Goodbye To An Inspiration

A friend messaged me early this morning with the news that Alan Forrest Smith has just died aged 61.

I can’t believe it. I was due to interview Alan for my podcast just a couple of weeks ago. He was only the fourth person I asked, and having interviewed him many times before, I was really looking forward to it. He cancelled suddenly, saying he’d rebook soon.  That won't be happening now.

I first came across Alan at the first World Internet Summit in Wembley London. He was the MC - the only Brit among many Americans and one Canadian I think.

He also had a speaking slot to teach us stuff (and as many found out, to make an irresistible offer). He delivered that in full Scottish regalia; kilt, sporran, long socks and all.

At the end of the event I went up to him to thank him and say “I want to be on that stage next year”.

Where did that come from?

I’d never spoken in public in my life.

“Ok, see you next year,” he replied. Between us both was the knowledge that I’d need to do something pretty remarkable online, in that year, to be invited to speak.

I went home and within a few months, I'd started my company The Money Gym, from my hotel The Acacia. When I wrote the sales letter for TMG I felt 'in the flow' for the first time ever. It really felt like the words flew down from the Universe through the top of my head through my fingers onto the email I pressed send and went to pick up the kids from school. 

'So this is what it feels like to be a writer!' I thought.  I've written or edited 12 books since then.

That email generated £62,400 of business in the next few hours.  

I spoke for the World Internet Summit for the first time the following year and I’m pretty sure that Alan made that happen.

He was a flamboyant crazy-haired titan in a kilt who knew how to get the crowd going. When he took the stage it was not so much speaking as roaring.

Apart from the time we all came back from lunch to find Alan sitting on a stool, alone in the middle of the room. He didn’t say a word, didn’t urge us to sit down, be quiet. He just waited and his quiet expectation spread through the stragglers who hurried to their seats.

Then he quietly started to tell us a story.

I can’t remember what it was about, it doesn’t matter now, I only remember how he made me feel while he told that story. Before making his irresistible offer, of course.

He woke you up, fired you up and made you feel anything was possible.

Many went on from working with him to make their thing, not only possible, but very real.

The last time I saw him was when I spoke at one of his events in Manchester. It must have been after the Global Financial Crash as we spoke about how tough recent years had been.

We had lunch before my speaking slot and he told me he was in love again. He’d met Tamuna, she taught yoga and he was going to marry her. He was so happy.

He wrote books, many books, on many topics. From hairdressing success to business, to marketing, to happiness. He wrote about the state of the world and those who run it.

Again, an inspiration.

His personal sense of style was rock god meets Byron and as an ex-fashion designer I always admired that about him.

It was only later I found out he had been a preacher in his previous life.

And what a life that was.

Father, preacher, author, self-described iconoclast, maverick hairdresser, genius businessman and copywriter.

Top-level Mentor to many.

Friend to more.

Constantly surprising. He and Tamuna had most recently became property investors in Georgia, renovating beautiful quirky homes you could stay in, via AirBnB.

So many people knew Alan. Everyone respected him, Top copywriters looked up to him. I’m sure his children adored him. You can see they did, from the pictures he regularly shared online.

He was a crazy, wild-haired, Scottish, life-affirming titan in a kilt.

The last picture he posted on social media was of him staring straight into the camera wearing a slightly mad hat.

“Let’s go” it said.

He must have known he was dying and he was ready.

Alan was the epitome of ‘born ready’.

Many people will be feeling very sad this morning.

Much love to Tamuna and the family.

Read some of Alan's writing on his website.  I particularly enjoyed his essay on turning 60

If you want to know more about Alan's books and help his family, visit his Amazon Author Page or google him. If you want to pay your own respects, here's the link to his Facebook Page.


alan forrest smith, alan forrest-smith, copywriter, hairdresser, iconoclast, salon punk, speaker

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