Interview
Rise, fall and resurrection: the fascinating story of the "Dominican Messi" who revolutionized the way of selling on Instagram
Josué Peña, a multi-award-winning entrepreneur who is only 30 years old and founder of EmprendedorDigital.co, spoke about his winding path to success. How he resurfaced after losing everything to make millions again and enshrine himself.

"Since I was a little child, my dream was to play soccer. I proclaimed myself the Dominican Messi. Ambitious since I was a child." Josué Peña, currently the CEO of Emprendedor Digital and Drizzio, did not meet that particular goal. But he tried: he left for the United States at the age of 20 (it was late 2014) with a student visa, after graduating as an engineer and tired of having a salary of $350 a month, still with the idea that he could become a professional athlete. He came to Indiana to play soccer semi-professionally while constantly making videos on social media about his training and life in the United States. In 2016 he managed to reach professionalism, also thanks to exposure on the networks, but that dream was frustrated when he broke his toe. That was the end of his career.

"So, at that time, I spend more time on learning marketing, for example, and how to grow on Instagram. That was in summer, 2016. And then, when I got recovered, I had to decide between continuing doing what I was doing or playing again," the now 30-year-old millionaire entrepreneur who revolutionized the way of selling on Instragram tells LPO.

How did he resolve that dilemma? "I launched a kind of a little one-dollar digital product. I earned $400 in one or two days. Then, a client paid me $3.500. So I had to decide between dedicating myself to being a digital entrepreneur and growing my business, or continuing to play soccer. At that moment, I decided to continue with the business. Because, although yes, I say I am the Dominican Messi, saying it and being it are two different things," Peña says in an extensive talk.

La increíble historia de la argentina que fascinó a Biden con bagels y levantó un emporio gastronómico en Estados Unidos

Today, established as a visionary and multi-awarded-winning entrepreneur, founder of the award-winning platform EmprendedorDigital.co, Peña does not forget when he started that, like every "American dream," had it downfalls. He owes his success to having developed a simple 4-step process to blow up Instagram. Since then, he has grown to over 6 million followers, across multiple accounts, and several niches and languages, with a process he claims to be "foolproof." After just over a year implementing it, he had already generated more than $1.5 million.

His career has allowed him to work with iconic figures such as Ronaldinho, Alex Becker, LadyBoss, Russell Branson, Neyo, among others, and at the same time, share the stage at various conferences of leaders in the digital world with Click Funnels, Alex Hormozi, Grant Cardone, Elena Cardone, Rudy Mawer, Tony Delgado, to name a few.

Rise, fall and resurrection: the fascinating story of the "Dominican Messi" who revolutionized the way of selling on Instagram

In 2017, a year after starting the business, I made about 150 thousand dollars. Very good. In nine months, by September 2018, I had made over a million dollars. And a year later, by September 2019, I had already lost everything.

You were the Dominican Messi of networks...

Of course, another aspect. The truth is that I was not going to be Messi playing soccer. But I could be Messi doing what I did. That is, Messi in the Internet world. So, I was going to be one of the best in the world at what I did. I dedicated myself to learning how to sell products and services on Instagram. And that was in 2016, when I decided to leave soccer and dedicate myself 100% to the business.

Did that come about by chance, or did you already know that network marketing was your thing?

Actualy, it was like tripping. Because it wasn't "Oh, well, here's a gold mine that no one's seeing and I'm going to exploit it." It wasn't. I wish... but if I tell you that it was like that, I'm lying. It was more like a mistake. Because in 2016 I started to grow all these accounts, the followers started to grow and I got injured. Then the time I dedicated to training, I dedicated it to growing more and learning. And then I would simply post my results in a Facebook group. And a lot of people started asking me: how are you growing in accounts? How are you doing this? Show me. It was like that. That is, it was by mistake. And then I remembered, the first big client was a man who paid me $3,500 a month for consulting. He asked me "how much do you charge me?". And the highest number in my mind was $3,500. I said that sum. And he said "Ok." And I can't believe I had just closed a client for $3,500 a month. That's how it was.

You managed to simplify what many people take years, or a long time, to decipher. Why is the world of monetizing networks still incomprehensible to many people?

Yes. I simplified it in a way: I say, look, for example, set yourself a goal. Yes, $1,000, $1,000,000, whatever number that is. And there are 1,000 ways to get there. But what is it with the less obstacles to reach that number? I can sell a product, as I was selling it, which was a digital product, for 1 dollar, and I can see 1,000,000 units, and have 1,000,000 clients, and I already know that I can provide customer service to 1,000,000 people, that would be a headache, or sell to 20 people or 30 people a month, each one paying me 3,000 to 5,000 dollars a month, and make the same million. Right? So, I simply focused on how I can reach the same goal the easiest way. And that's it. I would say I am a lazy person, but a lazy person who is a little bit smart. One thing compensates for the other.

Rise, fall and resurrection: the fascinating story of the "Dominican Messi" who revolutionized the way of selling on Instagram

So you focused on the customer who paid the most for your products...

I focused more on products, or providing services, and getting higher paying customers. It simplifies everything a lot. So, it also helps you make more money, and the customer much better. Today and at that time too. At that time, the only thing I knew was how to sell. I mean, I had a massive traffic source on Instagram, and I knew how to trade virtually any product or service.

In my case, I learned to sell and became a Messi on Instagram. I became the best in the world at selling high-value products on Instagram. How to scale a business using Instagram? That was what I focused on. So, focus on developing a skill that makes money and that other people want to use.

We started to work with a customer named Fernando, in mid-August. He sold products for 50 dollars a month. He has a net worth of more than a million dollars, he is super successful personally, but on social networks he only had 3,000 followers at that time, and he sold a product for 50 dollars a month. He was making like $2,000 a month. He said: "Josué, this is nonsense. I'm worth millions and I'm here losing money and working for $2,000 dollars a month. This is nonsense." I said, "Ok, Fernando, no problem. We are going to restructure the $50 product. We are going to charge $2,500. We are going to restructure the offer, restructure the value structure that you offer to the market. The sales process is going to be different. Take a look at the sales list here. The marketing process is going to be this and we will restructure everything in two weeks." He had made 25 sales that would have been $1,250. But, restructuring the product and selling it for $2,500 he ended up making $62,000 in four weeks.

In my case, I learned to sell and became Messi on Instagram. I became the best in the world at selling high-value products on Instagram. How to scale a business using Instagram. That was what I focused on.

In other words, they do comprehensive work with the client, they not only advise them on how they can sell what they already have.

That's what we do with companies, help them sell more and turn over more, creating sales systems that work and restructuring their offer so that they can charge more for the same thing. Our customer profile is that of entrepreneurs. They can be dentists, plastic surgeons. We have worked with many of those. I have a yatch company now that rents yatchs here in Miami. Anyone who can sell a product for one thousand or two thousands dollars or more. That's the profile. We don't work much with e-commerce, because a cup of coffee costs you 20 dollars. I don't work with that kind of companies, I work more with companies that sell products or services that are worth a thousand to two thousand dollars at least, because then we implement the sales processes or the systems and we scale very quickly.

I earned 350 dollars a month as an engineer in Dominican Republic. The worst salesperson earns $2,000 to 2,500 a month. The worst. One of my sellers is now in Paraguay. He earns $7,000, $8,000 a month. The reason is that the company, in this case me, has already done all the work. So, you are Messi, and I am Xavi. Messi is always going to score the goal, whether it is there on the line or on the penalty spot. So that's why, because all the trade marketing work, the company's branding, the sales system, prequalification, all of this has already been created and done. So it is much easier for the person to sell that way.

Rise, fall and resurrection: the fascinating story of the "Dominican Messi" who revolutionized the way of selling on Instagram

Now you have millions of dollars, entrepreneurs from everywhere contact you, but it wasn't always like that. There was even a time where you lost everything. What was that resurrection like?

It hasn't been a linear process, not at all. In 2017, a year after starting the business, I made about 150 thousand dollars, which is very good. By September 2018, I had made more than a million dollars. And a year later, September 2019, I had lost everything. I ended up as a cashier in Miami, at a gas station. It was crazy, and the reason for that was that I started to lose focus on what really mattered, which was selling. Then I started wasting money stupidly, investing money where I didn't have to, I started growing in other businesses that I shouldn't have grown, I starting with e-commerce, I started a lot of things that I shouln't have started. I lost focus on what led me to make the million.

What was the personal process of falling and having to think how to get back up? Did you think about returning to the Dominican Republic?

It was very difficult because with success you also assume that identity. So, losing everything was very humiliating. I was depressed, my face was full of acne, I had overweight, I mean, it's a lot. In 2020, during the pandemic, I was a cashier. That is, the pandemic touched me with all the madness, putting gasoline and selling the lotus and the soft drink to the lady and the man with bad manners. It touched me. It was a very humiliating moment, but what kept me there, honestly when I look back and I don't know how I did it, what kept me going and getting up every day was thinking that my story doesn't end here. And if it does, I die, I won't care. To return to the Dominican Republic is not an option for me, to work as electromechanical engineer and earn $350 a month. It wasn't possible. So I said, "I do what I have to do, no matter what it is, and I look for a way to build everything again and get out of where I am."

I left the gas station, moved to the Porsche Tower and the change of environment and surrounding myself with successful people who saw life in a certain way pushed me a lot. I mean, surrounding myself with those people helped me significantly. And in August 2020, that same month, I made around $89,000.

Rise, fall and resurrection: the fascinating story of the "Dominican Messi" who revolutionized the way of selling on Instagram

What was that click like to be able to rearm yourself and re-emerge in the business?

In July 2020 I left the gas station. And I always had a good relationship with the entrepreneurs and my previous customers, some friends were going to move to Miami, to the Porsche Tower - by the way, Messi owns an apartment there, Maluma, many celebrities - and they had an extra room. It's a penthouse, a magnificent thing. And one of them asked me, "Why don't you move here? Obviously, you will have to pay the rent, but you are living in a small closet right now, why don't you come?". They also told me this way I could recreate my business.

I only needed a sale of 5 thousand dollars to pay the rent every month. That year I saved $15,000 working with gasoline. And I said I have two and a half months to live there. I've nothing to lose. I left the gas station, moved to the Porsche Tower and the change of environment and surrounding myself with successful people who saw life in a certain way pushed me a lot. I mean, surrounding myself with those people helped me significantly. And in August 2020, that same month, I made around $89,000. And then everything grew and exploded. And the reason, again, is that I already knew what to do, but my previous environment didn't allow me to move forward.

I began to surround myself with people who were and are much better than me at business. They already made millions of dollars monthly. They gave me the opportunity to enter their inner circle. In 2018 I made a lot of money for them selling on Instagram. So I continue with the good relationships. And I also realized that money comes and goes, but relationships remain.

I began to surround myself with people who were and are much better than me at business. They already made millions of dollars monthly. They gave me the opportunity to enter their inner circle.

According to your experience, what are the keys to success, the steps to follow in a business as competitive as social networks?

I would say three things. One, develop a skill. In my case, I learned to sell and became Messi on Instagram. I became the best in the world to sell high-value products on Instagram. How to scale a business using Instagram? I focused on that. So, focus on developing a skill that makes money and that other people want to use. Number two, focus on that. The reason why I lost all the money in 2019 and 2020 was because I lost focus on continuing to develop my skill. I would say, focus on one thing and look for one goal and the easiest way to reach it.

Don't make it complicated. I mean, if you want to earn 100 thousand dollars, or a million, look for the easiest way to get it. But in my opinion, it's selling products that are more expensive. It means a higher net, fewer customers, more margins, etc. And number three are relationships. Warren Buffett says that "you are worth it because of the people who know you." And it's 100% like that. Today we are working with Robert Kiyosaki. He is number one in the world of finances and one of our customers. And the reason for that is because a person who knows him also knows me and he contacted us. So it's all about relationships.

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