002 Jim Palmer | Struggled While “in the trenches” but Focused His Business and Found Success…and Finally a Vacation

Jim PalmerJim’s story is unique in all the specific twist and turns, but the principles are similar across all business owners that have pulled themselves “out of the trenches”.  From the days of his first newsletter in 1981 to now where Jim is a successful author, coach and entrepreneur.  Jim’s key strategy was to really focus his business before he began to broaden it. Find out how and why he did focus his work inside this episode.

We jump right into the idea of niching…I know Jim gets it. His nickname is “The Newsletter Guru”. That says it all, he has built a strong business that helps many in all areas of business, but he did not start there. In fact, Jim started as a business consulting leveraging his skills and talents of decades in the corporate world. He covered newsletters and a bunch of other things too. He was BROAD.

During the year of his business, Jim looks back now with lightness to refer to that as the “Revenue Free” period (as in NO income). It is easy to laugh at it now, but we all know how tough it can be to have a DREAM business and not have it take off the way you want it to. Jim goes on to talk about boot strapping his dream with his “lines of credit” which was his various credit cards that he used to pay the bills in the business and personally too.

However, Jim knew with his business that he had to keep going to get to a point of success (aka freedom). He had to find a way. Jim’s mindset was clear that deep in his heart he would be successful even if he didn’t know how. This is what helped him through the times he wanted to quit. A book that helped Jim was “3 Feet From Gold: Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities”.

After 4 years in business, there was a turning moment in Jim’s story. It was a conversation with his wife where she asked him a BIG question, “When are we going to take a vacation?”. It had been about 5 years since they had one…it was not a money thing as much as Jim realized he had created a J-O-B for himself, not a business. Jim was doing everything and knew he need to make some major changes in his business.

One of those changes was focus his business. Jim shares great insights to the value of finding his target audience and solving their top challenges. That is when he began to focus primarily on a very narrow slice of the marketing that we all know as newsletters.

Jim’s success with newsletters took him to his first book “The Magic of Newsletter Marketing” which is a very focused book for those that want to use newsletters to grow and build heir business. Jim has had many books (see Resources below), but each one was written to broaden his expertise and market after finding his niche. The point here is the first book was narrowly focused which allowed him to eventually write books on broader topics.


Jim opens up with me about his fears. When narrowing down to “The Newsletter Guru” he feared that someone would “figure him out”. Jim never really considered himself an expert, and making that bold declaration caused him to stand for something and that can be scary. Jim just kept at it until this fear was no longer there.

Jim and I were talking about being BOLD. Jim attributed a quote to the infamous Zig Ziglar, “Timid Salespeople Have Hungry Kids.” Well actually this is a miss quote, but so close. The actual saying is from the title of a book written by Zig’s younger brother, Judge Ziglar. The was “Timid Salespeople Have Skinny Kids.”

 Other Topics:

  • Some web designers get it. Jim talks about a friend in Virginia that does websites for lawyers. That is a niche and his website talks about his experience for building websites only for lawyers and his success because he has a clear target market.
  • You can go deeper (more services or products) with your niche or you can take the success you have from one niche and leverage that for a similar niche.
  • Another example from web design is Jason Silverman (interviewed in Episode 007) <link>. Jason has 3 lines of business with web design but keeps the websites different to ensure he connects. Check out the episode 007 on Leaders in the Trenches that share more about “All Star Cheerleading Sites”, “Dance Sites” and “Martial Arts Sites”.
  • If we do everything..that is NOT going to work. It is not about talent to do the website, but you have to make a connection as a marketer to the perfect target customer.
  • We want the BEST when it comes to the services we want, especially when it comes to health. Two personal examples from Jim related to doctors: 1) When Jim discovered he had melanoma, he researched the #1 surgeon for melanoma in Philadelphia area. 2) And just last week Jim’s wife broke her ankle, they found the BEST doctor for ankle repair. This is a natural way of life to seek out the expert.
  • In business, you are going to have more success when you start with a niche and broaden from that point inside of starting broad and then narrowing down.

Practical and Actionable:

How valuable is knowing your ideal customer or target market for the guy whose is already in business and likes what he is doing, but he wants to get to the next level?

“If you don’t know that you will not – N – O – T, underlined and bolded: You will NOT get to the next level. And here is why…all the marketing you do has to speak directly to your perfect target client.” says, Jim.

Another example Jim talks about creating video. He talks to ONE person (not thousands or hundreds of people). This is the secret to connecting with your marketing one person at a time.


To give Jim a shout out on Twitter for being on the show, follow him and send him a message: @newsletterguru

Tweet: Check out @newsletterguru interviewed by @genehammett. Discover why focus for #entrepreneurs is essential. #LITT

Do you have questions about today’s episode!?!

Did you know that you can apply to chat with me by phone? This is a limited time offer to help anyone that is serious about refining their business as well as developing a clear & compelling strategy that will drive them forward. Complete the questions and our team will follow up with you to schedule time for your “Business Breakthrough Session”. These are limited to 30 minutes, completely free and oh, so valuable.  Apply Now!


And lastly, please leave a rating and review for the Leaders in the Trenches on iTunes (or Stitcher) – it will help us in many ways, but it also inspires us to keep doing what we are doing here. Thank you in advance!


The transcript will be available shortly – thank you!


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