Call Me Old Fashioned But I Take Relationships Seriously Gary Halbert and Me

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Gary Halbert and Me

You probably already know the story of how I became a copywriter, but I bet the part I’m about to reveal today you don’t know. The reason I don’t think you know is because I haven’t told very many people. But before I get into the new stuff, let me go over the old stuff briefly, okay? Okay, here it comes –

In 1999, I took a leap of faith and left my corporate job as a secretary to stay home and raise my two young sons. (One of them was developmentally disabled and both missed me dearly.) So I hung out my shingle as a freelance writer in the virtual assistance world. Leaving a steady paycheck was a huge financial burden. I wasn’t really sure how to get clients or even build a business – just a devoted mom.

Fortunately, I got a client right away who introduced me to the world of copywriting. He had a successful network marketing business, but he hated writing. So he talked me through what he wanted and showed me some templates. The copywriting was like nothing I had ever seen before. (Well, I had seen that, but I didn’t realize that people actually got PAID to do it.)

Because I was so passionate about it, I kept getting better and better very quickly. But soon my client didn’t need to write anymore – and I didn’t have anyone else in line. Bummer. So my family started living off credit cards. My husband and I fought like cats and dogs. It sucked.

Thanks for your patience – this is the NEW part

Under the weight of our circumstances, I reluctantly began looking for a new day job. In 2002, I found a listing on CraigsList to write copy for a limited company. (I knew nothing about stocks.) They were looking for someone to write in the “Gary Halbert style”. “WHO?” I asked. It was the first time I heard Gary’s name.

I did not get the job. They claimed they loved my tests but sensed I just didn’t want another “office job”. That was their excuse. I think that might have been my confession about Gary. But their decision saved my life. I couldn’t have gotten my feet under me and really grown Red Hot Copy if I had gone that route.

So thank you, Gary. It was the first life-changing moment you were responsible for in my life. There were many others on the way.

As soon as I got home from that interview, I searched for “Gary Halbert” and fell in love. Each carefully chosen word drew me deeper into his copy. I couldn’t stop reading! His copy was so raw and full of personality. He was like an old, salty dog ​​who didn’t care what you thought as he drove you like a speeding car towards the call to action. So in-your-face. So irreverent. So testosterone. And I wanted to write JUST LIKE HIM.

What you’re used to reading from me is a departure from his style, but believe me, while I’m no Gary Halbert, I learned to write in a similar tone. How do I know? He called me a few years later on the phone and told me. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I first met Gary at a seminar in 2003, it was like meeting a rock star! I was so honored by him. He was with his beautiful girlfriend, Sirian, who is truly one of the most genuinely sweet women I have ever met. Gary was different from his brash self. You could tell he had that side, yet he had such a vulnerability and honesty about him.

Over the years we have had sporadic contact. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we were close, but he offered me advice semi-regularly via email and phone. I would occasionally show him sales copy. He would give me honest feedback (who was surprisingly gentler than his mate, and one of my favorite mentors, John Carlton – you lovingly brutal beast, you).

The last time I saw Gary in person was in 2005 at his place Root canal seminar. He was brilliant, of course. But something of a lost lamb since his trusted assistant Teresa had retired. The poor guy even got lost on his way to the bathroom – but he had enough sense to pray for someone to find him through his microphone, which he hadn’t turned off. I also met his two sons Kevin and Bond there – really cool guys.

At the end of the first night’s event, I invited him to dinner. He declined, saying he was tired. Honestly, he looked like he was ready to crash and I know how much throwing an event can wear on you. Then about 20 minutes later he surprised us by joining a couple of us at the bar. He said he had changed his mind about being tired. He gave up booze a long time ago but had a few cokes and shared our pizza. I wish I could have recorded that night. I NEVER share any of that. But he was so open and honest that I felt like I had known him for years. That’s one of the lessons I learned from Gary. Be vulnerable and be yourself. Because there is nothing worse in life than being BORING or inauthentic.

Gary, you have never been boring. You have secured your place in history as one of the greatest marketers of ALL TIME. You lived right. Give them hell, Gary. You were one in a billion.

Finally

I would like to quote an excerpt from his online newsletter about his Halbert Index: “The Halbert Index is a completely unique way of classifying people. To be at the top of the index, you must have the following:

  1. You must have a life, and
  2. You must have a sense of humor, and
  3. You must have intelligence and be an independent thinker, and
  4. You must be a generous and giving person, but… at the same time…
  5. You must refuse to take crap from anyone who doesn’t have a gun to your head, and
  6. You must be willing to take chances and gladly accept losses, and
  7. You must have the capacity and courage for true intimacy with your loved ones, friends… and sometimes… even your co-workers and strangers, and
  8. You must always be rich in your mind… and therefore… very often… in your pocket, and
  9. You must be honest and have integrity that is not defined by laws, but rather by the inner core of your being, and finally
  10. You must have a relationship with a higher power (nicknamed “God”), which does not necessarily include and/or often transcends any connection with an organized religion.”

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