Jul 15

Be careful what you wish for…

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “don’t ever meet you’re heroes you will be disappointed.” Well I actually started off on the right foot with that when I was much younger, I got to send an entire day escorting Pat Benatar around a banquet. I might have been disappointed had I actually been able to put more than 2 words together, but a bad stutter and the anxiety of being 17 kept my mouth shut was more than enough to make it an amazing day.

I learned at about this same point in my life to read Biographies of famous and successful people. The idea being of course to benefit from THEIR mistakes and hopefully avoid some of yours! I’m sure that I started off just they way my mentors wanted me to I read Ben Franklin, Winston Churchill, JFK, all the GREATS in history. My mom meanwhile was always reading the “hollywood exposes”, what I called the “drug user of the month book club. Because it seemed that no matter HOW much fame or fortune these folks had, the eventually ended up dying in someone elses bed, or car gagging on their own vomit, due to an OD. So I did my best to avoid those.

Did a pretty good job too, until I was housebound the first time with my first hip replacement, then my brain couldn’t focus on anything as deep a Hawking or Feynman, and I needed some “lighter fair. So being a guitarist I started with some of the most famous guitar players on planet earth, and that brings me back around t today’s post.

Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Cyndi Lauper even Gene Simmons all did a really nice job of relating their stories and in the while if they sprinkled in some illicit excitement I kind f get what mom saw. So imagine my surprise when I find out that Joe Satriani has published his bio. I did something I never do with books, I htr the “pre order” button on Amazon. I say never because if you wait a bit you can almost always find a used copy for a penny with $3.99 shipping. Thats a hard back book, some with the receipt still inside, for $4 shipped!

I couldn’t wait for Joe’s book to arrive, I mean this was the guy who gave Steve Vai guitar lessons, this was the performer who went “Surfing with the alien”, and forced a guitar instrumental to number ONE on the charts! This is a guy who probably does the NY Times crossword in ink! He’s probably one of 3 Heavy Metal musicians with a genius IQ’s. I was finally going to get an enlightened view of touring, I was going to see what a guy who is not out chasing girls does with his downtime. I mean this is the guy who wrote the 30 hour guitar workout! (have I mentioned I play guitar?)

Now before I get into my thoughts I must say that in almost any guitar magazine that you buy you will always find one constant somewhere in the magazine. In at least one interview with an artist, who is undoubtedly on tour, you will get questions from the interviewer about the specifics of the gear that the artist used. Depending on how much space is in the article you get not only the make and models of the guitars and amps, no only their pedals and setting, but down to the picks and the strings!

Truly fascinating reading <yawn>. Now I admit, it CAN be, if written well and from one guitarist to another it is interesting, but this is NOT Guitar World Weekly, this is a BOOK about your life. Now if youre making an al;bum please give us some insight n whats going on. If you use or create a new piece of gear, explain what makes it unique. If you’re developing a new technique and don’t want to give it away, that’s your right.

But PLEASE JOE I want to read about what drove you to become a star when teaching in your moms store was the only job you could find. I want to know how someone in middle age tours so much and stays in such incredible shape, I want to learn how a guy who is gone 200 days a year still has the same sweetheart that he’s been married to all along. What I DON’T       want is to spend $25 and 320 pages reading about the guy who produced the 1st album and all the guys who played which instruments on that album. I’m not that interested in a song by song breakdown and a line by line listing of what guitar, amp and plectrums you used. I don’t believe ANYONE needs to know that the world CARES about what pack of strings you used on which guitar plugged into which effect using what batteries……

Yet there we have it. I will admit there are approximately 2 dozen pages on his early life and what inspired him to play, and then he found smoke bombs,,,,,,(he never does reveal where to buy THOSE). Joe, man I love your music, I respect your playing I’m in awe by your compositions but dude I bought a book about YOU, there are any number of fan pages, web sights or magazine articles to fill in those gaps. Man your fans love YOU not your capo’s

even if its not the best always remember

KEEP ON READING,,,

….And don’t EVER STOP writing!

May 27

Well, its been Three years now…

…and I can proudly say I have published more books than I ever thought POSSIBLE just by committing a few weeks at a time. More importantly it seems as though every-time I finish one two more start being written in my head!

 

So, were going to try something new, actually a few things.

 

Now I KNOW this is dangerous, the gurus all say if youre going to change things do it one at a time and measure them for a while after every change! But I never took direction very well anyway, so here goes.

 

I’m scrubbing everything out and starting over, but with a twist! This year I’m going to start 3 more books and I’m going to show them to you as I write each and every one.

 

Right here in the home page will be the general tips and tricks, this is information you’re going to want to take note of, as its going tro show you exactly what I doi and when I do it!

 

But you’ll also notice some interesting tabs at the top of the posts and they will direct you to my newest material.

 

Is this a good idea? A bad idea, running walking, driving home..

 

just remember to write every day….

 

and never. don’t never stop[ reading!

 

 

Apr 29

…Well ALMOST any excuse…

We are developing a new series of ideas that I wanted to share with you. If you like what you see here find out more at:

www.any-excuse.com

My wife and I start work at about the same time every day, but my schedule is slightly less rigid than hers, so for the moment it’s my responsibility to drop Charlie off at school.  For those of you new to my universe, Charlie is my 5 yo and this is his first year of kindergarten. If you have not been blessed with the joy that is children, let me just say that I have frequently stated that “If I had known it was this much fun, I’d have started sooner.” Of course I will also admit that had I had children earlier I probably would not be as patient as I am now, although I am FAR from Sainthood, as my son will attest.

However one difference that I strive to make every day is to demonstrate by ‘doing.’ We tell our kids to look both ways before they cross the street, but, do you? Think about it, your sitting in a 2000 pound car, getting ready to cross a busy highway, how often do you “really” take the time to look both ways, as you no doubt tell your kids to do. I know the ONE time I didn’t; my son said from the back seat, “hey dad, did you see that light?” He was being as polite as a child can be, while making his point.

That being said, what about YOUR morning routine? Tomorrow, make a mental note of how many times you say to your child, “Come on, hurry up, or were going to be late.” Now in my situation I could ALMOST make a valid reason (excuse), for saying that, see my son’s school has gotten smart, they are so tired of kids being late that they now penalize the parents! Your child had 5 excuses per quarter. After that they (you) get charged $1 for every time they are late, after that its $5 and then there is a 2 day at home suspension. They understand, that as a private school, its NOT the bus drivers fault, they don’t have one.

But back to the subject at hand, how often do you allow your child, regardless of their age, to be a kid? For example, this morning, Charlie wanted something different for breakfast, cereal, and no milk; normally he’s a pancake kind of kid. So cereal no milk here we come, cup of chocolate milk on the side, and as I lay it down I say, ok, now in 20 minutes you need to be doing “X.” What X is doesn’t really matter; Charlie is a Melancholy personality so you don’t ‘surprise’ him with things that have to be done NOW. He gets that from his mom. So he has, as he sees it, plenty of time, so he eats a piece of cereal, watches TV, eats another piece, you get the idea.

So at 10 minutes before the next event, I remind him, ‘hey, you got 10 minutes’, he looks up, shoves two pieced of cereal in his mouth, “OK dad.” And goes back to the TV. Five minutes later I walk past and notice that not much cereal is gone, “Hey you know you have 5 minutes before X, you need to eat, we can take that with us, but I know you don’t like to eat in the car.” He looks up at me shocked at the idea that all that time has vanished, “Dad, I think I want milk on my cereal.” I look down at him, knowing that he would have preferred it from the start, “well bud, if you want to have some after school, we can put some milk on it, but right now you just don’t have time.” He starts to protest, at which point I remind him of X and why we do X at that certain point in the day, and now he’s all about X.

We are at school, and I’m walking him up to “his line”, that’s where he and his friends wait every morning for the teacher to come and collect them. He looks up at me and says, “Dad, do you have to leave right away?” Now he knows I’m on my way to work, but because of a recent accident, he also knows that I can sometimes be flexible in my leaving time, so I look down at him and say, “Why, do you need me to wait with you?” Understand that the “final whistle” had been blown so we were less than 5 minutes from his teacher coming to collect his class. What can you do in 5 minutes that REALLY makes a difference? In an elementary school parking lot at 8am, you can get in your car and wait in line with every other parent rushing off to work. Of course, having done that you will also have the picture in your mind of a very sad faced little boy, trying desperately to choke back his tears.

Why does a 7yo who has been attending school for over 5 months get scared some days? Who knows, who cares? I’m dad, and you know I can do in 5 minutes? I can pick up a little boy, have him wrap his arms and legs around my whole body and have get a kiss no the cheek. Then I get to hear, very quietly, “I know I’m going to miss you, but I know I’m going to see you this afternoon.” This is something Charlie and I say to each other each morning before we part, it’s also the reason why, like last week, that it drives me absolutely insane when my j.o.b. forces me to stay late. Not because I don’t like working late, but because I made a promise that I now have to not keep! So I repeat it back to him, give him a big smooch on the cheek and he’s fine, he gets down and starts talking to all his friends, I could be invisible at that point, or so I think. Because when the teacher does come get him, and the line starts moving, he turns and with a HUGE grin, yells “bye daddy, I love you,” and I repeat THAT back to him, just as loudly.

Then as I get in my car I see the thing that breaks my heart the most, Emily’s mom, or Sanjay’s dad, or the Twin’s nanny, has screeched to a halt at the end of the line, and practically shoved the child out the door, while yelling, “run, hurry, or your going to be late.” I’m not the most patient dad in the world, and I’m not the GREATEST planner in the world, and I know, stuff happens, you get a flat, you get a ticket, and you get juice spilled in your briefcase. But I don’t EVER want my child’s last words heard by me, yelled in haste as I ENCOURAGE them to run across a crowded parking lot or busy street.

So yes, use any excuse, pick any ‘reason’ you want, but don’t EVER pick that one.

 

and this is one of those SIMPLE ideas you could pick up from reading that YOU could apply everyday! What ideas do YOU have that people can benefit from? Write them down, get to 10, right a book!

 

Apr 23

…As we were saying!

See those numbers work if there are certain things that can be counted on as assets, and this business has none. The location is leased, the customer list is almost non existent, the owner recently got into a war of words in a popular social media site with a detractor, and has never collected phone numbers, addresses, birth-dates or anything else about her customers. But actually thats not a bad thing in this case, because since she has been operating by trying to UNDERCUT instead of OVER QUALITY her competition, you don’t want those customers anyway. The first time they see the new price list, they will all go away on their own.

So I suggested she do the same thing I suggested when she wanted to start her sideline business of information products. “You need to write a book.” Not a huge 300 page tome, as a matter of fact if you can keep it to 100 – 120 pages that PERFECT! The title? Well thats just as easy as well, “Why you SHOULD be paying your groomer more: The 10 things that your groomer will NEVER reveal about low priced dog cuts!

OK , so now SOME of you remember, yes Kay is the award winning groomer who had training videos that she needed to market and needed a tag line! Thats right and her book, the 10 things your Groomer will NEVER REVEAL about keeping YOUR Dog HEALTHY. I’d like to say it was a NYT best seller but since that book, like the one I’m suggesting now, are going to be given away to perspective customers, you cant really get ON a best sellers list if your giving the book away! But think about it, if you’re used to paying $17 for a dog groom and you’re new place says the average will be $50 what in the world is going to make you EVER want to try a service thats TRIPLE the price? Well for one thing, if you break down some if the services that are provided that with the new owner that will keep your fuzzy friends part of the family for an average of 5 years longer. Thats what!

That will kill at LEAST 5 chapters, with the first one introducing the new owners and staff the next 5 will be an in depth HEALTH REALTED explanation of the extra services, accompanied by a personal story from your current salon highlighting at least one if not more pets whose health was improved dramatically by obtaining these services on a regular basis! Posting good looking photos of these dogs in the new salon help substantiate the book as well. So now you have your first 6 chapters you have 60 – 75 pages, you will then fill it with testimonial stories \from your current clients each chapter highlighting a different health concern that all dog owners deal with, but how your clients have been able to avoid, for example Chapter 8: Food they are SO much MORE than they eat! My mom thought she was doing her little hunney bunny a great service by only feeding her 8 Oz. Of soft moist XYZ refrigerated food, only to find that after 30 days of ABC Hard Dry food she was thinner, healthier and keeping up with our new puppy… those kinds of stories NEVER go out of style.

Combine each of those next 3 chapters with the human heart needs (yes I know theres 4, just waiting for YOU to catch up), and you are now sitting with a GREAT 11 – 12 chapter 125 page ‘booklet’ that will require an advertising investment of $1.10 each, but they have a cover price of $9.95, you are now giving your clients something of a VERY high perceived value, something that is an advertising expense, and something that you can use to introduce yourself to every veterinarian in your new town, and you have created an amazing gold mine of information.

I know we have been through this before, but its all true, its all about writing, and you know the one things you MUST do to be a good writer, and that is, to keep READING.

Preferably something like my blog, because YOU KNOW that with 2 hours a day you can write YOUR book in just 21 days!

But Remember TWO very important things!

 

1) if you’re writing NON fiction, make sure you have your facts straight. After all what would YOU want an author to be able to say about his sources if they were writing about YOUR son or daughter?

2) Never stop writing but more importantly NEVER EVER stop reading!

Apr 21

Spoke with a business owner the other day…

I had a great visit with a friend of mine the other day, I’ve told you about her before, she is a most;y single mom who has taken a “hobby” and turned it into a 6 figure income in just a few years. Just a few years and LOTS of hard work. So, we were talking and she said “I’m thinking of buying a new store.”

Now I’ve known Kay longer than I’ve known most other folks in my life, and I know when she said “I’m thinking of doing…” then she has already looked at it 6 ways from Sunday, the numbers all add up, but she’s looking for ANY reason at ALL on why this would be a bad idea. Knowing shes a top notch business woman, I didn’t have to ask about the numbers, but she offered them to me, here a brief sketch: Its been in business about 10 years, the books show that on a “part time basis” (5 hours a day, 5 days a week), with the claim of being “THE CHEAPEST PLACE IN TOWN” and she’s still posting mid 5 figures that there is a lot of potential! I would agree with that 100%

So I asked, if Kay would take over the store for the first year, and allow her assistant to run the one she currently has? “Well not really, but the entire existing staff has to go.” OK now that could be an issue, see the store is currently 3 counties away and she knows already she’s going to have to do a massive hire and train process. That can be very expensive, but again, she knows that part. In most businesses you average out ‘X’ number of years Gross and the retail cost for the business is going to be 10 times that. So in this case if the store is grossing $50,000 a year (that is pretty gross isn’t it?) than in many cases it could be worth $500,000, but not in this case.

 

WHOA its WHAT TIME? Oy, Mickey says its time to GO!

 

Tune in next time to see what I suggested she do!

 

Keep on writing, and NEVER stop reading!

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