Buy This or the Puppy Gets It: the Dirty Little Secret of the Business World, and How You Can Prosper Despite of It

The more time I spend being in business, and especially online, the more I’m confronted with the unethical behaviour of some people.

Now, I happen to like marketing.

Used right, it’s a force for good.

Martin Luther King for example was an excellent marketer, so let’s call this point QED.

And I like selling too, and I’m good at it.

But I often walk away from a sale.

Because that’s my code of ethics: if someone isn’t ready and eager to work with me, I shouldn’t have their business or their money.

I shouldn’t and won’t persuade people into working with me.

So what’s that dirty secret in the business world?

It’s this: manipulating people into buying by leveraging the wrong element of the human psyche.

We’re built, hardwired and programmed, to a) avoid pain and b) move towards pleasure.

That’s deeply ingrained in our subconscious, and it has an influence (and often a mandate) in literally everything we do.

But a LOT of marketing works on that first one: avoiding pain.

In a narrower sense: loss aversion. The fear of missing out.

“Get this now or you’ll never build a business!”

“Buy this or you’ll be a loser forever!”

“If you don’t enroll today, this offer will go away forever!”

“Buy this or the puppy gets it”. (Hat tip to Hugh MacLeod)

And that’s wrong.

Sure it’s good to have a limited time offer, to make a special deal that will disappear, or to create an offer at a one-time-only discount.

But to pummel people into compliance by ruthlessly pushing that button that tells your gut “Your life won’t work without this” ?

That’s trying too hard.

But, the fact that so many people do this and do it aggressively, gives you an advantage.

Because you get to show up as an ethical business professional, with an interest in your client’s well-being.

That allows you to build relationships with people.

And over time, those relationships will turn into sales.

So when you see people driving hard sales based on the human tendency to avoid loss and pain, do this:

1: Close the page and move on. I don’t feel that kind of person deserves your business and even if they do: if you were to buy, you’d do it because you’re being manipulated. And you deserve better than that.

2: Smile, knowing that you’re not like that, and that while those folk have to advertise and sell sell sell and work intricate systems of adwords and SEO and conversion rates, you’re building an audience and relationships and therefore: a healthy and ethical business.

3: Write an email to your list. Because whatever your business and whatever your audience, email marketing is a fun and non-pushy way to show up to people who just might want to work with you.

And if now or at any point you want to work with me, you know what to do.



The Problem With Complex Things

“I want to be a coach”, she says.

“It’s becoming really popular here in Spain”.

I smile and think that this is a good thing.

Because the way I see it, everybody should have a coach.

The effect it has on one’s life is amazing and large and life-changing.

The more coaches in the world, the better.

It’s not always easy though, so I tell her:

“It’s fun work, but it’s complex”.

To which she replies: “I like complex things”.

And I wonder: with that attitude, things could easily get complicated for her.

Because complex things aren’t bad, but they just so easily can turn into complicated things.

And complicated things are a whole bunch of no fun, in my opinion.

I’ll go for simple over complex any day of the week.

For example, when applied to your business.

Do you want it complex, potentially complicated – or would you rather have it simple?

If the latter, here’s what a simple business setup looks like:

1: Have something people already want.

2: Have a website that showcases what you do, and where you show enough of yourself for people to be able to relate to you. That  website is the hub of a wheel.

3: The spokes of the wheel are the various ways in which you attract people to your website. Social media, ads, brochures, books you publish, speaking gigs, charity contributions – whatever method is best for you to get in front of the right audience.

4: Make your website’s primary mission to invite people to sign up to your list.

5: Communicate in ways that are valuable with your list, by way of email. Can be written, videos, audio recordings – whatever it is you prefer: create something that helps people and that asks for the sale. Communicate with consistent frequency – once a week at a minimum, but once a day is better.

Keep driving people to your site, and keep talking to your list, until you reach velocity.

Meaning, until the size of your list is big enough, and the relationship with your subscribers strong enough, for them to want to do business with you.

There. A simple, adaptable, testable business model, built for growth and prosperity.

And without any risk of getting complex or complicated.

And fun too: you  won’t believe how wonderful it is when people start to reply to your emails – either with money in hand, or simply with positive feedback and thanks.

You get to show up with helpful and inspiring information, and you get to make a living because of it – what could be better?

Hm. Maybe having a coach to guide you through the process – maybe that would be better?

Let me know if that’s what you want…



Ew! What Kind of Girl Do You Think I Am?

If you know me, you know that I’m not shy about marketing, or asking for a sale.
But at the same time, I’m not a pushy marketer-type either.

I’m just not that kind of girl.

Besides: there’s no need to be pushy.

Your customers are smart enough to make up their own mind, when it comes to doing business with you.

Because people love to buy, but they resent being sold to.

That said, if you don’t *look* open for business, you’re not likely to *get* a lot of business.

Proven yesterday, during two separate conversations – one with a coaching client, and one during my weekly mastermind meeting.

In both cases, the ‘not enough sales’ problem was down to a very simple thing:

Not asking for the sale.

Which, again, has nothing to do with being pushy or spammy.

But if on your optin form there’s no call to action (CTA) that says ‘Subscribe and you’ll get ABC’ or something similar, the number of people who’ll subscribe will be low.

Similarly in your emails: Sure the primary purpose is to build a relationship with people, by giving sharing something valuable – but if you sign off without a message such as ‘and if you want this (or: want to work with me), then do XYZ next’.

Where XYZ can be to get in touch, or click on over to your website, or download a digital product, or whatever action you hope people will take.

Same thing on your website – your checkout page, your work-with-me page, or whatever the case may be.

People on that page have taken in the info, they are likely to have an interest, and you asking them simply ‘Want this? Then do *this*’ is the most logical and natural closing line.

It’s not a good idea to force people into taking action – but never be afraid to ask for the sale.

Like this for instance:

Want to work with a coach who will change your life and your business for the better?

Ok then. Hit reply and let’s talk.


That didn’t hurt.



Call In the Missionairies!

Most everyone I work with has a big mission, something important they want to put into the world.

In fact, I deliberately seek out people who want to manifest something meaningful, something beyond ‘making a living’.

It’s what fires me up, when someone has some form of ‘a better world’ as part of their goal.

But at the same time, this ‘do-good’ attitude can also be an Achilles’ heel.

Especially when we give too much of ourselves.

Yes, I said that.

It is possible to give too much of ourselves.

Which might be odd, coming from an ex-monk who spent his life practising self-effacement and putting the other first.

But let’s face it: if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, how are you going to help anyone else?

You need to take care of yourself, or else none of your good intentions will have any effect.

And sadly, many people with a big passion for helping others seem unable to take care of themselves properly.

You know: the Mother Theresa complex – where something tells you that you need to give give give, no matter the cost or the return.

And out you go, serving and giving and helping – and you come home empty and depleted.

So should we become selfish?

Not in the least.

The thing to do when your desire to change the world isn’t working?

Two things.

First: give to matchers and givers, and be very careful not to give to takers.

Because takers keep it for themselves, instead of sharing forward or giving back.


Give to people who want your help.

Listen for the call, the request, the sign that – spoken or unspoken – says: Can you help me?

Because when you give and help to people who aren’t looking for help, aren’t receptive, what will happen?

You burn out, is what.

And believe me, I’ve spent many years making that mistake.

All the time forcing help onto others, when those people just had no need or interest or receptivity.

And it resulted in nothing but fatigue.

Thing is, we’re not a one-man religion.

It’s not our purpose to convert the entire world to accepting our help, like some sort of missionary-movement.

So sometimes, you need to call in the missionaries.

That’s my term for ‘stop giving without aim, take care of self, and give deliberately and purposefully’.

When you do that, when you ‘call in the missionaries’, you can truly give, and truly help, those who are looking for help.

Are you looking for help?

Then I’m here for you.

Just ask.



“When Creating Art, Buyers and Sales Should Be the Furthest Thing From Your Mind!”

Thus spake an artist friend the other day.

And while I commend the integrity of the statement, I do have my doubts.

Before I go on, do note that I have little authority to issue an opinion on the matter, given that I’m not a professional artist myself.

But here goes anyway, less pontifically than normal.

To start with, there’s the question ‘when creating WHAT?’

If, say, you design T-Shirts, or postcards, or you’re a portrait artist on the street, then obviously you want to sell them.

Which logically means you’ll need to ask yourself if people will want to buy it.

But actually, the more I think about this, the more I disagree with my friend.

Here’s the deal: it all comes down to your own integrity as an artist.

And to me that means that choosing to make something that you know buyers will pick up isn’t necessarily wrong.

Or think of it like this: You make art for the love of it.

And you sell it for the money.

Anything wrong with that?

Course not.

Anything wrong with making something you know will sell?

You tell me.

But, it’s a narrow line to tread.

It’s a very small step to commercialising or selling out.

And the idea of ‘I’m not selling out – I’m buying in’ doesn’t hold water, in my opinion.

Sure, it’s smart to ‘do more of what works’.

But should you become formulaic, start repeating the same tricks just because you know it sells?

I really don’t know.

Probably not, unless you want to turn your art into a personality-less company.

So today, I’m handing over the question to you.

Is creation while thinking about sales or buyers ‘allowed’?



The Return of Scuzzy McSalesface and His Amazing Exploding Audience

A few weeks ago, one of the entrepreneurs whose list I subscribe to sent an email with a subject header that made me think.

I forget what it was exactly, but it was along the lines of ‘Use this trick to explode your audience!’

And I thought: what complete hogwash.

For one thing, what’s this ‘explode your audience’ thing?

Why would you want to explode your audience?

Sounds pretty messy to me.

Sure, I get it: it’s a figure of speech, fair enough.

But it’s a figure of speech around a concept that is designed to beguile people.

Because sure, you can do things that make your audience grow big, and very fast – but whatever you do, it’s going to be hard work.

It’ll take time, and lots of it, and you’ll probably have to invest money too.

SEO, design, crafty copywriting… you don’t get an ‘exploding audience’ for free.

Just won’t happen.

And yet, marketers will jump at every opportunity to try and fob off yet another push-button, never-been-this-easy, fully-automated-business-building-machine widget or course.

It’s what made that guy come to me a few years go.

He wanted to invest $1000 with me, which he thought would get him a website, copy, traffic, and sales.

He earnestly thought that for 1K you can build an automated money machine.

Disregarding the fact that if that were possible, I’d be doing it myself instead of for others.

But, he’d been told by some scuzzy marketer that this stuff really works.

Of course you’re not that gullible.

But, the marketing industry has spent about 100 years becoming really very good at selling stuff, and you don’t need to be gullible to be taken in.

Not if the seller knows what he’s doing.

After all, the biggest cons in history happened to some really smart people.

Psychology is behind it: the smarter and more experienced we are, the easier it is to think that we won’t fall for a con.

And it’s exactly that confidence that a con artist preys upon.

That’s why it’s called ‘con’ – short for confidence.

And to me, the kind of marketer who uses hype and manipulation and the promise of mountains of money or insanely fast auience growth, is no better than Bernie Madoff or someone who tries to sell the Brooklyn Bridge (which a man George C. Parker did many many times. True fact).

So be on the lookout for things that seem too good to be true.

They usually are.

Why this advice today?

Because I want you to know that when someone wants to sell you something with the pure intention of making your life better or solving your problems, they’ll do it in such a way that you won’t feel manipulated.

A good and ethical seller will give you all the options, realistic expectations, and, most importantly:

The full power of deliberation and choice – in your hands.


If you do exactly that same thing, you’ll never have to be salesy, won’t have to manipulate or push people.

Instead, you’ll become someone far more pleasant to buy from.

And that’s good for sales – and it’ll give you a higher percentage of satisfied buyers as well.

Which in my book is a good goal to strive towards.



Art Is Service. Any Idea How Much You Could Be Adding to That…?

It’s not just about painting pretty pictures.

There’s more to life than letting the muse inspire you.

If your only mission is to earn money with art, you’re missing the point.

Here’s why:

If you live with the ability to create things, to manifest, that means you were gifted a talent, with the purpose of changing the world.

And the actual art that you make, well that’s only part of the gift that you could share.

This was made clear to me once more, when I read what a reader told me in an email:

“You’ve helped me immensely even though I haven’t signed up for more than your emails. I’m not sure I would ever have finally churned up this truth from the pits of life’s insecurities without your help:

Though you cannot eat art to stay alive, bread does not feed the soul.”

Stop and think about that for a moment.

I’m not showing you this to boast – I have a different purpose here.

For this reader, my daily mission to write something that helps you, actually does have the effect I desire:

For you to absorb a thought that makes a difference.

These daily emails, they are service first and foremost.

Point is, you have the ability to do the same thing.

Provided you want to.

See, every action has a reaction, and in terms of humanity, psychology and communication, every message you deliver could cause another person’s state to change.

Just like music, or art, or a massage, or some delicious food can cause another person’s state to change.

And state change, to me that’s what all life is about.

Changing your own state, or offering others the option to change their own state.

There’s nothing lofty or magical about that either.

At any time, you are susceptible to a state of reverie, or melancholy, or beauty or gratitude or happiness, depending on what you expose yourself to.

And conversely, you have the ability to expose others to parts of you that can change their state.

And again: the art itself is a mighty fine too for it, but it’s only part of your toolbox.

This is why I’ll say forever that email marketing is so damn useful.

Whether it’s in writing or in video or audio or whatever your preferred method:

When you put yourself out there in front of people, showing parts of your personality and larger vision, you add something HUGE to the art itself.

And I say that the more you do it, the more you serve the larger purpose of being an artist.

Where Ghandi said ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’, I say this:

You are change.

Now my challenge to you:

Live it.



Values, Morals, Ethics, Money and… Spiritual Integration…???

Of course ‘spiritual integration’ is a made-up word.

Besides, I don’t even know what spirituality actually means, other than maybe a large degree of ‘not-I’ as part of one’s orientation in life.

You know, the notion that others around you and other generations to follow us are more important than our own self-interests.

For me, that’s all the definition of ‘spiritual’ that I need.

But, for many people with a similar view, that totally excludes earning money.

As if money itself is evil.

Well, it isn’t.

Money is just a tool, and the bigger your tool, the bigger the effect it has.

And for a stellar example of that, I take you back to 1755 Lisbon, when an earthquake and tsunami made friends and conspired to wipe out 85 % of the city.


But because the Marquis of Pombal was fabulously rich, he could afford to rebuild the city in record time.

How’s that for integrating values and ethics with money?

Tools. They rock.

A car is transportation, a hammer is good for building, and a chair is for sitting.

But used wrongly, each of these can be a weapon.

So it really isn’t the tool that’s the problem: it’s what you do with it.

And that means that if you have an important mission, and you do want to change the world, it would really serve your purpose in life if you come to accept money as a tool.



Let’s say you have a book in you, a really good and important one – a book that can have a massive impact and one that the world must read.

But, you can’t find a publisher for it…

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you had, say, $20K saved up, so that you can self-publish it far and wide, and launch it with a bang?

I’ll say.

But if you refuse to integrate a healthy view of money with your mission, you might perpetually fall short of manifesting that what really matters to you.

In fact, I’ll take it even further:

If your values and views around money are so strong that you don’t want to earn enough to change the world, then actually that’s a selfish attitude.

It would mean that your own values are more important than impacting the world in a meaningful way.

And that doesn’t help anyone, other than your own feeling of self-worth for having such high moral standards.

But you can’t fix the world with broken hands.

You can have a big impact without any money, sure (Oh, hello there Ghandi!)

But if you don’t have a massive audience behind you, you’ll find that you can get a lot more done if you have the space and the funds to invest, so as to amplify and speed up the important work you want to do.

Sometimes, I coach people who struggle with this, and it’s inspiring – massively beautiful – to see someone shift their perception.

When a person goes from fear of possessions to knowing at a very deep level that possessions can create possibilities – that’s so very rewarding.

So yeah, I like my job.

A lot.

What about you: have you managed to integrate money and earning, with the values and morality that makes you you – or are you creating less change than you’d like to because your values hold you back…?



Their Stupidity Doesn’t Turn Your Art Into a Free-For-All

The other day, I saw a Tweet that showed an ad that Sainsbury UK had published.

It went along the lines of:

“We’re looking for an artist, to come decorate our employee dining area.

“We won’t pay you, but it’ll be fantastic exposure!”

Really, Sainsbury’s?

Exposure to what… a few hundred employees?

I fail to see how that benefits the artist.

Supermarket employees… do they buy art?

Maybe some do, but I very much doubt they’ll have the financial reality to spend 500 or more on original artwork.

Besides, the entire concept of the proposal is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

And even worse: it plays directly to the still-thriving starving artist-mindset.

Art for free?

Hell no.

Art is not a commodity.

Making art is a public service and it can have massive impact on society.

Da Vinci’s work still inspires scientists and inventors.

Jules Verne seeded the idea of undersea travel, and now we have divers studying marine life with mini-submarines.

And that stylized b/w image of Che Guevarra we see on t-shirts?

Yep, that still has its impact on people.

Examples abound, of exactly how influential and important art is.

And yet, we’re still being sold the BS story that as an artist, you’re not meant to make a living from it.

People still think that because making art usually has little practical cost, it shouldn’t cost anything.

After all, some paper and a pencil… less than a dollar, and you can make art with it.

(Of course other kinds of art require a bigger financial outlay – studio time and instruments for a band, or buckets of paint if you do large murals, but that’s not the point).

The point is that art should be paid for not for what it costs, but for what it delivers.

And artists should get paid for the value they deliver.

And that value is much, much bigger than you can imagine.

So don’t give your art away.

Assert yourself.

Take a stand, and don’t back down.

Because what you bring to the world changes the world, and never forget that.

And when they come asking if you can do stuff for free?

Guess what my answer would be…

Now, my question to you is: what if you know this, and you do get paid, and you know your work is worth more…

… but for some reason you can’t find the way to make that happen…

… could it be that you’re holding yourself back in some way?

If you feel that maybe yes, then it could be due to inner obstacles and limiting beliefs holding you back.

Want to work on those, do inner work and change your state, your mind, and your world?

Good to hear.

Let me know when you’re ready for powerful coaching.



Should You Engage With People When They Reply to Your Email Marketing?


This question came to me yesterday, courtesy of a painter.

She’s been emailing her list weekly, is seeing some nice results from it, one of those being regular replies.

So, the answer to her question?

Yes, definitely, absolutely.

Otherwise, you’re just broadcasting messages, much the same as traditional advertising.

Which is fine if you’re Coca Cola or Amazon: companies that large can keep shifting money into their campaigns, up until the point they make a profit.

But we as artpreneurs, we don’t have that economy of scale.

We need to make every dollar and every hour count, otherwise we’re just spinning our wheels.

Besides: it would appear pretty arrogant, if someone pays you attention or a compliment, and you don’t at least acknowledge it.

A popstar who refuses to talk to his fans after a show doesn’t make many friends, you know?

So yes, definitely reply to people: it’s the one way you can start a conversation with them, and build it into a relationship.

You don’t need to make a job out of it, you don’t have to write a full epistle.

Very often a simple ‘thank you for the kind words’ is enough (though I do recommend something slightly longer and more personalised).

Also, when you do reply to somebody’s reply, it’s a good idea to ask a question: that way there’s a bigger chance the conversation will continue.

Remember: if you want to write the kind of emails that people love reading, that gets you replies and fans, and that leads to people buying from you, I’ll show you how.

Details here –>



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