Behind The Curve

I see Google is messing with our minds again.

The details are unimportant, in the grand scheme of things. (They’re on a vendetta against “little web sites” that use lots and lots of key words in Adword campaigns… meaning, if you’re an entrepreneur using Google to direct loads of cheap traffic to your name squeeze — so you can build up a big damn list to hit with offers — you’ve just had the rug pulled out from under you. Terms you used to buy for a nickel are now ten bucks, minimum.)

You can get the blow-by-blow from people with better “geek” credentials than I have. I know my friends Perry Marshall and John Reese, for example, are already on the case.

What’s more interesting to me is the back story. Throughout my career, I’ve seen businesses go through what I call the “Slow Suicide Cycle” — they start out with all the best intentions, make good money, get too big to be a “small operation” anymore… and start hiring outsiders to manage things.

Next step: A corporate command chart, and lots of people in suits with MBAs and law degrees swarming the halls.

These “suits” know how to play the corporate game. They live and breath “The Art of War” and consider even the most vicious Macheavellian move fair play.

Like cockroaches taking over your kitchen, they will soon climb to the top of the corporate ladder, edging out everyone with an drop of entrepreneurial or salesman’s blood in their veins.

I’ve seen it happen to the best clients in the world. One day they’re operating like a greased machine… and the next day, everything stops while the new suits in charge conspire to remold the biz into something they’re more comfortable with.

These new ideas are often utterly screwy and destined to fail. Fearful of risk, they murder sales in the process.

The boys behind Google were idealists at first. Serve the greater good and all that.

No more. Locked in a death-battle with their competition, they opened the gates to the MBAs and bean-counters. (And Yahoos recent stock slide — courtesy of their clueless bean counters and too-fearful suits — only serves as a warning to Google not to relax in their head-long rush to total corporate invulnerability.)

It will only get worse for the “little guy”.

Beware. And prepare.

What’s more… if your entire empire has come crumbling down because your Adwords campaigns have been eviserated… then shame on you.

First, you should have long ago diversified your marketing efforts (including going off-line). I’m not sure if the Tactic7 teleseminars are still posted, but if they are, go there now and fill in the gaps. Fast. Your house is burning down, and those downloads have the “flame repellant” info you desperately need. (

Second, consider how you GOT into this dire position. If you purchased the concept of your business model from someone, then what you’re doing is, essentially, “licensing” someone else’s brain. Good for you for making so much money in the meantime… but now that the game has been suspended (maybe temporarily, maybe forever), you need to take stock.

The guru’s you learned your tricks from will have to figure out how to fix this latest Google mess… test it, perfect it… make their own fresh fortune with the new tactics… and THEN they’ll share it with you again. It might cost you. But you can bet they’re on it.

For me, entrepreneurism has never been about finding new ways to be dependent on someone else, though. Being an entrepreneur, rather, is the opposite — it’s all about being independent.

When you’re dependent, you’re behind the curve. You’re waiting for someone else to six the problem and find a new path, so you can follow.

When you’re independent, you’re the first one out of a burning building. And the first to land on your feet, ready to conquer new territory. Dependent on no one. Agile, and ready to move without waiting for instructions.

That’s why I’ve been teaching copywriting all these years with a vengance. In my long career, I’ve seen devastating inflation, repetitive recessions, several wars, stock market crashes and the complete collapse of established American institutions (like the Savings and Loan industry, and most of the airline industry).

Your Bag of Tricks begins with the basics: Killer salesmanship, savvy marketing chops, and the ability to craft a sales pitch that brings in money.

Everything else comes after. New technology — including Google — only works when you have those 3 basics down cold first.

No matter what else happens during this latest Web shakedown… as the dust clears, those marketers who come out in good shape will do so using salesmanship, marketing know-how, and copy.

Especially copy.

I’m not gonna pitch my material here. Most of you already have it… and if you don’t yet… well, do what you like. Those of us with bottom-heavy Bags of Tricks are actually licking our chops over the opportunities spilling out of this latest Web chaos.

If, to date, you’ve been under an illusion that you’re an entrepreneur… when, in reality, you’ve just been “leasing” someone else’s brain storms… it’s time to get hip.

It’s fun making money with a technology tactic.

But it’s more fun actually becoming a real entrepreneur. This is what I do. If you’ve been putting off giving my stuff a “look see”, then perhaps it’s time:

Stay frosty.

John Carlton

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"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."

  • […] John Carlton wrote recently about Google’s latest change in AdWords. This change has upset a lot of people, because now suddenly their AdWords ads don’t make money. It’s also pleased a lot of people, because they believe the change will thin their competitors. Regardless, no one should be relying completely on AdWords (or on any single service) for your business, and if you are, you deserve to be put out of business. Because we have to expect Google will upset its customers in perverse ways. It’s only a matter of time. And maybe the time is now. […]

  • John Rinaldi says:

    John makes more sense in this piece than I have read anywhere else. If you want more of this kind of thinking read Jim collins great book “Good to Great”. There is example after example of companies that grew big without the discipline to keep the right people in the right seats on the bus, understand what their culture is, what they are passionate about and didn’t stick to what they do best. On the tiny microcosm it’s not thinking through your business and having multiple ways to get customers.

    I expect John will be able to repeat this entry whole when free email goes away. They’ll be another group of business people slamming their heads into their monitors one day when free email is gone. I hope those people aren’t laughing today…

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