Start Less, Finish More

On almost all of my web sites, I use the same paper looking sales letter template.

On all of my paid membership sites, I use the exact same WordPress theme.

Why the Heck Do I Do That?

Because the layout really doesn't matter.  Which would you buy from, a fancy looking sales letter with no text, or a plain looking sales letter WITH text?  Exactly.

On top of that, I've tested this and I know people who have tested this... the "plain looking" web sites convert better.

Is it because most designs have giant logos that distract people?  Who knows.... all I know is the plain template converts.

So when I launch a new product or write a new sales letter, I don't even worry about the design.

I worry about some stuff like the headline, a TINY logo, and a bunch of other stuff... but the mini-site design, not an issue.

What Decision Can You Remove Today?

What's one thing you can make it so you'll NEVER have to think about it again?

Is it what autoresponder to use?  What shopping cart?  What download page template or sales letter template?  Or even something simple like the name of your next product?

Remove something today so you NEVER have to think about it again. That's how you'll get more stuff finished!

You'll find more about this in Time Management on Crack, when I talk about how you need to be "desperate to reduce clutter"...

Remember: start less, finish more!  Darn, I should trademark that...

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Comments (24)

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  1. Britt Malka says:

    Great idea to move something – to remove a decision.

    A year and a half ago, I decided to remove everything that didn’t give me something. It didn’t necessarily have to be money, it gave me. It could be joy, fun, satisfaction, etc. Everything else was removed, bit by bit.

    Today, I only have to decide what to put up on my husband’s salespage for a new video product, he’s creating. In French. Can I remove that decision? Not entirely, but I can leave as much as possible up to him, and let him bother with it ;-> he he

    Thanks, Robert ;->

  2. One thing I’ve decided… is to have less e-mails show up in my in box. I’ve decided to follow only 3 mentors. Following too many folks give me “Information Overload”

    I have to say… I’m surprised about the “No graphics” trend in sales letters. I’m a very visual person and like a little something on the page besides text.

    I think a photo is important because it gives me something to identify with when. It helps me know the person who is offering the product a little better and builds more trust.

  3. Robert Plank says:

    Cool, does that mean I’m one of the 3 mentors?

    I’ll use graphics on my sales letters just not as part of the design.

    And, here’s one thing I haven’t tested yet, but my mentor has tested his picture on a sales letter vs. without, and it converts better without.

  4. You’re so right. ‘less is more’ in these cases. I also use the same things. I’ve more or less simplified a lot of what I used to do before.

    Thanks for the insights and tips!


  5. Marcel says:

    Those Robert-Plankism are pretty useful.

    “Start Less, Finish More”

    Indeed, each choice carries a payload of multiple sub-choices that have to be made. By getting rid of a choice, you eliminate 1 – 5 future subchoices that will cost time and may not help you anyway

  6. andreea says:

    I love the paper sales letter template. It is the template I will set for and be done with. Clean.

    I am with Britt on eliminating what doesn’t give back, that is not fulfilling, is distracting, draining, etc. Minimalizing feels fantastic, in life and in business.

    The one thing I struggle with is moving ahead one step at a time. Writing articles in my challenge. What should I write about, how long should it be?

    I try to follow your example Robert. Short, concise, sprinkle of humor and it’s perfect.

    I assume it takes practice.

  7. So what does that say about your mentor’s picture? πŸ™‚

    I agree. While I’ve gone to more graphics in my sales letters, they are all pretty cookie cutter. In fact, I start with my best-selling sales letter at the time – and modify that for a new product.

    I’ve been doing this long enough that I’ve made most of the big decisions – autoresponder, shoppingcart, member site software, etc. And I’ve segmented most of my incoming sales emails into a separate email address that I only check now and then.

    The other decisions I’ve put into checklists – the ones that have to be made for each project. But those are quick and organized. That’s why I’m able to turn out multiple products quickly. All the decisions have been made!

    Great post as always, Robert. I think I was doing this without having voiced it.

  8. Robin says:

    ‘Start Less, Finish More…’

    Printing it in an awesome font to stick on the to-do board.

    Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  9. I think I will implement the principle of getting a sales letter template done once and for all so I don’t have to worry about that either.

    I like Britt’s idea about removing useless things, and sure is one thing I am focused upon during the year 2010. Thanks.

    Keep up the good work. We enjoy your challenge articles. πŸ™‚

  10. Thomas says:

    Keeping with a basic look on everything that you do (blog and web sites) makes sense. Thank you for confirming that fact, I recently opted to stick with 1 or 2 themes and after reading this I will probably narrow it down to 1 now.
    Time saver, big time.

  11. Robert ~

    I’ve definitely made some “final” decisions on tools like my autoresponder system, blogsite template, web hosting service, etc. – things I consider the essentials.

    However, I must admit it took me an awful long time to finally make those decisions but now all those choices are engraved in granite.

    Your post brings to mind some of my all-time favorite words: “Practical” – “Sensible” – “Simple” – “Streamline”

    Write On!

  12. Nancy Boyd says:

    I started making a list of all the things I want somebody else to do, to begin the process of delegating. Just thinking about that feels like a relief — so I know I’m on the right track πŸ™‚ Thanks for the challenge!

  13. Robert Plank says:


    “Started” making a list? Why not just… “make a list?”

  14. What Decision Can You Remove Today?

    Really great question Robert and I’ll be writing that in my calendar to use again and again.

    I will say I have just made a decision to hire some outsourcing help. I am really overwhelmed and I know
    that in order to grow my next step is outsourcing.

    I have someone in mind and I am going to go write her right now to get a quote and phone appointment.

    Start Less and Finish more! Just brilliant!

  15. Clyde Reid says:

    It seems every time I think I have come up with a good idea for my productivity I find out I learned it from you somewhere. How does that happen?

    I just finished setting up a template for all my web sites and Something I will use for my sales letters until I can purchase your templates package.

    Once I figure out what I am going to do next I am going to wait a day or two and see how you tell me to do it a better way.

    Thanks for all your help,

  16. Okay.. that was seriously cool!! How did you do that??? Teach us! How did you make it so when I submitted my blog post I was taken to a sales letter? (A really good one!)

    I want to learn how to do that!

  17. Diane says:

    Great post Robert! There is nothing that reduces stress more than making a decision and sticking with it! It’s good to know too that the basics get the job done. This way we can focus more on the content than the design. I’ll be reading here regularly.

  18. Robert Plank says:


    Action Comments does the redirect after you comment. I added that feature several months ago after I realized that after leaving a blog comment I usually wander off… so why not send people to a sales letter after commenting?

  19. David Hunt says:

    Here’s a simple idea for guys. Throw away all your socks except for black dress socks and white athletic socks. That way you can dress in the dark without disturbing your spouse or without showing up somewhere with one black and one brown sock.

  20. Rob says:


    Thanks again for another great post. Time managment is definetly one of my biggest problems. Looking to the next post.


  21. You’ve applied the basics of KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetie! You’re so right and I will remember – start less and finish more. Thanks!

  22. Amar Mehta says:

    What decision can I remove today?

    Waiting for the perfect product to be done and launch something today. I have quite a few ideas and have been making small progress in all of them, so, haven’t released anything.

    The other road block I consider is getting a good minisite design done, but after reading your post, I would also focus more on headline, sub-head and main body.

    So, as recommended by you, I will do less but complete more! πŸ™‚

  23. Robert,
    Ever since I can remember I wanted someone who cared more about my success than I did.

    So I was always searching, always craving, never fully taking responsibility that I can succeed just because I want to.

    Even after getting a mentor I won’t disappoint, I got a friend to “support” me… It turned out that she was more interested in dominating me, and sucking my energy.

    So the element to remove, for me, is this craving–>getting sucked into conversations bs… I don’t need to be liked by my mentor. He doesn’t even have to read my emails. (He doesn’t… do you?)

    I can be successful because it is a more enjoyable game than being a loser… hey, I have tried both, no comparison! lol

  24. Ron Barrett says:

    Start Less, Finish More?

    That sounds like the subject line of a great email.

    It makes perfect sense.

    So I am going to turn off the ‘new email notification’ on my Outlook so that it doesn’t distract me so many times during the day….

    Ok…it’s turned off.

    Now I have to think of something else to eliminate.

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