Friday, 12:09 PM
I've been feeling a little under the weather this week.
Actually I'm under-playing it for the camera.
The truth is I haven't even felt like getting out of bed.
When I finally do get out of bed, all I can do is lie on the couch in my office.
I've had to put almost everything on the back burner this week.
And I'm glad.
It's been a learning experience.
When I was finally able to do a little work, all I could do was prop myself up on the couch and work with a yellow legal pad and pen.
Being seated for longer than five minutes was not an option… and DEFINITELY not sitting in front of the computer.
Here's the amazing thing…
Even being sick and in quite a bit of pain, I've been more productive than usual… and have created things that will make me more money… by simply lying on the couch with a pen and yellow legal pad.
I've been more productive (in terms of creating things that generate income) than if I were healthy and in front of the computer for hours a day like usual.
Here's the most important thing I've discovered this week:
Wanna know what the biggest unproductive time suck of your entire day is?
Checking Your E-mail!
You know it's true.
And if that's how you START your day…
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
There is NOTHING worse you could do to set the tone for a successful day.
Even watching T.V. while sucking down a martini (BOTH kill brain cells, by the way) would be a better start to your day.
Look… of all the messages you get in your e-mail, how many are truly important?
How many truly contribute to your financial well-being, long term goals or happiness?
I'd be willing to bet only about 10%.
And those that you think are truly important could be dealt with just once or twice a week.
This business of checking your e-mail 3… 4… 5… or 10 or more times a day is RUINING your productivity… and keeping you from enjoying a REAL life.
And you guys and gals with smart phones surgically attached to your hand and/or hip…
You're REALLY screwing up!
You obviously place ZERO value on your time.
Look, I ran businesses in the "pre cell phone" era… and it worked perfectly.
Actually we were probably more productive back then.
Here's a little history lesson for the whippersnapper Internet generation…
See, we had this miraculous invention that worked with a cassette tape called an "answering machine." This ancient contraption would answer your phone when you couldn't. The caller could leave a message and would expect a return call within a few days.
Now with smart phones and e-mail the expectation has changed.
People expect you to get back to them within MINUTES. And if they don't get a response within 24 hours or less, they're REALLY pissed off… sending multiple messages wondering why you haven't answered.
The most important thing you could do right now for your productivity, wealth and happiness is…
Get away from your e-mail as much as possible…
and smash your smart phone with a SLEDGE HAMMER!
I know… I know.
You think e-mail is vital to your business… and YOU are different.
You have it under control.
(That's a common theme amongst addicts, by the way. They delude themselves into believing they have their addiction under control.)
You probably do NOT have it under control.
And you're DEFINITELY out of control if you have a smart phone that beeps every time you get a new e-mail.
Now you no longer have just a little time management problem…
You have a full-blown ADDICTION!
And it's going to be tough to break.
But if you're smart you'll do whatever it takes to break free.
I sincerely hope you don't have to get sick and bed ridden with a broken vertebra and multiple ruptured disks to discover this on your own. But if that's what it takes… then consider it a blessing.
E-mail on your computer or smart phone comes with a MILLION distractions.
Come on… you know I'm telling the truth.
Checking your e-mail turns into 90 minutes or more wasted on nonsense.
The yellow legal pad and pen… far away from your computer… and with your smart phone dying a slow painful death after being smashed with a hammer… comes with almost ZERO distractions.
Cross my heart and hope to die… swear to God (or Darwin for the atheists)… and with none of the typical guru B.S income exaggerations…. I have generated MILLIONS with nothing but a yellow legal pad and pen.
Even though I prefer to write on the computer, Gary Halbert FORCED me to use nothing but a yellow legal pad and pen the entire year and a half I worked with him.
I HATED it at first.
But now I totally get it.
Don't wait for a major injury or illness to discover this for yourself.
Try this for just a week:
You'll be amazed what's going to happen.
Who knows… you might even come up with a sales letter that's gonna make you a million bucks.
When you're making that kind of money you can hire some poor schmuck to carry around your miserable smart phone and answer your time-sucking e-mails…. while you actually enjoy life for a change.
P.S. Heck… you could even lie in the sun by your pool writing your weekly blog post on a yellow legal pad if you wanted. Then hand it off to your virtual assistant for transcribing and posting to your blog.
That would probably work, too.
Saturday, 6:50 PM
I'm not sure if you've ever mozied on over to my testimonials page (which I need to update)… but the very first testimonial is from none other than the "Prince of Print"… the late, great Gary Halbert.
“I lived with Dan for 43 days when he had an apartment in Costa Rica. He’s a good professional copywriter and he learned some things in Costa Rica that hardly any other copywriter knows about. He’s got my seal of approval.”
Actually Gary stayed at my place longer than 43 days. I know because after a while, I started counting them… but that's a story for a different time.
Notice that he didn't gush all over and say I was "one of the best copywriters in the world"… or because he mentored me, he expected me be "the best" one day.
Those close to him knew Halbert NEVER said stuff like that about anybody… except for Gary Bencivenga.
I'll be the first to admit, when it comes to copywriting, I'm definitely not one of the best in the world… nor do I want to be.
My friends David Deutsch and Carline Anglade Cole… and my new acquaintance I interviewed recently, Richard Armstrong… now those folks really ARE some of the best copywriters in the world.
They're the "Babe Ruths" of copywriting… writing copy for some of the biggest mailers in the world… in the most competitive markets.
It's really cut-throat. True old west, gunslinger vs. gunslinger.
It takes a very special person to work with the big mailers. I did it once… and never will again.
So I'll probably never be "the best copywriter in the world"… and I'm OK with that.
You see, I realized a long time ago you don't have to be the best copywriter in the world to make a LOT of money.
And really, the copy isn't the most important part of success in direct response.
In fact, you can make a boatload of money with less than world class copy. (I like to call it "half-assed" copy… but I'm crude.)
How do I know?
'Cuz I've done it.
When my back was against the wall… or I just got a crazy idea at 1:30 in the morning I wanted to test… I banged out some copy and put it out there.
And I got results.
Several times the results were ZERO sales and ZERO leads.
Other times the results were sales and money coming in so fast, I couldn't count it fast enough.
Both are results. I found out what I needed to find out.
That's why it frustrates me to see so many of my subscribers obsessing over details and wanting to get everything perfect before they put their copy or product out in the market.
You don't have to get it perfect,
you just have to get it GOING.
So my message today is quit obsessing about every tiny little detail. Just sit down and bang out your copy.
Do what Gary Halbert told John Carlton…
"Just sell the damn thing!"
Then run that puppy up the flag pole and see how many people salute it with their wallets.
Whatever happens, you're going to get results.
P.S. I recently had a spot open up in my Gold Inner Circle.
I don't really promote it because it's not for most people.
But if you have an online, direct response or brick & mortar business… and would like to quickly ramp up your sales and profits… without the exorbitant costs of customer acquisition nowadays… you should probably check it out.
Wednesday, 7:18 PM
I've been thinking about seeing a psychologist.
I don't have any mental problems… that I'm aware of.
It's just that I have nobody to talk with.
Sure, I've got some really good friends… but the conversations are always about them.
See, I realized a long time ago that nobody gives a damn about what I think, feel or believe.
Well, that's not exactly true.
It's not that they don't care… it's just that they have their own problems to deal with. And I don't feel good about dumping my problems on them, too.
So I try to spend about 95% of my time talking about what they want to talk about.
Whenever I accidentally start to talk about me, I remind myself that nobody wants to hear it… and I get back on the topic of them.
With one of the friends I regularly speak with, I'm lucky to even get a word in edge-wise. Even if I could talk, he wouldn't even hear it… because he never shuts up.
So I never really get a chance to talk with anybody about what's on my mind.
Plus, none of my friends would even even understand most of my problems and concerns. They just don't operate in the same world I do. Even if I wanted to share that stuff, they just wouldn't understand.
Gary Halbert understood.
It was always nice to know he was just a phone call away… and even if he didn't have any solutions for me… at least he understood.
But last I checked, unless somebody constructed a long distance phone line to copywriter heaven, that's not an option any longer.
So THAT is why I'm willing to pay a shrink $200 an hour… just to have someone listen to me.
I'll be the first to admit… I'm somewhat of a cheapskate. I don't really want to spend money on a psychologist.
So I MIGHT have figured out a way to save myself that $200 an hour … and maybe help YOU in the process, too.
Here's What This Is All About:
I just got Ben Settle's newest product, The Street Smart E-mail System.
It totally kicks "boo-tay" for making money with an e-mail list.
I'm already testing a couple things he recommends and they're already (just within the past 3 days) starting to bring in a lot more sales. I think it might even DOUBLE the sales I've been getting from e-mail marketing.
Anyhoo… one of the things Ben recommends is sending out e-mails every day. Not long articles like I've been writing on the blog lately, but short 300 to 500 word articles… with the entire article sent by e-mail.
I've noticed something about this:
First of all, Ben seems to have a VERY high open rate and readership.
Secondly, he also posts every article on his blog every day.
And Google LOVES that.
In fact, he gets a nice amount of traffic and new subscribers every day because of his Google ranking.
And all that traffic and new subscribers from Google is…
I like THAT. (Remember the cheapskate thing.)
So here's what I'm thinking…
I think I'm going to test writing more frequent messages for my DobermanDan.com subscribers.
I'll keep them relatively brief and send them out by e-mail.
I'll also post them on the blog.
Here's what I hope to accomplish:
So that's the plan.
I'm saying "more frequent" messages right now because I'm not sure I want to commit to a daily message.
For now I'm thinking it will be about 3 times a week.
We'll see how that goes and what kind of feedback I get. If it's good, maybe I'll consider going to a 5 message a week plan like Ben.
Anyhoo… if all goes as planned… THANK YOU for saving me $800 a month on that shrink.
I owe you a lunch or something.
Wednesday, 7:54 AM
I like reading quotes from successful people.
They inspire me.
You may have noticed I like using them at the beginning of my blog posts, too.
Here are a few memorable ones from some of my heroes:
"Motion beats meditation." – Gary Halbert
"Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly." – Zig Ziglar
"You don't have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going." – Gary Halbert
"I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better." – A. J. Liebling (Although I first heard this from Gary Bencivenga.)
"Good artists copy. Great artists steal." – Picasso
"Money solves problems not having money creates." – John Carlton
"Success is a process, not an event." – Gary Halbert
"You’re either growing or you’re rotting." – Dan Kennedy
"There is no problem that can’t be solved with a world-class sales letter." – Gary Halbert
"Would you rather have the pain of regret or the pain of discipline?" – Ted Nicholas
“A gifted product is mightier than a gifted pen." – Gary Bencivenga
That's just a handful. I could go on all day.
All these guys will be remembered for these eloquent and inspiring quotes.
What am I most remembered for?
"Brilliant Copywriting Won't Sell A Turd!"
It just popped into my head during an interview with copywriter/marketer par excellente, Ben Settle.
I didn't give it much thought at the time… but for some reason, people seem to remember it.
I really wish I would have said something more eloquent.
I mean, Halbert is remembered for famous stuff like, "Motion beats meditation" and "Success is a process, not an event."
But me? I'm remembered for my turd quote.
And I can't seem to escape it.
In fact, I have this recurring nightmare…
I'm floating around in the ether, watching my own funeral.
All my friends and family are there… there's beautiful music being played by world class musicians… people are reminiscing about me and swapping "Doberman Dan" stories… some are crying, some are laughing…
And after they put me into the ground, a gravestone is carefully placed at the head of my final resting place.
On it, engraved in a beautiful script, are the words…
Here lies Daniel Charles Gallapoo aka Doberman Dan…
"Brilliant copywriting won't sell a turd."
I'm sure my family would be proud.
Anyhoo… the point I was so non-eloquently trying to make was that the copy is just a small part of the success of any project.
There are several other MUCH more important things you need to get right first.
And if you know these, you can make a LOT of money with even half-assed copy.
I know… because I have.
And still am in a couple different niches.
Could I make more money with better copy?
And I will… in due time.
In the meantime, I simply followed the advice of my mentor…
"You don't have to get it perfect,
you just have to get it going."
- Gary Halbert
I got these projects GOING. That is the most important part.
Improving them is an ongoing process.
But before you can get anything going… you have to know a few simple "marketing secrets of the masters."
And that is EXACTLY what I'm going to reveal to you.
Here's the deal:
I’m going to start a brand new kitchen table business… and I'm gonna let you in on it.
By the way… what I call a "kitchen table business" is this…
A part-time business you can start on the cheap… either on your kitchen table or online… and you can make a nice side income with very little investment of your time.
An income that keeps coming in month after month… but only takes a couple hours a week to run.
And if you know how to do it, many of these projects can be turned into 6-figure or even 7-figure businesses.
Nowadays I usually start these projects online first and then take them offline for even more money.
Usually… but not always.
As a matter of fact, a recent project for a client was done for direct mail ONLY… and it's gonna make an absolute FORTUNE as soon as he starts rolling out.
Anyhoo… like I said, I'm starting a new kitchen table project soon in a brand new niche.
AND I’m going to do something I’ve never done before.
I’m going to…
Let You "Look Over My Shoulder" During The Entire Process…
So You can Discover All My Best Money-Making Secrets!
This is the stuff I've only shared with a HANDFUL of people in my inner circle.
I've never shared it in my blog… and probably never will.
I enjoy writing my blog.
It's my way of passing on many of the marketing secrets I've discovered from 16+ years in the wonderful world of mail order and direct response… and the secrets I learned working side by side with marketing legend, Gary Halbert.
But there's a LOT more insider information I can reveal that goes way beyond the scope of this free blog.
And to be quite frank, I have to be really careful with whom I share this knowledge.
It's much too powerful for me to let it get into the hands of some scumbag rip off artist.
See, this stuff is REALLY powerful.
I'm talking really high level persuasion secrets. (After all, that's all marketing really is… persuasion.)
And like any other power, it can be used for good or evil… and be equally powerful for either.
Not to mention, there are a lot of secrets I gleaned from Halbert… especially for high income earners… that I am simply unwilling to publish in a public forum.
My trusted contacts around the globe don't want their contact info posted online…
…And most important…
I don't want this most sensitive information indexed and archived by Google and open to various wolves in sheep's clothing and other low-life scumbags who make their living preying upon others.
So I've decided that the best way to reveal these insider secrets and sensitive information is to launch a premium service.
And to launch this new premium service, I'm going to let you look over my shoulder, step-by-step as I start my new business.
I won't hold anything back.
You'll discover my entire process for starting these "lifestyle" businesses.
If it brings in a ton of cash, you'll know every tiny detail of how I did it.
If it totally flops… you'll be right there with me… so we can BOTH learn from the experience and move on to something else that WILL work.
Other than my recent 8-week Kitchen Table Business coaching program, I've never gone this "deep" with anybody before and revealed all these inner circle secrets.
And month after month, I will continue to reveal my most effective success secrets amassed from years in the direct marketing trenches.
If you've never started a business in your life but dream of relaxed lifestyle only working a few hours a week…
…Or you already have a successful business and are looking to take it to the next level…
Then This is For YOU!
I SHOULD charge a hefty price for this… because it's worth it.
But I want to make it accessible to anybody who sincerely wants to discover the secrets to living the same "lazy man's way to riches" I've enjoyed since I declared my freedom from my J.O.B. (Journey Of the Broke) in 1997.
So it's NOT going to cost a fortune.
In fact, the monthly investment will be approximately HALF of what you'd spend a day on a Starbucks coffee.
Have I got your greed glands going yet?
Would you like to be "let in" on my best money-making "lazy lifestyle" secrets?
Here's what you need to do right NOW:
As soon as you do that, you'll be privy to all the info about this "discover my secrets" service.
Click here now so you won't miss out on all my best secrets.
P.S. There's no need for a P.S.! I already explained why in the previous post.
Awwww… what the heck!
Since you're already here, I'll go ahead and use the "P.S." to remind you to click here now.
Thursday, 12:23 PM
I've got some REALLY good stuff for you today.
I'm going to help you bypass years (maybe even DECADES) of study and frustration and "leapfrog" your way to writing copy like the masters.
By the way, if you're a musician this will probably be the big breakthrough you've been praying for. Yes, you really can improvise like the masters without studying boring music theory for years on end.
But before we get into that, please allow me to say a big, huge, from-the heart…
I really appreciate all the comments, positive thoughts and prayers during my recent surgery.
To be totally transparent, a few days after coming home from the hospital I started to feel a little blue.
I Googled "post surgery depression" and found out it's a pretty common occurrence. I felt a little better knowing that.
But what helped a lot more is knowing there are some really nice folks who appreciate my little blog here.
When I feel like my life has no significance and I've not really done anything of any importance, I'm going to go back and re-read your comments.
A big "Doberman hug" and my sincere heartfelt thanks to all the people who took the time to write a comment or e-mail recently.
The best way I've found to battle the blues is to get busy DOING something. Since I can't lift weights and the doc restricted my time in front of the computer, I've doubled my guitar practice.
And I'm discovering some very interesting things.
One of my favorite guitarists, Scott Henderson, takes the time to answer his fans' questions on his discussion board.
This one really got my wheels turning because it's the jealously guarded secret of the most successful improvisers in the world:
(Stick with me for a sec and you'll see how this applies to copywriting.)
Question: I would also like to ask about your approach to improvising over Giant Steps and Countdown, or any similar progressions. Specifically, how much of your ideas are worked out phrases, or variations thereof?
I have had trouble improvising with those pieces without using previously worked out patterns and such. My feeling is that if I had 50-100 worked out phrases that were interchangeable over the various permutations of the Coltrane matrix, then I could almost fake that I was improvising over it. I personally don't want to utilize that approach, but maybe that is just what most great improvisers are really doing over those types of progressions.
Scott's Answer: That's exactly what great improvisers are doing. True improvisation, defined as playing things we've never played before 100% of the time, especially at fast tempos, is pretty much a myth. All improvisers have their personal vocabulary of small licks which they re-arrange to create different ideas and phrases, just like we use words to create our ideas when we talk. Listen to Coltrane's solo on Giant Steps and you'll hear many small "words" repeated many times, but even though the same words are used on the alternate take, it's a totally different solo. Improvisation is just another language and the same concepts apply.
After I read that, I dug out some materials I got a few years ago from a guy who used to be an instructor at Musician's Institute in Hollywood, CA.
"Musical improvisation. Let's define what it's not. It is not the God-given ability to invent melodies from out of the sky. It does not come from a bolt of lightning, enabling one to be a monster soloist. It is not a divine gift, which only a few of us have because we are special. What then, is improvisation? It is a spontaneous reorganization of ideas previous learned."
Did you catch that?
"A Spontaneous Reorganization
Of Ideas Previous Learned"
So doesn't it make sense that the more "ideas previously learned" you have stored up in your melon, the more likely they are to spontaneously reorganize and come out at just the right time?
So how do you get these ideas into your noggin?
Well, if you're a musician, you transcribe and learn licks or motifs from your favorite players.
In other words, you copycat them.
How do you do it if you're a copywriter?
You Copycat The Masters!
Gary Halbert had me write out sales letters by hand written by the masters. He said it would imprint the cadence, phrasing, word choices and rhythm of successful copy into the recesses of my demented mind.
It wasn't fun to do.
In fact, it felt a lot like work… but it sure was worth it.
Here's the catch…
Be careful who you copy.
If I were you, I would stick to sales copy written by the masters, both dead and alive.
Multi-million dollar controls.
You can't go wrong with those.
In fact, I'd be reluctant to study copy from somebody who has never at one time written a direct mail control.
The copywriters who have written direct mail controls are the heavy hitters in the copywriting major leagues.
Just ignore all these other guys claiming to be "the best copywriter in the world." (There seems to be a plethora of these guys online.)
When someone has to tell you they're the "best copywriter in the world" or some other variant of an egotistical tirade like that… that's pretty much evidence they're just a minor league guy HOPING they can fool you into thinking they're a major leaguer.
Also, don't be too impressed with the copy that sold $1 million in 24 seconds during the guru's latest launch. The copy was NOT the reason for the launch's success. A simple "click here to buy" link probably would have accomplished the same thing.
Stick with studying the masters and you can't go wrong.
And don't worry about becoming a clone of your favorite master. It ain't gonna happen… even if you want it to.
Pieces of them will come out in your writing but it will be fused with your own individual personality, style and phrasing.
So even though you're learning and advancing your skills by being a copycat… originality will be the end result.
I hope that helps.
We'll talk soon. I gotta get back to transcribing some Pat Martino licks.
All the best,