Category Archives: Simple Writing System

Buzz And Awe, Redux

2-10 iPhone 005

Tuesday, 2:08 a.m.
Reno, NV
Is there gas in the car? Yeah, there’s gas in the car…” (Steely Dan, “Kid Charlemagne”)

Howdy…

Those of you in the loop know we’ve re-launched the coaching program of the Simple Writing System again.

We rarely offer this hand-holding, personalized, one-on-one mentoring (by coaches who are also successful copywriters). The last session was a couple of years ago.

No idea when another session will come around… if it even does.

We take this one program at a time. It’s notorious among marketing insiders, because of how effectively we’re able to transform almost anyone into a sales-message-producing machine… quickly and efficiently. It’s life-changing, and business-changing mojo…

… and that’s why the top marketers in the game have demanded that the folks in their organization responsible for marketing TAKE this course.

The personalized coaching in the SWS is extremely interactive Perfect for anyone who knows that hands-on mentoring is the best way to learn the simplest possible system (crammed with short-cuts) for creating all the sales messages needed for a profitable business…

… including all your ads, websites, video scripts, emails, AdWords, blogs and other social media broadsides…

everything that pumps eager prospects into your Sales Funnel.

So you can close the heck out them.  And get filthy rich and happy, and become the most successful entrepreneur or biz owner possible… because without killer, persuasive copy, you’re not going to find, nor close very many prospects.

Most marketers wander through the wasteland of Bad Business Practices their entire career…

… and never figure out how to SELL anything.

So, no matter how totally hot and good and righteous your product or service might be…

… you still struggle. Or go under.

ALL the top marketers you know about, online and offline, know how to write their own sales messages.

And when it’s really, really, really freaking important that it gets done right…

… they almost always actually DO it themselves.

Now, yeah, sure, they also hire out some of the writing, too. But not because they are clueless about what needs to go into a killer sales message.

No way.

In fact, the top guys are the WORST clients a freelancer can have. Because you can’t bullshit them. They know EXACTLY what a good ad looks like.

The really good marketers are armed to the teeth with salesmanship chops.  A freelance copywriter cannot lollygag around with those guys, or he’ll get thrown to the dogs. He’s got to deliver the best work possible, because the client who understands what great ad copy looks like will not accept mediocre crap.

You know what the BEST client is for a freelance copywriter?

It’s the fool who hasn’t got Clue One about what goes into a decent sales message.

The freelancer can toss off the laziest piece of garbage possible… something that barely resembles advertising… and still collect his fee.

And when it fails and dies a horrible death? Well, who’s to say why it happened.

The clueless client sure doesn’t know.

And consider this: Say you somehow manage to hire the most promising copywriter in the universe to come work for you.

Exclusively.  He becomes a member of your team.  And you teach him all the secrets of your biz, right down to the specs of your product.

I’ve seen this soap opera go down often.

Here’s how it plays out: Once that brilliant young writer gets some experience with you… and learns all your secrets…

… yep.  He leaves.

And either starts working for the competition…

… or BECOMES your competition.

And let’s see.  Hmmm.  You had the biz first.  It was your baby.  Your product.

But he knows how to create the sales messages that sell it.  And you just taught him all your secrets.

Who do you think wins in that match-up?

People… you MUST learn how to create a decent sales message, if you are to survive and prosper in business today.

Otherwise… you’re toast.

And this is why we’re hauling out the Simple Writing System personalized, one-on-one coaching program again. The very deep, yet easily-understood online quick-learning program where recognized, veteran, professional copywriting experts personally coach you through the SWS. Which will finally trick your brain into being able to create killer, persuasive ads and marketing materials…

… whenever you need them.

Is this program for you?

Here’s a simple way to find out: Go here and watch this video. (It’s just me on the video, explaining everything to you, and it’s not outrageously long. Just the facts.)

You’ll get the full story… how you can go through this program at your own pace, on your own schedule… and have a veteran copywriter coach you the entire way, with personal advice and coaching. No one is “too busy” to take this course right now — jettisoning a single TV program you watch each week, for a few weeks, is more than enough “found time” to do everything.

And when you come out the other side of this coaching… you’ll have finally learned how to create, from scratch, all the ads and marketing materials you will ever need. The stuff that sells, and pumps up your bottom line, and brings you massive success on a silver platter.

Are you ready for a ride that can change your life forever?

We’re gunning the engine, holding the door open for you…

… but you gotta take that first step on your own.

C’mon.

It’s more fun around crazy writers who know how teach you the secrets of excellent salesmanship…

Stay frosty,

John

P.S. I almost forgot…

… you can only watch this video for the next week or so.

This new SWS sessions starts very soon. (No, you do not need to “plan” or “prepare” to get involved — you can really can go through the entire program in your spare time, at your own pace… and still get all the personalized coaching from your teacher you need.)

So you need to get over here now… while we’re still accepting students.

I have no idea if we’ll offer another SWS session.

So take nothing for granted here. Go watch my video now…

How To Hire A Copywriter.

photo-1Tuesday, 2:14pm
Reno, NV
Are you going on this crazy voyage?” (Sailor in “King Kong”, 1933 version)

Howdy…

It’s high time for a little “public service” message here, for any marketer wanting to hire a freelance copywriter.

Cuz it’s a jungle out there.

There’s a veritable mob of available writers, of all levels of expertise (from world-class down to “should be hung”), charging all kinds of fees and making all kinds of promises.

It can get confusing, abruptly, and you can end up mismatched (or getting roughed up financially) if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So, here’s a Quick Start overview of what you – the dude or dudette doing the hiring – should get straight on before heading into the Big Scary Jungle Of Freelance Copywriters to find your perfect scribe. (This works for hiring ANY consultant, actually, so pay attention.)

Step One: Deconstruct and list what you want done.

Do you need a single ad written, or do you need your entire website created or overhauled? Do you need someone to write the necessary emails, Video Sales Letters and sales pages for a launch? Do you need a sales funnel created, starting with Adwords and traveling through landing pages, auto-responders, landing pages, and sales support?

Or what?

Step Two: Admit it if you aren’t sure what you want (or need). Double admit it to yourself if you’re absolutely clueless.

This is a critical step.

You’re about to shell out a lot of money, and put a lot of your hopes and dreams on the back of the writer you hire…

… so this is no time to be deluded, or to try bullshitting your way through the process.

Whether you find the perfect copywriter (someone you’ll end up working with for years successfully) or whether you bring on a misfit (who leaves your marketing efforts sputtering)…

… this is gonna be one of the most time-and-money intensive relationships you have in your business.

Copy is the MAIN ELEMENT in your ability to attract prospects and close them as customers. (Yes, the quality of what you offer matters… but never forget that the Marketing Graveyard is crammed with superior products that died horrible and fast deaths because no one figured out how to sell them.)

So, if you’re an experienced marketer who is positive that you know what you need from a hired copywriter… great.

And if (despite your other experience in business) you’re not sure precisely what you need… because you’re maybe new to a certain advertising tactic, or market forces are crushing you (like changed technology, fresh competition, or the sudden obsolescence of your product), or what you’ve done before just ain’t working anymore…

… you’re going to need a different kind of freelance copywriter.

This is a process. It will be come clear in a moment.

Step Three: Figure out your budget. For the entire project, which might include hiring professionals, paying for services (like designers or programmers), buying lists or ad space, every conceivable cost you’ll encounter.

Experienced marketers will have a “war chest” for any new project (or any other situation requiring hiring outside help). It’s an approximate amount of moolah they’re willing to shell out to get things rolling.

If you’re new to using freelancers, you may not know how much to set aside. There’s no exact formula… but you can at least figure out what you can afford right now.

Entrepreneurs often learn about the cost of outside services as they go. It can be a shock, so you have to understand what the “value” is to your business of every new move. (In other words, get clear on what a winning ad, in a winning campaign, to the right lists, via the right media, in the right vehicles will mean in terms of buckets of cash cascading into your life…

… versus how a losing ad in a total bomb of a campaign will harsh your mellow.)

At first, you may have to be vague. This applies to everything you do – from going to a high-priced seminar, taking a course or joining a coaching program, hiring a writer or consultant, designing new product, investing in new infrastructure, and so on.

There’s a “cost” to everything, which includes both the dollars involved, AND your time and invested energy… all balanced against the odds of success. If you “save” time doing certain things yourself, and the results are abysmal, how much have you really saved? Or, if you write a check that makes your hand shake to a top copywriter who produces something that opens the wealth spigot on your head, how much did that writer “cost” you?)

When it comes to hiring a freelance copywriter, you have decided that either (a) your own ability to craft an ad/website/email/etc is not up to the task at hand…

… or (b) it makes “sense” to hire a professional writer… because you have the resources to pay for the help you need…

… and the time saved (by having more people involved in the project) allows you to move more efficiently toward your biz goals.

(Side Note: If your ability to write your own marketing materials is zero… and there is no one already on your staff able to write this material at a level needed in your niche to convert prospects to customers… then your problem is magnified. I highly recommend that anyone craving success as an entrepreneur learn how to write fundamentally-solid sales copy…

… so (1) you can avoid being dependent on outside writers when it’s not necessary… (2) you can write decent copy in a pinch during emergencies… and (3) you will understand precisely what you need from freelancers when you do hire them (and never be in the dark about whether their copy is “good” or not). There are a lot of ways to get this fundamental education in copywriting…

… and because it’s the lifeblood of all your marketing plans, you should consider this as important as anything else you do in your quest for success. I can recommend the Simple Writing System – check it out here. But whatever you do, get this fundamental understanding of what goes into good sales copy under your belt asap. Consider it a primary asset in your business toolkit. A PRIMARY asset.)

Step Four: If you’re unclear about any of this, admit it.

No one is born knowing how to plan for a business project. And even MBA degrees can leave you clueless (amazing, but true) (and common).

So take stock of your resources: Who amongst your staff has the knowledge to do… or the experience to know how to price out… the things you need done?

If you’re a one-man-band, this is easy. And, you may have zero skills, and be mostly riding your passion for becoming independently rich into the entrepreneurial world. Hey, it can work. I know a lot of entrepreneurs who made a gig work, learning everything as they went. Not the recommended path, but it’s an option.

Eventually, however, every biz owner will have to come to terms with the need to invest in getting help where you need it. You can never do everything yourself, if you’re going to grow.

If you’ve never hired a freelancer before, use whatever resources you have to help you make a good decision. Ask colleagues for recommendations, shop around (never just hire the first copywriter you realize exists), and understand that learning how to hire the RIGHT copywriter is a process, not an end game. If you’re gonna use writers often, you’ll learn as you go. If you’re gonna hire someone permanently as a writer, you better know how to judge their ability to do the work first.

There’s no magic. Sorry. And it’s not quite like hiring a plumber to fix the pipes – a lot more is resting on good copy.

Step Five: There are oodles of ways to find writers. Many advertise their services. Others are well-known within marketer networks.

There are many different kinds of freelance copywriters, too. Quick breakdown:

[] The non-advertising writer. This is the guy or gal who knows how to string sentences together, but does not know how to sell. They can be great at providing content for your blog, or writing the special reports you offer as bonuses, or fleshing out the other materials you need that your biz is not relying on for sales.

They should come cheap, too – and work by the article, or by the hour, or by the project. But because they are not responsible for your bottom line profits, they are more like a vendor. They provide materials you need that require being written.

[] The “regular” advertising writer. They may come from the world of ad agencies, or from publications. They also are NOT usually steeped in the art of selling – they rely instead on cleverness, slogans, and graphic-oriented advertising that cannot be tested because it does not produce actual results.

Their fees will be all over the map. They may have a good resume, having written material for recognizable companies.

For most entrepreneurs, I’m gonna go out on a limb and warn you away from any copywriter who doesn’t understand “direct response” advertising. (The term “direct response” simply means “asks for an action, which can be measured”. A sale, an opt-in, a reply. The “response action” is where profits will be made.)

[] The direct response copywriter. This is the dude who understands how to write copy that will ask for an “action”…

… which (it’s worth repeating) includes closing a sale, capturing a lead, or moving a prospect to becoming a customer.

Real salesmanship applies. In nearly all “big” entrepreneurial jobs, this is the kind of writer you want.

There are 3 approximate “levels” of expertise to any direct response writer you hire:

Level One: Raw rookie. A beginner, with little or no track record, and few if any prior clients.

Believe it or not, a rookie can actually be a decent bet, depending on what you need done. IF he’s been trained in direct response, or is in training with a good mentor, then he will at least understand the fundamentals of good marketing-oriented writing.

However, they are untested, and you must be clear that you will be paying for part of their education. If you need something that requires real expertise, the rookie will be over his head.

Expect to pay under five thousand dollars – all the way down to a few hundred bucks – to hire a rookie writer for almost any project. And you will have to manage him closely, and know exactly what you want (and why you’ve gone with a rookie to get it).

You may be able to bully a rookie into working fast, or constantly change copy as you go… but remember that he is not experienced at meeting tough deadlines, and may not handle stress well. (A writer needs a buttload of time cooking in the front trenches to develop the thick skin of dealing with most clients, under deadline, with a lot riding on the ads. It doesn’t come naturally.)

Remember: A rookie is not a “bargain” if you’re relying on their copy for anything critical in your biz. It’s like hiring a Little Leaguer to pitch opening day for your Major League team.

Level Two: The veteran direct response freelancer. This is a writer with references, success stories, and examples of his work he can point you to that already exist online or in other media.

They will have experience in all forms of advertising and marketing, including direct mail, Video Sales Letters, email auto-responders, web sales pages, print ads, just about every way a sales message can be delivered to a prospect.

More important, the high-end freelance veteran will also have massive marketing experience – after being involved in many, many different projects over the years, he’ll have insight to what has worked, what hasn’t worked, what is working now, what isn’t working anymore, and in many cases what is NEEDED to make your project work (that ain’t there yet).

The best veteran writers are essentially marketing consultants, who provide the copy once the marketing plan has the bugs kicked out of it.

In other words… you can hire them JUST to provide copy, if you know exactly what you need done, and they’ll deliver great ads. Or, you can allow them to look at your current efforts…

… and they may help you discover where the “real” problem is with your sinking sales (hiding behind what you thought was the culprit)… where unseen problems are murdering your bottom line… where new problems may develop down the line…

… as well as pointing out what may be missing in your product or marketing plan.

Top writers earn their fees many ways, and you can expect to shell out ten grand up to thirty grand (and more) just for fundamental advertising (like a Video Sales Letter, or a web sales page, or a sales funnel from Adwords to name capture to email auto-responder to sales page, and so on).

This is why knowing what you need done… and WHY you need it done… can be so critical. If you don’t have a clear idea of how great copy is going to produce a pile of new profit for you, you cannot “fit” a high-end freelancer into your plans…

… without realizing that you’re gambling.

A lot of entrepreneurs have done just that. Some have thrived, hiring a writer to do their first campaign without really knowing what to expect… while others have gone under, because they didn’t earn enough back to justify the expense of a top writer.

When you know (or strongly suspect, based on reality) that great (or even just “better”) copy will bring in more prospects, and turn those prospects into customers… then you’re in a perfect position to hire a freelancer.

Expect to compete with other marketers looking to book any good, respected writer… and he’ll need weeks or longer, minimum, to produce copy for a project.

Warning: I recommend you do NOT do any royalty agreements on the first job. It may sound great to push off part of the fee to result-oriented royalties paid later…

… but you need to remember that you’re just beginning your relationship with this writer. A good one will usually not even propose royalties on the first job… because he doesn’t know or trust you any more than you do him.

What you pay to hire him MUST fit into the results you expect from the project. You must have your other ducks in a line – your product must be good and ready to go…

… you must have ways to access your target audience (through your house lists, or affiliates, or paid-for lists, or “push” marketing like Adwords or niche publication banner ads, etc)…

… and you must have the resources available (in your budgeted war chest) to pay for putting everything into action.

For example: If you’re selling an existing ebook on Clickbank, you may only need to hire a writer and someone to convert their copy to a Video Sales Letter.

If you’re launching a full-on new product, though, you’ll need an affiliate manager, a project manager, possible several copywriters, programmers, designers, and more.

Side Note: Some copywriters will provide ONLY the copy, in manuscript form, to you. And you must then convert that copy into a Video Sales Letter, website, published advertisement, whatever.

Other copywriters bring more to the table, including producing the VSL (though unless you’re dealing with a copywriter who is part of a full team, it’s rare that he will produce camera-ready art for publications, or direct mail, or the programming necessary for web pages).

Be aware of what you’re getting. The services AFTER the copy is written are all less important than the quality of the writer, but they are part of the process of getting a campaign going. The copy must contain essential killer salesmanship first – afterwards, you pretty it up for delivering to your prospects.

Level Three: “A List” writers. The best in the world.

You may be able to book one of the handful of the best copywriters in the game, but at a minimum you should expect to pay $30k and up past $50k into six-digits… including (not in lieu of) some type of royalty, even on the first job.

The best writers will not take jobs they are not guaranteed will deliver the kind of profits that make their outrageous fees worthwhile. They become, in essence, a partner in the project, possibly earning more than you will…

… and they’ll be worth it.

However, you as a client are under more scrutiny than they are. If you have to ask how to find an “A List” copywriter, you aren’t ready to hire one yet. You cannot make “deals” with them. They write for the largest direct response marketing outfits on the planet, and are out of the league of nearly all entrepreneurs.

And they often require three months and longer to create a package. Advance planning (and booking) is mandatory.

Good to know they exist. Down the road, after you’ve earned your first couple of fortunes, you may be ready to hire one and reap the rewards.

For now, I recommend you get your plan down as well as you can…

… and hire a veteran copywriting professional to help you put that plan into action.

Listen to what he says, if his experience and skills at dissecting current and potential problems suggest a change to your plans.

Test what he writes, but never change it without knowing from a reality-based market test if he’s right or not. Your niece with the degree in English literature is not qualified to judge sales copy. Nor is your lawyer (though a good copywriter will work with even the most nervous attorney on your team to keep you on the side of the angels). Nor are you, unless you have a better track record than the writer.

You can test a professional’s copy against whatever else you think should be better… and you’ll learn a lot doing this. The best copy I’ve ever written has nearly given my clients heart attacks. If they say “hey, this is great copy”, then I suspect I’ve failed to deliver the best ad possible.

I want them up all night, worried sick about how the ad gonna’s do… because great copy always takes you out of your comfort zone.

Selling is hard. You have to find your prospects (after figuring out who they really are), reach them, get them into your sales message, and wake them up to the point that they will take action (like buying).

The fastest-moving, most successful entrepreneurs all know how to craft good sales messages, and get them into shape to deliver to prospects. And then follow through.

If you’re not confident, or not in a position to craft a great sales message… or, if you have the budget that allows you to take advantage of hiring your copywriting out… then wading into the freelance world makes a huge amount of sense.

There are many more details to this (including the creation and handling of contracts, setting deadlines with teeth in them, and having escape clauses when things go south)… but a good professional freelancer will help you with all of this. They want a successful gig as much as you do.

This is just a first-blush attempt to help you understand the process better. I may get into more details later, if enough people bug me about it.

Now, be wise and prudent, and get busy after your goals.

Stay frosty,

John

P.S. Yes, if you’re asking, I do still take on clients. Rarely, but I do.

You’ll notice I’ve clearly separated this P.S. from the rest of the post, so nobody should get offended about me letting you know I’m still in the game. (Everything above is still solid gold info.)

Anyway, here’s how I approach the “should you hire me or not” thing with fresh clients, below. You may get some ideas yourself on how to best approach other copywriters from this, too:

“To find out if I’m available, and whether I’m your best choice or not, send an email to my personal assistant, Diane, at consult@john-carlton.com… and clearly state your answers to these simple questions:

1. What general market are you in… how long have you been in business… and what products or services do you offer?

2. What website URLs are you currently hosting for your business… and approximately how much are you grossing now, and how much have you grossed at the highest point in your marketing efforts? (This information is completely confidential… and if you’re squeamish about stating specific figures, you can just say whether you’re grossing more-than or less-than a certain figure. Whatever makes you feel more confident in sharing.)

3. Have you ever worked with a professional copywriter before?

4. Do you have a budget for hiring a copywriter? If so, what are you budgeting, right now, for hiring one?

5. Finally, what do you feel are your biggest advertising problems right now?

I have set fees for specific projects I take on for clients. We’ll know quickly if I’m your best choice for a writer, and if you’re a good fit for the kind of advertising I create. And, we’ll figure out right up front what the exact fees will be for what you need.

Sometimes, the best route is to start with consultation, then agree on a plan for your advertising, and only then actually produce the ad (or Video Sales Letter, or broadcast media, or whatever you agree you need). Consultations are good when the problem you THINK you’re having isn’t actually the main reason you’re having problems with being profitable. I bring 30 years of hard-core, front-line experience in marketing to everything I do, and I can help you see things you’re too close to, or haven’t yet considered.

Other times, you really do “just need an ad”, and I will simply and quickly create one for you.

First, however, we need to have that conversation. So, again, to move this to the next step…

… email my personal assistant Diane at consult@john-carlton.com, and include your best answers to the 5 simple questions above. Diane alerts me immediately to potential clients, and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible. I know you’re anxious to get fresh advertising out there, and I want to help you do exactly that.”

 

Congratulations… Now, Stop Being A Wuss.

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Monday, 7:55pm
Reno, NV
But it’s all right… in fact it’s a gas…” (The Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash“)

Howdy…

It’s time for another orgy of graduation rites across the land…

… and, in honor of it all, I am re-posting my now globally-notorious big damn rant on the subject. This was one of the more popular posts I’ve ever written, so it deserves an annual rediscovery.

So, without further ado… here’s the annual redux of that post:

Ahem.

Nobody’s ever asked me to give the commencement speech for a graduating class.

That’s probably a good thing. I’m pretty pissed off at the education system these days, and I might cause a small riot with the rant I’d surely deliver.

See, I have a university “education”. A BA in psychology. (The BA stands for, I believe, “bullshit amassed”.) I earned it several decades ago…

… and while I had a good time in college (height of the sex revolution, you know, with a soundtrack that is now called “classic rock”), made some lifelong friends, and got a good look at higher learning from the inside…

… that degree provided zilch preparation for the real world. Didn’t beef me up for any job, didn’t give me insight to how things worked, didn’t do squat for me as an adult.

I waltzed off-campus and straight into the teeth of the worst recession since the Great Depression (offering us Nixon’s wage-freeze, record unemployment, an oil embargo, and near-total economic turmoil)…

… so, hey, I should have a little empathy for today’s grads, right?

Naw.

While today’s graduates are facing similar grim economic times, there’s been a significant change in the concept behind a college education. Somehow, over the years, a bizarre mantra has taken hold in kids minds:

“Get a degree, and it’s a ticket to the Good Life.”

A job is expected to be offered to you before the ink is dry on your diploma.

And it really, really matters WHICH school you get that diploma from.

You know what I say?

Bullshit. Okay, maybe if you go to Yale or Harvard, you can make the connections on Wall Street and in Washington to get your game on. Maybe. (More likely, those connections are already available, if you’re gonna get ‘em, through family bloodlines… and the Ivy’s are just playing up their famous track records in a classic sleight-of-hand.)

Put aside the advancement opportunities offered to spawn of the oligarchy, though… Continue Reading

The Reality Check Mom Never Gave You

Monday, 3:32pm
Visalia, CA
“Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.” (Sicilian proverb)

Howdy…

I’m handing the blog over to our good buddy Jimbo Curley again this week.  He’s done several guest posts, all hilarious, all excellent insight and info for marketers, writers and anyone in biz.

Jim and I go back a looooooooong time.  And my favorite story of how we became brawling colleagues is included here — this tale sends grown men into gasping fits of laughter whenever Jimbo re-tells it in the bar (where, during seminars, all the REAL networking and professional bonding takes place).  Last week, it was the Phoenix Hilton, for Joe Polish’s and Dean Jackson’s shockingly-good “I Love Marketing” event.

So this is fresh stuff.

Jim’s the real thing.  A top, consistently smokin’ hot copywriter and a keen observer of human behavior (and buying psychology).  He’s an original teacher in the Simple Writing System, and one of the very few writers I’ve personally asked to write FOR me.

This post is must-reading for anyone wondering how their latest and greatest ad is gonna do in the real world.

Warning: Do NOT drink coffee while reading this.  Or you’ll snort it through your nose during the funny parts.  Which is funny in itself, the image of hundreds of readers all over the globe spitting up coffee at their desks at the same time, courtesy of a master storyteller.

Okay, you’ve been warned.

Here’s Jimbo:

Thanks for the intro John.

I’ll dive right in.

Today I want to talk about a Street-Marketing lesson I call “How to take it in the shorts… and love it”.

It’s about how to get qualified critiques for your writing.

First, I’ll hit you with the big setup statement.

Here it is: Continue Reading

How To Create Your Own Damn Turning Point

Sunday, 1:01pm
Tampa, FL
Won’t you get hip to this timely tip, and take that California trip…” (“Route 66″, Bobby Troup)

Howdy…

I asked our old pal Kevin Rogers to guest post here, while I’m off galavanting around the west coast on biz trips.  (First stop: San Francisco, for the quarterly meeting of our super-awesome Platinum Mastermind group.)

I laughed reading this post.  There are excellent lessons for everyone below (especially if you’re struggling to find your footing in this current economic turmoil)…

… and I just want to be clear, up front, about one crucial detail:  There is a HUGE difference between making yourself useful (after doing the necessary preparations)…

… and just being a lazy-ass stalker looking for a handout.  I met my own primary mentor, Gary Halbert, by slowly proving myself through actions.  I never asked for anything, and never pretended to be anything I wasn’t.

Most of the time, the difference between a life frozen in place… and a life that roars along in the fast lane… turns on a single moment where you realize “Hey, I can DO this”.

And that moment usually comes from discovering information, or advice, that you couldn’t quite piece together on your own.

This is where teachers come in.

This is where taking that critical action-step of reaching out and grasping opportunity is the order of the day.

Okay, enough preamble.  Here’s Kevin:

Hi.  Kevin Rogers here.

Since the head honcho is away this week and asked me to fill in (always a humbling honor), I thought I’d share the story of how I was able to “weasel my way” into John’s world…

… all the way from being a guy he’d barely noticed writing about him on marketing forums… to eventually becoming a trusted insider (and even working alongside him as his go-to-writer).

There’s a huge lesson in here anyone can use to skip several rungs up the ladder of marketing hierarchy and claim your seat at the royal feast of the clued-in and well-connected.

This lesson is based on an old philosophy that says: In order to achieve your goals, choose someone who has already achieved those goals and model their thinking.

This story backs up that theory, with two small addendums:

1. Modeling your subject’s thinking isn’t as simple as reading a biography or daydreaming about how they might react in a certain situation… but rather, getting into a room with them to find out what truly makes them tick.  And…

2. When it comes to scoring a meeting with your subject… it’s probably going to require you to swallow your fears to make it happen.

Here’s the story: Continue Reading

An Impassioned Plea To Avoid Missing The Biggest Opportunity Of Your Life

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Tuesday, 6:26pm
Reno, NV
Don’t bunt.  Aim out of the ballpark.  Aim for the company of immortals.” (David Ogilvy, “Confessions of an Adman”)

This is important:

A while back, I posted something on this blog that hit a freakin’ nerve among the throngs of entrepreneurs, biz owners and rookies who hang out on this site.

Comments started flooding in…

… and, as usual, I interacted with folks.

I’ve just been told (by trusted inner-circle colleagues) that one of my replies in those comment threads…

… was perhaps the most vivid and impassioned point I’ve ever made about the raw seething power of honest kick-ass salesmanship to change lives.

So, I want to share that reply, here in a fresh post.

Let me set the scene for you: People were trying to make sense of the massive piles of hype still being disgorged by the Internet marketing community…

… and how all that hype soured good people on good opportunities.

“Hype”, and the dreadful sales pitches filled with it, really confuses people.  To the point where it’s now cool to talk about “selling without selling”.

It’s clear that many people now struggling to make a business successful…

… feel adrift in all the advice, information, and teasing opportunities swirling around the marketing community, both online and offline.

I know it’s frustrating.  I hear about this frustration all the time.

And here’s how I addressed this critical subject in that comment thread:

“Hi Stephen.You know what? The modern world is designed to bug us.

None of our ancestors had to deal with virtual worlds, global anarchy, an economy based on blips in a database, or any of the other challenges to sanity this brave new adventure called Life In The 21st Century hath wrought.

And within this turmoil and chaos is the “marketplace” we do business in. It’s noisy, distracting, and crammed with scams and opportunity in equal amounts.

The truth about modern marketing ain’t pretty.

Having the best product means squat. Being a genuine nice guy out to do the right thing won’t save you from bankruptcy. The marketing graveyard is full of fabulous products no one figured out how to sell.

Selling is the language of the marketplace.

Sure, there’s so damned MUCH of it going on, it’s annoying, it pisses us off, and our fight-or-flight urges kick in big time.

However… one man’s hype… is another man’s essential information.

You can want the world to come at you in short little bursts of exciting, entertaining bite-sized pieces of lusciousness…

… but if you live your life that way, you’ll be perfect fodder for the worst scams.

You can use the “what the heck, I’ll go with my gut” method of choosing what you buy…

… and maybe you’ll survive just fine. Maybe get stuck with a bad car that doesn’t meet your needs, or was overpriced, or a lemon. You can survive that, probably.

But you’d be a fool to apply that kind of decision-making to, say, getting married.

You want to know as much about the other person as possible.

Courtship is, essentially, a long sales letter. You’re getting pitched, and you’re processing the data on your own at the same time.

The decisions you make for your business are (or should be) as carefully munched on as the other life-long choices you encounter.

Hype is in the eye of the beholder.

If you are offended by classic salesmanship — which presents a choice, and then lobbies for you to make that choice — then you need to find another way to make your business work.

I’ll tell you that every day there are fresh businesses launched by good people who don’t believe they need to know how to sell in order to thrive…

… and those businesses are shuttered and empty soon after.

Business isn’t a popularity contest.

If you have an ethical product that your prospect really should have (because it will make his life better, or fix a dire problem he has)…

… then SHAME on you if you ignore the proven ways to get his attention… and fail to sell him on it just because you’re uncomfortable with the sales process.

You do NOT have to be obnoxious in order to sell.

You don’t have to be anything other than who you are, in fact.

You just need to understand the emotional, psychological and behavioral mechanism your prospect has to endure in order to agree to buy what you have.

Some of the smoothest salesmen alive can close the deal without a bit of perceived hype. They’re still using classic salesmanship tactics, however.

They understand the needs of the prospect, and they understand the sometimes irrational process required in order to close the deal.

Scams will never go away. You must be hyper-aware as a consumer. The dangers of an open marketplace are with us forever.

Nevertheless, the old maxim “the more you tell, the more you sell” will also never go away, either.

If detailed information and legitimate urging to join up strikes you as “hype”, then maybe the opportunity in front of you isn’t something you should engage in.

But I’ll tell you what: If this were the last train about to leave the station, and the conductor didn’t do all he could to make you clearly understand this fact…

… and the train left without you…

… you’d be in a world of hurt. And you’d be right to blame the conductor for not grabbing your attention and forcing you to understand just how critical the situation was.

This upcoming Simple Writing System mentoring program very well might BE the last one we ever host. It starts September 29. There is not another one planned.

I could whisper this fact. Or just ignore it.

Or, I could do everything in my power to make you aware of this… so you aren’t left behind, ticked off that no one made it clear to you.

When you don’t care about that train pulling away, the conductor is just yelling. It’s an annoyance, and you wish he’d shut up.

However, when it’s your train, and you’re about to miss it, then you’re thankful he broke through your daydreaming.

The SWS adventure is about to start.

It will change lives, as the previous ones have. This is the real thing, crammed with real value and real skill sets that can fuel success and independence for the rest of your days.

It’s a crazy time to be alive.

Choose your resources and choose who you trust carefully.

And when you discover genuine opportunities, jump on them. I know the lure of the Magic Button is powerful and hypnotic and hard to resist. Choices are seldom easy when the stakes are high.

Do what you think is right.”

Okay…

That was my impassioned plea to anyone out there struggling to understand how important this choice before them really is.

If you’re still on the fence about joining this program…

… consider this:

Consideration #1. My biz partner Stan and I have many different (and lucrative) projects we’d love to pursue.

And while it’s pretty evident (from the flood of sign-ups the day we began accepting students) that this upcoming SWS mentoring program will be the best one we’ve ever hosted…

… we have zero current plans to host another one like this.  We take these over-sized, large programs one at a time.  There are no other programs on our schedule with this assembled faculty, or with all the extra resources and bonuses we’ve stuffed into this all-out program.

Can you even begin to imagine how tough it is to put together a faculty with such well-known, sought-after, notoriously-successful professionals?  The preparation, delivery and maintenance of this utterly unique program absolutely consumes my office while it’s active.

It requires dedication, intense focus, and vast quantities of time and energy to create this stunningly-effective learning environment for you.

We’re not an institution — we’re just professionals who’ve banded together to help change some lives.

The business world is getting very exciting, as I said.  Lots of opportunities to get busy with, lots of reasons not to commit to an intense, deeply interactive coaching program like this.

The single reason TO commit should be obvious: It is the one skill-set, above all others, with the power to fuel your success in everything you do from here on out.

Consideration #2. So… this really may be your last shot at getting this kind of pro-level SWS mentoring, one-on-one, personalized, intensely focused on you… in the big, rollicking full-faculty program format we’re hosting right now.

Consideration #3. And if this is the last large-sized program…

… we’re going to make it the best one yet…

… and we’re also going to end this short period of accepting students with a BANG.

Here’s what we’re doing: When you join us in this Simple Writing System at-home mentoring program (which begins September 29)…

… we will give you full-privileged access to video of the infamous Action Seminar we held in January…

… absolutely free.  This is an exclusive JUST for folks in this upcoming program.  Right now, in fact, this is the ONLY way to see this sought-after video.

The marketing community is still buzzing about that Action Seminar (more than a few months afterward).

And it’s easy to see why.  The entire focus of that event — as you’ll soon see — was on organizing your business plan…

… and implementing it as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Through a realistic, strategy-loaded action plan that fits you like a glove.

Basically… we gave attendees their first honest, no-B.S. glimpse of how top marketers actually get their act together.

And get busy achieving every goal on their list, while racking up the moolah and results.

This was a gold mine of proven, total-insider advice and info and specific tactics.

It was NOT about writing.

It was about having that breakthrough “a-HA!” realization on finally kicking your adventure in capitalism into high gear… the way the niche-dominating Big Dogs do.

There were two solid days of this stuff.  No “rush to the back of the room” pitching goofiness, either.

It was all run interactively — everything we discussed, broke down,  explained and shared came directly from attendee questions and concerns, based on real-world situations straight from the people in the room.

These were entrepreneurs, small biz owners, and rookies… in other words, people just like you.  Finally learning how to break through the chaos, and map out the clearest path to getting what they want.

Everything we taught them…

… is now available for you to feast on, too.

Privately.  And for free, when you join us in this SWS mentoring program.  (You can, if you prefer, wait for the official release of these videos, and pay the steep going rate out of pocket.  When released, the Action Seminar DVDs will be priced breathtakingly steep.)

There is very little time left to decide if you’re coming with us…

… or remaining where you are in your life.

There are, as I write this, spots available with the professional-writer teachers in this Dream Team faculty.  Who are itching to get started, going deep with each student one-on-one.

It’s a proven program — the 8th large-scale one we’ve hosted.  The only one of its kind out there.

You can see what people who have been through it have to say here:

www.SimpleWritingSystem.com

It is not expensive.

Hiring any one of the top writers in the faculty to write privately for you would cost you thousands of dollars more (up to tens of thousands more).

To get long-term access like this to so many professional writers — including me and the writers closest to me — would be out of the reach of even big-budget corporations.

And yet, in this expanded SWS program, you get focused, personal training and guidance from a professional writer/teacher…

… plus access to a mind-blowing resource center stocked with pure content, delivered by the most respected experts in the world…

… and all the motivation, excitement and fun that fuels these special programs.

We’ve set up a legitimate once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here.

Perfect for entrepreneurs, biz owners and even rookies who realize it’s time to learn the most powerful (yet simple) system anywhere for creating killer sales messages.  Whenever you need them.  Under the careful guidance of a professional mentor.

As you will see, we’ve bent over backwards to make this amazing program within the reach of almost everyone.

There is a commitment.  You will need to follow through.

However, we’ve made it easy.

You’ve likely never been taken by the hand and guided like this before.  You’ll soon get used to accepting the personalized, pro-level help, though.  It’s fun, once you get moving.

This train is leaving the station soon.

Should you be on it?

Make your decision.  See what’s up, and please choose wisely.

Here’s that link again:

www.SimpleWritingSystem.com

If you join us, I’ll see you inside the program.  Where your amazing adventure in success and independence begins September 29…

Stay frosty,

John

Buzz And Awe, Part 2

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Monday, 1:31 p.m.
Reno, NV
Is there gas in the car? Yeah, there’s gas in the car…” (Steely Dan, “Kid Charlemagne”)

Howdy…

Some things are just important enough to go over several times.

Especially when FREE life-changing goodies are involved.

Here’s what’s up: Those of you in the loop know we’re launching the coaching program of the Simple Writing System again.

I’ve lost track of how many of these programs we’ve now hosted.  This is the eighth or ninth one — we’re calling it the Fall 2010 edition.

We only offer this hand-holding, personalized, one-on-one mentoring rarely.  The last one was all the way back in the Spring of last year.  (They’ve all filled quick, too.)

No idea when another one will come around… if it even does.

We take this one program at a time.

One of the main benefits of this unique coaching program… is also why we focus only on the session we’re producing now: It’s extremely interactive.

Which is perfect for anyone who knows that hands-on mentoring is the best way to learn.

This is the simplest possible system (crammed with short-cuts) for creating all the sales messages you need  for a profitable business…

… including all your ads, websites, video scripts, emails, AdWords, blogs and other social media broadsides…

… and everything else that pumps eager prospects into your Sales Funnel.

So you can close the heck out them.  And get prosperous and happy.

Most marketers wander through the wasteland of Bad Business Practices their entire career…Continue Reading

Congratulations, And Now Stop Being A Wuss

iPhone09-2 225Monday, 7:55pm
Reno, NV
But it’s all right… in fact it’s a gas…” (The Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash“)

Howdy…

Nobody’s ever asked me to give the commencement speech for a graduating class.

That’s probably a good thing.  I’m pretty pissed off at the education system these days, and I might cause a small riot with the rant I’d surely deliver.

See, I have a university “education”.  A BA in psychology.  (The BA stands for, I believe, “bullshit amassed”.)  I earned it several decades ago…

… and while I had a good time in college (height of the sex revolution, you know, with a soundtrack that is now called “classic rock”), made some lifelong friends, and got a good look at higher learning from the inside…

… that degree provided zilch preparation for the real world.  Didn’t beef me up for any job, didn’t give me insight to how things worked, didn’t do squat for me as an adult.

I waltzed off-campus and straight into the teeth of the worst recession since the Depression (Nixon’s post-Vietnam wage-freeze, record unemployment, gas-lines, near-total economic turmoil)…

… so, hey, I should have a little empathy for today’s grads, right?

Naw.Continue Reading

Takin' It Too Far…

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Thursday, 11:49pm
Reno, NV
Qu’est-ce que c’est?” (Talking Heads,”Psycho Killer”, ca. 1979)

Howdy.

Quick lesson today, which should help you understand one of the fundamental truths of kick-ass marketing.

That truth: There is almost always a way to fix or solve a marketing problem.

Actually, that truth is also functional in every-day life…

… but that’s a much longer lesson.

Here’s the quickie version, for marketers: I was just delivering this story in one of the Simple Writing System classrooms, and thought I’d share with you here, too.

As any decent marketer knows, the Prime Directive of a sales process is to discover your best possible prospect… and “reach” him with your sales message.

Seems simple enough.  Sometimes, it is.  If you’re selling hamburgers near a starving crowd, you’re set. Just open your doors and tell folks to line up.

For a while (back in the Good Old Days of Internet marketing), all you had to do was:

Step One: Be the first into a hot niche…Continue Reading

An Impassioned Plea To Keep You From Missing The Biggest Opportunity Of Your Life

iPhone09-2 188

Monday, 6:26pm
Reno, NV
Don’t bunt.  Aim out of the ballpark.  Aim for the company of immortals.” (David Ogilvy, “Confessions of an Adman”)

This is important:

This past weekend, I posted something on this blog that hit a freakin’ nerve among the throngs of entrepreneurs, biz owners and rookies who hang out on this site.

Comments started flooding in…

… and, as usual, I interacted with folks.

I’m just been told (by trusted inner-circle colleagues) that one of my replies in the comment threads…

… was perhaps the most vivid and impassioned point I’ve ever made about the raw seething power of honest kick-ass salesmanship to change lives.

So, I want to share that reply, here in a fresh post.

Let me set the scene for you: People were trying to make sense of the massive piles of hype still being disgorged by the Internet marketing community…

… and how all that hype soured good people on good opportunities.

“Hype”, and the dreadful sales pitches filled with it, really confuses people.  To the point where it’s now cool to talk about “selling without selling”.

It’s clear that many people now struggling to make a business successful…Continue Reading


All testimonials and case studies within this website are, to the best of our ability to determine, true and accurate. They were provided willingly, without any compensation offered in return.

These testimonials and case studies do not represent typical or average results. Most customers do not contact me or offer share to their results, nor are they required or expected to. Therefore, I have no way to determine what typical or average results might have been.

Many people do not implement anything I teach them. I can't make anyone follow my advice, and I obviously can't promise that our advice, as interpreted and implemented by everyone, is going to achieve for everyone the kinds of results it's helped some of the folks you read about and hear from here achieve.

The income statements and examples on this website are not intended to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the same results. Each individual's success will be determined by his or her desire, dedication, marketing background, product, effort, and motivation to work and follow recommendations. There is no guarantee you will duplicate results stated here. You recognize any business endeavor has inherent risk for loss of capital.

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