It's Monday -- that means it's time to open up the mailbox and answer YOUR questions!

It’s Monday — that means it’s time to open up the mailbox and answer YOUR questions!

It’s one of the most powerful emotional drives…

Today we’re going to talk about an emotional drive so powerful…

— It makes otherwise good employees quit their posh job in search of the new and novel…

— It makes seemingly devoted lovers cheat on their “perfect” partners, and ruin seemingly great relationships…

— And it causes vast sums of money to move away from those people swayed by it, and to those who understand it…

What an exciting Mailbox Monday!

Before we dive in, a bit of a personal diversion…

Rainmaker, I hope you had a great weekend, and a great Thanksgiving if you, like me, are here in the States.  No matter what you think of the politics and history of the holiday, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that no matter who we are or what we have, we have a lot to be grateful for.

I spent a lot of downtime with the family…  Went to no less than THREE family Thanksgiving parties…  AND we got the Christmas tree up and decorated and are thrusting forward into the next holiday!

Oh yeah, and our 4Runner was in the shop all weekend, getting overdue new tires (Winter’s here!  It’s snowing and beautiful here outside my home office window!), and having some serious work done on the brake system.  I guess after 275,000 miles, a few things need some maintenance!

The bill’s going to be a cool $1,700.  Which feels like a lot, but I was reminded by my wife that I have something to be thankful about…

As much as that feels like a lot, we will be able to pay that bill.  It will barely make a dent in our rainy day fund — a dent that will be quickly filled and then some — and it will not require us to change anything in our life.  Other families would have to choose between that repair and Christmas, that repair and rent, that repair and food for their table.

We can be thankful that marketing, copywriting, and her psychology business allow us to  live a comfortable life where we do not want for life’s simple pleasures, and where we can pay for many things we want and need without worry.  We don’t have to like it — not liking spending a lot of money is part of why we’re where we are — but we can do it.

I wish you the same security, comfort, and good fortune in your life.

On that note, a quick “commercial” and then on to our Mailbox Monday topic…

Last week I released a video sharing the story of a 13-year-old girl named Letikiros who had walked 8 hours one day for dirty water, for her family to use to drink, cook, and bathe themselves.  Nearly home, she dropped her clay pot.  Not only did the pot break, something inside young Letikiros broke, too.

What happened next was devastating.  Click here for the full story.

Readers like you have already helped fund clean water solutions for 8 people like young Letikiros, but my hope is to do a lot more before December 31st…

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday and if you plan to give to support a nonprofit tomorrow, I hope you’ll consider supporting my campaign.

Okay, that’s a long preamble, let’s talk about “greener pastures…”

First, today’s question…

Man Roy… this is some powerful stuff!

I was diagnosed with inattentive ADD too. Thanks for the lesson on the accountability coach. I am a hard worker but it doesn’t matter when I switch gears right before success.

I have been in real estate for a long time and through struggling to make that work in recent years, I have discovered copywriting. I read the AWAI salesletter and it sounds like a good fit. I am passionate about real estate because I know a lot about it, but in my spare time I love to race and play golf. What’s your take on selecting a niche to write copy for? How do I know if I should write copy for real estate professionals v. racing companies v. golf courses?

I know we have never met and I am not sure why you would be willing to answer this question considering all the hard work you have done to get where you are, but if you are willing, I would be very appreciative.

Thanks,

Nick

——

Nick, I love the question, and I’m going to take just a minute to answer it directly, and then I’m going to give you a much deeper, more powerful way to look and think about this…

My short answer is that you need to find where your interests and people willing to pay you come together.

There’s a lot of money in all those industries, but some are more copy-driven and marketing-driven than others.

Ultimately I chose financial copywriting because that’s where the money is for long-form direct response, but it’s also hard for me to see myself working in that niche for life.  That is part of my drive to do other things, like nonprofit fundraising, and I have some health publisher projects coming up, and so on…

The biggest thing though is to remember that a lot of money can be made in just about any industry — if you figure out how to do it.

Joe Polish famously tells the story of the “Jet Ski Millionaire.”  At the risk of losing important details, I’ll tell the condensed version.

Joe was a dead broke carpet cleaner living off credit cards, when a friend invited him out jet skiing for an afternoon.  In the group was a successful millionaire real estate investor.

Joe described his dire straits to this guy.  How he’d gone through a ton of training, and invested a ton of money to create a carpet cleaning business.  And now it was a losing proposition — Joe was actually losing money with every new customer he served.  And miserable!

Joe asked the guy what business he should go into, if he wanted to become a millionaire, too.

This millionaire real estate investor surprised Joe with his answer.  He asked if there were people in the carpet cleaning biz making any money.  Joe admitted there were, but he attributed it to time in business, reputation, and a whole host of other excuses.

The guy wasn’t having it.

He told Joe, “If there are people in your business making money, the business isn’t the problem, YOU are the problem.”

This fundamental shift in perspective…

From blaming market conditions and things outside of himself and his biz…

To taking responsibility for creating success in his current situation…

Completely changed Joe…

He very quickly discovered direct marketing…  Figured out how to make it work to grow HIS carpet cleaning business…  Made that a raving success…  Turned around and taught his proven methods to other carpet cleaners and service businesses…  Which helped his customers generate over $1 billion worth of carpet cleaning business…  And turned Joe into the marketing phenom we know today…

The young, dead broke, living off credit cards Joe Polish shared the same delusion of the vast majority of human beings in every culture and every situation…

From the time we are born, things happen to us.  The world happens to us.  We’re born into a certain set of circumstances — a certain family, a certain community, a certain set of genetics, and so on…  And it’s easy to see how all these things impact our day-to-day life.

Sometimes, we see them impacting our life for the better.

Mostly, we notice when they impact our life for the worse.

And so we start to feel like victim of these circumstances.   We look around at the world, and see others who have more.  Who have successful businesses, successful jobs and careers, successful relationships, successful families…

This looking and desiring is only made worse by social media.  Everybody puts on their “Sunday best” every day on Facebook, Instagram, and so on.  Only the best pictures.  Movies carefully edited to make them look better.  Good status updates, never the boring, dismal, or downright broken (which all of us have somewhere inside).

And so we see our boring lives.  The dismal days.  Our broken, whimpering half-human creature deep inside that we never want the world to see.  Our shame and embarrassment.  Our pain and agony.  Our real life.

Then we compare our broken insides to all the lies and plastic lives that are portrayed on social media, and in the media as a whole.  We look at everybody else’s fake glamour, and compare it to our emptiness.

And the festering sore of our emptiness just feels all the worse.

When we ask “why” we start to cast the blame outside ourselves…

And there are many targets.  Why were we born where we were, instead of in the utopia we see elsewhere?  Why did we get born with such a rotten family, with our broken parents, our broken siblings, our broken home (which we all know is broken even if it looks nice from the outside)?

Why did we marry this spouse who doesn’t get us, who is a nag, who clearly has a ton of problems and doesn’t recognize that we’re healthy and they’re the problem in the relationship, who’s not as attractive or attentive or loving as they once were?

Why did we land in this awful career with no future, when others so clearly have it all figured out?

Why did we start this business, right before the market and opportunity turned against it, but now we’re stuck with overhead and payroll and people who depend on us and a customer base that wants more, but not enough for us to be really profitable like we’d hoped?

And everywhere around us, the pastures look brown — like the grass here in Nebraska, now that summer is gone.

But when we look off into the distance into others’ pastures, they look so lush and green and perfect.

This is the human condition…

Most folks who read my emails are probably not Buddhists.  However, there’s a lot to be learned by studying The Four Noble Truths, which are at the very core of the Buddha’s teachings.

My best explanation in plain English…

— There is nothing in this world that creates true and lasting satisfaction.  The flip side of that being that all existence is suffering.

— Chasing satisfaction and running from suffering creates an endless cycle of pain and agony and feeling broken.

— The only way to find inner peace and deep happiness is by willfully choosing not to chase satisfaction or run from suffering — but to accept and embrace them as equally essential elements of life itself.

— That’s not easy, and in fact it’s a lifelong practice helped through being kind, gracious, and caring, living a measured and disciplined life full of good habits, and practicing mindfulness and meditation.

I share all four of these truths of Buddhism because they point to a way out, but most people will live their lives forever stuck in a world of dissatisfaction and suffering.

Because they want what they do not have.

I’m reminded of this as my two oldest make their Christmas lists…

For the last couple years, Lego has been the toy of choice.  Star Wars Legos, Ninjago Legos, Chima Legos, and now Harry Potter Legos.

They have a TON of Legos already.  Well, maybe not a ton.  But all the Legos a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old could want and need.

I feel like a crotchety old geezer every time I tell them that in my grandparents’ day, kids were lucky to have one toy growing up!  (I leave out the fact that I had way too many.)

If they’d only choose to make the most of the Legos they already have, they could have a ton of fun with them.  But instead a new set gets built, played with until it falls apart, then they move on to wanting something new.  Sometimes the sets don’t have to fall apart before they’re thinking, “new, new, new.”

This is the “greener pasture” phenomenon, in its purest form.  And it’s something Lego embraces.

They have an ever-moving parade of new Lego sets, gracing the shelves of your local retailer, and showing up in everything from movies to books to shows streamed through Netflix to t-shirts and everything else.

Once a kid decides they like Legos, they have a never-ending parade of “greener pasture” Lego sets they can plead for their parents to buy, and at seemingly ever-increasing prices, too!

Most folks never grow out of this…

It goes from wanting the new Lego set…

To wanting the iPhone…

To wanting the new lover…

To wanting the new employer…

To wanting the new house…

To wanting the new car…

To wanting the new business…

To wanting the new (insert whatever you want here)…

As soon as we have something we wanted before, our gaze once again turns outward to another “greener pasture” we can chase.

I’m not assigning a value of good or bad on this cycle…

Sure, it causes suffering.  And you can have a much deeper, lasting happiness by stepping off the cycle for yourself, enjoying life but not attaching your happiness to having to reach the next “greener pasture.”

On the other side of the equation though, this constant journey toward “greener pastures” is what drives human progress.  Our lives are immeasurably more interesting, stimulating, and healthy today than they have ever been before.  And it’s because humans, at our core, have been given this very fundamental drive toward finding (or creating) the next “greener pasture.”

As a person seeking happiness, it pays to detach yourself from the constant drive toward greener pastures…

Especially today, “keeping up with the Joneses” — which is a total “greener pasture” phenomenon — can break you financially and psychologically.

You can’t compare your intimate knowledge of your broken inner life with the facade others show the world, of their perfect life.

Because, as the parable goes, if you visit their greener pasture and stay for a while, you’ll realize it was no greener than yours.

You can’t go chasing opportunity after opportunity, industry after industry, hoping you’re going to find the one secret place nobody knew about that’s easy, lucrative, and fun — that gushes cash and happiness and rainbows and unicorns without hard work or suffering.

You’ll be chasing that fiction all the way to your grave.

For happiness and success, you are best to pick a pasture and stick to it, care for it, nurture it, and embrace the fact that sometimes it’s brown and sometimes it’s green and sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down and sometimes it’s broken but you can almost always fix it even if it’s just with duct tape…

To stop blaming your situation but embrace it, and decide to take responsibility for making the best of what you’ve been given.

However, there’s a flip side…

As a marketer, you can’t ignore the greener pasture phenomenon…

In fact, you should embrace it.

There’s an interesting maxim in selling, that goes back far enough I can’t hope to attribute a source.  My most direct “lineage” is Mark Ford, aka Michael Masterson — though I’m certain he got it from someone who got it from someone who got it from someone…

“Sell people what they want, give them what they need.”

When someone is looking at a greener pasture, it’s incredibly difficult to sell them fertilizer and an irrigation system.  They don’t want to be told that with investment of time, energy, and especially work, their pasture can be greener than the rest.  That may be what they need…  But it’s not what they want.  And importantly, it’s not what they’ll buy.

What they want and what they’ll buy is that greener pasture.

Maybe what you sell is indeed a greener pasture.  At one point, copywriting was my greener pasture.  And the industries I write for now were my greener pastures, too.  If you legitimately help people to a greener pasture, that’s an amazing sales pitch.

But what if you sell fertilizer?  Coaching, info products, consulting services, and more designed to help people make the best of what they’ve already got?  Well…

One time I heard Dan Kennedy say he likes to emphasize “more vacations” to business owners.  It’s a byproduct of improving your business — and infinitely more desirable to the “greener pasture” gaze than even a doubling of profits this year.

The “seduction” market — which teaches men how to pick up women — operates largely on this principle.  All the marketing is about how to pick up hot women, but when you investigate what makes buyers truly happy, it’s not scoring a bunch of one night stands but actually finding one woman they can love and respect to build a relationship with.

And in the case of Legos?  Well, it’s probably pretty harmless to keep pitching new sets to my kids.  We’re using it to teach financial responsibility — they get to spend allowance and birthday money on new sets they want, knowing they’re deciding to trade off getting something now for something else they could buy later.  And, we’re sorting all the sets back out so they can build them again, just in time to add new sets to the mix this Christmas.

Okay, I think we won an award…

I think this is the longest, most in-depth Breakthrough Marketing Secrets post ever.  If I’ve ever earned the “your FREE newsletter is as good as most I pay $99 per month for” testimonial, I think I did today.

This is powerful stuff.

And not only does it answer the original question about choosing a niche for your copywriting business (or using copywriting to grow the business you already have)…

But it ALSO uncovers one of the most powerful, breakthrough marketing secrets out there…

AND teaches you how to live a truly happy, fulfilled life…

I guess I’ve done my job for the day.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets

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