A Goal That's Easier to Achieve Than Ignore

By John Forde
“Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.” Confucius
Quit smoking. Lose weight. Read more. Work harder. Get organized. Spend more time with family and friends.
Every January, we make the same promises. By March, most of them are out the window.
“A resolution,” somebody once said, “is a thing that goes in one year and out the other.”
What if, this year, one resolution could improve every aspect of your life?
Yet, to make this one promise stick, you need to do no extra work, command no extra discipline, and make no extra sacrifices. In fact, following through on this one pledge is actually easier than NOT doing it.
What is it?
Two words. But before I explain, let me give you the set-up. It starts 15 years ago, just six months into my copywriting career.
I was an understudy to one of the best copywriters in the country, Bill Bonner. Already, I had a handful of very successful sales letters under my belt. And we were just sitting down to talk job review and salary.
Now copywriting is about selling. And, I have to admit, at this point I had some mixed feelings about what that meant.
It was only natural.
Lots of people are under the impression that selling is about fooling people. Says the stereotype, it’s all about tricking the customer into wanting something he never wanted before. Or doing something he never really wanted to do.
Was that accurate? I genuinely wasn’t experienced enough to be sure. But being young, I also sometimes mistook cynicism for the cloak of the wise. and during this conversation with Bill, that’s how I dealt with my doubts.
“Of course,” I told him, “you know I don’t really believe in all this stuff.”
This “stuff,” by the way, was what I was supposed to sell. Bill looked taken aback. “Wait a minute,” he said, “You’ve got to believe in it… otherwise how can you write about it? You can’t sell what you don’t believe in.”
He was right. It was simple. Yet it felt like a revelation. With every copywriting project that followed, that was my guideline.
If I couldn’t buy the product’s proposition, I either wouldn’t agree to write for it… or I would work with the product manager to reshape the product until I could.
Sometimes I’d get in deep on a hopeless case and have to extract myself. But for the most part, it’s a strategy that’s worked out well. And I’ve heard plenty of other top copywriters say the same.
Sell the products that are so good they sell themselves. Those are the ones you can believe in. And that’s the key to a successful career in sales and marketing. Yet, even in something so simple there’s something else that’s profound.
I read a book a few years ago by Joe Vitale. It was called The Seven Lost Secrets of Success, and shared the life story of advertising legend Bruce Barton.
Maybe you’ve heard of Barton. He’s most famous as the second ‘B’ in “Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn” or BBDO, one of the most famous ad agencies of the 20th century.
He’s also the creator of “Betty Crocker,” named General Motors and General Electric, and helped build Ford Motors, Carnegie Steel, plus a few dozen more of America’s most famous companies.
Here’s the funny thing. Barton never imagined he’d wind up in the ad industry. He originally wanted to be a novelist. Then a journalist. For a while there, he was a magazine editor. But his partners would later say Barton was born for advertising.
Not because he could successfully bamboozle customers into buying. But for the opposite reason. Here’s Barton himself, spilling out his personal philosophy back in 1925:
“Do not venture into the sunlight unless you are willing first to put your house in order… no dyspeptic can write convincingly of the joys of mince meat. No woman-hater can write convincingly of love… unless you have a real respect for people, a real affection for people, a real belief that you are equipped to serve them, and that by your growth and prosperity they will likewise grow and prosper, unless you have this deep-down conviction, gentleman, do not attempt advertising. For somehow it will return to plague you.”
And then once more, writing in that same year:
“I believe the public has a sixth sense of detecting insincerity. We run a tremendous risk if we try to make other people believe in something we don’t believe in. Somehow our sin will find us out… the advertisements which persuade people to act are written by men who have an abiding respect for the intelligence of their readers, and a deep sincerity regarding the merits of the goods they have to sell.”
Translation: “Be genuine.”
That was Barton’s secret. It’s also the secret I suggest you and I carry into the coming year. By the way, that doesn’t just apply to your business decisions.
Being genuine means being honest with yourself too. Especially when it comes to focusing on your objectives and setting the goals you’ll target over a lifetime.
Ask yourself, did you buy that exercise bike as a tool to finally better your health… or did you really buy it as a towel rack that says “I care about exercise” even if you don’t?
Are you saying you’ll quit smoking because you know you should? And because it’s robbing you of cash, health, and future time with your family? Or just because it’s what your friends want to hear?
Is this really the year you’re going to get organized, get serious, and get to work building the career you care about, the skill you wanted, and the life you desire… or are these just more superficial ornaments to jot down on your “to-do” list to make yourself feel better?
Be honest. Be sincere. Be genuine.
With yourself and with everybody else, as often and as much as you can. Nothing else you’ll resolve to do could make a bigger difference.
[Ed Note: John Forde, a published writer and a direct-mail copywriter since 1992, is the editor of the free weekly e-zine, The Copywriter’s Roundtable.
You can meet all your marketing goals – and achieve all your personal, social, financial, and business dreams – with the help of ETR’s Total Success Achievement Program. Learn more by clicking here….]
From the www.earlytorise.com newsletter
[Early to Rise Copyright ETR, LLC, 2007]
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The Perfect Financial Storm

This is a long read, but well worth it, if you want to understand what is really going on. It is a series of articles written by Jim Puplava called “The Perfect Financial Storm”. He is one of a handful that had the insight to see what was coming, years ago and to write about it. More…

New Year's Resolutions for Your Business

Whilest by no means complete, here is a list of things you may find useful. Successful management is simple. You:
1. Deliver a product or service that is needed and wanted,
2. Maintain income greater than outgo,
3. Maintain or reduce expenses relative to income,
4. Increase efficiency.
To increase turnover you:
1. Get more clients,
2. Lose fewer clients,
3. Keep clients longer,
4. Sell more to the client each time they purchase,
5. Sell more often to the same client.
To increase net profit you:
1. Reduce the cost of what you sell,
2. Increase the selling price of what you sell,
3. Reduce your overheads and expenses.
To eliminate wasted effort you ensure all your staff:
1. Know your organisational goals and targets,
2. Are in agreement with them,
3. Are working efficiently on the actions that will attain them,
4. Are not working on actions that will not contribute to them.
To get yourself some time off you:
1. Hire some productive people,
2. Train them to be competent at what you do,
3. Delegate responsibilities to them,
4. Change gears from doing to managing.
I have a suggestion for your New Year’s resolutions list. How about you spend just five minutes on each of the above numbered points? List what you are doing that works and work out what extra you could do to improve your results on that point.

A free course on blogging

I’m evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they’re letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it’s still free.

Petrol Pumping Tips

I thought everyone could benefit from using these tips!
Gas Pumping Tips from someone in the Petroleum pipeline business!!
I’ve been in petroleum pipeline business for about 31 years, currently working for the Kinder-Morgan Pipeline here in San Jose, CA. We deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period from the pipe line; one day it’s diesel, the next day it’s jet fuel and gasoline. We have 34 storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons. Here are some tricks to help you get your money’s worth.
1. Fill up your car or truck in the morning when the temperature is still cool. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground; and the colder the ground, the denser the gasoline. When it gets warmer gasoline expands, so if you’re filling up in the afternoon or in the evening, what should be a gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and temperature of the fuel (gasoline,
diesel, jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products) are significant. Eve ry truckload that we load is temperature-compensated so that the indicated gallonage is actually the amount pumped. A one-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for businesses, but service stations don’t have temperature compensation at their pumps.
2. If a tanker truck is filling the station’s tank at the time you want to buy gas, do not fill up; most likely dirt and sludge in the tank is being stirred up when gas is being delivered, and you might be transferring that dirt from the bottom of their tank into your car’s tank.
3. Fill up when your gas tank is half-full (or half-empty), because the more gas you have in your tank the less air there is and gasoline evaporates rapidly, especially when it’s warm. (Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating ‘roof’ membrane to act as a barrier between the gas and the atmosphere, thereby minimizing evaporation).
4. If you look at the trigger you’ll see that it has three delivery settings: slow, medium and high. When you’re filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to the high setting. You should be pumping at the slow setting, thereby minimizing vapors created while you are pumping. Hoses at the pump are corrugated; the corrugations act as a return path for vapor recovery from gas that already has been metered. If you are pumping at the high
setting, the agitated gasoline contains more vapor, which is being sucked back into the underground tank so you’re getting less gas for your money.
Hope this will help ease your ‘pain at the pump’.

First Post From Tom

I have had a lot of very nice feedback on the Tips, Links and Tidbits newsletter over the last few years but thanks to changing server configurations, a concrete cutter putting a saw through a Telstra cable and other such nonsense I have not sent one out for some time now. Thanks to those who asked what happened to it and asked to be put back on if they had fallen off the list!
I plan to replace the email newsletter with this blog and to add more of my own content to the posts as well as to keep up the flow of links to other articles I feel worthy of passing on to you.
If you are in business you can look forward to a steady stream of ideas that will give you food for thought and perhaps inspire you to change some of the things you do now to a more efficient or profitable way of doing things.
Here’s the first! I was on a telephone conference call two days ago and the speaker said that the amount of computer screen area was a direct determinant of productivity. The bigger the screen area, the more productive the computer user. His words rang true with me as I can still recall the feeling of increased productivity when I went from a 17″ to a 19″ monitor and again when I made the jump to using two 19″ monitors side by side. Now when I work on only one screen it feels very constrictive and slow by comparison.
After the conference call I instantly rang a supplier to ask what a graphics card would cost that would accommodate 4 monitors. Call me extravagant if you will but before you do, check the figures! $150 each for two graphics cards, each of which can handle two monitors and $450 for another two 19″ screens and an hour and a half to order them, pay the invoice and to set it all up. Total outlay, $750 and an hour and a half of time. Pay back? If I only increase my productivity by 5% this year and I only value my time at $50,000 for the year, that’s an extra $2,500! That’s more than a 300% return on my $750 investment. Aren’t too many 300% returns advertised in the financial pages that I see.
I am also putting the finishing touches on a couple of on-line quizzes that will give you an insight into you and your business. I will post when they are ready to be tested by real users!
So that’s it for my first post. Hope you found it worth while and look forward to seeing you back.
Warmest regards,
Tom Grimshaw
P.S. If there is some topic on which you would like to hear from me, drop me a line!