Ben Settle

  • Book & Tabloid Newsletter Publisher
  • Email Supremacist
  • Alt-Copywriter
  • Software Investor
  • Pulp Novelist

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My first big copywriting success was writing a sales letter for an info product that shows people how to buy million dollar businesses without using any banks, credit, or your own money.

The guy who created the program was a delightfully salty fellow named Art Hamel.

A lot of people don’t know who he was.

But, he was called the “Dean Of Business” back in the 80’s (on infomercials, etc), and he bought over 200 business over 40 years — starting with a small 25 unit motel in California that was barely profitable and took all his time, energy, and money, and was extremely stressful. It wasn’t long after that when he stopped Mickey Mousing around and being chintzy (as he would have put it) with small time businesses, and transitioned into buying only multi-million dollar business that gave him zero stress, and that took none of his time, energy, or money.

After that, he started showing other people how to do the same.

(Via his home study course and seminars)

Eventually, he had tens of thousands of students worldwide.

Then, he sort of drifted off into obscurity.

One day he was so well known people recognized him at airports.

The next, nobody had any idea who he was.

That is, until Michael Senoff saw his course being sold on eBay, JV’d with me to write the ad for it, and we helped put him back on at least a few maps at the time in the US, the UK, and Australia.

But there is one thing that stands out I remember that applies the most to today.

And that is when he said:

“During recessions, stay the hell away from the news.”

Why did he teach this?

Because the news is, by its nature, negative.

It is based on the saying, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

And when you are in business, you’re best served by focusing on yourself and your business more than ever (especially during hard times) — and not getting distracted by all the chaos and angst and information manipulation designed to keep you in flight or fight mode, always weak & reactive instead of being strong & proactive.

Very simple tip.

Very powerful, too.

Everyone I know who abstains from the news reports sleeping better, having more energy & stamina, and being more optimistic, more productive, and making more scratch just by the freed up time and mental bandwidth alone.

Immoral of the story?

Stop giving the best of your time, your attention, and yourself to the news media.

That is, unless you want to be manipulated & treated like a puppet.

My (biased) opinion:

A much better use of your time is to plot & scheme on your own business.

To see how to do just that with email especially, that’s what Email Players is for.

You can see if it suits your fancy right here:

Ben Settle


Once upon a time at elBenbo’s Lair:

I was talking to Stefania about the infamous Myers-Briggs personality test. She is one of the few marketers out there who uses it to sell with intelligently (even the great “founding father” of online advertising according to Time Magazine – Ken McCarthy – interviewed her on his prestigious “System Club” about it), instead of treating it as astrology, like a typical boss lady life coach haunting social media is likely to do.

To the point:

She made an off-hand remark that reminded me of why I so coldly and ruthlessly blacklist and cut people out of my business, as well as why certain people in general frustrate the hell out of me through no fault of their own.

What did she say?

She said:

“Most people are S’s.”

S’s are the opposite of N’s in the Myers-Briggs.

They are people who simply cannot easily do forward-thinking.

It has nothing to do with intelligence, IQ, or experience, either.

They simply aren’t “wired” for forward or longterm, big picture thinking.

Take, for example, a story Ken McCarthy talked about in his magnificent “System Club Letters” book. Back in the early to mid 1990’s, when a lot of “name” gurus were still figuring out what they wanted to be when they grow up… he sold an 8-page newspaper called “The Internet Gazette”, that had a circulation of 25,000 people.

And, one of the articles was about internet video.

The multi-media expert he hired couldn’t understand why Ken wanted to write about that.

“You want me to write about THAT? Why? No one can do it.”

“But someday people will be able to and when they can it will be the most powerful thing on the Internet. Let’s be ready.”

Back then, it took a half hour to download even a 4mb clip. It was agonizingly slow. And S’s — like the reporter I am guessing was, or at least sounded like he was — simply could not understand the reality that it wouldn’t always be that way, despite intellectually knowing the speed and rate at which technology was growing. But Ken, being an especially strong N not only saw it, but I suspect was often frustrated with all the S’s in silicon valley who didn’t even see what he clearly saw with things like click-thrus being a way to measure response online (which even Time Magazine credits Ken with discovering).

Yes, my fine feathered little pigeon:

Ken “saw” the potential of videos, webinars, livestreams, etc almost 20 years before they became mainstream, as well as social media, too, as he was preaching community-building long before blogging was fashionable or before Facebook was even a brain fart.

Take Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, as another example of S’ery.

He is a very strong S in the movie.

And, like a lot of S’s, incredibly good at one-on-one sales.

Since he was (mostly) in the here & now, he wasn’t always trying to guess what a prospect was thinking or going to say so much as dealing with what is. But, when he tried to be forward thinking — timing his drug consumption, writing manipulative sales scripts, and constantly dreaming up more money-schemes, for example — he ended up self-sabotaging himself and landing on the FBI’s radar.

That is the plight of the S:

Great at “here & now” tasks & tactics – for selling, negotiation, martial arts, etc.

But almost no foresight.

Or strategically thinking ahead.

Or being able to fully comprehend the future consequences of their current actions or inactions, even if they want to and intellectually know they should.

Again, it’s not an intelligence thing.

I’d argue Tony Stark in Avengers: Age of Ultron was an S.

i.e., when he tried to be an N he created a robot that wanted to commit mass genocide…

It’s simply how an S sees the world.

Which brings me to the point of this whole Sha-bang:

I always knew there were certain people who were horrible customers for what I sell and teach. I could not pin-point it. But I knew, at a gut-level, there were certain people who just irritated the hell out of me whenever I did any kind of coaching, consulting, or client work. They are the same people who are so caught up in the moment currently with the economy, virus, etc they clearly cannot see the obvious bountiful harvest of opportunities such times always have historically created and are already creating now.

Those people are always, almost without exception, S’s in my experience.

And, it’s why I now spend as much time turning the really “hyper” versions of them away as I do on selling the people (mostly N’s) who do make great customers for what I offer.

My worldview is totally different than an S’s.

And, they make decisions that make zero sense whatsoever to me.

Like, for example, this guy who subscribed to “Email Players”, made a lot of money (by his own admission) for the two or three months he was on it… but then said, “I am two issues behind, OMG, I have to cancel!”

To an S reading this, that kind of hamster spinning probably makes perfect sense.

But to an N such as your faithful storyteller?

It’s insane.

That is hyper-S behavior at its worst.

And to an N reading it, it probably sounds almost like I am exaggerating.

But this is simply a hyper-S’s worldview.

They are incredibly good at some aspects of business, and incredibly terrible at others, just like N’s are incredibly good at some aspects of business, and incredibly terrible at others.

Neither is “better” than the other.

But when you understand how to harness other peoples’ personalities you can make lots more sales, close more clients, build a much stronger business, and create unbelievably powerful business relationships, JVs, and other alliances.

Perhaps one day I’ll do a live call with Stefania about this.

We shalt see.

In the meantime, for more email-centric training go here:

Ben Settle

Last month I wrote an email telling a story that I’d told multiple times throughout the years, in different formats, medias, forms, and guises.

But the same story all the same.

It’s simply recycling content.

After which one of my Email Players of the Horde told me about a woman he knows who insists readers will start to ignore you if you tell the same stories over and over and over, and that one should not do as such.

My take?

Ignore what she says about that.

She knows not what she does.

There is a reason why the TV networks show the same Christmas shows and movies each year. People happily, eagerly, and excitedly sit through multiple viewings of “A Christmas Story”, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and even multiple iterations of “A Christmas Carol”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, Rudolph, and even (if you’re in the Settle household) “Cobra” and “Gremlins”, and the list goes on.

If ratings showed nobody was watching they wouldn’t run them.

Frankly, most of the time those classics get rerun before “new” content.

Lesson there…

Same with re-runs and movies when they hit streaming.

People love a good story or to consume great content not just once but many times.

And in my experience this goes triple for emails.

I never foolishly even bought into the tired goo-roo trope of not reusing emails if they did not “work” the first time. l have lost count of how many times I reused an email that did not do much — or anything — as far as sales originally, only to clean up later when used as-is or slightly adapted for the exact same (and sometimes even a totally different) offer.

And vice versa.

Sometimes an email that nabbed sales the first time doesn’t the next.

It’s a lot less about the “emails” than people think.

All right so that is that.

If someone wants to work harder than needed that’s their business.


I will happily reuse the same emails & stories over and over.

And am far more focused on consistency & relentlessness.

For help with that, see the Email Players Newsletter here:

Ben Settle

A question rolls in:


Can you please give me a short list of great communicators to study? Even if they’re controversial. 

I want to to create a list of people with good social/communication skills that I can repeatedly use as examples & reference points for my teachings in my publishing business 

I’m asking you because you’ve mentioned people before but I can’t remember them all. I remember you said to study Johnny Carson monologues before or something. Stuff/people like that is what I’m looking for

Here are a few in no particular order:

  • Johnny Carson
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Kevin Trudeau
  • Vince Lombardi
  • Pat Buchanan
  • Mike Ditka
  • Arnold Murray
  • Gerry Spence
  • Steve Jobs
  • Patrice O’Neal
  • Donald Trump
  • Johnnie Cochran
  • Bob Enyart

There are literally hundreds more.

And I wanted to mostly avoid the obvious ones.

Plus, the above are mostly all very different from each other — with their own styles, and game they play — and also controversial (super controversial in a few cases) who have proven to be extremely persuasive communicators to those they wished to influence.

Also, a note for the easily-triggered:

You don’t have to ‘like’ or agree with what any of these people say/teach/do.

At least two of them I don’t like worth a dayem.

One of them is literally in Federal prison for fraud.

But it ain’t about liking, Spanky.

It’s about learning.

After all:

Engagement is the coin of the realm these days.

And if someone pissed you off they obviously nabbed yours.

Analyze how, then use in your business.

Yes, even if you’re revolted by them.

For more about the Email Players newsletter go here:

Ben Settle

While back, I got this question from an eager-beaver reader:

Hi Ben, I’m an affiliate marketer in the make money online niche…selling mostly products from Clickbank. I’m trying to build list and effectively sell to that list. Would your email methods work for affiliate marketing?

My answer:

“Not for make money online, nothing I teach works for that niche. Only legitimate niches.”

To which he asked:

“What about the personal development niche? Or matter fact, which niche would you recommend getting into to make your email formula work?”

I didn’t bother answering.

Only Email Players get access for specific questions like that.

But, because it suits me, I will answer it now:

Stop woefully chasing niches & start looking for painful problems to solve, legitimate solutions that solve those problems, and building a list of receptive leads who have demonstrated they are already spending money to solve those problems that you can then sell those legitimate solutions to.

Could be a niche, could be a more general market.

It all depends.

And there is no black & white right or wrong answer.

My opinion.

Whatever the case:

What I can say is email is a helluva tool for selling.

And if you want to see all the ways I do it, check out my Email Players Newsletter.

Details here:

Ben Settle

Recently I dug up all my old Dan Kennedy NO BS Marketing Letters for some annual re-reading & note-taking.

Specifically the ones where he wrote the entire issue.

They were the finest newsletters ever published.

Take for example, this ditty from the October 2002 issue:

“Warning: do not subscribe to “recession think.” Do not let whatever the media, your peers, your competitors, even your customers may be saying about “things being tough.” People find money for what they really want, period.”

That was a rough economic time.

It was right after I’d just gone from living in an office into a cabin in the woods.

And that advice served me extremely well then.

And, again, after the 2008 economic meltdown.

And now, today, with the current Depression a lot of people haven’t even really felt yet, and with deflation having not even kicked in yet. But it will. In fact, I hear tell some banks are already putting up signs about how they don’t have any new money, ATM withdrawals are being limited, and all the other fun parts that come with the start of a deflationary economy.

But Dan’s prophecy stands:

Not a few people are in “recession think.”

And they have been for approximately two years now, since the lockdowns.

I remember how “business” people sounded then.

And I am ready for the same business people to start prattling on about cutting expenses, firing people, etc when they should be RAMPING UP all their marketing, investing harder in marketing education, and seizing all the magnificent marketshare ripe for the seizing.

I am not saying bad economies are good.

But they can be opportunities for direct response marketers who know what they’re doing.

It’s why I’ve had clients who used to get downright giddy when it happened.

Some of them who I keep in touch with are like kids the day before Christmas or a birthday now — knowing soon their lesser competitors are about to hand their kids’ birthrights over to marketers like themselves out of sheer, emotionally-driven fear and being so easily-manipulated by a mass media agenda that keeps moving goal posts and pulling the wool over their eyes day after day after day, getting ever-more emboldened to keep doing as such due to the compliance of the unlearned on such matters.

Too bad for them.

They’re about to miss out on some serious “fire sales.”

And, also, some serious business opportunities.

Not all Dan’s “prophecies” from those old newsletters came true.

(The government still hasn’t seized and started charging for email… yet… but if/when it does, my Email Players subscribers & I are going to be like the proverbial fox in the unguarded henhouse… I almost want to lobby Congress to make it happen…)

But a surprising number of them have.

All right, that’s that.

If you want to be around recession-thinkers, I got nothing for you.

But if you want to join a room full of winners, then “Email Players” is here:

Ben Settle

City slickers who bring their feces voting with them to small towns

Reader Glenn M drops me a righteous line:

As an avid reader of your emails and a former resident of Gov. Kate’s Oregon, how long do you think you will last there?

Idaho is “politically correct.”

Keep up the good work.

I don’t anticipate going anywhere.

Frankly, there is no “escape” from what’s going on.

Anti-business city slickers are spreading like a virus themselves everywhere:

North, south, east, and west.

In my case, the state is already screwed beyond repair with its extended lockdowns & inane politics, and enough people cheering it on even as their cities are covered in equal parts homeless, feces, and drug needles.

So it’s all pretty irrelevant to me.

In fact, there was a movement in Idaho that even recently tried to annex my county probably knowing they need more fed up country-folk influence over their body politic. This is a healthy trend you can already see playing out more and more if you live in the U.S. And in my opinion it is a good indication of how far along we are towards the inevitable break up of the U.S.

It’s all going to come crashing down eventually.

And this last election only accelerated it.

And if you ask me (and you didn’t), it can’t happen fast enough.

But until then, my attitude is:

Do you like it where you are?


Then don’t run — stand your ground, and dig in.

Starting today.

A perfect and timely example:

In my county last month, there was some chatter about catering to the homeless.

I doubt very many knew about it.

But, a citizen decided to have a postcard written and designed, and mailed it to God-knows-how-many people — presumably with his own money, at his own expense, and with this own resources.

The result?

The county commissioners got something like 200 emails or calls.

And the proposal was dead in the water before it could even be considered.

You can do this sort of thing too.

Especially if you have even mediocre marketing chops.

Very important if you don’t want the idiots fleeing the very feces & drug-addled cities their own voting patterns created coming to where you are, and wanting to then recreate it in their own image.

They are easy to identify.

They always manage to slip in “how come we don’t do like ___ does?”

Insert whatever big city they just came from, that they fled, due to their own voting.

Anyway, I bring all this up for 3 reasons:

1. To troll the big city refugees fleeing to small towns who want to recreate wherever they land in the image of wherever they just left.

2. To answer the question asked at the start of this email.

3. To inspire people who are scared of what current events could mean for their business.

To them, I quote the wise Frank Castle:

(AKA The Punisher)

“Pissed off beats scared every time.”

All right, that’ll do it for today.

I don’t see business as business anymore.

I see it as warfare.

And my Email Players newsletter has become my own playbook — what I am doing in my own businesses, ain’t none of it theory — on how to wage this kind of war, using email and strategy as the weapon.

More info on the newsletter here:

Ben Settle

Last month Stefania and I had a weekend meeting here at the house for the software companies we are embroiled in these days. Troy Broussard came here with Tom Beal who does a lot of work with us, and Nicole English (our Operations Manager) was on Zoom from Australia.

And for three days we hashed out all kinds of ideas & plans.

During which the topic of “balance” came up.

Or, rather, imbalance.

Turns out almost the entire software team (all exceptionally brilliant) is imbalanced. The head developer especially so — as he is a true savant and can do the work of 10 coders in 1/10 of the time, and still have multiple other projects going simultaneously, and is mentally able to keep track of it all.

Not even an exaggeration.

Guy can’t turn his brain off if he wanted to.

And, of course, the inevitable crash from operating at that level is as devastating as the brilliant times are productive.

Troy is much the same way, which I can attest to.

But when I laughed at these guys and told them how that sucks, and thankfully I am balanced, everyone in the room looked at me like I was crazy.

“Uhm Ben,” said Nicole, “you’re not at all balanced.”

i.e., waking up at 1 or 2 am, gagging down (literally) 150 capsules per day, 3+ hours of hiking per day 3-4 days per week literally to the point of having to get a new pair of shoes every other month just to function, and be completely alone for at least 12-14 hours per day to feel somewhat human.

And so it is.

All of us in that room, and everyone on the team, is completely imbalanced.

Some in healthier ways than others.

And whether or not that is ultimately a “good” or “bad” thing depends on the when and the what. But there is a good chance anyone reading this who can’t do things without going to extremes, has a hard time quieting your brain, and has a constant life-or-death battle with burnout & obsessively works to get as much done in as little time as humanly possible… while always slipping farther and farther behind where you want to be at in business or other goals, is the same way.

If that’s you, I have no Yoda-like words of wisdom.

We all cope in our own little ways.

And what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.

One of the things that works for me though is writing a lot.

Not just emails though.

But writing books, Email Players issues, comicbook scripts (for comicbook-style ads that sell things as well as a graphic novelization of my Zombie Cop book I am working on), and some epic fantasy fiction I’ve been engaging in lately.

The most profitable or those activities is the emails.

It’s what my Email Players newsletter is all about.

Although it’s far more strategical than tactical.

Thus, no hacks, swipes, or tricks.

Just broad, sweeping email strategies you can use with what I teach in the book I send to new subscribers to ratchet-up them email profits of yours.

To learn more, go here:

Ben Settle

A newbie raises his head above the fray:

“…read one of your emals saying you don’t want to deal with newbies. But if you have some good advice at all for those of us starting out I can really use it!”

The reasons I don’t cater to, sell to, or deal with newbies are many.

But I’ll give the question a wack.

Here’s advice I’d give to 20-years ago me:

1. Detach from caring what anyone but the market thinks about a product idea, marketing idea, or copywriting idea

2. The ONLY purpose of a website (if direct response) is to build a list, and probably every single copywriter, writer, or writing-related person you know will fight you on this – but ignore them, as they know not what they are saying, and are most likely following my advice about this without even realizing it

3. Invest in and study Earl Nightingale’s “Lead the Field” audio program ASAP

4. Don’t pay for informational products, but do buy them (will not explain further here)

5. Polarization is far more effective than moderation

6. Ignore all marketing-related advice you see on social media until you can discern what is good advice and what is baboon shyt

7. Strategical thinking will make you far more than tactical thinking

8. Don’t think like a writer, think like a publisher

9. Never engage one-on-one with a troll who has less influence than you

10. For sales skills read everything you can get your hands on by Jim Camp, Barry Maher, and Joe Girard

11. Superior customer service will forgive a lot of marketing sins

12. Build a network as quickly & aggressively as you can

13. Stay out of debt, and don’t put any business-related products or trainings on a credit card – go dig ditches or something until you an afford it

14. Problem solving is a far more valuable skill than solution giving

15. Everyone (yes, me included) is full of crap until proven otherwise

16. Understand that being popular is not necessarily the same as being in-demand and vice versa

17. Learn the difference between selling & pitching and know when to do which

18. You can never have too many merchant accounts

19. Finally, do NOT buy any of my higher-ticket books or subscribe to the Email Players newsletter.

You aren’t ready.

Especially if you don’t have a real business yet.

Besides needing a real business how will you know when you’re ready?

The answer:

If you have to ask, you aren’t ready.

But if and when that day comes, simply go to:

Ben Settle

A few weeks ago I saw a rather amusing meme that explains the utter futility of arguing on social media (back when I bothered), or with trolls on my list, or anywhere else.

Especially about showing them any stats, numbers, analytics, etc.

The meme went like this:

Study 3 years for degree.
Study 3 more for PhD.
Join lab, start working.
Spend years studying problem.
Form hypothesis, gather evidence.
Test hypothesis, form conclusions.
Report findings, clear peer review.
Findings published, reported in press.

Guy on internet: “Bullshit.”

Some more thoughts:

It’s the exact same with people up in the marketing world who have spent many years figuring out, testing, experimenting, and honing a way of doing things, only to teach it and then get naysayed by a bunch of newbies and goo-roo fanboys who aren’t even qualified to pour water out of a boot, much less comment on such matters. In fact, I remember many years ago Sean D’Souza giving a talk at one of Ken McCarthy’s System Seminars about his sequential selling and consumption model of marketing — which is almost the exact opposite of a lot of what people were doing, teaching, and selling at that time especially.

Still is in many ways.

And yet, the naysayers just couldn’t help themselves.

“Where’s your stats & numbers proving this works!”

Sean’s answer:

“We don’t use analytics or any of that and I don’t have any data — I started out as a cartoonist and I moved to marketing and this has allowed us to take 3 vacations per year, buy houses, travel, do all the things we really wanted to do. We earn more money than we need.”

My experience:

When people clamor for stats & analytics, tests, etc they aren’t looking for truth.

If they were, they’d simply test out whatever they are asking about.

Which is always ironic.

Because for people — i.e., so-called internet marketers — whose only answer to every question is “test!” they don’t seem want to test much.


I got a question from a newbie lately that was similar.

He asked:

“It seems you avoid talking what what your profit per month per lead is, whys that? I know its because you will be inaccuratley jugged but im still quite curious. Its like the guy who teaches game but doesn’t show his girls.”

I literally have no idea what my profit per month per lead is.

Nor do I care.

If I was paying for traffic I probably would, but I don’t.

So I look at my sales and see how they trend over time.

And I also find talking about numbers turns on the derelicts on my list who I like to avoid.

(The low information types who get excited over fake photoshopped bank statements, etc)

But, sometimes I break that rule of not showing my numbers.

Like I did last Summer during our BerserkerMail launch:

To show the pointlessness of constantly obsessing over “open rates” I posted a screenshot in my SocialLair of my open rates during an 8 week time frame along with another screenshot of my shoppingcart with my sales over that time — showing my exact gross sales broken down by product.

The results were something like $217k in sales with lowly 13% open rates.

You could buy a decent house in some neighborhoods with that.

Maybe not guru numbers claiming to be $900 million copywriters or whatever.

But my business gets by…

Plus, I am not even counting the sales from my software companies & coaching program (Learnistic, BerserkerMail, SocialLair, and Profit Pirates – which ain’t exactly chicken feed), sales from one of my licensed offers, Kindle book sales, affiliate campaigns, etc. And yet I still had some people since then clamoring for more test results, tracking, etc.

And that was a reminder of this truism:

Not only can you not fix stupid, but stupid people are never convinced anyway.

So why bother?

As for the newbie’s PUA analogy:

I post testimonials all the time.

Every month.

Probably more often than I need to.

And unless they ask me not to name them, you can look them up.

Even ask them yourself to verify.

Thus, his game analogy was as silly as saying Fonzy surrounded by multiple girls while walking out of Al’s on a Friday night sucks at picking up chicks because he doesn’t give field reports in a Yahoo group talking about his exact ratio of picks ups vs rejections, money spent, and how many dates until he gets the average woman he pursues in bed, etc.

Anyway, lots in this email for the discerning marketer to pick out.

But probably not so much for the goo-roo fanboy reading this.

Although, as I say a lot, I don’t know why those mopes are on my list at all.

Nothing I can say or do will help them.

As for the the grownups?

That’s what my Email Players newsletter is for.

Something you can read more about here:

Ben Settle

Double Your Sales With Email

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