Beliefs, Relationships, and the Secret to Success

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a safe and productive week.

So here we are at the 5th and final posting in AWAI’s Great Blog-Off Competition. I’ve had a lot of fun this past few weeks, and have enjoyed conversing with those of you that have replied to my postings. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

For what it’s worth, I think you’re in a “no-lose” situation here. No matter who is honored with managing the Wealthy Web Writer Blog—be it Ann, Robert, Sid, Isabel, or myself—you’re going to be in very capable hands. Kudos to one-and-all for a job well done!

I have to admit, when I began thinking about what I wanted this week’s topic to be, I just about drove myself nuts. (Some would say it wouldn’t be all that long of a drive … ) There were so many things I wanted to say, and so many potential posts swirling around in my mind, I felt like Alice when she asked the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

(In the spirit of talking to animals, I considered posing the same question to my Rottie, Leo, but I thought better of it. He’d tell me to take him for a walk, and I was much too preoccupied … )

But then, suddenly, those timeless words of wisdom kicked in like a morning coffee rush … Keep It Simple, Stupid!

And that’s what I intend to do.

So I went back to my very first post here to reacquaint myself with the maxim that I put forth in week #1 when I invited you to take a journey with me. In that post I promised that we would “focus on the human nature side of things … what makes us tick first as people, then as writers … and how the two are joined at the hip.” I also said I would be looking to present something to you each week that’s “a little off the beaten path.”

Well, fellow path beaters, get out your bush whackers because we’re about to continue on that journey into perhaps the greatest frontier that still lies before us … that of our own psyche.

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last nine or ten years of earning a living as a copywriter it’s that success is elusive. What it is for me, it may not be for you, and vice versa. It’s made up of many facets that may or may not be immediately recognizable. Kind of like the old, “can’t see the forest for the trees,” thing. (Although I never completely understood that one either.)

Indeed, you can stockpile assets for yourself in the pursuit of success. In our case, attending seminars, studying controls, and laboring over course material comes to mind. Learning your craft from the masters and working hard at perfecting it is all part of the process. That’s a given.

But I think the single, biggest asset that you can develop for yourself … and in turn pave the way to earn the kind of money (and live the kind of lifestyle … ) we all want to make from our profession … is to learn how to focus your thoughts on manifesting the goals you want to achieve. I’m talking about an unconditional and thorough belief in yourself and your abilities, and the propensity for developing and fostering relationships.

(Right about now you’re probably thinking I should’ve taken the dog for a walk after all.)

But it’s true. Stay with me on this … the dog can wait.

What I’m proposing is not as easy as you might think, because to do it right, more-often-than-not you’ll wear your heart on your sleeve and give a lot more than you’ll get back. And oftentimes you’ll find what you give of yourself will have little or nothing to do with copywriting or making a buck whatsoever.

Yet still, you give it because that’s the way it works.

In the book (and subsequent movie … ), The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, some of the world’s most influential high achievers and forward-thinkers (including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” author, Jack Canfield, “Empowered Wealth” founder and CEO, Lee Brower, and “Live Out Loud” founder, Loral Langemeier, among others … ) label the “Law of Attraction” the single, most powerful force in our universe. For those of you not familiar with it, the Law of Attraction states, basically, that we manifest in our lives that what we center our thoughts on … That our thoughts are not merely an indiscriminate connection of neurons firing off at random in our brain, but rather, actual magnetic pulses that transmit on a frequency and determines the complete order in the Universe, every moment of your life, and every single thing you experience in your life.

Heady stuff, for sure.

But there’s an important point to be made here …

The proponents of The Secret say it’s as much a part of the fabric of the universe as the Big Bang itself. And people who have attracted wealth into their lives (and that means wealth however one may personally define it … i.e. not necessarily money … ) have inevitably used The Secret whether consciously or unconsciously.

Some of the all-time most celebrated books on making money seem to validate this fact:

“Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, published in 1937 during the Great Depression, examines the power of personal beliefs, and the role they play in personal success. Says Hill, "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

“The Science of Getting Rich,” by Wallace Wattles, published in 1910, is still one of the all-time most read self-wealth books ever written. Wattles practiced the technique of creative visualization. In his daughter Florence's words, he "formed a mental picture, or visual image, and then worked toward the realization of this vision.”

Even the famous American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, founder of the United States Steel Corporation, which was the first corporation in the world with a market capitalization over $1 billion, is quoted as saying, “It is the mind that makes the body rich.”

In fact, the deeper you dig, the more you’ll find that the most influential and wealthy people of all time … I’m talking heavy-hitters like Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Hugo, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, Emerson, Edison, and Einstein … were all proponents of the Law of Attraction.

The point is, web writer, that in order for you to succeed as a wealthy web writer, or succeed at any endeavor for that matter, you must first succeed—and accept that success—where it matters most … in the quiet solace of your own internal thoughts. Then and only then will you begin to attract that which you desire.

And one more thing …

In my readings, the one predominant trait that distinguished these men (and other men and women like them) is that money was never the ultimate goal … it was the desire to do good work and help their fellow human beings.

That, my friend, is the mindset we must adapt as web writers if we’re to be truly successful. For the way to a person’s heartstrings isn’t by trickery, but rather the sincere desire to help him or her solve a problem. In a nutshell—that is our job, plain and simple.

And From there, hope springs eternal.

(I considered saying, “tug on their heartstrings and their wallet will follow,” but I thought it would spoil the moment … Not a bad tagline though … )

In any case, I encourage you to pick up the book, The Secret. Whether you agree with the core values it presents or not, it’s an interesting read and I promise at the very least you’ll look at the grand scheme of things—and where you fit into it—in a new and very profound way.

So with that said …

I’d like to close this week out by talking a little bit about where we go from here. After all, if you’re going to trust me to steer the ship, I figure you’ll want to know which direction we’ll be setting our sails for. Of course, as time goes on that direction will always be subject to change, based on the needs and desires of you, but at least it will give us a starting point.

If chosen to manage your blog, I think it makes sense to start with what I know.

I’ve written SEO copy for approximately 75 websites (some pretty good ones too … like Purolator Courier, Mercedes Benz, and the Lakewood BlueClaws, a Single-A Affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball club). I believe I have a good handle on adjusting the tone of my writing to adapt to the prospect, as well as what works and what doesn’t work when a busy reader scans a web page.

I’ll pass along what I know about the criteria that the search engine spiders focus on when ranking pages, including the importance of using key words and phrases correctly when optimizing a site. (Hint: It’s all about Prominence, Frequency, Density, and Proximity … ) We’ll talk about crafting strong headlines, calls-to-action, and dissectible copy. I’ll also share with you the questionnaire that I give to my clients prior to starting a project that detail for me their Unique Value Proposition, who their main competitors are, how their products are sold, misconceptions about their product, and a whole lot of other cool, fun facts that gives me a solid platform from which to proceed.

We’ll also talk about crafting direct mail letters and landing pages. In the case of the former, I completed my first one for AWAI co-founder, Don Mahoney, which was produced and mailed, and am currently awaiting peer review on my “Writing for the Internet” letter that won the 2008 Bootcamp spec challenge competition.

An important goal of mine will be to get us to the point where we’re able to critique each other’s work through the blog. I think peer review is a huge part of the process to learning one’s craft. As one of AWAI’s Pro-Reviewers for the “Accelerated Course” restaurant letter, I’ve got a good feel for structuring a direct mail piece, and I think it would be a lot of fun to share our collective wisdom between us. (If you’d like to take a look at how I approach my restaurant letter reviews, visit the AWAI forum and look for the ones with “JTorre AWAI reviewer” next to it. Click on the letter link to the left and scroll down to see what I had to say.)

Put it all together, and we should hit the ground running.

In closing, just keep in mind that the Web has only been around for 15 or 20 years since it really came into its own. Basically, it’s is still in its infancy. In many ways, despite all its protocols, checks, and balances, it’s still like the Wild West was 150 years ago—untamed and lawless. But this also means that most of the possibilities still lie before us.

Best selling sales and marketing author, Seth Godin, who I was fortunate enough to have lunch with once, says this of the Web:

The web is nothing but a system, a bunch of (largely unwritten) rules regarding search, linking, promotion, etc. It's fascinating to watch as some people work hard to work the system, and succeed time and time again, while others waste countless hours with one scheme after another designed to beat the system. They invent cloaking devices and SEO scams and pyramid schemes and lightly disguised spam pages, constantly struggling to stay ahead (and to stay quiet). Sure, you can beat the system (any system) for a while, but it's a constant struggle.

We’re not going to beat the system, fellow web writer; we’re going to work it. And we’re going to have some fun along the way. And after all, isn’t that one of our core desires?

Thanks so much for reading, and let me hear from you! I hope to talk to you again soon. In the meantime, remember to:

  • Believe in yourself …
  • Believe in the product …
  • Nurture your relationships …

I wish you Good Health and Good Writing!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: June 3, 2009

8 Responses to “Beliefs, Relationships, and the Secret to Success”

  1. Great blog post John! You've hit the nail on the head - success is really within our reach. Once we truly believe in ourselves and then take action in a focused effort, we will then be able to watch our success come to life.

    In addition to the book, The Secret, there is also a great site for daily inspiration Monday through Friday - NotesFromTheUniverse

    Thanks John and good luck!

    Jean B

  2. Hey John,

    Great post. But what stuck out was when you said that the greats didn't look at money as their primary reason to do what they did, it was the opportunity to help people. That makes so much sense.

    Edward Litors

  3. Absolutely right on, John! Your words resonate strongly all the way through. I like your approach.
    I can attest to your reviews of the Restaurant letter, too. Your reviews point to necessary changes - sometimes hard! (You suggested that I removed a "creative" paragraph that I was proud of and I had thought was good!) Yet all the time respectful, and with encouragement, that made it easier to cut words.
    My vote is with you! I look forward to more.

    Ann Jordan-Mills

  4. This was an absolutely fabulous piece. I have to agree with both you and Edward that wealth comes through helping others. Joe Vitale teaches this concept on a regular basis. Another person is Paul McCormick author of "Secrets of the Millionaire Inside" whose philosophy is the more you help others, the wealthier you become.

    I love reading your blogs. They are informative and helpful. You keep us interested all the way to the end--it never gets boring. Good luck!

    Jo Ann


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