Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Notes from The System Seminar 2009 continued

In continuation of the first installment, here are Ken McCarthy's remaining six points...

7) Market Selection is everything

Try to play in a rich playground. You need accessible buyers to whom you can offer something unique. By playing in a rich playground you will stand out, be able to repeat sales, and move customers up to premium sales. Also, you will experience word of mouth referrals, and be able to focus on an endless loop, never-enough product.

8) Sell to a hungry market

The late Gary Halbert wisely observed that even more than the best hamburger, the lowest price, and the best location, a hungry crowd was the most important factor in selling hamburgers.

While it may be possible to get a stuffed person to buy one more burger, it is almost impossible to keep a famished person away from that same burger. Offer your product or service to people who really want it.

9) How to start a business

Find the market first. Product development comes second. The process is to get intimate with that marketplace and really understanding it. Next, you need to identify a point of entry to that market, and then launch a desired product or service into that market. The word picture that Ken used was that instead of driving down the road (marketplace) simply walk along the road. Potholes you find along the road are gaps in the market. When you find a pothole in the road (or marketplace), remedy it.

10) A sale is a fragile thing

Ken recommends following the AIDA formula.

A = attention. You get that with good headline.

I = interest. Know what your potential buyer wants.

D = desire. Make them prove that they want it by putting a small obstacle in the way. Create honest scarcity.

A = action. Show what action you want them to take, and ask them to take that action.

Some other things to remember about the sale:

Nothing happens without a deadline. An example of this is the birth of a baby. If people could delay babies being born, there might not be a civilization today.

Also, the real sale begins after the initial sale. You need to service people properly. Being satisfied
with a single sale is not pathway to a successful business.

11) Find your song and sing it

Whether it be rock, opera, jazz or hip-hop, earn a place in the customer's mind with your unique song and constantly reinforce it. Ken's song is that he was the first one to host an Internet marketing seminar.

12) How a business really grows

There are three main phases to growing a business:

Phase 1 is the wandering in the wilderness phase. This is when you are stumbling around in search of that oasis – your idea. People will think you are a bit crazy during this phase, that's just the way it is.

Phase 2 is the ramp up to critical mass. It is messy and crazy and you are working 18 hour days implementing your unique idea.

Phase 3 is the process of removing yourself from the mechanics of the business. Finally. This is when you want to automate and outsource.

So, there you have them, the 12 things Ken wanted to communicate if this were his last presentation on direct marketing.

I hope you found these as useful as I did/do.


PS If you'd like more of this kind of quality information check out Ken's System Secrets book. System Secrets is a collection of lessons from Ken's popular Pre-System seminar series. It covers topics like:

how to find hot markets...
what to sell on the Internet...
how to write killer copy...
how to get traffic to your website...
how to avoid common marketing mistakes...
the eight fundamental principles of The System...
and how to achieve anything you want including success online.

Click HERE to find out more.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Notes from The System Seminar 2009

Ken McCarthy, founder of The System Seminar, initially laid out the
following three principles that this seminar is known for:

1) Focusing on fundamentals, these are the important elements that
ensure success

2) Detecting future trends

3) Cultivating a culture of learners

Ken also stated that identifying actions and following up on those
actions was important. I agree and that's one of the reasons I'm
providing these notes. As I go through them I'm reminded of the
action items I wrote down and can then complete them.

Ken's presentation identified the 12 things he wanted everyone to
know in case this was his last presentation (so dramatic).

Here are the first 6:

1) Internet marketing is direct marketing.

It is:

- measurable

- testable (results can be counted)

- can be improved (if you can test it, you can improve it)

- adaptable (as you look for and find new markets)

- you can automate it

The important point is to be measuring your marketing efforts all
the time so you can constantly improve.

2) Top 3 recommended texts/books:

- My Life in Advertising by Claude Hopkins

- Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples

- How I raised Myself from a Failure to Success in Selling by Frank

3) The path that Ken recommends:

Take advantage of others' experiences. This can make you a fortune,
since you won't have to waste time re-inventing the wheel.

Do your own testing. Borrow substance from others, test it, and use
only the best.

4) What is successful business?

Selling products or services is not what defines a successful
business. Rather, it is creating a following.

A product serves the purpose of creating that following. A product
may be sold, but if there is no following, a new market will have
to be found every time.

The better approach to business, the successful approach, has a
consistent market at it's core - a following.

5) It's about the List

'The List' is your list of followers (the size, who is on it,
quality of your relationship)

To build a List:

- Get started (your List starts with one person)

- Be consistent in your efforts

- Encourage referrals (Example: "If you like this, please share

So, applying this principle, if you like these notes refer your
friends HERE so they can sign up to receive them as well.

6) E-mail

E-mail is an integral tool in Internet marketing. Have an opt-in,
which is simply a way for people to subscribe to what you are

Make sure that the offer you are making is completely consistent
with any advertising you have done.

E-mail your List whenever you have new and interesting information.

The challenges of E-mail are these:

Get it opened (have a clear purpose in the subject line)

Get it read (start with a bang, hook your reader, and use curiosity)

Get action (give your reader a concrete reason to take action. Take
inactivity out of the picture.)

That's it for now, points 7 through 12 will be posted shortly.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Notes from "Rich Like Them"

The following are the notes I captured from reading Ryan D'Agostino's "Rich Like Them" book. They are essentially the Chapter titles and main points of each chapter.

1-Open Your Eyes
Don’t Forget Your Goal-Even When You’re On Vacation
Where Others See Death, Imagine Life
When You Hear Someone Say “If Only I Could…” You’re Hearing an Opportunity
Connect the People You Meet (be the hub of the wheel)
Save Some Money for a Rainy Day
Once You Connect the Dots, Follow Through

2-Luck Doesn’t Exist
Choose Your Purpose, and Don’t Let Anyone Tell You You’re Wrong
Remember: With Time Comes Free Money (compounding)
Watch Your Pennies, No Matter How Many You Have
Keep Your Cool-It’s a Big Part of Persevering
Don’t Deviate from Your Planned Path to Get a Quick Gain
Perseverance Doesn’t Take Forever
Once You Find Your Calling, Persevering is Easy
Remember That You Can’t Do a Business Transaction with Yourself
Prepare to Get Lucky

3-The Economics of Obsession
Find a Driver Other Than Money-It’s Usually More Lucrative Than Money Alone
Do One Thing and Do It Well
Obsess Over Whatever Job You Have
Take Your Mind Off the Money-You’ll earn More
Don’t Plan a Career-Plan a Life
Obsession Makes You Work Harder
If You Look Forward to Going to Work, That’s a Good Sign
Discover Love Through Immersion (work for the love of it)
Turn Fear into Passion (pursue the idea)

4-The Myth of Risk
Never Stop Being a Student
Calculate Every Risk-Even the One You Live In
Look for Your Window to Go Solo
You Want Autonomy? Let It Motivate You
Be Cocky When It Counts
Don’t Worry About What Other People Think
Reduce Risk by Believing in Yourself
When You Fail Miserably, Rejoice
If You Hate Your Career, Um, Change It
Sometimes the Biggest Risk Is Doing Nothing

Never Let Pride Get in the Way of Profit
Be Humble Even If You’re As Rich As Brooke Astor
Don’t Be a Slave to Plan A-It’ll Prevent You from Seeing Plan B
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Less Than Your Spouse
Never Feel As If You’re Too Successful to Sweat
Remember That You Are Not, Nor Will You Ever Be, a God or Goddess

This was originally my idea, to go knock on doors of the apparently wealthy and ask them how they got that way, but Ryan beat me to it :-)

Friday, March 6, 2009

I Survived!

Well, I survived Kayla's first driving experience today.

We went to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles where she took her test and acquired her driving permit.

On the way home we stopped at the church in our neighborhood and she got her first experience behind the wheel.

After maneuvering around the parking lot a little bit we ventured out and drove about 2 miles around our neighborhood before ending up back at the church parking lot.

Time keeps on moving, moving, moving...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eagle or Oyster?

We, as Americans, must not sacrifice freedom for security. I like the difference between the American oyster and the American eagle. When God made the oyster, he put a big thick shell around him, put him deep in the water, and provided him constant nourishment. Whenever he gets hungry, he just opens his mouth, sucks in food, and then shuts his jaws. When God made the eagle, He put him out in the mountains and said, “Build your own nest and fight your own enemies, and raise your own young, and provide your own food, and stand against the wind and the rain. But I will give you the great blue sky to fly in and the strength to endure.” I am so thankful we are Eagle, not oyster, people.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Darren Strickland's Eagle Scout Court of Honor

Scoutmaster Gourley: Welcome to this special meeting of Troop 51. This afternoon we are gathered to celebrate the achievement of the Eagle Rank by Darren Strickland. First, I ask Brian Witthoeft to open this Court of Honor by thanking God for this day.

Brian W: (...opening prayer...)

Scoutmaster Gourley: Please stand for the presentation of the colors. Color guard advance...Scout salute...post the colors.

[Scout]: Please join me in the pledge of allegiance (...recite pledge...)

Scoutmaster Gourley: Color guard retreat. You may be seated. It is my pleasure to declare this Court of Honor officially open. Would [names of four Scouts] please come forward and recite the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto (...scouts come forward...)

These are the principles on which Scouting is built. Members of Troop 51 please stand and make the Scout sign.

[Scout 1]: recite Oath
[Scout 2]: recite Law
[Scout 3]: recite Slogan
[Scout 4]: recite Motto

Scoutmaster Gourley: Thank you gentlemen, Troop be seated. Now we have an opportunity to reflect on the makings of an Eagle Scout as we hear from a few individuals concerning Darren's journey toward the Eagle Rank.

Brian Blankenship: speaks

Mrs. Beatty: speaks

Dad: speaks

Today we are here to celebrate Darren's achievement of becoming an Eagle Scout…AND an all around fine young man! As proud of Darren as I am, this achievement is not just about a single individual's accomplishment. This celebration is about the accomplishments and teamwork of many people.

It's about Troop 68 in Beavercreek where Darren started his scouting journey 7 years ago. It's about Troop 362 here in Xenia who welcomed Darren when we moved from Beavercreek to Xenia in late 2002. It's about people like Mr. Davis, Mr. Conover, Mr. Seva and others investing their time, talent and energy into Darren and many other scouts along the way. It's about Troop 51 in Waynesville welcoming Darren as a First Class Scout and helping him through the rest of his scouting journey. It's about individuals like Brian Blankenship, Gordon & Shelly Beatty, Alan Carter and others guiding and helping Darren and many other scouts. It's about all the individuals who gave of their time, energy and other resources to help plan and complete Darren's Eagle Scout Project at Apex Community Church.

So to each and every one of you who has invested in Darren and helped him to become the person he is today, AND to become an Eagle Scout…I say, "thank you!"

Darren, the journey to this moment has been one of the longest single journeys you've been on in your 17.5 years. It started when you were 10.5 in March 2002 with your first visit to Troop 68 when we were living in Beavercreek. It continued when you were 11, in the fall of 2002, when we moved to Xenia and you transferred to Troop 362. And it continued on when you were 12, in 2003, when we transferred to Troop 51 in Waynesville. So, Darren, 3 Boy Scout troops and 7 years later, we stand here today celebrating your journey from Scout to Eagle Scout AND all those who helped you along the way.

As Darren's father, I'd like to quickly review the Scout Oath and Law qualities I have observed in Darren over the years.

The Scout Oath:
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
And to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep my self physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight.

The first line of the Scout Oath talks about doing your best - in most endeavors Darren undertakes, he does strive to do his best, whether it is studying for a test, learning a classical guitar piece, or just being a friend.

The fourth line of the Scout Oath says "to help other people at all times" - Darren is keenly aware of the needs and feelings of others and is usually very helpful when he sees or discerns a need.

The last line of the Scout Oath talks about being morally straight - there is no doubt to anyone who knows Darren that he is a person of high morals based upon his personal relationship with God.

The Scout Law:
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,
courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,
brave, clean, and reverent.

While I have observed all of the Scout Law characteristics in Darren over the years, the following stand out to me:

Friendly, Courteous, Kind and Cheerful - Just by meeting Darren you know he is friendly, courteous, kind, and cheerful.

Obedient - He has been trained in obedience and has mastered that character trait well, unlike his father, who still struggles with authority.

Thrifty - Darren demonstrates the quality of being thrifty by always searching and shopping for the best deal.

Clean - He can't help but to be clean in the German heritage and environment in which he has been raised.

And finally, Reverent - Darren is reverent to his God and to all people he encounters.

Darren, in conclusion, before all of these people (family and friends), I want to say that I am so proud of you, I love you and I respect you. You have indeed grown into a fine young man and one of your rewards is to be able to call yourself an Eagle Scout for the rest of your life. Congratulations.

Dillon: Darren please come forward. I would like to invite all Eagle Scouts in the audience to come forward and introduce yourself, including the Troop and year when you received the Eagle Rank. (...introductions...)

Eagles, please make the scout sign and rededicate yourselves silently while the Eagle Scout Promise is administered. Darren, repeat after me:

I affirm my allegiance
To the promises of the Scout Oath.
I thoughtfully recognize,
And take upon myself,
The obligations and responsibilities,
Of an Eagle Scout.
On my honor, I will do my best
To make my training an example;
To make my rank, and my influence,
Count strongly for better Scouting.
And for better citizenship,
In my troop,
In my community,
And in my contact with other people.
To this I pledge my sacred honor.

Dillon: It is my honor to present the Eagle badge to you
(...pin badge on...)

Scoutmaster Gourley: As your Scoutmaster it is my pleasure to present the Eagle neckerchief and slide.
(...present neckerchief and slide...)

Now, Darren, you have the opportunity to recognize some very special people who have helped you in your journey to the Eagle Rank.

Darren: gives pins and gives thanks

Scoutmaster Gourely: Color guard advance...scout salute...retrieve the colors....retire the colors.

Brian Witthoeft: (...Closing prayer...)

Scoutmaster Gourley: Thank you all for coming today. Please enjoy the refreshments and
congratulate Darren Strickland, Troop 51's newest Eagle Scout.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Living a GREAT life!

What does living a GREAT life mean to you?

You do know a GREAT life doesn’t just happen, don’t you?

It seems to me that a GREAT life has at least 3 components:

One, a GREAT life is one that is chosen and is lived in the service of something greater than self. What greater purpose is there than the Kingdom of God and sharing the Good News?

Second, a GREAT life makes a contribution to something larger than self. A GREAT life stands up, speaks out, and gets things done. A GREAT life makes a difference and leaves this world better than we found it.

Third, a GREAT life leaves a path for others to follow. A GREAT life leaves a legacy and inspires the next generation to go further and achieve more than we did. This is the crux of discipleship.

I love the story of the "star thrower," about a man walking on the beach after a storm, throwing starfish back into the ocean so they won't die on the shore. Someone criticizes him for wasting his time, noting that there are millions of starfish, and the few he saves won't make much difference. The man silently bends over, throws a starfish into the surf and replies, "It made a difference for that one."

Set your minimum standard to live a GREAT life: to know your purpose, make a contribution and leave a legacy. Make a difference for “that one” already in your life.

Some day each one of us must look back and assess our life, and when that time comes we want to know it was a GREAT life, with a certain purpose, contributions, and those who can carry the message on.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008