Ben Settle

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“Just wanted to let you know, our buddy Art Hamel Died in June. I just got a call this morning. He was something else.”

So came an email a couple days from my friend Michael Senoff.

“Art who?” you ask?

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 back in 2004.

Michael is a true hustler.

And, he loves to find obscure old info products, get the rights to sell them, and then offer them to his list.

That’s where I first heard of Art.

Michael and I had just started talking. (He saw some articles I wrote on copywriting and wanted to hire me.) And he called me up and said, “I’d like to hire you to write the sales letter for this course I got the rights to. It’s completely unproven to sell anymore, and I have no idea if it’ll make any money at all. I can either pay you $2,000 or you take a chance and write the ad and we split the sales 50/50.”

Of course, I took the 50/50 offer.

And, I worked my arse off on that sales letter.

I listened and re-listened (dozens of times) to a couple interviews Michael did with Art while driving to my job at the time and while on my breaks and lunch time at work. And, I studied his home study course over and over until I had to peel my dry contact lenses off my eye balls.

The result?

It was a huge success.

So much so, it got the attention of other list owners on Michael’s list in the real estate and biz opp worlds who wanted to sell it to their lists, with me tweeking the sales letters to their voices and country’s vernacular (Australia, the UK, etc). We even did a joint venture with the late Jim Straw (one of my marketing and copywriting heroes) selling it to his list, too.

But, we didn’t stop there.

We also put that bad-boy course up on eBay and got sales.

Then, Michael had the idea to “customize” my ad to appeal to and sell to various different people.

Like, for example, people looking to start vending machine businesses.

Or, people wanting to buy franchises.

Or, people wanting to invest in the stock market.

Or, people who wanted to learn how to invest in real estate.

As well as service business owners, biz opp seekers, and we even had an eBay ad selling Art’s system specifically for Jewish business owners. (It was a tremendous hands-on education — we were learning as we went along on how to sell the same product on eBay to various different markets and niches with a few changes in copy.)

What else?

One of my favorite memories of the whole thing was the Fart Hamel sale.

There was some kind of glitch and we had sets that were printed up with “Fart Hamel” instead of “Art Hamel.” And, in a non-crooked version of Rahm Emanuel’s sales strategy — we weren’t going to let a good crisis go to waste, and had our own “scratch and dent” sale using those.

Anyway, I never met Art Hamel.

Never spoke to him.

Never even exchanged a single email with him.

But, you know what?

He had one of the biggest impacts on my business, my copywriting (I had a helluva “earn as you learn” edu-ma-cation about copywriting during those adventures, and it was that letter where I first used and started refining my Copy Slacker method), and my lifestyle (I was able to pay off a ton of debt — including my car and credit cards — and afford to move out of the butt-hole of the universe I call “Illinois” from my half of the commissions).

One day, I’ll likely even use his system to buy a business, too.

(When I get the bug to.)

Anyway, RIP Art Hamel, you crotchety old genius.

You had one helluva impact on me.

And, in many ways, you had one helluva impact on all the people I’ve helped.

All right, enough beef soup for the soul.

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Ben Settle

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

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