Archive for the 'Success' Category

How I made $907 in 90 minutes eating Korean food

June 30th, 2017 by Bob Bly

One Friday night last month, after checking, answering, and then
deleting or filing in Outlook all my emails, we left the house at
6pm to get a quick dinner.

When we returned at 7:30pm, I checked my email again.

In the 90 minutes we were out, I had gotten $907 in info product
orders online, all for products I was not actively promoting that
week.

(We call these “over the transom” orders because we took no
deliberate action to generate them.)

No work on my part. Over $900 made while eating in a Korean
restaurant.

(Full disclosure: this is an isolated incident — and not a
typical Friday night.)

Some people work all week to make $900 in a 9-to-5 job that bores
them.

One that they must commute to and from on their own time and dime
— for a boss they don’t like

I tell you this not to brag, but to illustrate (a) the value of
having multiple streams of income and (b) the advantage of having
at least one of these be a stream of passive income.

Just to be clear, passive income is anything that makes money
without your direct labor.

Passive income streams generate cash flow for you on Sundays,
holidays, vacations, and even while you sleep.

As George Clason writes in his book The Richest Man in Babylon,
“I wish an income that will keep flowing into my purse whether I
sit upon the wall or travel to far lands.”

On the other hand, with active income streams, you get paid only
when you are working.

Dentistry, for instance, although lucrative, is strictly an
active income stream.

Dentists have a saying: “Unless you are drilling and filling, you
are not billing.”

Most people I know have, for the most part, only a single stream
of income — typically the paycheck from their full-time job,
where they toil away to make someone else rich.

And unless you are getting a huge salary, that’s risky … although
back in the day, when I worked on staff at a Fortune 500 firm in
the late 70s, a corporate job gave one the illusion of security.
I know I felt safe in mine.

But no longer.

The scary part is that if you get laid off or the company
falters, you suddenly have zero income … except for a small sum
from temporary unemployment insurance.

Your income stops. But your expenses relentlessly keep on coming.

This sudden stoppage of your cash flow makes it extremely
difficult to pay your rent, mortgage, car loans, insurance
premiums, property tax, and kids’ college tuition — among many
other expenses.

When I became a full-time freelance writer in February 1982, my
main source of money was an active income stream — writing copy
for clients.

But even back then, I had a smaller passive income stream:
royalties from my hardcover and paperback books published by
mainstream publishing houses.

The nice thing about royalties is that your work can generate
ongoing income for you months, even years, after you write it.

For instance, I recently got a check from one of my publishers
for $4,856 … for the Chinese edition of a book I wrote in 1985,
which is work I completed more than 3 decades ago.

Some of the passive income streams various writers I know have in
place include:

–Book royalties.
–Copywriting royalties.
–Reselling your published articles to multiple magazines and web
sites over and over.
–Real estate investing.
–Stocks and bonds.
–Online information marketing.
–Options trading.

Action step: develop at least one active income stream and one
passive income stream.

Your goal: Build them to annual six-figure revenues. Each.

That way, if you decide to quite working someday, you can live
comfortably from the passive income stream alone.

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Category: Online Marketing, Success | No Comments »

The 80/20 formula for freelance writing success

May 26th, 2017 by Bob Bly

I hear from hundreds of freelance writers each year, many of whom
are not entirely happy with their careers.

And they fall into two distinct groups:

>> The first group is freelancers who are primarily pursuing
their literary or journalistic calling.

They mostly write plays, poems, movies, novels, nonfiction books,
articles, essays, short stories, screenplays, and whatever else they
are passionate about.

They love what they do. And find it fulfilling.

Only problem is: most writers in this first group tell me they
are hardly making any money … and are barely getting by.

>> The second group is freelance writers who pursue high-paying
commercial projects.

These assignments include technical articles for scientific and
medical journals … white papers … long-form direct response sales
letters … video sales letters … web sites … speeches … and many
other lucrative gigs.

Most of the writers in this group who reveal their income to me
say they are earning $100,000 to $200,000 a year or more.

As a result, they can afford to live in a nice house in a good
neighborhood … pay tuition for their kids at Ivy League colleges
… take great vacations at five-star resorts … drive late-model
luxury cars … and build a big enough IRA to retire secure for
life.

Only problem is: many tell me that, while this commercial writing
pays the bills, it doesn’t fulfill them artistically.

The solution for both groups is simple. I call it “the 80/20
formula for freelance writing success.”

The formula says you spend 80% or so of your time on high-paying
projects for commercial clients — and the other 20% on your
literary, journalistic, and artistic writings.

By spending 80% of your time on high-profit writing, you earn
enough money to provide well for your family — while remaining
freelance and avoiding having to work at a 9-to-5 job for someone
else.

But by spending the other 20% of your time writing for fun and
artistic fulfillment, you also get to write the things that
matter most to you.

And because of your cash flow from the high-paying 80% of your
work, you don’t even need to make a dime from your more literary
endeavors — although for some of us it does in fact generate
additional, and in some cases even significant, cash flow.

By the way, the magic of the formula is that you spend some time
writing what others will pay you a lot of money to write … and
some time writing things for your own pleasure, self-expression,
and amusement — whether they pay well, poorly, or not at all.

There is no magic, however, about the actual ratio. You can
adjust it to fit your temperament and needs. For instance, I do
90/10, not 80/20, and that works for me.

Full disclosure: the great advantage I have is that I actually
love writing the high-profit stuff — in my case, copy.

Some writers do. Others not so much. But the 80/20 formula works
in either case. Try it!

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Category: Success, Writing | No Comments »

The awful truth about how-to books

April 14th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Comedian Steven Wright famously quipped: “If how-to books
really worked, we’d only need just one.”

Well, recently I received as a gift a new how-to business book.

In the preface, the author shocked me by stating, “The average
person who buys any how-to information gets little or no
results.”

Do you believe it? From long experience, I certainly do.

And if so, is this dose of realism at the beginning of a new
how-to book demotivating, discouraging, a rude awakening?

Or is it inspiration to beat the averages … and be one of those
who DO get results?

I have no solid proof of these numbers, but I think they are
pretty accurate for business how-to books, and probably even
worse for self-help books:

If you sell 10,000 copies of your how-to business book or course,
10% of those who buy — a thousand people — will actually skim or
read it.

Of those 1,000 readers, only 10% — just 100 of them — will do
some or all of what you recommend in the book.

Finally, of the 100 who actually work your system, most will give
up to soon, because it’s hard work or they get distracted.

And therefore only 10% — just 10 people — will gain the skill,
start the business, and actually make money from it.

LM comments: “Yes, I believe it. One of my FB groups is filled
with people who are always buying info products and believing
that one of them is finally going to make them rich.

“But we’ve all been in the group for several years, and almost
everyone is in the same position or even worse off than they were
when the group formed.”

As a how-to author, I get the most satisfaction from those 10
buyers who actually follow the advice and get the result they
want. They represent just 0.1% of your 10,000 purchasers.

But if I can help even 10 people achieve their business or career
goals, I can be happy that at least I have changed their lives
for the better.

It does happen. Reader SS writes, “I built a career based on one
of your how-to books, Bob. That being said, I’ve read many how-to
books that were very good — yet, I didn’t do much with the
information. I don’t think I’m alone in that.”

And JM reports, “Bob, I bought one of your books 3 years ago from
my meager pay. The book paid for itself almost immediately.”

In consulting, where clients are paying thousands of dollars for
customized advice instead of just $15 to $25 for a book,
consultant HB once told me:

“Only half my clients listen to my advice, and of those, they
implement only half of what I tell them. So 75% of my
recommendations are ignored, despite the high fees I charge.”

In closing, Steve Wright said, “I went to the bookstore and asked
the clerk where the self-help section was.”

She replied: “I could show you, but that would defeat the
purpose.”

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Category: General, Success | 1 Comment »

How many drafts do you need to do to get it right?

February 24th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Subscriber RL sent me this comment from the late suspense
novelist Robert B. Parker — one of my favorite commercial authors:

“I do first draft. I don’t revise. I don’t reread. I send it in.
They edit it. But they don’t make any significant changes.”

By comparison, Hemingway revised every morning. He claimed to
have written one of the pages of “A Farewell to Arms” 59 times.

George Plimpton asked him why. Was there some technical problem?
What was so hard?

Hemingway replied: “Getting the words right.”

Poet Donald Hall said he rewrote one of his poems 600 times.

And William Zinsser wrote, “The secret to good writing is
rewriting.”

Yes, but how MUCH rewriting?

The problem is this…..

For most of us, if we don’t revise and rewrite enough, our
writing is not as good as it could be.

On the other hand, if we do endless rewrites and edits, the piece
never gets finished — and if we are working on a flat project
fee, we end up making less than minimum wage.

To answer this question about the ideal number of rewrites, I
made a short video on the subject of “How many rewrites should
you do before you consider the piece finished.”

You can watch it free here:

I agree with actor Michael J. Fox, who said, “Strive for
excellence, not perfection.”

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Category: General, Success | 1 Comment »

The 4 Secrets of a Successful and Happy Life

September 16th, 2009 by Bob Bly

Decades ago, in Ted Nicholas’ newsletter, I read an article that outlined the 4 conditions required to enjoy a happy and successful life.

I have since read versions of these rules many times from numerous authors, and through this and my own limited experiences, believe them to be true.

So without further ado, here are the 4 things you need for a happy and successful life (note: the list below gives you WHAT you need, but not HOW to get them; that will be covered in upcoming blog posts):

1?Money.

A greater-than-average income and net worth free you from money worries, increase your self-esteem, and give you greater security and peace of mind than 97% of the rest of the world enjoys.

2?Work.

The second key to happiness is to find a career that you not only enjoy but are actually passionate about.

As the late Les Paul said, if you do your hobby for a living, you?ll never work a day in your life.

3?Relationships.

Your life will not be complete without friends, family, and others you care deeply about and who care deeply about you.

4?Health.

In a way, health is the most important of the 4 criteria, for without good health, it is exceedingly difficult to attain the other 3 ? or enjoy them if you already have them.

Are there any items here that you do not agree with? Any missing that you would add?

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Category: Success | 756 Comments »

Secrets of Making Six Figures as a Freelance Copywriter ? or in Practically Anything Else

March 23rd, 2005 by Bob Bly

In his post on this blog, John Thomas asks, ?What counter-intuitive ?secrets? would you say there are to becoming a successful direct response copywriter, since that would be a particular business you are familiar with??

I assume he means ?freelance? direct response copywriters, since most of the top DM copywriters are in fact self-employed.

The answer, John, is the same for freelance copywriters as it is for dentists, optometrists, financial planners, attorneys, CPAs, and anyone else offering professional services on a freelance or independent basis:

Assuming you are reasonably skilled in the service you provide, the differentiating factor between those practitioners with the highest incomes and the others in the same field is the ability to marketing and sell their professional services to clients.

In other words, success at self-promotion is the biggest (but not the only) factor separating the $50,000 a year copywriter from the $500,000 a year copywriter ? or the financial planner writing $1 million in premium (and earning $65,000 a year) from the one writing $10 million in premium (and earning $650,000 a year).

Do you agree? Are those who make the most money in any profession the best salespeople and marketers ? or the best craftspeople and technicians?

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Category: Success | 102 Comments »

Work for the Money, Not Your Passion

February 10th, 2005 by Bob Bly

My colleague CM, one of the world?s most successful DM copywriters, shocked me when I asked him about his success.

?Forget all that advice about ?do what you?re passionate about,?? CM told me. ?Work is about making money — as much money as you can.

?For instance, if you love horses, don?t study to be a veterinarian. Instead, go into a business where you make a lot of money. That way, you can own as many horses as you want.?

I?ve always taken a different tact: follow your passion. Do what you love to do, then find a market or application where you can make good money doing it.

Most successful people I know worked hard to get where they are. And you won?t put in long hours unless you truly love what you do.

Whose approach do you like: CM’s or mine? And why?

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Category: Success | 1,114 Comments »