I just had an idea. I don’t know if it’s a good one. But I’m going to pursue it anyway. It involves one of my passions and one of my natural human traits. Writing and curiosity, in that order. I can’t say anymore than that right now.

what’s better? to sell your product or service or sell the reason for buying the type of product or service you offer?

If you focus on the reason for buying the type of product or service you offer then you focus on the markets’ challenges, wants, frustrations, desires. Something that doesn’t change regardless of the product or service offered.

I once worked for a man who understood entrepreneurship.

This guy was a genius.

He took a company that was doing about $3,000 a month in sales to over $12 million a month.

And he did it using some basic principles anybody can apply.

1. Sell a product that addresses a universal desire.

2. Advertise widely using every media available.

3. Test and tweak your advertising message until you find one that strikes the loudest chord with your target market.

4. Create a sales driven company and invest heavily in improving sales skills.

5. Keep a minimal staff, hire people on commission or on performance.

6. Turn a percentage of sales back into even more advertising until everybody who can buy knows about you.

Everyone’s passionate about something. Some people are passionately opposed to being passionate.

But hardly anyone knows how to turn their passion into a driving force that helps effortlessly build their career or relationships or whatever.

Now, I’m no Oprah Winfrey, but I know how to recognize passion when it stirs within me.

And when it does, I take note. I evaluate what I’m doing at the time.

And I compare my experience with previous times when I felt passionate.

A bit like jotting down mental notes in my imaginary life journal.

And guess what? The more I take note, the more I notice a pattern emerge.

Here’s what I’ve found:

Focusing on my career, I feel most passionate when I’m discovering, sharing and contributing new ideas.

So to experience more passion in my work, and to use it to drive my career, all I have to do is focus my work time on discovering, sharing and contributing useful ideas.

Which, when you think about it, gives me a lot of options for building and expanding my business.

What about you, when do you feel most passionate in your career? Or any other area of your life for that matter?

Social Pressure 2.0

May 6, 2010

You’re familiar with social proof, right?

It’s that “thing” that sometimes makes you do things because other people are doing it even though you wouldn’t normally do it.

Like the time you where sitting in the seminar thinking you probably won’t buy the speaker’s product even though it looks kinda cool. Suddenly, he shows you how 20 people just like you where skeptical but decided to get it anyway and now they are getting the results you want.

Next thing you know, he drops the price and tells you to rush to the back of the room where you can buy the product. You see all the other people jump up so you decide perhaps you should too. After all, what have you got to lose, he offers a money back guarantee after all.

So that’s social proof.

But what is social pressure?

Social pressure happens when the ipad is released and everyone runs to the imac store because if you don’t own an ipad you aren’t going to be cool!

Cigarette companies leveraged this powerful weapon of human influence to sell cigarettes, and they still do. I mean, sure, you might die of lung cancer but hey, that’s not as bad as being uncool, is it?

Beware of social pressure.

And be careful how you use it.

I got back early from the skate park this morning – about 45 minutes before my wife arrived home – and so … I was locked out of the house. Silly, I know, I really should get another key cut. But anyway.

There I was, sitting on the floor of the garage … when … I … was … suddenly overcome with the — perhaps obvious — thought that I was wasting my precious time.

Here’s what I did. I jumped up off my butt, grabbed my bike, and started riding around in circles in the driveway. I must have done about 100 circles and a dozen or so figure eights.

What does all this have to do with anything?

Here’s what: While I was riding I noticed I had moved from a feeling that I was wasting my time … to … a feeling that I was somehow occupied in a cool activity.

All this got me thinking. How often do we find ourselves in a stuck state or situation because we don’t get off our butt and take some action in a new direction that could lead to better results?

I remember hearing about a hotel that was having a lift installed. The owners where worried. They thought (and rightly so) that they would loose patrons because they had to close the hotel to allow the work to progress. Problem was, they could see no way around it. So they focused their energy and attention on trying to figure out how to minimize the time the hotel would be closed.

There was a janitor on the building. Upon hearing the hotel would close he also became concerned. “What if they lost patrons once the hotel opened up again? What if the owners need to make cut backs and I loose my job?” he thought.

Then he came up with a solution. He began to focus on the purpose or reason for the lift. The lift’s job was to safely transport people from one floor of the hotel to another.

He thought some more. “Does the lift really have to be on the inside of the building, where it will require extensive internal work and cause the hotel to close for a few weeks while the work goes ahead?”

“No”, he thought. “We could transport people from one floor to the next with the lift on the outside of the building just as easily as we could with the lift on the inside of the building!”

He told this to the owners of the lift building company … and to the owners of the hotel.

It would serve everyone’s purpose. The lift company would get to install their lift. The hotel owners could keep their hotel opened. The regular patrons wouldn’t have to find a new hotel for the duration of the lift work. And the janitor would keep his job.

And so … the first external lift was born.

All because one man (the janitor) redefined the problem and … as a result … came up with a better solution.

How many problems do you have? Are you seeing the real problem? How can you redefine the problems in your life and perhaps come up with better solutions?

Author Info: Michael Low is a professional copywriter specializing in Internet sales letters, traffic generation, website conversion and email marketing campaigns. He’s also the author of the popular ebook “How to Write Articles People Want to Read” which he now gives away free to readers of this blog.



I don’t know if you’ve read much from Kurt Vonnegut, the American novelist who wrote works blending satire, black comedy, and science fiction, such as Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Cat’s Cradle (1963), and Breakfast of Champions (1973).

But I’ve been reading Bagombo Snuff Box, a book of “uncollected short fiction”. It’s fascinating. And although it’s a work of fiction, Vonnegut’s writing holds many keys to excellent non-fiction writing – especially keys to style and structure that engage readers.

Engagement  is missing from many of the articles and blog posts you read on the web.

The reason is obvious. Most content gets published without having to pass muster with professional editors.

It simply falls from the mind of the writer to a tool like wordpress or typepad and, in a flash, it hits the web.

Of course, that’s one of the attractions of the web. It makes getting published easy.

But there’s still an argument for good prose. The riveting articles and stories that grasp your reader’s attention and holds it all the way from title to tail like Kurt’s does.

Studying the words of authors like Kurt Vonnegut will help you write that way too.

Ubiquitous is as word I keep coming across. One of the writers at the New York Times uses it so frequently it astonishes me.

Actually, I didn’t know what the word meant until today. My mother would be disappointed, she scolded me if I didn’t look a word up in the dictionary that I didn’t understand as soon I came across it.

I didn’t do this with the word ubiquitous. Instead I just figured it’s probably a big word that could easily be replaced with a better (read: shorter) one that actually builds a picture in the mind’s eye my brain can latch onto. Turns out I was right.

Anyway, after coming across the word here (at a mighty fine blog, I must say) for the 6th time in half as many days (that’s 6 times in 3 days for those of you who don’t like doing the math) I decided I should probably look the word up in the dictionary.

I looked here, and found the word means “widespread”. How funny, I thought.¬† I’ve been seeing this word everywhere, that’s how ubiquitous it is! And the word itself means widespread! Hahaha! I chuckled to myself.

So now I know the definition. But It’s not a word I’ll use myself. A) it’s too commonly used and B) it’s too easily misunderstood. Besides, as I said before, it doesn’t create a picture in the readers gray cells.¬† So, as widespread and widely used as it may appear, it’s not a word for me.

google_duplicate_content_mythHas Google struck again? Is the duplicate content myth alive and well?

This blog used to be the home of my simple web writing blog but I moved the content to a new site on a hosted domain. I did this because I wanted a hosted domain. I wish I had’ve hosted earlier. The reason is that my new site, although live for a week now, does not yet show in Google search engines.

Now, you might say 1 week isn’t long. But the fact is, this site was showing in the Google search engines within 2 days of going live.

Would my hosted site have gone live just as quick if it wasn’t initiated with duplicate content from this site?

I honestly don’t know.

All I know is, this site ranked quickly — in the first week — while my new fully hosted site doesn’t show unless I type the URL directly into the search box.

But if I take a selection of an article I exported to the new blog and copy that into the google search bar, this site shows up and not the new site, even though the article is no longer active on this site.

I assume it’s got something to do with indexing the source of the first sighting of the document first. It makes sense to do it that way as it’s more likely the first sighting is the original source.

Whatever. Just an interesting piece of trivia. It doesn’t really matter to me since I’m going to be posting a ton of new content on the hosted site anyway so I’m sure I’ll get indexed soon enough.

And since all the content will be unique, I won’t have to worry about whether duplicate content penalties from google are a myth or not.