In Chapter 5 of Stop Acting Rich, Keeping Up with Your Spirits, I discuss several issues concerning the consumption of distilled beverages. In the process of researching this topic I discovered that vodka is the number one distilled beverage consumed by the affluent. Also, I mention the fact that there are more than 300 competing brands of vodka in the United States. Given this fact alone it is easy to see how difficult it is for one brand to break away from the herd. It is especially difficult if one has limited resources. With this background in mind, you may appreciate why I was particularly impressed with an article published in The Wall Street Journal ‘s WSJ magazine, March 2010.
In the article written by Janelle Carrigan, “Proof of Life,” Tito Beveridge and his Tito’s vodka are featured. An article of this type often has more impact upon demand than dozens of advertisements. The theme of Ms. Carrigan’s article praises Mr. Beveridge as an American success story. He started out producing the vodka with just a 16 gallon copper pot still. “I would make it, bottle it, load it by hand onto a truck [he also does the marketing] … had 19 credit cards…would transfer the balance to another when maxed out… didn’t make any money for 8 years.” But he just kept trying.
Eventually he was noticed by several important vodka aficionados who endorsed his product. And, according to the article, he also won a double gold medal in the world spirits’ competition in 2001. These achievements certainly had something to do with the fact that he is now selling 245,000 cases a year of Tito’s vodka.
If you want to succeed in business, you may have to consider changing your orientation. Most people who start a business and almost all people who sell for a commission work very hard at it. Yet most people never achieve what someone like Mr. Tito has. He has positioned himself as a vodka expert. And, as a result, he is being touted as such in a highly credible print media vehicle. Initially, you may not find yourself being sought out by The Wall Street Journal [although I understand that 1 in 6 letters to the editor is published]. But there are more than 20,000 trade and professional journals published in America. Most of them are in need of material that they can publish in order to enhance the productivity of their readership. Why not establish yourself as an “expert” even among a narrowly defined target market?
When your ideas are published, then you are likely to receive an increasing number of calls from prospective customers and clients. Remember there are two ways to fish; you can chase the fish like everybody else or encourage the fish via chumming to chase the boat, aka you the expert. Plus other media outlets may seek you out as a source of information. As an example, I was invited to both The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show because their respective producers read about my work in The Wall Street Journal. But this was fifteen years after one of my first articles about millionaires was published in Trusts and Estates.