My business coaching client John thought he had found the woman of his dreams. No, I don’t mean his true love. I mean his business savior.

“Craig,” he said, “I’ve met this marketing expert that says she’ll create a great sales presentation for me. She says this will make a lot more sales, and so now I can just go and spend my day thinking and coming up with big ideas.”

That’s the dream for many so-called entrepreneurs. Get someone else to do the ‘dirty work’ while you sit in your office generating fun new product ideas and daydreaming about getting rich.

But there’s a BIG problem with this idea.

That’s not how it works in real life.

I’ve wasted over $155,000 making this mistake, hiring consultants and gurus to come in and boost my business. But my experience has only shown me that you can’t rely on other slick sales folks to sell your products and services.

The old saying, “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” applies to the sales system in your business. You can’t rely on someone else to ride in and do this for you, at least not when you’re starting out in a small business and developing your sales system.

I warned John to be disappointed. First of all, no sales person cares as much about selling your product as you ever could. Second, the harsh reality is that after you pay this sales consultant their hefty fee, you’ll likely be no further ahead than where you are now.

Sure, they can create a razzle-dazzle Powerpoint presentation, or perhaps they can write a long sales letter, or maybe they’ll create a slick magazine or television ad for your business.

But the only sale they’ll make is the one on you. The marketing expert that promises to save your business is likely to only save her own. After all, she is a good sales person, but only when it comes to selling her wares… to you.

It’s human nature to believe that there is a “man or woman on a white horse” out there that can come into your life and do all of the hard work for you, such as selling and marketing, while you just do what you love.

… but that’s not going to happen.

Yes, there are some exceptions and cases where the expensive copywriter you hired actually churns out a hit sales letter… but they are few and far between and you can’t count on it happening.

Instead, you must take a stoic approach to your business…

Trust no one. Depend on no one. Take full personal responsibility for your success.

I know that’s not what you want to hear. However, it’s the harsh truth. Fortunately, there’s also some good news.

Chances are you’ve got a decent idea for a product or service that can add tremendous value to your community or the world.

If so, you have an obligation to sell your solution to the world. You must take action on your business idea.

But this doesn’t mean starting a Facebook page and checking it every 30 minutes. It doesn’t mean trying to learn computer code to build your own website. It doesn’t mean taking the next 12 months to create a product.

You need to act faster, stay focused, and concentrate on what counts.

You need to do the dirty work that matters.

You need to learn how to sell.

That is the only way that you can change someone’s life, solve their problems, grow your business, and live the life of your dreams.

It must be you that does this.

You can — and should — outsource and delegate website design, product creation, social media, and all the little administrative tasks that suck away your time.

But when you’re just getting started, you cannot outsource or delegate the sales component of your business.

Mind you, I use the phrase dirty work only as a figure of speech. There is nothing dishonorable about selling a valuable solution to the world. As I mentioned earlier, it’s your obligation to do so, if you want the world to be a better place.

To sell, you must study copywriting, selling from the stage, or how to close clients in a one-on-one setting. You must become a master persuader.

Mark Ford, ETR’s founder, says that the first priority of every business as it goes from zero to $1 million in sales is to find its Optimal Selling Solution.

“With a small business,” Mark said, “there are certain things the entrepreneur must do whether he likes to or not. Those things include acquiring specific knowledge of some parts of the business and developing the skill of marketing and selling the product. You must spend the overwhelming majority of your time on sales and marketing, and only limited time on everything else.”

As Mark says, your number one job as a small business owner is selling. It’s your job to figure out how to acquire new customers at a price you can afford. The next step is to sell those customers additional high-value follow-up (back-end) products. That’s where the profit is in your business. But there’s no profit without a constant flow of new customers.

“You have to study the products and the sales and marketing strategies,” Mark said, “And then you have to begin testing the market slowly and carefully. Figuring all this out — the right media, the right advertising platform, the right offers, and the right advertising copy — is your optimal selling strategy.”

“This takes time,” Mark warns, “You should expect to spend hundreds of hours of study and thousands of hours of work spread over the number of months you are willing to devote to getting the business going. Once you discover the optimal selling strategy, things will get much better. Cash flow will go positive for the first time. You will start to see revenues climb month after month, so long as your strategy works.”

Is there a way to speed up your progress on becoming a master sales person for your business?

Absolutely. It starts with investing in a mentor, someone that has ‘been there and done that’, that has blazed a path before you.

That’s why I’ve had Mark Ford as my mentor for over 15 years. That’s why I visit him in South Florida every year, and why I have an hour phone call with him each month. He’s accomplished all that I dream of — and more — and while I don’t expect him to be the man on the white horse riding in to save my business, I know that his wisdom points me in the right direction for success.

If you want to start an online business, here’s the fastest way to shortcut the long journey to becoming a master sales person.

When you sign-up for a 1-day Mastermind with Bedros and myself, you’ll get sent a series of bonus copywriting and selling videos. We’ll also show you how to create your product fast, and get free traffic to your website… but your priority is to go through the selling videos.

And then you’ll arrive at the 1-day Mastermind ready receive personalized advice that Bedros and I will deliver. But again, that requires understanding copywriting and selling. There is nothing more important for your online success than “getting” this.

If, for some extraordinary reason you can’t attend a 1-day Mastermind, then you should order The Ultimate Sales Letter from Dan Kennedy. Read it twice. And then hunt down another copywriting resource. The learning never stops. I still study copywriting everyday.

(The course I’m currently going through is Ray Edwards’ Copywriting Academy.)

So listen, I understand the desire to find someone to do all of this for you, but it’s not how success works. Selling is a skill you can’t ignore. It doesn’t matter if you dislike salesmen and think they are all greasy shysters. They aren’t. Salesmen (and saleswomen) got you into the clothes you are wearing, the house you live in, and the car you drive.

Salespeople add tremendous value to the world, and it’s time for you to join the club, not as a guest, but as a participating member.

Relying on the man or woman on the white horse to ride in and solve your problems will only lead to disappointment.

It was only when I became self-reliant and took personal responsibility for my success that I finally had my big business breakthroughs.

So my friend, you’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road. 

The road more traveled starts off smooth, but you’ll soon find it littered with the abandoned hopes and dreams of people unwilling to do the work. Eventually it leads right off the cliff of quitting and despair.

On the other hand, the road less traveled is full of obstacles, steep inclines, detours, and distractions. But it’s the only true path to success.

I encourage you to take the hard route, the one that is labeled Salesmanship Road. That’s what I did, and I found once you got past the initial inertia, it becomes paved with gold.

This is not what you – or John – wanted to hear, but I say this because it’s what I wished someone would have said to me when I was in your position.

Remember your two options…

… a 1-day Mastermind or Dan Kennedy’s book.

The book is the long, slow, beginner version, and the 1-day Mastermind is the fast, quick-start, advanced guide to success.


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If You Want to be as Great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson, Read This

Success, real insane success is a marathon. Oh, and there are no shortcuts. You can’t spring your way to greatness. It takes times, a very long time.

Here is Richard Branson’s business timeline – his business ventures from the 1960s to today. It’s a very long list. It will give you an idea of what it took him to get to now.

These are two of the most upvoted responses on Quora to this question: “How can I be as great as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson?

1. Justine Musk, Canadian author, and the first wife of Elon Musk

Extreme success results from an extreme personality and comes at the cost of many other things. Extreme success is different from what I suppose you could just consider ‘success’, so know that you don’t have to be Richard or Elon to be affluent and accomplished and maintain a great lifestyle.

Your odds of happiness are better that way. But if you’re extreme, you must be what you are, which means that happiness is more or less beside the point. These people tend to be freaks and misfits who were forced to experience the world in an unusually challenging way.

They developed strategies to survive, and as they grow older they find ways to apply these strategies to other things, and create for themselves a distinct and powerful advantage.

They don’t think the way other people think. They see things from angles that unlock new ideas and insights. Other people consider them to be somewhat insane.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

Be obsessed.

If you’re not obsessed, then stop what you’re doing and find whatever does obsess you. It helps to have an ego, but you must be in service to something bigger if you are to inspire the people you need to help you  (and make no mistake, you will need them).

That ‘something bigger’ prevents you from going off into the ether when people flock round you and tell you how fabulous you are when you aren’t and how great your stuff is when it isn’t. Don’t pursue something because you “want to be great”.

Pursue something because it fascinates you, because the pursuit itself engages and compels you. Extreme people combine brilliance and talent with an *insane* work ethic, so if the work itself doesn’t drive you, you will burn out or fall by the wayside or your extreme competitors will crush you and make you cry.

Follow your obsessions until a problem starts to emerge, a big meaty challenging problem that impacts as many people as possible, that you feel hellbent to solve or die trying.

It might take years to find that problem, because you have to explore different bodies of knowledge, collect the dots and then connect and complete them.

It helps to have superhuman energy and stamina. If you are not blessed with godlike genetics, then make it a point to get into the best shape possible.

There will be jet lag, mental fatigue, bouts of hard partying, loneliness, pointless meetings, major setbacks, family drama, issues with the Significant Other you rarely see, dark nights of the soul, people who bore and annoy you, little sleep, less sleep than that. Keep your body sharp to keep your mind sharp. It pays off.

Learn to handle a level of stress that would break most people.

Don’t follow a pre-existing path, and don’t look to imitate your role models. There is no “next step”. Extreme success is not like other kinds of success; what has worked for someone else, probably won’t work for you.

They are individuals with bold points of view who exploit their very particular set of unique and particular strengths. They are unconventional, and one reason they become the entrepreneurs they become is because they can’t or don’t or won’t fit into the structures and routines of corporate life.

They are dyslexic, they are autistic, they have ADD, they are square pegs in round holes, they piss people off, get into arguments, rock the boat, laugh in the face of paperwork.

But they transform weaknesses in ways that create added advantage — the strategies I mentioned earlier — and seek partnerships with people who excel in the areas where they have no talent whatsoever.

They do not fear failure — or they do, but they move ahead anyway. They will experience heroic, spectacular, humiliating, very public failure but find a way to reframe until it isn’t failure at all.

When they fail in ways that other people won’t, they learn things that other people don’t and never will. They have incredible grit and resilience.

They are unlikely to be reading stuff like this. (This is *not* to slam or criticize people who do; I love to read this stuff myself.) They are more likely to go straight to a book: perhaps a biography of Alexander the Great or Catherine the Great* or someone else they consider Great.

Surfing the ‘Net is a deadly timesuck, and given what they know their time is worth — even back in the day when technically it was not worth that — they can’t afford it.

I could go on, it’s a fascinating subject, but you get the idea. I wish you luck and strength and perhaps a stiff drink should you need it.

2. Michael Simmons, Co-Founder, Empact & Award-Winning Entrepreneur

Most of these people have focused on individual traits such as hard work, deliberate practice, etc.. But when we look in the real world, we see that individual traits aren’t the whole story.

There are so many people who work extremely hard, have great ideas, plan out big things and so forth, yet they are not nearly as successful as these four legends.

I myself am an entrepreneur. I have been since the age of 16. Recently though, I had the same underlying question you had.

Because of that, I went out searching for the answer.

Through my interviews I do for Forbes, I recently came across the field of network science. This field has studied how people become successful from a completely different angle. They’ve found that how we build our network may be the best predictor of success.

Since then, I have interviewed many of the world’s top network scientists on a quest to understand how networks create competitive advantage in business and careers.

Out of the four legends that have been mentioned, I feel that the best person to showcase as a prime example of how networks impact success is  Steve Jobs.

Since then, books have been written and movies have been made.

Each has celebrated his legacy and aimed to share the secrets he used to build the largest company in the world; things like attention to detail, attracting world-class talent and holding them to high standards.

We think we understand what caused his success.

We don’t.

We dismiss usable principles of success by labeling them as personality quirks.

What’s often missed is the paradoxical interplay of two of his seemingly opposite qualities;

  1. Maniacal focus
  2. Insatiable curiosity

These weren’t just two random strengths. They may have been his most important as they helped lead to everything else.

Jobs’ curiosity fueled his passion and provided him with access to unique insights, skills, values, and world-class people who complemented his own skillset. Job’s focus brought those to bear in the world of personal electronics.

I don’t just say this as someone who has devoured practically every article, interview, and book featuring him.

I say this as someone who has been monomaniacal in the study and research of what the underlying key components are that create career success.

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