Stockings and Shares: The Seduction Entrepreneur
Seduction today is big business, with an elite cabal of Casanova’s across the globe offering wealthy men access to their skills, at a price. Mark Southern met Europe’s number one pick-up artist, Rob Beck, to get up close and personal with the most intimate of industries
As originally published in MoneyMaker Magazine
When the Rolling Stone journalist Neil Strauss first infiltrated the underground seduction scene in Los Angeles, little did he know the impact his attraction memoirs would cause. For Strauss, or as most know him, Style, rose to international prominence with his best-selling exposé, The Game, about the phenomena of pick-up artists – a collection of mainly LA-based men who had created what they believed to be a foolproof way of seducing women. Strauss started as a beginner, but finished a master, and his famous book made him an icon to millions of similarly socially-awkward types, who shared his frustrating lack of romantic success.
And so, like a smooth-talking romeo in a convent, the lingo of the pick-up artist (or PUA) has charmed its way into single men’s vernacular across the globe, with in-depth analysis of ‘negging’, ‘the AMOG’ and ‘kino escalation’ breaking every social interaction down to its base parts. Meanwhile, the professionals (or MPUAs to the in-the-know community) have become heroes – one part guru, one part god.
Spiderman’s uncle once said that with great power comes great responsibility, but he should have mentioned that the same great powers also can earn outrageous profits, if harnessed effectively. The seduction scene is now an estimated hundred million dollar industry, with the most marketable individuals fronting teaching companies designed to make any man a lady-killer.
Whilst the scene most definitely achieved its worldwide fame on Sunset Strip, its appeal has spread far and wide, and there are now few major cities that don’t have some form of PUA presence, offering a practical kind of magic to its students. However, for every guru providing genuine skills for sale, there are many charlatans taking advantage of those willing to do whatever it takes to become successful with the opposite sex.
Whilst LA still is the spiritual home of pick-up, London has become the European capital of seduction, with Leicester Square the arena in which boys become men. King amongst the princes of British pick-up is Rob Beck, or Beckster in PUA-parlance. Beck is the undisputed number one seduction artist in Europe, with the kind of female track record that would have Jack Nicholson looking like a lonely, pimply schoolboy at a disco.
And Beck’s company, Beckster Seduction, is thriving, as he teaches men from all over the world the secrets he has learned.
However, it was not always like this, and Beck was once just like the men he teaches on a daily basis. The Casanova of London’s pick-up industry was working in a grey office block in a public sector call centre.
Generic days went by without note, and weeks merged into one beige amorphous disappointment. But then something changed, and Beck emerged from his fuzzy life of mediocrity, like a social butterfly.
We caught up with Beck at one of his famous weekender ‘boot camps’, where small groups of clients eager to learn gather under his tutelage. Beck’s a dream-chaser who empowers his followers with both the new skills and attitude to become dream-chasers themselves – to echo his reinvention from Joe Schmo to Don Juan.
Up close Beck is tall and clean-cut, albeit with an edge. He’s handsome, and dressed to impress, but it’s not that which causes him to stand-out, but instead the way he radiates confidence and congruency in his own skin.
His body language is bold and assured, and he possesses that quality so prevalent in the most successful entrepreneurs; he backs himself at every opportunity. Self-belief really is worth its weight in gold.
So, what was the entrepreneur doing before his metamorphosis?
“I was leading the dullest life imaginable. It was just so mundane and repetitive, and I didn’t love every day, so it brought me down. I was doing what most people do every day; I’d get up early, cycle to work, turn the computer on and then sit in a grey office waiting for the day to finish, the highlight being a Marks and Spencer’s sandwich at lunchtime.
“People would be bitching about each other, like they do in every office across the land, the general public would be rude to you, for no apparent reason when you’re trying to help them, and then when the day was finally over I’d be too exhausted to do anything other than watch a bit of television, with a boring and unhealthy meal for one.
“It was such a boring, pointless existence, and so wildly different from my life now, that it doesn’t even feel like it happened to me. It feels like I know of that world by watching Eastenders or something – my life is one hundred per cent better now.”
And how did he make the change that ninety plus per cent of the population fail to make?
“I got into what some call the pick-up or seduction scene, or what others call self-help to better myself. I didn’t have any success with women, my life was forgettable, and I had self-esteem issues as I wasn’t exactly the most popular in school – in fact, I was the fifth least popular kid in a school of 300; I can remember counting!
“And, basically, I realised something had to change. A friend introduced me to the pick-up scene when he told me about some articles he had heard about that were floating around online, which taught readers how to be good with women. So, I thought, I’ve got to read everything to do with this. Everything. I read everything I could find, although at the time there wasn’t that much out there, and I was inspired by the principles of it – essentially being the best you can be, jumping outside of your comfort zone, living every day to the full and not being afraid of making mistakes.
“I then taught myself all the basics of the industry; body language, voice control and modulation, eye contact, how to be tactile, how to escalate a conversation in a romantic direction, and although it all began to make sense, I was limited to what it was teaching me. So, I decided to make up my own way of doing things, and it was a trial and error process, which took a long time, but eventually I was getting amazing results.”
During this period in his life, Beck was keeping impossible hours, tolerating the daily grind whilst hitting the bars and clubs of Soho in the evening. So how did he make the use of his talents as an international businessman?
“By this time I’d got a bit of a name in the community as a kind of best-kept-secret, as it were, and then people started to ask if I could train them, and they in return would offer me cash. So, I thought, sure, I’ll do it as I was passionate about helping people – I definitely didn’t think of it as a business to start with.
“But as things were moving along, I found I was using a lot of spare time training people – sometimes paid, and sometimes for free, to give back to the community that had taught me so much.
“As time went by, my reputation grew, and before long I was considered the best pick-up artist in Britain. It was then that I realised that it was the time to practice what I preached and take a risk, say farewell to my boring government job, which was depressing me, and do it for a living.
“So I went away and thought carefully about everything I had learned, and then I wrote up a unique program of my learnings to help people develop these skills themselves. And then thought about my next challenge, my biggest challenge in some ways – not how to be the best seduction artist anymore, but how to become the best teacher I could be. And things have snowballed since then, starting off with people in London hearing about me, and getting to today when I travel the world giving talks to big groups of people, and taking individuals and smaller groups out myself.”
As the Beckster name itself has become something of a legend within seduction circles, doors have opened, with the original star pick-up artists wanting to share his spotlight.
“I’ve met all of the main players from The Game, including Strauss (AKA ‘Style’) and Erik von Markovik (AKA ‘Mystery’), and I knew that I’d arrived when I found myself giving advice and routines to them, as well as receiving tips from them too. We’ve become friends and peers, with Mystery and I putting on joint boot camps across the world, and it’s great to share knowledge with top professionals in any industry.
“I was also invited to come along to meet Ross Jefferies at one of his famous seminars, and he was one of the first major gurus of the industry that I read. I’d consumed everything he’d written and recorded of techniques to improve social and romantic interaction, and so when I found out he wanted to meet me, it was like meeting my guru. The next time he was in England, he asked me to talk at his seminar. That was a real milestone, and every year since I’ve spoken at his seminars, and he rarely lets anyone do that. We’ve now got some business things together, which is great. Luckily, I’ve made a great name for myself globally, things are great and business is booming.”
However, Beck is keen to emphasise there are some differences between him and the traditional powerhouses of pick-up.
“The thing with Mystery is that he is a pick up artist, and would describe himself as such. Me, I’d describe myself as three things; firstly, a social artist, as I’m interested in seeing improvement in all social situations, which includes the fact that you never see a great social person without plenty of romantically-interested parties. Secondly, a seduction trainer, and, finally, a dating coach.
“My company and I do all three things, which marks us out as unique in this industry, because this really does play on people’s most personal wants and desires; maybe they want a girlfriend, or maybe they want to play the field a bit, particularly if they didn’t have much success when they were younger. Whatever their reasons, my company and I exists to make them happy.”
What represents a happy client for Beck?
“People get different experiences from this, and we try to cater it for every different individual. Sometimes our clients see something as a problem, that isn’t really a problem – it’s often deeper routed, where they don’t like themselves very much, for example. And we try to solve that, and that in turn acts as a domino effect, as it were. The main thing is for them to come out smiling, and to start to like themselves.
“I’ve got five C’s that I teach my clients. They are confidence, congruency, calibration, conviction and courage, and these are found naturally in those people who you see are good with women. We teach our clients to add these characteristics.
“And that’s without using all of the techniques around how to start chatting to a girl, and how to be a good story teller. These stories and routines are really just training wheels for people to improve themselves, and are just the start of the process to doing all of this naturally.”
Does he have favourite clients he has turned around?
“I had a client who was 54 at the time, and he came to me as he was bi-polar and couldn’t meet women, and he’d have these massive mood swings, where he’d have one good day, and then one very, very bad day. I trained him personally, no matter what his mood, and on his first training session he met two girls who he was dating them both within a week. And of course it’s best not to jump into a relationship with the first girl you meet, and you give yourself more of a chance of meeting the right girl if you play the field a bit first, and eventually he found the right one, who was twenty years younger, one foot taller, and gorgeous! He’s now married and has two lovely kids with her.
“That took a few sessions, though. The quickest success story I had was a guy in his fifties again, with a bit of disfigurement, and a very strong accent, which was hard to understand. He was deeply unhappy and wanted to play the field after many years of being alone after a failed relationship. I did a couple hours talking, and then we went out to try the theory out in practice, in what we call ‘day game’.
We were in Covent Garden, and I gave him a funny line to open a conversation and said to him, ‘go and say this to that good looking girl over there’. So, he went over to her, delivered the line, and she laughed, which he followed up by saying ‘it’s good to see you’ve got a sense of humour to go with your looks, where’s good to get a coffee around here?’, to which she answered, and he replied by saying ‘well I owe you one now, but I haven’t got long, but let’s go for coffee for ten minutes.’
“They then disappeared into the coffee house, before walking back towards me half an hour later. Just when I thought he was going to stop he carried on walking with her, winked at me over his shoulder and walked into the tube station with her, hand in hand.
“We didn’t see the guy for the rest of the weekend, apart from towards the end of the day at the end of the weekend, when he finally reappeared, grinning from ear to ear.
“It turns out he’d been holed up in a hotel suite with the girl for the weekend, venturing out only for dinner at a posh restaurant, and she’d told him that he was her soul-mate!
‘Why have you come back then?’, I asked, to which he replied, ‘I looked at the itinerary and this hour’s the sex education bit, and I didn’t want to miss that!’ And, sure enough, after the hour was up, he said goodbye to us all and went back to meet his new girlfriend.”
So does the dream-maker revel in his dream-chaser life change-around?
“God, yes. It’s what I encourage every single one of my clients to do every day, and it’s my life now. We don’t start living until we start following our dreams – we’re just running around in a never-ending cycle, without ever achieving anything, without having fun.”
And, with his dreams firmly chased, what next for the entrepreneur with the midas touch in business and bedposts?
“I’ve got a great new product out soon too, which is designed to educate people who do want to self-improve in this area, but can’t fly out to see me. Watch this space as everybody can be better by doing this course, and everybody can improve themselves by doing this. Some people take longer than others, with different problems taking different amounts of time, although I don’t see it as a problem – more as a hurdle to overcome. It’s the next evolution of this industry.”