How I failed in 2018 — and what I learned about Drop Shipping

11:31pm Wednesday

Saint Paul, MN


Hey, so earlier tonight I sent an email that said I had closed my Shopify store.

Here’s the quick story and what’s next. Continue reading “How I failed in 2018 — and what I learned about Drop Shipping”

10 Things You’ll Learn in “The System Club Letters” by Ken McCarthy

11:17pm Tuesday
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Good day reader, what’s the news?

PRL has been keeping me busy.

‘Busy’ is one thing… but I’m looking for a Big Idea.

Because I don’t know–

What’s my next step with Persuasion Reading List?

"The System Club Letters" by Ken McCarthy. Photo by Jeffrey Thomas
“The System Club Letters” by Ken McCarthy. Photo by Jeffrey Thomas


Lucky me, Ken McCarthy has me covered in chapters 31 to 34 of his book, The System Club Letters: 57 Big Ideas to Transform Your Business and Your Life.

The other 53 chapters are pretty insightful too.

Continue reading “10 Things You’ll Learn in “The System Club Letters” by Ken McCarthy”

10 Things You’ll Learn in “The Boron Letters” by Gary C. Halbert

Good day PRL reader!

I’m at the dining-room table, finishing my licorice tea and wrapping up this week’s post about an excellent book on direct-mail marketing.

If you send email or physical mail to your clients… this book might be just what you need to increase your conversions.

The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert and Bond Halbert. Continue reading “10 Things You’ll Learn in “The Boron Letters” by Gary C. Halbert”

Success Favors Speed: 5 Writing Tips To Create Crazy Amounts of Content

This past weekend, my friend Stephen and I met for some lunch and beers, not in that order.

Maybe you remember Stephen as my first Podcast Guest, check it out here.


Stephen works with his clients to build training materials and feedback systems, helping them become more effective in business. (You can find Stephen on LinkedIn if you’re interested to learn how he can help you.)

We’re both building our futures. It’s great to have someone to talk business with, to bounce ideas and advice. Though to be honest, Stephen has a much better business focus than I do—

he has paying clients!


Stephen asked how I was able to “find my voice” when writing… and how I can email on the (almost) daily.

He’s not the first to ask.

It wasn’t always this way.

We all have some difficulty pounding out the ideas in our heads and getting them on paper.

Some people might like to write, and others… not so much.

Here are a few ideas Stephen and I discussed to help crank out material:

1, Don’t Dismiss Your Inspiration
If you’re thinking about your mission all the time, you’re going to find examples popping up in life. Confirmation Bias guarantees we’ll see things that match our current thought processes, things that are at the front of our mind. Things other people might overlook. When you find those real-life examples, don’t let them go! Spend a moment to write yourself a note or two. Capture that idea immediately. Phone, notebook, whatever. You can expand upon it later in writing. (In fact I came up with 3 things to write about just while writing today’s post!)

2, Record a Video
If you don’t like the effort of writing, maybe you’re more comfortable talking? Expand upon your earlier ideas with a video. Get everything out, just dump your brain into the video. You’re not going to share this video. Instead, watch it and take notes on your brain dump, or even transcribe the video directly. (And if you really hate writing, will transcribe your video for you, for only $1 per minute).

3, Organize Your Data
Sometimes our brains are filled with many loosely-connected ideas. We’re unsure how to structure these to tell a complete story. One great method I’ve really like is to use notecards to organize ideas. (Yes you can copy and paste on a computer…) For me, however, the analog task of writing ideas (from our video, for example) and shuffling the cards can really help flesh out connections that I may have overlooked.

4, Focus
Eugene Schwartz was a well known copywriter of advertisements. His advice, based on Zen principles, was to have a deliberate practice. Start your writing with the same beverage, same location, same environment. Set yourself a timer; Schwartz suggested 33 minutes and 33 seconds. Then, for the duration of that timer, you can either write, or do nothing. Nothing exists outside of you and that page. And once the timer beeps… that’s it, break time, immediately. Get some more coffee.

5, Write Write Write
We get better through practice. Don’t worry too much about being perfect, spend time doing… Schedule your time, sit down, and get something on the page! It can be your own words, or you can practice by writing out successful examples of what you’re trying to create. Reward yourself for the minor victory. And find your next 33 minutes.

Do I do these all the time??

Heck no. But they keep me moving when I need it!

Two Wrongs Make a Right

This morning my kids were arguing about Friday’s plans with Grandma.

The older sister was trying to tell the younger brother Friday’s plan, and he was arguing back with his understanding of the plan.

“No! On Friday you’re going…”


Thing is… neither was correct!

And that didn’t matter, because the plans are still up in the air anyways.

On the way to school I like to discuss ideas of self-improvement with my kids. Continue reading “Two Wrongs Make a Right”

Advice from a World-Renowned Copywriter (Robert Collier Letter Book, Part 1)

I’m sitting at the dining room table, hand writing some of the sales letters from the Robert Collier Letter Book while my licorice tea cools off.

Robert Collier Letter Book, 6th Edition, with the library punch card
Robert Collier Letter Book, 6th Edition, with the library punch card

Collier was a direct mail writer, successfully selling all kinds of products during his career, including jewelry, tires, books, and clothing.

Hand writing successful sales letters like these helps to slow down and focus your brain, while Continue reading “Advice from a World-Renowned Copywriter (Robert Collier Letter Book, Part 1)”

Seeing is Believing

Millennials may think they’re a different breed.

Perhaps, the reasoning goes, because they grew up in a distracting environment… their brains have adapted to the distractions of our fast paced world!

"Brained" by Jose, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“Brained” by Jose, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

I frequently hear, “Maybe this generation is different!”

Attempts to outlaw competitive sports or bullying rely on that same flawed belief — that somehow humans are reaching a new level of consciousness. Finally.

For all the drum-beating about “Science!” it’s amazing to see how many people Continue reading “Seeing is Believing”

10 Things You’ll Learn From “The Secret of Selling Anything” by Harry Browne

While the financial reward of being a good salesman has it’s

Harry Browne's "The Secret of Selling Anything"
Harry Browne’s “The Secret of Selling Anything”

appeal, I’ve not historically been good at selling things to people. (Or at least that’s the story I’ve told myself!)

The last time I was trying to “sell” (as a career) was during the down economy in the early 2000s.

No one was buying, and I wasn’t making any money trying.

I’m an introvert, mostly — again, one of the things that I tell myself. I’ve practiced becoming more extroverted. I’ve intentionally put myself into situations where I need to be more extroverted.

One reason I’m drawn to persuasion because I see it as a way to interact with people. It allows me to better understand their motivations and behaviors, and to better connect with them. It pushes me to do so.

Sales, on the other hand, is a whole different beast of persuasion. To be “salesy” meant Continue reading “10 Things You’ll Learn From “The Secret of Selling Anything” by Harry Browne”

“Obvious Adams” by Robert Updegraff (Persuasion Play Podcast #003)

I started the book reviews on over two years ago. The first was My Life in Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins, a classic written in 1927.

Over those two years, I’ve summarized my favorite lessons from 17 books — and I have a dozen or more on my bookshelf waiting to be read and written up or otherwise shared.

Can you justify such behavior? Image from Steve Martin's movie "The Jerk", 1979
Image from Steve Martin’s movie “The Jerk”, 1979

It’s been fun and educational on my end — and I hope on your end too!

As I continue along my PRL journey, learning about the forces that influence us and how we, in turn, can influence the world around us, I was bound to Continue reading ““Obvious Adams” by Robert Updegraff (Persuasion Play Podcast #003)”

13 Words to Identify Mind Readers

Dear reader, we’ve discussed mind-reading, remember? We know it’s probably not real… right?

Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. That’s beside the point. Honestly I don’t know the scope of reality beyond what my brain understands, and I’m sure there’s a lot I don’t understand.

A wise man is never certain about anything!

So I don’t know if some specially attuned people can read minds or not… but I’m pretty sure that your run-of-the-mill news reporter cannot.

Image "Newspapers B&W (3)" by Jon S, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Image “Newspapers B&W (3)” by Jon S, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

Continue reading “13 Words to Identify Mind Readers”