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My Story

Thank you for visiting my website, for considering hiring me as your new Online Marketing Partner and showing an interest in me personally by visiting this specific page.  I spent a great deal of time figuring out how best to brand my company.  After all, I have helped so many other business owners brand their companies…how hard could it be?  After many hours and days that turned into months of contemplation, I decided to ask my customers why they hired me and why they continue working with me.  After asking all my long-term clients, the answers came back the same…it was me.  I had a difficult time with that answer because that meant I would have to brand myself personally, which initially seemed conceited and too self-promoting.  However, I ultimately took their advice, since “the customer is always right”

So, here is my personal life story…

My name is Matthew (Matt) Lopez and I’m half Italian, half Irish and adopted by a Puerto Rican.  I grew up in the very small town of Coalinga, CA for the first 20 years of my life.  Coalinga is located in a very isolated part of central California, and the population was about 6,000 people in my younger years.  Basically a small agriculture, oil and country town that still had places to hook up your horse in front of every storefront downtown.  At that time, the town had no water system and so we got our water shipped on trains.

At an early age my parents found religion and went down that path about as deep as a person can.  To sum it up, they spent their whole lives “storing their riches in heaven” vs pursuing monetary things.  That basically means that everything they did was 100% focused on following Christ, the bible and the afterlife.  We would often spend 15 hours at church a week.  My parents had no interest in money and earthly possessions.  They spent all of their time ministering to others, helping others and grounding themselves in the Bible.  Several times a week people would come to our house for help with their problems and that is really what my parents enjoyed…helping others from a religious and life perspective.

Because of this, I grew up about as poor as you could possibly imagine.  We often did not have a car, TV or telephone and there were times when we did not have food.  We sometimes did not have a place to live and we would sleep in living rooms of people from the church.  For two of my years growing up, we lived in a one room house that had a dirt floor and we slept on cots.  The windows had no glass on them, just iron bars with wood shutters.  When I say one room, I really mean it, it didn’t even have a bathroom, toilet or tub.  My parents were both hippy types and so it wasn’t a big deal for them.

You might think that because of all these life conditions that I was and might be today, mad, angry, sad or regretful about my childhood.  Well the opposite is true, looking back, and then as a child…I loved, and still do, the childhood I grew up in.  It was so fun, adventurous, educational, simple, holistic and so different than my friends experiences.  Both my parents were deeply into music, singing and my father played many different instruments.  Growing up was a huge adventure.  I had everything I think that a child should have, except for the poverty aspect.

I believe that everyone is born to this world with natural born traits that they excel at, one of mine is to solve problems by achieving things and growing up with no money meant that there was a lot I could go accomplish, and so I did.  At the age of 7, I would go around the neighborhood and ask people if they had any junk or items they no longer wanted.  I would then clean it up, fix it, paint it or repurpose it and then sell it in a yard sale.  My earliest memory of making money was when my neighbor gave me a watch that was old and no longer worked, I fixed it, cleaned it up, put a new band on it and sold it in my yard sale for $20 in 1978.  The funny thing is that the person who bought it was the same person who had given it to me for free.

By age 10, I started a lawn mowing business in which I would ride my bike with one hand and pull the lawnmower with the other hand to transport the lawnmower to the customers yard.  After mowing the lawn I would bike it back home and go back with the edger and then repeat that again with the rake and broom for $10/lawn.  I had so many customers that I could no longer take any new ones.  I tried hiring my friends but they wanted to play and have fun while I was more interested in making money and achieving things.  I did so many different things to earn money from age 7 to 16 and I will not bore you with the details at this point.

As someone who grew up very naturally independent, resourceful, a problem solver and ambitious, at the age of 15, I went to court and emancipated myself from my parents and then rented a room from my friends parents.  At 16 I had 3 jobs and had a sizeable bank account for that age.  My friend told me that the local bicycle shop was for sale and that we should buy it together.  What he meant by “together” was that we would use my money and he would do all of the work since he knew a lot about bicycles and repairing them, and then we would split the profits.  I saw this as a way to make my savings work for me while I kept my 3 jobs and so I invested $20,000 in 1987 and bought the bicycle shop.  In fact, the law at that time was that you couldn’t get a business license unless you were 18 and so I paid my parents to co-sign for the license.  Three weeks after buying the bike shop, my friend said “this is too much work and I don’t want to do this anymore.  I’m joining the Football Team instead.”  So I quit my 3 jobs and went to the library and learned every possible thing I could about bicycles, the industry and running a business.  There was no way I was going to lose my $20,000 investment.  To make a long story shorter…I sold that Bike Shop for $60,000 three years after buying it, to the person I had originally bought it from.  This is the point in my life in which I started to learn how important mentors would and could be.  I had two business mentors that helped me run and grow that business with their excellent advice and mentorship.

At the age of 17 and 18 I was taking as many college classes as I could in business, public speaking, marketing, drama and psychology.  Up to this point in my life I had been in countless dramas, plays, musicals and even performed on stage at Disneyland.  I was even the main star for 4 of the plays and musicals.  This is where colleges started taking an interest in me and I was offered an amazing scholarship and grant to go to Allan Hancock for Drama after the recruiter saw one of my plays/musicals.  At that time Allan Hancock was one of the premier colleges if you were going into the drama/movie business.  This is the college in which people like Robin Williams and Kathy Bates got their start in acting.    However, this is also the time in my life in which I got my first girlfriend.  To make a long story short, I did not attend Allan Hancock College and instead moved to the big City of Bakersfield.

In Bakersfield, at the age of 20, I had two jobs and continued my college education at Bakersfield College.  This is where I met my Life Mentor who taught me the 4 Social Styles of humans on how to utilize that information when interacting with others and understanding myself.  Although the 4 Social Styles is a whole separate topic, of which I will write a book about someday, for now let’s just say it changed my entire life in a positive way forever.  I consider this information the most valuable thing I know.  Here is a teaser for those of you who are interested

In Bakersfield I stayed in the Bicycle Industry for another 7 years as the manager of other people’s stores and at the same time was heavily involved with all different types of bicycle racing, events, festivals and bike related non-profits.  I know just about everything there is to know about bicycles and the industry from the period of the early 80’s to the late 90’s.

In 1996, I landed my first real adult job with Valley Yellow Pages helping businesses grow their companies through highly effective advertising.  It was here that I realized and found my calling in life…helping other people to grow their revenues through advertising.  I was such a natural at it, that within 9 months I earned the top performance award for the year.

I was then promoted to management based on performance and my career took off like a rocket.  I quickly found out that I was even more natural at teaching others to duplicate what I had done on my own and within two years at a lower management level, I was promoted to a Regional Vice President responsible for over 160 salespeople, 21 sales managers plus admin staff in the San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo offices.

I went just about as far as you could go in the Yellow Page industry and stayed there for over ten years taking every single promotion and business growth opportunity that came my way.  I was an integral part of taking that privately owned company from 23 million in revenues per year to over 140 million.  Taking these opportunities and promotions meant that I had to move and travel often and so over these ten years I lived in Bakersfield, Tehachapi, Concord, Sacramento, Campbell, South San Francisco, Aptos, Gilroy, Paso Robles and now Tulsa.  At that time in my life I owned a 7 acre home with horses in Tehachapi, a 5 acre home with horses in Paso Robles and a very nice home in an upscale neighborhood in Gilroy.  Towards the end of my tenure at this company is where I was exposed to Websites, Digital Design, Online Banner Ads and Internet Search.

In 2004 the companies major competitor Yellow Book, today called Hibu, recruited me away and that is when I moved to Idaho as a Regional Vice President responsible for over 130 salespeople, 20 sales managers plus admin staff for 22 sales offices in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  At this company I got the basic, but formal training, in Website User Experience/Design, SEO, PPC and other online marketing products.  I knew right away that I would be leaving the print side of Advertising and Marketing and moving to the future…Online Marketing.  On a personal note, I bought a mansion on 2 acres, moved my horses there, turned the CA homes into rentals and reached my life’s goal of becoming a millionaire.  Over the years I had invented some things that never really took off, but in 2006/2007, I had the greatest idea of my life, at the time, so I left my big corporate job and started a company with just under 100 employees.  The idea was so good that Goldman Sachs, ATT and Google copied my idea.  I had tried to get a patent on the idea but someone had already thought of it in the Philippines and so it was unpatentable.  I had every single dollar I owned in the company and was leveraged out on credit to the tune of 6.3 million dollars.  Everything was going great until the SmartPhone was in high use and then my new industry became obsolete overnight.  I lost everything I had worked for my whole life and in a flash I was bankrupt and divorced after a 13 year marriage.  Google, AT&T and Goldman Sachs also closed their divisions down.  I soon moved back to California.

Over the next few years I worked for a couple of absolute Pros in the Online Marketing industry and this is where I began to become very astute at everything involving Internet Marketing.  One of the companies I worked for is the oldest Website Design and SEO company in California.

It took me a couple of years just to recover emotionally, spiritually and financially.   The road was very tough to get back on my feet again and I can even remember a time in which I asked a stranger at a gas station for $2 to have enough gas to get home from a client appointment.  However, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything and I look back and say “I have a million dollar education.”  The biggest lesson I learned through that whole experience is how unimportant money, achievement and monetary things are, and how very important people and relationships are.  Ever since my world fell apart in 2008, I have significantly changed my priorities, focus and my purpose in life.  These days, I don’t chase money but rather chase opportunities to help people and create strong relationships.  I help people in so many different ways on a daily basis and that is where I find my satisfaction in life.

From 2011 – 2016, I was a very successful Regional Vice President for some of Google and Facebook’s largest Online Marketing Resellers such as ReachLocal, Smart Reach Digital/Entercom and SureWest/Propel which is now called ThriveHive.  It was over these 5 years that creating Tulsa Online Marketing Company came to fruition.  Over this period of time I took very careful note of how these huge Publicly Traded companies would treat their customers and what the customers were looking for that was lacking.  I even went as far as making a list of reasons customers would cancel and why they would hire the next company.  Although the list is very long, here are the top 5:

  1. Poor Performance of the Campaign – this was typically due to the focus and policies of these huge companies which was to get as many customers as they could vs. focusing on the customers they already had.  This greed and thirst to satisfy their shareholders always took a front seat to the customers campaign performance.  An example of this is when my colleagues and myself would observe that when it was clear that the company was not going to achieve its Quarterly sales goals, the company would simply take a higher commission from the customers budget in order to increase profits and satisfy its shareholders.  We would commonly see the most cancellations and complaints from customers in and after the 6 weeks prior to the end of a Quarter.  I can seriously talk about the reasons for poor performing campaigns for over an hour, but to avoid litigation, I can have that conversation with you in-person.
  1. Poor Customer Service – these large online marketing companies have such an immense bureaucracy, policy and procedure process that it creates an extremely poor customer service experience.  It was a common occurrence for customers to wait 3 weeks for answers to simple questions that they would have.  Because of all the different departments touching the business owners campaign it often created an environment in which the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing.  For example, I had a Pest Control company that had been a customer for many years and when I was hired, one of the first things I did was analyze how our customers campaigns were built, managed and performing.  I quickly identified mistakes and opportunities for improvement like the fact that we were bidding on the keyword “Animal Control” and “Dog Catcher” for our Pest Control client!!!  After calling and emailing the appropriate departments it took them 6 weeks to fix the problem, only for the problem to re-appear again months later.
  1. Extremely High Commissions/Overhead and Profit Margins – the commissions, overhead and profit margins of these large publicly traded online marketing companies were nothing short of unbelievable, and in some cases outright theft.  In my experience I saw companies I worked for and competitive companies take anywhere from 63% to 90% of a business owner’s monthly marketing budget in management fees, other fees, commissions, broker fees, overhead and other categories.  When you are taking that much of the client’s budget, you can imagine how that would negatively affect a campaign because the lion-share of the budget wasn’t reaching Google, Facebook or the actual product that the client purchased.  I also observed several employees teaching salespeople to tell the clients that our management fees were half of what they actually were.
  1. Nothing Proactive – oh if I only had a quarter for every time a sales rep told me that their client canceled because the only time they would hear from us was when the customer called to complain or the sales rep wanted to renew or increase the campaign.  The reality, behind the scenes, was that the companies plan was for each sales rep to have 60 – 120 clients.  At that many clients, the sales reps had only enough time to put out fires Reactively and try to renew their client’s contracts, while also trying to sell enough new clients to keep their jobs.  With that business plan, it was virtually impossible to have enough time to reach out to a client Proactively to help them improve their client’s online marketing performance.
  1. Pouring Salt on the Wound – to pour salt on the wound, when a client inquired about canceling their contract, the salespeople would then be instructed to tell the client that they were obligated to the annual contract they signed.  One company even went as far as to stop the online marketing campaign but continue to take the clients money for 30 to 45 days.  As you might imagine, these 5 reasons and many more I did not address, are the reasons that these companies have so many negative online reviews on places like Rip Off Report, Pissed Customer, Yelp, Google, BBB etc.  To really understand how a company operates behind the customer curtain is to look at online reviews like Glass Door in which you can see current and prior employees complaints.

For these reasons and others, I created Tulsa Online Marketing Company so business owners could have a viable option for High Quality, High Effective performing Online Marketing Campaigns with Outstanding Customer Service, no term contracts and a Proactive Online Marketing Partner.

Today, I am truly blessed, love my life and plan to write a book that can help people with their lives (personal, business, family etc.)  I have simplified my life significantly, want to keep it that way and it is very comfortable.