Category Archives for Internet

How To Survive Excessive Recession Hand-Wringing

Thursday, 10:03pm
Reno, NV
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of economic nastiness…


I’m gonna want your opinion here in a minute.

But first, I have a very relevant question for you: Has the looming recession got you scared yet?

The mainstream media sure hopes so. Sells more newspapers, boosts cable ratings on CNN and Fox and MSNBC, makes the populace hyper-aware (like jittery squirrels gathering nuts in a dog park), and gives advertisers a tidy little narrative to help position product.

An audience with frayed nerves is an audience paying attention.

They like that.

Entrepreneurs and small biz owners can be especially vulnerable to economic downturns.

Or even talk of an economic downturn.

Frequent news stories about financial doom tend to bring on the “Yikes, we’re all gonna die!” response. Even in people who should know better.

My pal Perry Marshall reminded me of the “should know better” part today, when he sent out a blog-alert email titled “My rant about this so-called recession”. Damn good rant, too.

Basically, he noticed that his list seemed to self-select themselves into two distinct categories: (1) The whiny 95%, who seem to almost welcome economic disaster (as definitive relief from the anxiety of waiting for the hammer, so they can blame any pending failure on “outside circumstances”)… and (2) the “Alpha Warriors”, who barely acknowledge anything the mainstream media say about the economy.

Perry thought the Alpha Warrior segment of his list hovered around 5%. After I called him (to congratulate him on an insightful post), we both immediately agreed that it’s really probably closer to 1%.

In other words, in a room of 100 people, the folks ready to latch onto recession fears as an excuse to crawl into a fetal position and suck their thumb would dominate the discussion, the physical space, and the mindset.

There would be one lone dude, in the corner, ignoring them and getting on with business.

This is an important observation.

The narrative of your world-view can deeply affect how you act.

I hear from entrepreneurs all the time who were shocked, saddened, and even discouraged by the cacophony of negative voices around them when they decided to try their hand at marketing. If the opinion of your family, friends, co-workers and even future colleagues matters to you… just skip starting your own biz.

Cuz you will rarely hear an encouraging word. Most folks don’t like change, and resent the turbulence you cause by ignoring obstacles and overcoming problems to go after a goal.

Consider how many people around you base their world-view on the idea that “you can’t fight city hall”, or “The Man controls everything”, or “The little guy doesn’t stand a chance”. No dream of independence or getting rich can survive that kind of negativity. If they HAD a dream, it’s gone now.

And you’re kind of throwing that sad fact back in their face by going after your dream.

Not everyone is like that. But do not be shocked when you hear about even close friends secretly rooting for your collapse, or taking delight in the struggles you encounter. If you fail, they are proven right — you never really stood a chance. What a fool you were for even trying.

Worse, if you succeed, you very likely will drift away from the slacker world they are so comfy residing in. You’ll force them to come up with new excuses for their own lack of movement.

And that’s a horrible thing to do to friends. You naughty person, you.

The media loves a recession, because it means no slow news days for a while. Every utterance from the Fed is a headline, weekly columns write themselves (just pick two recession cliches from your cliche file and rub ’em together), and “man in the street” interviews will always yield some nice emotional sound bites.

Great marketers see a recession as something else: An economic burp that may or may not affect them. If it does, then you adjust accordingly. If it doesn’t, then it’s full speed ahead.

No hand-wringing allowed.

As Perry pointed out, it’s now a global market, dude. The dollar’s fade is the euro’s goose (and, if you’re exporting, the best news you could ever hear). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs doesn’t vanish just because the Gross Domestic Product does a prat fall.

People still need to eat, still need a roof over their heads, still demand luxury.

And still need advice. Maybe more than ever.

Many will need new jobs. A recession isn’t fun by any means, and neither is it a joke.

However, neither is it an excuse to fold up shop and go hide.

I happen to know the number one real estate broker in town here. The Reno market went from being one of the top five hottest housing booms just a year or so ago… to becoming one of the worst in the nation. Prices, values and capital are plummeting.

Yet, people still need houses. They move away, or move here from somewhere else. Or move up, or down, as the nest requires more or less space. Many still see the cheap loans (as the Fed lowers rates to almost ridiculous levels) and distressed sales available as excellent reasons to buy or sell, or both.

Sure, the easy days of the boom are gone. Have a good cry, wipe your nose, and get back to the job at hand. Adjust your strategy to meet the challenge.

This guy was the top realtor during the boom, and he’s the top realtor now that the market has lapsed into a fever. He just adjusted.

It’s the same with every other market I have hooks in. The smart guys note the nuances of how things have changed, and redirect their energies to what works NOW.

The not-so-smart guys shriek and lose sleep and curse cruel Fate. And pine for the good old days, when their limited bag of tactics was effective.

There’s a saying in the financial world: Never confuse genius with a bull market.

That concept holds for everything else, too. I remember an obscure comedy show where Gilbert Gottfried (the shrimpy little guy with the scrunched-up face) asked a couple of buffed-out GQ male models for tips on picking up women. Their first piece of advice: Never acknowledge a woman the first time she approaches you and begs for your attention. Just keep talking to all the women who come up to you and…

“Wait a minute,” yells Gottfried. “I’ve never had a woman approach me in my life.”

The two studs looked baffled. And had no further advice.

Dan Kennedy and I have often joked with each other about what will happen to the youngest part of the online entrepreneurial world the first time the economy has a fit. There are gazillionaires out there (Mark Cuban comes to mind) who barely sweated earning their mint, because they stumbled blindly into virgin groves of low-hanging fruit, and gorged without effort or competition (sometimes for years).

Taking advice from them would be like asking a Vanderbilt how to cook a steak. (“Just ring for the downstairs maid”, of course.)

Take it from a guy who’s weathered multiple recessions, the collapse of entire financial institutions (I was a rookie copywriter writing financial direct mail packages when the S&L crisis lopped an entire arm from the banking community), and the meltdown of more hot markets than I can count (from Pet Rocks to McMansions).

Ignore the doomsayers. Focus on the fundamentals — good product, good value in your offer, good traffic generation, and the dedicated nurturing of your list. If it feels right to downsize (either in your life, by living debt-free, or in your biz, by trimming the fat), then do so. If your old way of doing things isn’t producing the results you need, try something else. Test more diligently. Study your market for pain that needs attention, and attend to it.

I like that term of Perry’s, “Alpha Warriors”.

But in my mind, you’re really just the Adult In The Room when you continue to take care of biz when everyone else is freaking out.

You may be the only adult in the room, too… and you may be trashed for your refusal to panic… but when you know a fresh game is afoot, you gather your resources and engage anyway. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you gotta be your own best friend.

Seems like obvious advice, doesn’t it.


Takes a little courage, a little faith in your skills and ability to face unpredictable obstacles and overcome them, and a lot of M*A*S*H style humor. Because things can get gruesome, and the media will make sure everyone feels the pain from every obscure corner of the economy.

I actually increase my charitable donations during downturns, even when my income may be flat-lining a bit.

Just to remind myself that true success is the ability to make a difference. In your own life, and in the lives of people you share this hunk of wet rock with.

So please don’t panic. Take a deep breath, and know that the media will continue to treat things like an ongoing George Romero “Night Of The Living Dead” sequel.

And I’d really like to know…

What do YOU think about the talk of recession?

Are you doing anything differently? Are you losing sleep?

Any additional advice, either from experience or from a mentor or advisor?

Blogs like this are the “antidote” to the ravings of the mainstream media, you know. If you’ve got insight to living through roller coaster Dow rides and market busts, let’s hear it.

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

P.S. Over half-way to the 21-day habit challenge finish line.

I’m holding my own. How’re you doing?

Story Mop-Up Duty… and Another Challenge

Sunday, 6:23pm
Reno, NV
The street’s become one big damn dirt-flavored slushie…


Hey — great job on the stories, guys (and gals).

I just grabbed a few, totally at random, for comment here:

Ian, one of the last to post, nailed it. As a dog lover, I laughed out loud about his short, vivid tale of the dog who didn’t know what to do with the squirrel — after a lifetime of chasing them, she’d never caught one before. And so it got away.

Weak segue into a product, but definitely the right idea. Nice work, Ian.

Karen, Dean, Jason — nice work. Especially Karen — vivid, funny, poignant finish.

Bill went long with his story about slacking his way into college while his poor brother struggled for good grades and failed… but it’s just damn good storytelling. Human interest, compelling narrative, an opening wide enough to begin a truly killer sales pitch. Kudos.

There were two very short posts, by Kris and Udo, that illustrate the lesson. I suggest everyone dig in and read them.

Kris relayed the old “3 men went out, only 2 came back” saw. I appreciate the thinking behind it, but it’s not a story. An opening line for a story, perhaps…but it’s totally unmoored, with no plot elements, no punch line, no action.

This is best illustrated by Udo’s submission about the 300 Trojans stopping 200,000 at Thermopylae (subject of the recent movie based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel), coupled with the modern idea of a single “Trojan” now stopping half a million. I’ll let you, the reader, fill in the details… but I “got” it immediately. Maybe a little too cute, but good — set up, plot elements, coy twist, punch line.

Two extremely sparse submissions, both trying for pithy delivery. One connected, the other fell into the trap of not completing the process of set-up/action/punch-line.

This is not a knock on you, Kris. Thousands of people read this blog, and you had the guts to sit down and give the task a whirl. You are already ahead of everyone else who didn’t lock into “think hard” mode… and your next effort (if you take the lesson to heart) will put you even further ahead.

This is how writers get good.

I’ve been studying writing since I was a kid (when I tried to figure out how Bradbury and Asimov were able to suck me into their novellas). And, as an adult, I’ve dug deep into the “art”, shelling out big bucks to attend fancy-ass writer’s workshops in various states (like the famous annual events in Swannee, TN, and Squaw Valley, CA).

And I discovered two very important things:

1) Writer’s write. It’s that simple.

Almost every accomplished writer I have ever met started out struggling…. and even after becoming successful, continued to drive to get even better.

Not a single one was “born” into it. Their early stories were garbled garbage… but they kept after it, learning the craft by making mistakes, and then absorbing the lesson.

2) Most of the people running around those workshops were not writers… nor did they ever intend to become one.

No. They shelled out the thousands and thousands of bucks required to attend these week-long workshops… because they wanted to have already written something, and enjoy the imagined self-respect and glory of “being” a writer.

The one thing they had in common: They seldom actually sat down and wrote.

They complained of “writer’s block” (which doesn’t exist), they knew how to talk a good game, they even set up meetings with publishers.

But since the only way to get a book written is to… um, excuse me if I shock you here… is to WRITE IT, these pathetic wannabe’s were just shit outa luck in their desire to be seen as writers.

They are the worst kind of poseur. (Unfortunately, the workshops can’t survive without them. The “real” writers — a definite, tiny minority — need the wannabe’s to fund the events.) (Though, after attending five or six, I’ve concluded they’re mostly a waste of time. If you want to become a writer, write. And find successful writers to study. Oh, and take advantage of free blogs like this one.)

I’m relaying this tale specifically because many people who posted their stories here did something that a HUGE part of the population simply cannot bring themselves to do: Face the blank screen, and then write.

For every marketer out there writing his own copy — and learning from his mistakes and testing and inter-acting with guys like me — there are a hundred more who are frozen just by the thought of putting their fingers on a keyboard and engaging their brains.

The invention of email — which wasn’t all that long ago — has been a godsend for many people… simply because it forces you to grab a coherent thought, wiggle it down through your body from brain to fingers, and type it out.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this same situation: My father (who, at 86, may be one of the oldest dudes alive who knows how to surf online), at first could barely peck out a single sentence in an email. He was so terse, it was hardly communication at all.

Quickly, however, by repetition, he got the hang of it. And now pens emails easily and unself-consciously.

He got better… by doing it.

Believe it or not… the essentials of killer storytelling require nothing more than the few specifics I handed out in the past few blog posts… combined with your continued effort to see the world around you, and translate it into a pithy, concise, well-told tale that meets the simple requirements of set-up/action/punch line.

If you’re doing it badly now, you soon won’t be. Just keep after it.


Here’s another challenge for y’all.

It ties in neatly with the idea of keeping after it.

Harken: Most folks know the “science” behind forming a habit.

I can’t quote you the research, but the standard anecdote is that it takes 21 days to create a habit… whether it’s a good habit, or a bad one.

You gotta get up every day, for three weeks in a row, uninterrupted… and do your thing in a proscribed way that eventually gets set into muscle memory and into your brain.

The bad habits are easy.

The good ones… not so much.

My trainer, Bryan, reminded of how important it is to focus on creating good habits last week. He’s forcing all his clients — he’s a sadist, the man is — to think about a good habit they want to cultivate… and he’s not shutting up about it once you make the committment.

This is great stuff.

Think how quickly your life could change if you had a slave standing behind you at your desk… and every time you did whatever it is you’re trying to change (like slouching in your chair, or obsessively checking email, or downloading porn) the slave would whack you upside the head until you stopped.

Well, what Bryan’s doing is pretty close. I see him three times a week for punishment (okay, for a workout)… and he is relentless about getting into my face about my goals.

Heck — I PAY him to do this to me.

I highly recommend it.

But even if you’re on your own right now… the whole 21-day challenge thing is worthwhile.

Just pick a single good habit you want to instill. And use the next 3 weeks as your “forge” to make it stick.

At the recent Altitude “check up” event, there were dozens of rich marketers who talked about this very thing — changing your life in increments, habit by habit. (The necessity for “being a good animal” ranks up there with “earn another million bucks” for the most successful guys in the game. Often enough, it ranks even higher.)

What could you accomplish in your life by, say… getting up an hour earlier every day?

Or forming a morning ritual that allows you to efficiently meet the day pumped full of good nutrients, clean, alert and already exercised?

Or setting up a single day each week to take the phone off the hook, and just write all day long without interruption?

Or, heck, even the old standby’s: Is it time to quit smoking? Time to get serious about mentoring your kids? Time to start reading a novel every month?

As humans, we are all woefully inept at creating our “movies” in any perfect way. I would never strive for perfection, anyway — sounds boring to me.

Still, there are ways I want to live that I cannot access until I create better habits. Incremental changes, made permanent, can quickly form the foundation for amazing transformation.

I’ll tell you what my little 21-day challenge is. I’m addicted to carbohydrates — bread, cereal, chips, all that good stuff. And so, despite being in excellent over-all shape and health (cuz, you know, I work out)… my cholesterol isn’t cooperating.

So I’m simply jettisoning all the crap from my diet. (The beer stays, though. I’m not a monk.)

It’s not tough. I’ve done it before. In fact, last year I got into the habit of NOT eating so many carbs… but over the holidays, I dedicated myself to perversely destroying that habit.

Such is life. Constant vigilance is required.

However, without an actual deadline, it might take me years to even attempt to readjust my diet. (I swear, I bought a big damn bag of tortilla chips in a trance last week. I told myself “Don’t do it, man” as I watched my hand reach out and toss the bag into the grocery cart. Carbs are great zombie fuel.)

So here I am, a week into it. And already thinking twice every time I walk into the kitchen. And just waving hello to the Cheeto’s at the deli when I grab a sandwich, and not buying them.

Because I set a simple, very reachable goal: Just do it for 21 days, and see what happens.

It’s cheating, of course. I know full well that, after 21 days, I will have replaced the old habits with a new one: Eating healthy.


Wanna come along?

Pick a goal. For the next 21 days, engage in your chosen new behavior. Just 3 short weeks.

A cakewalk. (Unless it’s cake you’re trying to get away from.)

If you’ve done this before, then you know how powerful it is. If you’ve never done it, you’re in for a treat.

Start simple, if you like. Take a long walk every day. Start brushing your teeth more effectively. Meditate for twenty minutes in the afternoon. Be nice to your mate, no matter how aggravating they are to you.

Or… keep a journal, and every evening, write down a short story of what you observed during your day. Take ten minutes, and tell yourself a little tale.

Heck… post your new goal here in the comments section, if you like. It’ll be there for God and everybody to see… and that will help you breeze through the 3 weeks.

Twenty-one days is not an eternity (unless you’re quitting smoking, which is one of those big damn deal goals) (which you need to get to at some point).

It goes quick. (Think back to your New Year’s Even celebrating. That was FOUR weeks ago. A mere blink.)

And, at the end of your 21 days, you’ll have your new good habit.

C’mon, let us know what you’re eager to instill. We all need good ideas for the next challenge, you know. And I’ll remind you, each time I blog, about it. I’ll keep you aprised of my progress, and you can post yours.

This could be the year for you. The big breakthrough year, where it all comes together.

And it can start with just a little focus and dedication to change…

Don’t be a putz. Let’s change things around…

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

P.S. Speaking of turning things around, the Simple Writing System has changed the life of thousands of marketers, business owners and copywriters and has helped launch countless careers.

Could it do the same for you?

It wouldn’t hurt to check things out now, would it?

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Sunday, 6:09pm
Reno, NV


Here’s a question for you.

It’s something that — once you know the answer — you sorta want to smack yourself upside your head, cuz it’s so obvious.

However, it’s NOT so obvious until someone with experience reveals the answer to you. It’s simple, but most folks never “stumble” upon it on their own.

I hate these kinds of questions, myself. Except for, like, situations where I’m the one holding the big damn secret, and I get to do all the teasing and torturing. It’s fun being the one in control. All humans have at least a small sociopathic sadist hiding deep inside, you know…

But never mind about that.

What’s interesting here — and very, very important to marketers looking to earn the Big Bucks — is that despite the “obviousness” of the answer (which you’re very close to discovering)… fewer than one professional copywriter in a hundred has a clue to the solution.

And that’s the pro’s — the guys making a living at this.

For rookie entrepreneurs and flustered small biz owners… it’s like the Holy Grail of advertising. They’ve maybe heard rumors about it, but harbor little hope of ever finding the answer without some serious help.

Still, it’s worth wracking your brain about, because (as top marketers know) all the really good wealth-producing secrets are hidden from most people.

This is the advanced stuff, folks.

So here’s the question… and I want you to really try to answer it for yourself before you peek at the answer:


“What can a marketer do… when he desperately needs a money-making ad fast… and yet finds the ‘formal’ process of writing a ‘real’ sales pitch (or getting one written by others) too daunting to complete?”

In other words, you need to post, print or mail something (with wolves at the door)… and no way is a ‘real’ looking ad gonna get completed in time. So what do you do?

I’ll give you a hint: The answer is NOT “do nothing.” Or “crawl back into bed and curl into a sobbing fetal position.” (A very common response, by the way, to this very common problem. It’s why so many new businesses wither and die every year, too.)

The key words in this question are “desperately”… “money-making”… “fast”… and “real”.

Consider those words as you try to figure out the answer.

The need for results-getting ads is never-ending for all business owners… and most never adequately solve the problem of getting “real” ads created (either by using agencies or freelancers)… even when deadlines are loose and money’s no object.

Worse, though, is that neither entrepreneurs nor small biz owners ever come close to solving the problem of giving birth to “emergency” ads that need to get posted or published or mailed right friggin’ NOW… especially when there’s no agency or freelancer available to help, or no money to hire them.

So what do you think the answer is?

Wracked with anxiety, under a cash crunch, with the hammer coming down… and no time or resources available to pay someone else to do it… or to create a “real” ad, with superscript, headline, subhead, bullets, guarantees, graphics, etc, yourself… what do you DO?

I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section. I promise not to make fun of anyone… especially rookies who just want to give a stab at the answer.

Again, the question (re-phrased): “What do you do, when you’re under the gun to create a money-making sales piece… and you simply don’t know how to create (or are overwhelmed by the requirements of) a ‘formal’ type ad with all the bells and whistles?”

I’ll post the veteran’s short, elegant solution Tuesday evening.

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

P.S. C’mon. Give it a go — leave a suggestion in the comments section here…

How Professional Writers Procrastinate

Thursday, 10:54pm
Reno, NV


I was gonna write this post last week, but I put it off and forgot about it.

Okay, that’s a bad joke.

But it could have been the truth. Humans have a lot of belligerent, wicked-clever demons lurking inside… and procrastination is one of the nastiest.

Often, during one of my ridiculously expensive consultations, I’ll hear all kinds of excuses from the client concering why he can’t “get” anywhere in business.

Disorganization and time management get the blame a lot… but really, I know it’s nearly always just a virulent case of procrastination.

Oh, it’s bad stuff. People have all kind of different names for it — writer’s block, stress-induced catatonia, frozen nerves, lack of inspiration…

But it all really just comes down to being a lazy S.O.B.

We choose to

The Dark Side of Passion

Thursday, 10:15am
Reno, NV


Sometimes marketers like to pretend they exist outside the “real” world of politics, war and social upheaval.

This attitude is especially evident in certain commercials and ad-heavy publications that reveal a thick-headed cluelessness about life outside the box of privilege. In the past months, I’ve seen TV ads mimicking revolution in the street for a frivolous product… and read articles on celebrities that used references to famine and actual murder cases, trying to be ironic and hip.

These efforts are clunky and embarrassing. Yet, they never abate. (Mind you, I adore irreverent humor and M*A*S*H-style commentary… but you can’t accomplish this kind of wit from the sidelines. Cluelessness makes knowledgeable people cringe.)

I first noticed this disconnect between pain and fun as a teenager waiting for my draft notice during the Vietnam war. The evening news was dominated by combat zone film bringing the war right into America’s homes (something The Man has since realized should never happen again, if he wants to continue blowing people up for vague and unsupportable campaigns)… so for half an hour between typical fluff like “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Gilligan’s Island”, we were treated to glimpses of Hell, half a world away. Guys just a few months older than me crouched behind shattered walls, bullets zinging into the stucco while swaying palm trees burned under distant napalm assaults. And the wounded were evacuated, swathed in bloody bandages, the stretcher-bearers ducking and weaving.

And then, during the break, here comes this bright and cheerful commercial for laundry soap… with a pretty housewife flying a WWI-era bi-plane, dropping tablets like bombs from the sky. The slogan — and all TV ads back then were centered on slogans — was some bullshit reference to “blowing up” germs in your dirty clothes with this new, improved way of keeping your family clean.

Seconds away from the grime and gore of a real battlefield, here’s Read more…

The Naughty List For Businesses

Sunday, 11:59pm
Reno, NV


Quickie post here, cuz I’m a walking petri dish of germs. There’s a slug of Nyquil sitting here with my name on it, and I’ll be worthless about three minutes after I slam it.



Here’s the post (while I can still type): One of the grand traditions of year-end journalism is the round-up of “worst” lists.

I love ’em all.

In truth, 2007 had some totally bitchin’ highlights for me and my colleagues. The gloom-and-doom mainstream media would prefer that we all become quivering masses of hysterical anxiety… but after you’ve been around the block as many times as I have, you get some perspective.

Things have been worse. And they’ve been better.

That’s kinds how the world works.

Still… there are all these wonderful lists to enjoy.

So here’s a good one, in case you missed it. Not your standard “celebrity eats own head” kind of material, either.

It’s literally a “worst of biz” 2007 list. By Fortune magazine.

Read, enjoy, discuss:

Stay frosty… and don’t catch what I have…

John Carlton

Your Ignored “Call To Activate” Cash Account

Thursday, 7:54pm
Reno, NV


A colleague of mine recently shared an interesting tactic for instantly increasing cash flow.

It’s very low tech.

It’s the phone. And no, it’s not telemarketing.

Here’s what he did: During an afternoon lull in the workday not too long ago, my friend (let’s call him “Joe”) realized he had nothing urgent on his plate that required immediate attention.

So he picked up the phone and called a long-time customer who he’d been playing phone tag with over some minor matter. It was a “B” list kinda task.

During the chat that ensued, however, Joe happened to mention another project he was involved in… and his client expressed immediate interest.

Joe wasn’t pitching the event. Just bringing it up in conversation.

But it triggered a sale.


Very interesting.

So Joe made another call, out of the blue, to another long-time customer… and after some brief small talk, brought up the project. That client, too, wanted in, at full price.

No pitch. No hard sell.

Just a casual mention of something coming up.

Joe sat back and considered things. Both of these clients should have already heard about this project… and should have had ample opportunity to sign up previously. There had been email, direct mail, blog postings, etc.

In fact, before the phone calls, Joe had taken it for granted that all his best clients had of course already heard about this upcoming project. He was very thorough with his marketing.

But no. The project hadn’t entered their attention span. Until he brought it up in a friendly phone call.


So Joe picked up the phone again…

Long story short… Joe spent the next couple of hours calling random numbers on his “hot list” of best customers… and grossed something like $51,000 Read more…

The Difference Between Cash and Happiness

Sunday, 11:16pm
Reno, NV


Let’s chat about money.

Cash, moolah, the big bucks, treasure. Greenbacks. Funds. Scratch. Coin of the realm.

You know — the stuff we kill ourselves (and sometimes each other) to get ahold of.

People who pretend to know will tell you that money cannot buy you happiness.

In fact, they say, too much of it can even cause you grief, and ruin your life.

There is ample evidence that there’s something to this, too — lottery winners are often right back where they started, financially, a short time after taking possession of their loot… wealthy business owners often lead lives of desperate loneliness, estranged from their own family and without any real friends… and many folks who strike it rich go into life-long funks worrying about losing it all, and the paranoia makes them suspicious, nervous, unlikeable pricks.

Still… most of us want to experience the horror of having lots of dough for ourselves, thank you very much.

We’ll take the risk of being ruined forever by a too-fat bank account.

Well… as with most of the good info in life, this topic bears a little airing out. It’s not black-and-white, and it’s definitely worth exploring a bit.

In fact… I just returned from a weekend brainstorm at my pal Joe Polish’s joint in Phoenix (attended by a bevy of bucks-heavy business mavens) where this very subject was a hot discussion point. (I was there as a guest lecturer. The regulars were all part of Joe’s schockingly-successful “$25K Mastermind Group” — who literally write twenty-five thou checks just for the privilege of attending four of these carefully-presented events each year.) (If you’ve ever demanded real-world proof that mastermind groups are worthwhile, this should shut you up quickly: The event I spoke at was the last of the year, and everyone in attendance considered the cost a genuine bargain… and most were eager to pay again for another year.) (Think about that.)


Joe asked me to clarify an operating statement I’ve been tossing around for years. It goes like this:Read more…

Wii Don’t Suck, YOU Suck

Sunday, 5:49pm
Reno, NV


One of my favorite hobbies is to go into stores and be insulted by clueless sales staff.

It used to offend me… until I realized all the really good marketing lessons inherent in every face-to-face encounter with anyone selling anything. (One of the coolest taxi rides I ever took was in Vegas, many moons ago, when the driver spent twenty minutes trying to pimp out his personal line-up of hookers. He used every salesman’s trick possible — including take-aways, upsells, cross-sells, urgency, guarantees and special offers. I actually took notes.) (And no, I didn’t become a customer. Shame on you for thinking so ill of me.)

For online marketers, the offline sales encounter might not seem relevant, but it is.

Your ad is your salesman, and your ordering process is your checkout experience.

All the things that can go wrong in the store, can and do go wrong in the online virtual sale process.

Quick example: I’ve been hot to get a Nintendo Wii gaming console since, oh, about five minutes after the product was announced last year. (I’ve been a gamer longer than you, and I don’t care how old you are. Back inRead more…

Freedom And Fraudcasting

From: Reno, NV

Thursday night, 9:26pm

Subject: Going off on The Man, Part II


One of the talents I’m most proud of is my knack for naming stuff.

I’m good at it because I love all forms of language, and I’m not afraid of mixing up forbidden slang with fifty-cent words to arrive at something fresh and compelling.

I could, for example, have called my first course “A Really Good Tutorial on Creating Ads” and written it in proper English … and it would have promptly (and justifiably) sank to the bottom of the barrel of courses on advertising.

Fortunately, I eschewed mediocrity and — instead — went for the jugular.

And the slang-ridden, take-no-prisoners course I did write — “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel” — hit a nerve among entrepreneurs and small biz owners world-wide.

The lesson: Words matter.

Never confuse “smart sounding speech” with real Read more…