Time to Turn Lemons into Lemonade!

Dear Business-Builder,

So let me tell you a true story …

The year was 1976 and life was NOT good in America – and it wasn’t just because Disco was king and we suddenly found ourselves sporting silly-looking Leisure Suits.

America’s name was being dragged through the dirt world-wide. In the preceding 24 months, Richard Nixon had resigned in disgrace and Saigon had fallen to the Vietcong.

Our new president, Gerald Ford – the only man in history to serve both as vice president and president of the United States without winning a single election – was proving himself to be an affable dunce.

Our nation was still reeling from the effects of a vicious two-year recession. Unemployment was actually worse than it is today: Nearly 8% of our workforce was out of work.

As if to add insult to injury, inflation rates – our cost of living – had soared more than 17% in the preceding 24 months. Our money had lost nearly one-fifth of its buying power in just two years – and our president’s only solution was the idiotic proposal that we all wear lapel pins proclaiming “WIN” (“Whip Inflation Now”).

Then, just when most investors thought things couldn’t get worse … you guessed it: Things got worse.

Unsurprisingly, given the laundry list of woes just cited, millions of Americans were eager for “change.” So in November of 1976, they elected Jimmy Carter as the 39th president of the United States. And just to make sure the new president would have no problem getting his economic programs passed into law, they also preserved his party’s majority in both houses of Congress.

Now, you’d expect any fiscally conservative entrepreneur to be deeply worried … even depressed about the future at a time like that. But four men – Howard Ruff, Tom Phillips, Bob Kephart and Jim Blanchard – were not depressed.

Instead, they rolled up their sleeves and laid the groundwork for what would soon be massive personal fortunes.

Because instead of obsessing over our country’s massive economic problems or fixating on how the new administration’s policies would only make matters worse, these four pioneers saw a huge opportunity.

First, they recognized that, between Nixon’s corruption and Ford’s economic incompetence, millions of people had lost faith in Washington’s ability to do anything right.

They saw that millions of investors were even more alarmed over the new administration’s economic plans.

They believed that many investors had come to the conclusion that Washington couldn’t be trusted with the economy – and that the ONLY way to save their wealth would be to take matters into their own hands.

And they knew that those investors would gladly pay for leadership to help them protect and grow their wealth; to survive and prosper despite all the harm the government would surely inflict on the economy in the years ahead.

They were right on all counts. Within four years, inflation rates had tripled. The Prime Rate – the “preferred” interest rate that only the highest quality borrowers got – had hit 21%. The Dow had declined 20%. And the U.S. had sunk into yet another recession.

And in those years, Howard Ruff’s Ruff Times … Jim Blanchard’s Gold Newsletter … Bob Kephart’s Inflation Survival Letter … and Tom Phillips’ Pink Sheet on The Left grew to become Blanchard Coin & Bullion … KCI Communications … Phillips Publishing International … and well, The Ruff Times, which at its height, boasted 180,000 paid subscribers.

More to the point: Each of our four heroes amassed personal fortunes that ran into the tens of millions of dollars – and in some cases into the hundreds of millions.

The Moral of The Story:

In every crisis, there is opportunity.

The greater the crisis, the greater the opportunity.

It’s true that this is the greatest economic crisis this country has suffered in nearly eighty years. It’s also true that it will get worse no matter what our new president does. And it’s also true that some of the greatest opportunities that entrepreneurs, marketing execs and copywriters have seen in decades are hidden within this crisis.

Mark my words: Over the next few years, you will see companies that find and mine those opportunities positively explode in size and profitability. You will see vast new fortunes made by those who discover ways to help people survive and thrive.

But you can be sure that those new multi-millionaires are NOT wasting a moment obsessing over whether or not it was Bush’s recession or Obama’s depression.

Instead, they’re thinking about products and services they can offer people who need leadership to get their companies, families and themselves through the challenging days ahead.

Not a bad way to spend a few hours this week … no?

I’m eager to hear how you’re planning to seize these opportunities – let me hear from you below – OK?

Yours for Bigger Winners, More Often,
Clayton Makepeace Signature
Clayton Makepeace
Publisher & Editor

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13 Responses to Time to Turn Lemons into Lemonade!

  1. Pam lutey says:

    I love your articles! As a small business consultant I wish that the small businesses would look ahead instead of behind. If I could just get them to do the follow up with customers and clients they would be ahead of their competiors and would be headed toward that 1 percent. They could be making lots of money and be able to expand and grow which is what the ones with money will be doing.
    Maybe what you wrote will make them think.

  2. Kevin Dawson says:

    Actually, I launched my financial copywriting career the year before the economy sunk…

    And I’ve had no problem finding eager clients with foreclosure investing, Forex strategies, financial newsletters…

    It’s the best thing that ever happened to my business.

  3. Alecs says:

    Thank you Clayton for an interesting story, this is an incentive to move forward, not all is lost yet break through

  4. tim flaherty says:

    Gold will explode and business owners that adapt will explode also. It does no good to complain on facebook or twitter. It’s time to simply adjust to the landscape.

  5. Mike Noone says:

    One of the signs of successful thinking is having the ability to see beyond the box that everyone else has around their mind and the guts to do something about what you see.


  6. Becky West says:

    Thanks for this article Clayton! Actually, the first line you read in your comment section said exactly how I feel “I love reading your articles!”

    this is a great article because it gives “HOPE” when you’re feeling – what the heck do I do? Instead of focusing on “can’t which I was telling myself NOT to do I find a renewed enthusiasm in your words this morning. This IS awesome!

    Thank you!

  7. Cream rises, persistence pays and some people will follow anyone anywhere when the person is recommended by someone they trust.
    Never give up on a dream and always stay on purpose. Great reminded post about hope, persistence and striving.

  8. Angela says:

    Hi Clayton,

    Yes, it’s been a tough couple of years for many and I know you’re right that it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

    I’m certain others have done the same as what I’ve done – taken some pro-active steps to help my family through it. One, I down-sized to a much smaller home. Friends and family think I’m nuts. But if you can get a home without needing to have a mortgage, do it!

    Since the summer I’ve noticed that prices in the grocery stores have risen quite a bit, never mind the price at the pumps, plus the power company nabbed another 18% increase and have warned us of a 46% increase over the next couple years.

    Still haven’t figured out that “debt reduction charge” that we’re all being dinged for the previous power company’s owner. That’s kinda like saying … “umm, I don’t have enough to pay my mortgage, just bill my neighbor.”

    So we all know where things are headed.

    Some businesses, services and products will take off once things get really bad like you’re showing us and pointing out to us. And I sure as heck hope we never see 21% mortgage interest again. If they think people are losing their homes right left and center right now, just wait til that happens.

    So what’s the solution, right?

    It’s only an opinion, but I believe that every family should have a little bit of cash set aside (I know, easier said than done). And if you don’t, make a budget plan to set aside a little each month.

    And do the same and get some extra food put aside. A three month supply should help get over the biggest hump I expect us to be hit with.

    Hope I’m wrong, but it’s always best to be prepared for the worst, and take steps today to grow your income at the same time as you pointed out NOW is the best time to make alliances, seize opportunities and grow your business.

    We had relatives who went through the terrible years of the Weimar Republic and it’s still as vivid in their minds today as then. Yet as bad as it was miraculously there were those rare individuals who boldly went forward and succeeded beyond what most thought possible.

    Clayton, reading your posts regularly, all I can say is “Thank you” for giving thoughtful, timely actionable steps and advice. You always hit the nail on the head.

    Best Wishes To You And The Redhead For A Wonderful Christmas,


  9. Mike says:

    Thanks – once again more great stuff…
    I recently launched a marketing campaign of my own as a copywriter to local small businesses – your suggestion (in one of your products) and it’s working beautifully – I just got two new clients today…ml (what ressession? I’m making more now than ever before) Thanks you’re the best!

  10. Ron Schmidt says:

    Hey Clayton,

    Keep up the great work! Recently purchased your Makepeace Business System for Copywriters and Consultants (And the Clients Who Hire Them) and it’s brilliant.

    You remember The Graduate, don’t you?

    The byword was “plastics”.

    My byword is “offshore” – and that’s exactly where I’m incorporating my publishing and marketing businesses to thrive, just not survive.

    Special details to follow for you and all of your readers.


    Ron Schmidt
    Founder, CEO – Marketing Consultants Group

  11. Jack Settles says:

    I remember when the bank in my town advertised 2% interest on savings and bread was 10 cents a loaf and peanut butter came in little paper trays from the butcher shop. Compare that with today and your can get a handle on what inflation has and is doing to people. However the average income in those days was pretty low but the dollar bought a lot more then too. Peoples income was a lot lower but it bought a lot more. The rent my parents paid for the 2 bedroom house we lived in was 35 dollars a month. An income, if you could find a job of say 12,000 a year was pretty good. I can remember thinking that if I could ever get a $1,000 a month job I’d really have it made. I like what we have today. I’m not excited about the cost of things but I would rather have them at today’s prices than go back to the “great depression”. We are in a depression today but it’s different and peoples attitudes are different. So what we have as copywriters is a great opportunity to help shape the future and help the people we can. Jack.

  12. Paul Black says:

    Focus on the client’s product…create empathy on the part of the prospect with your point of view…show the prospect how the product overcomes their problems…make the ordering as easy as pie. Your business will thrive.

    I learned that from a copywriter whom I read regularly.

    Thanks, Clayton!


    (P.S. Having lived through the ’70′s, I still think a lot of the problems we had back then can be blamed on those Leisure Suits..)

  13. John says:

    Hi Clayton,

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I wish my friends and eevrybody in America could just read this post and stop listening to all the news about how “America is coming to an end.”

    As far as am concerened, the word “reccession” has lost its flavor in my life. Why? Because as you mentioned Clayton, never have I seen so much opportunity like this before.

    I literally have “sleepless nights” just trying to take advantage of the so many many opportunities all over the place,that most people just dont see.

    Anyway, here’s how I’ve been positioning myself and would continue to do so. I discovered…

    1) A money-savings membership program–that shows people how they can save over $80 in grocery coupons every month. The same program helps people save 10%-50% off at over 100,000 local stores all across the U.S.

    Now the timing has been great, because of the shift that is suddenly taking place–as more people become budget conscious and would like to save money at local stores in their area or city.

    2) An amazing business that helps parents save 50%-70% off brand name kids clothes. I found this great company 2 years ago, before the economy went south. But at that time, I was cluesless about marketing or what the heck copywriting was. Now, am building the heck out of this business, using the copy skills I continue to learn from Great ones like Clayton and the other masters.

    3) The last one deals with businesses. I simply found an opportunity–that makes it possible for businesses to send their ads to thousands of consumers–using text messages. Again, good timing as lots of businesses struggle to stay afloat and desperately need customers in this “recession”. Plus, it fits perfectly into my strategy of getting my foot through the door, so I can introduce them to my copywriting business.

    So thank you Clayton, for this post. Thanks for reminding all of us again…


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