Further Chewing

7:03pm Monday
Reno, NV
Time isn’t really money, you know…



Thanks for all the input on the coaching club. (See: Last blog, with comments: http://www.john-carlton.com/2008/03/06/something-to-chew-on-while-you-suffer/.)

That was an excellent exercise in truth-telling, and I deeply appreciate you guys taking the time to lay out your two cents. Good, smart stuff.

To sum up: I admitted to being baffled about the reception my coaching club was getting from my list. It’s going very well… but hasn’t bloomed from a wildfire into a major blaze yet.

And with all the value we’re pouring into it — including massive quantities of my own time in reviewing people’s copy and Websites on video, and answering every single question posed by members in the twice-monthly audio shows — I was ready for input from readers. I needed to hear something from outside my own little “box”.

Wisdom of the crowd, so to speak.

The answers (and there were many more than got posted as comments here — some long-time subscribers sent me personal email) fell into a couple of distinct categories. Namely:

Too expensive.

“I don’t have time.”

Fear of joining in public forums.


“What happened to the Rant?”

Again, thanks for taking the time to comment. Some people apologized for being blunt, but there was no need for apologies — I crave honest input (as we all should). I’m a junkie for the truth.

It’s not like you’re gonna shock me, you know. I’ve been around the block a few too many times for that.

Naw… I really enjoyed reading every single comment. And I’m pleased that so many folks popped on just to say they’re happy with the club. (Like I said, membership is healthy, and the club is a success. It’s just not the roaring storm of mayhem and activity I expected at this anniversary.)

Allow me to address some of the “not so happy” issues raised.

I think Donna, who posted one of the last comments, summed up the attitude of the average long-term member. The monthly fee really is modest (easily a bargain, considering what you get)… and if you’re in business, there is value in every element presented, so time is not an issue.

We have a number of very serious, already-successful marketers and copywriters in the membership scrolls… and , like me, they don’t think twice about either the fee, or the time investment for watching the videos and reading the posts.

But that’s the hardcore element of the audience. (It’s the old 80/20 rule in action, as someone else mentioned in the comments. Whenever I speak at a marketing seminar, I always quiz attendees to find out “where they’re at” in their career or business-arc. It’s rare — even in the most expensive and most advanced events — to find more than 20% of the crowd admitting to having their biz on high-burn already. Most consider themselves rookies, or seriously looking for serious help to overcome seriously paralysing problems.)

For everyone else, the issues of time and money need to be addressed.

The “time” thing, especially, cannot be overlooked. I know, personally, what it’s like to just feel overwhelmed by what’s on your plate every day.

I get a dozen newsletters mailed to me each month… I’m on a hundred different lists (many with free weekly e-newsletters) (or even, gasp, daily)… and I have a bookshelf sagging with business books and courses I want to read.

All of which would require more actual time to finish up than I have left in my life.

However… this is not a problem of a “lack” of time.

Naw. It’s time management.

There are oodles of books out there on time management… and if any of them strikes a nerve with you, great. Follow their plan.

However, I believe that most of our time problems can be solved with a basic tweak of our mindset. See, most people want to multi-task… so they’re texting and reading email while talking to someone else on the phone (and rearranging papers on their desk at the same time).

I’m not gonna try to talk you out of that. Nor will I try to talk you out of listening to audio stuff (podcasts and such) in the “background” while you do other work. I know too many folks who indulge in this mind-bending exercise. They seem to get a “little” out of all the crap they multi-task on… and if it works, great.

However… there are other ways to get after this problem of “not having enough time” in your day to do everything you want to do.

And, in fact, I consider this subject so critical… that I’ve asked my pal Rich Schefren to submit to an interview in the coaching club this month about this topic. (His notorious “Marketing Manifesto” was directed at the business owner who constantly felt overwhelmed by all the crap he needed to do every day, just to keep the biz afloat.)

And here’s where the beauty of the coaching club comes in: We’ll announce this interview a week in advance… and ANY question that ANY of the members want addressed… we’ll address in that interview.

For the one or two commenters in my last blog who complained that all the interviews they hear
these days with experts are too boringly similar (“tell a few tired stories, give away a few tidbits of info, then pitch your crap”)… this should be the PERFECT antidote to the “same old, same old”.

You have an equal opportunity to direct the questions into any direction you feel is the most important. Screw the “company line” that most experts want to preach — with this member-driven model we use, every single interview should be almost embarrassing in revealing the raw truth of what each guy knows. There’s no hiding.

And no bullshit allowed.

Rich has a rabid fan-base of business owners who have turned their lives around with his time-management insights and tactics. Instead of paddling as hard as they can just to stay in the same place… they are now screaming forward on all cylinders, hell-bent on causing as much cash-generating turbulence in their market as possible. (The ONLY way to do business, if you crave fun, fulfillment, and big bucks.)

Okay — here’s just a small tip from my own experience: To begin whittling down the massive pile of good stuff you feel you “should” be reading or listening to, but can’t find time for… you need two basic rules.

Rule #1: You must give yourself permission to STOP reading or listening to anything the SECOND you get bored, or feel you’ve gotten the gist, or decided you don’t need or want what this author is peddling.

It’s a tactic I picked up from speed reading — you plow through stuff, getting the lay of the land as quickly as possible. (With books, for example, you check out the contents page, the forward, and whatever reviews are available on the cover. You do NOT have to go linearly through ANY biz book — in fact, you should dive straight into whatever the author has touted as the Big Idea. If it’s bullshit, toss the book.) (Same with A/V stuff. Once any file has downloaded, you can skip around and sample the action a few times while you’re deciding if it’s any good.)

There is no greater feeling of liberation than to snap a bad book shut and toss it across the room — bam, bam, dunk — to bounce off two walls into the trash. (Same for videos and audio files — it’s up to the guy doing them to be pithy, interesting and to hold your attention. If not, zappo… you’re outa there.)

Rule #2: Set aside an hour each day JUST to educate your bad self.

One measly hour. And stick to it. What hampers so many people is the sense that — to get through the entire pile they’re backlogged with — it will take a week of solid attention. And that’s self-defeating.

That one hour is an investment in your success. Be skeptical, be demanding, and be rigorous about what you consume in that hour… but keep it limited TO an hour. Your brain will thank you, because you aren’t asking it to dive into an endless pile. Just an hour.

Make it the same hour every day, and take the phone off the hook and do NOT try to multi-task. Concentrate. Absorb.

You’ll find that this becomes a kind of meditation, restful and energizing.

Hey — I’ve been putting off a program here involving, easily, around 20 hours of audio and video. Or so it seemed as I looked it over. Once into the first video, however, my mind just took off with new ideas. As hard as it was to decide to dedicate an hour to this project… once that hour was up, I didn’t want to quit.

But I did. One hour of input is plenty… and there’s lots of other stuff to do today. Tomorrow, another treat, as I settle in for more.

Try this tactic. And, if you can, watch for that interview with Rich in the coaching club. If you have specific questions, or problems, or whatever, feel free to post them, and we’ll cover it.

It’s your opportunity to get personal attention from a guy you may never be able to corner — even for a quick question — otherwise.

I “get” the pressure of time in most people’s lives.

However, the first step is to realize that the truly successful folks are just as pressed for time as you are… but they still manage to get all the important stuff done.

They do it with time management.

It’s NOT intuitive — you gotta learn the tactics from someone who’s got it down already.

The results will blow your mind.

Okay. Now it’s time to address money.

I totally understand that the $69/month fee for my coaching club (after your first free month) isn’t chicken feed to a lot of would-be marketers.

But stay with me for a moment here. This may tweak your brain in a way it hasn’t been tweaked before: I have specialized, my entire career, on helping the most stubbornly-clueless-and-perpetually-broke rookies to get moving… because I identify so strongly with that sense of not knowing what to do.

I was a five-star slacker, utterly lost and helpless in the big cruel world… and I had to kick my own ass for years to get moving in a positive direction.

But here’s something you may not know: Back when I finally took that first step on the path to success, there was almost ZERO guru help available. No seminars on marketing whatsoever, at any price. They simply didn’t exist. (Joe Sugarman gave ONE, I recall, in the early 1980s, in Chicago… but you had to be a colleague to even hear about it.) (I didn’t.)

And there were no coaching clubs for writers, or for marketers, or for advertisers at all. Zilch.

Total wasteland.

The ONLY way for a rookie to get personal help… was to either join an ad agency, and hope the grizzled veterans deigned to spend a little time with you… or cozy up to a mentor and be a slave for a few years. (I finagled my way into long mentorships with both Jay Abraham and Gary Halbert.) (But it really was pure opportunity-spotting. I also did a little bit of fulfillment copywriting for Gary Bencivenga, but it never rose to the level of mentoring… though he was generous with input.)

That’s why, perhaps, I’m so baffled by the idea that $69 a month is an obstacle. Everything we discuss and reveal and share in the coaching club is ABOUT making money. With better ads, better-pulling Websites, more focused lead-generation and traffic-building, and on and on.

If you’re in business — at ANY level — this stuff should be like catnip. Because you can put it all to use immediately. And what I mean by “put it to use” is: Use it to make money in your business.

I’m not being defensive here, believe me. I “get” that, for many people, paying anything for information just rubs them the wrong way.

And, I also understand that — again, for many good people — cash is tight. I spent most of my youth walking around with less than five bucks in my pocket, pinching pennies so tightly they squeaked.

However, one of the things nearly ALL the top marketers I know have in common… is a love of good self-help literature. Early on, during the climb up to success, we use it for support, and to keep our mindset healthy and forward-looking.

Later, we use self-help stuff to help us enjoy the rewards of success. Being human is full of twisted surprises… like never being satisfied, or always wanting what you can’t have, or believing the grass is greener over there.

Our natural default emotional position is what we call “Starvation Thinking”. This is something that all rookies share… and all successful marketers strive to crush completely.

Once I discovered the trove of old books (by ancient wizards like Claude Hopkins, David Ogilvy and John Caples), I never thought twice about the cost of acquiring those tomes. Because they weren’t just books full of info… they were the KEYS to a new life of success.

I will never argue with someone who feels that cost is a barrier. I understand, I really do.

And, in fact, I will not allow someone to mortgage the farm to attend any of my events. Neither do I let them in for free, however — it’s a hard lesson to learn, but it’s true that we devalue that which we do not have to pay for.

And, while it’s also true that many of my colleagues took huge risks early in their careers, I do not believe that kind of reckless risk-taking is necessary to succeed. And if you cannot afford the entry price — or the purchase price — of something you want… then use your power to set and acheive goals to get it. Save your money, take on extra jobs, do whatever you can to set aside the cash you need… and when you’ve got it, you’ll have EARNED it. (Even if you are only able to save and scrounge up twenty bucks a week, that’s almost a hundred bucks a month, and over a year it’s over a thousand. It’s good discipline to work toward a goal like that — to have a grand to spend however you want, on info or entry fees to something you really want.) (The advanced lesson is to skip the partying on weekends, and take on an extra job — any job — every Saturday, and save the money. Even the most beaten-down rookie can find a way to make a hundred bucks a weekend, and have the willpower to SAVE it. That’s fifty-two hundred bucks in a year. Invest that in info, and you’re acquiring power.) (And, again… you EARNED it, dude. You don’t need any special consideration.)

That’s the way to be proactive about your career. Not trying to negotiate for free entry, or considering every dollar spent as a dollar lost forever. That’s starvation thinking — the idea that money is finite, and must be held onto tightly.

The top guys never think twice about spending cash for what they believe can help them. Because, in business, information and new tactics can instantly multiply whatever pitance you’ve spent many times over.

But you can’t multiply zeros… which is why I understand when rookies who haven’t gotten their feet wet have to count pennies. If money really is tight, then you may have to just admit you cannot yet afford to partake of the wonderful stuff available in coaching programs. (Mine, or anyone else’s.)

However, if you’re IN business… then thinking of that fee as money “gone” every month… then you’re deep into a starvation mindset.

You’re not alone in this kind of thinking. Most of the rest of the population shares it with you.

But then, most of the rest won’t ever be successful marketers, either.

If you dream of “making it” in business… then you’re either actively filling your ammo belt with the info and tactics you need to BE successful… or you’re wallowing in Magical Thinking, believing there’s some “trick” you’ll somehow stumble on that will annoint you with wealth and fame.

Lots of people think this way. It’s the mindset of hoping for Lotto miracles and believing that success really is all about “luck”.

Let me know how that works out for you.

Again, while you’re reading the comments from the last blog post detailing the reasons for not partaking of the coaching club… be sure not to skip over the ones expressing bafflement that every serious business owner and entrepreneur isn’t jumping on this opportunity.

This all boils down to the IRONY of this “information age” we’re in.

Sure, it’s great having so much access to info. You can find out all you ever wanted to know, about everything you ever wanted to know anything about…

… but there’s never any sense that you’re ever “done”.

And that, too, is where coaching comes in.

We don’t just dwell on the nuts and bolts of making money.

That would be boring.

Rather, a BIG part of the whole mix… is all about learning to live a full life.

This is not something most people are any good at. I wasn’t. I had to learn how to do it.

Many of the most miserable people I know are filthy rich. And many of the happiest people I know couldn’t care less about stockpiling wealth.

Somewhere in that mix is the “sweet spot” where you belong. And chances are, you ain’t there yet… nor will you arrive there on your own.

Everyone needs help. There are no completely “self-made” men out there. I’ve had the pleasure and honor of hanging out with the legends of the direct response community for years (and being best friends with some of them). I can tell you that — without exception — every Hall of Fame marketer and hyper-successful business owner will point to someone else who, along the way, helped them at a critical time.

Often, they will point out multiple examples of this.

We’ve all had mentors, and teachers, and someone to point out the correct path when we couldn’t find it. Sometimes, it’s just a piece of advice that hits home… sometimes, you get taken under the wing of someone who teaches you the ropes personally.

Mostly, it’s a mixture of incoming advice and help and tutoring. Often, you don’t recognize it when it’s happening. (One of the main talents you MUST acquire, in order to be successful, is to learn to spot opportunity and good advice when it arrives. This takes patience and focus, and most folks never get it right. It’s the difference between a life well lived, and a life full of regrets.)

Time and money are just details on your journey. Time will pass, no matter what else you do. The smart ones among us learn to USE time to their advantage, rather than be ruled by it.

And money… well, it’s just a vehicle for acquiring goods and services (and more time). You lose when you think having money (or keeping money) is the way to win. You enter the Feast when you finally realize that money is nothing more than a tool… and it neither deserves your fear, or your worship.

Information and skills are the ticket to success. And self-respect. And a seat at the Feast of Life.

Again… I deeply appreciate everyone who responded to my plea for input on this.

I’ve taken what you’ve said to heart. I respect your opinion, and I value your honest answers. I feel honored that so many people cared enough to write.

And my views on time and money are NOT intended as “come backs” or replies. It’s my job to share what I know… and when I have the opportunity to illuminate a hot subject like this, I jump on it.

All of us are smack in the middle of our own personal adventure in life. I’m blogging, and offering the coaching club, because I have a track record of HAVING something to share. What I offer has rung true for many people over the past twenty years or so, and helped them increase the fun and wealth and enjoyment of their adventure.

If what I say resonates with you, then consider that. You are certainly never under any obligation to pay attention to anyone, ever. It’s your adventure. You’re the director.

However… if you feel that a little help will make your personal story better… I’m here.

This is what I do. This is what I’m good at.

And I’ll be here, if you want to comment again.

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

P.S. Almost forgot — the 21-Day Challenge ended while I was en route to Florida for that last seminar.

How’d you do? I nailed my new anti-habit (no longer be a guy who eats chips and crap loaded with cholesterol) after a couple of weeks. I felt that “snap” in my system, when I no longer was a guy who ate chips.

And many people commented about their own challenges. I’d like to hear from the rest.

Remember — it’s okay not to succeed here. Maybe you just weren’t ready, or maybe your goal wasn’t really what you wanted.

But if you did want it… and you didn’t make it 21 days (and so didn’t form a new habit)… well, you have the tool now. Start again. Figure out what caused you to fail… and fix it.

Good luck. Let me know how it goes.

P.P.S. Oh, yeah… if you still want to “try out” my coaching club for a free month (with no obligation to continue), just hop over to this link:


It’s the Radio Rant Coaching Club we’re talking about. If you get in there NOW, you still have time to post your personal, searing, embarrassingly-honest question for Rich Schefren, before I grill him.

Just consider it. That’s all I’m saying…

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  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi John –

    I just joined the Rant last month. So far, I’m loving it (just posted my first comments on the forum tonight). I’ll have questions and copy to critique, too. And needless to say I’m very psyched about your upcoming call with Rich Schefren – I shall put my thinking cap on for questions.

    The question I’ve been asking myself is, “Why did I wait so long to join the Rant coaching club?” I’ve devoured your stuff in the past and your outlook and approach has always resonated with me.

    So why did I wait so long? I pondered this for a bit before coming to a conclusion, which I’ll post here in the hopes of helping someone else.

    There came a certain point where the need to FOCUS really hit me. Instead of trying to follow everyone, I sought out a couple of coaches I trusted and resonated with and worked with their stuff. Implemented, got some results, course corrected, etc.

    And now working with you feels like the next step for me, and I’m incredibly grateful that there is an affordable option to do it. So, like Donna, I re-arranged, dropping some things to make some space.

    Like Donna said, it’s all about priorities. Self-assessment to see where we’re at and where we want to be. What’s the best way to get there? Make that decision, then act.

  • Donna says:

    See you in the forum Elizabeth!

  • Louis says:

    I hit about 80% on my 21 day goal of daily language study. I think I’ll do better if I consistently set aside quality time earlier in the day rather than whatever’s left over. Good to know.

    It’s also helpful to acknowledge that I don’t have to finish every book I start. It’s probably from that same “finish everything on your plate” ethic.

  • Rezbi says:

    looks like John’s rant worked.

    We’ve got a few more people joined up.

    And no-one’s said a bad thing about it so far.

  • Acupuncture Marketing says:


    I think it’s come full circle. You said: “Back when I finally took that first step on the path to success, there was almost ZERO guru help available.”

    Problem now is there’s too many gurus. Most of them just dump stuff out and leave it to us to make of it what we will. I’m getting better at implementing, but I’m not there yet.

    Personally, if someone gave me more of a roadmap, or any kind of map that would help me know where to “fill-in-the-blanks” I’d pay far more attention to them.

    I know I’ve got a lot to learn, but I don’t know the extent of my ignorance. Also, the problem in most of the feedback you received was one of overwhelm. The roadmap would definitely help.

    Don’t know if such a beast is possible though.


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