The unpleasant truth about excuses
By Robert W. Bly

My friend, DK, is a soft-spoken gentleman who makes a modest living as a freelance writer and editor, as most freelancers do, but wants to follow me into the much more lucrative field of information marketing.

Every time I announce a new course in information marketing to my list, he asks for a free copy - which, because I consider him a close friend, I give him gladly.

However, based on an e-mail I got from him a couple of days ago, I fear DK may never realize his dream -- and attain the life of ease and the six-figure income that awaits writers who make the transition from traditional publishing to Internet marketing.

Here's why: In his e-mail, DK, who has been talking about launching an info marketing business online for years, gave me this update:

"As to how we're doing: I am inching closer to having my web site up. The delays have been maddening but it’s almost done. However, I've stopped making predictions as to when it will be ready. I even got smacked by a couple of nasty viruses and a slew of ads that just refused to let go of the hammerlock they had on my computer's innards."

Let me identify the pitfalls and perils in this seemingly innocent paragraph:

First, if you want to get into Internet marketing, you don't "inch" your way to it. You determine what needs to be done -- and you move forward at full speed.

Second, you don't stop making predictions as to when it will be ready. On the contrary, you set a firm deadline, commit to meeting it, and then do so.

Third, DK's telling me that he can't start his business because he has computer viruses and malware is just a B.S. excuse.

Actually, it's no excuse at all. Seriously, do you think if Marlon Sanders or Rich Scheffren were launching a new product, they would sit around for months until they finally called the Geek Squad to fix their PC?

Viruses and malware don't put your PC in a hammerlock and refuse to let go. Ain't no such thing.

If you have a PC problem, you pick up the phone, call your computer guy, and pay him to fix it – which shouldn't take more than an hour or two of him sitting in front of your machine. And that's it.

Fourth, DK has been talking about putting up a web site for months. When I have a new info product, I write, design, and post the micro site for it in about 3 days.

If you're a newbie, it might take you a week – or two at max. But months? It doesn't take months to put up a micro site or even a regular web site for an info publishing business.

I had a similar reaction to that of Stephen King when, upon hearing that Tom Wolf took a decade to write a novel, said in disbelief: "Come on, it doesn't take 10 years to write a book."

Subscriber LH is even worse than my friend DK. LH writes: "I have been building a huge how-to file for over 5 years, but haven't begun my ultimate goal of Internet marketing."

I don't care who you are or what your situation is. Spending 5 years reading and researching about a business you want to start means you are avoiding taking real action ... and staying in your safe cocoon of reading and studying your books and CDs.

May be fun, but that will never make you a dime, and in a decade you will still be in the same place you are today.

Ben Franklin said, "People who are good at making excuses are seldom good at anything else." And as cruel as it sounds, I think he is right. If you want to achieve a goal in business, you buckle up and get it done. You don't rattle off an endless litany of absurd excuses to make yourself cozy with your inaction.

Joe Vitale and others have said "Money loves speed." If you want to accomplish something, you get off your duff and get to work.

BTW, after writing the above, I almost deleted this e-mail instead of sending it, because I know DK is on my subscriber list and I did not want to hurt his feelings.

But as you can see, I did go ahead and distribute this essay, because – as I told DK privately if not gently – it is time for him to shit or get off the pot.

There are those out there who love the idea of starting a small business much more than actually doing it. These are the legions of "armchair marketers."

They read all the books, attend all the webinars and boot camps, buy all the expensive systems ... but somehow, never seem to get around to creating and launching that first product or landing that first freelance project.

I used to be more tolerant of these nice folks ... after all, if they enjoy studying get-rich materials, what's the harm? They buy my stuff and pay me money, and seem happy to do so.

But increasingly these days, I am more interested in working with people who want to do info marketing, not just read about it.

And since DK is a friend, his lack of urgency -- and his eagerness to embrace excuses -- just bothered me to excess.

I hope he reads this, gets off his duff, and shifts into high gear. And I hope that if you are dilly dallying with your entrepreneurial dreams, you get moving, too.

DK may be displeased with me right now, especially after reading this. But if my words motivate him to move forward, and he actually starts his Internet business, then I believe he will be thanking me soon enough.


Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter with 20 years experience in business-to-business and direct marketing. He has written direct mail packages for Phillips Publishing, Agora Publishing, KCI Communications, McGraw-Hill, Medical Economics, Reed Reference Publishing, A.F. Lewis, and numerous other publishers.