It really IS worth the Fight

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After I got laid off from engineering, I told my buddy Frank Kavenik, 15 years older than me, that I was going into sales. He’d started as an engineer, became a very successful entrepreneur and was running a radio station.

He cautioned me, “You don’t just stick a pencil behind your ear and start selling stuff. Sales is a whole entire new world of mastery.”

I knew he was right. But I slathered on some Perry optimism, figuring I’d be a quick study, bustin’ sales records in no time.

After a couple of years of baloney sandwiches and ramen soup, I remembered what he said.

All us guys in engineering school looked down on the business majors. They, and the football players, were “stupid.” We thought we were so smart.

In business, few things here and there have come easy to me, but for the most part the learning curve has been steep.

For a LOOONG time I’ve spent far in excess of $10,000 per year educating myself and honing my skills.

And still for every home run there’s still 5-6 single-base hits and a handful of failures.

But it’s worth it and here’s why:


I cannot tell you how big a deal this is.

Financial success will NOT solve every problem you have. But…. “if money can solve it, it’s not a problem.” MANY problems can be reduced to money.

You wanna learn something?

Hire someone to teach you.

AIDS orphans in Nairobi?

Build them an orphanage.

Need to be in Bangkok by 6pm tomorrow night?

Get on a plane and go.

Plus, a well-built business grants you time and space to solve problems that money cannot solve.

Being a success in whatever you do opens all kinds of doors. 3,000 years ago, Solomon said: “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings. He will not be hanging around with ordinary men.”

One of the best things about building a platform, building a success – in spite of the fact that it’s hard and painful and full of blind alleys and near misses and risk and terror – is the quality of people who become your friends. Your friends have so much more fascinating things to talk about than the Cubs game.

"What should I do next to grow my business this year?" Take my 2-minute quiz and I'll show you where you'll get the most bang for your buck.

My path as an entrepreneur, from laid-off engineer to salesman to marketing manager to B2B marketing guy to AdWords guy, and all that has brought me into all realms of fascinating individuals, from musicians and accomplished scientists to philanthropists and captains of industry. Authors and influencers… and customers and clients working in the trenches, whom no one has heard of, but who are nonetheless extraordinary.

When I was a 20-something marker man with a Dilbert Cube job and a business on the side, I was terrified of getting trapped in a mediocre life that would encircle me like a boa constrictor, sentencing me to work some lame job for health insurance, and never do anything important in the world.

If that happened, I knew I would console myself, rationalizing that all those successful people were just insincere moneygrubbers who lacked the depth and conviction that I had in my crusty mediocre life.

Hoping to never become that bitter cynic, I made a LOT of mistakes. Took a lot of wrong turns and made a lot of bad judgments.

I screwed up big-time on lots of things.

But as much as humanly possible I made the mistakes right.

Most importantly, I chose a life of RISK and ADVENTURE instead of the ILLUSION of comfort and security.

If you pursue comfort and security, babe, you are living in an illusion that WILL be shattered.

When you pursue your destiny, it’s like Goethe said:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

Yeah, I know it’s hard. I know it feels like the world’s in turmoil. Do it anyway. Pursue your giftedness, pursue your dream… and whatever you do, never let fear run your life.

Perry Marshall






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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

32 Comments on “It really IS worth the Fight”

  1. Jeff, sorry – you also asked, “Do you think establish the work of our hands also deals with writing and not just a business?”

    I think “work of our hands” refers to the work we do that puts food on our table.

    Perry, would you agree?

  2. Jeff, to answer your first question, $2500–$3500 sounds reasonable for copy-editing a 50,000 word book.

    Not sure about your second question, though.

  3. Perry, a tremendous post and tremendous collective wisdom from the other comments here.

    Read your email today and something you say resonates strongly:


    Corresponds with the words of Moses, the man of God, which I read this morning in my personal devotions:

    “And establish the work of our hands for us;
    Yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17)

    When the “work of our hands” is established, Christians have a foundation on which to build something that lasts, not just in this life but in the next as well.

    1. Do you think establish the work of our hands also deals
      with writing and not just a business?

      Also can anyone answer this?

      Is $2500-$3500 to edit a 50,000 word book manual a good rate? I know it probably depends on whose editing it. Is $2500- $3500 a month a good budget to come up with the big idea and promote a new book for the initial six months?

  4. Great post…. keep them coming.

    There is nothing better than producing your own products and exchanging it with the world.

    I moved to a foreign country with a pregnant wife and no knowledge of the language – German.

    After 10 months, I realized there were only two chooses: 1. keep a terrible job and become a victim of socialism or 2. build something up. I choose the latter and got self-employed.

    I started out as a janitor hardly earning more than it cost me to actually work, going to evening classes and reading tons of books on all sorts of marketing and technical books – no novels. I remember counting cents to buy a small piece of bread to eat and only being able to give my child something.

    Now, a few years later I am consulting companies, lawyers and other professionals on Marketing.

    But one of my favorite anecdotes acknowledging my progress was when speaking with a company CEO I had contacted when I moved over here who refused to hire me because of my *non-qualifications*. He is now a customer of mine. The CEO recently told me after a phone call: “You know, I made a big mistake back – I really should have hired you when I had the chance”

    The way is hard but the knowingness that it will be fruitful and work out long-term has kept me going.

    My feats inspire my children. They need examples in their lives.

    The world needs people who roll up their sleeves producing real products, exchanging it and thus *earning* their living.

    Take care Perry.

  5. If it were easy everyone would do it….And you would only get paid $10 an hour to do it

    Great Post Perry

  6. Thanks,

    I just sent that to my Wife to help her along with her new start up. It’s lonely, and as a spouse you can only
    say so much. This says it all. . .

  7. Hey Perry – great piece, just what I needed to hear as I go through the hardest times but with a new business on the horizon there is a glimmer of light!

    keep up the great work

  8. That was awesome advice. It comes when you need it. Thanks Mr. Perry for your most valuable advice.
    Cheap Shuttle Express
    Los Angeles

  9. After so many years of ups and downs in this fight called entrpereneurism I got tired of all the hustle. I started to question was it all really worth trying to build a business or businesses that I’ve started and stopped. After all the learning, growing, developing and insights I came to a point just last week of feeling tired of it all.

    I knew that it would be worth it to build a huge business that would impact the world but time and struggle started to get the best of me. I started to wonder why i am in the position i am in. Why can’t i make headway? Why am i not where i think i should be?
    Then i started to look at all that I’ve been through, what I’ve learned and how far I really have come.

    I started to realize that i must do things differently in order to get different results. I started working with my first personal coach to help me stay focused in the junk and clutter removal business and as an entrepreneur whose always coming up with ideas but has no team to help implement and organize the ideas.

    I’ve been sitting on a manuscript for a book for about three years and recently sent it to a guy that can help me polish it up and get it done. I’m really excited about that but I’m still dealing with the day to day struggle of building my junk removal business. Which is a very simple business.

    It seems like every time that i start feeling a certain way I an email from you Perry helping me to get through the thoguht processes that are going on in my head. Thanks for the words of encouragement and hopefully I’ll meet you one day to thank you personally at one of your four man intensives and you can hear my story in person.

    Thanks again

    Jeff Turner

  10. Truer words have never been spoken about the illusory comforts of having a J O B, Perry. Despite consistently earning “exceptional” performance ratings and mucho dinero wherever I’ve worked (IT), I’ve had that illusion shattered 3 times over the last 20 years, becoming just another byproduct of corporate layoffs whenever some economic effluent hits the proverbial fan.

    Fortunately, I’m not a reluctant entrepreneur, so each rejection gave me an opportunity to prepare for the eventual leap into my own full-time consulting gig. Now, I have no one to blame but myself for my failures (which, BTW, have been legion), but on the other hand, my successes are now all the sweeter too.

    There is no safe path anymore, as if there ever was. You’re doing us all a favor in driving that point home, time and again, in your own inimitable way. Thanks for the reality checks.

  11. Hello again, Perry! I loved this e-mail article! The only true security we have is our ability to get out of bed each morning and produce. And, why not produce in pursuit of our dreams. That, to me, is how we find and keep our passions!

  12. As I sat in my car this morning praying for the right words to say to the owner of the insurance agency I’ve worked for, for nearly 12 years, I realized deep down, at 54 years of age, I want freedom at any cost. The questions keep coming: I have a piece of paper that says I own my book of business, but will he allow me to contract with the carriers? I think I can gross enough to pay the bills but will I be able to have marketing money? Can I learn how to market my business regionally? Can I achieve my dreams in this particular business?
    Then I read todays email from Perry. In particular I related to the paragraph that says, “Financial success will NOT solve every problem you have. But….if money can solve it, it’s not a problem. MANY problems can be reduced to money.” I relate to that because as a family we are very solid. Emotionally, socially we are doing pretty good. But financially? Well, not so much.
    Currently I receive 40% commission and the house gets 60. No health insurance, no sharing of self employment tax. Just a 1099’er. Yeah I know the question, “what took you so long to realize how bad that really is? Answer – The death of a parent. New perspective. Not having enough. Aksing again and again, “What am I living for…my purpose”?
    So, I WILL fight for my family. I WILL fight for my dream. I want to hear my Father say, “Well Done. Come on in a relax.” Thanks for the inspiration Perry.

  13. Spot on…thank you. BTW your recommended readings from Stephen De Silva were amazing! As you say, “the world’s in turmoil. Do it anyway” …I get it!

  14. What a person does with their actions is generally a much greater indication of where they’re at than anything they say about themselves.

    Case in point, while everyone else is sending out the usual “buy my sh*t” email, Perry is busy teaching people how to succeed.

    The sly devil also incorporates bonding elements with his backstory and it’s laid out with terrific copy.

    This one’s a masterpiece.

  15. Perry,

    Thanks for this email today. It cheered me up and “hit the spot”. As a business owner I think we all push through something that Seth Godin called “the dip”. I’ve been working at my business for about 5 years now and this has been our most successful yet. It’s so satisfying to feel like you’ve actually accomplished something, but it can take a long time to get there. The road is filled with doubt, failure, and people telling you that you are wrong.

    I was talking to someone the other day that wants a lot more out of their life, and I said sometimes you need to just start moving. You can make mistakes or you can go down a wrong path, but if you start moving it creates this “energy”. People and opportunities get attracted to that energy.

    They asked my why everyone doesn’t do this. I said that people fear rejection, mostly. When you start doing this and you start floating your ideas out there, you get a lot of push back and you face a lot of rejection. They asked how to get over it. I said you don’t really get over it. Instead you get used to it and after a while it doesn’t bother you. And in the later stages you actually start to measure how well you’re doing by how many no’s you get.

    Louis CK was just in the NY Times last Thursday and commented when asked about his platform and how he got to his current position of leverage over TV networks, etc:

    “There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.”

    I always look forward to your emails, and I hope in some small way this comment can add to what you’ve already said here. Thanks again.

  16. Wow!For me, this could not have been more perfectly timed. Keep going, Sheree. Keep going. Thank you!

  17. Perry,

    This is the idea to feed our children. Not all of the other B.S. we call school. A single idea like this, put in action by an entire generation, changes the world in a blink.

    Thank you for playing your part Perry.

    Jason Leister

  18. I absolutely, positively knew entrepreneurship was for me when I realised something important about two years ago…

    The absolute WORST that can happen to me, if I failed completely and utterly at the business I had just decided I’d start — I’d lose everything, and would have to go back and work in Burger King again and build myself up from scratch.

    The absolute BEST case, if I took either of the two jobs I was about to turn down — in two or three years, I’d be married with 2.5 kids, an SUV and a house in suburbia, and I’d be trapped in a job that means nothing to me. Some other man would have his boot over my neck for the rest of my life.

    I’ve seen what the second option does to people. I remember the look on my ex-colleagues faces when they found out they were being laid off. It’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen… and that scares me MUCH more than “failure”. Quite frankly, I’d rather be dead than let another person have that much control over my life.

    So yeah… I’m 25 and completely unemployable now. Thanks Planet Perry.

    1. Wow, a much needed boost of positive reinforcement. Sitting here dealing with a flooded basement (latest of life’s “challenges”) and trying to juggle it all. Funny thing – my business is what truly keeps me sane. But it is a struggle knowing the best decisions to make it successful and things not moving quite quickly enough. Like you lots of mistakes, but one day I am confident they will pay off and I will be all the better for it.

      Thank you Perry.

  19. “If you pursue comfort and security, babe, you are living in an illusion that WILL be shattered.” This is basically what I tell all my friends who are so excited about starting their “retirement career.” I never want to retire because the edge of comfort and security is truly an illusion, especially now. Johann Goethe died in 1832. Has reality changed all that much since then? At least he wasn’t dependent on electricity for his comfort and security like we are now!

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