5 Ways to Grow Rich in Tough Economic Times

Issue #2402

  • WEALTHY: What’s most likely to make you a bundle in the next two years?
     (Clayton Makepeace)
  • HEALTHY: 3 reasons to waste less food (2 of them might surprise you!) (Judith Strauss)
  • WISE: General Douglas MacArthur on opportunity


  • Should you worry about how much your marketing costs? (Suzanne Richardson)
  • You could be alienating people you meet when networking (Ilise Benun)
  • It’s Fun to Know… about the largest mall in the world
  • Add the word "claque" to your vocabulary

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 "There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity."

General Douglas MacArthur

5 Ways to Grow (Very) Rich in Tough Economic Times

By Clayton Makepeace

Let’s say you own a business and you’re trying to decide what kinds of products you should be developing. Or you’re a copywriter trying to select the clients and projects most likely to make you a bundle over the next year or so.

Right off the bat, you know it isn’t going to be easy. Just take a look around…

  • The U.S. economy has ground to a standstill and the stock market is stuck in quicksand.
  • The credit markets have dried up, and even our largest banks are teetering on the brink of disaster.
  • The equity in your home – most people’s #1 source of savings and wealth – is dwindling by the day. And despite the steady stream of pro-dollar B.S. flowing from the Fed, the value of your money is tanking too.
  • The number of unemployed Americans is heading toward Depression-era levels, and personal and corporate bankruptcies are setting all-time record highs with each passing month.
  • Gasoline, natural gas, and electricity prices are sky-high and roaring higher. And every trip to the grocery store costs you more than the last one did.
  • Consumer confidence is cratering… prospects and customers are curtailing discretionary purchases and beginning to watch every penny as if it were their last… and retail sales at all but discount stores are plunging.
  • Two major financial institutions – Merrill Lynch and the Royal Bank of Scotland – just issued frank, blatant, in-your-face warnings that the global economy and world stock markets WILL suffer a major meltdown in the next 90 days.
  • And if all that isn’t enough cause for concern, we have not one but two economic ignoramuses running for president, pitching spending schemes that historically have proven to be recipes for financial catastrophe.

Sorry, Boobalah, but them’s the cards you’ve been dealt.

What’s that? Did I hear someone say "This article isn’t for me… I’m not in the U.S."?

Uh – sorry to break it to you, my foreign friend, but with America on the ropes… with Eurozone economies slowing, stock markets softening, and inflation rising… and with Asian nations fighting their own inflation demons and Pacific Rim stocks swooning as much as 60 percent so far this year… these ain’t exactly salad days for you either.

So – given the fact that we’re all marketers here – what do you do to make max money in miserable times? What kinds of products should businesses be launching and which kinds of assignments should copywriters pursue?

Right now, I see five big areas of opportunity for entrepreneurs, business owners, marketing folks, and copywriters…

Opportunity #1: Anything that helps consumers or businesses function better for less – products and services that…

  • Improve gas mileage, reduce the number of miles we need to drive each week, shrink utility bills, ease the pain we’re feeling at the grocery store check-out counter, and, of course, minimize our taxes and insurance premiums.
  • Reduce what we pay for education or to care for aging parents… minimize medical or legal bills… allow us to buy the best for the same or less than we’re paying now for second- or third-best.
  • Help older people live better on a fixed income… guide them to higher-yielding investments… and help them get more out of Social Security and Medicare and make every dollar go farther.
  • Help businesses reduce costs and also find new operating efficiencies that improve productivity and shore up their bottom lines.

Opportunity #2: Things that help consumers or businesses make more money – products and services that …

  • Help people get a raise, augment income, or replace a lost job. That means work-at-home opportunities… entrepreneurial and home-based businesses… online business opportunities… investment courses, software, and other products designed to do well in a stagflationary environment.
  • Provide the tools to survive and thrive in a troubled real estate market by knowing how to sell a home or limit the financial damage that comes with foreclosure… or by knowing how to profit as home foreclosures mount and home prices continue to plunge.
  • Harness the profit potential of excess debt. Debt collection services, products to help consumers fend off debt collectors, credit counseling/debt reduction services, and bankruptcy help spring to mind.
  • Help businesses sell more products for less – including anything that helps them increase sales revenues and reduce costs, thus increasing ROI, profits, and market share.

Opportunity #3: Little luxuries and guilty pleasures

Did you know that the entire global makeup industry was founded during The Great Depression?

It’s true! When money’s tight and jobs are hanging by a thread, inexpensive products that give us a sense of normalcy… help us connect emotionally with "the good old days"… boost our self-esteem or hope… give us pleasure or a few moments of respite from worry and want… tend to sell like hotcakes.

Opportunity #4: Products and services for the richest one-quarter of one percent

You won’t see Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, or Al Gore in a breadline anytime soon. High-net-worth folks have money to burn.

Even in tough times, being in the business of selling luxury products or services to the super-rich can be very, very profitable. They’ll still be spending good money on fashion, jewelry, antiques, art, travel, high-end estates, exotic cars, yachts, private jets, and more.

Opportunity #5: Products we all need, no matter what

No matter how bad the economy gets, we still fall in love, have sex, have babies. We still have to eat and drink… still have medical needs… and, of course, we all, eventually, croak. Products and services that help us do these things well and cheaply tend to be stagflation-proof.

What have I left out? Probably a ton of stuff!

So chime in. Let’s hear your ideas for growing rich no matter what happens next in the economy…

[Ed. Note: The truth is, no matter how bleak the economy looks, there are ALWAYS opportunities to make money. And if you start your own business in one of the areas Clayton Makepeace mentioned today, you can accelerate your journey to massive wealth. With help from ETR’s business-building experts, you can get the exact steps, shortcuts, and insider secrets to building your own business from the ground up.

Direct-marketing consultant and copywriter Clayton Makepeace publishes the highly acclaimed e-zine The Total Package to help business owners and copywriters accelerate their sales and profits. Check it out here and claim four free money-making e-books – bursting with tips, tricks, and tactics that’ll skyrocket your response rates.]

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== Highly Recommended ==

Building Wealth Online Is Just Like Riding a Bike

Remember the first time you tried to ride a bike? You’d spent your life missing out until then.

But once you got on that bicycle… you felt a special moment when suddenly, the magic happened. You were free! Since then, you’ve never “unlearned” that knowledge. Doing it again is easy… automatic… instinctive.

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One man I know turned $10 into over $500,000 this way. Let me show you how you could get a similar Internet income stream started for almost nothing.

– Charlie Byrne
ETR Associate Publisher

ETR Insider Report: The Only Number That Really Matters

By Suzanne Richardson

If you could be a fly on the wall at ETR, there’s no telling what kind of valuable information you could pick up. Just the other day, in fact, MaryEllen revealed a small but powerful piece of advice… something that could change your whole perspective on marketing.

We were in a marketing meeting, reviewing a spreadsheet of ETR’s media buys (the advertising space we purchase from other websites and newsletters). The spreadsheet covered things like cost, list size, number of names collected, and a dozen other metrics.

"Holy mackerel," said one of the newest members of our marketing team. (Okay – she may have said something slightly more colorful.) "Look how much that ad space is costing us. That one ad is running up 10 percent of our entire marketing budget!"

"Doesn’t matter," said MaryEllen.

Everyone exchanged glances. "Why not?" someone ventured.

"Because of this little number, right here," MaryEllen said, tapping the spreadsheet.

"See? This ad space is bringing in orders. And it’s selling enough that the ROI is well over 100 percent. So even though it’s a big chunk of our budget, it’s worth it.

"At the end of the day, when it comes to making money, ROI is the only thing that matters."

Keep this advice in mind when you review your own marketing efforts. Cost isn’t everything. No, you don’t want a super-expensive loser of an ad draining your profits. But if your return on investment is strong, cost becomes a moot point.

[Ed. Note: When you’re starting your own business, there are plenty of secrets you just won’t know. Let ETR’s experts save you the time and energy of making your own mistakes. Get their "shortcuts" to making money – and watch your profits soar.]

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Networking Mistake: Using Jargon Without Thinking

By Ilise Benun

If you were at a work-related function in, say, New York or Chicago, would you address people in Portuguese? Probably not. But you’d be surprised by how many businesspeople lapse into foreign "languages." I’m talking about using technical or industry-specific jargon.

Here’s an example from an encounter I had at a recent networking event…

"I work for HP," the gentleman said, handing me his card. (People often introduce themselves by identifying their employer.) First warning sign: He didn’t use the company’s full name – Hewlett-Packard.

"And what do you do for HP?" I asked.

"I’m in print management," he said.

Uh oh. Jargon! I knew what print meant. And I knew what management meant. But I didn’t know what they meant together. (Do you?)

Using words or phrases that have special meanings within an industry is a sure way to stop a conversation with someone outside the industry well before it’s started. So if your goal is to catch – and keep – the interest of someone you’re meeting for the first time, it’s always best to speak in a "language" everyone can understand. In other words, instead of saying, "I’m in print management," you would say something like, "I handle the printing of all publications for our company."

Or, "I write emotional and compelling sales letters for non profit organizations" instead of "I’m a fundraising copywriter."

Or for me, instead of saying, "I’m a marketing consultant," I could say something like, "I show people who work for themselves how to get the clients they want." You get the point…

True, when speaking to industry insiders, jargon can signal that you are "in the know." In a situation like that, it makes sense to use jargon strategically – to build trust and credibility. But don’t throw it around – even in answer to the simple question "What do you do?" – if you’re not certain you know who you’re talking to.

[Ed. Note: Marketing expert Ilise Benun is the author of The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing. Get more self-marketing strategies with Ilise’s free e-newsletter, Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

Networking is one of the best ways to find new clients, meet potential partners, and discover people who can help your business grow. For ideas about how to accomplish your networking goals – and all your other personal and professional goals – check out ETR’s Total Success Achievement Program.]

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Saving Your Life – One Mouthful at a Time

By Judith Strauss

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 96.4 billion pounds of food ended up in the garbage in this country in 1995. That was 27 percent of the food available for consumption in restaurants, markets, and American homes. One pound per day for every man, woman, and child. A new study is underway to update those numbers, but nobody expects them to be any better.

Right about now, you’re expecting me to tell you something like "Clean your plate, because children in Africa are starving." Well, no. We both know that what you eat or don’t eat isn’t going to help them. But what I do want to do is remind you that following the advice we’ve been giving you in ETR to eat less helps you in two very important ways.

For one thing, when you eat less, you save money. Keeping in mind that the cost of groceries has been going up at an alarming rate. (The average price of bread, for example, has increased by about 32 percent in the last three years.)

Maybe more important, eating less just might help you live longer. An estimated 66 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, according to a 2003-4 government health survey, putting them at risk for diabetes and/or heart disease. And, as Dr. Al Sears has pointed out in these pages, eating fewer calories gives you a number of specific anti-aging benefits.  

At home, it’s easy to eat less. It just means planning for and serving smaller portions.

In a restaurant, it’s a little tricky. You have to train yourself to order less. (Maybe an appetizer and a salad instead of a full dinner.) Or ordering with an eye toward the next day. (Eating only half of what’s on your plate and taking the rest home for another meal.) Or saying no to anything you know you’re just going to leave behind. (Asking for fruit or an extra serving of veggies instead of rice or potatoes.)

If you need a tad more motivation to make the effort, turning yourself into an under-consumer of food is better for the planet. Okay, it won’t end world hunger. But all that garbage rotting in landfills creates methane gas, a major contributor to global warming.

It’s well worth it, don’t you think? By limiting the amount of food you waste, you save money and add years to your life. And, yes, you do a little something to help save the planet too.

(Source: The New York Times)

[Ed. Note: Simple changes like the one Judith suggested can have a powerful effect on your health. You can get expert advice about which lifestyle choices can help you lose weight, stay fit, and improve your overall health with ETR’s FREE natural health e-letter. Sign up here.]

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It’s Fun to Know: The Largest Mall in the World

The 7-million-square-foot South China Mall in Dongguan, China is the largest in the world. There is room for 1,500 tenant stores, an amusement park, re-creations of Venice and San Francisco, a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, and more. But three years after it opened, it is essentially empty, with only a dozen stores. Business analysts blame the developers, who spent a lot of time on the design and unique architecture of the mall, rather than working to attract tenants and figuring out how to appeal to the interests of the local population.

(Source: The National)

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== Highly Recommended ==

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Word to the Wise: Claque

A "claque" (KLAK) – from the French for "clap" – is a group of fawning admirers, sometimes hired to applaud at a performance.

Example (as used by Simon Hoggart in The Guardian): "Behind the hacks was the claque. They cheered and whooped in a vague way, like a group of restrained English persons at a Texas rodeo: ‘Whee! Whoooo! Polite cough!’"

[Ed. Note: Become a more persuasive writer and speaker … build your self-confidence and intellect … increase your attractiveness to others … just by spending 10 VERY enjoyable minutes a day with ETR’s new Words to the Wise CD Library.]


Copyright ETR, LLC, 2008

  • As usual, Clayton Makepeace is (literally) right on the money! Like the old saying goes: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I’m certainly going to be looking into these niche opportunities for developing more products to suit today’s markets. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


    Shaun Pearce

  • Regarding Clayton Makepeace’s article “5 Ways to Grow (Very) Rich in Tough Economic Times”
    And what did he leave out.

    The Big “E”…

    Entertainment that provides a distraction. Whether video games, movies of the style of the Depression era (wacky comedies, romances, etc.) — basically movies without trying to preach to us.

    Music, etc.

  • First thanks to all the ETR tem. You are a major reason why I have begun my online career of helping poeple invest in precious metal stocks.

    I like precious metals in tough times like these. They protect against inflation and although out of fashion I believe they will be coming back in a huge way once people realize they have been, are and always will be money.

    When it comes down to it though supply and demand rule, and the shortfall of supply will persist into the future as demand continues to accelerate and miners struggle to replace mined reserves.

    The exploration companies, while in the dumps now, will be the outperformers here as they are taken over or develop their deposits.

    That’s where I am invested and will be until I see a major shift in the current fiat currency world we live in. They have tried in the past and fiat has not worked and will not work for any amount of time.

    Just my two cents, but their copper, not steel!

  • Great article. You might add discounted communication services, i.e. prepaid long distance. In tough economic times, people tend to stay close to home for obvious reasons – travel is expensive and many can’t afford time away from work, if they have it. We have lowered our rates for all long distance, both domestic and abroad – in fact we offer the lowest rates in the industry and a great agent/ affiliate program.
    History has proven that even in the most difficult of economic times, people miss and want to stay in touch with their family and friends even more. While folks can’t travel freely, consumers still spend – on a limited basis – money on affordable meals out, movies and other entertainment (as noted by Allen above) and on communication services to stay in touch with loved ones around the country and world.

  • Denise

    When realestate took a turn for the worst last year. I went and signed up to become a “Solar
    Energy Representative as well as realtor. Meaning I would be able to help homeowners with the heating and hotwater aspects for their homes by installing energy collectors and solar hot water heaters. These collectors run on solarized energy which allows the boiler of any home to be used 20% of the time as compared to most bolier’s 100% use. Bolier use almost cut down by 80%. 100% financing is available ,for these units ( there are even programs for people with not so good credit) and the unit pays for itself in about
    2 years. This cuts heating and hot water bills significantly for the homewoner.
    Not only did I feel this was a good thing to do for the home owner, (or potential homeowner) but business owners and not-for profits such as; hospitals., hotels motels.., laundromats, and restaurants get a chance to “save big”on their utility bills. And help the environment at the same time.
    As a realestate agent/ investor I am concerned about my clients not only getting a good house, but enough savings where they can keep that house
    without large heating and hotwater strain. Or improve and streamline their business without much utility strain either. I am about to launch my website (domain’s registered) I working hard to keep these principles in mind, as I work towards developing webiste content.

  • Even in difficult times, people that have a faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, have a peace that overcomes the crisis. Their world may be crumbling, but they know that the wrongs of their life are forgiven by what Jesus did on the cross and that they have eternal life in a perfect world where there is no evil, poverty, sickness, disease or handicaps.

    When the World Trade Center Towers came down, many people realized that they needed the peace that comes from a close relationship with God to get them through the pain and shock of this horrible attack on innocent civilians.

    Because of that, I’m focusing my future on the Getting To Know Jesus Bible study series that I have written.

    I believe that more people will come to realize that they need the relationship and peace that can only be realized by spending time with God on a regular basis. That kind of peace is worth more than anything else this world has to offer.

  • I found a way to advertise my little internet business for free. Everyone can succeed in this no matter how much or how little money they have to get started. I can advertise almost any business and earn 125% of what I spend on advertising if I will spend 10 – 15 minutes per day looking at other business websites. No recruiting required – although my income builds faster if I share. What a great business from home to supplement the extra we are all paying at the pump or at the grocery store!

  • Kathleen Morris

    Diverssify!!! Let’s say you head a prestigious
    firm which has a great-selling and well-recognized product which sells for over $100.00.
    Your next product should be small and well-made and priced at about $19.99, so that the less financially priviliged may own a prestige product.
    Your next product will be more expensive and the next will be less. This a a proven selling technique.
    God is always first in my life, but the Lord helps those who help themselves AND

  • Kathleen Morris

    Diversify!!! Let’s say you head a prestigious
    firm which has a great-selling and well-recognized product which sells for over $100.00.
    Your next product should be small and well-made and priced at about $19.99, so that the less financially priviliged may own a prestige product.
    Your next product will be more expensive and the next will be less. This a a proven selling technique.
    God is always first in my life, but the Lord helps those who help themselves AND others!!!

  • Calvin

    Can I pay my subscriptions by telegraphic transfer since I don’t have any credit card?

  • Hi, Thanks for the great advice.It is said that a person should learn something new every day!I,m so lucky, because all I have to do is get daily e-mails from you and bingo,I’m sure to learn something NEW.Of course I don’t stop there.I’m involved in helping everyone save money with their fuel costs.My background is trucking, so this is the market I am going to concentrate on.Anyone who drives an internal combustion engine will benefit from this product of course.I’m really excited about helping other people save money, as well as building my own business.With your help, I’ve been able to make up some attractive info. kits to give away.
    Thank you very much, Neil

  • No matter what we sell, in a downturn we have to be especially careful about whether our customers can and will pay. If you are owed money by a person or company that goes bankrupt, and it is unsecured, you can end up getting only a fraction of it after a long wait–or getting nothing.

    My consulting firm was reputedly the only vendor in its part of the WorldCom systems engineering building that got paid in full and on time when WorldCom was sliding into bankruptcy. To answer the many people who wanted to know how I did that, I published a book in 2003. I am now breaking it up into modules for sale by download, which I will be able to keep updated. (Print publishing cannot keep up with changes in regulations.) I am about to release the most popular portion as a complete rewrite and update.

    Small businesses need to make sure they get paid for what they provide. The best products and marketing are no help if the sales don’t get paid for.

  • Sommer

    I am just on the fringe of starting my business and have been paying close attention over the past few months to the places that still have lines. The grocery store is still packed anytime I walk in. The big movie weekends are packed with lines when a new film comes out. The amuzement parks seem to have full parking lots in the warmer months. And discount stores like outlet malls still have flowing traffic. It seems to me that people need basic necessities like food and clothing but aren’t willing to pay retail prices for them in this economy. Also the people are still looking for entertainment. A chance to loose themselves for a little while and take a break from work or kids.

  • Regarding the third bullet point under Opportunity #2: Using a merge account strategy to cancel interest on your closed end mortgage will save tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of interest expense and pay off your mortgage in a fraction of the time. The program is working for thousands of people, allowing them to re-capture tied up home equity and become completely debt free. Now the program has evolved to make the same strategy work for all forms of debt, not just mortgages. Paraphrasing Bill Clinton’s exhortation from 1992…It’s the debt, stupid! With this program in place, we can ride the financial ebbs and flows effectively and mitigate the largest expense in our budget. Check it out. http://www.retirealldebt.com

  • James

    The article makes a number of valuable points, but someone needs to say that hyperbole is just not necessary to encourage people to agree. Describing the US economy in “the sky is falling” terms only undermines my faith in your perspective. This line for instance….”The number of unemployed Americans is heading toward Depression-era levels, and personal and corporate bankruptcies are setting all-time record highs with each passing month.”. Let’s all agree that the perception of tough times is real and having an impact on economic behavior. But does the writer know what he’s talking about? “…headed towards Depression-era levels???” This is NUTS. Part of the reason for the loss of perspective is because anything like a serious recession was around 1981, and a big chunk of the population can’t remember 5-10 years, let alone 27. By the way, unemployment then was over 11% if I’m not mistaken, double what it is today. Does the writer have any actual idea what Depression-era unemployment was? I’d love to hear his guess. And I’m sure it would be a guess. It kind of trivializes the real suffering my parents and grandparents went through with the economy in those days, don’t you think??

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  • i like the real true american stories of how some one has made it through there own hard work and bringing others in to make fortunes to i dont even want to here about warren buffet or gates they already made there fortunes and now there dead heads they wont even help there own entrepeneur with great inventions and ideas unless they no they can make a buck they are money cowards joseph

  • The number one thing that will help you grow rich in these economic times is to get moving! I agree with your categories, and I urge people going through crisis to get going, start a business, and get ready for the economic recovery. I help those who have had a financial blow fight back! There are vital steps people should be taking now!

  • Clayton, thanks so much for the great article on getting rich during these times.
    With all of the doom and gloom in the news it is refreshing to have specific opportunities pointed out to us.
    A number of years ago, two friends of mine had businesses in the very same industry. One was experiencing his worst year in 26 years while the other was experiencing his best year in 30 years.
    Don’t forget to look around in the areas you already know about, there are quite a few new opportunities that arise when the economy declines. One of my favorite books of all time will help you identify areas to pursue: Acres of Diamonds. I’ve used the concepts in that book to make tens of millions of dollars for clients. You can get it for less than $6 at Amazon or a downloadable version for free at http://www.AcresOfDiamonds.net.