Matthew Turner, Vice President of Funnels at Influence Tree
Matthew Turner is the funnel expert at Influence Tree. He lives in West Yorkshire, England and loves rugby, Star Wars and coffee. Matthew is the author of four books and has written content and set up funnels for some of the largest coaches, marketers and business people in the world.
My name is Matthew Turner and the beginning for me was September 1984, when I was born in a fairly small northern town in England called Halifax, sandwiched nice and neatly in the middle of Leeds and Manchester, two of the biggest cities in the North of England. I’m Yorkshire born-and-bred and lived here my entire life. It’s a countryside town. We’re just on the cusp of the hills and the fields and farmland, but we’re not out in the sticks, so it’s the best of both worlds. A little bit of metropolis mixed with country living.
My upbringing was a fairly standard one, two parents who stayed together, and were always there for me, always looked after me and my eldest sister, Samantha, who’s five years older than me. Both of my parents are quite reserved and introverted characters. Although my dad was extroverted in a way, such as being good in groups and charismatic, he mostly was reserved and kept to himself. If I was to describe a pretty average upbringing, mine would be it.
Growing up, when it came to music, I always gravitated towards indie rock, which is a big thing in England. I also love folk, country, classic rock, classic and jazz. If I could choose any decade to grow up in, I would love to have been born in 1955, so I could have grown up in the 60s, then to mature and come of age in the 70s. The 70s is just the greatest music era. Some of my favorite films are Brick and The Big Lebowski, and from the comedy side, Zoolander. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd and collected the comics, books and films. Star Wars is certainly my dirty passion which I just love.
I was never the smartest in school, but I was never someone to struggle. If I worked hard in a class, I could get an A, but if I didn’t, I would get a D. Overall, my grades were a solid C to a B. What really drove me growing up was my sports. I loved everything from football to soccer, rugby, cricket and tennis. Sports is how I connected with my dad and my grandad. We always had that bond of sport, it’s what we’d always talk about.
From seven years old up until I was about 18, my dad and my grandad would go to the Halifax rugby games. I loved watching it and I loved playing the game too. It was such a huge part of my upbringing, definitely in my teenage years. Rugby gave me a sense of identity and a sense of confidence, which really helped my otherwise introverted and shy personality stand out. Sports really taught me a lot about work ethic going forward in life.
Up until my late teens I was just all about sports but again, a little bit like my studies, I was never that great of a player. I was always better than okay. And if I trained really hard and committed myself I could get to a pretty high standard, which I did in rugby, I’d gotten some scholarships, but I was never good enough to make it professionally. And no matter how hard I tried, I never quite had the talent to make it. And if I didn’t try hard at something, I wouldn’t be very good at all.
Even though I don’t consider myself particularly natural at any one thing, I always had this belief that if I commit myself to something and apply myself, I can be pretty good at most things.
In my early years, I went from being a quite loud, in your face kid, but once I got to about 11 or 12, I started to become very much introverted and shy, especially around girls. I had a close group of friends I would keep to, but always preferred to be outside playing sports rather than in the classroom studying. But when I applied myself to something I like and I find it challenging, I can really get pretty obsessed about it and get attentive towards the minutest of details.
Writing for me developed way later in life than I thought it would. It was weird actually. I never enjoyed English at school. If I went back in time and spoke to 10 or 15, or even 18 year old me and said that I was going to be a writer one day, I would say that there was no way that would be possible. I wasn’t a big reader, I much preferred sports and my movies. I didn’t have a passion for books or literature or anything like that.
But as I look back now, the seeds were always there. I had a pretty wild and active imagination and was very patient. Growing up, I went to Disneyland three times. In those long lines where it would take about an hour and a half to get on a ride, most kids would go crazy. Me on the other hand, I enjoyed them because I would come up with stories and narratives in my head all of the time. But I didn’t really equate it to writing or storytelling. I also loved to build things out of random objects and enjoyed inventing new things. At the time, I always felt that these were parts of my quirky imagination.
School didn’t do much to change that perspective either. In England, when you are 16 years old, you take your GCSEs and then a few years later, your A-levels. I did pretty well on my GSCEs and alright on my A-levels, only because I committed myself to studying. I always thought I would get As and Bs in certain topics because I knew them well, but I figured I would get Cs in English because I didn’t particularly enjoy it.
On two other English tests, I ended up with a C on language, which is about grammar and sentence structure, but an A on literature, which is all about storytelling. It was the big standout thing for me because I didn’t expect getting an A at all. Being such an outlier, I said to myself, “Wow, can’t believe I got an A in English. I’m not good at English at all.” Looking back on things now, I see how I love writing for the form of creation and how I naturally gravitate towards it even though when I was growing up, I never realized or thought about it.
After my A-levels, I went and took a gap year and went to Australia for four months. I loved life, drank a lot, partied and did what most 18 and 19 year olds do. Then in the summer, I went to America to work at a summer camp in Northern Kentucky called Camp Ernst, just on the border between Kentucky and Ohio. It was the beginning of a brand new love affair — I ended up going back to camp eight times, six full summers and then two where I just went for a couple of weeks.
I thought I was done with studying after I completed my A-levels. But after making my way out into the real world, I realized I didn’t hate studying and education as much as I thought I did; I was just tired of it at the time. I did it for so long that I just needed a bit of a break.
After my first summer camp, I decided to go to university and I earned a degree in Leisure and Sports Management. I always had a slight interest in business and enjoyed business studies in school. Plus I always loved sport, so leisure and sports management were what I figured was the best thing I could take. It was a decent course and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t amazing. My second year into college, we did an entire semester on marketing. It was one of the modules which I really loved.
When I went into the real world, I ended up working in marketing because that was what I enjoyed the most. But things in the real world, getting a job and everything, weren’t what I had really seen my life becoming. I decided to go back to school to get a master’s degree in Advertising and Marketing at Leeds Business School.
Back to my third summer in camp, I experienced the first time I properly fell in love. I was in a summer romance which came to an end, and for the first time I had lost love when I came back home. I had just turned 21 and we stayed in touch. The woman I fell in love with was big into reading, a bit of a bookworm and really into her writing. And when I was able to start to see the world through her eyes, my passion for writing and reading began to shift.
Up until that point, I was someone who was very good at controlling his emotions, much like my father who was quite reserved and in control of himself. We both never really got too excited and I always felt I was in control of things. But this summer was the first one where I had completely lost control of my emotions. It felt like a volcano erupting. All of a sudden, I had all these emotions, feelings and thoughts that were out there. I couldn’t put them back into a box either.
Going through that experience, especially around love, taught me a great deal about myself. It taught me about the journey I’ve been on, the one I was on at the time and the one I wanted to continue to go on. It forced me to question my beliefs and to question what it was that I wanted. Loving and losing love for the first time shocked me, awoke me, gave me a lot and took a lot away.
I was struggling and finding it so hard to deal with all of these emotions and she suggested that I try writing them down and journal them all out. I found myself getting so involved with journaling my own thoughts. I let my imagination take those struggles, those faults and those angsty moments, and turn them into a story. I couldn’t just commit to getting the words down on paper, I had to commit myself to writing a book.
I had no idea how to write at the time, so for the next seven years, I would write a little bit, leave it and come back to it again. Each time I would get a little further and learn more about writing. By the time I finished business school and got a job, I decided that I needed to do one of two things; put the book into a drawer or spend the next year finishing it, get an editor involved and send it to agents to complete the process.
I wanted to write that book and see just how far I could take it. In doing so, I discovered the world of self publishing and it opened my eyes to the online world. These inspirations, along with not really being able to find a job that I loved, led me to start my own company. A company that would allow me to be a self published author, create an author platform and be a freelance marketing consultant.
I’ve spent the past eight years wandering in the wilderness, discovering that writing is not just my calling but my skill set as well. As time progressed, I developed the skills behind content marketing, ghostwriting, and funnel development. Plus, I’ve continued to write my own books.
I’ve worked with plenty of different types of people over the years, working with numerous online marketers, online business people and people who have their own coaching programs, consultancies or agencies. I’ve played various roles, from email funnels to articles to ghostwriting books to creating content strategies and being a leader of a team where I would bring the whole content marketing aspects together.
In the midst of all this, I’ve still been able to carry on my own personal projects. I’ve written three novels and a nonfiction book called The Successful Mistake. I’m almost done with my most recent book, Beyond The Pale, which is a business fable (in a similar mold to The Alchemist), which has given me a way to fulfill my dream of combining both of my fictional and nonfiction writing and bring the two together.
All of the books I’ve written have been focused on the coming of age and a sense of discovery. I love to focus on creating stories where the character is discovering something pretty life changing for themselves that is going to erupt their world. They’re usually a bit darker and broody, filled with gritty and angsty things which play off nicely in the genre. When anyone is going through that period where they are coming of age, they’re discovering so many things, feeling as if they never know, to feeling they know, to constantly debunking myths on a daily basis. My fiction has always focused on those journeys of discovery, whether it’s been towards a relationship or towards their own self worth.
One of my favorite books is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, who has been an inspiration of mine from a fictional narrative building side. The nonfiction authors who have inspired me and are just great storytellers are Ryan Holiday, Malcolm Gladwell and James Altucher. They have a great way of telling stories and bringing strong narratives through their writing. Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist has been a huge inspiration in recent years as I’ve been diving into my own fable. I also admire Kamal Ravikant, who I was fortunate enough to have in my own book, and I’ve been a huge fan of Scott Fitzgerald’s books.
I wasn’t ever planning to become a parent because I wasn’t in a long relationship. But when I realized I was going to be a dad, I wanted to be the best dad I could be. A huge coming of age moment for me was when I was trying to figure out how to earn an income, build a brand and find clients. My son George and I spend a lot of time building Legos together and I hope to share my passion for Rugby with him as he grows older, but that’s if he ever finds the same passion for sports that I have.
I spend all of my time writing and doing my work at coffee shops. I saw a woman at the one I frequented the most there by the name of Rosanna on multiple occasions. One day, we finally started talking, then it led to meeting up and the rest basically became history. A few years ago, I learned that I would be a father again. It was in a time when I was still struggling to find consistent income and what I was doing had its ups and downs. This was my first real long-term relationship and we were thinking about moving in together, but we weren’t quite there yet. Then our daughter Imogen came along.
Rosanna and I moved in together and that moment completely shifted my mentality of work, my relationship with the hustle mentality and work-life balance. I began questioning how I approached work and productivity. I began learning more about mindset and that rabbit hole, which forced me to question what I was learning and how to apply all of it, all within six months before Imogen was born.
That moment forced me from being a practicing adult, or an adult in training, to becoming a full fledged adult practically overnight. One thing I haven’t had much time for in recent years, especially since Imogen has come along, is having one on one time with the kids. As a family, we do many things, but there aren’t many times when I’m alone with one of my children. I’m certainly looking forward to doing more of that, as I certainly have very fond memories of the time I spent with my dad growing up. I’d love to have something similar to that passion for Rugby I had with my dad, with both of my children.
When I began studying mindset, I was more interested in the sciences behind it. I gravitated towards the psychological and physiological aspects of mindset. I always pushed spirituality to one side, since I’ve felt that religion pushes people into a box to conform and I’ve never been like that. After Imogen came along, my eyes were opened to the spiritual aspects of life. These days, I realize that the spiritual, psychological and physiological realms are much more closely interwoven than I could ever have predicted.
Defining a body is simple. We can see it through our health, the size of our body and how fit we are. Mind, although harder to define than the body, is still quite easy to define, through knowledge, experience, habits, past experiences and acceptance of beliefs. Spirit, on the other hand, is difficult to define because it’s unique to everyone. Some associate spirit with a religion, while others treat it completely differently. For me, when I dived into the spirit, it was difficult to do anything but paper over the cracks of the mind and the body. That’s because my spirit is those emotions, fears, those haunting beliefs and everything else.
It’s the things that are rooted deep within you that make you who you are. It’s always been so much easier for me to focus on the mind and body because they’re easy to predict and they’re possible to see and I’ve done a lot of that through journaling and through yoga. But the spirit is so much more of a feeling and ever since I first fell in love, I’ve always been wary about feelings. That’s because they’re very difficult to control once they’ve come out. So I’m still taking a deep dive into that world.
Now aside from working at Influence Tree as the funnel expert, I’m still watching rugby, even though I’m not playing it as much and spending most of my free time with my family. If you’d like to learn how we can build a successful funnel for your business, feel free to drop me a line at Matthew@InfluenceTree.com and let’s talk more!