What Would Dan Do?

Issue #78—August 22, 2019



Dan Kennedy has not passed away, according to the latest reports.

However, he is in hospice and, according to his own words, is in his final days and will not be communicating publicly any further.

When you go to that link above, you can go to another link where you can leave your own tribute to Dan. He will have these tributes read to him in his final days and hours. I'm sure he would love to hear from as many people as possible about the impact he had on their lives.

I apologize for the untimely and premature announcement of Dan's passing, but apparently many of his closest friends were under the impression he had done so.


By now it's likely you've heard about the greatest loss to the direct marketing community I've seen over the past few decades... One of the world's most brilliant and generous copywriting and marketing minds---Dan Kennedy---passed away, seemingly quite suddenly.

I was fortunate enough to have just spent a full day with him this past April when I attended a mastermind meeting in Cleveland. In fact, in the past few years, I've made 3 trips to Cleveland, each of which included a full day of soaking up Dan Kennedy's timeless and incredibly valuable wisdom.

I even got a solid, focused 5 minutes of Dan's time last year as I ran a few possible business launches past him for his feedback. He listened intently, then poured out an incredible amount of valuable tactics and advice. Going back to look at my page of notes from that one encounter alone, I can see how many potential problems (and costly mistakes) he saved me from just in a few minute-conversation when I moved forward with my Copy Mentoring program.

Which leads me to my new mantra...

"What would Dan do?"

To say studying and learning from Dan over the years has made a difference in the trajectory of my business and career would be a vast understatement.

And there are probably hundreds, if not thousands of marketers, copywriters, business owners, and others who would not be where they are if it wasn't for Dan.

The news of his passing hit me like a rock last night...and I was already in a vulnerable state. I had just taken my beloved 10-year-old mini-Goldendoodle in for emergency surgery. If it didn't work, she'd be gone. Fortunately, the news late last night was that Pearl's surgery had gone well. Hopefully I'll be bringing her home later today or tomorrow.

And while Dan Kennedy won't be coming "home", I'm sure his teachings and generous spirit will live on forever. And for sure he will continue to make an impact.

As I focus on my business/career planning and the directions I want to take in the coming year, I'll be going back and spending time reflecting on the advice and strategies I've had the good fortune to learn from Dan over the years.

I'll ask myself, "What would Dan do?" And I'll also continue to be inspired by how much he gave of himself in EVERY presentation, EVERY conversation, EVERY chance he had to share his knowledge and experience with the world.

Here are just a few timeless "Dan-ism's" from the notes I took during a few of these recent one-day sessions. I plan to revisit more of them in the coming weeks...

1) The WORST number in business is ONE. Don't be too reliant on one copywriter, one promo, one client, one media, one employee, etc.

2) FOCUS means saying "no" to the hundreds of other good ideas.

3) People don't like to see the "slow-moving train" headed for their business...often at their own peril.

4) Always ask, "Where's the profit in this?"

5) The #1 reason why someone buys a hearing aid isn't so they can hear better. It's so they can keep their kids from putting them in a nursing home.

6) Many businesses have lots of opinions, beliefs, etc. and are short on FACTS. The most important lever in business is TRUTH.

7) There are no "new" fundamentals.

8) Nothing has more impact than extending the amount of time your prospect gives you or invests in paying attention to you.

9) A corollary to #8: Our job is NOT to abbreviate, but to compel prospects to invest MORE time.

10) Dan Kennedy's 3 questions any freelancer/consultant/business owner should ask themselves:

--What kind of money are you looking for?

--What type of avatar are you looking for?

--What's more important to you: scaling the business, or sticking with the avatar?

Hope you found these "Dan-isms" as valuable as I have. Each one has so much value and depth on its own, I could write an entire Copy Insiders issue just on each one (and I just might!)

I'll definitely be reflecting on these and other learnings from Dan in the coming weeks and months. If you haven't done so yet, find something, anything, he's written or produced---and I guarantee your business or freelance career will be immeasurably improved as a result.

Yours for smarter marketing,


P.S. I got on a roll with writing this week's issue, and since it wasn't too long I didn't send you over to my blog to read the rest like in recent weeks. But you can still go here and read it there, and also catch up on any issues since the beginning of the year you may have missed.

P.P.S. If you have some stories to share about how Dan impacted you, or want to hear others sharing their stories, my friend Kevin Rogers is hosting a call tomorrow at noon Eastern time. I plan to be there to share and listen in. It's open to all as far as I know (I saw Kevin had posted this on Facebook last night, so at the risk of being like that person who got invited to a party and invited all their friends to go too...oh wait, I re-checked and it's an open invite.) The more, the better, who hear about Dan's impact and get inspired--or re-inspired to continue learning from him. Invited guests who will be speaking include Brian Kurtz, Parris Lampropoulous, John Carlton, David Deutsch, and Lori Haller. Here's the sign-up link for the call...see you there! (Here's a photo of Dan Kennedy and I from I last saw him this past April. He gave so much and so generously to the group of us in that room that day. I'm sure he must have known by then of his condition. He truly is an inspiration to all of us, not just because of how much he knew, but how much he CARED. Rest in peace, Dan.)

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