The myth of the silver bullet


Sometimes I feel like a failure. Why? The fact is, it’s not true. I run a successful business. That business has grown in scope and in profit every year, even through my (so-called) maternity leave. I genuinely love what I do and I never get that Monday feeling. Ever.

So why do I feel like a failure sometimes? Well, probably because my growth has been pretty organic, like the fabled tortoise rather than his cocky companion, the hare.

Sure, I’ve used marketing techniques to encourage and nurture that growth. But no one is going to come knocking on my door asking for the film rights to my ‘rags to riches’ story any time soon.

And so, if I am to believe much of the marketing hype I see around me, that means I’ve failed. I’ve failed to find the magic bullet that will have me pulling in six figures without having to do very much at all.

The emperor’s new clothes

This message, of course, is rubbish. But it’s everywhere. I see it on social media and blog posts and in motivational business e-books that have been nowhere near an editor, proofreader or fact checker.

Anyone can publish anything in these ‘post truth’ days, and that means we’re being flooded with - I hesitate to use the word but I’m pretty passionate about this - bullshit.

If there's one thing you take away from this post, let it be this: there is no magic bullet. And if you want me to create copy for your business that will make you a millionaire before the next season of X-Factor starts, then I’ve got some bad news for you, I'm afraid.

Of course copy is important. I’ll go so far as to say vital. As is good design and imaging, clever and consistent use of social media, a dedicated team, the right mindset. And, of course, having a top quality product or service to begin with.

The real secret of success

Great businesses are grown through hard work, commitment and very often a small (or even large) helping of luck. They are not pulled fully formed into the world from some magical realm that all of us could access if only we searched long enough for that killer email headline or perfect sales page.

This is not a negative message, honestly. It’s actually incredibly liberating. Rather than wasting your time and efforts searching for that One Thing which will transform your business - and feeling like a failure because you haven’t tripled your profits this month - spend that same amount of time actually doing what you do best.

Understand what’s working in your business and what isn’t. Commit yourself to improving those areas that aren’t up to scratch. Listen to your customers and clients. Read widely. Learn from people you respect. Bring in talented professionals to help you. Be passionate.

Your business will grow. I promise you, it will grow. Not like an out-of-control lab-grown virus, but it WILL grow. OK? Relax. There is no magic bullet, but that doesn’t mean you won’t succeed. Remember the tortoise. Keep going. Ignore that cocky hare - and definitely don’t give him your life savings to teach you how to become the next Richard Branson by the weekend.


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