“Stop sniveling…” (Pretenders, “Tatooed Love Boys”)
Quick note here for those in need.
I’ve been almost completely retired from freelancing for some time now. I still indulge a few long-time clients…
… but I haven’t taken on a new gig in over a year.
I’m devoting my time to teaching, and writing stuff for myself.
This makes me happy.
But it bums out business owners and entrepreneurs in a major way. Because, often, someone will realize they need copy written…
… and they know, deep down, that I’m the guy who needs to write it to squeeze out max results…
… and… here’s the sad part… they cannot bribe, cajole, threaten or offer me enough money to come out of this semi-retirement to do the gig.
Man, that’s frustrating.
Here’s the good news, though: I can now offer you… the next best thing.
If you need a writer who meets my strict, Operation MoneySuck, no-BS-allowed requirements for professionalism and quality…
… I now have a small “stable” full of them.
And we’ve just released a simple program that gives you immediate access.Read more…
San Diego, CA
“First, learn your craft. It won’t stop you from being a genius later.”
Quick little note today, to take you through the weekend (while I’m down here in Baja La-La Land speaking at the star-studded “Paid For Life” seminar).
If you — like me in my mis-spent youth, and like the vast majority of folks out there who “can’t get started” — feel a sense of satisfaction over your ability to Think Deep on Big Thoughts…
… you’d be doing yourself a favor by murdering that satisfaction right now.
The best quote I’ve ever seen on this was by biz legend Peter Drucker:
“Brilliant men are often strikingly ineffectual. They fail to realize that the brilliant insight is not by itself achievement. They never have learned that insights become effectiveness only through hard systematic work.”
In other words…
… you will never get shit done — no matter how smart you are (or think you are) — until you get MOVING on your ideas.
I, too, was a lost and wandering soul… until I discovered (by accident) the concept of goal-setting and — just as important — the trick to actually putting your goal-achievement plans into action.
That trick?Read more…
“You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…” (Eagles, “Hotel California”)
Today, let’s explore a little-discussed part of running a biz…
… using a couple of enlightening (and very brief) anecdotes from my recent (and continuing) “Adventures With Hotels”.
Let’s call this lesson: The Faded Lady and the Trump.
With all due apologies to Disney’s classic dog-romance movie, of course.
See if you can spot how the following short story applies to YOUR business…
Each of the last two weekends found me in different cities, staying in hotels I booked online, sight-unseen.
In Sin City, it was the splendiferous Trump International Hotel Las Vegas.
In San Francisco, the once-famous, now-infamous Cathedral Hill Hotel.
Now, the Trump joint was built with luxury in mind. Shiny, tall, imposing building with huge well-apportioned rooms and super-modern equipment like elevators and art.
As a “product”, the building was great. (Though it seems idiotic not to have any gambling on the premises, as a wanna-be “player” in the Las Vegas scene. I heard that Trump got skunked on getting his gambling license, but that’s not the spin the staff offered. “We just didn’t want gambling here,” is what they said, unconvincingly.)
Great price for the rooms, too. (Most likely because of the lack of casino amenities and dearth of unit sales, which turned it from condo to hotel.)
I have complaints about the joint… but not because of the room, the rate, or the basic delivery of stuff like air conditioning, clean water, nice beds, etc. (In fact, their pillow-top beds are amazing to sleep in. Like being cuddled by angels.)
Now, back in SF, it was a completely different situation.
We hosted a gathering of writers, affiliates, and other mucky-mucks at the Cathedral Hill Hotel because we wanted to treat everyone to an evening with the world-renown “Beer Chef“, who puts on fabulous dinners there once a month. (You can read more about Bruce Paton’s unique meals at www.beer-chef.com. )
You want the “Beer Chef”, you deal with Cathedral Hill. (And yes, we very much wanted his magic. He creates these shockingly-tasty gourmet meals there, with each course matched by a local micro-brew beer instead of boring old wine. It’ll knock your socks off, even if you aren’t well-versed in pilsners, ales and lagers.)
We also started the day off with an afternoon-long brainstorm session in the hotel’s main meeting room. (I’m sure you caught some of the updates on Twitter from the luminaries and stars in attendance.)
… none of us had ever stayed at the hotel.
And while it has a storied past (well-chronicled in San Francisco lore), it has, alas, fallen on hard times.
Culminating in being bought out a short time ago and scheduled for the wrecking ball.
We made the most of it. The stories and jokes we all shared about our rooms and experiences in the hotel are howlingly funny…
… but still, as a “product”, there’s no getting around the fact that the building was in serious disrepair.
Sort of like a once-beautiful lady who has fallen on hard times, and ended up sacked-out in a filthy alley, soused with cheap booze and a reputation heading south at light speed.
The price was actually a red flag: You cannot stay in the city, in a decent room, for anywhere near the rate Cathedral Hill was asking.
Kind of like seeing an ad for a luxury Caribbean Cruise in the paper for five bucks. It sort of sets off your early-warning alarm. (Five bucks and your kidney, maybe.)
So… while no one got robbed, or found a dead hooker in their room… Read more…
San Francisco, CA
“It crawled into my hand, honest…” (The Fuggs, circa 1967)
I’m off having more fun than you this week…
… meeting up with a bunch of crazy writers in Baghdad By The Bay for a nice gourmet feast (delivered by the world-renown “Beer Chef”, who pairs super-delicious fare with micro-brews instead of boring old wine)…
… followed by, well, being in San Francisco with a bunch of crazy writers.
Oh, there will be stories.
I suggest you follow us on Twitter. (It’s the Usual Suspects at the core of this adventure: Harlan, Morgan, Lorrie, Kevin, Garf, Curly, Mark, Dahl, etc.)
If you’re not following me on Twitter… first, get your head examined, then check in at www.twitter.com/johncarlton007. (Don’t forget the “oo7” part. Some other doofus nailed “johncarlton” long ago — turns out, it’s a fairly common name. Not that I’ve ever met one of the imposters personally…)
And while you’re waiting for me to get back (probably early next week) and start posting on this blog again…
… take this opportunity to go back through the archives and get hip to why this blog is so popular in the first place.
There’s almost 5 years of good stuff waiting for you.
And I’ll see you back here in a few days.
If, that is, I survive the weekend in SF.
“Facts are stupid things.” (Ronald Reagan, ’88 GOP convention)
Well, that was fun.
Over 650 comments on that last quiz so far (with a bullet). Some really good responses, too.
Also some really out-there ones, which always makes for giddy reading.
The main thing, of course, is that so many folks put on their Thinking Caps and went for it. As I’ve said before: You win just by trying with this kind of brain stumper.
… we have a winner. I’ll let you know who it was in a minute.
First, let’s relieve the tension and reveal the answer already.
Or at least head in that direction. It’s probably worth noting that only a tiny handful of the comments were on the right path.
The question was vague, on purpose. This is high-end street-level psychology…
… and one of the main features of this kind of advanced salesmanship is that it is NOT easily understood by most people.
In fact, you’ve likely encountered the answer to this quiz before in your life… but because it didn’t “fit” with your intuition and belief about “how things work”, it didn’t stick.
Most of what classic salesmen know about people runs counter to what the majority calls “common sense”.
This is startling to rookie marketers. Confusing. Disorienting. Challenges long-held beliefs about the nobility of human endeavor and the lofty inclinations of the human brain.
Thus, we saw long sub-threads in the comments that ignored the entire concept of a “glitch” in people’s thinking…
… and instead dove into all kinds of elaborate explanations of how a successful sales pitch might smoothly proceed with dignity and logic.
It’s good to have these discussions, if you desire to get anywhere in marketing.
I, too, had trouble getting into the minds of my prospects at first.
This is why I jumped on every opportunity that arose, early in my career, to hang out and grill every “street wise” marketer I ran into.
Cuz those guys knew how to SELL.
No theory. Just experience (and the bank accounts to prove it).
This group included:
… Jay Abraham and Gary Halbert (both of whom had door-to-door selling experience where, if they didn’t make the sale, they didn’t eat that day)…Read more…
“… and in the early mornin’ fog, I looked into those Mystic Eyes…” (Van Morrison, with Them, “Mystic Eyes”)
Had a little extended email exchange with our old pal Shawn Casey today.
See, he’s about to turn the Big Five-Oh… and I offered him the same gift that Gary Halbert offered me when I turned 50: An open invitation to hear about all the horrific shit he has to look forward to as his body slams full-force into official middle age.
Halbert used to absolutely delight in detailing for me some of the more evil indignities of waving bye-bye to youth.
Let’s just say your days of indulging in a bar brawl, and sleeping it off so you can do it again the next night, too…
… are over.
(Bonus insight: However, you can still have fun minus the dangerous stunts and life-threatening bravado that used to cap a good night out. Who’d a thought?)
I’m still laughing from that exchange with Shawn.
In truth, if you’re healthy, it ain’t all that big a deal sliding into your fifties. If you’ve spent the last four decades thrashing yourself, then yeah, you may be looking at getting your ticket punched early.
But if you listen to your body, keep the stress under control, get some freakin’ exercise once in a while, and avoid chunking out like Jaba The Hut…
… well, it’s actually kinda nice being a grizzled, older ape.
The real pleasures of life are just as intense… and you’ve pretty much identified which ones you want to focus on. (I spent my youth sampling almost every forbidden fruit in the feast… which I felt was my duty as a buddng writer. Many of those experiences were just downright awful, and yet they’d looked so good from a distance…)
And — even if you dinked around a lot for the bulk of your youth (as I did) (and, boy, was I good at dinking around) — you can’t help but have gathered a ton of experience.
And whatever mangled philosophy of life that got you this far must have something going for it… or you wouldn’t have made it.
Now, the reason I’m writing this post…Read more…
Quick post here, cuz I’m heading out the door for a trip out of town.
I just want to alert you to a wonderful opportunity: My good pal and colleague, Mike Koenigs, asked me to speak at a hot new marketing seminar…
… where all the proceeds go to a truly great cause.
The last event like this I helped out with was the one Gary Halbert hosted after Hurricane Andrew ripped up south Florida. We stocked the speaker list with the hottest names from the entrepreneur world…
… and it offered people an excellent chance to offer real support to a very deserving cause…
… while scoring KILLER marketing info in a cutting-edge seminar.
Mike’s put together a line-up just as stunning, for this event coming up next month. Besides moi, there is Eben Pagan, Shawn Casey, Russell Brunson…Read more…
Tampa Bay, FL
“What kind of music do you play here, Bob?” “Oh, we got both kinds. Country and western.” (Bob, the bar owner, and Jake Blues in “The Blues Brothers”)
Each year around July 4th, I like to post something on the blog about the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The part about free speech remains a protection that Americans enjoy (most of the time)… while much of the rest of the world refuses to even consider the concept.
Even otherwise enlightened joints like Europe have an itchy relationship with free speech.
Hell, we couldn’t get such a protection passed here in the States now. If it hadn’t been wedged into the Constitution by Jefferson in the Bill of Rights 240 years ago, it would still be an unrealized pipe dream of writers and deep thinkers everywhere.
Make no mistake: Your freedom to write blogs without government interference… as well as your right to use words like “fuck” to your heart’s content while making your point… is protected (mostly).
And this freedom is what fueled America’s dominance in stand up comedy.
Hey, don’t scoff. Satire, ridicule, and funny stuff very much qualifies as deep thinking.
In fact, it’s how public opinion gets changed the fastest.
And this freedom has been denied to almost every human who has walked the planet in our history.
So don’t take it lightly. Your ancestors would have killed for such a seemingly obvious privilege (and both did kill to get it, and die defending it).
The Man don’t like free speech.
Bugs him. Irritates his sense of authority and moral dominance.
Well, fuck The Man.
For every writer who was or will be jailed for writing the truth (as he or she sees it)…Read more…
“Let’s just say I was testing the bounds of reality…” (Jim Morrison of The Doors)
We have a winner!
Actually, the winning answer to last Friday’s quiz crashed the gates within ten minutes of the post going live.
But it was good to let the test string out, anyway… because the hard-core thinking and pure cogitation going on was excellent mental exercise.
… there was so much fresh thinking in the over 200 responses (as of right now — they’re still trickling in)…
… that I feel compelled to bestow THREE prizes.
One, for the first right answer. And two more for honorable mentions — one for Best Exhibit Of Pure Kick-Ass Attitude… and another for Cracking Me Up with real wit and cleverness.
I’ll reveal the winners in a moment.
First, though… let’s unravel what we’ve all learned here from this little brain teaser.
Revelation #1: James Surowiecki, in his book “The Wisdom of Crowds”, pointed out how often polls and crowd sampling is dead-on correct.Read more…
“I yam what I yam.” (Popeye, avoiding introspection.)
Are your routines helping you… or slowly murdering you?
As with most of life, it’s complicated.
And you’re gonna have to spend more than your normal 38 seconds cogitating on this issue if you’re ever gonna make peace with your natural inclination to habitualize your ass into oblivion.
(Side note: During my excellent interview with StomperNet founder Andy Jenkins yesterday, he revealed the startling statistic that most of us now live in 38-second segments. This, apparently, has been discovered by guys in white coats with clipboards. The Web has installed a permanent ADD virtual chip in our brains, limiting attention spans to that of a gnat.)
(This is good info for marketers to have, especially when deciding how to position copy, testimonials, video, graphics and other elements on a website for maximum attention-grabbing. But it’s damned depressing when any conversation requires deeper thought… and you must construct your position with constant virtual shiny objects to hold the interest of otherwise bright people.)
(I just lost half my audience with that aside, didn’t I. Sorry.)
Ah… where was I?
Oh, yeah. Habits and routines.
The omega and alpha of trying to live well.
Routine has both saved my life… and backed me into corners that threaten to ruin me.
So it’s good to stop and examine your routines (and your habits) every so often. Not just glance at ’em, and pat ’em on the head. But really dig into them…Read more…