Archive Monthly Archives: July 2005



My server, bless it’s bleeping little heart, decided today was a good day to crash.

Nothing new there. Comes with the territory.

Fortunately, my Web guy was on it in a flash, and all seems fine now. However, I’m under deadline here at the home office, and wasn’t planning on writing an entry.

So this is just a “filler” post, so you don’t get a blank page when you log on.

There’s plenty to enjoy in the archives, of course. And I’ll be posting for real in a day or so.

Right now, though, I’m stalking the computer and getting riled up enough to assault another blank page with killer salesmanship.


Thanks to everyone who contacted me as soon as the site went blank — I appreciate people watching my back. We should all watch each other’s backs, all the time, anyway. (Special nod to Phil Alexander, my Canuck magician friend who always seems to be on top of every recent development — and burp — on the Web.)

Stay frosty, y’all.

John Carlton

P.S. By the way… please feel free to offer a link to this blog to your list. It’s a nice little bonus, and shows people how hip you are.

Spilling My Bag of Tricks

Several months ago, a fast-talking Web marketer named Rich Schefren tracked me down… and we began a long damn conversation about something near and dear to both our hearts: Creating a killer “money funnel” online that automatically attracted, captured and vitually hypnotized vast mobs of prospects… and flipped them, fast and easy, into becoming eager, loyal paying customers.

That’s Web Heaven.

Rich (and his partner Stephen Pierce) are waaaaay out there on the cutting edge of active Web selling technology. They understand the bells and whistles part on a deep, functional level.

I have never billed myself as a geek, and never will. I hire people to handle the code writing and meta-text wrangling and linking up of ‘Net pages.

It’s not that I techno-phobic. Far from it — I love the Web. Maybe more so than many people who are hip to the infrastructure details (and even the metaphysical “Matrix” style potential).

To me, the Web is, first, a very efficient delivery system for your marketing message.

But second, it’s a living, breathing science fiction novel we get to live in.

That’s what keeps me goggle-eyed. This is fun, and it’s a marketer’s wet dream.

I’m still pissed I don’t have the flying car I was promised in the late fifties (ala George Jetson)… but no one back then had a clue what kind of world would be ushered in when eggheads with duct tape on their horn rims started using silicone to shrink circuit boards.

The big damn Univac became a tiny little chip.

Soon, your phone, iPod and wireless broadband connection will simply be a speck dropped into your ear… and you’ll be able to access your email just by closing your eyes.

And type, I dunno, by tapping your teeth with your tongue. Or something. Maybe just thinking out the message. (I’ll have to check with Isaac Asimov on that detail.)

But for now, the main concern is maximizing your opportunity to make a killing online. With what’s available NOW.

Things are changing at warp speed, too. Certain tactics (like email blasting and old-style pop ups) that worked like crazy just a short time ago are now pretty much “game over”.

And many marketers who were dumb enough to bank their entire online business on a handful of such “too good to last” tactics… are now crying the blues.

It just was so easy, before AOL and hotmail and other large holders of prospects decided to get medieval on marketers by blocking messages.

That’s just one example, of course. Google changes their Adword rules often and capriciously — like an evil mad doctor sowing chaos in the land. Entire populations of emerging nations are plotting to steal your database, or at least buy a ton of your stuff with phony credit cards. And right now, somewhere, a greasy little cyber punk is getting ready to test The Mother Of All Viruses on your laptop.

Veteran marketers — those with experience both online and in the “other” worlds of selling, such as direct mail and print advertising — just roll their eyes at the vagaries of playing the game on the Web.

We’ve seen this movie before. The early days of informercials, 900 phone lines, fax blasting, seminars and a dozen other “delivery systems” for selling messages were also like the Wild West. Just like the Web is today.

And they all eventually ran up against establishment-type competition who changed the rules to suit their selfish desires… and ruined the free-for-all that allowed scruffy entrepreneurs to thrive.

Such is life in the capitalism food chain.

The details of the game are always in flux. Everything changes, sometime so fast you get dizzy.

And what may be making you wealthy today… can be completely outlawed by tomorrow morning.

Thus: Relying ONLY on technology for your marketing viability is a huge mistake.

Because the technology will change. (I’ve known dozens of business based entirely on fax blasting, cheap infomercials, and early varieties of spam… which all eventually went belly up. Yet, to their dying breath, they all insisted they could, and would, make it work again. The glory had only passed briefly, they said. It just couldn’t be gone forever. It just couldn’t…)

Do you know what NEVER changes in the marketplace?

Salesmanship. The art of persuasion. The ability to present your case, inspire trust, and move your prospect along your “money funnel” until he has the reasons and information he needs to give you money.

That kind of skill hasn’t changed since the dawn of time, and never will change. It’s the KEY to getting rich, in any market, in any business, using any delivery system.

And that’s what Rich and I have been urgently talking about for over nine months now. The conversation has been intense… and very profitable for both of us.

What Rich brings to the table is a detailed knowledge of the technology now working online. That’s important. He undertands the “rules” of the Web game.

But what I bring… is a deep, finely-tuned knowledge of salesmanship. It’s what I’ve studied my entire career, and what I use in every copywriting job I do.

It’s why Rich sought me out. His idea was to finally combine the cutting tactics of the Web, with the classic salesmanship of world-class writers like me… to create a “knowledge dump” of amazing proportions.

What we have discovered — after some intense detective work and long hours of going over and over it all — is that the “missing link” of most online marketers… is the ability to inject killer salesmanship into every “gateway” section of your money funnel.

It’s like setting up tiny little salesmen inside your online process… so you apply world-class persuasion tactics at every step. From siphoning off huge volumes of traffic, to capturing names and info, to moving your prospect through your sales process.

From tenative “looky loo”, to intensely loyal customer.

That’s what classic salesmanship chops can do for your business.

Results? If you’ve been following the long list of testimonials I’ve posted at, you should know that DOUBLING your results at each stage is almost a given.

And wouldn’t you love to double the traffic to your site? Double the qualified names in your house list? Double the sales?

And yet, it gets better.

Often, because you’re only getting “heartbreak” results right now… enough to be profitable, but nowhere near what you SHOULD be getting… just force-feeding some truly effective salesmanship into your process can multiply your results (at every stage) by a factor of up to TEN.

It’s happened. It’s happening right now, as you read this.

But not by relying on technology.

It happens… by getting hip to what’s working now, techology-wise… and then combining that tech-savvy with killer salesmanship.

Anyway, that’s what we’ve been doing.

And now, Rich (and his partner Stephen) are taking this conversation public.

They’ve set up a series of tele-seminars, starting in just a few days. They’re grilling me on the application of killer salesmanship to the online marketing model they know works so well right now.

To get all the details, just hop over to this link:

Yes, it’s a mouthful of a URL. Just copy and paste it into your search engine. You’ll see what the fuss is all about, fast.

And you need to hurry, too.

Let me be clear here: I’m not putting this event on. Rich and Stephen are. They’re the ones to go to for the details (and for any weasel-complaining you may want to throw in).

I’m just the guy getting grilled on the hotseat. Thus, my name on the domain. I’m doing this willingly. And I’m excited about it.

But I’m just the guy getting grilled.

I’ve done a ton of live seminars, and also a ton of tele-seminars over the years. I realize there’s a bit of a glut right now, with everyone and his brother asking you to set aside an evening to listen to some “expert” blather on about whatever.

And, truth be told, I’m one of the guys glued to the phone during many of these events. Because I’m a junkie for good info.

Especially the stuff that quickly and easily translates into better marketing.

That’s what I expect these calls to be — a tidal wave of solid, useable information and tactics and secrets you can put to use immediately on your own Website. To bring in more traffic, build your list to obscene proportions, and sell a ton of product.

However, you will be the final judge on all this. Won’t cost you two cents to find out the details… or to get signed up for the first call. No pressure, no hassles, no games.

I’m spilling my bag of tricks open here. Even I’ve been astonished at all the secrets and cool tactics I’ve got in there. Rich is VERY good at pulling the really good stuff out of my head.

It’s a rare opportunity to hear me go into much deeper detail than usual. And, with the “framing” of the model that Rich and Stephen provide, it’s just an amazing opprotunity for any marketer who wants to get, and STAY, ahead of the game.

It’s about the merging of classic salesmanship with cutting-edge technology. No one else I know of is talking about this yet.

Soon, everyone will be talking about it.

Get in early.

Check out the link.

John Carlton

Getting A Grip

Yet another copywriter has contacted me today, rattled by the footsteps of burn-out coming up behind him, getting louder.

It’s a constant threat, for everyone who works hard and deep in their business. For decades now, people have had a good laugh at the expense of the guy going through his “mid life crisis”. It’s a standard issue joke. The guy is not to be pitied, but mocked.

Bad form, you know, wandering away from the shackles of work. Even for a brief adventure.

Bad form.

Well, it’s not a joke after you’ve put some miles on the old chasis. I have good friends going through legitimate “What’s it all about?” crises, and the pain is real. After slaving away for The Man all their adult lives, they’re now looking back on things, rather than staying focused on what’s coming up. Not a whole lot left coming up, it sometimes seems.

For most people, much of the hot-and-heavy action is now in the past. And that realization will unsettle you.

This most recent example of near-burn out, however, is still in his early twenties. It’s now officially an epidemic, from where I sit. I’m seeing people from every stage of life going into wicked tail-spins, so it’s a subject worth revisiting. Often.

But a steady drumbeat of “you gotta take off more fun time” advice doesn’t cut through the nonsense clean enough. People hear the message, but it doesn’t sink in.

Too much work to be done, and done today. No time to even think about time off…

So let’s try another angle: I just read a book review on a new release titled “Happiness”, by a guy with pop psychology credentials. I won’t be reading the entire tome, because I “get” what he’s going on about — life, it turns out, isn’t about acquiring things or even meeting goals. Studies prove that more toys and recognition doesn’t make you happier.

Instead, what the “happiness” doctors know is that a Zen-style awareness is the only way to guarantee you’re happier than normal. You gotta groove on the little things in your life — just being with friends, breathing deep, living well, that sort of thing.

Hardly a revelation. Worth a nod, though.

But what struck me in the review was this quote from a 10th century Spanish governor: “I have now reigned about fifty years in victory or peace. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call. I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They number to fourteen.”

Fourteen days, in half a century of being The Man. No money worries, respect up the yin yang, made up his own rules and forced people to follow them, probably a harem.

And he was only happy for a fortnight.

I feel richer than Bill Gates now. I’ve studied people all my life, and long ago realized that money wasn’t the answer to happiness. Nor new cars or new lovers or new anything else. There’s a “sweet spot” where you have enough dough to make the rent for the forseeable future, and enough romance to keep your hormones on a low boil, and a car that’s fun to drive… but those needs are easily met.

Looking back, I was more ecstatic about the first hundred-dollar check I earned as a freelancer than I was about the small fortune I just cashed for a single job. Decades after the overwhelming chaos of my first super-intense young-love affair, I’m pretty happy I don’t have to go through that kind of sweet pain every day. And I still miss my dinged-up old ’80 Celica rattletrap GT liftback — one of the ugliest cars ever made, but a low-slung spaceship for me. I’ve never sat in a cockpit as snug, comfy and compelling as that used-and-abused Toyota.

I drove it for ten years. When I shut the engine off the last time, it never started again. Exhausted, ready for the yard. But honored, because it made me happy.

I feel rich because I can count many days of happiness in my past. And — more important — I’m eagerly looking forward to many more. I have to plan for them now, of course… where in my wayward youth they were difficult to keep from happening spontaneously.

I’ve never NOT known what juiced my system.

And now — with all these books coming out about happiness, and all these people expressing fear of burn-out — I realize how rare that self-knowledge is.

I am not the happiest guy on the planet. I’m pretty sure of that.

But I wouldn’t WANT to be that guy. Much of the pleasure of a well-lived life is anticipation. Like that first check in my career, it’s often the struggle, and not the arrival, that is the most fun and adventurous and breathtaking. You never get to repeat your first trip to Europe, or your first breakthrough in business, or your first kiss.

Those are special moments.

I always felt irritation at Woody Allen movies (back when they were good) when he just refused to abandon his neuroses to the moment, and had to screw a good thing up because he couldn’t shut off the nonsense. Of course, done right, this is the crux of that kind of comedy.

But a lot of people just nod and commiserate — because they recognize the behavior. That’s just the way I am too, they say. Why are you laughing?

If finding out what the shrinks have discovered about happiness is something you need to pursue, get the book. Let me know if it’s any good. Also try “Learned Optimism”, one I can recommend without hesitation.

But mostly, I just wanted to inject some more street-level reality into the conversation. Even a poor man can experience great joy, if he’s wired into life and living in the moment. And even the richest man can have a poverty of the soul that defies soothing by worldly treasure and pleasure.

The key to finding out what makes you happy… is to begin finding out who you are. That is NOT a default position in most human brains. You have to go in and do a manual set-up in your hard drive.

What I teach are the shortcuts to making it big. I have always focused on the shortcuts because I’m lazy, and I want more time off.

You’re doing it wrong if you use the shortcuts in order to fit in more work.

Think about it.

And stay frosty.

John Carlton

Making Time For A Good Time

One of my personal crusades is to get entrepreneurs to lighten up a bit.

Most of the ones I meet are driven, motivated by the idea that they’ve either broken or are about to break the code on making money on their own terms… and they’re high on work.

And that’s great. My own career didn’t start until I made a simple vow: “Business before pleasure.” Until that point, I was confused about what kind of discipline was truly necessary to succeed at anything.

If what you’re doing seems really difficult, and isn’t any fun, then you’re probably going after the wrong goal. When you find out what you’re best suited for, even the sweat-and-blood work is fulfilling.

But you still have to temper your obsession with work… with a little recreation. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy indeed.

I have a little mini-talk I sometimes give at seminars, when there’s time, or when it seems especially appropriate. I call it the “29th Auto Supply Store”: After one especially intense seminar down in Miami, I was relaxing with some friends. Somehow, one of the seminar attendees weaseled his way into a seat at the table.

He was the kind of guy you remember: About 100 pounds overweight, wearing ill-fitting clothes, with a wife who despised him and kids who were strangers. (I know this because he talked incessantly.)

He was also filthy rich. He had 28 auto supply stores, all successful.

Yet, as the rest of us sipped cool drinks at a sidewalk table… watching a topical evening settle upon the beach, with a warm wind rustling the tall palm trees, and a parade of gorgeous barely-dressed women strolling by on the boardwalk… all this guy could talk about was opening up his 29th auto supply store.

I just shut him out, but vowed to keep him in mind. As a lesson against the evil of being a workaholic.

My question is: What are you working FOR? Where is your reward in all this?

I teach people how to become freelance writers. I know all the secrets of getting good, getting connected, and getting paid.

But I also know the secrets of long-term survival. I’ve been at the top of the game for most of the last 20 years, and that’s rare. Almost every copywriter I know has burned out at some point in his career.

I’ll repeat that: Almost every copywriter I know has burned out at some point in his career.

The long, late hours and intense brain power needed to write brilliant copy takes a toll. I actually dropped out of the rat race for a couple of years in the early 1990s, and wrote novels and played in rock bands. I still kept a couple of clients, just to stay sharp… but for the most part, I was taking my retirement early. I would go on six month vacations. Take off for Europe on a moment’s notice.

It’s important to remember what life really is all about.

And it’s not work-work-work.

Anyway, even with my career-long interest in things outside of advertising, I occasionally get caught up in the nonsense. I’ve been working like a dog for the past three months, and barely noticed that summer had arrived.

In fact, I had almost forgotten that several of my oldest friends were coming into town this weekend for a little reunion.

I woke up in the middle of the night, panicked that I just did not have the time to do this fun thing. I’d have to weasel my way out of it, somehow. There just wasn’t time for it.

Today, calmer, I just called everyone and made sure they ARE coming. Screw the workload — at the very worst, I’ll have to pull a couple of late nights next week to make up the lost time.

Calmer, I see that the crush of my current projects are waaaaay overstated in my fevered brain. I’m just overly focused on work.

I’ve let my fun side get flabby.

Not good. It’s July, it’s gorgeous outside, and the long lingering evenings are what makes life worthwhile. Especially with friends.

I shudder to think I almost called it off. The workaholic demons are nasty little creatures who demand everything from you.

But they can be controlled.

Just remember why you’re working so hard. It’s for a better life. The money you’re making shouldn’t be a prison, but a conduit for more fun, more travel, more adventures.

And, at least for me, for more time with old friends.

Today, I am relieved to have remembered why I’m in this business.

And here’s my suggestion to you: Enjoy the sensual aspects of tonight’s long sunset. Even if you only spare fifteen minutes. Just stop fussing, relax and let the wonder soak in.

Life is great. And it’s part of your job to enjoy it.

John Carlton