How to Get Your Shit Together

10 Sep

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How to Get Your Shit Together

Yes I am aware the headline is somewhat crude but I have discovered that sometimes you NEED to be crude and insensitive to make people pay attention.

Five years ago I was downsized. As I am sure many of you were. I quickly learned that nobody wanted to hire a middle-aged man and especially not at the salary I was asking.

And so began the winter of my discontent.

Fortunately I had a book deal so there were royalties coming in and a new book ready for the shelves so I figured I could coast until the economy picked up.

Au contraire!

Several months following my downsizing my publisher ran into hard times and went out of business.

Uh-oh! I admit that news rattled me a bit. But I was confident of my writing skills and decided to establish my own publishing company.

Here’s what I didn’t know. The reason my publisher went out of business was because book stores were rapidly going out of business which eliminated his distributorship. Meaning if the places that sell books go out of business, you have no place to sell your books.

Uh-oh number two.

I went through the horror of learning to format for kindle. It’s relatively easy now but back in those days the learning curve was monstrous. And even after mastering it, I learned that without an advertising and marketing budget I wasn’t going to sell ANYTHING.

So for years I struggled, really struggled. But I stuck with it and over time I started turning things around. And the change came when I realized that in order to sell my books I had to learn how to market.

So I cleared the deck and spent every waking moment learning about marketing and how to run a successful business. I started with Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (literally the bible of how to create a successful business) Then Dan Kennedy’s The Unique Sales Letter. Sidney Biddle Barrows book on successful marketing and yes, she was the infamous “Mayflower Madam”. And perhaps my favorite, Alex Becker’s source-wave videos on SEO.

The late great Zig Ziglar often said, “If you want to succeed, help someone else succeed,” because if you do you’ll soon discover people wanting to help you.

That stuck with me. And having gone through a bitter divorce, I began hanging out with and talking with other men my age who had also recently divorced.

What I discovered floored me and I immediately realized that I had to get the word out to my fellow middle-aged divorced men. So I quickly wrote Divorce: The Middle-aged Man’s Survival Guide. The minute I published it on Kindle it began doing very well and when I had it turned into an audio book it started doing VERY, VERY WELL.  And once people became more familiar with my work the more of my books were being bought and read. And having taken the time to learn marketing and business, I managed to avoid making the same mistakes I made early on when I really didn’t understand what it took to become financially independent.

And here is something I need to tell my fellow artistic types, who like me, aren’t particularly fond of selling.

It doesn’t matter if you write, paint, make music, sculpt, sing, dance, act or want to make money with whatever it is you created, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THIS and it comes for one of the most successful marketers of products alive today, Dan Kennedy: ALL BUSINESSES ARE THE SAME! If you’re expecting to be signed by some big publishing house, or music company or art gallery, or TV production company, you’re likely to be disappointed. No matter what it is you’re selling, it has to be marketed and advertised and generate interest and sales before powerful and influential people will look at you.

So here is what I learned from Napoleon Hill, Dan Kennedy, Alex Becker and numerous others about becoming successful.

1)    It doesn’t matter how many times you tried and failed. Henry Ford filed bankruptcy before starting the Ford Motor company. R.H. Macy had several stores go out of business before his success. Those who succeed are those who keep at it and adapt their technique as they become more experienced.

2)    You need to create a LONG LIST of why you must succeed. Read it daily.

3)    When you attempt to set out on your own, you will upset people. They will try to save you from yourself. Remind you constantly that most businesses fail. Make it immediately clear that although they are well-meaning, if they continue with such behavior you will break off contact with them.

4)    You will suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. The road to success will likely be VERY, VERY hard, with yet another obstacle at each turn. So when you encounter an obstacle, learn how to overcome it. If your product isn’t selling, then learn how to sell, if you need financing, learn how to raise capital. There is no acceptable excuse for failure.

5)    Find out what people want to buy, find out how stiff the competition is, BEFORE you begin your business. THEN find a product with high interest and low competition and start marketing it.

6)    I’ve written a series of books whose titles begin with “The Best Book on…

These books feature what I have learned, following weeks and sometimes month of research on a particular topic. They focus on what you need to know about a subject, what pitfalls you may encounter and how to avoid or get around them. As mentioned earlier, all businesses are the same and so it stands to reason that all obstacles are the same. That being the case someone somewhere must have run into the same problem you have and found a solution. This is why it’s so important to immerse yourself in learning about the business you’re in. For example: If you’re a writer and not making any money or selling any books then you need to read this book.

7)    Find roll-models in your niche. There are those who became successful doing what you’re attempting to do now. Learn from them. Read their books and watch their videos. Don’t waste your time trying to reinvent the wheel.

8)    With the Internet there is simply no excuse for failure. There is NOTHING YOU CAN’T LEARN. You literally can become anything you want by watching YouTube Videos, The Underground College courses, and by using Google search. There is no overnight successes. It is said it takes 10,000 hours to master something. Well, get started.

9)    Whatever dominates your thoughts, controls who you are. You become what you tell yourself you are. Never badmouth yourself. Never say “I’m so stupid” or “Everything I touch turns to shit.” To succeed you must think like a success.

10)             Go to events and meet like-minded people. Imagine how much you can learn from people doing the same thing you are.

And lastly, each and every day learn something new and acquire new abilities. The better you make yourself the better your life will become.


And so my friends that is How to Get Your Shit Together. I hope it will help you in some way. And if so, pass it along




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