Monthly Archives: June 2010

Getting Paid to Talk to Yourself

Here’s something VERY strange which occurred to me today…

I’ve got the weirdest job in the world.

It’s true!

Because, you see, I get paid gobs of money to talk to myself.   I spend a LOT of time alone in my room, staring at the computer, recording Camtasia videos, MP3s, etc.   Of course, I’ve also got REAL businesses, and of course, I’m not really talking to myself, I’m talking to thousands of people.

But still, if a Martian were to land and observe what I was doing, he’d see a great big hairy guy sitting in his room and talking to himself.

Which couldn’t be farther from what I set out to do as a psychologist… (I really thought I’d be spending my days in a room listening to other people talk to themselves)

Anyway… sometimes it makes me a little “loopy”

(The Rocket Clicks team is great, and always interested in talking to me… but they’re in Milwaukee and, truth be told, Rob Sieracki is such an amazing Chief Operating Officer and partner that Jeff and I really don’t have to do that much anymore)

So I suppose this is a part of the reason I’m pushing the coaching program more seriously now.   (Get on the priority notification list at the bottom of this page if you’re interested … a limited number of slots will open tomorrow and, from experience, will go very quickly) I find that the people who’re willing to work my systems seriously via the coaching structure I’ve set up are some of the nicest, most interesting, (and most respectful of my time and boundaries)  people I’ve met in my years as an internet marketer.

Plus,  sometimes it’s just plain nice to worry about someone else’s business instead of your own.

I dunno.

Maybe I really am nuts.

I really should be DOING more than teaching, if money was my primary goal.

But I’m gonna do this anyway, at least for a while.

Hope you’ll take me up on it before I change my mind 🙂

Ryan, one of my most successful students, is also offering to coach a limited number of people through my systems for a little more than HALF my personal rates.   (Get on the priority notification list at the bottom of this page if you’re interested … a limited number of slots will open tomorrow and, from experience, will go very quickly)

Here’s a VERY SHORT MP3 (13 minutes) where Sharon and I discuss my personal neuroses, and how they can benefit you.

Enjoy 🙂

KAIZEN FINALE: The Secret Emotional Connection between Kaizen, Coffee, and… Your Customer?

What might these coffee grinds have to do with Kaizen in Marketing?

This is the third and final article in the guest posting series from Ryan, one of my most successful students.  Ryan’s already built a $250K/year business using my methods (please read the disclaimer on, and after coaching directly with me all year, is about to launch what I believe will be a much larger one.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn I’ll be opening several coaching slots tomorrow, including a new level with monthly telephone access, and with Ryan available to walk you through the hyper-responsive process at a much lower price.   You can review the NEW details on, and if you’re even remotely interested, please sign up for the priority notification list at the bottom.

Here’s Ryan’s article 🙂


“KAIZEN FINALE: The Secret Emotional Connection between Kaizen, Coffee, and… Your Customer? (HINT: It’s NOT What You Might Think…)”

Hi, it’s Ryan here again 🙂

And today, I’ll be wrapping up this three-part Guest Post series on the Power of Kaizen.

But before we begin, let’s quickly recap what we’ve covered so far:

In Article #1, we talked about Kaizen and your BUSINESS.

I shared a few real-life examples of how tiny, incremental improvements can yield big gains in your business (and how this exact approach enabled me to go from earning $0 to $25,000 per month in my first 18 months online, using the hyper-responsive process).

In Article #2, we talked about Kaizen and your BRAIN.

We explored the idea of moving toward your business goals by taking one “impossible to fail step” at a time — using a deceptively simple (but extremely powerful) “Kaizen Mind Trick” that I personally use whenever I reach a “sticking point” in my business.

(By the way, if you missed either of those articles, you can still get them here: #1, #2.)

Now, in today’s conclusion to this three-part series, I’d like to talk about how I apply Kaizen principles within my sales materials — and across my entire marketing funnels — in a way that might surprise you…

Specifically, I’m going to talk about how you might use Kaizen principles to positively influence THE single most important person in your business — (Yes, someone even more important than YOU…)

And that someone is of course — Your CUSTOMER 🙂

To illustrate the sort of thing I’m talking about, I’d like to share a slightly embarrassing personal story with you, which I think you may find amusing:

Some time ago, I had one of those mini-marketing-epiphanies we all get from time to time — as I was standing in the supermarket looking to buy — of all things — coffee.

As I stood there scratching my head, staring at the shelves hopelessly lost, and deciding which brand of coffee to buy — it was like suddenly, my entire coffee-drinking life flashed before my eyes:

The first coffee I remember drinking was the one my parents drank their entire lives — Folgers — the Buick of coffees — sold in that unmistakable giant red can, priced at $3.99 / lb.

For most of my early adult life, Folgers was my coffee of choice — by default.

But years later, by the time Starbucks was on every corner and they’d started selling their ground coffee on the grocery store shelf — at some point, it went on sale — probably for something like $5.99 / lb.  And as a fan of their ‘by-the-cup’ product, I decided to give it a try.

I remember weeks later, when it went back up to the regular $8.99 / lb. price, I was faced with a decision — continue drinking the Starbucks brew, OR go back to my Folgers roots?

But, by that time, it was already too late.  I was hooked on Starbucks– whether I cared to admit it or not…

And then, a few years later, my coffee drinking habits evolved yet again:

As we started getting bit older, my wife and I began making a concerted effort to eat healthier across the board.  And in that quest, I came across compelling research that convinced me to start drinking certified organic (and pesticide-free) coffee only.

Making that organic transition came with a $10.99 / lb. price tag.

And now, after this whole episode flashed through my brain, I found myself standing in the coffee aisle at the local Whole Foods, deciding between two different certified-organic, fair-trade, boutique-brand varieties at a price of $12.99 and $13.99 / lb. respectively.

(And after realizing how I’d arrived at this point, suddenly questioning my own sanity…) 🙂

But THAT’S also when the mini-marketing epiphany hit me like a ton of bricks.

(Any guesses on what it might be?  And how it relates to Kaizen?)

Well, let’s start with this:

For me, as a consumer in this market, I NEVER would have made a direct leap from Folders at $3.99 / lb. to my current boutique brand, certified-organic, fair-trade variety at $13.99 / lb.

The price jump is just TOO BIG.

But each buying decision along the way that lead me there was small enough (and non-threatening enough), that I was able to seamlessly and unconsciously move down this path without setting off any of my internal, amygdala-controlled warning signals.

Or in other words, moving up a notch — one small step at a time — was never a big deal.

Okay, so how can you take this and apply the Kaizen principle of “one small step at a time” within this context in your sales materials — and across your entire marketing funnels — on a  practical level?

Well, for starters — knowing what you now know about how Kaizen impacts the brain, you might start asking yourself a few questions:

Like for example: Are you seamlessly moving your prospects and customers through your marketing funnels — and more broadly, to your way of thinking — one small, non-threatening, step at a time?

Or somewhere along the way — maybe in the form of an objection you fail to address in your sales letter or autoresponder sequence, or the price gap between your front and back-end products — are you asking your prospects and customers to take a step that’s just TOO BIG?

Because perhaps that could be the VERY STEP that might be causing them to “freeze” or “flee” — and put the brakes on any sort of buying decision.

After all, your customers’ brains are not unlike yours or mine.

We’re all wired the same way. 🙂

Until next time — to your continued success!

Ryan 🙂

PS – But going back to the coffee story, really the Kaizen lens above is just ONE way of looking at things — (and a convenient way to bring our discussion on Kaizen full circle…)

But there are at least 5 other marketing takeaways (which have nothing to do with Kaizen) that I was able to pull from that experience as a consumer.

And I’d be VERY curious to know:

As you read that story for the first time, what marketing lessons were YOU able pick out?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below, and I hope at least some of you will let me coach you through your very own Kaizen Success!  (Sign up for the priority notification list if you’re interested on Glenn’s coaching page)

PPS – I’d also like to send out a warm word of thanks to everyone who took the time to read this series of guest posts — and particularly those who shared their comments and feedback. Thanks so much!

The “Kaizen Mind Trick”

“Discover How to Use This Unusual (But Powerful) “Kaizen Mind Trick” to Finally Get Unstuck, Stop Procrastinating, AND Reach That Next Level in Your Business…

This is a continuation of last Thursday’s Guest Post on Kaizen in Internet Business – which is well worth reading.  The author (Ryan) is one of my more successful students who used the original HDYB process to develop a $250K business, and, now after direct coaching from me since January is about to launch his second business, which I firmly believe will be much larger.  (Disclaimer: please see the Full Testimonial and Results Disclosure on for typical results) Ryan is the ONLY person I’ve ever let guest post to this date, which tells you something about his abilities, character, and work ethic


LESSON 1 (Part II): The “Kaizen Mind Trick”

In the previous post, I talked about using a relentless, methodical Kaizen approach of incremental improvement to achieve big gains in your business.

It’s an approach that enabled me to grow my first internet business from $0 to $25,000 per month in 18 months.

And I strongly recommend anyone who isn’t making the progress they’d like to be making in their business to consider adopting a similar mentality.

Now, what I covered in the previous post is sort of like Kaizen on a MACRO level.

But there’s a WHOLE other side to Kaizen — And it’s something that almost NOBODY talks about within the internet marketing world.

And it has to do with Kaizen on a MICRO level: How Kaizen affects your brain.

As a marketer who also has a background in neuroscience, this is a question I’ve explored with great interest. And in doing so, a few years back I happened to stumble upon a deceptively simple, but extremely powerful “Kaizen Mind Trick” which I now use whenever I find myself reaching a “sticking point” in my business.

And in a moment, I’m going to share that exact technique with you, because I think YOU might be able to benefit from it yourself the next time you get stuck in your own business 🙂

But first, I want you to think about the following question:

WHY does Kaizen work, exactly?

I mean, on one level, it works… because it works, right?

It’s common-sense. A self-evident truth. Something we marketers take for granted — like the effectiveness of split-testing, for example.

But think about it for a minute:

WHY is it that when you start thinking small, you’re able to achieve big results?

To answer that question, it actually helps to take a quick look inside your brain:

To your brain, any changes you make in your life – even the positive ones – are scary, because they deviate from your safe, comfortable routine.

And, when you attempt to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means, those attempts often fail because big changes heighten anxiety — which in turn activates the primitive “fight or flight” fear response controlled by a structure in your midbrain known as the amygdala.

(In fact, this fear response should be more accurately described as the “FREEZE or fight or flight” response. Because it’s why we tend to procrastinate — or suffer from “analysis paralysis” — when we feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed about taking that next big step toward our goals…)

Now here’s the thing:

When you activate your primitive fear response, you ALSO restrict access to your cortex — the “thinking” part of your brain — which is responsible higher cognitive functions like creative problem solving and rational thought.


When you start thinking in terms of making positive change through tiny, incremental, steps (or in other words, the Kaizen way) you’re actually able to bypass your brain’s fear response, engage your cortex, and therefore stimulate your creative problem solving ability.

The result?

You start making rapid progress toward your goals.

Now with all that mind, here is the deceptively simple, but powerful “Kaizen Mind Trick” you can use to take advantage of all this on a practical level:

Whenever you find yourself procrastinating, having trouble getting started, or simply feeling “stuck” on something in your business, just ask yourself the following question:

“What’s the next immediate step I can take that’s so small it would be impossible to fail?”

*The KEY is that it is HAS to be something that’s SO small, and SO basic that you literally CANNOT fail. (This is absolutely CRITICAL.)

For example:

Say you’re feeling overwhelmed about writing your next sales letter — and you find yourself having trouble getting started.

Simply ask yourself the question:

“What’s the next immediate step I can take that’s so small it would be impossible to fail?”

Your next immediate “impossible to fail” step might be something like typing one character in your word processor. Or opening up Microsoft Word. Or even just turning on your computer.

When you’ve reached the step that makes you feel silly and think, “Well, duh! Of COURSE I can do THAT..” then you’re on your way.

It has to be something THAT basic.

Because here’s the thing:

Once you’ve convinced yourself to type that one character, and realize “hey that wasn’t so bad” you can convince yourself to take that next “impossible to fail” step — which might be typing a single word. And when you convince yourself to do that, you can convince yourself to string together a single sentence.

And before you know it, you’ll discover that not only have you overcome your writer’s block, but you’ve got two pages worth of stuff down on paper without even realizing it.

Now, if you try the technique and STILL find yourself struggling to get moving on something, dreading the activity, or making excuses for not doing it, the solution is this:

Just cut back the size of the step.

It’s really as simple as that.

I cannot emphasize enough how critical this strategy has been to the progress I’ve been able to make in my business so far.

Coming from a regular guy, I’ll tell you that the Hyper-Responsive process WORKS.

It really does.

But where I think most people struggle is EXECUTING the entire process from start to finish because of all the different component parts.

The secret to success? Break things down into one “impossible to fail” step at a time.

Really, that’s it.

And if you STILL have trouble to get yourself moving — here’s a little something I remind myself of to help get my own butt in gear:

You can ALWAYS correct a poor decision, but if you do NOTHING, you can NEVER get the time back 🙂

Until next time — to your continued success!

Ryan 🙂


GLENN SAYS:    Ryan will post PART III of this series in the next few days.  We’d love to have your questions and comments below.

Ryan will also shortly be working with me to provide Hyper-Responsive Process Coaching at a little more than HALF my personal rates, and we should be ready to take clients before the end of the week.   I’m happy to say the NEW coaching format will also include a level with PHONE time as many people have been requesting this.  If you’re interested, please get on the priority notification list at the bottom of my coaching letter… we’ll email that list 24 hours before the main list when the slots open.   (Space will unfortunately be very limited, please do get on the list if you’re considering it)

Success Story: (Why I Never Play the Lottery)

Know why I don’t play the lottery?

Because I thoroughly and firmly believe there’s a better way to make 10 million dollars, and the odds of winning the lottery are, when rounding errors are accounted for, effectively ZERO. (Daniel Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness” notes that, if instead of putting lottery winners on TV for 30 seconds, we put all the lottery losers on, you’d need 9 years of 24 hour per day television to get through just one drawing)

Below you’ll find a guest post from one of my more successful coaching students (Ryan), who’s used my process from scratch to build a $250K business. He’s also about to launch his SECOND business after coaching directly with me since the beginning of this year , which I anticipate will be much, much larger. (Disclaimer: please see the Full Testimonial and Results Disclosure on for typical results)

So Ryan’s a true success story.

And Ryan’s also got a very unique, realistic, and contagious perspective on business which I think you should all pay very, very, VERY careful attention to, because in all the years I’ve been teaching, I have to say that THIS is what separates the successful from those who merely try for a while and fail.

Now, the post’s admittedly a little long, but I must point out there are several gems within it which could, in and of themselves, very well bump your business to the next level, even, and perhaps especially if you’re feeling stuck, or having trouble breaking through to profitability, or moving to the next level.

Ask yourself, before you read it, if Glenn’s EVER let anyone post as a guest previously on his blog.  Your answer should be a resounding NO.  (That’s 201 posts, and not one guest)

Which means this guy truly’s got something special, worth paying attention to, worth taking notes about, and worth implementing in your business.

Your first impression may be that you “already know” what he’s talking about…

Please read it anyway…

Because the key point is deceptive unless you do.

And remember, the thing which keeps most of us from breaking through to the next level is just a case of the  “already knows”.

Zen mind is a beginner’s mind.

Here we go…

———– Guest Post from Ryan Follows ———-

I’ve been a student and customer of Glenn’s for the past 3 years, and after we had the opportunity to get together for dinner recently, Glenn asked if I might share a few marketing insights with his audience from the perspective of a “real person” who has actually implemented his systems successfully.

After he twisted my arm, I (gladly) agreed to write a few guest posts for his blog 🙂

First, a quick background on who I am:

My name is Ryan, and in 2008, I launched my first internet business, in an obscure niche market (that has NOTHING to do with how to make money) using the original “How to Double Your Business” system — the pre-cursor to the current Hyper-Responsive Club.

I had no previous experience in internet marketing – or even as an entrepreneur.

The result?

Within 18 months, I was making $25,000 a month from that business.  And today, my wife and I run that business out of our home along with 2 other internet businesses we’ve started building since then.

And here’s the thing:

I’m just a regular guy.

Just a regular guy who kept the dream alive, executed the process from start to finish, and who now has a passive-income business that provides a comfortable lifestyle for my family — AND allows me to give a little something back at the end of the day.

Don’t get me wrong – We’re not wearing diamond encrusted Rolexes or driving $95,000 Maseratis…

But I DO get to work from home and set my own hours.  There’s no boss or rush hour traffic to deal with.  I have the freedom to go for a run or take a nap in the middle of the day if I need a break.  And we regularly take days off (on our own terms) to travel or spend time with friends and family who visit from out of town.

And like many people, I used to be a wage slave doing the Fortune 500 Dilbert Cube thing — tethered to the Blackberry 24/7, grinding out 2-3 hour daily commutes, and hopping on a plane every other week.

So I’ve been on both sides of the fence.

What I’m hoping to do in this series of posts is provide a few insights that have had a strong impact on my own thinking as an entrepreneur, and which I think YOU might be able benefit from yourself as you implement the hyper-responsive process in your own business.

So without further delay, let’s dive right in 🙂


LESSON #1 (Part 1): The (True) Power of Kaizen

I’ve got a quote by Mark Twain scribbled on the white board in my office that says the following:

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.  And the secret to getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks and starting on the first one.”

Or to put it another way, the secret to getting ahead — is Kaizen.

Since it’s widely talked about in internet marketing circles these days, you probably know that Kaizen is a a concept adopted from the Japanese auto manufacturing industry that translated means continuous improvement through tiny, incremental steps.

John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coach (and one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time) who recently passed away at age 99 put it like this:

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur.  When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning.  Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made.  Don’t look for the big, quick improvement.  Seek the small improvement one day at a time.  That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.”

The advice is simple enough, and fairly intuitive, right?

Seek out opportunities to make small improvements, and work toward achieving those small improvements every single day.

So how exactly does one go from earning $0 online to earning $25,000 every month within 18 months?

I know this isn’t going to sound sexy, but the answer is this: $500 at a time.

Let me explain:

I first started making major progress in my business when I stopped thinking big, and started thinking small.

Initially, when I was first getting started as an entrepreneur I had a tendency to set ambitious goals like making $100,000 within the next 6 months — I’d look myself in the mirror every morning, do the whole visualization thing, carry around the piece of paper with my goal etc.

But instead of making progress, I found myself just spinning my wheels.

So I switched gears.

And eventually I discovered a strategy that changed everything for me.

Instead of setting large (and somewhat arbitrary) goals, every month I focused on asking myself the smallest of questions.

Questions like:

What’s one thing I can I do in my business will make me an extra $500 this month?

Or, what’s one thing I can I do that will generate 1 additional sale per day?

These small numbers were the sort of thing I could get my head around.

This was the shift in thinking that freed up my mind to “seek the small improvements, one day at a time..”  And it also happens to be what enabled me to start making real, significant progress in my business.

Let me illustrate with a few concrete examples:

When I first launched the business, after I conducted and analyzed my survey and finished up the market research process, I created and started selling our information product in the form of an e-book.

Within a month, I was selling about 60 units per month — or 2 sales a day.  And after some modest growth, sales plateaued at that level for the next few months.

So I asked myself a small question: What can I do that will generate just 1 extra sale per day per month?

At the time I knew based on emails we were getting from interested buyers — particularly among the 50+ demographic — that the market wanted a physical book.

I really wanted to sell digital products only — which avoided the whole fulfillment issue, but there was clearly strong demand.  So I decided to suck it up, and start offering a physical book, in addition to the e-book, with the target of generating 1 extra sale per day.

The result?

Instead of generating 1 extra sale per day, we TRIPLED our sales — almost overnight.

It was something I did NOT anticipate.

But the problem was that we knew nothing about shipping a physical product, and we were shipping all our books USPS priority mail at a cost of $4.80 per unit at the time (Not to mention writing out every address by hand!…)

To ship our books, we’d go to the post office after business hours (when there were no lines and the counters were closed) to use their postage printing machine, which was accessible in the lobby 24 hours a day.

(Going to our post office DURING business hours with a crate full of books to ship was a miserable experience — and usually meant at least 45 minutes of waiting in line, plus a lecture from the cranky counter clerk who did NOT appreciate our business…)

The after hours approach worked well enough when we were just getting started, but by the time we’d grown to fulfill an average of 250 orders per month, this really wasn’t feasible anymore.

So we started looking into “print from home” label & postage printing solutions — And since we could afford to invest in a printer and shipping labels at this point, we now had the option of shipping using Media Mail rates at the cost of $2.54 per unit.

When we made the switch from Priority Mail to Media Mail we picked up an additional $2.26 in profit per unit sold – which at the time (when we were selling 250 units/month), put an additional $565 per month directly in our pockets.

Nice, but not really something to write home about, right?

Well fast forward to today, and now that we’re selling in excess of 900 orders per month – that one little $500 per month improvement is putting an additional $24,408 in our pockets this year.

As John Wooden might say: “When you improve a little every day, eventually a big gain is made.  Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made…”

I’ll give you another example.

After the initial front-end product started selling well, we started developing a few back-end products.  First, we had the physical book made into an audio book on 4 CDs.  Then, we created a complimentary e-book on a related topic – and we started upselling those using a sequential “1-click upsell” process.

The result?

After about 2 months worth of testing and tweaking the sales copy, pricing, and determining which sequence performed best, I was able to increase the upsell rate from 6%  to 21% — which translated into an additional $1.75 in profit per order.

Again, nice but nothing to get really excited about, right?

Well, now that we’re doing 900 orders per month – that $1.75 increase in profit per order puts an extra $18,900 directly in our pockets per year.

Those are just 2 examples.  But there are another two dozen examples just like that — some small, and some big…

And THAT’S the secret to going from earning $0 online to earning $25,000 every month in 18 months.  There’s no one improvement that will get you there.  It’s the sum total of all the small things.  It’s the relentless, methodical attention to incremental improvement across everything in your business.

In a word – Kaizen.

But that’s not the whole story.  There’s a WHOLE other side to why Kaizen is so powerful — and it’s something you can use to propel yourself and your business EVEN further.

And this is where things get REALLY exciting, because here’s the thing:

NOBODY is talking about this.  And it’s also something that few (if any) marketers truly understand.

It’s something that I’ll be covering in the NEXT post in this mini-series.

Stay tuned…

Until next time — to your continued success 🙂



GLENN SAYS:    Ryan will post again with the continuation of this series shortly.  In the meantime, I’d love to have your questions and comments below, which I’ll pass along to him to consider addressing going forward.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I’m working on a deal with Ryan  to provide a number of people with  Hyper-Responsive Process Coaching at a little more than HALF my personal rates, and I should be able to open this up next week.  It’s likely to include some PHONE time too, so you can really get the hand holding you need.  If you’re interested, please get on the priority notification list at the bottom of my coaching letter… even though he’s not listed there yet, you’ll still get the first shot at the discount coaching slots when they open)

Worst Adwords Ad – Contest (CANCELLED)

I’m so sorry – but this particular contest got out of hand. The technique works fabulously well when you run through it on your own, on the telephone, or in a closed group. I hadn’t invited people to do this in public before, and, well… I’m afraid I led just a few people to say some insulting and upsetting things for overweight people, which, in the absence of the in-person moderation which brings these to positive conclusions, is the opposite of how I want to take care of the world.

It’s entirely my fault.

My sincere apologies.

G 🙁

PS – There WERE quite a few creative entires, and I will post a winner from those previously entered on Friday, as promised. But please don’t post anymore (and I’ve deleted the 72 entries previously made).

A Marketing Lesson from 1975

I was eleven years old in 1975.   I was also both conceited and insecure.

I’d lived a fairly sheltered life in Great Neck,  NY  (Wall Street’s wealthy backyard – though I had the honor of living in one of the poorest houses in one of the country’s richest communities)

That all changed in the summer of 1975.

And no, I’m not talking about puberty.  That was actually relatively uneventful…with the exception of an incident I won’t go into with a girl nick-named “Big Kim.”

But I digress…

I’m talking about one very frightening drive home from Manhattan to Great Neck with my sister and my Mom.  See, Mom had been working in in NYC for a while by the time I was eleven.  She was a fledgling psychotherapist (like 17 other people in my family) just starting to see patients in her midtown office.   I forget exactly why Laurie and I were with her that day, but I’ll NEVER forget the ride home.

Driving across mid-town Manhattan during a hot summer day’s rush hour is about as thrilling as watching and earthworm cross the street…but slower.   That’s why my Mom chose to take a detour through Harlem.  It was easier to go straight uptown and head east on 125th street than to try and get anywhere on 57th (around the corner from Mom’s  office)

So uptown we went.

And Harlem was quite a site for a spoiled Great Neck kid.

Remember, this was Harlem in 1975… a far cry from what it is today (thanks to the last mayor’s anti-crime efforts and “broken window theory”)  As a boy, I’d heard all the stories on TV, the shootings, stabbings, drug dealers, prostitutes, muggers, etc.  I had expected to see a veritable prison ward let loose on the streets.

But what greeted us instead was a friendly, busy neighborhood with street vendors, men dressed all sorts of ways.  Some wore suits and ties, others donned jeans and a t-shirt, and still others were adorned in a ridiculous amount of bling”, though they didn’t call it that back then.

We even passed a street juggler and a guitar player.

It lit up my eyes with wonder!.

That is, until Mom turned down a side street and the car stalled.

She seemed a little worried, so of course Laurie (my sister) and I were too.  But Mom remained calm and said we should just sit there for a moment.

So we did.

And then it happened…

A large, Pink Cadillac (I’m really NOT kidding you)  with fuzzy dice pulled up behind us.   And two large, lean black men got out and started walking toward our car.

My Mom turned to us both in the back and said “You guys have been great kids and I love you very much.  But we’re probably going to die now and I want you to know it’s OK” (At least that’s how I remember it  – Mom might have something different to say)

A giant wave of anxiety shot through me.  I’d like to say I was planning something macho… but let’s face it, I was eleven and didn’t even shave yet.  I’m lucky I didn’t crap myself…

Before I knew it the men were on both sides of the car, motioning for Mom to roll down the window.

She did.    I’m not sure she had any other choice.

And then,  much to our surprise, the men didn’t take out any guns or knives.   Instead, they gently leaned into the car and said to her “Is everything alright, Sistah?  Your kids OK?”

She smiled and said yes.

“What’s the matter then, car won’t start?”

The rest of the conversation I can’t remember.

But the two nice men pushed the car (with my Mom, myself, and my sister in it) over a half mile to the garage they were most familiar with.  THEN they drove us home in their big Pink Cadillac 35 miles to Great Neck!!!

My Mom offered them $50 for their troubles and gasoline (a lot of money back then), but they utterly refused saying “We’re all brothers on the road.”

Now, you might think these guys would have shown up later on expecting my mother to, um, “work for” them…but they simply took off and we never heard from them again.

That was my first exposure to Harlem.

The people we THOUGHT were our worst enemies in a terrifying situation were actually the ones who saved us!!!

And that’s the moral of the story for we marketers.  Because we spend so much time worrying about the competition, we never stop to think how we might work WITH them.

So that’s the question I’ll leave you with …. have you considered how you might work WITH your worst competitor?  The one you’re most afraid of? (Howie Jacobson and I, for example, refer people back and forth all the time, even though we compete for the same traffic.  Same with Terry Dean.  We each have our unique strengths and weaknesses, and dozens of clients buy from all of us)

I’m not saying to make yourself vulnerable.  By all means, be careful.

But your worst competitor might just be relieved to think of YOU as a friend instead of an enemy too…it might be worth a conversation.

Food for thought,  do you think?

Dr. G 🙂

PS – I’ll be opening my business coaching practice to new clients for the first time in almost three full years on Jan 1st, 2016…for ONE day only.  And because I’m getting older and busier, this very well may be the LAST time I ever open for new people… so if you’ve got any interest in working with me personally, now’s the time to sign on.  Read the letter and add your name to the priority notifications list.  (“He who hesitates is lost”)

4 Things I No Longer Believe

One of the hard things about being an old fart in this internet marketing game is that your old speeches, products, and seminars come to haunt you.

So for the record, here are 4 THINGS I NO LONGER BELIEVE:

#1 The Right Market Research Makes You Invulnerable to Competition: I used to think no one could touch me in my old markets because I did so much research, I’d know so much more about the market than anyone else would.   It still truly IS  invaluable, but you have to make the time, energy, and resources to execute on all that intelligence, and keep executing as the market evolves.

Moreover, as people start seeing your success you definitely get a bulls eye painted on your back.  So I now believe it’s critical to engage in counter-intelligence, put up fake sites for your competitors to copy, and focus like crazy on a very small number of markets where you can continually build visitor value and execute on everything you learn. Oh, and like John Reese used to say “Make your money and then just shut up!” (Don’t go around talking about your markets except with your closest friends, mastermind partners, and mentors)

#2 PPC is a good enough traffic source to sustain a real business all by itself:   It’s not.  PPC is the best (but not the only) place to research and test a market, to identify your “money keywords”, optimize your sales engine, and build your visitor value.  But there are so many ways to get traffic in this Web 2.0 world (soon to be 3.0) that’s it’s crazy to obsess about PPC alone.

Moreover, PPC ads are always a deteriorating asset.  It’s just the nature of a Darwinian auction environment.  If you’re not constantly working on it, your campaign’s performance will constantly degrade.  If it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse.

The solution?  Build a profitable stream on PPC, and pump it for all you can, but not at the expense of SEO, social media, telemarketing, direct mail, and above all… a compulsively psychotic quest to build your visitor value by serving your best customers with ever more high end products and services.  (As Dan Kennedy says “the winner isn’t the one who pays least for the leads, the winner is the one who engineers their business to be able to pay the most”)

#3 Social Media isn’t really worth your time as a marketer:

I used to warn people to avoid spending too much time considering Twitter, Facebook, etc. as possible traffic sources.  However, at the same time, I engineered my research processes to incorporate them for market intelligence purposes, and I now find I need to rescind my previous trash-talk and tell people to take what’s happening on social media seriously.  It can definitely enhance your conversions.

I still put PPC first, but with the new research process, social media’s (and in particular Twitter and Facebook) looking like a very attractive part of the roll out process.

#4) That it’s always possible, or even desirable, to launch a business in the black from day one. I’m taking a big risk by saying this, since a lot of my reputation was built on pounding ALL the risk you could out of a new business by exhaustively researching  a market using techniques I developed as a Fortune 100 consultant.

And people tend to talk about me as the guy who “launched 17 markets profitably IN A ROW”.

Well, first of all, that’s a big  fish story, which seems to have gotten bigger over time.  I did go into 17 markets profitably.  And most of them were in the black within a week or two after launching.  But they weren’t all sequential.  There were a lot of false-starts and red flag negatives which caused me to kill several markets over the course of that famed 18 months.  And there was one I flopped on early on.

Moreover, only 5 of those markets were anything to write home about, and then, only after working very hard to push them from fledgling profitability to serious monthly income and list building.  The rest were anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand a month.

But here’s the thing … in today’s competitive environment, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you think you’re gonna  be profitable out of the gate.  There are literally 10x more advertisers than when I started.  Plus, in many (if not most) markets, the click costs are 5 times higher.   And marketers are MUCH more sophisticated in content management, follow up, and direct response in general.  Plus, of course, Google’s made it harder and harder for the little guy to advertise well.

So, just like in the real world, if you want to develop a real business, you’ve got to have a funding and cash flow plan to get you through your research + a few months of losses while you do your testing and develop your system.

“The name of the game is staying in the game until you win the game!” That’s my favorite thing I ever said.   Doing yourself the honor of researching your market and carefully planning cash flow is what empowers you to keep buying traffic and making incremental improvements until you’re profitable, and then WAY PROFITABLE.

Thinking you’ve gotta get out of the gate in the black is just a way to demoralize yourself before you even start. (I’m not saying to be stupid and just let money run out of your bank account month after month – but to have a realistic plan to inch your way to profitability with steady testing and product development)

Which is why I spent a good part of month #8 in the  Hyper Responsive Club reviewing a detailed spreadsheet model I use for cash flow forecasting prior to launching a business.

There,  I feel so much better! (Now if someone could just help me tell my Mom I no longer believe in Santa Claus I think my conscience will be totally clear)

Onwards and upwards!,

Dr. G 🙂

PS – I’m going to open a few personal coaching slots in the next few weeks.  And in addition to the slots with myself, there  should also be a few available at HALF PRICE with one of my most successful students, who’s mastered the process and has already built a $250K/year business using my methods in a non-make-money niche.  Get on the waiting list please if you’re interested.

PPS – The Outsourcing Webinar Replay really IS worth watching (Note: affiliate link) if you’re not already familiar with this resource.