Be Yourself or Get Off The Pot

So, if I said that I read a book a week I’d be lying. I actually read more like 3-5 books a week. Lately, I’ve immersed myself in sales, advertising, copywriting, and marketing. They’re interrelated fields and the pieces are really starting to come together for me like a coherent wad of gum, ready to stick to my next copywriting project and make it bounce.

Today’s post isn’t going to be about gum, though.

Today, I want to talk about being authentic and how that translates into confidence and thus success.

Let’s break that down again: Authenticity => Confidence => Success.

See, I’ve immersed myself in the works of Grant Cardone lately. If you haven’t read his stuff, you’re really, really missing out. Cardone tends to repeat himself a lot, and so if you read all of his stuff you’ll hear the same gems over and over. But his gems are good and worth repeating, so there’s that.

In one book I’m listening to (it’s worth buying the audio copy for the extra rants he goes on), Sell or Be Sold, Cardone talks about being authentic and how it impacts your ability to sell. He calls it “being sold”. That is, you have to “be sold” on everything in your life in order to sell others. You have to be sold on the product you’re selling, on how you’re doing it, and on why you’re doing it. If you don’t believe in the product, you can’t sell it well. If you wouldn’t buy it yourself, you can’t possibly sell it.

That principle is very, very powerful when you’re trying to sell yourself. All of the times I’ve failed in selling myself have been times where I didn’t believe in myself.

Let’s make it personal:

I’ve tried a lot of careers in my decade of work. (I list a few on them in a LinkedIn post I wrote.) It’s not that I wasn’t committed to them, per se. It’s just that they were off somehow. I wasn’t sold on the idea of them being my career. And neither was anyone else, of course. I’d spend six to nine months trying out the career. I’d read everything about the topic and attempted to “sell” myself and others on the idea. And strangely, no one responded. Why? Because somehow, they could send I wasn’t sold. There was some incongruency and they didn’t feel it. And their feedback caused me to reexamine what I was doing, which allowed me to move a little bit closer to what I truly should have been doing with my career.

Authenticity rules.

We all possess a unique viewpoint and a unique experience. Even if you’re a copywriter or a marketing consultant or an IT consultant like I am, you won’t do the job like I do. And I definitely won’t do it like you do. And that’s a good thing. It means that we all have something unique to offer the world. If you are in any way tapped into who you are as a person (and most people are, even a little bit), then there is no fear that you have nothing to offer.

You are not a commodity. Stop accepting commodity treatment.

A commodity is something that is indistinguishable from any other. Like corn, or steel, or wood. You are not a commodity. You are a unique, valuable person that has a unique service to offer the world.

And until you embrace this, you likely won’t achieve success at the levels you truly deserve.


Be authentic already. Be YOU. No one gives a crap anyway, so why please the people who don’t care? You have a difference to make. Embrace your YOU-NESS already, whatever it is.

When you’re able to be authentic, you are able to be sold on yourself. When you’re sold on yourself, you will be more confident. Your pitch will sound genuine because it is genuine. You’ll mean it when you say that you can do the job. You’ll go from asking someone for the role to presenting yourself confidently as the solution. And you’ll mean it, and they’ll see it. Or they won’t, in which case it wasn’t a good fit anyway. You’ll go from desperation to confidence, from confidence to success.

Ladies, especially:  it’s not being a bitch to say you deserve steak instead of meat-flavored tofu.

You are not a commodity. Repeat it to yourself. Ink it on your body. Write it on your wall.

Say it: I am not a commodity. I will not accept commodity treatment. I will not deliver commodity-level results. I am unique. I am valuable. And I make a difference in the lives of others.

Ta ta for now,



Some of Grant’s books*:

The 10X Rule

Sell or Be Sold

If You’re Not First, You’re Last


* This post contains Amazon affiliate links. The content contained herein, however, is FREE. :)

Tagged , , , ,

What Helpdesk Work Taught me about Copywriting

I used to work in a helpdesk. It was my first IT job, actually.

I started working in IT in 2012 because I couldn’t find any other job, even in retail settings. I don’t blame the employers that passed me over. Most companies don’t want someone working in an entry level gig that is too smart for the role. So instead of hiring someone who needed work (like this mom of four), they just… passed me over. Which was probably great for whoever else wanted to work. For my bill collectors it was a nightmare.

So, I did what I do best: researched. I looked up potential jobs I could do that would actually let me make a living. For some reason I didn’t think that writing would do it (ha ha… irony!), so I looked at others. I TRIED others:

  • nursing (RN school)
  • automotive technology (don’t get me started on THAT venture)
  • IT

Of the three, technology worked out the best for me. I’ve used a computer since I was 5 years old. The leap from computer user to computer technician wasn’t a big one. Fortunately, getting into a call center helpdesk was as easy as walking into an interview and showcasing adequate communication and troubleshooting skills.

Now, I LOVED helpdesk work. Many people in IT don’t. And why should they? It involves high workloads for low pay. For me, it gave me a crash course in the psychology of people.

See, people call into the helpdesk for several reasons:

  1. They have a problem but they don’t think the helpdesk can solve it (Angry)
  2. They have a problem and they know the helpdesk can solve it (Unhappy)
  3. They have a request for hardware, software, or access (Neutral)

Dealing with each of these customers required a pretty varied approach. It wasn’t wise to handle the calls in the same way, because that’d be both ineffective and inefficient. So you do different things to survive.

Let’s imagine that you are a helpdesk analyst. How would you handle each type of caller? 

For the first type of caller, the best course is to encourage trust. They’re calling because they have a need. But they don’t think you can solve the need. So they’re going to be angry, contradictory, and rude. They may lie to you, withhold information, or give you bad reviews despite good service. They may not want to believe that you can actually solve their problem, because then they’d have to admit that they’re wrong. They DO want to solve the problem, though… so your job is to convince them that you are not only CAPABLE of it, but that you are JUST AS INVESTED IN SOLVING THEIR PROBLEM AS THEY ARE. You have to get to this point before you can get to the root of their problem.

For the second type of caller, your goal is to get to the problem solving quickly. They already trust you, so you don’t need to establish that you’re capable. You should probably reaffirm that you’re invested in solving their problem, but that’s as far as you need to go. Jump right into identifying the root cause of their problem so you can then solve it.

For the third type, it’ll be about the same as the second, except you don’t need to troubleshoot. They know what they need and they know the solution. Just provide it, be courteous, and move on. Easy peasy.

Now let’s go one step further.

When you’re talking with one of these “callers”, you’ll realize very quickly that the two of you are on opposite ends of the IT spectrum. Most of the time, those calling into a helpdesk (at least, type #1 and #2) aren’t technical. They’re calling because they need the help. Those who can do don’t ask someone to walk them through it.

So, you sit on one end with your complete knowledge base and technical knowledge. Your caller sits on the other hand with no knowledge base, negligible technical knowledge.

Then comes the problem.

How does a non-technical person describe a network outage? Are they going to use the words “network outage”? Or might they simply say, “I can’t get to the internet?” They may tell you that the software they installed last week has something to do with it. It doesn’t…and YOU know that… but your caller doesn’t.

Your job is to translate what THEY SAY into TECHNICAL terms. You’re a translator. You both want the same thing (SOLUTION), but getting there is the issue.

You have to:

  1. Understand the client’s PROBLEM as it truly is, not as they say
  2. Convince the client that they have PROBLEM X and not PROBLEM Y
  3. Explain PROBLEM Y to them in terms they understand
  4. Figure out which SOLUTION works for PROBLEM Y (don’t waste your time or theirs)
  5. Sell SOLUTION to client
  6. Implement SOLUTION

Now, let’s say that I wanted to test a network outage for the client. If I know that they’re really, really non-technical, I’d say something like: “What happens when you click on the Big Blue E?” I might ask them to click on a button in the “lower right corner” of their screen that “looks like a computer” and read to me what they see. What I really wanted them to do was check their network connectivity by going to a web page or by checking available network connections. But I didn’t want to overwhelm them and cause them to lose faith. I wanted to be on their level so I could solve their problems using their words. It’s easier that way, it promoted more trust, and it got me results.

This is no different than in copywriting, right? As a copywriter, you have to be able to speak the client’s language. You’re not going to tell a bunch of moms that using “Jan’s Nifty Time Wizard Tool” will give them more time on the greens. What you will tell them is that the wizard will remind them when appointments are coming up and that, unlike a paper calendar, can’t be colored on by the toddler. (Yay, cloud storage!)

Copywriting isn’t magic. But it is a skill. It’s a skill that can be learned like any other, but like any other skill, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Either you get inside your client’s heads or you don’t. That’s it. You HAVE to understand your client to know what approach to take and how to speak to them. It’s not rocket science… it just takes a little bit of big picture thinking.

Copywriting takeaways:

  • Show your client/customer that you’re just as invested in their [success/results] as they are
  • Encourage trust
  • Speak their language (NOT YOURS)
  • Remind them that they’re awesome
  • Don’t waste anyone’s time (not even yours)

Until Next Time,

Tagged , ,

The 5% Difference

I recently had the opportunity to talk with a local entrepreneur. A few weeks ago we met over an hour to talk business. This entrepreneur presented his business and I talked very briefly about mine. His intent was simple: to sell me on what he offered. I did not have the budget nor the need for his service, but I was interested in hearing what he had to say because I knew him personally and I owed him my time anyway. (I’d been putting it off for a while!)

After the meeting, I sent an email thanking him for his time and offering to do some copywriting for free in exchange for the ability to use it as a portfolio piece. I also offered up a few things I noticed that he could improve as a way to add value right off the bat. In a response, he declined and stated that he “couldn’t afford” marketing other than what he could do himself. I thanked him and moved on. Neither of us bought each other’s services, and in my case, even FREE wasn’t good enough!

What this tells me is very, very simple:

1. There is no price too low for someone who doesn’t want what you have to offer.

First, there’s the psychology of pricing. People value items that are priced higher, even if the item is the same quality as something of a much lower price. So “free” just screams low quality. If it’s valuable, then people will buy it at the price it’s worth. Free rarely works as a tactic that sticks. (This is why people are more disgruntled with free items than items they purchased – they value it less!)

And then there’s the fact that no matter how he might have framed his services, they weren’t right for me. I needed a gym, not a personal trainer. My problem was a lack of space and equipment, and I needed childcare to be able to work out. He provided no solutions to my problem and couldn’t show me results that were measurably above what I could achieve via a YouTube video or P90X at home.

It’s NOT ABOUT THE PRICE. It’s about the VALUE.

Which brings me to number two….

2. No matter how much someone needs your service, that need won’t translate into a sale until there’s a burning desire for your service/product.

One reason we do informational inbound content marketing is to help stoke that desire in prospects. It helps turn lukewarm prospects into hot leads and hot leads into buyers. Generate enough “burning desire” and the prospect will track you down even without a landing page or sales funnel! (Although if you provide a funnel…hey ho watch out!) There’s no point trying to manipulate cold prospects into buying when there is absolutely no desire. If there’s some desire, then the trick is to find out what it is and how what you offer fills the need.

Still don’t believe me? Read this Marketing Bullet

3. This translates so well into “non sales” life.

Think about this: how many of us spend time dating the same crappy people, hoping that at some point they’ll turn into “the one”? I did it several times. I dated guys that were wrong for me time and time again. Each time, I got a little bit better at picking them, but not much. Finally, I sat down and made a list of what my ideal qualities were. I set a bar. And then I looked just for that person on a dating site. In two days, I received 100 messages. I responded to five and married one of them.

THAT’S the power of 5% for you.



Don’t sell to people who don’t want what you have to offer. Be it as a business, employee/employer, potential mate, client, whatever…. don’t sell to the 95%. Sell to the 5%. Find the RIGHT FIT, the ideal partner, the perfect client. A bad fit will still be a bad fit even if you convince them they want what you have to offer.

“Square pegs don’t fit in round holes” is a saying for a reason. #‎JustSaying‬


Until next time,


Tagged , , , , ,

Get off your @$$ (Or, take ownership of your life already)

Hey there!

The other day, my coworker was really, super blunt with  me. I was complaining about my lack of progress trying to get a specific technical job….

… and my friend told me what I really, truly needed to hear. Which was this:

Make it happen for yourself!

That was it. No sugar coating, no hand holding, no ideas. Just that sentence.

I was floored at first. Like… wait… aren’t you going to empathize with me and tell me that the world is a big bad mean place? Or give me that hidden step that would automagically get me in the door of my next big IT job?

But no. Nothing. Just “make it happen for yourself”.


… that’s it, though, isn’t it?

At some point, I had to get off my butt and stop “learning” and start MAKING IT HAPPEN.

And then life threw me this hour+ YouTube gem:

He was right, and he wasn’t alone in thinking it. According to gurus like Brian Tracy and Grant Cardone (who wrote “The 10X Rule”, among other things), the big bad secret of being successful is taking charge of your life.

YOU are the master puppeteer your life. Period.

The people who are successful consider themselves self-employed, even if they work for someone else. They accept that whatever happens in their life is the direct result of actions that they do or don’t take. If they fail, they look for the feedback in the failure. If they need to redirect, they’ll redirect. If everyone else says to do X, maybe they’ll go ahead and do Y. But whatever is needed, they’re doing it even if it’s hard, stupid, and time-wasting. Some things just have to be slogged through (like hand-copying successful ads, for example). It just is. But you get there. And it’s worth it.


The moral of today’s story is that you are your own entrepreneur. If something isn’t working, fix it already. When it’s in your control, all kind of things open up. Are you not being paid enough for your job? Fix it. (Find a new job, learn a new skill, sell yourself better, etc.)

If your relationship is unhappy, fix it. Basically, there is always something you can do to take your life to the next level. 

There is no one standing on the other side of success actively keeping you down. YOU are keeping you down, for some stupid reason or another.

Which is a good thing, really. Because that’s the good part. It means that YOU can change it, right now. In the video I  mentioned above, Tracy also talks about the really stupid secret to becoming rich:

Do what successful people do. 

Easy enough, right? So my success should be as simple as:

1) Take ownership
2) Do what successful people do
3) Believe that it will happen

Not bad, right? I think I can do that. Can you?

Until Next Time,


P.S. – I’m currently reading Seth Godin’s All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All. What’s on YOUR reading list?

Tagged , ,