Don’t break the trance

If you use TikTik you may have heard a song called Bored in the House by Tyga and Curtis Roach.  My wife even used this song to make a goofy little video of my son, The Peanut.  

During lockdown The Peanut was definitely bored in the house!  

I usually only hear the song in 15 second increments but this week I finally listened to the whole thing. 

It’s descent.  It’s a fun song and I get wrapped up in it.

Until I hear…

“Ayy, married to the money dressed in tuxedos (Yeah) 

I could show you mine like I’m Magneto”

As a life long comic book geek, that last line doesn’t jive with me.  All I can think is, if he really KNEW Magneto he wouldn’t say it like that.  

Why do I bring this up?

Because this is what happens when your message isn’t 100% dialed in.  Your reader/listener gets in a trance.  And then, you break it with the wrong words.

It’s like hitting a speed bump at 30 MPH.  

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say your product or service helps people with depression.  You could say:

“Have you had an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior?”

This is ok, but it may break the trance.  

How about this?

Have you ever been out with friends, having fun, and suddenly think “I wish a car would hit me.”

This is an actual situation and not a clinical definition.  It’s far more relatable!  The reader will go deeper into your message.  Deeper into your trance.

You need to internalize this because if someone hits a speed bump they may stop reading.  Their attention wanes just enough.  

And then—.

An alert on their phone buzzes.

A new text comes in.

The phone rings.

And, they’re gone.  

So how do you make sure you don’t break the trance?  I read my copy 5-10 times. 

And I read it aloud.

That way you can look for the speed bumps and get rid of them.  

Wanna write in a more captivating way?


Scaling, your business and common sense

If you’ve been on my email list for more than 5 minutes, you know I’m NOT about building my business with the traditional Business Paradigm.

What’s the Business Paradigm?  I learned about this originally from Megan Macedo.  

The Business Paradigm says:

  1. The thing that counts is the work you can get paid for.
  2. Your number one job is to serve the market and build the business.
  3. The guiding question is “What will generate a profit?”

I originally learned how to market my businesses from Dan Kennedy and dozens of the talented people he spawned.

I learned loads.  

But some of that stuff just never really worked for me.

This quote from Buddha sums it.  He said:

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

All this talk about ‘scaling’ and putting timers on every offer you make just never made sense to me.  

Why?  Because I believe in the Artist Paradigm.  Yes, I happen to be an “artist” too but that’s not why it’s called that.   The Artist Paradigm says:

  1. The thing that counts is your real work, your art, the work you care deeply about.  How to get paid for that work comes later.
  2. Your number one job is to serve the work and build a body of work you can be proud of.
  3. The guiding questions is not “What will generate a profit?”  The guiding question is “What’s worth doing even if it fails?”

So it’s not about generating profits by scaling our business to be bigger and bigger.  It’s  about being true to your work and scaling trust.  When you scale trust your clients buy from you over and over again.  

And if you fail, and you will [sometimes], it will be worth it.


Don’t be professional, be an anti-professional

Sally Hogshead (yes, that’s her real name) is a marketer.  

She has some great content.  She’s mostly known for her book Fascinate. I’d strongly recommend you read if you haven’t already.  She also has a personalty test that shows where you’re most fascinating.  

I’ve done that one too.  Check it out.  It’s not free but totally worth it.

I’m not trying to push her work, and I definitely don’t have a “deal” to talk about her products.  But I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes by her.

She said, “To become more fascinating, you don’t have to change who you are. You have to become more of who you are.”  

It’s natural for us to want to look at our competitors and care about what the market is doing.  But sometimes we have to ignore them and focus on being more of ourselves.

In some ways you need to be what Ben Settle calls being “anti-professional”.

“There are people who are professional, there are people who are unprofessional, and then there are people like me who don’t fit either label who I call anti-professionals. 

It’s a term I first wrote about several years ago, and it describes a certain kind of businessman who’s like an old-school cowboy on his horse going it alone, living by his own code of honor, and following his own rules.”

You need to look at industry norms and do the opposite of what doesn’t make sense for you.  

For me?  I don’t see me ever doing super-hyped up or high pressure sales and marketing again.  

It’s broken.  

It doesn’t work for me.

It’s not who I am.  It never was.

It felt about as natural as typing a text on my cell phone with my nose.

I learned ‘that style’ of marketing when I started but then I had to un-learn it.  And the more things I find that are broken in marketing the more I find myself being anti-professional.  

Seth Godin did a great speech called This is Broken.  It’s an older speech but you can find it easily online.  Seth gives real life examples of things that are broken that people are too lazy to fix.

They keep doing the same old shiz nit maintaining the status quo.

But that’s not you and it ain’t me either.  

When Stan Lee died Seth Rogen tweeted, “Thank you Stan Lee for making people who feel different realize they are special.”

We are special!  Take pride in being different.  

And the more of the anti-professional you become, you’ll stand out, and more people will follow you.

Wanna keep learning how to stand out?


What’s your prospect’s Boogy-Man?

There’s tons of rules for great storytelling.  

There’s the classic books by Joseph Campbell and his ‘Heroe’s Journey’.  

And a butt-load of other books based on Campbell’s work too.  Which is saying something because Campbell’s books are already pretty plump…

The bottom line is this… 

There’s one super-important story element you need to always have.  You can get rid of almost every story “rule” and still have a descent story.  Everything but this one thing. 

It’s what I use in my marketing.

And my comic books.

It’s what I taught my college students (and Girl Scouts by the way…).

Your stories need a VILLAIN.  

Your bad guy is what powers your story.

Crappy villain=mediocre hero.  Mediocre hero = mediocre story.

Cliffhanger was a great movie because  John Lithgow was a great bad guy.

When we talk about Silence of the Lambs, do we talk about Jodie Foster?  Nope.  Hannibal Lecter, baby!

When you tell your story you better have a good villain.  Your story is only as good as your defeat.

When you speak to your audience, who is their villain?

The gurus say to ask, “what keeps them up at night?”

F*#! that!   

What pisses them off?  What boogy-man is lurking in the dark that is going to get them?

Don’t believe me?  

Ask someone who hates “The Vid” vaccine, what they don’t like about it.  They will talk your ear off.  

This would happen if the topic was medicine.  

What to eat.


How to raise kids.  Whatever.

Don’t be milquetoast.  Find what gets under your avatar’s skin and talk about it.

Need help? .


Use this Dan Kennedy gem for fundraising over the holidays

This post is a little different.

Today is a shout out to anyone that needs to raise money this holiday season. 

This morning I snatched up my copy of the Ultimate Sales Letter and I ran across this little gem.  

Dan had to write a corporate fundraising letter for the Arthritis Foundation’s annual telethon.  The first thing he did was he grabbed a bunch of other fundraising letters to see what all of them were doing wrong.  

He found it.  

They all talked about THEIR priorities and what they needed the money for.  They never addressed the donor’s needs and priorities.

Like, not at all.  

Before he wrote his letter he visualized himself a business owner being pelted with pleas from charities.  He asked himself, “If I were to give, what would be important to me?”

For example:

What benefit to me or my company justifies the cost?

Who else had picked this drive to contribute to? (How can I validate my judgement?)

How would I get the money to give?  (What budget would it come out of?)

These are real questions that REAL people have.  And once you add in all the noise of the hundreds of options out there, it gets even more complicated.

It doesn’t matter if you’re raising money for a charity to rescue beetles in Qatar or curing cancer.  Take Kennedy’s insight and run with it.

They say don’t bite the hand that feeds you.  But, you don’t want to ignore the hand either.