Operation MoneySuck 2.0

Tuesday, 2:32pm
Reno, NV
And you may ask yourself, where does that highway go?” (Talking Heads)


Quickie post today…

… on a very important topic.

You hear me nattering about “Operation MoneySuck” all the time.  And some folks are confused about what it means.

So let’s do a refresher.

Here’s the story: Early in my career, I was hired by advertising legend Gary Halbert to help him write ads for clients.  The first day I arrived at his offices on Sunset Blvd (in West Hollywood), we were scheduled to slam out copy and plot “next moves” with some current clients.

However, just as my butt hit the chair across from his desk, two (count ’em, two) secretaries AND his red-headed girlfriend (notorious for getting her way) burst in with bad news.

Lots of bad news, in fact.  The printer had just broken down, and shit needed to get copied NOW.  Some guy was ranting and raving on Line 2, threatening legal action over something.  The landlord was on the way up in the elevator, because there was a problem with the lease.  The bank was on Line 1, and so on.

These women were shaking with panic and consternation, freaked out by the urgent crisis-level emergencies that…


… to be dealt with…


I sighed, and started to gather my stuff, ready to split until Gary had attended to all of this mayhem.

Instead, he held up his hand… shushed everyone… and gently ushered the secretaries AND his red-headed girlfriend (notorious for getting her way) out the door…

… and locked it.

Returning to his desk, he picked up a pen and said “Okay, let’s get busy.”

I was stunned.  What… what… wait a minute… what about all that…

“Operation MoneySuck,” he said, rifling through his Rolodex for the number of a client we needed to call.  “Screw all that irrelevant stuff.  We’re gonna bring in the bucks.”

And we did. For the next several hours, we finished ads, nailed down deals, and consulted with clients.

When we finally opened the door again, all was calm outside.  Line 1 and Line 2 were quiet, the landlord was gone, the printer chattering happily and kicking out dot-matrix copies.  (It was a while back, folks.)

All the “emergencies” had been taken care of, without us.

And we had put in a solid session of writing and wrangling with clients.  Which generated income, new business, and a good deal of killer brainstorming.

The lesson of Operatin MoneySuck couldn’t have been clearer.

It’s this: If you are the person in charge of bringing in the money, then that is your Number One job — to bring in the money.  It’s also your Number Two job, your Number Three job, and so on.

More: ALL problems are “emergencies”, in one way or another.  They’re a show-stopper to some, an ulcer-inducing nightmare for others.

However, if your job is to bring in the moolah… and an hour of you doing that can generate, say, a thousand bucks in fees or sales…

… then, when you scurry over to start looking at the printer when it snarls up…

… that means you’re paying someone (you) a thousand bucks an hour to read the manual and pull out jammed paper with uncoiled paperclips.

While NO ONE is picking up your job of bringing home any bacon.  So you lose twice.  Net loss of two thousand smackeroo’s per hour.  (Plus, you’ll most likely just fuck up the printer and have to go buy a new one anyway.  What are office printers running nowadays?  $150?)

The importance of this attitude kept getting nailed home for me as I noticed how many entrepreneurs and biz owners routinely took their eye off the ball… trying to “save” a few bucks by doing everything themselves.

And, at the same time, I noticed that the really successful dudes had personal assistants, secretaries, and grunt labor at their beck-and-call to do all the “small shit” (as Halbert called it).  Which guaranteed that their lives bopped along smoothly (with dishes washed, dry cleaning picked up, bills paid, fridge stuffed, landlords mollified, and so on)…

… and ALL of their main energies went into doing what they did best:  Create wealth.

So that’s Operation MoneySuck.  For me, it’s a code-word for my colleagues (and my brain) that means we’re gonna focus on the raw green core of business right now.  And nothing else.

You are free to interpret it however you like… as long as, when you’re done, you’ve made serious progress toward your goals of feeding the financial monkey in your life.  Yes, the emergencies in your life need to be tended to.  And you need to pay attention to your health, the rent, your Significant Other’s needs, family obligations, and all the nagging details of being a fine upstanding member of modern civilization.

But you BEGIN with a solid understanding of what your JOB is in life.

Make sense?

Get clear… and be specific… on what it is, exactly, you do that causes cash to be delivered into your bank account.  In this “2.0” modern world, you may need to include some things that are, say, one step removed from the actual act of converting a customer.  If you have an online biz, for example, then writing the sales message is critical to make sales happen.

However, generating traffic (if you haven’t got any) is a precursor to hauling prospects in front of your wonderful sales pitch.  So all the things you may need to do right now to divert leads into your world becomes Operation MoneySuck.  Including hiring someone to do it for you.  Or hiring someone to find someone to do it for you.

Radical example: This attitude of “get it done”, at the highest professional levels, is something awesome to behold.  Let’s say you’re a copywriter, and you have a deadline tomorrow morning at 8am for something you need to write tonight.  And you drop your laptop in the toilet at 1am… so it’s not just dead, but it’s Ugly Dead.  All files flushed, gone, not backed up.

What do you do?

Less focused folks would punt.  Call the client early, apologize profusely, and try to negotiate more time.

Not the “real” pro.  He would immediately figure out his options.  Borrow a computer, even if it means calling an old girlfriend (who hates your guts).  Steal one.  Call up pawn shops, all-night stores, anywhere that might have a working computer.

BUT… he would only spend a short time on this side project.  As soon as bribing, begging, theft and shopping were ruled out…

… he would pick up a pen, pencil or crayon, and start writing (using notebooks, napkins, paper towels, anything that worked).  And FINISH the writing part of the gig.  Grab a 20-minute nap, proof-read the scribbling… and be waiting at the most logical place to score a way to get it into a Word document the moment that place was open: The city library, Susie’s apartment, Best Buy, a hotel business center.

So he could finish the rest of what was required to meet his deadline.

So he would get paid.

That’s Operation MoneySuck.  Give that man a round of applause.  That’s a pro.

And yes, I’ve done (more or less) versions of this kind of insane meet-the-deadline-no-matter-what behavior throughout my career.  Because I’ve been the guy whose job it was to bring home the moolah.

If this kind of dedication, determination and raw discipline is not in your toolkit right now… it can be.  You start by committing to a goal.  And you move forward from there.

You really can astonish yourself with your ability to do things that — yesterday — you would have routinely regarded as “impossible”…

… but you can’t get there by dreaming about it.  You may even need guidance, from a mentor or coach to watch your back as you establish your private beach-head in the world of professionalism.

Lemme tell you, though…

… once you get a taste of living life with this kind of verve, awareness and Zen-warrior “get it done” mojo… you will feel and be more alive than you ever believed possible.

And that’s why successful entrepreneurs sometimes seem so cocky.  It’s because they’ve experienced Operation MoneySuck (whether they call it that or not)…

… and it rocked their world.

I dunno… are you buying all this?  It’s all the dead-solid truth… but I know that most people recoil in horror at the thought of going after a goal like a pitbull after a squirrel.  (Pure lethal focus.)

I learned the methods of living this way slowly… because I had to pull myself out of the Slacker Mire, with little guidance or advice.  So when I realized what Halbert was doing in that long-ago office on Sunset Blvd, I grasped that lesson close to my heart and kept it there until it became a part of me.

It’s worth it.

Love to hear what you think, in the comments.

Stay frosty,


P.S. If you’re looking for a little guidance yourself, here’s a good place to start:  CarltonCoaching.com.  That’s our brand new site explaining all the ways you can score private coaching from me, plus mastermind opportunities and access to our stunning new membership area (crammed with resources that will make your quest for wealth, fame and happiness as easy as going down a greased slide).

Click here to find out more.

P.P.S. There is a fresh story brewing about the Action Seminar (just 10 days away now, in San Diego).

If you crave the company of other hard-core “live with gusto” success-junkies, you need to see the new (and VERY intriguing) way you can now be there with us.  No matter what your situation is.

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

  • Yeah, this is what’s up.

    That story still hits me in the face everytime I hear it.

    Full steam ahead folks…

  • Well John, bringing a classic back to the forefront eh?

    I remember reading the original, and once I was through reading it, it kinda kicked me in the ass. I was always one of those who would “put out the fires”, but no so much any more.

    Thanks for bringing this valuable lesson back from the archives.

  • Dan Axelrod says:

    Hey John,

    Thanks for the update on Operation: Moneysuck.

    One question that’s on a lot of our minds is how people who are on a lower starting budget can apply this concept right away.

    For example, if you live in an apartment without a dishwasher, then cleaning can can be a daily time-suck. So can running to Staples for supplies and fixing a bug in your computer.

    Ideally you’d hire some cheap help to take care of this, but it seems you need some strong cashflow and/or good stash of cash reserves to start outsourcing this stuff. Otherwise, your ack up debt, which I know is something you don’t recommend.

    Do you have any advice on implementing these principle immediately, regardless of current financial status?



    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Dan. Yeah, I was a solo operator for years. There’s another lesson I’ll get into about “using” money correctly… but basically, if you have to do certain things yourself, you get into rhythms. Do the Operation MoneySuck stuff first, while you’re full of energy. Then batch everything else, and multi-task — wash clothes and do dishes and vacuum in one big push (or, if you use a laundromat, read your mail and make calls while there), shop less by buying more stuff you can freeze and microwave, or cook in batches, etc.

      You just make it work. Amazingly, you can cram an amazing amount of solid work, plus tend to being a good animal (exercising) and taking care of personal biz in a day… and still be relaxed and enjoy that beer in the evening stress-free.

      You just apply your full force of knowledge and effort to making it work.

      • Dan Axelrod says:

        Thanks John,

        That is very helpful and refreshingly distinctive from some other business gurus who advocate getting a maid before you can even pay your rent on time.

        Will be interested in hearing more about your thoughts on cash-flow, using money, etc., whether in this blog or at the Action Seminar. It’s a desperately needed education for new entrepreneurs who often have to fold and get reluctantly get jobs because they run out of cash.



        • John Carlton says:

          Hi Dan. Hey, pitch that question AT the seminar. We will answer ALL questions… you can put it in the survey you got pre-arriving, or we’ll have plenty of opportunities for you to ask us, personally, during the event.

          This is an excellent question — don’t let it slide. Ask us.

  • Adil Amarsi says:

    God Damn it Mr.Carlton,
    This is brilliant!

    I remember the buzz operation money suck gave me originally… and now you’ve gave me the idea i needed. Pay someone else to do my seo work while i write the copy that converts.


    Get facebook ads free

  • Sharon A says:

    Thanks, John—
    I have realized (smacking hand to forehead) that as of late, most of my time has been spent putting out fires instead of building my web site.

    From this day on I’m going to let the damn things burn!

  • Mike Krauss says:

    Once again a very important lesson and once again another year has gone by with most of my attention being focused on putting out fires and answering the same damn questions over and over again.

    Currently I’m debating on hiring another temp employee so I don’t have to bother with the manual labor stuff. After reading this, I ponder why there was any debate at all – New Temp It Is!

    Thanks again John!


  • Carlton you bad-ass,

    I think “operation money suck” will stick with me for life – just like halbert stuck it into you,

    great lesson … well said too,

    okay … i bet there’s been times when you’ve goofed off, or even times when
    the creative juices ain’t flowing
    so good,

    but just having this in your arsenal:

    – can save a man years
    – and make a man millions

    so i guess “operation money suck” separates the busy fools and the busy millionaires,

    and i say amen …

    … cos i just crossed off like 10 tasks for tomorrow to focus on ONE main task that’s gonna bring in the green.

    respect John


    ps – I just wanted to mention

    I read in your manual a while back about the “screw you money” thingy.

    pretty cool and well worthy of a blog post

    that too will stick with me for ever, so thanks … {:-)

  • Henry Bingaman says:

    Gotta love Operation Money Suck… I think you also have to give it respect for the dangerous beast it is. When you go all out in that kind of mode for too long it gets to you.

    Two years in, when I was just freelancing, I was a Money Suck disciple: get the projects, do the work, get paid… screw the details. Then I hit a serious patch of burnout.

    Yeah, most of the little fires went out on their own… but some of them turned into real headaches that I had to throw a lot of money on to put out.

    It took a while to find the right balance… now it’s operation money suck most of the day and an hour somewhere in there to get organized and make sure those little fires don’t get any bigger… Plus a 4 day weekend at least once a month to go somewhere and spend a little money just for fun.

    Just saying, money suck is powerful, but it can be exhausting.

  • JG says:

    So true John… Love your new site by the way!


  • John, fantastic kick in the butt here.

    I am moving toward working with clients who I trust, who value me and who pay on time 🙂

    Even the bigger fish in certain markets aren’t running their businesses with the right amount of care, so it’s refreshing to work with folks who value our work and input, pay what it’s worth, and give you a great deal of satisfaction.

    It’s all about getting and giving immense value, ain’t it?


  • Ramona says:

    Thanks John. I’m a mom of young children who turned into young adults and one teen overnight. I’m a performance artist and writer whose always putting out fires. Personal driver, giving the “life wisdom speeches”…etc. 20 years later with alot under my belt I’m still working on a website. Thanks for the Money Suck tip. Clamping down to put the money on the table is essential to the success of the business and getting your message out. I appreciate your blog. I look forward to reading more.

  • Hey John, Your blog entry… perfect timing… I just recently gave myself a wedgy for not concentrating on Operation Money Suck… am finally getting to say ‘No’ to people that suck my time… outsource is my middle name as I am Indian born and raised here. We grew up with a maid… and here I have a cleaning lady and an all rounder that does housework, laundry and ironing… this allows me to manage my handicapped 29 year old son, 80 year old mom, 20 year old college entrepreneur son and husband’s cardiology practice. I am targeting to double the practice income by plain and simply implementing Operation Money Suck with productive writing including newsletters for patients and physicians and educating patients… the list is rather long and a good funnel is on paper… AGAIN your timing is impeccable for my own good! Thanks bunchies! And keep up the good work please! Hopefully I can stop the self wedgy thingie!
    Sunita Pandit

    • John Carlton says:

      Ah yes, the ol’ wedgie revelation. Glad any of this ranting could help you out, Sunita. You seem to be handling your oversized load of responsibility with grace and humor. I wish you continued good luck…

      • PS
        Thanks for touching my life in ways that there is not enough time in life to share… some day I look forward to meeting you in person and down an Indian Pilsner together!
        I thank you for being you and nothing else!
        You allow me to verify that I don’t know what I don’t know and make it fun to find out… so Thanks for filling in that portion of my existence!

  • John – it takes massive discipline to be in an Operation Money Suck (OMS) and it takes more than just perseverance- it takes a spine-straigtening, let’s “kick-ass” attitude. I do an OMS several times each month with several heavy self-indulgent downtimes in between. You do get in a rhythm and it’s like nothing else on earth… it’s the closet thing to really living all-out, full-throttle you’ll ever experience. Everyone needs to try it at least once. If you do, you’re hooked. Awesome post…

  • Angel says:

    You just gave a tangible explanation of the 80/20 concept; I love it when a Guru can give a real live example of what really works. There’s so much abstraction out there.
    I tell you, if you just taught all the tangibles and subtleties more individuals would understand how to take the action no one really goes into the details, they just assume.
    John- can someone pull this off without having any copywriting skills or sales experience? The only way I see this being pulled off is by having enough MONEY to outsource.
    So here is why everyone online fails… No skill, no money, no action just a bunch of great biz concepts.
    And most don’t want to spend 5 years learning a skill because our instant gratification and all the distractions in the market place.
    It’s a HUGE mind game to concentrate on one subject but yet so simple…


  • Shayne Cuffy says:

    John, you’ve done it again… It’s 4AM here in the Surrey (South East England UK) I read this post on my iPhone in one hand while my little BabyGirl was falling back to sleep again in the another so my wife can have a few more hours of rest only to find out I’m a “Pro-Inter-Slacker” – devastating!! I do mean that; devastating! I mess clients around all the time, but I always have a great story or reason – always. I needed to just say that before I go back to bed and make-up another reason why this post would be great for someone else.

    Thanks John.

    “Operation MoneySuck” must be my number 1 focus.


    • John Carlton says:

      After your family, of course, Shayne. But yeah, implementing this kind of focus can actually free up more time for you… because you can MAKE “having more time for the little girl” one of your goals, and make it happen.

      Sweet story, thanks for sharing it.

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  • Hi JC,

    Great rant ( err… post!)
    Its so true that in this age of sensory overload and dependance on our computers (and other electronic ‘tethers’) that we often forget to just FOCUS – even if it means locking doors, refusing to even open email and crunching the actual work!

    Even though I *know* that my brain loves to ‘learn’ new stuff (dopamine hit – AKA.. ‘bright shiny object/software syndrome)I keep letting this get in my way!
    Op. Moneysuck..Bigtime.

    As Dan said- lots of new ‘entrepreneurs’ fall into this trap- and have to fold and go back to the …gasp…9-5 crap.

    Keep kicking our butts and reminding us that we cannot be complacent- we do or die in this IM Biz World!


    • John Carlton says:

      You don’t realize how funny it is talking about “focus” now, do you? During the last quiz (last week), the word “focus” took on a special meaning in the comments…

      And yes, these are rants. Sit down, open brain, starting typing like a madman. I’m just lucky they come out coherent…

  • scott says:

    I love it!
    I reckon it would take some guts to just close the door to all those problems, Im not sure if I could do it, I usually just want to fix the problem, maybe thats why my bacon pieces are a little small, actually maybe im just getting the rind

    thanks John

    • John Carlton says:

      Industrial-sized guts, Scott. That red-head was taller than us, and could probably have kicked both our asses once she got her ire up.

      I think that’s why Halbert locked the door, actually…

  • Tim Wilson says:

    Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve been great at this. Sometimes I’ve been a text book case of getting mired in the menial, -and it’s cost me plenty.

    So, I’m committing to it. NOW. Thanks John

  • Gerhard says:

    Hi John,
    You are absolutely right! I once had a commitment to deliver a new product (I was the inventor) to a fair. I was a 1-man show at the time. I had friends who helped me, but still I was the only one to coordinate everything. I had made a commitment and had to deliver. The final dash was 5 days and nights without sleep (136 hrs), working on the CAD programs to be run at day, while at night also running several machines to keep up with the need to be on time. I did not know what the human body is capable if it has to do beyond what most everyone thinks is possible. Was it worth doing? You should listen to your gut and history will tell you later, as in your story.
    I would not be where I am without fulfilling that commitment. Thanks for refreshing this experience. It is fueling and motivating me.
    I hope to see you in a couple of days.

  • Chris says:

    Hi John
    Can so relate to operation Moneysuck sydrome. It seems that in some organisations it’s a plague of biblical proportions. People rushing to the “Go-to guy” to make their little problems go away or just to grab attention with the boss. Before you now it the day has passed and you still have to bring in the boat or people will just not get paid.

    So how do you get around this?

    I could tell you more.. but I’m off to the Action Seminar. Starting now as I live in New Zealand.

    So if you are coming, come and say Hi.
    My Name is Chris Jacques

    • John Carlton says:

      We’ll see you there, Chris, on the 25th. Hope you enjoy your trip… I flew over to Oz in September, third trip down under, just got into the groove of flying and enjoyed it. When it starts to get a little long, just remember how freaking awed your ancestors would be flying a mile up across the ocean like that. In a steel dragon, no less!

      It’s an adventure. Have fun in the States — sounds like you’ve arranged to have several free days here before the event…

  • William says:

    Hey there John,
    A few years ago I listened to an interview by you talking in depth about operation money suck.

    Tell you the truth it changed my life. I got more stuff done at work, home and on the net.

    My wife enjoys more time as well.

    Thanks John you rock!

  • Rezbi says:

    Sometimes it takes someone else to remind us of what we already know.

    The fact that it takes dedication to get ANYTHING done in life – at least, done well – is pretty obvious… but we tend to forget.

    There’s so much rubbish around nowadays that it’s easy to forget about reality.

    Thanks, John, for the reminder.

  • Martin says:

    Hi John.

    Thx for a great article.

    At the moment I am teaching myself,PHP,SEO,CSS,CMS,Copywriting,HTML,Java and Ajax.
    My goal now, to improve my writing skills and sign up for your course, ASAP.

    Then i will move on to my next goal.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • Tim Gaffney says:

    My first boss put it like this,

    “Salespeople should SELL…somebody else should do everything else!”

    This is the “secret” to all business success.

  • Michelle says:

    Great article! How often do we see people, time and time again, constantly attending to the “urgent” and never getting to the “important”? Using that intense focus on bringing in the money is pure genius!

    I don’t envy their wives, though…

  • I am a new, and avid, reader of your site John. I love the straightforward advice free from the over inflated hyperbole that I encounter so much on the internet. You speak more to my English sensibilities!
    And Operation Money Suck speaks right to my core and runs through everything I am trying to achieve within my business.

  • John Cusick says:

    This is a great lesson !! I tend to forget this with my Personal Training and Fitness Business . I get caught chasing small things and miss doing the stuff that brings in the Moolah ! Thanks
    Personal Training Southend

  • Kicking ass and taking names, wholesale.

    Nice post JC.

    Operation Moneysuck is fast becoming my favorite pastime.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s money out there with my name on it.


  • Ev says:

    “If you aren’t sure you really want to achieve an extraordinary level of success, you won’t… And no self-help program or success coach…can help you get there if you don’t at least have the desire”…

    Good morning John,

    Forgive my starting with someone else’s quote, but yesterday having read the above I felt unsettled, depressed – my problem being I don’t have a clear target or a burning desire except I just know I don’t want to be where I’m at and I need to do something within the next 12 months.

    This morning I read your OMS & was uplifted by your comment below for several reasons –

    “If this kind of dedication, determination and raw discipline is not in your toolkit right now… it can be. You start by committing to a goal. And you move forward from there”. – JC

    1. It gives me hope… and if you have any pointers on getting crystal clear on goals I’m all eyes & ears.
    2. I was reminded of several occasions over the past 20 yrs when I’ve had that “GET IT DONE” attitude. One of which was similar to Gerhard’s story – my thx to G.
    3. I feel grateful to you for lifting my spirits this am., and cuz I’m learning… until recently I didn’t know this “stuff” you write was called a blog :o) A real newbie.

    Sincere thanks,

  • Nice one John. That brings back memories, Op Moneysuck.I must tell you though, I am deeply envious of you being able to hook up with Gary.That must have been some education…:)

    Thanks again John, bang on the money as usual.


  • Henry Beyer says:


    Just started reading your blogs a couple of weeks ago. It is great to be reminded to focus on what I recently heard Eben Pagan call High Leverage Activities.

    Thanks for the reminder!


  • Kee says:

    I wish you would leave out your cuss words. It just isn’t necessary to make a point. Your copy is alway funny but my god man, can you speak without cussing? You’re not in Europe.

    • John Carlton says:

      Fuck that. I’m a First Amendment freak, and I grew up in an America where you could go to jail (for a long time) by using plain language (re: Lenny Bruce, Beat poets, et al)… and the world has changed on the backs of those pioneers who REALLY understood freedom of speech. Most people are terrified of it, and I have no sympathy for them.

      If words like “fuck” are good enough for The New Yorker (still one of the finest magazines ever published, now in it’s ninth decade) then it’s good enough for this modest little blog.

      Seriously, man, if you are offended by anything I write, go away. There are mobs of namby-pamby milquetoast writers out there who need your readership.

      I don’t come in censored form.

  • Wayne says:

    Hi John

    80/20..80/20…rinse and repeat. Dang… its beaten me again!

    Thanks for the cool reminder though.



  • gary says:

    Just finished that big deadline I put on myself, didn’t think it was doable and it wouldn’t have been without turning over what sucked the life out of me to others who just looked at it as a job.
    Funny thing about this was I thought I was the one that masterminded this whole set up, until I sat there with my feeling of accomplishment making me a little drunk and I looked to the left of my computer and there was a small post-it note with the words Operation Moneysuck scribbled on it.

    Then here you are writing about again, good timing and always good stuff.

    thanks John

  • hector says:

    John, Thank You Sir
    I’m glad I clicked on your email because I’m the only hope for my family. It makes so much sense to me

    & I will read this post daily for a week & yes I need to bring in the $$ to support my Family & applied what you wrote.
    Thank you for Your STRAIGHTFORWARD ADVICE.

    thank you

  • John Arnold says:

    Love the ‘inner slacker’ term. I am finding that time and time again the only thing that separates the “I want to do it boys” and the “I did it men” is simply the commitment to do WHATEVER it takes. No excuses. Failure isn’t an option. And, if it doesn’t happen I have no one to blame but me. My daughter when she was 15 instilled this lesson into our family when in one monumental moment of someone’s whining she got in their face and said, “Suck it up and put your big girl panties on.” I can’t tell you how many times I have used that.

    Lastly, I find that sometimes I actively pursue “operation money suck” in order to avoid what really needs to be done. I wonder how many readers are out there doing that. ?

    Thanks for the post John. Now I am feeling ‘frosty’.

  • Man, this post is like taking a cold shower outside while it 30 below. There I was mulling around all the little shit I “had” to do, when the only really important thing I needed to do is provide for my loved one.

    Thank you for the Zen slap in the back.

  • mark says:

    I better get my ass in gear and start actually paying for online ads and write friggin’ ads that get leads if I want to ever make moula online.

  • Thomas says:

    Same old story, but this time I heard it!

    Thanks John

  • Danny 8 Ball says:


    Did you just give me permission to hire a maid? Kathy will be so delighted…

  • Thank you for bringing things home, John.

  • Jason Subia says:

    “It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior’s life.” – Pressfield (I think)

    I read about Operation MoneySuck several times over a couple of blind years. Everything changed when I stopped reading about it and put it into lethal unapologetic action.

    Thanks for the reminder John.

  • ken ca|houn says:

    Great advice from John, and the phrase is one that serves as an excellent reminder to stay focused on what really matters. Producing goods/services that are of genuine value of others, that produces solid income. And it works…

    While I’ve gleefully watched many of my competitors fold and/or consolidate this last couple of years (or lose credibility by becoming “Affiliate cross promo hos”, losing customer reputation/sales in the process), I’ve independently built out lots of new sites and products; the focus on what it takes to deliver for customers is key.

    Having a 60+ hour workweek of focused, high-value activity is an approach that’s worked well for me for decades. Thankfully my competitors don’t work as hard.

    I like John’s example in his post about doing what it takes to get copy delivered and written without making excuses in the example about a pc breaking down and needing to get creative, that’s exactly the right approach to being successful.


    p.s. true story: once upon a time 8 years ago when my power went out in my high rise condo (back when I lived in the islands) and I was running a live webinar trading room, I walked in the dark down the stairs, drove 8 miles into town, just so I could use a kinko’s pc to make sure I was there on time for my customers online.

    No excuses. “Miles to go before I sleep” – Frost. Get it done. Good example, John…looks like it’s resonating amongst the fellow action-takers, which is good.

  • Rich says:

    Nothing like ramming a little urgency under the bonnet of the beast to get it humming!

    Yep, hate the days when you get bogged down doing $20 per hour work and going what the hell am I doing!

    Great post and loved it when I first heard of “operation money suck” in fact I may book our office in for the operation!

    Thanks John

  • Hello John,

    Thank you for this encouraging post.

    It is really refreshing content to read it more than once, as many of us more than often lose the focus on the important things of business and waste time in many useless ways.

    Perhaps we just have to figure out how to discipline ourselves to dedicate a fixed time of our day to produce tangible results.

    Thanks again!

  • I remember reading this story before, but it was worth re-reading!

    Speaking of Mr. Halbert… I remember you always saying that the most juicy stories and escapades that you went through with him would one day be shared AFTER he had departed from this world of ours.

    Do you think that now is an appropriate time for a blog post about more of your exploits with Gary?

    • John Carlton says:

      Man, I’m trying to. His passing is still raw, though, Brett. I hang with his sons quite a bit — they’ll be at the seminar — and I leak a few stories here and there in the blog. His name is still the second biggest “tag” here.

      Besides, I still have to wait for a few more people to die before I can reveal many of the best stories… I can’t compromise anyone just for a good tale…

      • Holy fucking hell John. Even your blog comments could be rounded up, packaged in a $997 course and anyone would be an idiot not to buy…

        You’re a true inspiration for me. You set the bar for what’s possible in this business. I owe you more than you know.

  • […] Operation Money Suck 2.0: John Carlton tells a story of working with Gary Halbert and how it taught him the importance of focusing on what makes you money and ignoring/letting others deal with the stresses and minutiae. […]

  • Brian Weber says:

    Hi John…I think about it every time something in my life seems to be a “catastrophe”. Makes me smile just thinking about it!

    Can’t wait to hear more stores as the time and (people) pass. hahaha

  • ed says:

    Your right John..you reminded me to be SUPER LASER FOCUS on what I do! thanks!

  • What if it was a question of life or death?

    You had something, or someone, or a Lion at your desk yelling at you “Show me the moneeeeey.. Show! Me! THE MONEEEEEYYYYY!!!!”

    And if you didn’t write that blog post, or craft that design, or whatever you had to produce, and submited it before X1 H of the day, the Lion would eat you alive…

    Would we then do anything that will delay getting that work done and meet that ‘deadly’ deadline? : )

    Here we go, just for the pleasure, one more time, “show me the money”!



  • Your shit never gets old John.

    Reminds me of the Christmas special “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

    I learn something every time I watch it and I’m up to about 60 times.

    Keep up the good stuff.

    Mad Guy

  • Scott rewick says:

    another amazing post John!

  • Ben says:

    I read a shorter version of this principle from you in a GKIC Gold newsletter

    There it made sense but reading about it here, backed up with the Halbert story, it really got to me more…

    Thanks for sharing

    • John Carlton says:

      Thanks, Ben. There are risks trying to get across complex lessons in abbreviated spaces, like having only two pages every 3 months as a guest at a newsletter. It’s why I don’t limit myself with the stories here on the blog.

      Still, I’m heartened to hear that you got the gist of the lesson from the shorter version. I’m writing another article right now for that newsletter… and 1,500 words go by faster than you’d think when you’re trying to explain something…

  • […] I gathered  all the products I used to have and applied what John Carlton and Gary Halbert prescribed: “Operation […]

  • […] Anyway, since a) John was there and b) he’s a better writer than me (so far) I have reproduced part of his post. If you’d like to read the full post you are welcome to check it out at http://www.john-carlton.com/2011/02/operation-moneysuck-2-0/ […]

  • Turenne says:

    I got this! And I Love it! No nonsense straight to the point kind of action. No charts to fill out that get me lost anyway and just take chunks bites of precious time away from “The Main Thing”, I will call it.

    This approach to get things done is really the kind of dance I can relate to, grasp and integrate untill it becomes part of me…

    Thanks for sharing!

  • […] I gathered  all the products I used to have and applied what John Carlton and Gary Halbert prescribed: “Operation […]

  • […] Copywriter John Carlton has talked about a strategy that he calls “Operation Money Suck.” The gist is that entrepreneurs need to focus all of their energy on the parts of their businesses that generate income. […]

  • […] Copywriter John Carlton has talked about a strategy that he calls “Operation Money Suck.” The gist is that entrepreneurs need to focus all of their energy on the parts of their businesses that generate income. […]

  • robert says:

    why can`t this be printed out without some text disappearing??

  • […] copywriter John Carlton narrates a story of his first day at work Gary. As he sat down to work with Gary, minor emergencies broke out in his […]

  • […] The Enduring Wisdom of “Operation MoneySuck” […]

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