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Some of the most successful marketing campaigns I’ve been involved with have been the messiest. 

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve had the privilege of working with have made the most mistakes. 

So don’t bet the ranch* and don’t sweat the failures, and you’ll do fine.

*My grandfather did, literally. 

Sam Wallace homesteaded here in the Arizona Territory in 1892 with his wife and sons. They came from Missouri.  Samuel Wallace was my great-grandfather and one of his sons, James Wallace, the one holding his favorite horse, was my grandfather.

They cleared the land and hacked out a living in the bone-dry desert, trying a handful of crops until the government offered to buy all the cotton any farmer could grow at a guaranteed price. So they put all their land into cotton. 

The sad part was the cotton was going for World War One uniforms. Sad too because when the war ended the government stopped buying the stuff. The price crashed and tens of thousands of small ranchers and farmers were forced to scramble. Jim tried lettuce, cattle, and probably much more, but the family stories get simpler over the generations. With the ranch failing he heroically, because we all want our ancestors to be heroic, bet the ranch trying to save it. 

He let the hired help go and worked himself, as our stories go, to death. His third stroke got him, but not before he bet the ranch. He used it as collateral to buy stocks on margin. In the 1920s you could buy $10 worth of stock for $1. Great if the stock went up, as it had been doing for so many years. Not-so-great if the stock went down and you had to cover the $9/share margin. Really NOT GREAT if you bought in about eight months before the market crashed in 1928. As grandpa Jim did.

So when I say don’t bet the ranch I’m serious. Don’t. Don’t literally bet so big on a marketing idea that if you don’t succeed on the first try you go under. 

Plus a word about sweating the failures…


Nobody likes to fail. But as long as your failures aren’t ranch-betting-sized failures I’ll teach you to use them as stepping stones to learn your way to where you want to go. 

Are you a perfectionist? Then this approach may be uncomfortable at first. But only at first. Same if this is new, if you haven’t made changes to your marketing and put them in front of people to see if they work, this might feel weird. 

But remember, only at first.

Small failures are a natural part of the journey to marketing that succeeds, so don’t sweat them. You’ll be comfortable with this by the time you’re done with the book.