So, I Take A Few Days Off… And All Hell Breaks Loose…


Thursday, early
Phoenix, AZ
“Truckin’, like the Do-Dah man…” (Dead, again)

Good grief…

Nice little cat-fight going on in the comments section of the last post.

Which, of course, is fine.  I’ve still never deleted a comment in the 5 years I’ve been in the saddle of this blog.

(Side note: Has anyone figured out if there are “Web years”, which would be like “dog years” where each canine lap around the calendar is equal to 7 human laps?  I gotta tell ya, it seems like I’ve been tending this beast for half my life…)

So, anyway, here’s the post for today…

… addressing the most pressing issues being discussed:

Post Element #1: I’m still on the road.  Quick stop home to repack (hope I’ve got clean socks stashed somewhere), and then back on a plane…

… this time to San Diego to meet with Tony Robbins, and Mike Koenigs of Traffic Geyser.

Last weekend, I was a featured guest at Joe Polish’s “$25K Mastermind” quarterly meeting (so-called because members pony up $25K to belong) (and every single member I’ve met says it’s worth it many times over).

And, since we were in semi-warm weather… and there was still 3 feet of snow back home…

… I decided to stay in AZ for a few days, meet up with my biz partner Stan… and golf.

For my birthday.

So you tweakers who were so busy questioning my motives for our upcoming January event…

… were doing so on my birthday.

Have you no shame?

Is there no safe haven of time left on this chaotic planet for a man to take a break from social media… to go futilely chase little white balls around the desert?

This is not right, people.

Let’s all take a deep breath, okay?

Post Element #2: I’ll be back at this blog next week.

I’ve got a back-up of posts to lay on y’all, too.  Good stuff about the FTC (I’ve got the goods on the new recommendations, I believe)… Google’s latest round of going medieval on people… some hard-core insight to social media (R.I.P. Twitter?)…

… and, of course, updates and revelations about the upcoming event in January.

But why wait?

Let’s clear up a few of the more hurtful misconceptions here and now:

First… this is not a pitchfest.  The days are not broken up into blocks of time for a presentation and rush to the sales table.

Get straight on this: I wasn’t just “there” during the glory days of Halbert’s best seminars…

… I was co-producing the little monsters.

I wrote the letters that brought people in.  I conspired with Gary to amaze, astound and befuddle attendees… all part of our increasing awareness of how excellent teaching actually happened.  (Hint: Very few people know to teach, really.  I’ve been at this for 22 years.  If you’re confused about who’s doing the teaching in this biz and who’s ladling out the bullshit… you’re just not paying attention.)

I co-produced a few dozen events with Halbert, hosted a few of my own even before I’d met him…

… and, over the last 7 years or so, have created my own model.  Which is part workshop, part consultation, and ALL learning.

That’s what this upcoming “Action Seminar” is all about.  Most of the writer/teachers from the Simple Writing System faculty will be there…

… plus some very important experts who will share the good stuff.

I’ll explain more later… cuz, like I said, I’m still technically on the road.  (And I’ll be royally pissed off if I miss my plane because I’m posting on this blog…)

Just know this: Stan and I (and our favorite colleagues) will be focusing on helping people get their act together…

… enough to make 2010 their best year ever, business-wise.

We’re going to share everything we know, and uncork what our colleagues know… about setting up sales funnels that grab lots of traffic, and efficiently move prospects through the process of creating loyal customers.

We’re good at this.  We just had OUR best year ever… in the teeth of the continuing recession, amidst all the whining and hand-wringing and predictions of certain Doom.

It will NOT be an event like you’ve seen before.

Here, you can get all your questions answered… see real entrepreneur’s ads critiqued and deconstructed (and reassembled as bad-ass marketing that works)… shuck and jive to your heart’s content with biz owners who’ve already solved the problems that keep you frozen…

… and so on.  There will be Hot Seats, serious brainstorming on topics close to a capitalist’s little heart, tutorials on moolah-generating stuff you don’t even know exists yet (especially in pay-per-click)…

… and no bullshit at any point.

We’re hard-as-nails marketers, deep on the cutting edge of what’s working (where it’s also obvious what’s not working, which is just as important).

And, just to remind the tweakers:  This blog is (and always has been) mostly solid content.

Good advice, excellent tactics, and all the unfair advantages that come from hanging out with a grizzled veteran who loves to spill the beans.

Yes, here and there I will let you know about an opportunity we’re presenting to folks who care about opportunity.  Like this upcoming event.

If you can’t get past that, then you’ve got some issues to address that are all yours.  Please leave me out of it.

The Web is infested with people who bitch just for the sake of bitching… and who feel they have a “right” to thrash reputations because they’re enraged at their own failure.

It’s the nature of the world.  I expected no less when I raised my head above the fray and started teaching and blogging and handling “guru” chores.

For those of you who aren’t sure what to think about this kind of opportunity…

… which is an honest chance to come hang out with me, my staff, a gang of the best writers on the planet, and a bevy of experts who do NOT make their living speaking from stages…

… I invite you to investigate further. (And pay more attention to the folks who actually have experience with me, than to the tweakers who feel cheated by life.)

We will not be holding another event like this in the future.  My workshops and seminars are all TOTALLY unique, because they’re tailored to the needs of attendees.

When I get back next week, I’ll be happy to answer any question you care to put to us about this Action Seminar.

Just ask, in the comments section below.

Yes, it’s dirt cheap.  We’re not gouging, and we will over-deliver like mo-fo’s.

That’s what we do.

If you haven’t figured out — after 5 freaking years of this blog — that I am the most transparent and most willing-to-help guru on the scene…

… well, it’s just weird.  You might need your “critical thinking” nodules examined.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go catch a plane…

Stay frosty,


P.S. Seriously, gimme your most pressing questions, here in the comments section.

I know you’ve got ’em.  Let’s clear it all up now, while there’s time to make a rational decision to come to the event (and get your travel expenses in before the end of the year, for tax purposes).

P.P.S. One update:  For a variety of reasons, I’m rejuggling the faculty of this event.  So some of the folks in that very cool video on the site won’t be there, after all, and some new ones have been included:

I’ll have the fresh line-up of heavy hitters ready next week.

And, just for the record, the rejuggling is solely because of travel conflicts, and the continuing adjustments Stan and I are making to the structure of this event.  We’re all still great buddies.

Because these events are so unique, we’re not trapped in any pre-made paradigm.  So, as we brainstorm and get brilliant input from others, we’re able to morph, easily and without grief.

This is all about delivering the goods to attendees.

Spots are very limited.  It’s cheap as heck.  You’re gonna love it.

More later…

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  • ken c says:

    Sounds like it’ll be a great event – best wishes John and everyone else with it! Seems like now more than ever it’s really important for folks to get up-to-date tactics on how to improve their success, and you’ve got a talented group of folks there to work with… best wishes for success as always. And happy holidays.


  • The Master says:

    damn ken, you just me for the FIRST post by like seconds.


  • The Master says:

    Dam ken, you just beat me for the first post by like seconds.


  • ken c says:

    right, themaster… heck I’m a day trader, what can I say? timing’s everything… 🙂

    I’m sure John and his team will overdeliver as always for his seminar, John’s on the very short list of guys really worth learning from and ‘going deep’ with… have a great event.


  • Dang it! It looks like I won’t be able to make it after all. I was really looking forward to it.

    I have absolutely NO doubt that anyone attending will be completely blown away and never want to even see the whiners here in the comments ever again.

    Keep up the great work John. I’ll have to catch you on the flip side.

  • Ray says:

    Huh.. the video on that page sure doesn’t want to make me murder my competition.

  • Under the Big W says:

    This is an absolute Outrage!

    You yum yums are the biggest ass
    kissers on the blog.

    Kristi Daniels, ken c, and the rest of
    you ninnies… with brown noses need
    to wake up. It’s a SALES event…fool.

    Good grief…

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Under. Thanks for the comment.
      However, this is very much NOT a “sales event”. Brian Johnson (the head guy over at Rich Schefren’s operation) will be there to contribute (and he knows a TON about making a biz work)… and he’s not selling anything. Bob Serling just told me he’s stopping by to throw in his two cents (and he’s the guy the Web Big Dogs consult with when they’re looking to grow)… nothing to sell. Lots of experienced, hot-shot copywriters will be there, contributing their insight to attendee-submitted ads & websites… selling nothing explicitly.
      The list goes on.
      Now, sure, because nearly all the experts surrounding me are professionals, you could twist their arm to get them to sell you something. Heck, every time you have any contact with a good pro, you should explore the opportunities available (even though — shockingly — these opportunities may involve the exchange of money).
      But you’ll see none of the usual “rush to the back of the room” stuff here. No clever pitches designed to incite a buying frenzy.
      You’re jaded, dude. Your cynicism has blinded you to seeing the world without suspicion.
      That’s not healthy. Get a grip… ask me anything you want about the event… and stop insulting people just because they do not share your jaded view of things.
      Really, man. You’re welcome to post here, and contrary views are necessary to keep things honest.
      But put some critical thought into it first.
      When we put together the first seminars for the Simple Writing System… while we were still working out the kinks… I was onstage for two days at a time, teaching. No other speakers. No pitching happened at all. We didn’t have a way to take an order even if someone wanted to buy something.
      The two Copywriting Sweatshops I’ve held (which cost $5,000 a seat, by the way), same thing — just me, for an extended weekend, teaching (and no pitch in sight). Same with the multiple Hot Seat workshops — there were experts in the audience, but they never pitched anything. Same with the “License To Steal” seminar, and on an on. All of these are on DVD, so you can see it for yourself. (Check out YouTube for brief samples, in fact, from many of those events.)
      Again — whenever you involve professionals who offer services or sell products as part of their business, there is an opportunity to start a paid relationship with them. Your choice. And it’s not the same thing as a pitch-a-thon event where speaker after speaker hits the stage trying to outdo all the other speakers in sales.
      We’re not doing that. We’re not doing that. We’re not doing that.
      I can see I’ve got more education to do here, to make sure people see the value in this unique, thrill-causing event we’re putting on…

  • Lyn says:

    I obviously missed all the HOOHA but I read your reply John and all I can say is SIC EM REX! LOL…I’m in Australia so can’t amke the event but I wish you all the best…sadly there are only a few who really know their stuff (like you)…so to quote an old (60’s?) song I happen to love..”keep it coming, love, keep it coming love…” we need you!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family…

    • John Carlton says:

      Lyn, from Sydney, have you met Lina, from Sydney?
      I love that town. James Schrakmo forced me to eat my first meat pie there… and I was a goner. Great quality of life, great people…
      Anyway, thanks for the note. Enjoy the holidays…

  • Lina says:

    Hi John

    I only heard about you a couple of months ago. You were highly recommended to me by my Internet Marketing coach. I signed up to your database and I’ve already learnt so much from you in the short time I’ve known about you. When your offer for the January event was sent out, I was sold. But I have to admit, buyer’s remorse kicked in soon after. I wondered, am I going to get value? Are they going to sell me stuff the whole weekend without teaching me good content? I’m flying over from Sydney and now’s not a good time for me to go to a dud event (not that there’s ever a good time for that). So, I thank Under for his comment. And I thank John for your reply to that. It’s helped me to deal with any remorse I had. I can’t wait to get over to San Diego and learn from you and your mates John.

    Lina from Sydney.

    • John Carlton says:

      Thanks for the note, Lina.

    • Lyn says:

      Hi Lina, John replied to my post and asked have I met you…from Sydney too! Where are you in Sydney? I’m in Concord. Am launching in late Jan 10…a new web business. (This is my other – 12 yr old – business…http:/// so I’m going to be a super busy girl! What are you up to? I wish you a wonderful Christmas and the best year yet for 2010!
      Lyn – Concord Sydney

  • Romeo Blais says:

    Don’t worry Lina, now that G.H. is teaching his stuff to angels and belevolent human beings up above, Johns the new GOD of salesmanship in print here on earth.

    I call him the Voltaire of copywriter’s. Pure Genius.

    • John Carlton says:

      Voltaire? Wow. High praise, indeed.
      Hope you have a good holiday, Romeo — and thanks for all the out-of-the-box comments… keeps things interesting here.

  • Pete Moring says:

    Ha!….nothing like brewing up a storm to get people’s attention 🙂

    We’ve just had a great example of this in the UK. Our usual sad X-Factor single which has always been virtually guaranteed to get a number one spot in the charts at christmas, got blown out of the water because a couple with enough savvy about social networking launched an anti- X-Factor campaign on Facebook. It got some great hype and T.V coverage which ensured a less-than-great sigle which was only available through download grabbed the coveted number one spot for this year 🙂

    Simon Cowell has since offered the couple who launched the campaign a job, but they turned him down???

    I’m guessing John that you’re loving this bit of controversy on your blog and I hope it generates the desired effect for you. (Another stroke from the master 🙂

    Good luck, and have a Great Christmas!

    Pete Moring.

  • Jonathan says:

    Hmmmm. The world is indeed a fascinating place where strange creatures jump out of bushes to scare the townsfolk and devour sheep with their sharp pointy teeth….and evidently post junk on decent blogs.

    John best wishes for the festive season, enjoy yourself and above all else stay frosty.

    I know the event will be a great learning experience and I’ll be doing all I can to make it there because it will set me up very nicely for 2010….and if I do make it I actually owe your company some money….it’s a long story……but seriously every Jonny C product or interaction has been great value.

    There’s plenty of gurus I am seriously disappointed in…..almost to the point of printing out the reams of pitch ridden emails and crap products….tracking them down and beating them over the head until I finally deliver death by choking them with their bloody FREE DVDs (just pay shipping….conservatively worth $4million)….leaving them to rot while their own worthless MP3s play in the background……….

    ….and yet I don’t chase them around trying to throw mud…….cos I really don’t see how that builds my business…..

    A bit of a rant I know. I got a little ticked off.

    Merry Xmas everybody!

  • Tom Stannard says:

    Thinks don’t change much around here.

    Anyone else impressed by the creative photograph atop this post?

    Happy holidays everyone.


  • Reading through I failed to see a problem anywhere. This blog is about communicating ideas, nuances, experiences, stories, anecdotes and above all questions.

    I have a question.
    Can anyone reading this resonate with the suggestion ??:

    “Good communication can assist with any problem in identifying it and then resolving it”.

    Of course this begs other questions – like
    “What is good about communication?”
    “Can great communication melt an impasse?”
    “Is there anything new to study that we don’t already know?”

    And so forth. I am running a free course on the group network if anyone wants to know.
    I mean totally free – a gift of heuristic learning about something we all love to do – talk to other men and women who are making a difference.

    Happy Christmas everyone ! whatever your leanings in the more spiritual side of things. God speed and God bless.

    Jackie Mackay

  • Paul H says:

    Hi John,
    Thrilled to see you teeing it up. Hope you read all those books you wrote copy for! I’m a PGA pro and would like to offer my assistance if you ever find that you need help with your game. Long, straight, and frosty!

    • John Carlton says:

      Naw, I suck at golf. So does Stan… so we have been golfing buddies for something like 20 years now. If either of us got any better, we’d upset the delicate balance of the fun. As it stands, we usually split all the ridiculous bets made on the round, over time…
      You really can enjoy golf, while sucking at it. Weird, but true…
      We often golf with guys who were on the rookie tours, and while they pummel us, they still have so much fun that they do it over and over again. (I’m talking about Dean Jackson and Brian Johnson, among others. Great golfers, who put up with us, but still look forward to the games…)
      Thanks for the offer. Give me 3 things to help my putting (erratic), and 3 tips to keeping Mr Slice off the tee, and I’d be forever grateful…

  • Matthew D says:

    dudes & dudettes…

    John gets it, and like every person who says they get it, I had a healthy dose of skepticism at first.

    Then I joined Simple Writing System Coaching. Wasn’t 100% sure how it was going to help me though I have a burning desire to refine my writing skills and low and behold most places I looked pointed to John Carlton (of course those other places other than the “most” pointed towards the other teachers in the program)

    Then we got into action…

    … “dude, A-List writers are giving me feedback on how to improve my writing, holy-listen-and-shut-the-^&*$-up-batman”

    “oh yea, then apply it dude”

    My point: those who complain from hell to high water about their lot in life, have you ever stopped to think that maybe the reason you’re not getting ahead or why the ones who’ve made it aren’t willing to openly give you advice, is due in large part to you complaining about your lot in life?

    And this isn’t an attack, i’m simply saying, look yourself in the mirror and say:
    “it’s you, dude (or dudette if you’re a woman)”

    if you can make it to john’s event, do what you can to make it there, if you can’t, find something you can swing and build from there, eh.

    the dude that observes 😉

    P.S. I got love for ya

    • John Carlton says:

      Always happy to have you watching my back, Matthew. Thanks for the excellent, insightful post. Have a great holiday…

  • Kyle says:

    John – good post, and excellent response to Under.

    When I posted in the comments of the last blog, I knew you had/have it in you to break away from what everyone else is doing with seminars and do them the “right” way – Gary and Jay’s way. And I am extremely glad to hear you’re going to do it that way again. The marketing community is STARVED for a seminar like their old ones… yet even the best current cutting edge guru’s won’t put it on.

    Basically any pitch (such as the one you made for this seminar) that has a “Speaker Line-Up” listed gets red flagged as “Dan Kennedy/Peter Lowe pitch-fest.” I realize now that’s not your intention but I wasn’t convinced of that when reading your original promo for the seminar.

    I am now though. =)

    • John Carlton says:

      I have changed the sales page for the seminar. To be fair to Under, it DID look like it could be a pitchfest, with the video and the jive-ass blurbs on the experts.
      Hopefully, the changes better reflect the interactive nature of this thing.
      I know the experts are excited — they hate pitchfests, too, you know. At the end of the day, we all just want to help people and share the wealth… while earning whatever profits we make in our own marketing.

      • John Carlton says:

        Small update: As of Monday, the page hasn’t changed yet on the site. Bad week to be getting anything done. Should be updated, though, soon…

  • Kammy says:

    Hi John,

    Good reply to Under — until you said, “Now, sure, because nearly all the experts surrounding me are professionals, you could twist their arm to get them to sell you something.”

    Sorry, J, but my BS meter hit the roof on that one. You know, and we know, that their part in your conference is not for purely altruistic reasons. They’re there to build their businesses as much as anyone else.

    And that’s perfectly OKAY! You don’t have to apologize for it, and you don’t have to skirt the issue with foolish statements.

    Reasonable adults know that speaking is a marketing medium to get more business, and we don’t mind a short pitch as long as we get excellent value from the presentation.

    • Kyle says:

      Well said Kammy.

      I just wish for once a lot of the big names would simply deliver things as advertised… instead of trying to hide, disguise or twist facts. Warts and all, just tell us what to expect.

      A short pitch as you said is fine. It’s the hour long presentations where they *describe* something, deliver no value, then pitch.

      Description is not delivery.

    • John Carlton says:

      You’re spot on, Kammy. We’re capitalists, and we sell shit for a living — products and services and, yes, seminars.
      But the difference is in the attitude behind the selling. I actually like to teach… and as you can see from Simple Writing System grads like Matthew, above, we overdeliver. We’re serious about it.
      If you detected some BS, it was only my reluctance to get too deep into explaining capitalism to someone already cynical about everyone’s motives.
      The key to longevity in any biz is value. You can cheat and lie and make a fortune… but you won’t be a lasting presence on the scene. And you’ll have a harder road to climb if you stay ethical and honest and overdeliver… and you may even not make as much as the scammers (sad little truth about life there)… but you’ll sleep easy, and have real relationships with people, and enjoy that rare treat of actually being a productive member of the tribe. It rocks.
      Have a great holiday, K.

    • You are partly right about everybody wants to sell something. However, the really good ones (Frank K., John, Tony R., Jay A., )etc. don’t need “pitch fests.” They already sell enough that there is no need. They more likely to want to say. “I knew (whoever), when he was still getting started.” They’ve made their money and fame (which as I see it, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be), and want to help others.
      I’m not super famous, and don’t want to be. What I’m working on, is to “Pay forward” all the help I’ve gotten in my life. Once I have the income to live on comfortably (pay reasonable bills, and a paid for place to live), it’s all about helping others. I’ve been studying the “Internet sales culture” since 1992/3. Back when all there was was a _single_ newsletter (long since gone). I can’t count the people that I’ve learned from, argued with, sometimes even helped with an outside viewpoint over the years. I started as greener than Irish grass, with no sales ability. From what I learned, I was growing a business on frayed dental floss, until I was crippled in a car accident in 2000.
      I don’t have to work on a book for small business to do more effective with Advertising, marketing, and Selling, using what I learned. I could scrape by on my SSDI, but I believe I owe all that I learned from a, a payback. So, I’m squeezing out what I can, to put up a website, and system to sell that book, and help those like I once was. If I make more than I need, About 250-300K/yr pre-tax (being 85% paraplegic means high medical costs), I can boost some charities.
      BTW, there is an “Internet Years” factor. 🙂 My theory is that 6-8 years (calendar time, and getting faster) is an “Internet Century.” I claim credit for that phrase, but hereby release it to Public Domain.:-) John, keep learning and giving back. Ignore the Dumb—– that look for the hidden hook. They’ll get smart some calendar century.

      • I forgot to add that I take 24 Mg a day of continuous release morphine for pain, while the lower third of my back collapses. So, I apologize if the thought flow isn’t always completely clear. :-\ Eventually the nerves will be crushed in the lower third, and I can get off pain killers. Then, I can use senility as an excuse (I am almost 400 in total Internet and physical years).

  • patricia says:

    Hi John,
    I was under the impression that anyone with a blog that is also in thebusiness of offering products or services to others has the right to occasionally make offers through said blog. I am not able to attend your conference/workshop, but would presume if it’s more workshop than conference, that sales pitches would be at a minimum. I’ve seen webinars of workshops where the info is excellent and there is the off-hand offer made but never the focal point of the workshop. I’m guessing that yours will be the same. i.e. chock full of writing teaching with the occasional “oh, by the way…” thrown in. The teaching part being well worth the sufferance of the occasional “oh, by the way…”
    Merry Christmas to all!!

  • Kevin Rogers says:

    As unmotivated as I am to argue with forum snipers who lack the courage to use their name…

    (you DO know if you do this it conjures images of greasy, middle-aged men huddled in mommy’s basement, right? If you stand behind your comments — put a name to them. There’s just no defense for not showing yourself)

    … I can appreciate their motivation.

    It’s a true drag to pay good money, leave your cozy nest, battle public transport, and arrive to a conference expecting to fill a fresh notebook with innovative ideas (or at least a new way of looking at the fundamentals)… only to have hot air speakers shove order forms at you for 2 days straight.

    I’ve been to my fair share. (My favorite is where certain speakers take the whole “casual entrepreneur” thing so far that before they hit the stage you assume they’re there to sell weed.)

    I’ve also been to 3 Carlton events and I can tell you… your fears are unwarranted.

    Legitimate, but unwarranted.

    John’s events (and yes, he did have a big hand in creating what is so revered about the Halbert events) are pure, unfiltered content.

    In fact, I’ve seen to a hot seat or two where the recipient might’ve wished they were getting softballs pitched at them all day rather than the straight ahead, brutal-to-hear truth about their biz.

    These events are also the most fun I have all year. Tales of after-hours revelry has become the stuff of legend.

    (If you doubt the intensity of John’s events, consider that the industries top “gurus” like David Garfinkel, Harlan Kilstein, David Deutsch, Dean Jackson, Tina Lorenz, The Halbert Brothers, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero and Mike Morgan consistently pay their own expense to sit on the expert panel with John and NOT pitch a thing. They do it because they appreciate the break from pitch-fests same as you… and oddly enough
    even the brightest (and richest) marketers still thirst for knowledge — and they always get it from John.)

    So, if you come to San Diego, bring your spine and your Alka-Seltzer, but leave your checkbook at home. You’ll be there to fill your head, not drain your wallet.

    See you there, Amigos.


    • John Carlton says:

      “Bring your spine and your Alka-Seltzer.” NICELY turned phrase, K-Man.
      We do start to sound like the annoying early protesters in a movement sometimes… saying things few believe (until they experience it), and often bucking the establishment so hard that the dissonance overwhelms common sense.
      Whatever. I’ve been plugging away at providing what I feel is the “real shit” for decades now, and I remain goddamn proud of it.
      Should be another history-making event. The Kool Kids will be there, for sure…

  • Kammy says:

    Excellent reply, John. Now quit feeling like you have to justify yourself to people who are baiting you. Your energy is better spent elsewhere.

    P.S. This doesn’t come from someone who drinks any particular guru’s “Koolaid”, but from someone who sees the value in your many contributions.

  • Mike says:

    I’m still on the fence with this for some reason (I live in San Diego, Already have your SWS and love it, and I really need my business to take off this year or I start looking for something else). I guess I really need to know I’ll be able to walk away with enough ammo to crush it in 2010 – at a very minimum, what are the chances I’ll be able to get some feedback on my website? Is this something that will bring marginal improvement or a giant mega leap forward?

    • Not sure if you’re going to walk away with enough ammo? Take your pulse dude. You put your business in front of the panel John is putting together and we’ll take it apart and rebuild it in front of your eyes.

      It’s amazing people do not realize the value here. This is NOT a pitch fest.

      You guys have been spoiled by instant coffee for too long you don’t recognize the Kona when it’s put in front of you.

      Man does John over deliver at these things. I’ve been on a hot seat. Wow.

      The time will FLY by.

      • Mike says:

        Hey man, just wanted to make sure this is right for my kind business – never been to this sort of thing before – I absolutely don’t know Kona from instant!

        • Kevin Rogers says:

          Valid question, Mike.

          What Harlan means is, the evidence of high value is there if you look closely. (If you love the SWS, this really is a no-brainer)

          But here’s the drive-thru version…

          Come to this event in San Diego with your website and biz plan in hand and you will walk away armed with the info you need to take your biz to the next level.

          Now, that may mean you hear: “bad idea, it’ll never work unless you restructure it this way…” or “It’s 90% there, now do this, this and this…”

          But, I promise, you will leave there with at LEAST 3 action steps you can apply immediately to improve your biz. Whatever that means to you. More traffic, higher conversions, better copy, wiser positioning, stronger back-end… you’ll learn it all.

          But it’s up to you to…
          1. Be present
          2. Follow through

          If you’re good like that, you WILL get massive value from this event.

          Mike, people fly half-way around the planet to attend John’s events. If you can’t make it around the corner…?

        • Mike says:

          Just took the plunge… Nervously Excited about the event… Just got the confirmation email – Very Nice! Happy New Year and I’ll see you there!

    • Kammy says:

      John, do you offer a money-back guarantee if the buyer isn’t thrilled with what they’ve learned by the end of the first day? If they don’t feel the seminar is as valuable as they hoped, they can go home with a full refund check in their pocket.

      Maybe this would help some of the folks who’ve mentioned they’re still sitting on the fence.

      • John Carlton says:

        Hi Kammy. I’ve offered guarantees like that before, and I recommend it to clients. However, space is so limited at this event, and the overwhelming value is so obvious, that I expect it to be filled with people who are not afraid to make what should be the easiest decision to make in their lives.
        The line-up of professionals asking to be allowed in include Big Dog marketers and their “magic men” — folks who intuitively know the value being doled out here.
        I do NOT want anyone to mortgage the farm, or put off their college education, or sell grandma’s jewelry to scrape together enough to come.
        Rookies will learn a ton (maybe the most of anyone there). However, I discourage any rookie to believe this is their “last chance” for redemption. If you’re in dire straights, then you need to take care of business at home first. Seriously. You’re going to learn a massive amount of stuff here, and have marching orders to get it done… but you still need your LIFE to be working at a fundamental level to move forward.
        There’s no magic in this event. It’s hard-core business advice and insight, from people who are DOING it… distilled into easily-understood action steps.
        This is a tangent, but it’s important: We often get people contacting us in a near panic… asking for special consideration and “trades” in exchange for a course or consultation or being allowed into an event.
        My advice is always the same: Once you’re in an emergency situation, you need to focus on that. If you’re dead broke and clueless about business, then don’t borrow to get a course, or go to an event, or do anything that won’t immediately start getting you out of trouble. That’s being helpless, and throwing your life into someone else’s hands… and it won’t work.
        What WILL work is to find a job, or two jobs, or whatever you have to do to start bringing in money. Commit yourself to a period (however long it takes) to do 2 things:
        1. Get yourself out of the immediate financial crisis. So you can pay rent, and have the next month’s rent covered, and put food on the table. This is taking care of your basic survival needs (via Maslow’s ranking).
        2. As you settle and begin to get a handle on your current situation… start SAVING. If you’re in a dead-end job that just meets basic needs, then take another job on the weekends… and save all of that cash. Put it in an account where you can’t touch it.
        This saved money has a purpose. If you are eager to get into business, then while you’re saving, start researching which course or seminar you believe you want to get in on in the future — when you can pay CASH for it, and not put yourself or your family in financial jeopardy.
        This is called… um… planning. It’s setting a goal, and figuring out a way to achieve it.
        If you do this — save up and work toward being able to easily pay for a course or event without going into debt, and just lay down the cash — you will have taken a MAJOR step toward independence and gaining control over your life.
        For most, this also means putting your social life on hold for a while. That’s called discipline — taking care of business before pleasure. Making that particular vow changed my life immediately.
        If you want to be a biz owner, in a biz that kicks butt, then you’ve got to commit.
        Your rebirth as a financially secure person won’t happen overnight… no matter how appealing all those Biz Op deals out there seem. Most folks gamble with their business future, and jump into projects or deals that a real professional would advise them NOT to get into. (This happened at the recent Joe Polish $25K brainstorm in Phoenix, where I just spoke. A well-off off-line biz owner was struggling getting online, and had just thrown money at a self-described “expert” to get the job done. He’d had the wool pulled over his eyes, and every other person in the room knew it. He was shocked, then confused, and finally allowed himself to put his wounded ego aside and start listening to what REAL experts were advising him to do.)
        People, you do not “play” at business. Nor do you close your eyes and hope really hard that things will work out.
        And you do NOT give money to experts — no matter how persuasive they are — until you are convinced (and have outside proof) that they are worth listening to.
        We want grown-ups at this event. It’s fine to be a rookie — we love working with people who haven’t fouled things up too much yet. (Though, we also love the challenge of helping veteran biz owners who can get cooking on good advice quickly.)
        But you cannot bring entrenched “wishful thinking” to this seminar and expect magic to happen.
        We’re going to lay out the goods. We’ll give you marching orders.
        But it’s up to you to follow through after that.
        If you have a poor history of following through, that’s something you need to work on. If you’re so broke you have to hitchhike home, it’s going to be hard to implement anything.
        And if you’re so frightened by the prospect of coming to an event and being disappointed… then you shouldn’t come.
        You should also never date, never travel anywhere on vacation, and never eat at a new restaurant. Because, OMG, what if you’re disappointed!?!
        You know, in your gut, if you should come.
        We’re NOT giving this event again. It’s a big freaking deal to put it on, and I’m already exhausted dealing with the details of it.
        But we’re doing it with ALL of our powers and energy and brain wattage. That’s why so many Big Dogs are coming — they know my reputation for putting on events that deliver the goods. With no BS in sight.
        If you’re scared, stay home.
        If you’re ready to roll, we’re ready to help you.

  • Mark L says:

    Hey all,
    The last San Francisco event JC and Stan put on had a room FULL of top marketers and copywriters – it was a rapid-fire exchange of ideas and insights into the future of marketing that was a total rush.
    Nobody pitched a damn thing…
    We pulled out all the stops for this one , the over-delivery will be scary-good… and, as Kevin said,
    very intense.
    The SWS crew is pumped for this one. The last event was just a warm-up for what’s gonna be served up in San Diego.
    Grab your Boogie Board, Ray-Bans and be there…

    Mark L – Senior SWS Instructor

  • Matt Bisogno says:

    “Popular blogger in negative feedback shocker!”

    Come on John, you know the story…. if you’re not getting slated, you’re not pushing hard enough.

    Plus, when you do all the good list-building JV stuff, you generate a lot of extra muscle to the list, but also plenty of flab, which pares itself off soon enough.

    I’m not given to bouts of sycophancy, but if people can’t see the excellent of your writing style, then they’re not going to see the value of your service offerings.

    Seriously, I imagine it was because time was against you (ongoing), but I’m very surprised you gave a shit about the perennial and inevitable whiners who can’t see help when it writes them thrice a week, because they’re too busy looking for someone to blame for their own inertia and inactivity.

    Bonnes vacances, my old china!

    Matt (in snowy London)

    • Kevin Rogers says:

      Where’s the “thumbs up” button on this thing? Big one at you, Matt.

      It is surprising that JC would care this much (especially with little people who hide in the shadows of anonymity)… but it also makes perfect sense.

      He’s not one to shy from hostility just because it’s convenient. And like someone else noted, there’s a value in addressing even the ill-motivated shots — it squashes the rumor and confirms what the loyalists already believe: this dude’s for real.

      No fun, but it’s gotta be done. If you ignore the cracks too long and people start filling in the gaps with cheap putty.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Matt.
      How do you know I don’t like the back-and-forth going on here?
      Life is conflict. The best dive in and enjoy the process.
      Have a great holiday, dude.

  • Under the Big W says:

    We “the faceless” help keep honesty in

    Without a tiny little post being made, all these
    “top” ad men would have stayed silent.

    Without a conflict it would have all just looked
    like puffery. Buy now “the god of ad men”
    must be protected from this horrible attack.

    So “x-funny guy”, maybe it is we that are protecting the “god”. Not you that hang around him like gnats around a dog’s ball sack.

    We gave him the chance to guarantee that
    this “event” WILL NOT be a sales only, mind
    deadening festival of jackals’. Not you, the
    hanger on yes man…chump.

    I don’t mind your insults. I give them and
    I can take them. So what, big deal, I don’t give
    a rat’s ass what you think.

    “you DO know if you do this it conjures images of greasy, middle-aged men huddled in mommy’s basement, right?”

    “middle-aged” …that’s a compliment, sorry.
    “greasy” well..not really greasy..just a little.
    “in mommy’s basement” …I love being with

    Well…I feel some of the jade flaking off me
    so I better turn on another Tony tape.

    Let’s all put on our welding glasses, turn up Led Zeppelin and stare at the sun…looking for a ray of hope…………

    • Kevin Rogers says:

      Who you calling a “gnat.” I’m a mosquito on this here sack!

    • Kyle says:

      Under – when you’re saying “we” I really, really hope you’re not referring to me and my post on John’s entry.

      Because if you are, you missed the point I was after in my post. All I wanted to know was when John said “Speaker Line-Up” if he meant 15 people would each get an hour to *describe* what they do, then make a pitch.

      John clarified his intentions (it’s not gonna be that format) … and that shoulda been the end of it.

      Don’t use “we” when you stand alone.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Under.
      I do appreciate your comments. You’re right, stirring up a pot that needs stirring requires courage and balls.
      Thanks for stepping up.
      I’ve even changed the copy on the website (not sure if the changes are up yet), and we’re continuing to adjust our plans for the event on the fly, based on input from friends and foes alike, to make it as powerful as possible.
      You know you’re welcome here. We just want to know who you are, cuz anonymity is abused so much on the Web… and you’re among kindred souls here.
      And sometimes, the insults are pretty funny, you gotta admit. K-man is such a sweet-hearted guy, I laugh every time he doles out a barb… cuz I know he’d give you the shirt off his back if you were in trouble, instead of being kinda smug and challenging.
      Let the jade fall…

      • John Carlton says:

        … however, please work on your own insults, Under.
        The gnat and sack thing was kinda gross, and lacked finese. Coulda worked, though, with some polishing…
        At least you stayed away from the lame brown-nose stuff this time. Cliche, hackneyed, juvenile insults make the giver look silly on this blog, where numerous writers hang out (who really put some thought into their insults)…

        • Under the Big W says:

          I’ve been beat up and kicked and insulted
          so I best just slink away with my tail between my legs and let the “real” writers continue here.

          Have fun at the event and remember
          leave your credit cards at home.

  • Kammy says:

    Under — speaking of ball sacks, why don’t you have enough guts to come out from under yours with a real identity? Be man enough to stand up for what you believe in the light of day. Then maybe you’re rants will actually deserve some credit.

  • Kammy says:

    Say, John, are you going to offer DVDs of this seminar to people who can’t make those dates?

  • Kammy says:

    Re: “Hi Kammy. I’ve offered guarantees like that before, and I recommend it to clients. However, space is so limited at this event, and the overwhelming value is so obvious, that I expect it to be filled with people who are not afraid to make what should be the easiest decision to make in their lives.”

    GREAT RANT! And I certainly see your point.

  • fidelis says:

    Great post, JC. I always enjoy reading your rants. I have a few quotes that I hope you might enjoy.

    The mass of men lead lives of a quite desperation – Henry Thoreau
    Men no longer life a life of quite desperation – they do it on TV in talk shows – Cant remember who.
    Men do not live a life of quiet desperation – not with blogs and social networking – me

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