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About Us

Curious who started The Visionary Planner?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…

For what felt like forever, or years we can never get back, we did it all backwards. 

When Mike and I met, we’d both gotten our online businesses off the ground.

I was selling marketing solutions to fitness professionals and was running a successful network marketing business. This had been my saving grace as my gym (brick and mortar) I owned was good, but consuming a lot of time. 

The money was there to pay everyone else but the overhead wasn’t leaving much for me at the end of the day (constant hustle with no reward is a recipe for burnout). 

Mike was coming off working on movie projects like Lord of the Rings, Ironman and Harry Potter (so he knew how to take massive projects and break them down into simple action steps...no different than starting up something as complex as your online business). 

When we met, he was teaching animation as his online business...

 

Mike was a master of systems and blueprints. His movie making skills really made it easy for him to take complex things, and break them down to tiny steps.

This became the cornerstone of our eventual process. (More on that later.) 

We both were in the 6-figures with our online brands.  This was over $10,000 a month in reliable income, but we wanted to scale...

The bad news: we spent years doing things in the wrong order. And we weren’t at our potential of what our online brands could be doing (or the impact we could be making by helping our clients).

To make matters worse, I invested $500k (over many years) in gurus, courses and conferences to still end up not making what I should have been earning, and feeling like my business wasn’t the promise of freedom it should be. 

I call them, “the shit-show years”.

Mike, was successful but living and dying by the client work he did, and he actually lost his largest client and almost hit rock bottom. 

Luckily, we met.

I could see the clarity and straightforward systems he mapped out. 

I became his top client investing $8k/m for 12 months to learn his systems. 

And he also started working with my wife, Anna Renderer, who was the host of a top online fitness show, PopSugar Fitness (with millions of viewers, but no strategy to leverage that to build her personal brand). 

This created a symbiotic relationship where we helped grow Mike’s consulting business (before it morphed into The Visionary Planner®), and his team (which includes Barbara, Monika and Nastja) helped grow ours.

Back then the systems weren’t nearly as elegant as the ones we’ve got today...but you won’t hit your destination if you don’t start down the path.

That’s why it’s always better to get started then it is to try and be perfect. You can make money while you improve. Just think of the iPhone! It’s on version 10 (at the time of this writing) and still not perfect but has earned trillions of dollars. 

Get in the game!

By the time we started The Visionary Planner®, we’d made a ton of mistakes but we’d also done a lot of things right, and figured out the puzzle of how things should’ve been if we had done things in the right order (hindsight is everything!). 

We want to give you the gift of foresight which is to see things in advance so you can avoid the mistakes we made.

How Did We “Become” The Visionary Planner® and create the ultimate system to grow your online business the right way?

Vito La Fata

Trapped in Brick and Mortar

I got into online business building because I didn’t like feeling I wasn’t in control of my future. 

Twice in my life I had worked for companies that had dogmatic policies I simply couldn’t agree with; especially considering I was excelling at both companies and the methods I had created were creating growth and happy customers.

But, when you work for someone else - no matter how good you are - if you have people in charge that lack vision, courage and the confidence to change when a better way presents itself, you can simply be let go.

And I was. I was fired from both companies and had my income taken away from me. 

That feeling of not having control of my ability to make money and have security was something I never forgot. 

 

Is that something maybe you’ve experienced in your life? 

Today, there is no safety working for someone else, no matter how long you have been there.

Those two moments, led me to say “I’ll never work for someone again.”

So, I began my own business and started a gym back in 2005 after years as a successful trainer. I refinanced my house to create the startup cash (because the cash needed to start up a brick and mortar is $50k+...that doesn’t even include having safety operational cash to the tune of another $100k).  

Fortunately, an online business can be started up for a fraction of that. 

As a new business owner, I was growing but not fast enough... 

Like many new business owners I discovered that being good at a service doesn’t mean you are good at business. 

So, I went on a journey to grow my skills in business so I could figure out how to turn the corner...

I began dedicating all my time to studying marketing, business building, leadership, entrepreneurship and high performance in order to break from the norms of what was being experienced in the fitness industry as a trainer and business owner. 

Most people do not live with freedom in the fitness industry. They are trading dollars for hours, or tied to a physical location. 

Now that we’ve been coaching outside the fitness industry, we see that most businesses are struggling with the same growth problems. 

After the 3rd major setback in life - when my business partner and I separated, and I lost the house I had used to finance my gym in the crash of 08’, and I went $105,000 in debt - I decided that I would do what most people weren’t doing at that time… to start building an online business.

A mentor had shared that people were starting to teach others online and get paid to do it with automated courses. He gave me the chance to speak in front of a crowd which was the first moment I learned the power of 1-to-many selling versus just 1-to-1.

After a 60 minute presentation, I made $3,000 in an hour! 

I was never the same again. 

I began diving into all things online... 

All things about speaking... 

I read books, bought courses, attended seminars, conferences, events, and got into expensive masterminds.

It was a period of growth, but it was also a period of running around like crazy, trying to piece things together, investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, to move from one product to multiple products, development of an actual Brand, building websites, email lists, and to command an understanding of how to operate an actual business online and not just sell courses. 

Having a course online is not the same as owning an online business. 

The turning point came after I invested $14k in a guru mastermind... 

I put it all on my credit card, and had 45 days to pay it back. I scratched and clawed to build a launch leading into the holiday break, and while it seemed all things were going off the rails, in the 25th hour, I had dug out $25k in a 7 day launch and knew I had arrived in the online game.

While I wasn’t doing big guru 7-figure launches, I had figured out how to build a consistent 6-figure online business that was changing my life, helping my brick and mortar business, helping my network marketing business, and gave me the first glimpse of living the freedom lifestyle.

It was in 2014 when a trainer I was grooming to take over and buy the gym, left with 40% of the business, that I truly was over businesses that I couldn’t control with my own efforts. 

In a traditional ‘Brick and Mortar’ business, you need a lot of staff and employees.  Too much stress so I was over that business model…I wanted a business with less overhead and more freedom. 

An online business meant I could run a 6-figure business by myself.

So, I shut down the gym, got out of brick and mortar and pursued how to turn my 6-figure online business into a 7-figure one. 

And how to help my wife (then fiance’) create her very own 6-figure business that would bring her joy and purpose. And allow us to run our businesses together from anywhere in the world our travels took us. 

It was at that time that we met Mike, who helped us realize that to go from 6-figure to 7-figures we would need more systems and better operations so we could scale and we would need a deeper backend to our business (more on that in a sec).

I invested $98,000 to work with Mike and his team for a year (don’t worry, if you join the Visionary Planner® you won’t pay anywhere near that for what I got plus so much more). 

Together, we started connecting the dots of getting online into an elegant easy to follow step-by-step system... 

 

This was years of studying courses, seminars and gurus to connect the puzzle pieces so we could avoid the overwhelm and confusion that had been thrust upon us.

This immersion in ‘how to startup online’ became a quest that we were committed to seeing through to the end.  (There are so many business we dream of starting, but there is no way we can continue to see other Visionaries struggle like we had to).

We don’t want you to walk the same long road we did or invest the years and hundreds of thousands of dollars that nearly broke us.

The Visionary Planner® was officially born in 2017, and it became our 4th multiple 6-figure business, launched using the VP System. 

Now we own a vineyard, launched a private retreat called Vision In the Vineyards™ in 2019 (which became our 5th 6-figure business) and get to live our dream lifestyle.

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Mike L. Murphy

Leaving Hollywood and The Corporate World

Hey, Mike here!

My story is a lot like Vito’s…

Ever since I was a kid I wanted to work in Hollywood.

By the time I was 21 I was working on blockbuster movies, and making more money than my dad who was the Vice President of a major corporation.

While I loved working in Hollywood (and living like a king all over the world), I felt I had no control…

You see, after 15 years I had worked my way to the top of the production pyramid.  I was directing commercials, supervising on the world’s biggest movies and winning awards for my short films.  My next step was to direct big movies.

However, I looked around at my buddies who were doing that...and they were miserable!

They were controlled by the studios and felt like a corporate monkey, instead of a creative Visionary.

To make matters worse, working on production means 12 hour days, 6 days a week (factor in traffic and you’re effectively putting in 84 hour weeks).  

I wanted to have a family, and it sure wasn’t going to happen if: 

  1. A) I had no time to meet a lovely woman to marry. 
  2. B) I had no time to see my wife or kids.

This led me to have a grand Vision of what I wanted out of life...and my career at the time wasn’t going to help me achieve it.

During this time I was trying to figure out how to save on my taxes, and I signed up for an email marketing list of a tax guru. 

Randomly he was promoting Jeff Walker’s ‘Product Launch Formula’.

This course opened my eyes that an online business was a real thing.

I took Jeff’s advice and started publicly speaking.  

This led me to landing a big client who wanted me to move to Malaysia and teach filmmaking at their university.  I had to decline (way too humid in Southeast Asia).  

But because I had become aware of using online learning to automate the teaching experience, and then structuring in review calls to free up my time; I was able to propose that I record lecture videos and develop a system were students submit work and then I review it via video, then answer questions on short bi-weekly live calls.

This strategy helped me earn more than I was making working in Hollywood (while working less than 1 day a month), and I was now able to live anywhere (hello Europe!)

Around this time I joined the same Mastermind that Vito did, and I showed him the system I’d worked out…

Vito and 7 others wanted me to help them build their online business in the same way.  

This led to me being a reluctant business coach!  

In my heart I’m a filmmaker (which I’m now finally getting back to), but I had truly struggled to learn the ‘art of business’ and how to ‘get online’ that I felt morally responsible to help others start all this up the right way.

I’ll be honest with you…

Starting up a business is always a risk.  

However when you have a proven system to work off of, and a community of like-minded people who are all on the same journey, it makes your odds of success as strategic as possible.

And if I could do it, I know you can too!  

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Our Story

Check out this documentary to find out how The Visionary PlannerĀ® will help you!

 

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