Who was Jim Straw?
For those of you of haven’t ever hear of Jim Straw, I want you to know that he was one of the most down-to-earth marketing experts and business people, that I have ever had to privilege doing business with.
In his own words, Jim was “The eldest son of a farmer/aircraft worker, born in Oklahoma and reared on farms in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas”
Straw began his long, successful career in business at the age of nine; when he sold his first cans of Cloverleaf Salve and copies of “GRIT” newspaper. Even at that early age, he had the unique talent of recognizing an opportunity, implementing a plan, and making a profit.”
While, I never spoke with Mr. Straw on the phone nor exchanged personal emails, I considered myself to be one of his true fans and faithful readers.
Since 2007, I have been looking forward to his monthly email newsletter, The Business Lyceum – The Practical Instruction in the Arts & Sciences of Making Money”
And of course over the years buying several of his business books and courses. His books, based on his 50 years of experience as a millionaire business owner and direct response marketer has helped me cut through a lot of the smoke and mirrors that far too many so called internet marketers spread around in order to sell their ‘guru’ products.
Jim Straw was a very upstanding kind of guy, you told things pretty much as he saw them. While you might not have liked everything he said, you knew you were getting the straight scoop from him.
Unfortunately, Mr. Straw passed away on December 3rd of 2012. I already miss his newsletters and reading his timely insights and common sense advice on business and marketing.
So I thought I would share with you one of my favorite emails from him (yes I saved as many as I could over the years). The bold emphasize is mine.
How to Get Rich
Post by: Jim Straw
People often ask me …
“How can I get rich?”
Well … let me tell you how I did it.
1) I learned very early in life that the ONLY way to make money was to “sell” something … either a product or a service … something people wanted or needed – or – do something for them they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do for themselves.
2) I learned to “make do” with what I had, until I could get what I needed to do a better job.
3) I learned that I had to do anything necessary (but legal) to get to where I wanted to be, even if I didn’t like doing it (especially if I didn’t like doing it). — You can do ANYTHING you need to do … until you can do what you want to do.
4) I learned to never ask anyone to do anything for me that I wasn’t willing to do myself – and – everyone who has ever worked with me has taught me about what they have done for me and how they did it. After a while, I could do it, too – but – maybe not as well as they did.
5) I learned to “pay” for what I wanted. If I couldn’t afford it, I saved-up to be able to afford it. (Sometimes if seemed like forever.)
6) I learned that no matter how long it took to achieve my goal (whatever it was), it would have been just as long if I hadn’t persisted, but I would have accomplished nothing.
7) I learned that NOTHING is as easy or as fast as it should be. It only gets easier and faster when you know how to really do it – and – learning how to really do it is just a matter of doing it over, and over, and over, until you finally find out how it works. Of course, if you give up after the first (second, third, or fourth) try, you’ll never do it.
8) I learned most of what I know from my mistakes and failures. My successes never taught me anything … they were only based upon what I had learned from my mistakes and failures. (That’s why those who are afraid to make mistakes, or fail, never achieve the success they desire.)
9) I learned that my most prized possessions were my customers. People who, directly or indirectly, paid for my lunch every day. (That’s why, unlike my contemporaries, I reply to my customers emails personally.)
10) I learned that “money” is NOT an end unto itself … it is only a way of keeping score. (The saddest people in the world are those who are forever chasing the almighty dollar – and – the vast majority of them have no real respect for money.)
11) I learned to ASK for what I wanted or needed – and – to graciously accept a “NO” as readily as a “YES.”
YES … you can get rich – but – you’ll have to do it yourself.
No one will do it for you!
I get tickled by people who want to start at the top of the ladder. — For some unknown reason, they honestly believe they are better than I am, since I had to start on the bottom rung and climb up one rung at a time.
When I mention the above, I often hear … “Yeah. I could do that – but – it will take too much time. I need money now – and – I don’t want to just make a little money, I want to get rich.”
Sorry, you’ll have to start where I started. — Do what you need to do to make a little money. Then, do more and more of it to make more and more money. As you make more and more money, the greater the opportunities you will have to make even more money. — Nothing succeeds like success … even small success.
“The more things you don’t want to do, the fewer and fewer things you will do … until you are doing as most people do … NOTHING but dreaming! I can teach you “how” to do it but, you won’t get it, until you actually start doing it yourself. “
Excerpt From: J.F. (Jim) Straw’s last book > “Mustard Seeds, Shovels, & Mountains”
The Take Home Lesson:
Every time I read this list, I am always struck by a couple of things. One is Jim’s statement that the “…only way to make money was to ‘sell’ something” . As a naturally shy person, the concept of selling anything has always.scared me to death.
I have always known this on some deep level and over the course of my life I have subjected myself to all types of “sales training”: from trying to hawk Girl Scout cookies at age 12 (was lowest seller in my troop) to selling school newspaper ads (asked to stop), to Kirby vacuum cleaners which I tried to sell door-to-door after I left the Army (fired).
But was correct in that the few times, I dis “sell” anyone my product or service the money was very nice and the personal satisfaction was ever greater. But I had to learn that for me, an introvert, that selling was actually ‘teaching’.
I learned in the military that I can teach and tutor and mentor really, really well. I can take any topic (even the most difficult and/or complex ones) and I can successfully break it down into easy to digest chunks that most people can quickly absorb and understand.
That’s what I actually do these days, I “teach to reach” my audience using the proven direct response marketing methods that Jim was famous for.
So to paraphrase Mr. Straw, I teach to sell people something … either how to use a web product or an online service effectively … something people want or need – or – I show them how to market themselves online, and offer help with the techie things that they can’t do it for themselves.
If you are interested in learning how to improve your business the Jim Straw way, then I invite you download my free special report “Boost Your Sales” to learn more.