A series of No B.S. Articles by: Dan S. Kennedy
“Worriers and spellers can be hired for minimum wage.” – James Tolleson
I won a couple “spelling bees” when I was a kid, and I’m a reasonably bright guy. But unless
you’re going to teach English lit, it turns out that mastery of grammar and spelling is not particularly important to most careers or businesses. I get letters from time to time offering to edit everything from my books and newsletters to my sales letters, to correct the grammar and syntax or present a more erudite, professional image-but these letters always come from people who have never had a book published or never made any serious money from creating advertising. You CAN hire these folks for minimum wage all day long. Most of the highest income earners I know have a few of these people around. The point, of course, is that “perfection” and “professionalism” as defined and perceived by most people has not one darned thing to do with making a lot of money. It turns out that book publishers all have editors who can fix what you write – what they need is somebody who can come up with salable books and then sell them. Ad agencies can hire people to fix grammar easily; what’s hard to find is the guy who can come up with something like “They All Laughed When I sat Down At The Piano…” that can actually sell something.
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See, when you have the ability to cause people to jump up and part with their money, you can hire – or the world will ante up and provide – people to run around behind you and do everything from fix your grammar to get your laundry cleaned to mollifying hotel managers after you’ve trashed the penthouse suite. This tells you the one and only business skill worth focusing on, worth mastering. And I can’t tell you how happy I am to have had that revelation early in life.
As an aside, if you really want to do your son or daughter a favor, push them into summer jobs in selling. Even if they want to become doctors or, God forbid, lawyers later, the most valuable part of their entire education will be the three months spent selling in the store, car dealership or door to door. (Some years back, I did a survey of 100 chiropractors with practices earning at least $500,000.00 a year; over 80 of them had worked in direct sales, like selling vacuum cleaners, fire alarms, cookware, etc.)
Similarly, you can also hire a bunch of pinheads and bean counters to sit around and worry over every imaginable detail and potential problem for a whole lot less than you can make from the same time selling or causing sales. In essence, it really doesn’t pay to worry! Hard to break the worry habit: most of us are taught this habit by our parents and have it deeply imprinted in our subconscious. The best antidote or, at least distraction though is positive, productive, proactive action. I do know one entrepreneur who actually hired a guy to worry for him – he pays him $35,000.00 a year. Every morning he gives his Vice-President of Worrying a list of stuff to worry about, and then he goes on to focus on selling and causing sales. This pretty much tells you the only two functions of business worth investing your time and energy in. And note this: everybody who takes your time or attention away from those two things is your enemy.