Are Ya Scared Yet?

Monday, 8:29pm
Reno, NV
“The gross ratio divergence of GDP versus market fluctuation causes economic farting…” (I made that up)



… are you loving life today?

I got on the plane this morning just as the markets opened on Wall Street, and kept telling myself “Don’t look, don’t look”…

… but I couldn’t resist.

Especially with my new gizmo-toy iPhone. One touch gives you an updated glance at the Dow.


Got on the plane, knowing it would be four hours until I could get another update… and saw that the market was tanking before the opening bell’s chime faded.

Not good.

Now, I’ve weathered multiple economic downturns in my time. I had several direct mail pieces for finanical newsletters in the mail on Monday, October 19, 1987 (also knows as BLACK MONDAY).

Every piece I’d written was bullish, meaning my clients thought the market would just keep climbing and climbing and climbing… and, well you know how that turned out.

Biggest one-day percentage drop in the history of the market.

Decimated investors (especially the fabled “little guy”) (who didn’t come back to the market for a decade), and completely swallowed up the entire Savings & Loan industry.

Now, THAT was scary.

Not to say it’s not a rollicking horror show today.

I don’t even wanna think about how the world goes on, if the Dow starts sniffing it’s own butt below 10,000 tomorrow.

We truly may all be living in caves this time next year.

Hey — it could happen.

But there are a lot of heavy-hitting dudes with a deep stake in NOT letting that happen. (This would be the mythical “they” you hear folks talk about… as in, “did you see what ‘they’re’ doing downtown, building a new mall?”)

Interesting times, no?

I’ll tell you this: I was in a weirdly-decorated room (long story) all weekend long with over 100 of the best online entrepreneurs in cyberspace…

… and almost NONE of them cared a whit about the self-lashing damages going on in the broader economies “out there”.

You know why?

Well, for one thing… many of them are too young to remember any of the prior gut-check recessions the US has suffered. (And the Depression of the 1930s is, like, so last century.)

So they’ve never learned to squirt anxiety acids into their stomachs the way their older peers regularly do when things go south. That’s just an art they missed out on.

But they’re not oblivious, either.


They are all steeped in the most basic of basic fundamentals of continued success in busiess: Build and nurture a list, and know how to talk to the folks on that list.

It’s so simple, that 90% of all biz in the world completely and utterly doesn’t “get” it.

A big, good, gooey-for-you list… and the ability to reach them with email, ads, letters, videos and other tools… actually can create an insular world for you.

Let the fools and angels do their thing in the broader markets, selling low and buying high and leveraging like mo-fo’s.

I’ll take a list, and a letter, any day, to cure whatever ails us.

Don’t get me wrong. This current mess is very, very, very bad.

And… take a breath now… it could easily get much, much, much worse.

And we can draw, quarter and hang every perpetrator and greedy bastard who drove us down this dark alley…

… but at the end of the day, we still gotta face some music, and see what things look like when the sun comes up.

There’s a mess to clean up. And nobody gets to party much anymore until it GETS cleaned up.

Nobody, that is… except for well-listed and ad-savvy entrepreneurs.

As proven by the shenanigans all week-end long at Eben’s amazing “Green Room” brainstorm in Chicago these past few days.

Prospects still roam the countryside. And they need shit. Sometimes more desperately than before the economic implosion.

Things will either get better (after this current spate of horror plays out)…

… or things won’t get better.

You can’t control things outside your control.

You can, however, make excellent use of the tools you have at hand.

Remember: The Top Dogs aren’t all that scared.

Concerned, sure.

But not scared.

It’s just “Game On” at a higher level.

Stay tuned.

What are YOU doing to water down the adrenaline as news cycles get more and more gruesome?

Love to hear your thoughts. (Not your freakin’ politics, though. This is a marketing blog, not a partisan forum for flogging politican opposites.)

Business, guys. What are you doing to keep the gears churning, and your spirits high in these trying times?

Comment section is open and waiting for your wisdom…

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

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  • Matt Gallant says:

    NOW – is the time to go pedal to the metal.

    I’m personally starting 2 new businesses in the very near future.
    Plus, I’m partnering up with 3 other guys in various ventures.
    And, we’re launching a new product a month in our main biz.

    Seriously, I think it’s a great time to disconnect the T.V.
    ignore CNN… and just do business.


    Because there’s still plenty of buyers out there.
    Maybe there’s less… but those that have good salaries…
    solid net worths… don’t really care.

    They might be affected, however they’re not going
    to stop buying stuff.

    Just go to the mall, is there people walking around with shopping bags?

    Go to high end shops, is there any one inside?


    It’s time to pull out the warrior spirit and make things work.

    Cheers to creating your own reality,

  • Ken says:

    Yah, Matt! The view’s the same looking into my glass portal. People still want writing and they’re still paying. So it’s cool.

    How ’bout some Ross Perot wisdom? Just read it the other day.

    “Get up in the morning and look in the mirror. You’re your own job security.”

    … for what it’s worth.


  • Carl Juneau says:

    John’s wise.

    In troubled times, people turn to people they know and trust for advice.

    If you teach people how to make money, you can turn the recession to your advantage. It’s scarcity at work: people desire what they have less of.

    Losing their job or investment could be the last push over the cliff’s edge they needed to buy your product. Use it to your advantage: make them feel you understand them.


  • Bryan Bliss says:

    There are alot of things about todays turbulent times that actually add up to Opportunity that I intend to embrace.

    The only competitive advantage you can count on lasting is the ability to learn and adapt faster than your competition.

    Small Business is even MORE ready for help marketing.
    Brick and Mortar businesses will be more willing to work to grow their sales and reduce their costs with internet marketing.

    The high prices of fuel and goods will compel more people to comparison shop, research and buy more online.

    I will be there to help and I will earn the confidence, trust and commerce of a growing share of a growing market.

    Integrity, intelligence, tenacity and creativity
    never go through market slumps.
    I will always be in demand.

    I will also be looking for the right buying opportunities for the hysteria devalued equities and use my market analysis skills to snap up tomorrows winners right when they start their appreciation march.

    There’s a great opportunity if you can spot it and time it right.
    with wild market volatility like this, look for an iron condor option spread priced at close to zero debit.
    If you time it right and leg into it, buying the put spreads separate from the call spreads, you can even price it so it will actually PAY YOU no matter where the equity contracts actually expire.
    its the secret,
    super rare,
    iron condor,
    sure thing
    to pay you a buck or 2
    each contract no matter what,
    and if you hit the spread center just right at expiration you can make $10 to $15 per contract.
    goog and fslr would be good ones to watch
    for this type of volatility play.
    keep it quiet and thank me later.

    stay hedged.

    Thanks and take care
    bryan Bliss

  • Hi John,

    now I don’t really know that much about politics and the state of the world.
    I remember the pictures of men standing on the street holding out signs “looking for work” and Bukowski writing about his youth during the great depression.

    I just hope it won’t be as bad as in those days (or worse). Hope no nutcase is gonna start another big war, or that the real 2015 won’t be Orwels fictional 1984.

    Am I scared? Well, a bit, yah. I mean, 900 billion is a lot of moolah, and according to “the experts”, that’s nowhere near the final numbers.

    But it’s the kind of fear that spurs me towards taking action fast, not paralyzing fear.

    Marketing knowledge grows exponentially in value the rougher the going gets. It’s a lot easier to hire people that desperately need money, than to hire people who would like to have another high-resolution flatscreen tv for their bathroom.

    I don’t want to sound like an ass, but I think “the workforce” has gotten pretty lazy. I look around the world and I see people working way, way harder than Americans or Europeans do. Look at those Chinese – they’re working and studying obsessively, while kids here spend their time watching MTV and chillin’. Too me, that’s the most viable and sensible way of judging the economic future of a nation (but then again, I don’t know much about it… I just think about what I see. And I realize that the current problems are caused by greedy Wall Street fatcats, not lazy workers).

    My grandparents lived through WWII in Germany and rebuilt the country afterwards. They did it with lots of hard work. And 30 years later, Germany was one of the strongest economies of the world, rebuilt from the ruins. By now, I think there is a peak of lazyness in Germany (and probably the USA too), and I think the effects will show a decade or two down the road.

    I’m developing a system teaching local businesses to get more clients (and thus make more money). Most of them don’t know anything about marketing. They think putting a nice storefront up, keeping the room tidy and putting up red signs that say “30% OFF EVERYTHING” is marketing. Maybe wasting some money on “image campaign ads” in the local newspaper. If I can make their business grow while everybody else is going down, they won’t stop throwing money at me.

    Copywriting Kid
    PS: Just noticed I started out with “I don’t really know much” and then went on into a whole rambling. Haha, I wonder if that really spurs people into reading…

  • Hi John I am also starting a business in mid October which everyone around me things I am nuts.

    But hey I remember when the peanut farmer was tearing down the country and I was paying 23% interest on my floor plan at the time.

    Then it did get somewhat better during the SL bank shut down at least I could buy at 10 cents on the dollar.

    So I am not letting this bother me I just smell $$$ all over again because now in Florida I can buy homes all around me for 30 cents on the dollar. Yeah I love those greedy damn bankers.

    Yes John we are getting older!


  • Mark L says:

    Hi John,

    Good post!

    I’ve been reading this little book a lot lately:

    The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.
    – Sun Tzu – The Art of War

    Reality-based awareness will show us there is still work out there
    for marketers and copywriters willing to hustle.

    It’s not the worst of times yet…

    Mark L – Marketing Rebel Staff

  • Hi John,

    I’ve been refusing to accept the poor economic times all year. In January it was predicted by another wise marketer I know that this was coming because it’s an election year and people will always be more cautious. Once the prez is elected it will be business as usual. Obviousy he didn’t predict the real estate crisis, skyrocketing oil, and all the other factors that created the nightmare we’re in today.

    The truth is what you feed your mind is how your body and emotions react. It may sound a little pollyanna-ish but every morning before I get out of bed I visualize how I want my day to go. Then I take it to whatever outcome I want in some big area of my life and picture it in utter sensory detail until it feels real. My emotions and energy aligns (with practice you can actually feel it.) Then I can come at the day relaxed and in control rather than reacting. Does that make sense. You have to feed your mind good thoughts just like you have to feed your body good food (or it’ll let you know).

    Like you said, we’re not in control so let it go. You never had it to begin with. There are always people out there with money even in hard times. Like you said, game on at a higher level. No big deal. Thanks for asking.


  • Kyle says:

    Quite honestly… nothing has happened yet that’s directly affected me. Everyone I know is running around complaining about “the economy” but to me, “the economy” seems a lot like the nebulous “them” you described.

    I do a lot of people in my industry have openly lowered their fees, giving away the farm for any fee. This year, I raised my workshop prices and simply educated the hell out of my prospects as to why now more than ever they NEED what I offer. I just show the value I give that no one else does and my fees go out the window.


  • John,

    As I learned from my mentor of six years, Robert Kiyosaki, this is the time when the rich get richer. This is actually a VERY GOOD time, naw… the BEST time to get rich.

    You see, when everyone else is scrambling, yanking money OUT of the market, that is when the best deals show themselves.

    Sure, entrepreneurs have an advantage because we create our own deals. We continue to build the list, talk to it and cement our place as a leader in these “hard times”.

    However, what most people are not talking about, is that even as entrepreneurs, we still need to know what to do with our money once we’ve made it.

    That is where financial education comes in.

    Where are the GOOD deals right now? Where should we be investing, even as droves are heading out of the market?

    Being an entrepreneur with a list that trusts you is only the first step.

    1) Get list
    2) Talk to list
    3) Create product
    4) Sell product to list
    5) Get cash
    6) Um… what the ‘F’ do it do with the money now?

    That is where even the entrepreneurs can and will get into trouble. A $800K product launch means squat if you turn around and out that into the market that just lost $1.2 trillion!

    Get wise. That is the key.


  • Hal Hoadley says:

    Big Bad John,

    Can’t seem to get that tune outta my head. I hear it everytime I read your blog.
    Hey, I just read, again, that there are 73 million Baby Boomers getting ready to retire. Some of those baby boomers are going to need our help. I don’t know what they need right now but I’m sure I can get some of them to raise their hands up high and they’ll tell me what they want or need. Then I’ll make sure they get what they ask for. Don’t listen to the pessimists and some of our politicians because they don’t get it. This is a great time to be an entreprenuer. Our history proves that everytime this country has had troubles in the financials we have come back even stronger. If you don’t like the way things are, change them.
    Look at our economy this way, every bad situation has a silver lining. This time is no different. Stay in the game, be ready and when the time is right you will prosper. I know I will.
    Dedicated to your profitability,
    Hal Hoadley
    LAH Promotions

    John Carlton replies:

    Hi Hal. I think MOST of the retiring Boomers are gonna need help. I’m certainly positioning myself as a resource, for those smart enough to grab it.

    The worst thing that bubbles do is create this fairy tale brain wave that hypnotizes the zombies into believing we’re all suddenly bullet-proof, and that’s just bullshit.

    The country done got soft. Now it’s time to harden up, and get after it again with a vengence. The resistance from the zombies addicted to zoned-out easy times is irrelevant. In fact, it’s great motivation, something to push against.

    Thanks for the post.


  • ken says:

    Me? I’m a day trader, I love the volatility… this stuff is what fortunes are made of, when traded correctly… and right re insular worlds, being capable at marketing and connecting with a passionate audience that “gets it” means sales are still strong regardless… because your niche trusts you, so the money keeps on coming.

    and now back to AAPL, BIDU, GOOG, RIMM and the rest of the crew…it’s a great time in the markets… (note polar opposite thinking, often is the right thinking, like today’s snap-back huge long market rally that regained most of yesterday’s selloff… it’s all about thinking a step ahead of the crowd)…


  • Deep Arora says:

    FOCUS, and when I say that I also would advise anyone to carefully consider what will distract you from doing what you need to do. These times calls for as many options as you can possibly take. But don’t forget what you’re focusing on, that is the most important thing you need to do. Get it done.

    Some call options as distractions too. And I would understand that. You can’t bury your head in the sand though. A quick piece of advise would be to look at trends. Where are people going? What businesses are taking a rise, and what are taking hits. Those aren’t distractions, those are signposts… clues that tell you which way to go… and how to adjust your focus better.

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