How Old Is Morgan At Beginning Of Boy Meets World Gary Halbert and Me

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Gary Halbert and Me

You probably already know the story of how I became a copywriter, but I bet you do NOT know the part I’m about to reveal today. The reason I don’t think you know is because I haven’t told many people. But before I get into the new stuff, let me briefly review the old stuff, okay? Okay, here it is –

In 1999, I took a leap of faith and quit my corporate job as a secretary to stay home and raise my two young sons. (One of them was learning disabled and they both missed me dearly.) So I hung out my shingle as a freelance writer in the world of virtual assistance. Leaving a steady salary was a huge financial strain. I wasn’t really sure how to get clients or even build a business – just a devoted mom.

Fortunately, I immediately got a client who introduced me to the world of copywriting. He had a successful network marketing business but hated writing. So he kind of told me what he wanted and showed me some templates. The copywriting was like nothing I had ever seen before. (Well, I saw that, but I didn’t know people were actually PAID to do it.)

Because I was so passionate about it, I got better and better very quickly. But soon my client no longer needed to write – and I had no one else in line. Bummer. So my family started living off credit cards. My husband and I fought like cats and dogs. Shit.

Thanks for your patience – this is a NEW part

Under the weight of our circumstances, I reluctantly began looking for a new day job. In 2002, I found a listing on CraigsList to write copy for a stock company. (I knew nothing about stocks.) They were looking for someone to write in the “Gary Halbert style.” “WHO?” I asked. That was the first time I heard Gary’s name.

I didn’t get the job. They claimed to love my samples but sensed that I just didn’t want another “office job”. That was their excuse. I think it might have been my confession about Gary. But their decision saved my life. I wouldn’t have been able to keep getting my legs under me and really grow up Red Hot Copy if I had gone down that path.

Well, thank you, Gary. That was the first life-changing moment you were responsible for in my life. There were many others coming.

As soon as I got home from that interview, I looked up “Gary Halbert” and absolutely fell in love. Each carefully chosen word drew me deeper into his copy. I couldn’t stop reading! His copy was so raw and full of personality. He was like an old, salty dog, not caring what you thought as he drove you like a speeding car towards a call to action. So in your face. So dishonest. So testosterone. And I wanted to write JUST LIKE HIM.

What you’re used to reading from me is a departure from his style, but trust me, while I’m no Gary Halbert, I’ve learned to write in a similar tone. How should I know? He called me a few years later on the phone and told me. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I first met Gary at a seminar in 2003 it was like meeting a rock star! I was so in awe of him. He was with his beautiful girlfriend Sirian, who is truly one of the sweetest women I have ever met. Gary was different from his brash personality. You could tell he had that side, and yet he had such a vulnerability and honesty about himself.

Over the years we had sporadic contact. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we were close, but he gave me advice semi-regularly via email and phone. Occasionally I would show him a sales copy. He would give me honest feedback (who was surprisingly gentler than his buddy and one of my favorite mentors, John Carlton – you brutal loving beast, you).

The last time I saw Gary in person was in 2005 at his place Seminar on root canals. He was brilliant, naturally. But a bit of a lost lamb since his assistant Teresa retired. The poor guy even got lost on the way to the bathroom – but had enough sense to ask someone to find him through the microphone, which he didn’t turn off. I also met his two sons Kevin and Bond there – really cool guys.

At the end of the first night, I invited him to dinner. He refused saying he was tired. He honestly looked like he was ready to collapse and I know how much throwing events can get out of you. Then about 20 minutes later he surprised us by joining a few of us at the bar. He said he changed his mind about being tired. He gave up drinking a long time ago, but he had a couple of cokes and shared our pizza. I wish I could have recorded that night. Some of it I will NEVER share. But he was so open and honest that I felt like I had known him for years. That’s one of the lessons I learned from Gary. Be vulnerable and be yourself. Because there is nothing worse in life than being BORING or inauthentic.

Gary, you were never boring. You have secured your place in history as one of the greatest marketers of ALL TIME. You lived life right. Give them hell, Gary. You were one in a billion.

In the end

I’d like to quote an excerpt from his online newsletter about his Halbert Index: “The Halbert Index is a completely unique way of classifying people. To top the Index, you must have:

  1. You must have a life, and
  2. You must have a sense of humor and
  3. You must have intelligence and be an independent thinker, and
  4. You have to be a generous giving person, but… at the same time…
  5. You have to refuse to take crap from anyone who doesn’t have a gun to your head, and
  6. You must be willing to take risks and cheerfully accept losses, and
  7. You must have the capacity and courage for true intimacy with your loved ones, friends… and sometimes… even your co-workers and strangers, and
  8. You must be rich always in your mind… and therefore… very often… in your pocket, and
  9. You must be honest and have integrity that is not defined by laws, but by the inner core of your being, and finally
  10. You must have a relationship with a higher power (nicknamed “God”) that does not include and/or often transcends any association with organized religion.”

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