Talking Turkey

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.
They are consumed in twelve minutes.
Half-time takes twelve minutes.
This is not coincidence.”

– Erma Bombeck

There’s a holiday tradition in many homes across America. You may have experienced it yourself.

You sit around a table that’s literally sagging with a mouth-watering feast, but – before you can touch one crumb of food – you have to say something you’re thankful for first.

Well, that’s what we’re going to do today. The contributing editors of The Total Package and an assortment of staff want to sit down with YOU around this virtual “table” and share what we’re thankful for.

You just might be surprised at what we say …

Clayton MakepeaceThe Redhead says I have to write a few paragraphs saying what I’m thankful for – and that she damn well better make the top of list …

That goes without saying of course. But the fact that something is obvious never seems to stops her from saying it anyway.

Truth is, without Wendy, none of this other stuff would mean a thing. And it also goes without saying our kids are right up there too – along with my two grown kids and their kids.

I’m also thankful – and frankly, more than just a little amazed – that I’m in good health (knock on wood) despite 55 years of hard living, hard work … and hard partying!

And I remain ever-thankful for my clients – the nice folks who let me make them richer and never, ever complain that I keep a little of what I make them for myself.

Plus, I’m especially thankful this year for the friendship, hard work and inspired ideas every member of our little team brings us every day.

So thank YOU, Tony Flores … Martha Shelton … Deanna Blanchard … John Newtson … David Dittman … Graham & Forrest Livengood … Pete Schissel … Tanya Lopez … Tim Jones … and Margaret Ruff!

Then there are the wonderful Total Package editors
who bring so much value to these pages six days a week:

Troy White – our business growth specialist – for sharing his business-building wisdom with us each week …

Daniel Levis – a great personal friend, true marketing genius and world-class online copywriter in his own right …

Julie McManus, – our Web Media Babe and another great personal friend – who not only shares her web-based promos brainstorms with you every Friday, but also makes my Response Ink clients and me a ton of money every month …

John Newtson – the Grand Champion of our Power Marketing Summit copywriting contest – who shares the lessons he’s learning with you every other Saturday …

David Dittman – the manager of our web design department who could probably design a website that would wash your socks for you if I asked him to – and shows you how you can do it, too in his semi-monthly Saturday issues …

Tony Flores – the editor of our EasyWriters Marketing Club’s monthly 20-page print newsletter, The Screamin’ Eagle and ace product developer – whose amazing analysis of effective copywriting techniques each month gets as many or more “Thank-Yous” from readers than I do …

All the guest editors who bring even more value to our pages each week: Luminaries like “The Legendary Gary” (Gary Bencivenga) … Bob Bly … Carline Anglade-Cole … Doug D’Anna … Michael Masterson … Drayton Bird … Boardroom VP and Target Marketing’s “Marketer of the Year” Brian Kurtz … and too many others to name here.

And this year more than any other in memory,
I have something new to be thankful for:
New friends …

… like the legendary, notorious oft-infamous and sometimes, downright scandalous DRAYTON BIRD – the genius behind the success of David Ogilvy’s direct response division – who has earned a warm spot in my heart through our daily e-mail and phone conversations.

Then, there are all the new friends I’ve made after interviewing them for our EasyWriters – like Joe Sugarman Ted NicholasPerry Marshall Michel Fortin … and Yanik Silver.

And most recently, I’m thankful for Rich Schefren – without a doubt one of the most brilliant and principled people and innovative marketers I have ever had the privilege to meet.

Finally – and I don’t want to get all mushy on you here – I’m thankful for YOU, dear reader.

Your friendship, your accolades in our feedback box and at the end of each issue and most importantly, your trust means the world to me and to everyone else here at The Total Package.

We believe in you, too. Your dreams are what inspire us to work overtime to deliver proven, actionable information, ideas and advice in every issue.

So Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. Congratulations for all you’ve achieved in 2007 … and here’s to 2008 turning out to be your most successful year ever!

– Clayton


Happy Thanksgiving!

Wendy, aka: The Redhead here …

The things I’m most thankful for …

Being Red! It seems to give me permission to be a little hot headed and everyone around me just takes it in stride … because, I’m The Redhead!

Those who are around me all the time know I’m a bit on the hyper side and much like a bull in a china shop. You know, my Mom always called me that when I was young. I guess some things you just don’t grow out of. So, I’m thankful for all of those who just step aside and let me go without (hopefully) taking it personally.

I’m thankful for Clayton. The one and only person that truly understands me and loves me anyway. I’ve never known unconditional love until Clayton, and it’s truly amazing and wonderful. So, thank you sweetie, for loving me and all my eccentricities…of which there are many!

I’m thankful for my children. The two best children in the world. And, I know everyone thinks that about their kids, but, in this case it’s really true!

My daughter is super smart, beautiful and very sweet. She is always thinking about everyone else. She would rather take any consequences than have someone else’s feelings get hurt. She is definitely one of those “deep thinkers” much like her dad. And, if you saw some of the things she writes, well, let’s just say you would be very jealous. Keep an eye out for her, someday you will see her book on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Then there’s my son. What a wonderful, sweet boy. He’s going to be a fabulous family man some day. I know, because of the way he loves his family now. He’s a whiz with all things technical. If we need something fixed, we call on him. He thinks the Geek Squad – I mean the Web Team here at our office – is hallow ground. He would love every one of our Web guys to be his older brother because they are the coolest of the cool! And, Halo … forgetaboutit … most people won’t even consider trying to play against him. And, watch out, he’ll negotiate so cleverly that in the long run he ends up getting what he wants … now that he got from me!

Speaking of the Web Team …

I’m very thankful for the guys who make up our Web Team …

David, who is one of the hardest working guys I know and keeps everything so calm during the storm. And, everyday here is like a storm!

Graham, who’s a great resource because he knows just about everything about anything … and, who I can always count on to say, “You got it!” every time I ask him to do something for me.

Forrest, whose creativity shows in both his work and his jokes!

Pete, who never gives up. I actually interviewed him last year and although it was a tough decision, ended up hiring David. Then, Pete sent me an e-mail about a year later and asked if we needed anymore help. I was working on the ad for a new web designer that very day! So, we hired him right away and are very thankful we did!

Then there’s the rest of our staff …

John, whose passion as an Internet Information Junkie helps me understand this crazy world of Internet Marketing.

Martha, who is the best and sweetest customer service representative anyone could ever have and is like the energizer bunny … she keeps going and going and going …

Deanna, whose talents are very apparent because many of our readers actually think I write this good!

Tanya, who is our longest employee and jack-of-all-trades. She keeps me and our money in check and makes sure the IRS doesn’t come knocking on our door. And, I have to say this … CONGRATULATIONS on being pregnant with TWINS! Good luck! I know from personal experience that she has had with my kids, that she will be a fantastic mom!

Tim, who’s my honey … my “honeydewer”! He keeps the house, yard, office and equestrian center running … and is one of the most loyal workers I’ve ever been fortunate to have working for me. There isn’t anything you could ask him that he wouldn’t do.

Margaret, who is becoming my kids adopted “Nanna” … that’s a North Carolina thing …

My Mom, Step-Dad, Sisters – Debbie and Karen, and Brother Richard … as unique as we are all, we somehow manage to keep it together as a family. We are all over the country now, but, always together in spirit.

And, last but not least, our Total Package Readers. The emails I get with your kind words, inspiration and creative feedback are wonderful, and I appreciate all of you more than you can know.


Troy White

I am thankful for …

This U.S. Thanksgiving I first wanted to share my gratitude for you. This has been an amazing year for me in business, and in my personal life – and you are to thank.

Only 6 short years ago I was in a career I loathed (computer sales to big corporations) – today I absolutely love what I do and who I get to work with.

Working with Team Makepeace has been an incredible experience, and I am sure by now you see all that they do to give you solid usable ideas to grow any size of business quickly. Seriously, the daily content here is much more valuable than many paid services out there today!

So thank you dear reader, it has been a pleasure writing these for you every week, I hope that you are enjoying them, and please have a very safe and happy holiday.

Next, I want to thank my wife Kari, and twin daughters Katrina and Hailey. These 3 are the ones who keep me somewhat sane and grounded. They keep me from working 23.5 hours a day (hey – I love what I do!) – and they keep me laughing ALL the time. Kari is my business partner, and has the rare ability to figure out what my next crazy promotional idea is, how it works … then she helps me get it out there. Without them, it just wouldn’t be fun at all. My daughters keep me young, keep me laughing, and help me remember what is TRULY important. Money without family, fun and laughter is just not the same.

May you have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday!

– Troy White, Editor, Small Business Mastery


Daniel Levis

I am thankful for life, pure and simple, and everything that goes with it – in particular the readers of THE TOTAL PACKAGE!

– Daniel Levis, Editor, The Web Marketing Advisor




Julie McManus

Today is Thanksgiving, and I hope you have a peaceful day free of familial conflict. When considering what I’m thankful for this time of year, I tend to look at the day-to-day. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m neither too mushy nor too serious. In fact, today I’m thankful the world’s two most annoying cats used the litter box instead of the potted plant behind the sofa. I’m thankful to the grumpy grocery cashier that rang up my groceries last night. I’m even more thankful I’m not her (no offense to grocery cashiers). I’m thankful for 1st Wave on Sirius satellite radio so I can listen to the music I loved in high school. I’m even more thankful there a very few pictures of me from high school. And I’m especially thankful none can be found on the Internet.

But in all seriousness folks… let’s move on to the big stuff:

I’m thankful for Brian, the most wonderful, caring, handsome and wicked funny husband in the world. I’m even more thankful for the back rubs he gives me and the silly jokes he makes at the end of a stressful day. I’m especially thankful when he bars our three year-old from the bathroom while I’m taking a bath. I’m eternally thankful for the recent 20 year anniversary of our first date and 15 year anniversary of our wedding.

I’m thankful for my eight year old daughter Rowan. When people ask me how old she is I immediately want to say six … she’s growing up so fast and exactly where the last two years went I’m not sure. I’m even more thankful that my smart little cookie got a perfect 100 on 12 consecutive spelling tests she’s taken this year. I’m especially thankful when she shares her toys with what she considers to be the most annoying little sister in the world. And I’m eternally thankful when she wants to sit in my lap and cuddle with me because I know those days are numbered.

I’m thankful for my three year-old daughter Bridget. Bridget is a fireball and I know she’s going to grow up to be an extremely driven woman … so watch out. I’m even more thankful that she pooped on the potty for the first time this past weekend. I’m especially thankful when she looks me in the eyes and says “you’re my best friend” and then cocks her head to the side and gives me a smile that would melt even the most frozen heart. I’m eternally thankful when she finally falls asleep at the end of her always busy day.

I’m thankful for my Mother. I’m eternally thankful she enjoys babysitting her two amazing granddaughters.

I’m thankful for my Brother. I’m eternally thankful that he’s extremely handy and always willing to help me out in a pinch.

I’m thankful for my good friends. I’m eternally thankful they always forgive me for not calling often enough.

I’m thankful for my assistant Christine. I’m eternally thankful her strengths are my weakness.

I’m thankful for my clients. I’m eternally thankful they trust me with the growth of their business and send me money!

And last but certainly not least …

I’m thankful to Clayton and Wendy Makepeace who have given me so many opportunities including writing In the ‘Net Trenches for The Total Package. I’m even more thankful that Deanna, John, David, Graham, Forrest, Pete and Martha don’t yell at me when my issues are late every week … you guys are awesome. I’m especially grateful to you, dear reader, for reading my issues …

And I’m eternally grateful for the kind comments and words of thanks I receive from you on a near weekly basis. That makes it all worthwhile.
Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

– Julie McManus, Editor, In the ‘Net Trenches


John Newtson

Although I have a lot to be thankful for …

  • Work I’m passionate about (annoyingly passionate depending on who you ask) …
  • I’m surrounded daily by extremely intelligent, dedicated people who are actually fun to work with …
  • Clayton and Wendy for bringing me into this business (and letting me tinker with theirs) …
  • I live in a vacation spot and drive through gorgeous mountain views everyday to get to the office (a big corner one with giant windows looking out on said gorgeous mountain views) …

… I’m most thankful because I spend every day with the love of my life. No, not Clayton. Don’t be weird. I’m talking about my wife Katrina who, besides being brilliant, beautiful and funny, is crazy enough to pick up and move to a remote region of NC because her husband wanted to write junk mail.

Oh, and for Starbucks. Seriously, when local coffee shops are only open from 8am – 5pm you really start to appreciate a coffee shop that’s open when you actually need caffeine (like on either end of an 8-hour drive to visit family). So Starbucks – I love you, corporate giant.

– John Newtson, Copywriter and Editor, Life in the Fast Lane


David Dittman

Let’s face it, life is crazy. We work our knuckles to the bone day in and day out. Constantly learning, and working towards our goals and dreams. Now, it’s time to sit back and try and remember just who and what you’re working for.

I think it’s easy to get so caught up with your daily grind that you forget about all the things that are great in life and worth working hard for.

Such as Football, 3-day work weeks and Chuck Norris … Oh yeah, family and all that other stuff too.

In truth, I have a great job and I’m most thankful of that.

The people I work with are great. You guys know all about Clayton and Wendy, and, yes, as you expected they are great to work with. You have also heard about John Newtson and Tony Flores – they are great strategists, copywriters and friends. My knowledge has increased 100-fold from getting the opportunity to work with all of them on a daily basis.

Here are some of the unsung heroes that you may not know as much about …

Martha Shelton – she is the greatest. She’s extremely fun to work with and so patient with our needs, yet such an incredible worker in both knowledge and production. She gets more done in a day than any of us and she does it all while also catering to our constant interruptions. I am truly impressed and honored to get to work with her and thankful of her and her helpful suggestions for renting movies.

Deanna Blanchard, she is a wonderful copywriter and instrumental in our success. She is one of the newer members of the team, but she puts up with more than you know …

She puts up with this …

Graham Livengood, Forrest Livengood and Pete Schissel, what to say about these guys … I’ll start by letting you know that we are all children. We can amuse ourselves for hours on end, talking about Chuck Norris and listening to “One Night Bangkok” by Murray Head. 90 to 95 percent of conversations are nonsensical and drive the rest of the office crazy when they are forced to be in our company.

Let me tell what a joy it is to come to work and be able to enjoy the people around you. All three of them are tireless workers with a great sense of humor. If I need a laugh, I have two professional comedians on staff – seriously Graham and Forrest are both improv comics. And while Pete might not be a professional comedian, he probably could be.

These guys are very unique, and, of course, by unique I mean slightly crazy and mostly disturbing. A few cards short of a full deck so to speak. We have conversations that would confound and frustrate most normal people. Now you should understand why I give so much credit to the rest of the staff for putting up with us … Thanks, John and Deanna!

And if all that wasn’t enough, they are three of the most knowledgeable guys, not just great web designers. Seriously, just ask them and they’ll tell you over and over just how smart they are … over and over …

Frankly, it’s unfair to the rest of the world that I get to work with these guys and I’m truly thankful. The team here is like no other I’ve had the privilege of working with and I know how lucky I am to be a part of it.

I could write pages on how important my family is in my life, my Mom and Dad are truly giving and an example for me to follow, and my sisters define work ethic and success. Or what a great friend John Newtson has been, but I have to keep this brief.

To recap, thanks Clayton and Wendy for the opportunities and friendship that you have given me and continue to give. Because of you both I have a lot to be thankful of.

I hope everyone out there has a great Thanksgiving!

– David Dittman, Web Designer and Editor, Working IT Out


Deanna Blanchard

I’m Clayton’s newest copy cub, so I’m just happy to be here!

Fortunately, that ties in nicely with this whole Thanksgiving theme.

I’m grateful to Clayton and Wendy for believing in me and giving me a chance, despite my lack of experience. I can’t imagine a better place to improve my skills as a copywriter and learn the direct response business.

I’m also thankful for …

  • My quirky co-workers who make this such a fun place to work …
  • Company lunch days …
  • My cozy office with the breathtaking mountain views …
  • And Mollie, the office dog, who plays a mean game of fetch.

And I would like to give special thanks to my family who supported me through this career change and encouraged me to pursue the work I love.

– Deanna Blanchard, Copywriter


Martha Shelton

I know, I know, everyone is expecting to hear that “families” are what everyone is most thankful for, and when it comes right down to it, families are what most people really are thankful for – myself included.

But the reason that I feel very thankful for my family, is because throughout the years, my family has been held together by love and concern with numerous hospital room visits.

To name a few, my brother has had Spinal Meningitis, two kidney transplants, a brain aneurism and various car accidents … my father has been admitted to the hospital with numerous bouts of Pneumonia, due to his emphysema … and my mother has had both legs amputated, numerous heart related surgeries and a stroke.

Throughout it all, my family has always banded together for each other. My brother is now doing well, and my parents are both in a nursing home. Although they have dwindling health, they thankfully have their minds. This may be the first Thanksgiving that we have had without everyone being home. But if so, we will be together at the rest home. It’s not the meal that counts – it’s the family time that you spend, and we want to cherish all the time that we have together.

Although I do not have any children, I have four cats which I dearly love. A 14-pounder, a 20-pounder, and two strays that I adopted. I’m thankful for my husband, who means the world to me. I could not have found a nicer guy.

I am thankful for my job – hey, working for Clayton and Wendy Makepeace, could you get any better? Trust me on this one, anyone who works for them would NEVER want to leave.

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and ask anyone that has relatives in a nursing home to please visit. When my mother was moved to a different nursing home, I couldn’t find it. I stopped and asked at five different places (in a small town) where it was and no one had ever heard of it. I finally found it after calling the nursing home and getting directions. I told the guy I spoke with that I had made five stops to ask people where the nursing home was and no one knew. He said “What does that tell you?”

Think about it …

Oh yeah! I could not have hand picked a better team to work with.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

– Martha Shelton, Customer Service

Now it’s your turn. What about The Total Package are YOU thankful for? We would love to hear your comments.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Clayton, Wendy, The Total Package editors and staff

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13 Responses to Talking Turkey

  1. Ron says:

    Thanks Be To Our Creator. Help At 4:00AM In The Morning Without A Whimper. Assistance With Our Brother\’s Needs. Nice To Be Around. Kind To Even Our Enemies. Service To Others.
    I\’m giving thanks to everyone, even my enemies, without all of us here on earth, life wouldn\’t be as worthwhile as it is.

  2. Joe says:

    Thank you, Clayton and company for steadfastly sending out a newsletter with solid, usable content and amazingly devoid of fluff. It says a lot about who you are.

  3. Tammy says:

    Dear Clayton, Wendy and Everyone,

    Just taking a second on Thanksgiving morning to tell you all how grateful I am for you.
    I am so thankful I signed up for your newsletter, I enjoy it so much.
    I hope this day of thanks and gratitude is a great one for all of you.

    Have a safe, wonderful and blessed Day,

  4. Chris Lake says:

    I also want to echo the comments about the quality and quantity of information I receive each day. The Total Package is really one of the best sources of instruction, ideas and inspiration.

    I am also thankful that we live in a country where we can choose our destinies. With a firm goal, determination, enthusiasm, and hard work, anyone can become whatever he wants in America. I might not agree with our government sometimes, but this country is still the best deal going.

    Cheers to one and all.

  5. Jim Ehle says:

    Thanks to all of you. I have used the information and motivaltion you have provided to keep this small publishing house humming. My Son-in-law will be recieving this issue and I am sure that you will have a new subcrober shortly. Happy Holiday.

  6. Chris McMorrow says:

    While I am thankful for my family, and my friends, and the privilege of living in America, today, on Thanksgiving, I would like to say that I\’m thankful to God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Nothing is more important in life than truth, and I am thankful that God, by His pure unmerited grace, has revealed that Truth to me through His Word, the Holy Bible.
    I am also thankful for Ben Settle, who steered me toward this site, where I have learned many useful things about the art of writing powerful, persuasive, integrity-based copy. To the many fine folks at The Total Package: Thank You!
    Chris McMorrow
    Glen Cove, New York

  7. Denny Koska says:

    This is Denny, Clayton\’s friend from way back. I\’m thankful for many things, one being that I finally got face-to-face caught up with my old friend Clayton from 100 years ago. Getting to meet his new-to-me family as well as seeing his kids from way back.

    Also thankful for my wife Sue, and our grandchild Jacob who lives with us. Adult children and other grandkids, other friends, our church and the fact that\’s lots of people buy things off of the silly infomercials Script to Screen makes.

    Wendy, Clayton has a soft side I\’ve never seen before!!! Way to go!


  8. Irene says:

    Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving from Canada. Thanks to all of you for putting together & sending out the amazing Total Package every day. Whatever you use your copywriting skills for, you won\’t go wrong making the \’Package\’ part of your essential daily read. I know I do.

  9. Bob says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the staff at The Total Package! Your site has been a constant source of great inspiration and profits. I look forward to reading every edition . I am so thankful that I found you. Keep up the great work….[I]please![/I]

  10. Duane says:

    I didn\’t even read my email yesterday so this is a belated thank-you to You Clayton, Wendy and all your staff and contributors. I have a very long list of things I\’m grateful for this year and Y\’all are definitely on it.
    I always pass by the Total Package when going through my morning email to come back when I have time to concentrate on the valuable information it almost always contains.
    Thanks,and Happy Holidays

  11. Linda Byam says:

    Hi, folks! So many thanks to all of you for the great information, insight and inspiration you provide in such an entertaining, down-to-earth way. I believe Clayton when he says \”Wishing you every success\” and then proceeds to help you achieve it. With my best regards, Linda

  12. Lara Loest says:

    Many thanks to all of you for providing and sharing such valuable information with me (and the rest of your readers). You are one of the many blessings in my life and I am grateful for you! Thank you thank you thank you.

  13. Shane Arthur says:

    Very nice learning more personal information about the team.

    Thanks for that.

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