Claudia Altucher in her book ‘Become an Idea Machine‘ doesn’t think so, but I have sort of a mixed opinion about it.
I used to think it’s only about the work you put in, and there are actually cases where people just learn a skill by spending 10,000 hours of practise on it.
Malcolm Gladwell talks about this in his book “Outliers” – the Polgar sisters became Hungarian chess grandmasters just by training chess with their father for 10,000 hours.
However, I do believe that somebody who is more talented will always outscore someone who is less talented if he or she works the same amount.
The ability to make connections between nerves and muscles or within the brain, a certain bone structure conducive to specific activities and so on are simply factors that are predetermined through genetics.
If the difference is blatant, I believe the talented person does not need to put ANY work in to get to the same level that the untalented person achieves after putting 50,000 hours of work in.
I do believe greatness comes from a combination of talent and work ethic.
If you are less talented, you can always outwork a lazy talented person.
That’s why lots of talented people underperform.
Rest assured though that in times of pressure, the talented will always come out on top.
What would you do if you were 17 again – and instead of going to college, do something really cool instead?
You could widen your horizon, train something intensely or even start a company. When you are 17, you have the most luxury of trying something new. You don’t even need to be rich. One year to explore the world and what you are really going to do.
The point of these ideas is to not follow the herd.
Christmas is around the corner.
And what does everyone do?
Buy into the whole shopping and consumerism.
Instead focussing on: – reflecting about the year – being present with family and friends; – be grateful about this time of the year;
People spend their time: – stressing out by running from store to store; – barely acknowledging the people around them – worry about not satisfying all demands.
For those reasons, I have collected some alternative ideas. Maybe not full of glamour, but with experiences that will potentially last you a lifetime.
The winner here though comes from Cam Adair, who just invited his Facebook friends to his Family Christmas.
Isn’t that the whole spirit of Christmas? To open your home and share?
Before I start sharing these ideas, one point: in the movie “Groundhog Day”, Bill Murray has to relive one day in the past over and over before he has understood the true meaning of life. He is allowed to move on after he has created several meaningful connections with people. All the value he is giving to people allow him to move on with his life. So remember, the more we give, the longer lasting memories we create.
“Stuff” that we accumulate again and again is exchangeable. Only our connections to other people will last and allow us to move forward in our lives.
We are losing touch with those that came two or three generations before us. New Social Media Apps are born and rise to the top in ever decreasing intervals. Our world becomes faster and faster paced.
And today, 4 year-olds already handle the iPhone better than their 20 – 30-year-old parents. Sorry guys… I consider myself pretty computer savvy – at the age of 40 though, I actually belong to the grandparent generation of Social Media 😉
Yet, our society also grows older and older. Thus, there is a huge market that caters to people of 60+ years.
So it makes sense to design business ideas around serving the older generation.
I find that they can come from two different categories. (a) In person services. (b) Items that make specific things easier.
However, here is a disclaimer: I am not a professional copywriter.
The ideas I have accumulated below are based on my personal experience and material I read, and they are basically nothing but that: ideas.
Imagine your friend wants to sell his car. How would you improve his ads?
From my own perspective: what gets me sold is not the classical sales punch.
Even though I may go on craigslist with the intention of buying a car, somebody who tells me a story how his car has done great things for him and then just shows and describes his car without asking me to buy will win.
If I am entertained while reading the sales letter, I actually think by myself: ‘this was fun to read, how can I give back?’ Luckily, the guy who wrote the letter just happens to sell his car!
It is also important – though often overlooked – that every type of car has a different audience. A sports car will sell to a different market segment than a Lexus. A Prius will probably have different buyers than a Jeep.
So you want to target your ad to your specific segment of the market. A family that buys an SUV will care less about speed and more about safety and ease of handling, e.g. how easy it is to add or take out an extra seat if they want to bring friends along for a picnic etc.
A sports car buyer will be happy to see how many carburetors the motor has and whether you installed special exhausts that add some horse power.
Stress out those respective features in your ad.
Here are several specific ideas.
#1 – Provide a better headline.
According to Robert Bly’s “Copywriter’s Handbook”, 80% of people are sold on the headline… they only use the text of the copy to reconfirm their good initial impression. This list has some great templates for headlines.
#2 – Provide photos.
A photo tells more than 100 words.
Have the car displayed in good lighting from a perspective that makes it look nice.
In addition, show yourself. If your potential customers see your face, they will simply trust you more and you will stand out from the majority of ads you find.
#3 – Provide a video.
If you have the possibility of a video in your ad, do it.
The video could show you starting the car, driving it etc. – and at the very least show the potential customer that they can trust you.
#4 – Tell a story about that car.
Tell a specific story taylored to the car and the audience you want to sell it to. Show them a potential benefit.
If the car is a family car, then tell a story on how you went out to the beach with your family.
Maybe something unexpected happened, and then grandpa saved the day. This story would communicate that everyone was secure and unharmed in the end.
If the car is a sports car and your audience will mostly be younger, talk about how this was your first car after your 18th birthday and you took your girlfriend out with it.
You would make that story about how this car makes the buyers cooler among their friends.
And if it is a small car, mostly purchased by people with limited resources, talk about how you drove that car to clients and were able to sell them something because they liked the understatement.
Suggest to people that they, too, can make money using this car.
Which is actually not a lie – my friend works for an insurance company, and his clients appreciate that he drives a “normal” car.
Tell your story in 2 – 3 sentences, if possible, with a picture (see #3) that fits the storyline.
One photo alone can tell the whole story.
#5 – Testimonials.
Maybe you can add some testimonials from a friend. Like a citation. For example, if your friend is a car mechanic, you could have him say:
“The easiest car I have ever worked with. Despite one sluggish windshield wiper, which we fixed, it was a pleasure doing the yearly inspection for Mike and his car. Sorry to see them leave us!”
Your friend, the mechanic, has just explained to the world that the car has been kept in pristine condition with only minor changes. Moreover, he has declared you a trustworthy person that he liked doing business with!
#6 – Showing how the car will help people solve a problem.
Once again, it depends a bit what your target customers are.
What I mentioned in #4 applies. Tell a little story. In addition, give some extra advice.
For example, if your car is a family car, add a small line: “A little advice: if you have a playmobile duck and some Micky Mouse comics on the backseat of the car, your kids won’t have to be told twice to get going on the next family trip”.
If your car is more of a sports car, add “a little tip: always have a CD with slow rock on board, and you’ll never have awkward silences again”.
You want to convince your target audience that you are a source to be trusted.
Bonus: even if they don’t buy, you have given them great advice and they have likely learnt something from you. Who knows, maybe they recommend you to one of their friends?
#7 – Good design
For example, use blue-grey colors if you are selling a car for professional purposes.
Like a Lincoln town car that people will probably use for driving clients around.
If the car is a sports car, add some design to make it cool.
I would copy the design from ads made by the car manufacturer. They have likely run extensive studies on which colors and letter type appeal best to their target audience.
If you are looking for an easy way to design graphics – there are several templates out there, for example, canva.com.
Also, if you use a photo, have it take up ca. 60% of the area of the ad, according to the Golden Ratio.
#8 – Include your phone number and eMail address.
Make your ad as trustworthy as you can.
If you have a social media account, also provide that account. Make yourself accessible out there. Nothing to hide.
Besides, people actually Google you anyway. So direct their curiosity into lanes that you have control over.
#9 – Offer a test drive.
I rarely see that offered, but why not?
That shows your willingness to let the customers see for themselves.
#10 – Add promotional offers
If you can, add a bonus gift for people that want to buy your car.
Ridesharing service offers (buy the car, get a bonus if you use it for Uber) work great, because you point out that the customer can actually earn money with the car. Alternatively, you can could offer potential buyers a promotional code for a local car repair service or similar.
#11 – Advertise on Social Media
For example, you could run ads on Facebook targeting your ideal customers, down to their location, age, interests and consumer behavior. So you can point your specific target audience to your ad or your webpage. Down to the amount of money they earn. Then, have your ads point to your car.
If you already have a social media followership, talk about how the era of you and your car comes to an end. Share some memories with your car. Talk about why you bought that car in the first place. Share your enthusiasm and generate some buzz for your car.
The bottom line for an ad that would excite me and potentially entice me to buy?
#1 – Tell a story about you and your car and
#2 – Show that you are a trustworthy person that does not try to “sell me up” on something.
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.