Monthly Archives: May 2012

Privacy And Business Don’t Mix

I don’t understand what the fuck is wrong with some people, but they seem to have some stupid idea that you can start a business and keep your involvement a secret.

It doesn’t work that way, shithead.

Do you know who wants to conceal their involvement in a business?

Criminals.

Do you know why?

So process servers can’t hand them a lawsuit.

There are a bunch of other things criminals do, too. They make big grandiose promises, for example. And they use high-pressure sales tactics to make you “buy now” instead of properly researching the product or service they’re selling. They tend to make a lot of noise about their guarantees. They like to use fake names, pictures that aren’t really of them, and “signature” images that aren’t really the way they sign their name at all. Because it’s probably not really their name, anyway.

Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “but I’m not a criminal.”

Nobody gives a shit if you’re a criminal. They only care if you look like one.

Don’t look like one.

If your identity is buried under a series of shell companies linked together in a complex web of subterfuge and misdirection, it doesn’t matter whether you are a terrorist, you are acting like one – and the authorities are going to crawl right up your arse and set up camp.

Do you know what the government tells people to do when they’re thinking about buying a business opportunity? This:

Do a few internet searches by entering the company name, or the name of the company’s CEO or president, and words like “complaints” or “scam.”

Now, go do that for some high-profile products. Pick them yourself. Notice how the sites that pop up for “complaints” and “scam” and “ripoff” are… well, usually ads for those products with an affiliate link at the end?

Do you know what that’s for? It’s not just a long-tail SEO strategy used by affiliates, although it certainly is that. It’s also a way to shove less-savvy sites off the front page – sites that actually do have complaints that your product is a scam and you ripped them off. And on some level, you have to wonder whether the people promoting this as a “long-tail SEO strategy” aren’t just enlisting willing dupes to be their patsies in that process.

Remember last week? “My customers don’t know! They’re stupid.” That’s not just something people know and don’t bother trying to fix… in many cases, it’s actually part of their business strategy.

Do you want to know one of my secret weapons in the fight against shithead marketers that try to fly under the radar?

Search the internet for the guy who “signed” the sales page. That’s all; just they guy. Not the company. Not the product.

Normal people leave footprints. And with increasing frequency, you’ll find those footprints going back more than a decade. You’ll find pictures of the guy in compromising situations. Maybe nude photos, or Facebook tags of him drunk and passed out at some party, or even worse.

Seriously, nobody these days can grow to adulthood and start up a business without leaving posts on a forum or having a profile on Facebook or something. If you can’t find a name, at all, except for the sales pages and marketing materials… it’s probably fake. And that doesn’t necessarily mean anything; I used a “fake” name for twenty years. Then I got a legal name change, and now it’s my “real” name.

But throughout all of that, you could find my name and my opinions all over the damn place – because I’m a real person, not some bullshit cardboard cutout manufactured for a marketer to hide behind.

If you’re not up to anything, you don’t need to hide.

So WTF Is Up?

It’s now been about a month and a half since I dropped off the radar.

There’s an old saying that if you want people to appreciate what you do, first you need to stop doing it.

For the past year, I’ve been broadcasting live as much as twenty hours a week. I’ve responded rapidly to Skype requests and participated heavily in both masterminds and forums. I’ve released several products which got great reviews, but which people didn’t really buy as much as I’d have liked.

Nobody seems to appreciate the amount of work that goes into these things.

An hour of live broadcasting requires between three and five hours of preparation. I dropped down to four hours a week for this exact reason: I simply didn’t have time to work the equivalent of two full-time jobs for the sake of a free broadcast. Even then, my broadcasts on TalkMarketingNow were basically a part-time job for which I never got paid.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love TMN, I love George, and I love my audience.

But the simple fact is, I need to get paid.

If I don’t get paid, I don’t eat.

And the reason I don’t get paid is, basically, I give away too much free shit.

I can’t count the number of nights people told me “this show could have been a product.” Granted, they’re full of shit, because I’ve turned the shows into products before and nobody bought them. Of course, if I turned products into shows, people showed up. If I gave products away, people took them. And those products would show up on pirate sites within the hour.

Because, you know, people do that shit.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitching that pirate sites exist, or that people are always stealing shit. That’s life. You can’t stop this sort of thing from happening, and no matter how much you shake your fist and scream about it being wrong, a larger and larger proportion of pirates just look at you and scratch their heads… because they don’t see what’s wrong about it.

If I buy a real book, I can give it to my friend when I’m done with it, right? Well, I’m done with this, so I can give it to my friend. I mean, why else would I have paid five times as much as a real book? I can buy, say, Drew Eric Whitman’s Ca$hvertising for under ten bucks. You charged me $47 for your ebook.

Are you telling me your stupid ebook is five times better than one of the top 20 advertising books on Amazon?

Of course not. If it was, you’d write a real book. And it would probably cost less than $10.

Let me be blunt.

Selling bits is stupid.

It is extremely fucking trivial to get your shit off the damn computer and into the real world.

The technology is not the problem. It is not – and honestly never has been – about how to get your ideas from your business into the hands of a customer. There are service bureaus doing this stuff all day long, and doing it shit-cheap.

You want a paperback book? CreateSpace will do that. Hardback? Lulu will do that. CD or DVD? The industry standard is Kunaki. Want that disk pasted in the back of a book? Vervante.

This ebook stuff is bullshit.

On This Date In History

On the 19th of May in 1986, I had just graduated high school (although I wouldn’t receive my diploma for some time… but that’s another story), and was striking out to get my first summer job. Being rather techy and more than a bit of a geek, I had come up with this fantastic plan to do basic computer maintenance for the local real estate companies.

Basically, these companies had a slight problem. Whenever someone started up the computer, they usually needed to access the MLS through a custom application. So they’d start the computer, run the application, and get the information they needed. In the process, the application would create several temporary files for speed and ease of access.

Then they’d click the big red switch and turn off the machine, orphaning several large temporary files on the drive.

When the machine was next turned on, nothing in the system had any idea what those files were or who “owned” them, so everything just left them alone. After a couple weeks, the drive would fill up and the system would stop working. Then they’d call someone to fix the problem.

So my brilliant plan was to go in after business hours on Sunday with a disk of the Norton Utilities, boot up the machines, and delete all the temporary files. Then, for further speed improvement, I’d defragment the drives. This was roughly a three hour process.

The first company I went to was the RE/MAX office down South Kings Highway from my suburban neighbourhood south of Alexandria, Virginia. I explained what was happening and why to the mortgage broker who ran the office, then offered to come in and fix it once a week for $20 an hour.

“Sounds good,” he said. Most computer professionals in the Northern Virginia area charged $60 an hour or more. “Trouble is, I can’t just hire the kid down the street to come in and work on my computers.”

Then, with a grin, he added “I could certainly hire a company that was started by the kid down the street, though.”

Now pay attention, because this is where shit gets real.

Most people would walk out of that office and say “he said no,” then go on to the next office. Or not. All of my friends would have just shrugged and gone home to smoke pot, eat Froot Loops, and watch Scooby-Doo. And at sixteen, who could blame them? They looked for a job, didn’t get one, and came home. That’s normal. They’d mostly continue to do that for the next five or six years.

But I’m an entrepreneur. That door was not closed in my face. There’s just a sign that says “you must be this cool to enter.” And if you tell a teenager to be cool, he’ll put his mind to it and figure out how.

So I got on a bus. And I went into Old Town Alexandria to the Fairfax County Clerk’s office.

I waited in line for a few minutes. Not very long. And when I got up to the counter, I asked “Do I have to be eighteen to get a business licence?”

This rather surprised the clerk, who took a quick look and couldn’t see anything about that at all. Other clerks joined in the search. After about half an hour, through some vague references in related statutes, they concluded that apparently you had to be fourteen to get a business licence.

I filled out a form and handed over some money. They printed out my business licence. I walked out and got on another bus.

It was just a couple hours later when I walked into the same RE/MAX office and showed the broker my brand new business licence. He beamed.

I didn’t really get it at the time, but I do now – it’s what they call naches, the sense of pride when someone you mentor succeeds. He had told a sixteen year old kid “go get a business licence,” and instead of saying “fuck you, grandpa, I’m gonna go smoke dope” the kid actually got off his arse and got one.

The same day. In a matter of hours. “Jump through this hoop,” he said, and I said “no problem.”

Therein lies the core of the lesson. Not the whole thing, because there’s more. But the core of it is just that: if you want to be an entrepreneur, if you want to own a business, you have to jump through the hoops. No, it’s not easy; no, it’s not fair. But those other people around you are not entrepreneurs and do not own a business. They trade their lives for money, one hour at a time. They don’t just work for a living, they live for the working.

If you don’t want to do that, you don’t get to be that. You have to play a different game with different rules. And looking back today, I’m guessing he’s thrown that same challenge at plenty of young people – from their teens to their mid-twenties, and some of them probably his own children – who walked out the door and shrugged and said “fuck hoops, I don’t jump for anyone.”

But there I was with my business licence, saying “yep, I jumped the hoop.” And he said “So that’s $20 an hour, right?”

“Actually, it’s $40 an hour,” I replied. “But I think there’s a kid down the street who does it for $20.”

And he laughed, and shook my hand, and gave me a key to the office. Literally, the same day, handed the office key to a sixteen year old kid. And I started coming in Sunday evenings around seven to go through all the computers, dropping off my invoice on his desk as I left. Monday mornings, I’d come in and the receptionist would give me a cheque.

Which brings us to the next part of the lesson. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. That’s the other half of being an entrepreneur and running a business: you have to take risks. You have to be more attuned to opportunity than you are to danger.

And yes, sometimes it all blows up in your face. Sometimes you find yourself in an obsolete field that nobody needs anymore, and you have to start over. Sometimes you wind up homeless. Sometimes you lose all your clients and contracts and have to go into heavy personal debt just to stay out of bankruptcy. And sometimes you lose it all, and everyone you know deserts you, and you end up living in a basement trying to get through each month on under $100.

But you also get the big wins. You get the $1.7 million gross annual revenue, and the over-$200k bank balance, and the near-$10k week. You can’t have those unless you go for them. And you’re sure as hell not going to get them by working for someone else.

Which leads me to the conclusion of this particular story.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I’ve got a bunch of friends working in minimum-wage jobs, struggling to get more than 20 hours a week. All of them bitching that they really wanted full-time work at 40 hours.

Remember earlier, when I said minimum wage was $3 and change?

That’s a little over $120 a week at 40 hours. $60 a week at 20. Less, after tax withholding.

I was making $120 a week for three hours of work. Easy work. Work a monkey could do. Literally. Stick in the disk, turn on the machine, wait about a minute and a half for the program to start. Take out the disk and go to the next machine. Ten minutes later, kick back and read a book – waiting for the beeps to let you know the machines are done. After the last beep? Turn off the machines. Drop off the invoice. Lock up. Go home.

Pick up a cheque in the morning.

I made about twice what my friends did for just over 10% as much work. They dreamed of one day having the privilege of working twice as much. And when they looked at what I did, they scoffed and turned up their noses in disdain. What I did wasn’t real work. It wasn’t a man’s work. It was just corporate bullshit.

One friend told me he’d be happy to do that work for half as much money. “Okay,” I said. “This week, you come with me to the office. I’ll show you what to do, then you can do the work and I’ll give you half the money.”

He didn’t do it.

Bear in mind, I’m offering to give him back twenty hours of his life. He’s working for $3 an hour all week long, and I’m suggesting that he can make the same $60 for three hours of work. But he wouldn’t, because he didn’t think it was fair that he would do all the work and I would get half the money.

And that, too, is the life of an entrepreneur and a business owner. The people around you will tell you that what you do is actually bad. And when they claim to be interested, they’re not interested in doing what you did – just in getting what you’ve got. They want everything handed over prepacked, with no risk, no loss, no consequences.

We don’t get that. What we get is no net. If we fall, we hit hard, and if we went big enough it may be a long time before we recover.

But now, almost three years into a much longer recovery process than I expected, after a much harder fall than I expected?

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s not about what you’ve got. It’s about what you did. All the stuff? The money, the cars, the house, even the people? Those can go away. But what you did… and can do again… is there forever.

I’ve been in business for twenty-six years.

You can’t take that away from me, ever, any more than you can take away the story of how I got started.

You can’t take away a single success. Sure, maybe I don’t have the stuff anymore. But it’s not about the stuff. It’s about the track record. It’s about getting up just one more time than you fall down.

So don’t count me out just yet.

Tourniquet

Marilyn Manson, Antichrist Superstar, 1999

She’s made of hair and bone and little teeth,
And things I cannot speak
She comes on like a crippled plaything,
Spine is just a string

I wrapped our love in all this foil
Silver-tight like spider legs
I never wanted it to ever spoil
But flies will lay their eggs

Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet

Prosthetic synthesis with butterfly
Sealed up with virgin stitch
If it hurts baby please tell me
Preserve the innocence

I never wanted it to end like this
But flies will lay their eggs

What I wanted
What I needed
What I got for me…

Real Business Operations

Let’s talk a little about businesses and licensing and that sort of shit.

As far as most United States governments are concerned, there are four kinds of places, and they all have different rules and regulations around them. These four kinds of places are Residential, Agricultural, Commercial, and Industrial.

Residential zones are where people live. It’s where their children play. School buses come through here. People get up at reasonable times in the morning and go to bed at reasonable times of the night. You’re expected to pretty much be quiet and respectful all the time.

Agricultural zones are where crops are grown and livestock kept. People still live here, and their children still play here, but they’re usually up with the sun and make use of large-scale machinery as a matter of course. A couple times a year, the time depending on what sort of livestock or crops are being raised, large shipments will be sent or received. No clients or customers come by unannounced.

Commercial zones are where goods are sold and customers serviced. People don’t normally live here; they work here. Clients and customers frequently arrive on a walk-in basis, without appointments. At infrequent intervals, and usually outside of business hours, large shipments will be received to replenish stock. During the night, these zones are generally unoccupied except by security personnel.

Industrial zones are where goods are manufactured and shipped. Like commercial zones, people don’t live here; they work here… but the facility often operates 24 hours a day. Walk-in clients and customers are almost unheard of; the noise level is usually high, and large shipments are made and received at all hours.

When you really look at these, there are a few common threads: large shipments, hours of operation, and arrival of clients or customers.

These are basically what governments care about when it comes to your business, and it’s how you should frame your discussion with state, county, and local governments about running a business at home. Another thing they care a lot about is signage – there are usually zoning laws about how large the sign can be.

What you want to make clear for the average home-based business is that you will not be making large shipments, your hours of operation will be sensible daylight hours, you will not be receiving walk-in clients or customers, and there will be no sign on the property.

Be aware of whether you are within the limits of a city or incorporated township. If you are, you’ll need to contact them about licensing. You will undoubtedly need to contact your county and state, since you’re always within the borders of those.

So the question usually comes up, “do I need a business licence?” – and the response is also a guestion, “are you starting a business?”

You don’t have to start a business, you know. You can just dabble. You have every right in the world to dick around with whatever you like for money, without having any intention of starting a business. There is pretty much nowhere in America that you can’t sell most property and services for money without a licence.

But if you mean to start a business, get a damn licence.

I Hate This Shit

You know what really pisses me off?

I keep wanting to say “Hey, all those other people do that shit, but not me! I don’t do that! I’d never do that! You can trust me!”

But that’s exactly what one of those fuckers would say, so there’s no way in hell you could ever actually trust me to mean that. If I was going to rip you off and rob you blind and tell you to go fuck yourself, the first thing I would need to do is get you to trust me. And the fastest, easiest way to do that is to just tell you to fucking trust me.

And if you were a complete fucking idiot, you’d say “OKAY!” and start throwing money at me.

But if I actually want you as a customer, you’re not a complete fucking idiot. Do the math on that; if you’re completely fucking stupid and will trust someone just because they say “trust me!” – I don’t want you as a customer.

Seriously. Don’t trust me. Don’t believe whatever I tell you. Expect me to prove it. Demand that I prove it. When I tell you “my product will help you do this and that,” I mean three things.

First, if you don’t need to do this and that, don’t fucking buy it.

Honestly, don’t buy shit that doesn’t apply to you. If you have a thriving CPA business, and you’ve never wanted or needed to make your own products, why the fuck would you buy anything about making your own products? That’s just stupid. If you’re buying something to improve your business, buy shit about, you know – your business. Not whatever somebody told you is “the only way to make real money” or some such bullshit. There are thousands of business models out there. Find one that works for you, and stick to it.

Second, if you’re not going to do this and that, don’t fucking buy it.

Honestly, it is not my fucking problem if you’re too Goddamn lazy to get off your arse and do what I tell you in the product. I’m pretty up-front about the fact that my shit needs you to go do some fucking work, and if you don’t care enough to put in the time, just shut the fuck up and go away.

Finally, if you actually use the product to do this and that, expect it to fucking work.

Don’t make excuses. If you took a product I sold you and used it, but you didn’t get the results I promised… open your Goddamn mouth and say something about it. Because that basically means my product wasn’t good enough for you, and if it’s because you’re an overly demanding fuckhead I won’t be shy about telling you that… but if it’s because I fucked up, I want to fix it. Product development is a long and difficult process, and I’m constantly balancing “this problem needs more research” with “people need this now.” If you’ve found a problem with the product, bring me the problem and let me fix it.

There are a lot of people out there who will give you different instructions, because their instructions add up to them getting to take and keep your money more often. They’ll tell you their products are for “everyone” or that it’s an “autopilot” system or the product “needs a certain commitment.” They’ll tell you that you should try it to see if it’s for you, and ask for a refund if it isn’t. Because there’s no risk!

But that’s bullshit. That’s a waste of your fucking time. Real business owners are ruthless with their time. They don’t have thirty days to work full-time on some stupid new SEO strategy; they have a couple hours a day, at most, and if they don’t know whether SEO is for them or not… they aren’t going to waste over a hundred hours on it.

And you want a real business, right? Because that’s the shit I’m talking about here, not fucking around being entertained by the dog and pony show of “automatic ninja push button sniper autopilot panda assassin” bullshit.

More Shit People Pull

Here’s a fun one I ran across once.

A friend of mine asked me if I had PLR to a product I could let him use as a bonus to his own new product. I dug through my PLR stuff, found something that actually didn’t suck and went well with his product, then passed it over to him in return for a copy of his new product.

Basically, we did a little “PayPal dance” where he gave me the $27 price of his product, I sent him the bonus product, and then I used the money he sent me to buy a copy of his product. He thought it was silly, but just shrugged and went along with it.

I was less than impressed with his new product, so I emailed him a couple hours later to let him know I didn’t think it was particularly good.

“I know!” he said. “That PLR thing you sent me was much better. So I’m making that the main product and using my own as the bonus, so I can sell it for a higher price. Here, look at my sales page.”

I looked at the sales page and found that he’d taken the sales page included with the PLR product, raised the price to $47, and wired it up to his existing buy button.

Which is all well and good, you know, except that he was selling personal rights to this PLR product for $47 when anyone could buy the full PLR to it for $1.50 on Tradebit. Which I told him.

“Nah, my list doesn’t know about Tradebit,” he said. “They’re stupid.”

Now, in general, I believe in capitalism. If you buy something for $1.50 and you can sell it for $47, I say more power to you. You can’t knock a man’s hustle.

After all, I myself have hundreds of gigabytes of PLR material and even released a product called Instant Product Copycat about how to legally and ethically “copycat” other people’s products – not ripping them off, but using those products as a guide to follow when creating your own product.

If you get very deeply involved with the music industry, you’ll find that this is also how hit songs are constructed… by reverse-engineering someone else’s hit song.

And you thought it was a lack of imagination that made everything on the radio sound the same. Nope! It’s deliberate. Whenever someone makes a runaway hit, the industry pounces on that song and tears it apart to make hundreds more just like it.

But what’s happening more and more often these days is people aren’t even trying to put their own artistic spin on anything. They just steal the table of contents, rename all the chapters, and type up the same basic information in their own words. Which is perfectly fine, if you’re producing a research paper as homework for your internet marketing class, but that’s not something you should be selling.

And if that’s your entire fucking business model, because people are stupid, you’re a shithead.

Shitty Tricks People Pull

I was talking to a marketer earlier today (a couple weeks ago, by the time you read this), and he started trying to teach me how to get more affiliates.

The core of his system was, well, fraud.

Basically, he has a special list. He emails them and says “buy this product.” They all run buy it, and he gets big juicy EPCs (Earnings Per Click – sales revenue divided by number of clicks) to show his affiliates.

Later, he goes and refunds all their purchases, so they get their money back and have the product for free.

I wouldn’t be surprised if these people sent him reviews and shit, too.

When I was appalled at this, he didn’t understand why. He was just mailing a small test list to get EPCs, and the whole “you get your money back in a week” thing was just an ethical bribe to get them on the list.

I expressed my opinion that while it was a bribe, it most certainly was not ethical. And then I had to explain why.

The EPCs for a product are supposed to tell prospective affiliates how much they can expect to make from their list. If I know I can send you 600 clicks, and his EPCs are $2.50, then I should make $1,500 from that mailing.

What he’s doing is lying to these people so they’ll promote his product. The EPCs he’s showing aren’t real. They know next week, they’ll get the money back. They aren’t spending $10 – they’re just loaning him $10. For a week.

So what do you think? Would more or less people want to give him the same $10 to keep? I mean, just hypothetically. When you mail your list, those people don’t get a refund.

And here’s the really crappy part. Think about this.

Joe mails his list, and gets $2.50 EPCs on it. He shows you that, and you mail your list. Unfortunately, your list only generates an EPC of like 33 cents. So what do you think just happened?

Why, you think you have a shitty list, that’s what!

And where are you going to go so you can find out how to build a better list? Aha! You should obviously go to the guy with the $2.50 EPCs, right? He sure knows how to build a good responsive list!

And I’ll bet he’s got a product about listbuilding. Or at least an affiliate link to one.

I used to “bird dog” for a real estate investor – locating properties he would want to buy, then telling him about them for a small finders fee. He always told me he never put a single penny down on a house. And one night, over a few beers, he told me how.

“I have a million dollar line of credit,” he said. “Whenever I want something, I just write a check.”

“But that’s not no money down,” I protested. “That’s paying cash.” And he laughed, explaining that it’s not his cash. It’s the bank’s cash. And by the time they ask for it back, he’ll have sold the house for a profit. So he didn’t use any of his own money – the bank paid for the house, and he only paid them when he sold it.

And that, he explained, was why he never sold or endorsed “no money down” courses like Carlton Sheetz and his ilk sold. Because while “no money down” deals happen all the time, they don’t happen the way people think, and they certainly aren’t done the way these courses teach.

It’s the same way in internet marketing. Million dollar launches, six-figure lists, double-digit conversions… these happen every day.

Just not the way you think they do. And when someone is selling you a product about how to do what they do, don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that’s how they do it.

The Three Kinds of People

There are three kinds of people in the world.

There is everybody. That is literally everybody – every single person on the face of the planet to within one standard deviation, which you can do the math on yourself if you are that much of a fucking tool. For example, everyone is a fucking liar. No matter who you are, you never tell the absolute 100% God’s honest truth about everything, because among other things you probably don’t know the truth in the first fucking place.

Then there are classes of people. This is any group of people that has something in common. Which in its raw form includes classes like Jews and niggers and women, so it’s the foundation of all prejudice and hatred and injustice on the planet. It’s also completely fucking accurate. While you might be wrong about what that group of people has in common, you’re just correlating one similarity with another. This is how we learn things. It’s how we figure things out, like “internet marketers are a bunch of money-grubbing cocksuckers who are slicker than greased owl shit and can’t be trusted any farther than you can piss.” You might disagree with what they have in common, but you can’t dispute the fact that “internet marketers” is a class of human beings who have SOMETHING in common other than just being internet marketers.

And finally, you have individuals. I have a friend on Facebook who is a lying shithead that will say anything at all to make you support Ron Paul, because he is a lying liar who lies. I don’t have to name him, because he will complain about this on his wall when this post comes up in the feed. He will probably even claim I “only” posted this because of a specific recent incident, rather than the three separate incidents to date where he lied his arse off more and more spectacularly as his bullshit unraveled. There may even be more incidents before the post pops.

But I mostly want to talk about classes of people, because this is where a lot of shit goes wrong in communications. There are three major problems people run into with it.

First, there’s equivocation. When I say “internet marketers,” I mean something by that, and you probably have a slightly different definition than I do. Your definition doesn’t mean shit. I’m talking about my definition. Arguing that it’s the “wrong” definition is just mental masturbation about how you know better than I do what that term means, but your definition is no more authoritative than mine. That doesn’t make you wrong. It just means that I have every right to say “an internet marketer is this,” even if you don’t agree. I’m using “internet marketer” as a symbol. You can use the same term as a symbol for something else, but you don’t get to claim I’m using it “wrong” any more than I get to claim you are.

Second, there’s faulty causality. This is where you say “X is because of Y” when actually Y is because of X. We get this wrong a lot. There are many people out there who say “he became an internet marketer because he was a scammer,” when in reality it may be that he became a scammer because he was an internet marketer. This is especially common with multi-level marketing; lots of people think an opportunity is a scam because it is MLM, but it is far more common that an opportunity is MLM because it is a scam – because if you are already scamming people, MLM is a great way to spread that scam. Most MLM opportunities are actually legitimate (although generally inferior) business. The minority of MLM opportunities that seem “too good to be true,” lacking all the usual shortcomings of other MLM opportunities? Those are the scams. They look too good to be true because they are.

And finally, there’s misattribution. This one goes back to racism; in my teens, I heard a lot of people tell me that certain behaviours and styles and attitudes were “a black thing” when they were absolutely not. They were a poverty thing. Slums and ghettoes are not where black people live. They are where poor people live. And the behaviours and attitudes of the slum and the ghetto are not about your skin colour; they never have been. You see every last one of those same behaviours and attitudes in the white-trash trailer parks of the deep South, because they are a poverty thing. All of the prejudice I saw being laid at the feet of blacks rightfully belonged at the feet of the poor, but somehow it was hard to tell the difference. Because in my day, poor white people and non-poor white people didn’t go to the same schools or hang out in the same places. Whenever non-poor white people encountered poor people, those poor people were invariably black. And that said something far more damning about American society than the racism I was seeing every day. But instead of saying “hey, all the poor people we see are black, what’s up with that?” – the white kids around me just merrily decided that every difference between them and the poor kids was because the poor kids were black.

That’s where the stupidity comes in. All the crap we complain about and say is because of racism and prejudice and stereotypes? That’s bullshit. Racism is normal. Prejudice is unavoidable. Stereotypes are natural. What we’re really complaining about is one of those three flaws in dealing with classes of people.

How To Fucking Write

Composition is all about decomposition.

Seriously, look at this.

You have a book, right? And that book has chapters. So writing a book is really just writing a bunch of chapters.

A chapter is just a series of related paragraphs. So writing a chapter is just writing a bunch of paragraphs.

A paragraph is just a series of related sentences. So writing a paragraph is just writing a bunch of sentences.

And a sentence is just some related words. So writing a sentence is just writing a bunch of words.

Too vague for you?

A chapter is one to three collections of five to ten paragraphs containing five to ten sentences with five to ten words.

That’s a total of somewhere between 125 and 3,000 words. Shoot near the middle of that, for about 1,500 words.

A book is about 40,000 words. That’s flexible, of course, but if you write 40,000 words it feels like a book.

So thirty of those chapters is a book.

Sit down and make a list of thirty things you could tell people. Those are chapters.

Now under each of those thirty things, write three specific questions you want to answer.

And under each of those questions, answer it in five to ten paragraphs containing five to ten sentences with five to ten words.

That should take you about five minutes for each question.

With three questions for each of thirty chapters, that’s 90 questions and 450 minutes total writing time.

If you’re insane, you could do that in a day. But you’re not. Half your time won’t be spent writing; it will be spent organising what you’re going to write. So it will take two days.

On top of that, you won’t spend all your time working, either. You’ll get distracted here and there. That will also be about half the time. So it will take four days.

Plus, you’re going to need a day just to make the list. So it will take five days, or an entire week of work.

And that’s if you’re doing this full-time. You’ve probably got other things to do. So it will take two weeks.

Finally, you probably have a day job and are just doing this in your spare time. So it will take four weeks.

Roughly an entire month.

But honestly, the only reason you can’t write a book in a month is that you’re not trying.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I haven’t written a book yet. I could, but I’m not trying.

And if you’re not trying, not succeeding isn’t failure. Don’t let people come up and tell you that you’re a failure for not doing things you’re not trying to do. You’re not a failure for not having things you don’t want, are you? Of course not.

Set your own priorities. Your own goals. But be honest about them. If you say you want to write a book, there you go. Get off your lazy arse and go write one. If you don’t, it’s not because you can’t. It’s because you’re not trying, and there’s a reason for that. Be honest about that reason, and if it’s something stupid like being afraid it won’t be any good, just remember: plenty of people today are publishing absolute shit and getting rich from it.