PI4MM17: How To Be A Damn Good Road Dog & Sneak Into “Insider” Status

Psych Insights Show 17 - Road Doggin' Your Way To The Top

AWAI Dinner

Pictured left to right: Kevin Rogers, David Deutsch, John Carlton, Dan Kennedy

Road Doggin’ Your Way To The Top

As a road dog, even though you’re handling everything, and even though you’re the guy who’s in charge and without you the whole thing falls apart… you don’t necessarily get the credit, you don’t get the billing, you don’t get any of that stuff.

What you get is far more valuable.

Road dogging is an untapped opportunity for you to get real mentoring – a way through the door when you don’t have other opportunities to get through.

Great road dogs quickly become indispensable.

You need sharp instincts along with an intuitive ability to think ahead and effectively get done that which needs doing – without being asked.

Road dogs don’t make excuses – you make shit happen.

Road dogs don’t solve problems – you preclude them.

Keeping the train smoothly chugging down the track scores you a ticket to ride shotgun on many an adventure that would otherwise be professionally (or socially) out of reach – and that creates professional opportunities and career arcs you’d never dare dream up for yourself.

A few show notes from the recording:

  • The twisted journey that kicked off John’s first day working with Gary Halbert
  • What it takes to be a good road dog and how it can make or break your career as a freelancer
  • The secret meaning behind Mick Jagger’s banana and Van Halen’s “no brown M&Ms” contract riders
  • The invisible “shit-giving” gene that all successful freelancers carry
  • How to put your ego in check and set up the headliner like a champ
  • Why it took Dan Kennedy 25 years to agree to break bread with Carlton (and how road dogging allowed Kevin to waltz right into the moment)
  • The fastest way to sabotage your opening to any guru you hope to “get in with”

12 thoughts on “PI4MM17: How To Be A Damn Good Road Dog & Sneak Into “Insider” Status

  1. Chris Chia

    Hey John and Uncle Kev, thanks for dishing the dirt on knowledge that only so few are lucky to ever know… I dare say this was one of the best PI4mm episodes as of yet!

    Oh, and I can’t telling you this:

    John, following the advice in your freelance course I’ve just wrapped up a gig as the copywriter in a product launch in a small niche market (the beats industry) that did close to twice of the goal of breaking the 5-figure mark! ($18,000 smackaroos in 34 hours)

    You can ask Kevin to show you my detailed thread about this gig in his Copy Chief forum 😉

    Now I know 18k in the landscape of regular 7-figure product launches ain’t much, but it ain’t too bad for an inexperienced high-school copy cub.

    We’re gonna do a relaunch on Boxing day, to really milk this cash cow. The affiliates didn’t work out too good for this launch, but we’re working on it to make sure we tap into the entire market for the upcoming launch.

    Did I forget to say thank you?

    If I hadn’t decided to look up who the heck John Carlton was after Frank Kern mentioned you in his slide guitar video, I just wonder where in the world I’d be today.

    Hope you guys are doing well in the US of A…

    1. John Carlton

      Thanks for the kind words, Chris.

      Now… did you also buy my book on Amazon? The one habit of top writers, I’ve noticed over the decades, has been to go deep with every new resource they discover. Don’t just stop at tasting one of their offerings — devour the whole thing. The biggest obstacle is finding someone you feel connected with, and feel you can trust to give you the straight scoop. Once you discover such a resource, treat it like a discovered gold mine, cuz that’s what it is. There are a lot of dead-ends out there in the coaching/advice world.

      I loved this particular podcast, too. I do not think it will resonate with everyone, of course… but for those who have an inkling what life is like behind the scenes (on the “inside”), it’s revelatory.

      Thanks again for the note, Chris. And good luck on your gig, and future career…

      1. Chris Chia

        Thanks for the insightful reply, John.

        Your book was the first thing that introduced me into your world!

        After having a dozen epiphanies reading it, I decided I’d take a crack at copywriting and make it work. I’d already read almost all of Dan Kennedy’s books, seen some stuff from Joe Polish and Eben Pagan and Frabk Kern, but your stuff was the one that made it all click.

        Like not to put them down, but your stuff was the best out of all I’d found (besides Kennedy)

        Shelled out the cash for your freelance course, and I’m still putting it to work.

        Currently transitioning from shameless whore to lean and mean writing machine…

  2. Will Compton

    Such a great episode… so many great insights. You’re right Kevin, a lot was said.

    I can see this episode being your “brown M&Ms” for any future prospective road dog… have they listened to PI4MM17 and really got it?

    Your analysis of what makes a good road dog reminds me of jamming with better guitar players. I always play the rhythm when jamming with a more experienced player to give him the support he needs to play the lead. It amazes me how few people are willing, happy and ready to play the support role.

    I love what you said in KACS, “When was the last time your ego did you any favors?”

  3. Alvin

    What a corker!

    You unleashed a beast that may fly past many, but thankfully I got it.
    It prompted me to contribute an experience I’ve had working with a road dog
    in the gemstone mining industry…

    You can read it in CopyChief, titled “Toothless road dogs. African gems (and attempted murder)”

    John and Kevin, for me, this is one of the best… thank you!

  4. Nick Neilson

    As a writing exercise…

    My 10 Interview Questions:

    1) If you and Dan and Gary and Perry Marshall and David Deutsch and others in your circle have the golden ticket to unlimited wealth, why do all of you look like you make $50K a year?

    Prospect 1 asks: Your life looks indistinguishable from mine and I hate my current life, so why should I pay you to help me achieve my financial dreams? I’m already sitting in a house in Reno watching the Giants game on TV. I want to be leaving my $10M Victorian Row House in Frisco on my way to watch the game from behind the plate. Isn’t that what you guys teach me how to do?

    Prospect 2 wonders: If I ever get to the level of having 6 current controls at boardroom, would I really be wearing a flannel shirt and sitting down for dinner in a booth at the local steakhouse? If so, what’s the point because that’s what I do now? )

    1-b) What can up-and-comers learn from the fact that y’all look like you make $50K a year when so many other gurus are shooting their videos on Miami Beach?

    1-c) Is there a point does looking like “a regular guy” goes to far and you’ve compromised your value positioning ?

    2) What exactly is your “Safe Ride Home” technique for closing the deal at the end of a sales letter?

    2-b) What exactly is the emotional effect that makes it so potent?

    2-c) What is the biggest risk or easiest way to screw it up and ruin the sale?

    2-d) What’s the closest I can get to a system or checklist for making sure I’ve done it correctly

    2-e) What are examples from actual letters or pitches that we can walk through?

    3) In an age of social media that enables any sound bite anyone ever said to be held up for public scrutiny – how do you maintain your edge in talking about the real emotional and psychological tactics of marketing without crossing the line into saying something that makes you sounds like a Class A jerk?

    3-b) Is there an aspect of marketing that “outsiders aren’t supposed to know about?” Or would you feel comfortable getting naked with your strategies in front of the world?

    For clarity, I have my takes and opinions on these questions. Not all are asked because I’m personally dumbfounded by them. But all of them are questions I would love to hear you reply to because I believe the response would be of tremendous value.

    Specifically, no offense is intended in the “regular guy from Reno” questions. But I believe it’s a very real question many have and one that gets directly at the barometer of maturity vs wide-eyed wannabe in this field.

    As always John – Thank you for the time, wisdom and encouragement.


    1. John Carlton

      Tell you what, Nick — as an assignment in learning, why don’t you follow up and figure out for yourself each of the questions you’ve asked.

      Hint: Every question you’ve asked has been answered by the writers in the photograph, often multiple times, in blogs, books, podcasts, speeches, courses and social media (except for Kennedy, who loathes modern tech). You can start with the free stuff and work your way through to the courses… but you’ll likely find your answers easily, once you get moving.

      Asking questions is good. All good writers get that way by challenging their world views and belief systems thoroughly.

      Feel free to post your answers here, once you’ve discovered them. You’d be helping out other writers who refuse to do this kind of research…

  5. Michael D Walker

    Cool interview Kevin & John~

    Reminds me a lot of how things work in the entertainment industry too.

    I think the biggest thing you guys touched on but didn’t have time to get into is—paying attention. I’ve made some of my best connections with people through their spouse or support staff. Everyone ignores them and it’s a shame because they are just as important as the “star.” People are in too big of a rush to trample anyone in their way to the “star.”

    Simply being yourself, being kind and helpful to everyone can open up many opportunities and experiences with people you want to connect with because their staff or spouse will often open the door for you if they see you being genuine and helpful. I’m sure you guys could do a whole mini-series on this topic.

    Good stuff!


    1. John Carlton

      Good point, Michael. I actually used the receptionists at the ad agencies, when I started out, as my “in” to the higher-ups. I wrote about it extensively in Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets.

      Also, when researching new clients, I’d get the “company line” from the top guys… but ALL the best hooks came from the staff, who actually the real story.

      The top guys often are clueless.

  6. Blaine

    I love the podcast and always pick up a few tidbits of valuable jazz from each.

    I have to admit, as I was listening to this one I thought several times that there was no way this would ever apply to me or help me in any way.

    Until you mentioned Dan Kennedy. After a 2 day Youtube binge I have realized that this was probably the best reference I’ve gained from every episode.

    In the first video, there he was sitting in front of the overhead projector. I thought, “Yep, this is the kind of no bullshit guy I want to learn from.”

    Best episode I’ve listened to yet.


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