A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times



I’ve got a really great deal for you in today’s blog entry...

You see in front of me, on my desk, I have a single sheet of A4 paper - and if you ask me very nicely, I’ll sell it to you for just £1,000

Tempted? I didn’t think so...

After all, a sheet of A4 paper costs about a penny, so it probably seems a bit overpriced at a thousand pounds.

But wait - don’t say ‘no’ just yet...
because I want to tell you a bit more about this sheet of paper...

You see, it’s got some writing and a drawing on it. You didn’t think I’d try to con you out of a grand for a blank piece of paper did you? That’s not my style at all. No, if I’m going to sell for a piece of paper for £1,000, you can rest assured that it will be a fully printed piece of paper.

Are you any more tempted yet?

Damn, you’re a difficult crowd to please! Okay, the drawing is a map, and the writing is a series of map co-ordinates. In the centre of the map, I’ve drawn a cross where the map co-ordinates meet.

Bet you want to give me my money now don’t you?

No? Well that can only be because I forgot to tell you one very important thing. That cross marks the spot where a million pounds in used notes is buried. Take the map and the spade, dig up the cash, (it’s only a few feet down) and you’ll be instantly wealthy.

By now - assuming you believe what I say is true - you’d be crazy not to sell everything you own to raise the £1,000 you need to pay me for my A4 sheet of paper. And yet it’s still the same sheet of A4 paper which you thought was worth no more than a penny just a minute ago.

I’m sure you’ve got the point,
but just in case you haven’t let me labour it for you...

When someone buys ‘information’, they’re not paying for paper and ink, they’re paying for the benefits they’ll get from the information supplied. So there’s no link between the cost of supplying information, and it’s real value to the customer.

Hold that thought in your head while I tell you a little story...

On 24th January 1848 James William Marshall stooped down into the American River at Coloma, California and picked up a shiny object which was to transform thousands of lives forever.

Marshall, along with a group of 20 men, had been sent to the river to build a sawmill for John Sutter, a wealthy landowner. It was as the project neared completion that Marshall made his discovery...

And it turned out to be Gold!

Both Marshall and Sutter tried to keep the discovery under wraps, because they knew that an influx of prospectors into the area would scupper their respective plans for completing the sawmill and developing the area agriculturally.

Not much chance of that with a certain Sam Brannan around!

Brannan, a local store owner, never bothered to search for gold. He had a much better plan in mind! When he heard of the discovery, he ran through the streets of San Francisco shouting about it to anyone who would listen. In his hand was a bottle full of gold dust, by way of proof.

Strange behaviour, you might think...

But not for a man who had just bought up every shovel, pick, axe, pan and every other piece of mining equipment in the area first!

Prices went through the roof. Items which Brannan had obtained for 20 cents apiece were now being snapped up by the thousands clamouring to stake their claim for $15. His sales rocketed to $150,000 a month (we’re talking about the 1840’s remember) and by 1856 Brannan was earning a reputed $500,000 a year, and was said to own almost a quarter of San Francisco. He was California’s first millionaire.

Thousands of people descended on California during the 1840’s and 1850’s, desperate to make their fortune from gold. Most of them made nothing... But the shovel seller got very rich indeed.

And here’s the interesting thing...
155 years later, it’s still the shovel sellers who make all the money.

How do I know? Well just look at the thousands of websites peddling shovels to the world.

Now the ‘shovels’ they sell don’t look anything like the shovels Sam Brannan made his fortune from all those years ago, but they serve exactly the same purpose. Those prospectors had a goal - to find something valuable, and to achieve it they needed tools.

And many people want to discover something valuable to them too,
And like the prospectors of old they will need certain tools to do it.

But here’s the difference. Brannan's tools were made of wood and metal. The ones sold today are merely electronic sheets of paper and ink. Brannan's tools were to be used with your hands. Where today’s are to be used with your head.

You see, information is the most powerful (and profitable)
modern day ‘shovel’.

Hopefully, what I’ve just attempted to explain in a roundabout way, isn’t too obtuse, but just in case it is, let me help spell it out:

1. There are fortunes to be made by selling the tools people need to achieve a goal or solve a problem.

2. One of the most effective tools people can use to achieve a goal or solve a problem, is top quality information.

3. Selling information is extremely profitable because its value does not relate directly to the cost of conveying it. Remember that £1 Million treasure map on a piece of A4 paper?

I want you to be clear about something though... it’s important.

Nobody in this scenario is being conned, cheated or short changed in this process. Customers are generally delighted with the ‘informational shovels’ they buy today. And no doubt somewhere there are files bulging with letters saying so. Their lives have often been transformed for the better, because of them.

But it’s still the way of the world that the shovel seller always makes the most money, because if he chooses the right shovel for the job, the customers will come in droves.

Let me give you a real life example...

I love property. I’ve bought it, sold it, renovated it, developed it and rented it out. It’s made me a lot of money. But here’s the point...

It’s all ‘small potatoes’ compared to the amount I’ve made
selling property ‘shovels’!

It’s a fact – I’ve made much more money setting people up in the property markets than I ever did in construction alone... all for simply helping people to stake their claim for profits in the property market. And boy, have they staked their claim!

The last time I totted up the figures in my property testimonial files, my customers had made over £2 Million as a direct result of the information I’d supplied them. And they’re just the ones who’ve written back to me!

Isn’t that great? I make money, my clients make money. Everybody’s happy. What could possibly be better than that?

From your point of view, I’ll tell you what could be better than that - what would be a whole lot better would be if it was you who was making all this money from creating and selling the informational shovels which can change lives.

Well I’m sure you’re absolutely thrilled for me, but on balance (taking all things into consideration) you’d prefer it if all that lovely cash was flooding into your bank account rather than mine. Am I right?

Well you can’t have my money. It’s mine, mine, MINE... do you hear, and I’m keeping it! But fortunately you don’t need mine, because you already have everything you need to create your own fortune...

You see, I firmly believe that most of us are carrying the raw materials for at least one fortune making information product around in our heads. We just don’t realise it. Put simply, we don’t fully appreciate what we know - or how valuable it might be to other people.

I firmly believe that even you have a £100,000+ a year information product stuck between your ears, just waiting to be released. And it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the key to releasing that idea and exploiting it to its maximum value - is through the selling of information.

Look, I have to be honest with you...
I can’t wave a magic wand on your behalf.

A couple of months ago, I received a letter from a gentleman who was desperate to get into the information publishing business... and what did he want from me? Oh not much... just a sure fire profit-making product to get the ball rolling. Oh yes... I almost forgot... and a dead cert mailing list to mail it to!

He didn’t at that time ask for my car keys,
but maybe that was next on his list!

I couldn’t give him what he wanted, and I can’t give it to you either. You see, this red hot, can’t fail, fortune making idea is locked away in your own brain. It’s something to do with what you know, who you know, what you’ve done, and what you can do.

It’s a cliche I know, but you’re unique... and your unique combination of skills, experience, contacts and knowledge contains within it, the seeds of an information product which could make you rich beyond your wildest dreams... and change your customer’s lives for the better.

And the first stage to unlocking this fortune making idea
is a deceptively simple one...

Simply take an ordinary (penny a sheet) A4 piece of paper and divide it into 4 columns and at the top of each column write:

1. What can I do? (Skills)

2. What have I done? (Experience)

3. What do I know about? (Knowledge)

4. Who do I know? (Contacts)

And then write whatever comes into your head. Most people are stunned by the amount of data which comes out of this process. Within an hour (or maybe even less) you will have the raw materials from which you can craft your first information product concept.

It’s in there somewhere... hidden away in one or more skills,
contacts, experiences or nuggets of information.

Let me give you a couple of examples from my own list. I’ve already published a couple of information products, many of them coming from making lists like this. Here are a couple of other ideas which I’ve just thought of while writing this blog entry...

One thing I have quite a bit of interest in is buying and selling fancy cars... not as a business, just as a consumer... and I’ve learned a lot about the whole process.

If you were considering spending upwards of £50,000 on a Ferrari or Porsche, might you be prepared to invest £20-£50 or so in a report detailing what potential problems to look out for with the model you’re interested in, the best place to buy, which dealers will rip you off, which dealers will treat you well after the sale, what kind of discount on the screen price you can negotiate, who will give you the best price when you come to sell, how to save hundreds of pounds a year on servicing, maintenance and insurance...and a great deal more?

I hope the answer is yes... because you’d be an absolute idiot if you wouldn’t. Information like this - from someone who’s already ‘done it’ as such - and learned the hard way, could be worth thousands of pounds to the right people. This idea could be developed into a separate report for each model I’ve got direct experience of owning.

I’m getting carried away here...

And then... and then... I could consult with other people (the real source of this information) I know who’ve bought and sold other fancy cars (us extremely rich fancy car type people knock about together you know, I found them all at a prestigious golf club car park) and extend my range of reports to cover other models. Pretty soon, I could have the whole top end of market covered. I’d get repeat business when people were thinking of trading in, and some customers would buy several reports at once because they’d be considering several cars. This is a great market by the way, because the potential customers have plenty of money to spend too.

Can you see how this simple idea... which I have genuinely just thought of while writing this... could develop into a profitable information publishing business. And it came from thinking about what information I have, and how it could benefit other people. You have information like this. You just don’t know what it is yet.

Okay, here’s another idea from my personal list...

I have a friend... let’s call him John, (because that’s his name) who through 15 years of experimentation and trial and error, has developed a diet which works absolutely brilliantly. He used to be overweight, but at the age of 41 he’s got down to around 7% body fat... the average is about 20%... and is in first class shape... not just for a 41 year old - for anyone! The diet has elements of The Atkins diet, but without any of the negative side effects. It’s the sort of thing you can stick to for life - without feeling hungry or deprived... or getting constipation, bad breath and furred up arteries.

Do you think I might be able to interest people in a diet like that? The weight loss market is one of the most lucrative there is. I think... no I know... that I could market Mark’s diet very successfully, and any customers would be getting something of life changing value for very little money. And I’d make a big profit - which would be nice!

Look... these are just two ideas from my own list. There are dozens of others to come out of it... and there will be dozens of ideas just as good as these (and probably better) on your own list.

Just bear in mind through this whole process, that your goal is to simply create an informational shovel which your customers can use to help them achieve their goal, whatever that is. The Treasure Map I started out this blog with is probably as close to the ultimate information product as it’s possible to get...

A massive guaranteed benefit, for little or no effort on the customer’s part... all conveyed via a medium with practically zero cost.

And the closer you’re genuinely and ethically able to get to this ‘ideal’, the more successful and profitable your information products are likely to be.

Well it’s just an idea to help spread the cost of living in these difficult times. Have fun with it.



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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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