A life lesson from the greatest marketing mind of all time

At the turn of the twentieth century, a Canadian company called Liquozone set out to conquer the US.

Their product was good… but their advertising failed… and Liquozone fell into heavy debt.

In a last-ditch attempt to avoid bankruptcy, the company’s owner met with every leading advertising agent in Chicago.

When he asked for the name of the best ad man they knew…

… every single agent gave the same name: Claude Hopkins.

Hopkins was at the top of his game. He had a very well paid and respected position in advertising.

This was a blessing and a curse for Liquozone; they couldn’t afford to pay Hopkins a penny.

So, unsurprisingly, Hopkins rebuffed Liquozone.
Until one day, worn down by their sheer persistence, he accepted the challenge.

“I was to leave my beautiful offices and take a pine desk on Kinzie Street. I was to leave my friends and go out among strangers. I was to exchange my apartment in a hotel on Lake Michigan for a dingy $45-per-month flat in Chicago, where my wife had to do her own work.”

His friends called him a fool. A few of them even drove Hopkins to Chicago in a last-ditch attempt to dissuade him. His closest friend abandoned Hopkins completely, arguing that good sense was an important character in a friend.

But in the face of adversity, Hopkins did succeed.

In fact, by the end of the first year, Liquozone reported net profits of $1.8 million. The next year they invaded Europe, opening factories in London and Paris. In two years they were advertising in 17 languages and selling Liquozone in nearly every country in the world.

What’s the point?

Well, here’s how Claude Hopkins himself reflected on the experience in his book, My Life in Advertising:

“I am sure few men have ever entered a business adventure under darker skies. But I want to say here that every great accomplishment of my life has been on against such opposition. Every move that led upward, or to greater happiness or content, has been fought by every friend I had. Perhaps because they were selfish and wanted me to stay with them.”

I have to say, this has played itself out in my own life.

When I left my job as a Radiographer to start a business, my friends and family scrutinized me for “throwing away” my career. How foolish I was to give up a stable career to pursue a pipe dream.

When I had to sell my car and slash my expenses, I felt the judgment and opposition intensify. After all, I must have been failing — why not cut my losses?

It was a really tough period but, in the end, I did succeed.

Which brings me to the point:

If every great accomplishment and upward move is preceded by strong opposition…

… perhaps we should embrace opposition as a sign we’re on the right path.

Do you agree?

If so, let’s take a joint vow to CELEBRATE resistance.

To keep plugging away in the face of adversity.

Because it means the breakthrough IS coming, sooner or later.