was flawed. I was an amateur.
Along the way, I learned that Frank wasn’t capable of ascending to the summit of the mountain.
As Frank, when entrenched in the battle and crisis scenes, I discovered that I had a choice:
- I could either remain behaving as the Frank archetype (a choice that would require that I stay fighting the “monsters” in perpetual crisis until I ran out of money or quit),
- Or I could transform into a very different archetype; represented as Matt in this hero’s journey.
The transformation itself wasn’t instant.
It wasn’t like flicking a light switch.
Doesn’t work like that.
The only way to make the transformation from Frank to Matt was to choose the call to adventure, go on the journey, and enter the battle.
Slay the “monsters.”
The “secret” — the elixir I had discovered and wanted to share through my story — would help the Franks of the world to navigate through the battle and crisis and emerge on the other side as Matt.
But not everyone who attempted the journey would come out the other side transformed.
Many wannabe heroes, most even, are not fully enrolled in the journey, don’t care enough about the change required to transform, so they remain Frank and remain in the battle forever.
Source: Free preview video from Seth’s Leadership Workshop on Udemy.
This is the (2021) updated story of Frank and Matt.
Having made it through the hero’s journey, and won my own success and freedom, I feel, as “The Guide,” I have some important insights and “secrets” (“air-quotes” used on purpose) to share with those who care about enrolling in the journey, knowing that it’ll be a fucking hard slog.
I hope you learn from this story.
Most importantly, I hope it reframes your worldview of what’s required to reach the other side; to transform from Frank to Matt.
Once Upon A Time…
This part of the story started back in 2002. I left it out of the original Frank & Matt narrative.
Anita and I were both in employment in London at the time. Ordinary jobs. Like thousands of other people, we had to commute into London every day (two hours round trip on a good day).
But life was mostly good (normal), considering that we had emigrated from South Africa in 1999 with four suitcases and £3,500 (approx. $4,500) in our back pockets. The sum total of everything we had.
We lived in an ordinary little house.
We had debt like most people; debt that seemed to move a little further into the red each month, but hey-ho.
I guess we represented a snapshot of an average middle-class citizen in the worker bee colony.
I was 28, Anita 26.
We flew to Marbella, Spain on holiday. The short version of the story is that we fell head over heels in love with the place. It was everything that the London rat-race wasn’t.
The important part of the story was that it put into motion a goal, a driver, a dream, that would later inform other decisions.
We had a picture of where we wanted to be. We had decided that we wanted to move to Southern Spain.
We didn’t know how (but this didn’t matter; the “how” would come later), we had no money (we had negative money), and we couldn’t speak the language.
So we hatched a plan that we would open a coffee shop on the coast. Made sense at the time; we love coffee.
But how much would we need?
We didn’t know, but £100,000 (approx. $128K) sounded reasonable. So we gave ourselves a ten-year plan to come up with the cash. We wanted out in ten years.
That was the extent of our crazy idea.
Which meant we would need to squirrel away 10K a year. Which in that moment had sounded reasonable, but in reality was a pipe-dream. Was never going to happen.
Not unless some massive change happened.
We returned to London buoyed by the prospect of having a goal to work towards. Something we could focus on, could dream about, could sink our teeth into.
Then the inciting incident happened.
I lost my job later the following year (October 22, 2003).
We had saved no money (yet). And now we only had income coming in from Anita. The breadwinner of the family.
Way to go, André.
(You can read a little of what happened during this time here.)
Yet, in 2007 — only five years into our ten year pipe dream — we moved to Southern Spain. Into a villa in La Manga Club, voted European Golf Resort of the Year:
It’s the meta idea (high-level thinking and strategic flexibility) that was important, not the details (the tactics).
Between 2003 and 2007, I had transformed from Frank to Matt, and it had made all the difference.
It was the key.
Let’s take a closer look at Frank, at Matt, and what’s required to make the transformation arc. But before I do:
The Call To Adventure (Prerequisite Step 1)
The first step is choosing the “call to adventure.”
It’s a choice.
Do it or don’t do it.
A decision. Like Paul Arden explains in , Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite:
Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
The risk profile is not something most people want or choose to take on.
It’s too risky.
You might fail, and probably will.
Neither decision is right or wrong.
If your choice is to receive a weekly or monthly salary, that’s fine. It’s right for you. The world needs people like you.
It’s risky, but you accept this.
If this is you, time to meet our first archetype, Frank.
Frank is likely to represent you right now; if not entirely, certainly a close enough match to make you very uncomfortable as you read this.
Meet Frank (archetype #1)
Frank’s demographics (the outside facing characteristics like age and income and job title, etc.) aren’t important. Demographics are too limiting.
When I first wrote this story, Frank was a 38 yo real estate agent from Florida. But ultimately this just wasn’t relevant information, because you, as Frank right now, may have demographics that are completely different.
Psychographics, the inside characteristics, like personality, dreams, fears, desires, etc. (the yellow color below), is what matters (I’m a stickman artist, I know):
It was psychographics that drove and fed our dream of moving to Spain back in 2002. Not my age, not that we had no money, or that I worked in IT. That was all irrelevant.
Frank has big dreams of making it online. Remember, on October 23, 2003 (the day after being fired), I was birthed into the world as Frank.
I didn’t know what the hell to do.
Unlike now, gurus were few and far between back then. So to learn on the job, I subscribed to every “make money online” email list I would find in the little internet marketing ecosystem.
What happened next didn’t take long.
Today this dynamic is even worse, as more and more people flock online to “make it big.”
Before I knew it, I was the recipient of every “shiny-object” offer under the sun. I would receive offers every day, without fail.
I didn’t know better. I believed in people more than I should have in the online wasteland of the Wild West.
And with the little bit of redundancy money I had in the bank, I went on a buying spree.
It started slowly because I was broke. But soon I was sucked in like a heroin addict seeking the next fix.
I was helpless.
I would flip-flop from opportunity to opportunity, with little regard for opportunity cost. I was an “opportunity seeker.”
There was a lot wrong with operating this way. I had become stuck in the “loop of death” for a few years.
Roughly speaking, the “loop of death” is the process of cycling through points 2 to 6:
The realization was the moment when I realized that I had become “jack of everything” but master of nothing that mattered.
SEO, yup, had done it. Writing articles, yeah, had done that too. List building in the way the gurus were teaching, yup yup, did that. AdWords. Flipping websites. AdSense. Outsourcing everything. Yeah, did it all.
Some things I did, worked. Most even. But it was never as advertised.
The results I earned as I cycled from “thing” to “thing” was only ever mediocre at best.
Never any “home runs.”
And that’s when it hit me.
Let’s move to the archetype I named, Matt.
Meet Matt (archetype #2)
Matt operates entirely differently from Frank.
Matt manages his attraction to shiny objects. He’s not addicted. He can control what he invests in and what he chooses to ignore.
His attention is selective and focused.
He values his time.
Matt doesn’t create isolated “money makers.” Matt builds assets. The dynamic is completely different.
Matt is driven by the need to matter.
To create work he’s proud of, and work that matters to the people he seeks to serve. Work that makes a difference to his market.
Matt builds a business.
A business that earns him his freedom to do the things he cares about.
And this was the realization that hit me when I opened my eyes and saw things for what they were.
It was my very own Neo/Morpheus moment:
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more.”
— Morpheus (The Matrix)
I was so focused on the EVENT of the home run moment—
—that I had missed the “truth” of the situation. That a home run was the culmination of years and years of behind the scenes process. Hard fucking grinding-it-out work.
When zoomed out this is obvious.
But it’s easily forgotten when in the weeds of the daily battle. Frank can’t see this obvious truth. Matt can.
Matt builds leveraged assets for the long term.
One such asset is trust, which takes time and commitment to earn. Frank doesn’t see the value of going slow, so he seeks shortcuts and hacks.
Like taking the infrared filer off a camera so that it can display light spectrums that are normally invisible to us.
Like being able to see *through* objects:
Matt is successful because he focuses on the PROCESS; the journey (which doesn’t end; an EVENT does).
Matt makes a choice to not be all things to all people.
He understands that his job is not to find the BIGGEST possible market, but rather, to find (create) the smallest possible viable market — the weird few — then serving and delighting them by making them feel like badass hero’s.
Unlike Frank who sees products as commodities, and worst still, sees people as commodities, Matt believes it’s his fiduciary responsibility to not wait for money to change hands before starting to add value, contribute, guide, advise, and protect the people he seeks to serve.
When I had made these shifts from thinking and behaving as Frank, to Matt, everything changed.
By the end of 2006, I was up to $20K months, even (almost) breaching a six-figure month as I rolled into 2007. A big difference from a year earlier where I was hustling my ass off to earn $3K-5K a month regularly.
Frank sees opportunities as events — where results are, at best, a flash in the pan.
Frank is a jack of all trades and master of none. He chases tactics and loopholes and hacks, never going deep. He tries this and that, gets bored, then moves onto the next shiny-object thingamajig.
Each “shiny-object” is the big answer — the reset button — for a new life. But, of course, that’s just an illusion set up by the gurus, and Frank falls for the lie every time.
The gurus know Frank’s modus operandi better than he does.
They’re pros; he’s an amateur.
They’re always one step ahead.
They write copy specifically for Frank. Copy that acts as a Frank “Venus flytrap.”
The outcome is always inevitable and predictable.
Matt is different.
Matt knows that building a little business that matters, that he’s proud of, is a process and not an event.
Matt understands that to build a business for the long-term, he needs to show up every day and do the hard work.
The work may get easier, but the deep work never stops.
Frank seeks the home runs.
Matt knows that the road ahead is not easy. It’s not for most people. It requires pigheaded discipline and determination.
Frank sees the word as opportunities to be exploited.
Matt is focused on being the linchpin for a weird audience worth serving and leading. Solving interesting problems for them.
Frank sometimes gets lucky and earns a fortune.
But because it was built on a foundation of luck (right place at the right time; it happens), it’s not repeatable, and eventually that “business” crashes and burns.
Matt knows that luck isn’t a scalable and repeatable business model, so he chooses to take the time to lay deep foundations early on, then builds his little castle.
Over time his moat becomes deeper and wider; a result of earned trust and attention and work that’s impossible to ignore. Work that some people can’t imagine being without.
Frank seeks money-makers. He’ll take whatever he can get in the shortest amount of time.
Frank is influenced by his ego.
Matt knows that ego is the enemy. Matt doesn’t value scaling a business bigger and bigger for bragging rights and basking in the “spoils of war.”
Matt seeks to remain intentionally small — which may be a company of 50, or a company of one — because he believes small is a key to serving and mattering in a world of noise and distractions and sameness.
That making his business better instead of bigger is more valuable.
Frank trawls the inter-webs seeking more and more information. He thinks buying more marketing products is the solution, because at some point, he’ll learn the “big secret.”
“If more information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with 6 pack abs.” — Derek Sivers
Matt knows that execution trumps theory.
He rarely buys new marketing products, but also values his time. So when he has a specific need to quickly “level up” his a knowledge gap, he invests in the best training on the market.
Frank hates reading.
He doesn’t have the time.
He doesn’t see the point.
Matt practices a learner’s lifestyle.
He sees books as an investment. A gift to everyone.
He devours them. He’s never not reading a book. He views books as a necessity:
As Erasmus, the 16th century scholar once put it, “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
Frank chooses not to think for himself. He offloads that responsibility on others. So he seeks copy-and-paste templates, step-by-step systems, and clear instructions to follow (so long as they’re videos which he can binge on without much intention).
Matt chooses an unscripted path.
He chooses to not giving a f*ck about how the status quo, who cram up the noisy middle of the bell curve, behave.
Matt knows an exact map, a perfect fit for him, doesn’t exist.
The good news is that you get to choose to operate and think and behave as Frank or Matt.
It’s just a decision. And it’s all on you.
As Steven Pressfield says in The War of Art, “You have a choice. Do it or don’t do it.”
There is no easy way tho.
It doesn’t exist. If you think there is, you’re wrong.
There’s only a hard way, fraught with trauma and obstacles.
Lean into it, because it’s the only way to breach the membrane shielding Frank from Matt.
If you’re a Frank and want to transform to a Matt, we can help with that. Or if you’re already a Matt, but wanna level-the-fuck-up, we can help with that, too.
Maybe you just need a nudge in the right direction. We’re great at nudging.
If we can’t help, we’ll tell you, and point you in the best direction. We don’t have all the answers. And what we have definitely here isn’t for everyone, or even for many.
What we have here is for the weird few, who choose to enroll in the journey and do hard work.
If you enjoyed this article, and think some of the people who follow you will too, we would love a share. It would mean the world.
However, a lot of these resources “died” over the past 10 years, creating dead links. Or videos that had been removed from YouTube.
So this time I decided to (almost) only cite books; real published books that I’ve read and loved and learned from.
What I love about books is that they create a rich tapestry of insights and perspectives, and their ideas are almost always evergreen.
Books like The 48 Laws of Power (first published in 1998), Deep Work, The Obstacle Is the Way, Turning Pro, and Linchpin — to name just a few that I’ve cited in this article — are perennial; will always be relevant.
Affiliate Disclaimer applies to most of these books. I do earn a few cents per purchase.