Someone asked me the other day how as a small business owner (aka: I only eat what I kill) and father of 3, I'm able to stay so calm in spite of the alleged Coronantine.

(Corona + Quarantine, get it?)

Whatever your thoughts about the Corona, the response has had a serious impact on small business owners, with thousands closing their doors (and thousands more pulling out massive loans to cover the shortfall, which they unfortunately might not be able to afford unless the debt is "forgiven" because even "low" compound interest has a nasty habit of destroying what it touches…but that's a topic for another time).

So I think the real question is:

How can you and I stay calm, cool, and collected....or as Kipling wrote: "keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you" during these turbulent times?

I'll try to answer that with as few 80's movie references as possible.

Let's begin:

Remember that scene from "Big Trouble in Little China" where Egg Shen prepares the "medicine" - right before they go deep into the heart of the beast?

Egg Shen gathers the team, pulls out a mysterious potion, and proceeds to pour a cup for everyone at the table.

Egg Shen: "Time for the medicine!"

Jack Burton: "This does what again, exactly?"

Egg Shen: "See things no one else can see. Do things no one else can do."

Jack Burton: "Real things?"

Egg Shen: "As real as Lo Pan!"

And then the good guys go on to beat Lo Pan, rescue the princess, and save the day in one of the greatest hero's journeys of all time.

Classic Jack Burton.

But I digress…

Here's what I believe:

Everything you may encounter in life is either an affordance or an obstacle.

An affordance is anything that helps you along your way; that moves you in the direction of your aim; that affords you an opportunity to make progress toward your goals.

These are affordances.

An obstacle, conversely, is anything that blocks your path. That gets in the way of your goals. That keeps you confused, frozen, or distracted.

Some affordances are obvious.

(the aforementioned shovel, water, and family)

Some obstacles are obvious.

(anything that restricts access to, or removes, the aforementioned shovel, water, and family)

Not all affordances and not all obstacles are created equal.

No line at Chipotle = affordance.

Getting featured on a massive SiriusXM radio station and blowing the lid off a brand new product launch = a much bigger, much more significant affordance.

The store down the street "runs out" of toilet paper = obstacle.

Experiencing a reality where you're one handshake-from-a-stranger away from death = a much, MUCH bigger obstacle.

So logically, it makes sense that you would want more affordances (ideally the really good ones) and fewer obstacles in your life (especially the really bad ones).

If you're following my line of reasoning this far, then it follows that the greatest affordance is that which affords MORE of such affordances.

(meta, I know)

For example, the electricity that feeds your devices and machines might be considered a "greater affordance" if those things are then used in the pursuit of your goals (with your site squarely set on your aim).

And it also follows that the greatest obstacle is that which creates more obstacles.

Here's where I'm going with this:

Information can be either an affordance or an obstacle.

Knowing what's around the corner can save you time, money and energy.

However, that's only if the information is correct, relevant, and pertinent.

If the information is incorrect, not relevant, or impertinent, "knowing" said information could actually COST YOU more time, money, and energy.

(and if the information is malicious, well, then it could cost you everything...but maybe a story for another time)

In the physical world - the certifiably real world that's right in front of you, the one at your finger tips - most of us can figure out what is an affordance or an obstacle from a simple glance (and maybe a step or two and a swivel of the head).

You see the traffic jam and you get it.

You see the strawberries growing and the water flowing and you get it.

But when you're "online" looking at "the world" through the black mirror in your pocket, discerning between affordance and obstacle becomes a lot more difficult.

That's because information can be framed, molded, and manipulated to be given the appearance of value, when in fact, it's an illusion; just ask anyone who bought a ticket to The Fyre Festival, or cheered on Theranos, or thought Bernie Madoff was really onto something with his unorthodox accounting methods.

Not all information is equal.

So don't treat it like it is.

Be discerning about what you let in. Shut off any inputs that distract you from your aim. Fearlessly exclude anything that does not help you toward your goals.

It's true, people will stop asking you out for drinks...but then all the bars are closed now anyway.

Get to work. Fight the good fight.

And stay frosty.

Tom "may the wings of liberty never lose a feather" Morkes

p.s. I'd love to hear from you: leave a comment below with your thoughts, questions, or insights.

- James Gibson's "The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception."
- John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China"
- "The Fear Economy"

Started, finished, and shipped from 7,000 feet elevation with my feet planted firmly on the ground | Writing time: 4.5 hrs | Soundtrack: silence (still trending)

Well, there's no escaping it; Coronavirus is here and people are scared.

And because of the decrees, both de facto and de jure, for "social distancing" (aka how I live my life), small business owners everywhere are getting pummeled.

(especially brick and mortar small businesses)

Unfortunately, a lot of these businesses are going to be wiped out.

Before anyone freaks out, this isn't fear mongering. It's a reality.

The businesses that are forced to close right now, some for upwards of 60+ days, still have expenses to pay.

They still have overhead. They still have rent…

If these small business have no consistent, predictable, online revenue stream - or they can't establish one ASAP - they're screwed.

But fear not.

I've been to war in real life and in business (metaphorically speaking).

And today, I'm going to show you a way through the uncertainty.

Below, you'll find 5 ways to generate predictable income online in the next 21 days. Consider this the Coronavirus 2020 edition; stuff that's working now and should work well for you.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or recommendations for what I can add to the list, leave a comment below!


Strap on your helmet and let's get to it...

Strategy #1. Become an affiliate for a proven digital offering

This is for my brick and mortar entrepreneurs who are getting kicked around by all this the worst:

Given that you have a business and you have a databaset of customers, the absolute fastest, simplest, and best way to serve your customers and clients, while generating a profit online, quickly, is through the right affiliate offer.

Affiliate marketing is basically performance-based or commission-based marketing; e.g. you get paid for every sale you refer / generate.

So the question is, if you have customers OFFLINE, how could they be served ONLINE?

For example, maybe you run a yoga studio. People come to your classes in person. You've recently had to shut your doors for an indefinite period of time.

You could, of course, try to stream and sell your "in person" classes online.

But then you might realize your customers don't want to pay full price for a virtual streaming service, so you'll probably have to cut the price…

Unfortunately, cutting the price of your new streaming or online offer WILL NOT HELP, because you can find a million and a half yoga practices streamed online, basically every day.

If you're a guru, you can maybe get away with selling on the premise of your name alone.

For just about everyone else, why fight an uphill battle?

A better solution:

  1. Find an established, premium subscription or membership platform in your niche or industry (aka: customers pay for a subscription; not a freemium ad-based model like YouTube)
  2. Confirm they have a subscription model (e.g. $30/ month)
  3. Confirm they have a LIFETIME commission model (e.g. 30% for life)
  4. Confirm they have customers, and said customers like them
  5. Share this platform both as a teacher and affiliate

Your customers win because if the platform is established, it's a better user experience than you trying to hack something ridiculous together right now.

You win, because you have to deliver absolutely ZERO, while you have the chance to make a profit, in perpetuity.


Don't believe affiliate marketing can make you a bucketload of cash?

Here's a screenshot from one of my affiliates who earned more than $50,000 from sharing a simple, proven, high quality digital product, over a 1 week period of time:

Yup, it works.

You just gotta find the right fit. And then put it out there the right way.

(Need help on this? Book a lightning session with me right now and in less than an hour we can figure out the optimal affiliate offer for your list, and maybe even start to line up your promotion)

Advanced Affiliate Marketing Strategy

Most people do the above and stop there.

That's profitable enough, in most cases, if done correctly.

Here's a simple way to ramp things up:

Put together a *30 day challenge* (or for however long your doors are closed for - why not?!) and join along with the customers you referred.

A simple way to do this:

Have anyone who signs up with your link send you the confirmation receipt (confirm inside your affiliate program that the sale was attributed to you), and add them to a private group where you can throw in extra stuff, whether bonuses or perks, providing feedback or support, and much more.

Who knows, this group might take off in such a way that you could charge money for it (but then we'd be getting ahead of ourselves, that's Strategy #4 below).

Strategy #2. Self-publish

I know that might sound like a lot to accomplish in 21 days, but hear me out.

Here's the deal:

Amazon is one of the biggest search engines in the world. It's also the #1 digital retailer in the world.

If you're not tapping into this audience, you're missing out.

Insurgent Publishing makes 100% of its income online. We still sell print books, we just have no brick and mortar book store (nor do we try to get our books into stores).

I built Insurgent Publishing to be antifragile, and it seems to be working.

Here's the secret to success on Amazon:

  1. Have a voice
  2. Keep it simple

That's it.

Here's an example of a book we recently published.

(warning, this book is not for people with weak dispositions)

It's been a #1 new release since we launched a few weeks ago. I expect it will continue to sell really well into the future.


Because it's simple (it gets to the point), and the author (clearly) has a voice.

The best part about a book; it can be a genuine, passive income generator for you and your business.

I still receive sales of some of my books on my website that I haven't promoted or shared in…literally, years.

That's the power of books, of writing, and of becoming a published author.

Self-Publishing Pro Tips

If writing and publishing sounds like a lot of work, it doesn't have to be.

Today, you can find fantastic transcription software that makes audio dictation a real possibility (for those who hate sitting down to write). I use Rev.

Design and formatting used to be a pain. It's not anymore.

Now you can get professional cover design and professional formatting of your book (both digital and for print) for next to nothing, thanks to the amazing 100 Covers and FormattedBooks.

100 Covers and Formatted Books helped me put this bestseller together.

Bottom line: creating a professional looking book costs much less than it's ever cost, and it's much more lucrative than it's ever been.

If you are rearing to go, but don't know where to start, here's a completely free course on how to launch a book to bestseller (based on the strategies and techniques we used to launch bestsellers like: "The 7 Day Startup," "The Art of Work," and many others).

And of course, if you have any questions, book a 1 on 1 Lightning Session with me here and I can answer any and all your questions (like how to get a book produced for under $3k, or how to take advantage of Amazon SEO to create consistent sales every day, or how to turn one book into multiple streams of revenue, and much more).

Strategy #3. Host a Virtual Summit

A virtual summit is like an in person conference, but hosted online.

Even better than an in person conference, you have no barrier to entry (geographically, speaking - optimal in these times of social distancing), can grow your email list, and you can make a killing on the backend with proper upsells and downsells.

Virtual summits can be very profitable.

I've coached and/or strategized, organized, managed, and run more than a dozen 5 to 6-figure virtual summits.

The reason they work so well is because they require little overhead, they don't have to be complicated, and you can drive results relatively quickly by leveraging partnerships.

(side note: here's the best system in the world for finding, connecting, and leveraging influential people to market and promote your products for you, including virtual summits)

Virtual summits are one of the best ways to position yourself as an authority in your space, niche, or industry, while simultaneously growing your reach (and most importantly: email list), as well as being a great way to get started selling digital products online (because the product, in this case, basically builds itself).

I used a virtual summit to drum up new coaching and consulting clients.

I called it: $100k Launch School.

The premise of my virtual summit was that you can make a years worth of income in a single month with a good launch.

The reason I bring that up is that my virtual summit helped me not only grow my email list by over 5,000 subscribers (in less than 3 weeks time…something that took me 3 years to do the first time I did it), and make over $20k from ticket sales alone, it also allowed me to book myself solid with clients (virtual / exclusively online) for the last two years.

(hence why I haven't felt the need to run one since, but also why I'm such a big fan)

Crazy, but true.

Still not sure if a virtual summit is right for you?

Here's a short video to help you make up your mind if you SHOULD host a virtual summit

Lastly, if you are going to run one, remember: they aren't necessarily complicated, but there are a lot of moving pieces.

You can figure out the list of things you need to do very easily. Executing in a timeline manner to drive real results…well that takes a little bit more planning.

So if you're thinking, yeah, that's something I want to get into: here's an insanely comprehensive, step-by-step blog post on how to create, host, and launch a virtual summit from scratch.

And if you need more help, of course you can schedule a 1 on 1 call with me here.

Strategy #4. Create monthly recurring revenue with a premium membership site

A membership site is platform that has a private, members only area.  A "premium membership site" then is one where someone has to pay to get access. Simple.

The key here is paying members.

You can get on something like FB, YouTube, or IG right  now and start posting free content…but we want to monetize that content.

That's where the premium membership site comes in.

With a premium membership, you get paid to produce and upload content. Remember the yoga studio example I gave earlier? If you were to create your own, that might include daily yoga workout, maybe some weekly meditations or bonus posture clinics…maybe you bring in a guest instructor to interview that person, or include an online community element.

There are a thousand ways to create and run a membership site, hence why it's not my first recommendation…

…but because so many small businesses are built on a business model of selling time for money, typically in person, and often 1-to-1, or 1-to-many…well, a membership site can be a no brainer solution.

For more on running a membership site, listen to this in-depth interview with membership site expert Jen Lehner.

Strategy #5. Get yourself on and start selling advice by the minute is a website that connects experts with people with questions.

They have a very simple system that allows your clients to book calls with you. Your clients are charged by the minute.

That might sound strange, but it works out really well, in particular (for me at least) with initial consultation calls.

First and foremost, it helps me avoid tire-kickers. After all, if someone is serious about growing a 6 to 7-figure online business, they won't be turned off by a $5 / minute call. If you're not used to charging so much, start with something lower…but don't diminish your value!

Second, it's painless. You can hook up your own system with a hodgpodge of widgets, which I do have, and still use (mostly for blocks of consulting people can book via my Accelerator Coaching), but it's kinda nice to have a system that works well, and is simple.

So had to give it a shout out here. takes a few minutes to setup, and you can be sharing your page and book paid consulting calls in minutes flat.

BONUS "STRATEGY" #6. Offer your services as "Pay What You Want"

This isn't quite like the other strategies I've shared, per se. More like a "feel free to overlay this on top of any of the above" type of strategy (or "create your own riff on it and go" type of thing).

Listen, right now, we're in a "crisis" (or at least "crisis-lite").

The fear you've probably felt is that it may get worse.

Everyone is aware of that.

You don't need to aggravate it, but you can be honest about where you're at, what you're doing, and why you're making your services PAY WHAT YOU WANT…

Because if you can make a compelling case for:

All of a sudden, pay what you want pricing starts to not just work, but make a lot of financial sense.

There's really too much to cover with this one, so best if I direct you to my completely FREE Pay What You Want ecourse:

Here's a completely free course on how to sell your goods and services using Pay What You Want Pricing.

Wrapping it All Up

And that wraps up 5 ways you can start making a predictable profit online in the next 21 days (with a bonus 6th strategy, because I couldn't help could implement PWYW pricing so easily right now, if you mean what you say and know what you're look into it!).

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on things I missed but that are legit ways to make predictable income online, share below. Let's use this a space to share and support one another (you can even plug your own stuff, just don't be grabbler).

Stay frosty.

Tom "social distancing since before it was cool" Morkes

p.s. if you liked this blog post, you'll love my book "The Art of Instigating" - the paperback costs less than a meal out that you can't have right now anyway. Click here to pick up your copy (and one for a friend) today!

Started, finished, and shipped on a mountain homestead, deep in the heart of the Rockies | Writing time: 12 hours | Soundtrack: silence (a trend!)

Whatever "social media" was intended to be, in the last few years it seems to have begun an inexorable decline into what it always had to become:

A 24/7, always-on, personalized fear machine.

All you have to do is look into the "black mirror" in your pocket, and you'll see what I mean.

How many scrolls, swipes, or taps does it take to find your first piece of bad news?

While writing this, I decided to run my own experiment.

I started by opening up a new browser (Firefox).

On the homepage, I'm greeted with Firefox's standard homepage settings: a search bar, as well as a list of articles they state are "Recommended by Pocket."

Pocket is a robot.

Here's what Pocket is recommending today:

  1. A disease you've never heard of that killed someone you didn't know in a part of a world you've never been to nor have plans to go (and, I kid you not, part of the headline is: "how worried should we be")
  2. An innocent grandmother gets scammed
  3. Something or other (that you probably have to register or pay for) to tell you if "your home is doomed"
  4. A sponsored ad to play a new game "Free!"

Sorry Pocket, but after browsing your recommended reading list for the last minute, I think I'm going to need a cold shower, not a free fake farm so I can ignore my real farm.

And if you're thinking "but Tom, that's curated based on what you read. You're the culprit!"

…I opened the browser with a cleared cache, VPN'd, not connected to Pocket.

If I had been connected (signed in and synced up), and if I were playing the game they wanted me to play (engaging with their content; clicking, sharing, liking, whatever), the fear bait would only get more personalized.

But here's the thing:

Even if the fear gets more personalized, it doesn't get any more real.

I'm not saying the crazy rare disease didn't strike; or that the grandmother is just a narrative hook to generate more interest; or that some homes may, in fact, be doomed…

These things might be factual…

…but even if they are, they have no impact in or on your life beyond what you allow.

As in, you have to CONSENT to letting this information into your head, and you have to CONSENT to letting it affect your aim, your attitude, your work, or your life.

But if you don't give consent…if you ignore, delete, simply opt out…all of it vanishes, as if it never existed in the first place.

On the side mirrors of my car there's text that reads:

"Objects in mirror are closer than they appear."

The purpose is to help you avoid a deadly accident by reminding you that what you see…isn't exactly what you're seeing…and to adjust your behavior accordingly.

I think every device with a screen that can access the internet should have its own label:

"Objects on screen are not real and are intentionally designed to spike your cortisol levels."

Don't get caught in the fear trap. It's not real.

What's real is right in front of you; your friends, family, and loved ones, the people you serve, and the meaningful work you do, day in and day out.

Now that you know this, how will you show up?

Stay frosty,

Tom "thoughts" Morkes

p.s. this was originally going to be 3 reasons you should be excited for 2020, with reason #1 being that life is a lot better than it looks online…but I realize I gotta establish some foundational things before I move forward.

My interest this year is in taking an ecological approach to marketing and sales, and I'll be using this newsletter to put out new ideas to better codify my thinking. 

Who knows, it might turn into my next book. Your feedback, questions, and insights are appreciated!!

p.p.s. Recently, several people have asked me to help them launch products / set up affiliate marketing campaigns / create and implement referral programs for their brands, etc. Straight up - I don't do project bids. I also don't do 'initial consult' calls. If you want my help, you can book an Accelerator Coaching time block or Lightning Session right here. 

Started, finished, and shipped from high up in the Rockies | Writing time: 5 hrs | Soundtrack: silence

In this blog post and corresponding video, you will learn how to grow your reach and increase your profit by selling books directly to your readers, fans, and followers via Facebook Messenger.

How to Use Facebook Messenger to Increase Book Sales (and sales of your ecourses and other infoproducts)

I sit down with Ciprian Soleriu, founder of, to explore the utility of Facebook Messenger as a marketing and sales channel for authors and content creators. Ciprian and I break it down for you step by step, including:

  1. The financial and business risks of using Amazon exclusively to sell your books (and why Amazon is becoming a pay-to-play platform)
  2. The truth about "distribution" (what you need to know)
  3. Why you should you sell directly to your audience (as an author or indie creator) instead of Amazon
  4. The benefits of FB messenger bot (from both a sales and support perspective)
  5. How to setup your FB messenger bot to generate new signups and sales
  6. How to grow your audience using Facebook Messenger and how to put it on autopilot (real in, set once and forget)

We also discuss specific ways to organize your Facebook Messenger bot sequences and ways of structuring your Facebook Messenger bot messages via Manychat.

Your Turn

Is Facebook Messenger for you? Thinking about trying it out? Share your thoughts, questions, and comments below.

(If you're interested in seeing my complete Manychat Facebook Messenger bot sequence for new readers / visitors, leave a comment below. If I get enough interest I'll do a follow up video about how it's worked out for us.)

"The True Believer" is a book about mass movements that also happens to be a very useful blueprint for your marketing.

Written by Eric Hoffer and originally published in 1951, "The True Believer" makes a convincing case for the existence of "mass movements" - what they are, how they work, how they form, and their destructive capability, etc.

I can't speak to its applicability in a political capacity, but viewed through a behavioral psychology lens - e.g. why people do what they do - this book provides some useful insights into effective marketing. Specifically:

  1. What drives desire? Can it be manipulated?
  2. Why do people follow others? What creates trust and builds loyalty? Can it be influenced?
  3. How does the act of consumption spread? Is there a virality to consumer behavior? Can it be engineered?

From this lens, "The True Believer" is a useful handbook for the modern marketer to better understand what motivates people to take action.

Below, I have extracted what I consider the most compelling marketing ideas from "The True Believer," and how you can apply these insights to your own marketing and sales efforts.

Obviously, my ideas are my own and not necessarily what the author intended. With that disclaimer out of the way, enjoy:

The True Believer: 7 Marketing Lessons to Increase Your Reach, Revenue, and Impact

For even more insights into The True Believe and how it can improve your marketing, watch my video breakdown, where I analyze each marketing lesson in-depth:

And if you're more of a reader, here's a brief overview of the 7 marketing lessons from "The True Believer."

Obviously, the video goes way more in depth, but this should give you a good overview if you're in a hurry.

(sidenote: please leave a comment and share this article...I know, a strange interruption to the flow...but seriously, would love to hear from you, and sharing makes the world a better place. Thanks in advance!)

#1. Market to the Frustrated

"There is in us a tendency to locate the shaping forces of our existence outside ourselves. Success and failure are unavoidably related in our minds with the state of things around us. Hence it is that people with a sense of fulfillment think it a good world and would like to conserve it as it is, while the frustrated favor radical change.”

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer (Perennial Classics) (p. 6). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition

If you're marketing to people who are content, to people who like the world as it is and want to keep it the same, you're fighting a losing battle.

That's because a marketers role is not to change minds, but to influence the buying decision by creating and relieving tension (see Tip #4. "Demonstrate Irresistible Power" for more on this).

Your customers, and those who are about to buy from you, are frustrated.

They are seeking change and your promise of a solution is worth their investment.

They buy from you because you're helping them go from frustrated to content, and not the other way around.

But the only way this works is if you start from the right place:

Market to the frustrated, because they are the ones ready and willing to make a change (by buying your product, investing in your solution, etc).

#2. Aggravate One Pain

"Our frustration is greater when we have much and want more than when we have nothing and want some. We are less dissatisfied when we lack many things than when we seem to lack but one thing."

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer (Perennial Classics) (pp. 29-30). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition

"The Invisible Gorilla" is a study (and book by the same name) on visual perception.

You may have heard of this study because it did make the rounds on the internets at one point, but in summary:

A group of people were asked to watch this video and count how many times the basketball was passed between the passers in white shirts:

The majority of people undergoing this experiment counted the correct number of passes.

Only half saw the gorilla.

This is an experiment about "selective attention."

The gist of it is this: if you focus on something, you may miss information in the periphery.

But when you play it through, it becomes much more significant than this:

We humans can only see the things we're looking for. The rest is invisible to us.

There are a million problems we need solved.

A million jobs we need done, things to change or improve for the better.

But humans act hierarchically.

When you're dehydrated and dying of thirst, water is all you care about. Anything that is not water (or leading you to water) is either not seen or processed and quickly discarded. Water, therefore, is all you see.

But as we meet our basic hierarchy of needs (food, water, shelter)…then what?

What is the most pressing, most urgent problem your customer has right now?

There might be 100 problems...what takes priority number 1?

Focus on this.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, effective marketing requires amplifying the single, most aggravating pain of the customer, rather than trying to inflame all their various problems (because your customers literally can't see those problems until they've taken care of that which is most pressing).

#3. Cultivate Extravagant Hope

"Where power is not joined with faith in the future, it is used mainly to ward off the new and preserve the status quo. On the other hand, extravagant hope, even when not backed by actual power, is likely to generate a most reckless daring…Those who would transform a nation or the world cannot do so by breeding and captaining discontent or by demonstrating the reasonableness and desirability of the intended changes or by coercing people into a new way of life. They must know how to kindle and fan an extravagant hope."

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer (Perennial Classics) (p. 9). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition


Certainty of a better future.

This is what gets people to move, to engage, and to make difficult changes.

Are you painting the picture of the better future, the BEST future, for your clients and customers?

Are you kindling and fanning a sense of extravagant hope for the future? Not only that your customers and clients CAN have what they want, but that they WILL have what they want?

Not just "maybe," but with certainty?

Here's the thing:

People will only believe you if you believe in yourself, if you're confident in the value you bring, and if you're certain of the results that will be achieved when someone invests in your solution.

So the first challenge is internal: do you believe in what you do?

Once you get to "yes" the next step is simple: tell the truth about what you do and why you do it.

No need to embellish or hyperbolize; just call it like you see it. Your passion and certainty will naturally seep into your message, which in turn will attract the right customers to you.

#4. Demonstrate Irresistible Power

"For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power."

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer (Perennial Classics) (p. 11). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition

Seth Godin in "This is Marketing" says that marketers create and relieve tension.

They do this by contrasting what is with what could be. Once this tension is created, the only way to relieve it is by bridging the gap between the two points, which is exactly what your solution should do.

Here's how to create tension:

Step 1. Transcribe the potentially negative future into the present, with words and ideas that your readers, customers, and clients believe and understand.

Step 2. Tell the story of what COULD be, if a change were made…a specific obvious change...a change that needs to be made now.

Step 3. Provide the painless path forward to bridge the gap, which should be by investing in your solution (aka: buy this and the best possible future is yours).

The most effective way to get from step 2 to step 3 is by demonstrating that you (and only you) possess the solution to their problems.

Or, as Hoffer puts it, that you have some "irresistible power" that only your customers can tap into.

To figure out your irresistible power, ask yourself:

#5. Define a Common Enemy

"Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealousies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass."

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer (Perennial Classics) (p. 91). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition

Okay, so a little on the extreme side, but there is a lesson here:

Hate - extreme dislike or distaste - is a powerful motivator.

By establishing a common enemy, you can unite your customers, fans, and followers.

The quintessential marketing example of this is the Mac vs. PC ads of the early 2000's.

For reference, here's every single ad Apple ran in that series:

As you can see, identifying a common enemy doesn't require you to be angry or aggressive. It can be fun and lighthearted, while still allowing you to draw a line in the sand to unify your base (or tribe, or peeps, or gang, or whatever you want to call it).

And this is the primary benefit of creating a common enemy:

It helps people connect with others who are like them because they both "get it," which in turn builds community and brand loyalty.

And that is a very powerful, unifying force.

#6. Keep 'em Active

"Imitation is often a shortcut to a solution. We copy when we lack the inclination, the ability or the time to work out an independent solution. People in a hurry will imitate more readily than people at leisure. Hustling thus tends to produce uniformity. And in the deliberate fusing of individuals into a compact group, incessant action will play a considerable role."

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer (Perennial Classics) (p. 103). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition

Couple thoughts on this one:

First, people imitate others because we're designed that way. While the author writes this with seeming disdain, there's nothing wrong with imitation itself. It is, in fact, how humans learn.

That's especially true if you're a coach, consultant, author, or educator - anyone packaging and selling information.

The most transformational programs often have some degree of modeling or imitation built in. That's because we learn by doing, and when you are doing something different from what you've done before, it helps to have a reference point (or even better: a guide who can show you the way).

Second thought:

If you're trying to grow a community or catalyze a group into action, get them to take small action, consistently.

These could be actions for them to take to implement your solution (e.g. post your homework to lesson 1 in the forum), or they could be actions to help spread the word to others (whether it's sharing an article, writing a review, referring a new potential customer or client, etc.).

Keeping your students, customers, clients, fans, or followers engaged with meaningful activity that moves them toward their goals is an effective way to build comradery and group cohesion.

#7. Sell What They Believe

"The truth seems to be that propaganda on its own cannot force its way into unwilling minds; neither can it inculcate something wholly new; nor can it keep people persuaded once they have ceased to believe. It penetrates only into minds already open, and rather than instill opinion it articulates and justifies opinions already present in the minds of its recipients. The gifted propagandist brings to a boil ideas and passions already simmering in the minds of his hearers. He echoes their innermost feelings. Where opinion is not coerced, people can be made to believe only in what they already 'know.'"

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer (Perennial Classics) (p. 105). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition

Propaganda reference aside, the truth is that the most persuasive marketing is that which supports and reinforces beliefs, not that which seeks to destroy and overwrite them.

The effective marketer focuses on the person who already knows he has a problem, because if he knows he has a problem, then he'll have a reason "why."

And you can use this "why" to amplify and relieve tension (see Tip #2. "Aggravate One Pain" above for more on this).

I call this marketing to people who get the joke.

When you market to people who get the joke, you don't have to waste time trying to make a case for why someone should listen to you.

They're already listening.

These are the people who will understand the pain you're describing, which builds trust (you're speaking their language).

And they're the people who are most likely to act because they understand their situation and they know it can be improved. This increases the likelihood of a purchase, because its much simpler to reinforce an existing belief and then lead into your offer, then it is to convince someone that what they believe is wrong (then, somehow, get them to buy your solution).

Finally, marketing to people who get the joke makes it much easier to write sales copy, to effectively showcase features and their benefits, and to introduce case studies and testimonials in a meaningful way.

And all of this taken together means more sales.


So those are my 7 marketing insights gleaned from "The True Believer."

Which marketing lesson was most surprising or useful to you? Share below!

If entrepreneurship is the process by which value is created where less (or none) existed before, then the entrepreneur is the person who initiates and leads this value-creation process.

Here's how it works:

When new value is created, the customer receives some portion of this value. It could be faster speeds. More storage. An improved or refined UI/UX. You get the point.

At the same time, the entrepreneur typically captures a small piece of this newly created value. This is called profit.

This profit allows the operation to support itself while it continues to grow (so it can continue to provide more value to more people).

The entrepreneur as extractor

What this boils down to is this:

Entrepreneurship is an extraction process.

For instance, the extraction of physical commodities like oil and natural gas, or the cultivation and extraction of food, water, and shelter. These things, once extracted, can then be distributed to people who need or want them.

Most people think of these sorts of activities when they contemplate entrepreneurship because these are obvious areas where entrepreneurs can make a positive impact.

However, if you stop here, you miss the full scope and power of the "entrepreneurial approach."

The extraction process also applies to non-tangibles, such as information. Because systems and processes are critical for growth, the success of any venture depends on the person who can extract and implement the best ideas.

Everyone is (or can be) an Entrepreneur

Here's why this is important:

It means you don't have to be a founder or CEO to be an entrepreneur. Thinking otherwise is a short-sighted, and self-defeating worldview (which is as true for the employee as it is for the employer).

Everyone, from the newest higher to the 20 year veteran, can think and act like an entrepreneur for his company, team, or project. These are the type of people you might call linchpins.

Cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset, then, is a critical task for all organizations, big and small.

And that's exactly why GE invited me to their premiere leadership event of the year to help teach their most promising executives and managers how to cultivate entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset in their employees.

We did this by assembling a panel of proven entrepreneurs who have succeeded across a wide range of domains and industries. I then extracted their best insights on business, marketing, creativity, and leadership during a live panel interview.

The full training is below.

The Entrepreneur Mindset Panel: How to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset in leaders, managers, and employees

Entrepreneur Mindset Panelist #1. Megan Reamer, co-founder of Jackson's Honest

Megan Reamer is the co-founder and CEO of Jackson's Honest, a healthy foods company. Jackson's Honest makes potato chips, tortilla chips and grain free puffs all cooked in organic coconut oil.

Megan and her husband Scott started Jackson's Honest as a way to share their son Jackson's story and the delicious snack foods they made for him.

They've since had their products featured on the the shelves of Whole Foods all around the country and have impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe.

Entrepreneur Mindset Panelist #2. Patrick Vlaskovits, 2x NYT bestselling author and founder of Superpowered Inc.

Patrick Vlaskovits is an entrepreneur and 2 time New York Times bestselling author. His writing has been featured in the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal, and he speaks at technology conferences worldwide.

Patrick is founder and CEO of Superpowered Inc, a TechStars funded startup that is the leading interactive audio development platform for desktop, mobile, IoT and embedded devices.

Entrepreneur Mindset Panelist #3. Bret Boyd, CEO of Knoema, and author of "Catalyst: Leadership and Strategy in a Changing World."

Bret Boyd is the CEO of Knoema, a software platform for data access and discovery. At Knoema, Bret and his team build tools to help public and private-sector organizations make better decisions with data.

Bret began his career as an infantry officer in the US Army. Bret has published numerous articles on technology, strategy, and change management and is the coauthor of "Catalyst: Leadership and Strategy in a Changing World."

What we cover in this training:

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I'm building a new closet in our house:

It doesn't look like much, but it's coming together, believe me.

When I started, I didn't really know what tools I needed to get the job done; I just used what I had (the hands of a man, the heart of a lion).

It wasn't until I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together that I realized I needed something better than sand paper to remove entire lengths of board to get them to fit together.

So I searched online to see if someone else had my woes...after several searches, it turned out there are tools out there that can help with getting wood lined up correctly in seconds (instead of in hours, by hand).

So I bought this thing called a planer and it ended up being a win-win:

The company that makes the planer wins (they got the sale), and I win (this tool will help me do a job better, faster, etc.)

But here's the thing:

If you had asked me a week ago if I needed a planer, I would have said no. In fact, I'd have no idea what you were even talking about.

If you tried to make the case that I will need this thing at some point down the line, it wouldn't work. I would have ignored you until I came to the point where I recognized the need for myself.

Once I understood my own need (aka: I got the joke), then I could properly process what sort of offer was in front of me. No marketing attempt made before I got the joke would have worked.

So you want to get more sales? And you want more people buying from you?

Learn to market and sell only to people who get the joke.

I'll show you how to think about marketing so you get more customers buying now, instead of later, in this video:

(p.s. subscribe to my youtube channel here)

What we cover in this video:

Things I mention in the video:

Leave a Comment

What are you selling and to whom?  What’s the joke that they get that others don’t?(i.e. the reason people buy from you, and not someone else)

Share below!

Did you know that half of all internet traffic is fake?

True story:

According to research conducted and compiled by HostingFacts, 51.8% of all internet traffic comes from bots.

In other words, every other person who visits your blog, lead magnet, or sales page is very likely a bot (and totally fake).

Have you ever wondered why you get such dismal results from activities like posting on social media? 

Because fake people don't buy things.

So here's a better strategy:

Target REAL PEOPLE who have actually BOUGHT REAL THINGS before, and then get your offer (book, product, course, software, whatever) in front of them.

I'll show you how in this mind-melting new training video:

(p.s. subscribe to my youtube channel here)

What we cover in this video:

Things I mention in the video:


This is part 2 of my series on the long tail. Click here to watch part 1:

"The Long Tail: the secret to making a profit from digital products over the next decade"

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What’s your topic / niche / subject? Where can you "slide in"?

Share below!

Roland Frasier is co-founder and principal of three current Inc. Magazine fastest growing companies. He has founded, scaled or sold 24 different 7 to 9 figure businesses ranging from consumer products to industrial machine manufacturing companies with adjusted sales ranging from $3 million to $337 million. He is currently growing DigitalMarketer, RivalBrands, and Plattr while advising over 150 other companies on digitally-centric customer acquisition, activation, referral, retention, and revenue strategies and plan implementation.

I brought Roland onto the show today to talk about strategy and thought process; specifically, how he thinks about business and the problem he's had to solve, at various levels of resolution. My big takeaway from this call is that each of us probably has all the information, facts, and "data" we need to make big things happen. We just have to get out there and get our hands dirty. Stop searching for the latest "hack" and instead implement (and really get after it when you do). 

In this broadcast, Roland and I talk about:

How to Connect with Roland:

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The way we market and sell online is changing.

There are more people online than ever before, spending more money than ever before on things that give them a leg up in the world. That means more money going to ebooks, ecourses, and other forms of online education; coaching, consulting, and advisory services; software solutions, and high quality implementors (engineers, designers, etc.).

This growth comes with a price: more noise (aka competing offers other than your own that are targeting the same market).

And things are only going to heat up over the next 3 to 5 years.

Question is:

Are you positioning yourself and your business in such a way that you can profit from these changes over the next decade?

Not sure? No sweat.

I explain how it all works in this video:

(p.s. did you know you can subscribe to my youtube channel here?)

In this video, I'll show you how to make a profit from digital products during these changin' times.

Things I cover:

Things I mention in the video:

Additional resources and references:


What’s your “niche” or long tail space / area / topic? Have you considered going deeper / more narrow? Why or why not?