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Archive for September, 2013

3 simple steps for getting out of a slump

September 30th, 2013 by Bob Bly

I once gave a very well-attended course at the Learning Annex in
New York City called “How to Get Out of a Slump.”

I think the reason it was well-attended was because the topic is
universal: everybody gets in a slump every now and then – not
just baseball players.

To my great surprise, one of the attendees was a former star of
a network sitcom.

She is beautiful and talented, but after the sitcom went off the
air, her career (she told me) went into a long slump … and the
success others had predicted for her did not materialize.

The entire essence of the course was a simple 3-step process:

1-Find out what works and doesn’t work for you.

2-Stop doing what doesn’t work.

3-Do MUCH more of what does work.

The importance of the word “much” in step 3 is critical.

When you have a setback, don’t just try a few things to reverse

Take what I call “massive action.”

Do much more than you think is required to reverse your slump.

That way, the odds of finding something that works are
geometrically increased.

I have often said that the secret to having a pipeline full of
leads for your business is to figure out how much marketing you
need to get the number of leads you want – and then do double

Years ago, I interviewed Jane Trahey, a successful advertising
executive in Chicago, for a career book I was writing.

She told me the secret to her success was having many balls in
the air at once, which increased the chances that at least one
would stick.

The natural tendency of human beings faced with difficulty and
adversity is to shut down – to retreat and nurse their wounds.

The stereotype of this is the young woman who sits on the couch
eating a large container of fudge ripple ice cream.

You must resist this temptation to give up and instead do the
opposite – leap into action at full speed and full steam.

Be sure to follow my 3-step formula which requires you to (1)
find out what does and does not work, (2) stop doing what
doesn’t work, and (3) do much more of what does work.

Remember the old maxim: Insanity is doing things in the same way
and expecting different results.

It is also doing nothing.

By the way, worrying about the slump you are in is human nature,
but it is also a complete waste of time.

So stop worrying about your slump. And start doing something
about it.

P.S. Do not despair if your results from using this 3-step
formula are not immediate. Often it takes a few weeks or even a
couple of months before you start seeing a return on your


Category: General | 90 Comments »

Don’t violate my #1 rule of human behavior

September 18th, 2013 by Bob Bly

Subscriber VB sent me an e-mail that was just a single sentence.
Referring to a landing page for one of my information products,
it said:

“Your web site needs work.”

A simple message, but it is inappropriate and absurd on so many

Let me count the ways….

1-It violates my #1 rule of human behavior: Never give
unsolicited advice.

I didn’t ask VB for a web site critique. So why give one?

Advice that is not sought or paid for is seldom valued by the
recipient. It certainly wasn’t in this case.

2-It violates the rules of good criticism, which require that
after you say something is negative, you suggest how it might be

That’s what we call “constructive criticism,” and VB’s comment
isn’t constructive.

3-It is made in a vacuum.

VB does not know the marketing objective of my web site, nor
does she know the results I am getting.

To imply that it is bad without knowing whether it works is
misguided at best and ridiculous at worst.

4-It is made without demonstration of authority.

When I read VB’s short e-mail, my immediate thought was: “And
you are?”

Who is VB? What are her accomplishments in Internet marketing
that qualify her to make this pronouncement about my site?

Her signature file indicates she has a 9 to 5 job with an
academic institution. If she was making hundreds of thousands of
dollars in online marketing, she wouldn’t have to work a 9 to 5

5-VB is in fact ignorant about the topic she comments on.

I asked her for clarification, and she gave this specific
criticism: “Boasting of personal income indicates you aren’t
targeting an educated demographic.”

Who said my target market is “an educated demographic”?

What VB doesn’t understand and didn’t bother to ask is whether I
am targeting prospects of any particular education level. And I
am not.

My target is people who want to make money writing and selling
simple information online – aspiring Internet entrepreneurs and
newbies. Level of education is not a selection factor.

VB also informs me: “Scroll-down page format is outdated.”

But it is a simple matter to surf the Internet and check out the
landing pages of so many successful online marketers to see that
this is absolutely not the case.

Why do I urge you not to give unsolicited advice like VB gave me?

**It is neither appreciated nor respected by the person you give
it to.

**There is a very good chance the recipient of your advice knows
more than you do, including why your advice as it pertains to
their specific situation is wrong. So you look foolish giving it.

**Surely you have work of your own to do. So do it. Why waste
your valuable time giving people advice they don’t even want?

If you really feel compelled to give advice, become a coach or
consultant so you at least get paid for it and deliver your
suggestions to people who actually want them.

BTW, VB and I had a pleasant back-and-forth exchange of e-mails.
She is a nice, intelligent person – just misguided, for the 5
reasons outlined above.


Category: General | 74 Comments »

Is it important for you to always be right?

September 12th, 2013 by Bob Bly

I was arguing with AB, my gourmet friend, about meat, of all

He said Ruth Chris porterhouse steak is the best meat money can

I said I preferred the chopped liver at my local deli.

“But steak is better than chopped liver!” AB said as if
proclaiming the gospel truth. Perhaps you agree with him. I
think most people do.

But the fact remains: AB should not have said steak is better
than chopped liver. What he should have said was: “I like steak
better than chopped liver.” Because food preferences are just
that – preferences, not facts.

Unfortunately, too many of us defend matters of opinion as
vehemently as if they were commandments etched in stone. This is
especially true in political arguments between liberals and
conservatives. Just listen to Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage.

How about you?

Do you have a burning urge to prove to others that you are right
all the time?

Perhaps you should not.

Having strongly held opinions is one thing … but being overly
militant in defending them is something else.

Humans have always been contentious by nature.

Now the Internet has become a breeding ground for displaying
unstinting bickering and argument for all to see.

The next time you’re about to foam at the mouth because you
disagree with something someone said online or elsewhere, take a
breath … and ask yourself why it’s so important for you to argue
with the other guy.

A lot of folks I encounter would say that the reason is simple:
they know they are right and feel obliged to correct the other
person’s misinformation.

The problem is that often, when we think we are right, that is
only our opinion … and it is not a fact – like steak vs. chopped

For what it’s worth to you, I follow a different approach,
especially in business: It is based on the understanding that I
am not always right and in fact am often wrong.

The result is an open-mindedness to other opinions and differing
ideas many people sometimes lack.

This flexibility of thought was developed based on my 3+ decades
in direct mail copywriting.

Being a direct response copywriter is a humbling experience, for
the following reason: there are times when a mailing you think
of as a sure winner bombs, and conversely, when the mailing you
don’t have much confidence in turns out to be a home run.

This goes to show that our opinions are only that – opinions –
and are often rendered inconsequential by the reality of actual

According to an old maxim, the only two things that are certain
in this world are death and taxes.

I’m not sure the list of what is certain is quite that limited.

But the list of things that are matters of opinion – and not

matters of absolute fact – is probably much larger than most

people think.

At least, that’s my opinion. What do you think?


Category: General | 81 Comments »