Small Business Ideas: Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS)

Small Business Ideas: Obama SigningSmall Business Ideas: Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act

The summary version is that the JOBS Act lowers the bar for people to invest in small business ideas. President Obama signed it into law on April 5th, 2012. The SEC has 9 months to write the rules under which it will be implemented.

Small Business Ideas: Crowdsourcing

One of the major features will be crowdsourcing. In a nutshell, it means that a crowd of people will be able to invest in small business ideas. Prior to this, the regulations were more strict about who could invest. There will still be investment limits based on income but at least now most people will have a chance.

Small Business Ideas: Internet Portal Funding

Another important feature for small business ideas is that a major distribution channel for this crowdsourcing will be via internet portals. There are already sites designed to match angel investors with startups but now that’s expected to increase substantially. Think for American companies.

“It will make it easier for small businesses to attract investors, to gain access to capital, to become the next big thing,” said Tom Quaadman, a vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


Small businesses raise cash from crowds

How the JOBS Act Will Disrupt Funding for Small Businesses

Wikipedia: Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act


While some criticize the bill saying it will open consumers to predatory and fraudulent investing schemes, one has to ask: aren’t we already? If anything, it gives consumers more control over their own lives.

Yes, we’ll want more third party safeguards and seals of approval. In the age of social media, we’ll look for credibility from others who have had good investing experiences. No doubt a whole new industry will spring up around giving innovative small business ideas the credibility they need to attract investment.

Small Business Ideas For Social Media

Small Business Ideas Share ButtonsSmall Business Ideas For Social Media

At this stage in the game, everyone knows that social media is a big deal in small business ideas. For any business dealing with consumers (and most who are not), a social media presence is almost a requirement to thriving in today’s market.

Is Social Media Working for Small Business Ideas?

The interesting story behind social media is not whether to use it but how. A site, Business 2 Community, reported a few statistics on social media usage as well as posting an infographic detailing survey results from Intuit.

Small Business Ideas from Business 2 Community:

  1. Businesses engaging with customers on Facebook build loyalty and drive word of mouth.
  2. Special deals and offers are the top reasons consumers follow a brand on Facebook.
  3. Social Media Experts can help take the burden off building and managing social media pages.


Social Media and the Impact on Small Business Marketing

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media (Infographic)


To follow on to this list, item #2 is also true for Twitter. We’ve seen examples of businesses do well promoting their specials on Twitter once word reached their customer base.

The most interesting small business ideas from on the Intuit infographic to me was the conflicting views between small business owners and their customers. The most effective Facebook tactic for reaching customers according to small business owners was wall posts (followed by direct messages). The most effective tactic according to customers was special offers and discounts (followed by direct messages.

In using social media, it would also be helpful to talk to your customers and ask them what they’d like to see on your Facebook page.

The small business ideas to take away are that you should be on Facebook and that you should find a way to post special offers and discounts.

Hello Small Business Ideas

It’s late in coming but Daily Small Business Ideas is starting now.

All of the prior NLP Marketing content will remain on this site. I’m simply shifting emphasis to a larger market – small business ideas. This will be for starting a small business as well as improving small businesses.

The content will mostly be curated posts. I’ll look for what seems to be the best article or two each day and write share them. If you’ve been on the mailing list, individual posts will no longer be announced since there will be content every day. In fact, this will be the last one. If you want instant notification, I’ll be connecting this to Twitter.

Additionally, I’ve developed a number of NLP models that I will be releasing in coming weeks. A model of networking will come out first. It seems like a lot of the best small business ideas come from people we interact with. Hopefully a model to do that better will be valuable to people.

Update to NLP Marketing Blog

I’ve completed building the tiny house and now I’m ready to get back to some marketing.

Over the months, I’ve been attending the Internet Marketing Party here in Austin and have a new vision for how I want to do this site.

Specifically, I’ve come to realize that I no longer want this to be a site that focuses on NLP marketing – firstly because I think the only thing left to say about it is to test new things and I haven’t been doing that lately. Secondly, not many people are searching for “NLP marketing.”

Ranking #1 on a keyword doesn’t mean much if it gets less than 400 searches a month. Most of the time it’s hard to monetize that small amount of traffic. Most spell checkers still don’t recognize copywriting as a real word and most humans think you mean copyrighting.

Another interesting observation is that even though I only posted twice in this last year, my biggest traffic month in the past 3 years was October 2010. That tells me that there’s a steady interest in this topic but also that no one else is trying very hard to compete on this keyword.

I’ll leave up all the post I’ve done this far if anyone is specifically interested in weaving NLP into copywriting. I am going to take down my hypnotic writing course and eventually put it up as a ClickBank product so others can sell it too.

On to the new vision – I’m planning to do a curation site for starting a new business and getting new business ideas. Eventually I plan to roll out the modeling projects I’ve done because most of them relate to gaining skills that would be useful to anyone starting a new business.

Least you fret, it’s not going to be another internet marketing site. A curation site tries to take all the incoming news from anywhere on the internet and reference it and comment on it.

My intention is to make this the blog to read for getting new business ideas and starting a business. It’s not going to be my advise but rather my comment on all the news out there as it happens – as best I can.

I’ll need to write a number of pillar articles before I start curating. I’m planning to start a fitness curation site as well. I actually have always spent much more time studying and practicing to improve my health and fitness than marketing. There may not be too many noticeable changes before those things happen.

The NLP marketing and NLP modeling will still be here – they’ll just be operating quietly in the background as this site transforms into a resource for starting new businesses.

If there’s anything else you’d like to see here, feel free to leave a comment. I’ve been thinking of getting rid of CommentLuv though as it seems to attract lower quality comments.

Harlan’s Blue Balls Story

A few days ago, Harlan Kilstein (NLP Copywriting guru) asked his mailing list what we thought he was doing in a particular email he sent.

What follows below is the original email, his selected best response, my comments on that response, and my response.

I’m still plugging away at the tiny house (see the previous update post) but I figured I could post this since it was almost already written.

First, Harlan’s email to the list:

From: Harlan Kilstein

To: Louis

Sent: Mon, June 21, 2010 6:25:12 AM

Subject: Blue Balls and NLP – The Email Contest

Sometimes, I like to share a work in progress with you guys.

This is an email I sent out today to my list.

And I thought I’d have a contest.

The best explanation of what I am doing here wins a free copy of my book – Steal This Book. It’s $197 selling price so start your engines.

Just email me your thoughts by Midnight tonight and I’ll pick a winner.

I share your name publicly tomorrow.

Subject Line: Blue Balls. Not What You Expect.

You are receiving this email because you signed up at The Hypnotic

The news out of Rome is shocking.

Italian police have seized 70,000 balls of mozzarella cheese because they turned blue when the packages opened.

The police and the agriculture ministry are investigating the world’s largest case of blue balls.

You see, mozzarella cheese is the pride of Italy.

They serve it on everything for pizza to salads. They probably even have mozzarella gelato.

And it it’s turning blue…

Could it be poison?

But Italians were shocked this weekend to discover their “Italian” mozzarella cheese isn’t really mozzarella.

And it isn’t really Italian either.

Real mozzarella cheese in Italy is made from buffalo milk.

This stuff is not.

And it’s not made in Italy either. It’s imported and re-packaged.

It’s shocking when you realize something you trusted isn’t what you expected.

It’s the same way with The Secret.


Now don’t get me wrong, teaching people about the Law of Attraction is great.

Changing it and diluting it is not.

And when you start changing the ingredients without telling anyone.

You don’t get results. You get blue balls of mozzarella.

What Rhoda Bryne did was re-write the Law of Attraction to fit her image.

She took Esther Hicks out and left her on the editing floor.

And she took out all mention of taking action.

You were left with ask, believe, receive.


What happened to take action? It’s not there anymore!

And that’s why so many people don’t get results with The Secret.

So if you want the real deal, take action now.

Click here to get The Hypnotic Secret.

It’s the real deal.



Here’s the response he chose as the winner (posted here):

Harlan, here’s what you’re doing in the great e-mail you sent out today.

1 – Pattern interrupt: the subject line starts with “Blue Balls,” which interrupts the readers’ patterns when the readers are scanning their e-mail in-box. “Blue balls” is a slang phrase relating to sex, and sex grabs the readers’ attention if the readers understand the phrase. Plus, since you are very religious, a subject line starting with a slang phrase relating to sex surprises me much more than it would if the e-mail were coming from, for example, a sports blogger. So the subject line grabs the readers’ attention and forces them to open the e-mail, regardless of how busy they might be.

2 – Humor, to get the readers on your side: you retell the news story about the tainted cheese in a way that makes the story much funnier, because it’s you, not the regular news stories, that refer to the tainted cheese as “blue balls.” So you reward the readers for reading by giving us readers a good laugh.

3 – Making clear the point of your retelling the cheese story: you highlight, in ways the news agencies did not, how the tainted cheese is fake and how, even if it were not tainted, it would still be disappointing, because it says it is made in Italy but was really made in Germany and calls itself mozzarella although it contains no buffalo milk. So you emphasize how much of a forgery the tainted cheese it.

4 – Metaphor: You use the metaphor of the fake cheese to introduce the important way in which Rhonda Byrne’s book and film The Secret changed the Law of Attraction to make her book and film sell more copies than it would if she had told the truth about the Law of Attraction. And because you related The Secret to the fake cheese, which is also tainted, your readers will infer that The Secret is tainted, too, in its own way.

5 – Problem and agitate: You have revealed a key fact: that The Secret is a fake version of the Law of Attraction, and The Secret cannot teach anyone how to succeed with the Law of Attraction. You have revealed a problem that all readers and viewers of The Secret will encounter. Then you have agitated to make those readers and viewers feel cheated and lied to.

5 – Solution: You present the solution, which is YOUR fine product, The Hypnotic Secret.

6 – “Tell them what to do”: You have revealed that what is missing from The Secret is the necessity to take action. Then you tell your readers to practice the Law of Attraction by taking action to get the REAL guide to implementing the Law of Attraction, and that real guide happens to be your product, The Hypnotic Secret.

Although I bought The Hypnotic Secret as soon as I received your first e-mail about it, today’s e-mail about Blue Balls is so good I want to buy The Hypnotic Secret all over again!


Lee Marcus

The blog post then goes on to recap and tell you to buy more of Harlan’s stuff.

Here are my comments on the winner’s response:

  1. Email isn’t a pattern interrupt unless you have it dinging you every time you get one. The classic pattern interrupt is to ask someone if they smell popcorn in the middle of a conversation. The title is a standard curiosity builder. It’s effective but not NLP.
  2. Everything I’ve ever heard says to stay away from humor in your copy. Plus, I didn’t see it as terribly funny either. Interest provoking – very much so. Funny – not so much. Maybe I’m just the wrong demographic.
  3. Now that I’m rereading it, I’m not sure what the 3rd point is saying. I think it’s just that he told a story. Not NLP.
  4. Metaphor, yes. That’s the big one.
  5. True, there’s problem and agitation, but that’s not NLP.
  6. (Second 5) Yes, there’s a solution but that’s not NLP either.
  7. (6) It’s a call to action. Not subtle or elegant at all and not NLP.

Much of the most valuable feedback I’ve received in my life has been in areas of improvement. I included that in my response but found it curious that the winning response read more like a product testimonial.

My response is here:


I got your email. I’ve read it over and here’s what I think you’re doing:

Your headline provokes curiosity but then has a double meaning not evident until you’ve read the email.

The “Not What You Expect” is a mind read because as soon as the person sees blue balls, they’re thinking that can’t be what it would mean in a more commonly used context. The second meaning is the therapeutic metaphor you use. It’s also an embedded suggestion (not quite a command). There’s also a presupposition that they are expecting something which they will be after reading it.

Your first line is a pacing statement. Hopefully they recall being on your list and if not, now they do.

I’m not sure whether your only hyperlinking the “” was intentional or not. If so, it might be to foreshadow “The Secret” to which you later refer.

You then use a current event as a therapeutic metaphor. You also leave out a lot of details that are in the BBC article on it such as the fact that the cheese in question comes from Germany and they suspect it’s a non-toxic bacteria but are testing it to make sure. Leaving those details out (deletion) lets the reader assume the worst – that it might be poison as you suggest or that it was artificially manufactured in some third world country.

Through your metaphor, you’re mapping it onto people’s experience with “The Secret”. Blue balls becomes the “fraud” surrounding “The Secret.” This list probably prides themselves in their belief and use of the secret to everything including their gelato. I never came across mozzarella gelato when I lived in Italy and your readers probably suspect no such thing exists too. But that sets a context where they can think their interest in “The Secret” is normal by comparison. And you’ve set a generalized referential index by talking about Italians which are just a more specific “they” which are really “us” and “me.”

You transition to “The Secret” with the line about something you trusted not being what you expected. You do a time pattern starting in present tense “It’s” and “realize” (also a leading statement) while ending in past tense “trusted” and “expected”. The suggestion is that you now realize you no longer trust the old stuff and need a new paradigm (i.e. your product).

The transition applies to both the metaphor and your point with “The Secret.” The reader doesn’t notice the transition though until you come out and say it’s the same thing. You talk about changing it to go over with the public. That allows the reader to sit there and think, “yeah, they didn’t teach it right.” You don’t say that your reader specifically was one of the people that was deceived which would probably offend their intelligence. And even though they can sit there and think they already knew it wasn’t the whole story, they can also realize that they’re now curious about what your take on it is.

For readers who know the background of “The Secret”, you probably lost them a little in next part. First off, you misspelled Rhonda Byrne. You suggest an unsubstantiated ulterior motive (fit her image?). Esther Hicks was actually in the first version of “The Secret” and the real story is more interesting than the version in the email. She wasn’t left on any editing floor. She didn’t feel congruent with the way it was being mass marketed so they created an “extended version” which was exactly the same as the first except they replaced her with a little more footage from one of the other speakers. At least that was all I could find when I researched the subject before. Private opinions are usually different than what can be found online.

I think your closing could be improved. I see the tie-in between the missing ingredient being action and taking action to buy your product. That part works fine. The gap is that if you just revealed what was missing – action – why do they need to buy your product anymore? They can just go take action. Your readers are probably also familiar with Joe Vitale’s work in writing “The Missing Secret” too. Are they now to think that your hypnosis version is better than his? No doubt your differentiate on your landing page but without further investigation, this sounds like a me-too (or rather the more popular – not-me) spin off from “The Secret.”

We all know people buy emotionally but a leap in logic can throw them off course too. Saying action is the missing ingredient so take action and buy my product that will tell you to take action… well, it isn’t a compelling value proposition. If you’ve just told them “The Secret” is right except for taking action then why would they need to spend more money instead of just taking action in their life?

The words you use in your call to action is to tell them it’s the real deal twice and then click the link. If you use the words “click here”, they should be hyperlinked. Otherwise, it should say “click below”.

Overall, good tie to current events, use of curiosity and metaphor. If you make sure the facts you include are accurate and have a stronger call to action, I bet you’ll increase your conversion rates even higher.

Good idea to have a contest for have your readers evaluate your email (and maybe even have a few click through and buy your product or get on that particular list).


So what do you think? Was I off base offering points for improvement? Did the winning response offer better content?

An Update

I haven’t posted for a while due to moving across town, a couple of different work projects and getting married.

A couple of customers of my “Be A Hypnotic Writer” Course have let me know about a few broken links and other errors that I’ve gone back and now fixed. I also created a new, one hour delta meditation audio for kicks.

I emailed everyone the updated info. If you didn’t receive an update, let me know and I’ll check the records.

If you’d like to see the new cover art for the course, go here:

I’ll still be posting here from time to time though less often due to a new project I’m working on. If you’re interested in sustainable living, I encourage you to check it out:

Austin Tiny House

Connect With Yourself First

In many marketing discussion we hear that you must connect with your audience. You must enter the conversation taking place in your customer’s mind.

I’d like to add that your ability to connect with an audience is directly related to connect with yourself and your own experience. Here are some examples of what I mean:

Lately I’ve been making plans to build a tiny house similar to what they make at Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. One issue is the plumbing on something that’s more or less off the grid. After reading a book on humanure, I realized our plan as a society is to separate ourselves from our own waste and transport it off to treatment facilities when your yard or garden is where it really ought to go. We’ve removed ourselves from that part of the cycle of life.

In the past year or so, I’ve taken to eating more raw food. Rather than vegan, I’ve headed down the raw-paleo path. As a people, we’ve generally separated ourselves from our food supply and production. Most of what we consume comes out of plastic bags and cardboard boxes instead of from the ground or from an animal. I can tell you, I notice a huge difference when I switch over to processed or cooked (dead) food for a meal or two. We’ve removed ourselves from that part of the life cycle.

Over the years, I’ve studied violence. As I’ve mentioned, I was an army medic. I’m also now an instructor candidate with Target Focus Training which teaches how to handle violence by creating injuries in the other guy. Through those experiences, I’ve seen how deluded most of us are about life, death and violence. Most people hope the police show up in time if something ever goes terribly wrong. We’ve separated ourselves from the reality that criminals have no problem using violence to get what they want. We see news about more people killed in our various wars. It seems like most people don’t realize none of those people died peacefully in their sleep. We don’t even get to see flag draped caskets anymore. We’ve removed ourselves from that part of the life cycle.

Over the last year, I’ve been using running in Vibram Five Finger Shoes. My muscles had to relearn how to run but once I adjusted, I’ve never had another stress injury. Evidently, the vast majority of foot, ankle, knee, etc problems people attribute to running are actually caused by their expensive footwear. If we went barefoot or nearly barefoot, all that goes away. You were made to experience the world through your feet as well. Imagine if you lived your life with your hands in oven mitts all the time. How much sensory input would your hands miss out on? Locking our feet up in allows us to ignore where we’re going and tromp through life totally unaware. We’ve removed ourselves from that part of the life cycle.

Steve Pavlina is the number one personal development blog by most any measure. He recently posted on Intimacy and Label-Free Relationships. We’re separating ourselves from really connecting with other people by our use and dependence on labels. I highly recommend his post to you.

All that’s to say, if you want to connect with your audience, connect with yourself first. It’s not about perfection but progress. It’s all about your effectiveness and ability to impact the world around you.

Vitale’s “Hypnotic Writing” Chapter 24-25

In chapter 24, Joe goes into depth on rewriting. Sort of. He calls this the most important chapter in the book. He goes through the process a couple of times. Here was the first example:

  1. The door was opened by Joe.
  2. Joe opened the door.
  3. Joe kicked open the door.
  4. Joe kicked open the door.

He calls the last line irresistible. Perhaps. From an NLP perspective, the idea here is to use kinesthetic language in 1st position. That’s what they call active voice. The rest of the chapter is another example and narrative of him doing this process with a client.

Chapter 25 is about using language tools.

Joe recommends using a thesaurus to find simpler words.

He also recommends using similies. I’m sure you’ll take to that like a duck to water. I seem to remember hearing somewhere not to mix similes though. That would make you as blind as a baby’s behind and smooth as a bat.

Then there are analogies. One of his examples is a chess analogy: “The strategies in this book will teach you how to checkmate the competition!”

And finally we have quotes. It’s good to set quotes apart visually. Your reader’s eyes are drawn to them. And from the quotes pattern in NLP we know that quotes can also give us an implied endorsement or speak for us… say something we wouldn’t or shouldn’t or that needs more credibility than we could give it ourselves.

“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.

Vitale’s “Hypnotic Writing” Chapter 22-23

In Chapter 22, Joe talks about how many of the past great writers got that way by imitating other great writing. Specifically he encourages us to copy other letters by hand. As far as I know, that’s a universal recommendation for copywriters. Michael Masterson said that you can type out letters and it works the same. I kinda wish I would have known that before I copied out a number of letters by hand.

Chapter 23 is how to get inspiration to write. Joe’s advice is to do it and the inspiration will follow. That’s also in line with what all other writers I’ve heard say. Stephen King talks about that in his book “On Writing” too. I think I remember him saying he writes for an hour a day even on holidays. Many copywriters write for an hour or two first thing when they wake up.

How long you write for is another matter. One famous copywriter, Eugene Schwartz is famous for his 33 minute, 33 second writing sessions that he enforced with a stopwatch. Steve Pavlina says it takes him about 15 minutes to get into a flow state and an article could end up taking him 4 uninterrupted hours to complete.

The take away here is to plan your writing time and then just do it.

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