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How a muscle-bound, sweat-soaked gym rat helped me make my first million dollars.

Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Article Series

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

So you, like everybody else in the world, wants a million bucks or more? Well, don’t you? You certainly give a good impression, going around the neighborhood bragging because in your mind, to say you want a million dollars is the same thing as having a million dollars. But that is nonsense.

You say you want that million, so I ask you one simple question: what are you actually doing to get it? And here, this becomes a long, sad saga of “I coulda been a contendah”, Marlon Brando’s famous line from “On the Waterfront” (1954). Just as Terry Malloy had no greater chance of being a contender than the man in the moon, you’ve never done squat to make one thousand dollars, much less a million. And that’s why I’m writing this article.

Through my entire career in business, now going back 40 years or more, I have been observing the habits of those who purport to want the money, and nothing but the money, so help me God. The results are notable, staggering, and really downright pathetic. That’s where Jim Bocci, gym rat, is so pertinent to your life, as it was pertinent to mine when I started my publishing company in the 1980’s.

“Help me, doctah!”

In the days long ago, when I used to go out for lunch, I became a regular at one of Cambridge’s long gone bistros. There, I soon came to know all the staff members, and even some of the regulars who came in less for the pastrami than the chance to socialize (this was of course in the days before Facebook, which is showing all of us that none of us ever needs to socialize in person – what a dumb idea).

Jim and I struck up a conversation, the kind of conversation that distinguishes lunch wagons. “Hi, howaya?” It was friendly, and expected in those dim distant days, when real people mattered.

Meet Jim Bocci

Jim was the kind of person who was often to be found in college towns like Cambridge. He was young, over developed physically, and constantly baffled and confused intellectually. He went to the gym everyday, and soon had more muscles than you could shake a stick at, muscles… but nowhere to put them.

So everytime I came in, he asked me the same question: “Doctah! Have you got a job for me? I know yous is a very important person.” Of course, it was never established what kind of a job I could theoretically get him, but apparently, any port in a storm. He wanted out, he would take whatever there was, at least in theory.

About this time I wrote a book called “The Consultant’s Kit: Establishing  and Operating Your Successful Consulting Business”. I wrote it to accompany my courses on consulting at the Boston Center for Adult Education. The courses were always packed, and the complaint was constant. “Dr. Lant you talk too fast and I cannot keep up!”

Now changing my galloping style of presentation wasn’t in the cards. I talked fast because I had a lot to say. Writing a book was the alternative. So I sat down at my trusty Olivetti typewriter and set to work. The result was predictable: typos, letters that flew off the page… in short, a real home-grown effort. But what to do? Give it away with the course? Or sell it independently?

As a bold, brash, young entrepreneur, I chose packing it between two blue construction paper covers, and selling it for $35, a fortune.

My wise friends all said “You’ll never sell that for $35… You probably won’t be able to give it away.”, which is all the encouragement I ever got. You see, like most people, the so called experts around me didn’t know tutti from frutti, and thought that mouthing off was the end of the deal, and of my dream. But here they were wrong, so wrong.

I took the typescript over to a copy shop in Harvard Square and printed up 40 copies, which was an act of pure madness given the fact I had no publishing experience, had never written a business book, and was operating by the seat of my pants, destination unclear, means of getting there unknown. Well… I was on my way, whatever that meant under the circumstances.

When the copy shop brought out the books, I saw the next obstacle: my name was spelled wrong on the cover. In big black letters, it said “Dr. Jerry Lant.” First, I was aghast, then I wanted to break down and cry… after all the program started in an hour or so. The proprietor, when he looked in his order book, acknowledged that it was his error and would be glad to change those covers. The problem was that it all had to be done in 60 minutes or so.

The proprietor went to work right away and fixed the error, but left the covers wet with black ink. And so, 35 copies or so of this bold adventure were stacked up in the corner of the room waiting for a miracle.

I stood at the front of the room, and with gusto and brass, held up a copy of the book and said “This is the consulting Bible.” And, as if by magic, people started to shove $35 at me. Within 10 minutes, I’d made over a thousand bucks. And folks, this was 1980’s money, which is worth over $100 a piece in today’s money. And you’ll hardly believe this statement and think I made it up, but the God’s honest truth was I didn’t have a single book left!

Now my momma didn’t raise no dum-dums. I knew I saw the glint of gold, and as a yankee doodle dandy, I was duty bound to pursue it. Enter Jim Bocci… muscles gleaming, hair Brilliantined, teeth bright and shiny. That’sa my boy! “Jim,” I said, “I think I may have something for you. Stay tuned.”

Are you an idiot?

Along the way, I had made the acquaintance of a book agent, at least he thought he was. This guy looked like the Cat in the Hat. Mischief was his name, outsmarting everyone his game. He smelled money in “The Consultant’s Kit”, and demanded the opportunity to represent it to major publishers for some quick and easy money.

A quick trip to New York was scheduled, and mega publisher McGraw-Hill headed the list of targets.

“We love you, boy!”

My first and only trip to McGraw-Hill was a love fest… at least it started out that way. The editor was all sweetness and light; cotton candy and chocolate bars all wrapped into one. He lavished praise on me that would make my mother blush, and the Cat just purred and agreed with everything. After all, he was getting at least 15% of the gross. Dollars were flagrantly used as bait… and then the coup de grace. McGraw-Hill’s best whipped out a check for $10,000 already made with my name on it. It smelled like Chanel No. 5. This was the jour de ma vie.

And here’s where it all changed, and the kisses stopped.

I thanked McGraw’s representative, and my representative for their interest, and then said to their offer and that hefty check “No way, Jose!” Whereupon the room grew glacial fast.

Now, I was the stupidest boy they’d ever seen. The boy who knew nothing about anything, probably fraudulently admitted to Harvard with a criminal record to boot. It was all so very different from the moment before. The pressure was palpable, and their arguments, while exaggerated, were not unreasonable. I didn’t know anything about publishing or distribution or anything else. Except that I was that yankee doodle dandy with a taste for fast learning.

Just before we finished the Cat took me to the hall for some major league ass-kicking. “You friggin’ moron!” was about the least obscene of his remarks. And so I headed back to LaGuardia without a friend in the publishing world… except for Jim Bocci.

My first stop when I got back to Cambridge was the restaurant where Jim worked as a waiter. I saw him right away. He used his usual wave and flex number. But this time, I paid attention. I thought to myself, “Why not? Why couldn’t he sell books? He’s got the gift of gab, and wants to improve himself. And God knows my books improve everything.”

So I crossed the floor and for the first time, paid attention. “Jim,” I said, “How would you like to be a publishers representative.” I’d seen more questioning eyes in my whole life. “What does that mean, doctah?” “It means Jim, that you’ll have the important task of representing me before the world.” “No prob!”

The missing link.

Genius takes many forms. Sometimes it’s just dumb luck. Sometimes right place right time. Some, kismet. In this case, it was a yellow t-shirt with killer content. Side one: “This book is better than sex”; Side two: a picture of the book.

The t-shirts were ready in 24 hous, by which time I figured out what Jim should be doing, namely which book stores he should be going to and what he should say when he got there. Nothing could be left to chance. The piece de resistance were those sweat-soaked muscles. When you added the book, the body, and the brawn, you had, voila, a sale!

Now maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but I want you to do well so I’ll tell you the full extent of my ingenuity. I had Jim flex and wink at every dateless boy and girl in Harvard Square, and that was a lot. Imagine if you will, the entry of publishing’s newest representative. Swaggers in, flexes left, flexes right, and the big finale, bounces pecs. And then, the order.

It was sheer genius because, in a matter of 60-90 minutes, my second batch of books was gone. I mean, presto, gone! The representative of Harvard Business School, the citadel of business writing for the entire world, called me up that afternoon and with complete bafflement, said, “I went off to lunch and we had 10 copies of this. I come back an hour later (she actually took a longer lunch than that, but who’s counting?) and they’re all gone! What’s that all about?”

Oh lordy I wish I had someone to dance with at that moment. I would have done a jig around Harvard Square. One business school professor stopped me and said, “I haven’t sold 35 copies of my book in these stores period. How did you do it?” And he didn’t ask the question in friendship. He, too, was baffled. “How did I do it? Sex, man. Sex sells.”

Do what you have to do.

Frankly, I was ecstatic after I was handed the solid evidence that this book would be a big winner. And so it has been from that day to this. But more than that, it proved to me that if you want to make a sale, you act like a salesperson and do the trick. Don’t give in, don’t give up, and don’t over promise.

Well, I’m an old guy now, almost 70, but I have the chutzpah of an out-of-control 18 year old. “How do ya do ma’am? How do ya do sir? How about getting this book?”

In due course.

Over the years, this magic book has netted me over $1,000,000. As for Jim, I hope he reads this article. I’d like to thank you in person, for using your body and your God given talents to help me out and make me rich.

And if you’re one of those people who is yappin’ about making millions, ask yourself one question: would you flex and wear a t-shirt to make the sale? Or would you just sit around and talk about the money you’ll make when you’re doing nothing to make it?

I’ve got to go now. But before I leave, let me tell you one important thing. If you’re one of those yappers, don’t yap in my neighborhood. Do something. And the something that makes the most sense, is for you to get a copy of “The Consultant’s Kit: Establishing and Operating Your Successful Consulting Business”, and the sequel to it, “How To Make At Least $100,000 Every Year As A Successful Consultant In Your Own Field: The Complete Guide To Succeeding In The Advice Business”. You can get them at:


Now I’ve got to give you my considered opinion. You’ll probably never do this. But if you don’t, you’re trapped where you are. Just don’t blame anyone but yourself for doing nothing and getting nothing. And isn’t that a chipper thought for the rest of your life.

Musical note

It’s all there in this terrific motivating song. I am a yankee doodle dandy, are you?


About the author

You know Dr. Jeffrey Lant. He’s Harvard educated, has written over 55 books and thousands of articles, and tells it like it is. For further information about his produces, go to www.writerssecrets.com.

A FREE Gift from Dr. Lant  “Create An E-Book Today. Publish It On Amazon.com. Profit From It for the Rest Of Your Life!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE

Flex. Pose. Flex again. And smile. An article you must read if you think you’ve got what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Part of www.writerssecrets.com Article Series with articles for every occasion.

Author’s program note. To be honest with you, I hated working for people. I hated taking orders. I hated doing the things my bosses wanted me to… rather than the things I wanted to do. And as for the word “boss” it made me sick. So, I had only these choices: grin and bear it, working for the man because I needed the bucks… becoming a beach bum… or working for myself. And that, of course, is the alternative I selected… because knuckling under just doesn’t work for me… and I burn way too easily and was always bored laying around outside.

Thus becoming a (rich) entrepreneur was my only alternative. Yes, rich because failure was never an option. But how to pull it off?

Donna Summer helps.

In 1983, Disco Diva Donna Summer, the notorious Queen of every night and desire, came out with a song that forced the attention of every person who saw life and its golden options slipping away while they stayed in the indentured servitude called a job. To get started, Donna had herself run away from everything she knew in Boston seeking destiny. As such she made the choice as clear as clear could be. Keep bending the knee and saying “yes sir” to a jack ass…  or exercise your God- given right to fly and fly high. It was your choice, she said. Seize it.

The tune was “She Works Hard For The Money”… and Donna spat it out, challenging the folks in her audience who said they wanted more… but just couldn’t break away from their dead-beat reality.

But I could. I had to. My back was against the wall. The very best position to be in to start one’s trek to success. And so I quit my hated day job as a college administrator and took the Red Line to Park Street. I walked up Beacon Hill, where so many of the aspiring had walked over the centuries and plunked down $100 to file my corporate papers. It was my last, my only $100, and my pride (to say nothing else) made failure unthinkable because had it occurred its consequences would have been unendurable.

And so I embraced success like the life preserver it was. For me, this meant writing. Over the course of my life I have written 18 books and over a thousand articles. But not one of these scribblings is as important as “The Consultant’s Kit: Establishing and Operating Your Successful Consulting Business.” It was the little seed from which everything else grew.

consultants_kitBoston Center for Adult Education.

From the very first moment I arrived in Cambridge in the fall of 1969, I realized that I’d need extra money to supplement the fellowship Harvard gave me to pay for my graduate studies. The easiest way for me to get it was to teach, and so I established a beneficial relationship with BCAE, which soon discovered that my ideas for classes pulled in the students and made them money. Thus, they were always receptive to my suggestions, one of which was a full-day Saturday workshop on consulting. It was popular right from the start. But there was a problem… I talked much faster than the participants could write… and they were always complaining about how much they were missing and “Could you please slow down, Dr. Lant?”

The solution was not slowing down… it was writing, and as quickly as possible, a book that offered every step you needed to take to become a successful, money- making problem-solver. In those dim, distant days this is how I did it: I wrote the book by hand, then typed the pages, a bottle of miracle-working white-out always near at hand. Then I took it to the copy-shop in Harvard Square… where I arranged to pick up 30 copies or so on my way to the workshop. I couldn’t wait to see the fruit of my brain and nimble fingers.

“Dr. Jerry Lant.”

But when I saw the book, bound in heavy blue construction paper, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It said “by Dr. Jerry Lant.” My composure melted…

You see, for my entire life many people have pronounced my name “Jerry” although it most clearly isn’t. And today this error caused real pain and acute irritation. The copy meister checked the work order, saw it was his problem, and went to work with a will, ripping off the covers. “Don’t worry, sir. We’ll fix the problem. How much time have we got? HOW MUCH?” And so I entered the self-publishing business ripping my cherished volume to accommodate new covers…

… which were delivered on time but wet… and smeared… and woebegone.

But here’s the punch line: at day’s end, I had, at $35 per copy, over $1000 in my hand, a fortune. But more important was the fact even in their primitive presentation they sold at a very profitable price, thereby indicating that I was on the right road. The question was whether I would continue to publish the book myself or enter into a contract with a traditional publishing company.

The Agent.

About this time a friend introduced me to a very energetic and hard-working book agent who was looking to build his portfolio and income. He looked like “the cat in the hat” and was as imaginative and insinuating. A consultant himself, he liked “The Consultant’s Kit” at once and asked me if he could peddle it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I agreed. And about as quick as the Emperor Augustus said “boiled asparagus”, he told me he had a publisher for me, a big one. Could I come to New York and ink the deal? I was on the LaGuardia shuttle in no time… and was soon shaking hands with my certain-to-be editor at McGraw Hill, the largest business book publisher in the world. My Harvard- honed ego had the right publisher… or had it?

The publisher waxed poetic, the agent seconded his every word… a sizable advance, which I could well use, was promised… all that was missing was my signature. But the more I heard, the less I wanted to proceed. You see, if the largest business book publisher on earth liked my book, why shouldn’t I keep publishing it myself… getting far more than standard commissions, reaping all?

And so I startled both these gentlemen by saying no. Whereupon the cat pulled me into the corridor and gave me a ringing piece of his mind, I can hear to this day. “Are you crazzeeeee man?” Back in the editor’s office, he uttered the most telling of put-downs: “But you know nothing about publishing, nothing about distribution.” My response, “I can learn.”

And so I kissed the biggest advance of my life good-bye and left Manhattan hearing their lurid predictions and imprecations ringing in my brain.

“This book is better than sex!”, real marketing muscle.

Having made my bed so must I now lay in it, and here inspiration struck. For I had a friend who was always pestering me to help get him a better job than being a waiter. Now I had one… and by the next day, he was outfitted in a skin tight t-shirt emblazoned with a picture of the book and these magnetic words: “This book is better than sex!” His job was to take his hunky physique and show it off in every one of Harvard Square’s then-numerous book stores, posing and smiling until he had an order.

And if there were questions, he was to call me and we’d sort it out as we went. “What is our discount rate?” “What was our returns policy?” We worked it out question by question as he smiled, flexed, and got orders… and, more importantly sales, for this baby sold like hot cakes, even at Harvard Business School where one irritated professor asked me in the snidest possible way why my book, however ungainly, sold where his more learned tome did not. “Because I show them how the real world works and how they can master it for maximum gain… and yours doesn’t.” He left fuming…

Over $1,000,000 in my pocket.

Thus my empire grew and prospered, built on guts, bulging biceps and a willingness to do whatever it took… “The Consultant’s Kit” alone netting me over a cool million dollars. And like Donna Summer, I did it while dancing, for “working hard for the money” would never be enough…. joy and bliss needed to be part of the mix, and with me they always were. Go now to any search engine and listen to the lady and prepare to dance. It’s what successful entrepreneurs do.. and gladly so.

by Dr.Jeffrey Lant

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four college degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities, quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 20 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” have garnered five prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” You’ll enjoy the read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.co

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