War of the Burrowing Varmints

Yesterday was one’ve those days when I meant to clean the garage but ended up cross-legged on the floor, digging through boxes of memories.

In one box, I found my “lost” copy of Jerry Buchanan’s Writer’s Utopia Formula Report and bundles of Jerry’s old marketing newsletters.

I started giggling like a school kid.

What a treasure!

Jerry’s self-published book and monthly newsletter were my first introductions to the world of direct marketing and mail order almost two decades ago.

If not for Jerry, who was a pioneer in the home-based, information marketing field, I might not be doing what I’m doing right now.

How Jerry got started is a great lesson for anybody struggling with anxiety over getting their business up and running.

Back in the 1960s, Jerry had a pretty common problem: he couldn’t stop gophers and moles from destroying his gardens.

But he noticed something…

Golf courses and a few farmers where he lived in Vancouver, Washington, didn’t share his trouble with tunneling critters.

So Jerry paid some visits, asked some questions, and gathered some tips on mole and gopher abatement.

His gardening problem solved, he decided to share his discovery with the world.

Jerry created a four-page report on the topic, placed a small ad in a popular farming magazine, and wound up selling thousands of copies of it.

His self-publishing, mail order empire was born!

Pretty simple business formula, huh?

OK, there are details to learn. Like how to write a report, how to compose an effective ad, and how to distribute your product.

But most of those issues are a lot easier to handle today than they were in the 1960s, when printing and collating reports was done by hand, running small ads could cost tens of dollars, and postage stamps were 6 cents. (Don’t forget 40 years of inflation, folks.)

In this era of the internet, printing and collating is unnecessary, marketing can cost nothing, and distribution is, well, simple as pie.

The only real hurdle is getting started.


Jerry Buchanan died quite a few years ago. But were he alive today, I think he’d join me in asking…

What’s stopping you?

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