Mar 01 2014

What Exactly Is Success?


“Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals.”

~Paul J. Meyer

That is the best definition of success I have ever seen. Paul Meyer knew the score!

I hear success defined in many ways. Some people say it’s having money. To others success is having a big house, healthy family, and a comfortable retirement account. You might consider yourself successful if you are able to get out of bed in the morning! Whatever the definition, success is whatever it means to you.

If you run a business you MUST define what success means for you and your business. You have to know when you have “made it”. When you determine up front exactly what criteria determines your successful business, everything else falls into place. Every action you take in your business should be based on getting closer to that criteria.

Let’s take a closer look at the quote and how it relates to running a business.


What is the ultimate goal of your business? What has to happen before you consider you business successful? If you own a brick-and-mortar business, your goal might be to have 100 locations in 10 years.  A consultant may want to have branch offices in 25 states. An online marketer may want to do 100 informational seminars a year during the next 5 years. A good way to look at the ultimate goal is determine what has to be done to build the business with the intent of selling it when you are finished.

Progressive Realization

Have you heard the expression “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? You don’t necessarily have to reach your destination to consider yourself successful. A lot could happen on your journey. As you build toward your goal you may find an end result you never considered.

For example, the internet marketer has a  goal to do 100 information seminars a year in major cities around the country.  As he builds the business towards that end he discovers a way to get his information in front of more people, a much larger audience by doing online webinars instead. Did he change his mind, is he now considered a failure? Of course not. He still presents his information to the masses. There will always be detours. What is true today may not be valid tomorrow.


A business can only be profitable if you provide solutions that are worthwhile to your customers. Your products must have benefits your customers want.


The ultimate goal of your business should be determined up front. You’ll need a clear vision of what the business should look like from day 1. Then you can prioritize every task you do by asking ‘ does it get me closer to my goal?’


Finally, the overall goal must be meaningful to you. It has to be what you want. It’s not personal if you build a business based on what other people think you should do. Think about it. How can you possibly be successful doing something you don’t want to do?


I think Paul Meyer’s definition of success can be applied to any business or personal  undertaking. If you know from the beginning what your business will look like, and you enjoy providing a service that people want,  consider yourself successful as you grow your business to it’s ultimate goal.

How does this model of success fit your business? Please share your comments below.

Feb 13 2014

I’m A Fraud, A Liar, And A Cheat!

That was the opening line of magician and mentalist David Hoy’s mind-reading show back in the early 50’s.  Why would he say something like that?  That’s a pretty bizarre thing to say to an audience of strangers!  That line was crafted to turn skeptics into followers.  He understood what it took to get people on his side, to trust him, to get them to tell all their friends about him.

“So all I have to do to get someone to like me is tell them I’m full of crap?”  Uhhh, not exactly. 🙂  Many magicians, and especially performers who apparently read the minds of their audiences, will use a disclaimer at the beginning of their show.  They want to make sure no one thinks they have super powers or real psychic abilities.  It is typically referred to as ‘suspending disbelief’.  It’s like saying “Hey, I’m going to show you some things that look like I have supernatural powers.  I assure you I don’t.  But just come along with me and pretend it’s possible for the next hour and enjoy the ride.”

There were many skeptics in David’s audience.  You’ve seen the type.  Very rigid posture, arms crossed, a look on their face that screams “yeah, show me!”  After all, how many people have you ever met that really could read your mind? (besides your significant other)  However, when they left the show, it was very likely they would tell their friends what fun they had.  It’s because he established rapport immediately and let them know he’s just like them.

What are you saying to your customers the first time you meet them?  Are you completely up front with them?  Do you allow them to give you feedback?  Do they like you when they find out who you really are?

I would love to hear how you turn your skeptics into followers!

Feb 12 2014

Why You Don’t Need A Website To Grow Your Business

email marketingIf you know nothing about building a website for your business, be prepared to spend up to several thousand dollars to have it professionally designed for you.  Then, once in place, your business will explode with new customers… NOT.  Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.  Yet many business owners think a website is the magic bullet that will bring in tons of new business.

If no one knows the website exists, it’s a waste of time.  It will cost you another several thousand dollars for a professional to drive visitors to your site.  There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way, but there are easier, more cost effective ways to attract new customers without a website, especially if your business is new.  One solution is email marketing.

I know a very successful magician who keeps in regular contact with his fans via email.  He connects with over 3,500 fans once or twice a week.  What’s really interesting is he does not have a website.  He does not use Twitter.  He uses Facebook, but rarely talks about his business.  Yet, somehow, he has 3,500+ people on his email list.  That may not seem like a lot, but for his entertainment business, that’s huge.  About 90% of his gigs comes from people on that list.  You’ve heard it before, the money is in the list!

His secret:

Anyone who knows you exist should be invited to hang out with you and your friends.

This is quite different from marketers who spend most of their time trying to let people know they exist.  They spend too much time trying to get new customers and end up neglecting the customers they already have.

Your existing relationships should always be your top priority.  If you’re new in business you may protest “But no one knows I have a business!”   WRONG!  That’s just an excuse.  Someone, even if it’s one person, knows what you have to offer.  That’s all it takes to get the ball rolling.

Here are some examples from different types of business.  See if you can translate the ideas to your specific business.

  • A small cafe invites everyone who comes in to sign up for “customer only” specials.  The waitress enters the customer’s email into the email list program for them.  When the customer gets home, they see a welcome email with coupons.
  • A chiropractor asks every client if they would like to receive a free booklet of back strengthening exercises to reduce pain.  The client gives them an email address to receive the booklet.
  • A hair salon offers each customer a free haircut with their upcoming “Bring a friend” promotion.  They send an email with details.  The customer is surprised to find several additional coupons for free services just for signing up.
  • An  electronic game store invites everyone who walks in the door a chance to win a  $50 gift certificate each month.  Winners are notified by email.  Just for signing up, they receive a 50% off coupon on their next single item purchase.
  • A magician invites everyone to meet him after the show to ask questions and find out how they can learn magic.  They sign up to receive a free “trick of the month” by email.  They receive a buy one, get one free coupon for upcoming shows just for signing up.
  • An online marketer hears one of his friends talk about how he hates his job and wants to find a way to escape the rat race.  He has his friend sign up to receive a “how to make money online” mini course via email.

In each example, the business owner is now in a position to keep in regular contact with their customers.  The key now is to provide valuable content on a regular basis.  This does NOT mean you bombard them with a sales pitch in each email!  In future articles, we’ll discuss what to put in the emails to ensure you’re providing value.

Are you using email to build your business?  What ongoing value are you providing your customers?  If you have a unique way to keep in touch with your customers, please let us know.

Feb 05 2014

Everything You Know Is Wrong

It must be true.  I hear it every day.  People tell me I’m wrong all the time.  I’m told it will never work. You’re too old.  That will cost too much.  No one will buy it.  It’s too soon.  It’s too late.   Give me a frickin break!

Shut Up, Stop Whining, & Get A Life

That’s the title of one my favorite books by Larry Winget.  It’s also something I’ve been saying to people a lot lately.

It’s Time For A Rant

I mean a really big one. Stay with me though.  I have a solution.  I won’t scream and then leave you wondering what to do about it.

I don’t know what’s going on but for the last week or so I have been hearing a lot of people tell me how I’m supposed to be running my business and conducting my personal life.

Bloggers are telling me the ‘correct’ way to use Twitter.  I see readers tell bloggers it’s unethical to make money online.  Magicians tell me you can’t make money with a 15 minute show.  A neighbor tells me I shouldn’t be a Duke fan because their coach is evil.  In other words, everything I know is wrong.

I May Not Always Be Right, But I’m Never Wrong

Seriously.  I get to decide what is right… for me. You get to decide what’s right… for you.  That sounds so easy.  Then why is it so hard to do?  People mean well, right?  They just want to help, right?  At least that’s what they tell you.  Sorry.  I’m just not buying that crap any more.

I wrote an article last week about controversy.  Is it good or bad for business?  I used an example about a magician who went on television and exposed the secrets behind common magic tricks.  The magic community was furious.  I offered a solution for how to handle the controversy and invited comments.  Some very angry magicians sent me email demanding I stop endorsing exposing magic secrets. They clearly did not read the article, entirely missed the point, but still thought it was OK to tell me that I was wrong and that I’m destroying the sacred art of magic.  Again, everything I know is wrong. The self proclaimed protectors of the art know exactly what is best for all magicians.

I made a decision to unfollow Twitter users that I have little in common with.  The internet marketing experts came out of nowhere to tell me what an idiot I am and how my business is doomed to failure. I’m on a roll!  Maybe these people are right.  Maybe everything I know really is wrong.

March is my favorite time of year.  I get to watch countless hours of college basketball.  I just found out I’m a terrible basketball fan because I like Duke university.  Yep, I shouldn’t like Duke because their coach secretly has ties with the referees.  The officials are being paid to help his team. I guess it’s true then.  I really don’t know shit about anything!

OK so now what?

Ask The Right People For Advice

Someone tells me a red widget will never sell, blue is the way to go.  They tell me this because they tried selling red widgets once and failed miserably.  Thank you but I’m going to ask my customers what color widget they prefer.  Turns out they like purple.  Not blue.  Good thing I listened to the right people.

Filter The Input – Take The Best, Leave The Rest

Most advice seems to come unsolicited.  People will give you advice whether you ask for it or not. Many times it’s because they feel they know what’s best for everyone. Too often I will listen to the advice.  Sometimes because I think the person talking is a guru.  Sometimes because I feel they have been-there-done-that.   Sometimes because I just can’t come up with my own solution.

A leader consults with team members to brainstorm solutions to a problem.   He then takes the information to make a decision.  In the same way, I get to decide how to move forward.  So do you.

Consider The Source

A magician on a popular magic forum said a 15 minute show is a thing of the past.  No one will buy such a show.  Really?  That happens to be the type of show I book all the time.  He obviously only speaks from his personal experience and knows nothing about what’s really happening in the market.  I would no sooner take advice from someone who has never booked a 15 minute show than I would listen to an overweight doctor trying to tell me how to lose weight.

Reduce Information Overload

How many people do you really have to listen to?  How many articles do you have to read to find a solution.  Information overload will waste your time to the point you may never get anything accomplished.  Stop listening to everyone!  Make a decision and then make it right.  If you make a mistake, fine. Move on.


I decided I know more than I give myself credit for. So do you.  I’m committed to being more self sufficient and not worry whether someone else thinks I’m doing it “right”.  I’m going to be more cautious about the advice I get, especially if I didn’t ask for it.  I’ll listen to just enough to learn something but ultimately decide what’s best for me or my business.  I hope you will do the same.

You may find this hard to believe but I really don’t want everyone to agree with me all the time.  If you think this rant is a bunch of crap, tell me so.  Just tell me why. Otherwise I may just ignore you.   I’m willing to learn something.  I’m opening the door for any comment you have.

Feb 02 2014

Do Your Customers Believe You?

I can still remember the first time I saw a magic trick.  I must have been about 5 years old.  I remember it like it happened yesterday.  My dad’s friend vanished a coin right in front of my eyes.  Impossible!  To a 5 year old, it was not a trick, it was magic… real magic!  Nothing could have felt more real.  That’s probably why I still remember today, over 4 decades later.

What I experienced that day was a moment of pure conviction.  I absolutely believed that magic was real.  I even knew the exact moment the magic happened.  The ‘magician’  wiggled his fingers over the hand holding the coin…paused… then snapped his fingers.  I knew it was at that moment that something special had happened.  I believed anything was possible.

I hope you’re not thinking yeah, yeah, yeah, you were just a kid.  Anyone can fool a kid with a silly magic trick.  I didn’t understand why that moment was so important back then, but I thought about it for many years.

One day I realized why I was affected in such a profound way.  Since that day I have seen a lot of magicians perform amazing things.  Every time I saw someone perform, I wanted to believe it was real.  I wanted to believe magicians have extraordinary abilities.

It’s the same with personal and business relationships.  When you meet someone for the first time, you want to believe they are a good person.  When you purchase something, you want to believe it will solve your problem.

As a business owner, when you sell something, your customer wants to know you will stand behind it and provide support.  They want to know they made the right decision.  It’s your job to fulfill that belief.

Magicians do this by creating a magic moment.  They do it with a simple gesture like waving a wand, wiggling their fingers, or snapping their fingers.  Does this really do anything?  No, but it creates a moment when people are convinced something just happened.  It works because in the context of the performance, the magician believes that he really has magical powers.  That belief creates conviction.

Does this mean you have to run out and buy a magic wand to create conviction for your customers?  No.  It simply means you have to believe in yourself first, before your customer will trust you.  Remember, they want to believe you can help them.  They look to you for guidance.  If you believe you have something of value, so will they.  Conviction is contagious.

The first step to getting people to believe in you is to understand What You Do Is Important.  Your work is not trivial.  It means something to your customer.  There’s an old story about two brick layers.  When asked what they do, the first says “I’m laying bricks”.  The other said, “I’m building the city’s finest monument!”  The second worker understood the importance of what he does.

Start thinking about the value you really provide.  Your belief will transfer to your customers.

What do you do to get people to believe in you?  Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear what’s working for you.