What is the work you can’t NOT do?

favorite books 1

written by john c ashworth

Almost every morning, I rise very early, make some espresso, pull out my ice packs and sit in my favorite chair and read. I’ve been doing this in some way shape or form for more than 20 years now and the vast amount of knowledge, wisdom, and experience I’ve gained is thrilling. Even on its own, it’s thrilling. And not nearly as exciting as sharing it with all of you. Which is why I continue to work as hard as I possibly can bringing it to you here on the ash flash in my spare time. Thanks for being here. I’m grateful for the time we have together.

This morning I feel better than I have all week following my first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and I’ll be sharing, setting-up posts, podcasts and videos on a number of topics today both because it fulfills be greatly, and because here in Wisconsin it’s raining again; and my new Wenonah canoe is not quite here yet…

I thought it might be fun to start this day with some of the interesting thoughts, inspirations, and insights that end-up in notebooks strewn across my desk. Each with it’s own purpose and place. Each containing many golden nuggets that are sure to help my fellow bohemians.

Here you go…

Everything is selling. And if you can’t quite comprehend or embrace that idea, or even find yourself revolted by it, I encourage you to fully consider this with an open mind. You will quickly find that there is no escaping this truth. How open are you to the idea of working toward becoming a better salesperson? Because this leads to the second thing from same notebook and inspired by my most recent kindle purchase, ‘Secrets of Closing the Sale’ by Zig Ziglar.

“You can have everything in life you want if you will help just enough other people get what they want.”

If you want to sell more effectively, learn how to write heart-stopping headlines. And think of your headlines this way…a classified ad is simply a headline with instructions about how to respond to the ad. The question you should ALWAYS ask yourself EVERY time you write a headline is this, “Would the headline motivate someone enough to respond on it’s own?” In other words, if your headline was your classified ad, how might it perform?

NEVER under-estimate the intelligence of your audience, and NEVER over-estimate their level of knowledge. Oooohh, that one really gets you thinking, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, you must destroy in order to create.

True science begins with observation.

By far, the BIGGEST leverage point in any business is marketing. Remember, you must adopt the mantra, “I’m a marketer in the business of … “

Struggling business owners spend time to save money. Successful owners spend money to save time.

Strength training is a lifetime activity. The only way to fight muscle loss and fat gain effectively as you age, is to adopt and live by this truth.

Lastly, if you’re feeling stuck in your life and career, here is one question that can really help you cultivate the clarity you need to decide what you might do next…

What is the work you can’t NOT do?

When you’re doing the work you love, EVERYTHING changes. That is what starts to change the world. Discover this for yourself, and LIVE it. Not just for you, but for everyone else around you.


PS the ash flash is the work I can’t NOT do. Along with being a salesman, of course. Thanks for being here… 🙂

Now this is how you treat your best employees…

written by john c ashworth

I just happened to discover this photo while spending a few minutes on twitter this morning. Adam Witty, pictured to the right, is the founder of Advantage publishing. He is an authority marketing expert and his company specializes in helping you publish and promote your next book for maximum effectiveness. I have also noticed, he spends a great deal of time and effort on the culture of his companies and in cultivating the loyalty and commitment of his employees. Always very nice to see…

You don’t have to wait ten years to reward your loyal employees. Turnover is costly and your best people deserve recognition and increased compensation on a regular and consistent basis. I guarantee you it will improve performance. -John

Stop everything you’re doing right now and read this! This is One SIMPLE inexpensive and mostly ignored idea that has the potential to change your life and your business for the better, forever.

john c ashworth support socks

written by john c ashworth

Repeat after me…

“I’m a marketer in the business of…(fill in the blank here with your type of business)”

You MUST embrace this.

If you can’t, well, I’ve got bad news for you. You’re going to continue to struggle.

Here’s why…

Most small business problems in particular are lead-generation problems. Otherwise known as marketing and sales problems. Mostly marketing problems. When you can fix this one thing, you have solved many problems all at once. If you’re reading this right now, I’ll bet you understand this completely. If you don’t understand it yet, and you instead feel a little repulsed by the idea, that’s good too. You’re growing. Stick with me for a few more minutes while I make this very very important point. Albeit it in a somewhat roundabout sort of way…

Continue reading “Stop everything you’re doing right now and read this! This is One SIMPLE inexpensive and mostly ignored idea that has the potential to change your life and your business for the better, forever.”

How to structure your product and services for maximum profit

How to structure your product and services for maximum profit

written by john c ashworth

You should always sell Good, Better, and Best. Never sell yes or now. Especially when times are tough like the recession we’re living in right now.


You’ll make more money.

At least 20% of your customers will choose Better or Best regardless and 5% will choose Best by default every time. So, take your current product or service and label that as your Good Version. Then, get to work creating a story about what Better and Best could be and charge more for those versions. Typically, this won’t be hard for you to do, because it’s very likely you’re already doing it for your better and more demanding customers. It’s just that you might not have every thought of taking advantage of it.

Many will fear that showing a Better and Best options at higher price points will scare people away. This almost NEVER happens because most of the time, you have under-priced your offerings.

Second, and this is important, price elasticity is a very very important idea and concept to understand and embrace. There is always a limit to how much you can charge for what you do, but most of the time, you have not even come close to reaching that limit and you won’t actually know until you push that price elasticity theory farther and farther until you reach a clear point of distinction where it does in fact start to affect your ability to sell.

The worse place you want to be with your pricing is in the middle so that leaves you the choice of being the lowest or the highest priced product on the market and the latter will not only bring you a lot more money, but it will also bring you a lot better customers.


PS Spend some time running these numbers in your business and you will quickly see that the affect on your bottom line is dramatic.

PPS Please, Please, just because the economy is struggling do NOT lower your prices. This will only hurt you in the long run and might just lead to your demise. Think different. Think more strategically and really take a close look at your numbers. And when you run into the fear associated with making this kind of fundamental change inside your small business, please also remember that the reason you feel you might not be able to get there is that you don’t have the marketing and sales system yet that will generate these results. It’s going to take some work, but you can certainly build one. I can help.

[video] Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail…

emerson quote

written by john c ashworth

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -emmerson

That’s a quote by Emerson and it’s my favorite one of all time.

My wife of 25 years shared it with me on a card when I opened my fitness studio back in 2006 and then worked like hell to keep from losing everything I had when the great recession hit in 2008. I made it out and with a large duffel bag full of wisdom that I share with you one post at a time here on the ash flash each week.

There’s NEVER been another more relevant time than now to embrace this idea.

What path will you blaze for yourself as we move through a new and life-altering era?

*Note: there is a VERY VERY important message about how to relate to your small business marketing at minute 5 in this video. Be sure to at least watch that part!

Godspeed to you, my friend and thanks for being here. -John

Why YOUR small business marketing MUST lead with MESSAGE and Not media

Why YOUR small business marketing MUST lead with MESSAGE and Not media

written by john c ashworth

This idea is like a bucket of cold water dumped on you in the middle of the night – it’s ALARMING, probably even confusing, because what I’m about to share with you will likely be in stark contrast to anything you’ve come to know about sales and marketing. And the toughest part about this, is that if you’re truly willing to listen, the truth is that this is the TRUTH. This is what WORKS! Please, for the sake of your small business, keep reading…

This is one of the BIGGEST mistakes small business owners make when it comes to their small business marketing program. There are often many mistakes, but this is a BIG one and one of the MOST common.

The major mistake most small business owners make in their marketing efforts is that they focus almost exclusively on MEDIA. Think about it for a moment and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Especially if you’re a small business owner right now, and you’re willing to take a very close look at what you’re currently doing, you’ll likely find that when you launched the marketing you have in place right now, you almost certainly focused on your attention first on which MEDIA you might use to get your message out there.

One of the reasons this happens is that most small business owners relate to their marketing in the wrong way from the start. They need customers. They want to make sales. So, they focus on their need to do some marketing. On the surface, that makes perfect sense. In fact, right about now you’re probably thinking the same thing, and wondering why you might keep reading. But if you want to solve your small business marketing troubles, I encourage you to keep reading.

Tons of money gets wasted because small business owners focus almost exclusively on their need for customers. This is actually one of, if not THE worst reasons for your marketing efforts. Does that surprise you? I bet it does.

Because what you’re marketing should really be designed to do, is to communicate a compelling and relevant message to your prospects, your network, your customers, and the communities you serve. Until you have a compelling message that resonates with your target market, you have NOTHING. So, you need to start with your message and expand outward from there. This is not easy to do, which is why it is so often ignored.

Your message starts with your unique selling proposition, or USP. Most small businesses in particular focus too much of their efforts on tag-lines and not their USP. They then take this weak and ineffective idea, which is not a message at all, and put it into the wrong MEDIA and then wonder why it doesn’t work.

The reason it doesn’t work is that your marketing must always find its way, not just to the right message and USP, but also to the right target market, and then to the right media that reaches that market. Void of this happy little triad, you are doing the equivalent of taking your piles of money out back by your dumpster and lighting it on fire.