Is this guy being pedantic or does he have a point?

41 replies
Hi Warriors

I just received an email to my support desk today from a guy complaining about my sales page.

I'm selling a $47 course on how someone can set themsleves up as a VA and work from home.

It's a simple system and it doesn't need any start up or running costs as it's all done with email and I say this on my sales page.

Now, this guy is saying that I am being dishonest and he was outraged because I don't include the price of the course which he sees as 'start up costs'

To my mind he is just being pedantic, what do you think?

:confused:
#guy #pedantic #point
  • Profile picture of the author Plish
    Personally. I think this is a plug.

    But yes, he's being very pedantic. Starting the business (start up costs) does not involve voluntarily paying money to learn about how to start the business.

    If it did, then he'd have to count School, University and getting a degree in whatever as a start up cost. Which obviously it isn't.
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    • Profile picture of the author Epicurus
      I'm sorry, I didn't mean this to come across as a plug, I'll remove the link to my page now.
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      • Profile picture of the author Plish
        Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post

        I'm sorry, I didn't mean this to come across as a plug, I'll remove the link to my page now.
        Ok, apologies for suggesting that. My point still stands, the guy is being silly.
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    • Profile picture of the author matty-81
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      • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
        Originally Posted by matty-81 View Post

        I disagree. Any investment made to help you start a business or learn how to do it is an investment cost. However, he bought the course of his own free will.

        If he didn't want to make any investment, he should have looked for the info for free. He probably bought the course because he couldn't find that kind of quality information for free.

        If he is serious about doing it, he won't mind paying a mere $50 to learn how to make much more. It takes money to make money, no matter what they tell you!
        So, you believe money spent for education or information
        equals business start up cost? I guess we learned business
        in different schools.

        Tsnyder
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  • Profile picture of the author Dave Lianelli
    Tell him:

    You can start without my course, so without any investment upfront. But think of all the mistakes you can and will probably make. In the end, my advice will save you 100's of hours of hair-pulling stress.
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    • Profile picture of the author Epicurus
      Originally Posted by Dave Lianelli View Post

      Tell him:

      You can start without my course, so without any investment upfront. But think of all the mistakes you can and will probably make. In the end, my advice will save you 100's of hours of hair-pulling stress.
      Yeah, good point there Dave.

      Thanks for that
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Imagine that John went to college for an MBA. Let's say it cost him $50,000 in total tuition.

      Imagine that Joe got a job in fast food and, in the same amount of time John studied for his MBA, was paid $50,000 for his work.

      Now, John has an MBA and Joe has work experience. Each of them decides to start a business. Let's say that it costs each of them $50,000 to get all the supplies and equipment and whatnot to start their business.

      Would we say that John's startup costs are really $100,000 because you would have to add the cost of his MBA into those startup costs?

      If so, are Joe's startup costs then $0 because he was paid $50,000 while he earned his work experience?
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      • Profile picture of the author Epicurus
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        Imagine that John went to college for an MBA. Let's say it cost him $50,000 in total tuition.

        Imagine that Joe got a job in fast food and, in the same amount of time John studied for his MBA, was paid $50,000 for his work.

        Now, John has an MBA and Joe has work experience. Each of them decides to start a business. Let's say that it costs each of them $50,000 to get all the supplies and equipment and whatnot to start their business.

        Would we say that John's startup costs are really $100,000 because you would have to add the cost of his MBA into those startup costs?

        If so, are Joe's startup costs then $0 because he was paid $50,000 while he earned his work experience?
        Thanks Dan

        I did actually use a similar example to this in one of my replies to him.....he still wasn't having it though
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        • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
          Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post

          I did actually use a similar example to this in one of my replies to him.....he still wasn't having it though
          Replies? How much time have you spent going back and forth with this guy?

          On the one hand, he may have a point, and you could clarify things as Alexa suggested. However, it doesn't appear to me as though you are being dishonest or deceptive. You promise "some" free information, so you're not promising to give all the details for free. It's also pretty obvious that you are trying to sell something; the customer testimonials illustrate that. From what you've said here, you're selling a $47 course. So, it's not like there is a continuity program you'd be trapping the guy in. Your course is not a necessity to get started as a VA; the guy need not buy your course to do so.

          Technically, being a VA would have some startup costs in that you need a computer and Internet service and perhaps some software applications. However, since you're selling online, most people will already have those items, so they won't need an additional cash outlay to get started. It's not like you're selling the course and then, upon buying and reading the course, the buyer discovers they need to buy a franchise license from you for $1,000 or something.

          You mention those requirements in your video, but it might be helpful to have a little blurb somewhere on your site that lists those things in text. Might even help boost sales. People can look and say, "Hey, I've got that stuff!" and you eliminate the question of "What do I need to buy to get started?"

          Unless there's a hidden continuity program or something else you're not telling us, I don't see where you are being deceptive or dishonest. It's reasonably clear that you are selling something. No one is being forced to buy your course. They can do their own research and figure it out on their own.

          To get hung up on "no startup costs whatsoever" and "but I have to buy your course" seems nitpicky. Technically speaking, you are not selling them a business. You are selling them information. After buying your course, they do not have a VA business. After buying your course, they will know how to start a VA business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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    • Profile picture of the author Epicurus
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      Highly pedantic: everyone knows that if you're selling something for $47 or whatever and saying that the system it teaches "requires no outlay", it means "... after buying this product".

      (There are perhaps ways of clarifying the point, even so: "needs absolutely no additional outlay", or whatever?)

      Call me a cynic, but I saw your post only after you'd removed the link, and it still occurred to me that it might be a plug, so it must really have come across that way with a link provided.
      Hi Alexa

      Well all I can say is that it wasn't intended to be a plug but this is probably a mix of cynicism and my lack of skill in framing the question properly :-)

      I just wanted to get some feedback because this guy is mailing me back and forth and I guess I'm being a little hypersensitive about him trying to make out I'm being deceptive.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    I assume you are talking about the bit in the headline that says: NO Start Up Costs Whatsoever! and he is upset because in his mind the $47 is a startup cost.

    You know... I'm a bit weary of people being so nit picky. People can find fault in anything and they usually do. If he wants to go on a worldwide campaign to call you dishonest, let him. Let him burn himself out with seething anger. I have no use for people like that.

    I can tell you this. His chance of succeeding at anything are nil.
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  • Profile picture of the author tecHead
    Pedantic as he may seem; I think he's got a point due to the mere fact that he's your Prospect. Potential money.

    Yeah, doing business on the net tends to give us Vendors a false sense of entitlement when dealing with what we consider idiot and/or a**hole Customers; how dare you?!. But at the same time, ya gotta think about the possibility that this guy may have been scammed before and IF you showed him some understanding and love he might turn out to be one of your biggest supporters.

    Never know. Never judge a book by its cover or its bish festing.

    HTH
    PLP,
    tecHead
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    • Profile picture of the author Epicurus
      Originally Posted by tecHead View Post

      Pedantic as he may seem; I think he's got a point due to the mere fact that he's your Prospect. Potential money.

      Yeah, doing business on the net tends to give us Vendors a false sense of entitlement when dealing with what we consider idiot and/or a**hole Customers; how dare you?!. But at the same time, ya gotta think about the possibility that this guy may have been scammed before and IF you showed him some understanding and love he might turn out to be one of your biggest supporters.

      Never know. Never judge a book by its cover or its bish festing.

      HTH
      PLP,
      tecHead
      I agree that with newbies especially and people who may have been scammed before that we as product vendors may have to do a certain amount of 'Talking round' to get them to see that we are genuine.

      I always try to build up a relationship with my list as the burden of proof does lie with us.

      I just think that on this point this particular guy is being a little nit pickey.

      I don't regard him as an a-hole though, and I have kept my replies to him very polite as I am trying to 'win him over' and break through his cynicism.

      I've had very cynical prospects before who I have given the product to for free just to prove that I'm genuine.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        The price of the course is on the sales page. He is picking nits and I would reply by telling him politely "Perhaps the sales page should read 'no additional costs' - I assumed those interested in the product would understand that implied statement'.

        It's a very nice way to say "I assumed people reading would have some common sense, but apparently not".

        I would answer him once - and no more. If he continued to argue I would refund him and blacklist him. Customers willing to argue such small points will never be satisfied.

        And I'd let it go.

        kay
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        • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          I would answer him once - and no more. If he continued to argue I would refund him and blacklist him. Customers willing to argue such small points will never be satisfied.
          To be fair, we haven't seen the eMail exchange and don't know whether the OP's assessment ("he was outraged") is correct or if he's just reading too much into things. On forums, we tend to give the OP the benefit of the doubt because he's the one we're actually interacting with.
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          • Profile picture of the author Epicurus
            Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

            To be fair, we haven't seen the eMail exchange and don't know whether the OP's assessment ("he was outraged") is correct or if he's just reading too much into things. On forums, we tend to give the OP the benefit of the doubt because he's the one we're actually interacting with.
            The tone of his original email was definitely 'challenging' and accusatory.
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      • Profile picture of the author tecHead
        Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post

        I agree that with newbies especially and people who may have been scammed before that we as product vendors may have to do a certain amount of 'Talking round' to get them to see that we are genuine.

        I always try to build up a relationship with my list as the burden of proof does lie with us.

        I just think that on this point this particular guy is being a little nit pickey.

        I don't regard him as an a-hole though, and I have kept my replies to him very polite as I am trying to 'win him over' and break through his cynicism.

        I've had very cynical prospects before who I have given the product to for free just to prove that I'm genuine.
        Here's an idea. Put up a mirror in front of him and IF he responds (however he responds) you have the upper hand ultimately.

        Give in. Tell him he's right and you should have known better and thank him for his insight and you'll be sure to "have your team" make the necessary changes immediately.

        Then flip the script on him...

        "And what do YOU suggest that I do? How would YOU word things so that I don't seem deceptive, Sir?"

        8x outta 10, he's gonna back down. You've already given him the pseudo-power by admitting he's right and you're wrong. Now you're putting the crown on HIS head and making HIM take responsibility. This guy doesn't sound like that's what he wants.

        If he has enough confidence to step up and actually give you what you asked for; either it will be totally outlandish, (and he'll know it and won't expect you to implement it -- he'll just wanna be validated) OR you just "might" have found a diamond in the rough.

        win/win

        Just my 2 pennies
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  • Profile picture of the author Berni Jones
    Well, it's hard, but if you start with the premis that the customer is always right ( I know, I know) it makes it easier to deal with difficult issues, because your response is coming from where they are..... speaking the same language, from the same place. It works wonders for me in my retail business. Try, it... Thank him/her for their point of view etc. etc ~ Good luck Berni Jones
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    • Profile picture of the author PaulBaranowski
      Originally Posted by Berni Jones View Post

      Well, it's hard, but if you start with the premis that the customer is always right ( I know, I know) it makes it easier to deal with difficult issues, because your response is coming from where they are..... speaking the same language, from the same place. It works wonders for me in my retail business. Try, it... Thank him/her for their point of view etc. etc ~ Good luck Berni Jones
      Depends on how much time you should spend playing a mister nice guy
      with a difficult client. I stopped being one with the clients who feed you non-sense after i calculated how much time i was wasting and how it taxed upon my moral spirits.
      Yes,you can probably win back a client's heart by saying "thank you for your
      point" and throwing them further candies like that. But is it really worth it?
      I'd say,for a $997 product - maybe yes,but turning your life into
      an emailing marathon with an idiot for a $47? Not so sure...

      Anyways,my respect to your approach as long as it works for you.

      Cheers
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    • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
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      Originally Posted by Berni Jones View Post

      Well, it's hard, but if you start with the premis that the customer is always right ( I know, I know) it makes it easier to deal with difficult issues, because your response is coming from where they are..... speaking the same language, from the same place. It works wonders for me in my retail business. Try, it... Thank him/her for their point of view etc. etc ~ Good luck Berni Jones
      Well, since the customer is always right, I'll take one of everything you sell free of charge.
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  • Profile picture of the author PaulBaranowski
    Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post

    Hi Warriors

    I just received an email to my support desk today from a guy complaining about my sales page.

    I'm selling a $47 course on how someone can set themsleves up as a VA and work from home.

    It's a simple system and it doesn't need any start up or running costs as it's all done with email and I say this on my sales page.

    Now, this guy is saying that I am being dishonest and he was outraged because I don't include the price of the course which he sees as 'start up costs'

    To my mind he is just being pedantic, what do you think?

    :confused:
    OK,the guy isn't pedantic.
    He's rather one of those whiners who's life's so pathetic and depressing to the point of not being able to find a fancier use of their time than complaining on how your sales letter put them into an even deeper depression through suddenly realizing they have to invest a "whopping" $47 into education...
    Can you sense how i "love" that type?:confused:
    In short,he doesn't deserve a single sec of your attention -
    good luck with your product man!
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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    I think he's an a**. Ignore him and maybe he will just go away. lol.
    There are so many nit picking people, it's just not worth responding to them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Epicurus
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      I think he's an a**. Ignore him and maybe he will just go away. lol.
      There are so many nit picking people, it's just not worth responding to them.
      I think maybe that part of the problem is that I am being a little overprotective of my product and negative criticism really gets to me because I know how much I sweated over getting this product right and making it as good as it can be.

      I guess I've got to learn to detach myself somewhat.
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      • Profile picture of the author tecHead
        Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post

        I think maybe that part of the problem is that I am being a little overprotective of my product and negative criticism really gets to me because I know how much I sweated over getting this product right and making it as good as it can be.

        I guess I've got to learn to detach myself somewhat.
        IMHO, I would say this is the smartest thing you've said throughout this thread.

        Normally, I wouldn't even have responded to the first email; but since your original post stated that you had already started engaging him in this banter, I was attempting to help you defuse the situation... maybe even produce a positive outcome.

        But, yeah... as long as you KNOW you've created a dynamite product... one that you wouldn't be shy to sell to your closest most endeared critic and know they would give you positive feedback... let the dumb sh** roll off your back.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lance K
    Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post

    Hi Warriors

    I just received an email to my support desk today from a guy complaining about my sales page.

    I'm selling a $47 course on how someone can set themsleves up as a VA and work from home.

    It's a simple system and it doesn't need any start up or running costs as it's all done with email and I say this on my sales page.

    Now, this guy is saying that I am being dishonest and he was outraged because I don't include the price of the course which he sees as 'start up costs'

    To my mind he is just being pedantic, what do you think?

    :confused:
    I know you removed the link so it wouldn't be seen as a plug. But if you would PM me the link, I'd be interested in reading your copy just to see how it reads. While this one maybe is just being pedantic, it's quite possible that other prospects are confused by your copy as well. And a confused prospect never buys.
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  • Profile picture of the author defaultuser
    I get this guy all the time. I produced a Video course about how to use Joomla. I get one email every week or so saying that Joomla is open source and I shouldn't charge for training. Ok sure... the 9 months I spent producing it... I shouldn't get paid for... whatever.

    This guy is NOT your audience and should be responded to politely, but never thought of again. He will be replace by another guy saying the EXACT same thing next week. Just thank him for checking out your site, but it is what it is or something like that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
      Originally Posted by defaultuser View Post

      I get this guy all the time. I produced a Video course about how to use Joomla. I get one email every week or so saying that Joomla is open source and I shouldn't charge for training. Ok sure... the 9 months I spent producing it... I shouldn't get paid for... whatever.

      This guy is NOT your audience and should be responded to politely, but never thought of again. He will be replace by another guy saying the EXACT same thing next week. Just thank him for checking out your site, but it is what it is or something like that.
      That's just too funny. Hey jogging is free, exercise is free, to stop putting food in your mouth is free, why does anyone charge for diet and exercise stuff? It takes all kinds I guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author BobRenwick
    "Outraged?" Is that an accurate description of the man's reaction? If it is he needs therapy.

    As a former social worker I've dealt with homeless people, broken marriages, parentless children, people who go without proper food, clothing and shelter, people who face natural disasters of monumental proportions.

    "Outraged" over a $47 product because he thinks he's being lied to? He needs to channel his outrage toward things that really matter.

    And get therapy.
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  • Profile picture of the author jazbo
    Obviously he does not have a point, he is being completely stupid to be blunt.

    Sounds to me like he is preparing the ground for a paypal dispute.
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  • Profile picture of the author sylviad
    On many sites, the seller simply expresses it as "no other start-up costs required", as someone already suggested you do. If there is one pedantic soul out there, you are sure to find more. His translation has crossed my mind when I see "no start-up costs", but of course I grasp the concept of needing to know how to do/pay for something first before you begin any new venture.

    It's just common sense that you have to know what you're doing, and it's equally true that you'll never win an argument with people like this. Sounds like the makings of another "grumpy old man". And I bet you thought people just get like that because they're old.

    I wouldn't bother talking him through his argument. Instead, approach him by pointing out that he can claim the $47 as a business expense once he does make money. So in essence, he will not have this start-up expense either.

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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    If he has already bought the course, I'm guessing he's fishing for a refund without actually asking for one. If he's still a prospect, my guess is that he's fishing for a freebie.

    In his mind, either way, it's a means fo getting the info for free "as promised" (absolutely no start-up costs).

    As an occasionally practicing pedant myself, I see what he's doing. At least he isn't trying to argue with you over the meaning of the word is. Of course, when I get pedantic, it's just for fun...

    If he is truly enraged over the wording on an Internet sales letter, or even $47 for a course, he needs therapy much more than he needs the course.

    Another possibility for the "rage" you see. He might be one of those people who have learned the power of a timely, coolly executed tantrum...
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  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    He wants your product for free.
    Yes. This is all any of that is, is that he thinks he'll get a free copy out of you. Seems like he is a moocher with a tiny bit more self-respect than just coming right out and asking you for a free copy, because if it works an he makes some money, then he'll pay you. That one's my favorite.
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  • Profile picture of the author Epicurus
    I guess I should also add at this point that this person has not purchased my product and is just asking pre-sales questions.
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    • Profile picture of the author ARVolund
      Personally if it was me I would move on. You think he is this bad now wait until he actually gives you money.

      He is a chargeback waiting to happen.


      Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post

      I guess I should also add at this point that this person has not purchased my product and is just asking pre-sales questions.
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      • Profile picture of the author mlord10
        Originally Posted by ARVolund View Post

        Personally if it was me I would move on. You think he is this bad now wait until he actually gives you money.

        He is a chargeback waiting to happen.
        I agree with this. Whether it is a start-up cost or not is really a mute point, in my opinion. The real question is whether or not you want a person like this buying your products.

        I have gotten an email or two similar to this. I even had someone tell me that "my free report was not what another marketer had told him." True story.

        I didn't even bother emailing the guy back to tell him there are hundreds, potentially thousands of ways to make money online. It just wasn't worth my time.

        I would stop fooling around with this nutcase and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by Epicurus View Post

    To my mind he is just being pedantic, what do you think?
    Be pedantic back.

    The course that tells you how to start your business is not a legitimate pre-formation business expense in most countries.

    Hence, you can't deduct it on your taxes as a startup cost, and therefore it is not a startup cost.

    If you already own and operate a company, however, the course that tells you how to start a new operation within your business is a legitimate operating expense.

    Which is still not a startup cost.

    However, from a social perspective - outside the framework of tax law and the red tape of business - yes, it is a cost that you pay to start up.

    But because of international trade laws, you could conceivably get in trouble if you call it a startup cost and someone improperly deducts it on their taxes.

    Realistically, you probably won't, but better safe than sorry - right?
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  • Profile picture of the author Pauline60
    If your product is a 'how to' guide then it is clearly not part of any start up costs. You can read about how to do something till the cows come home but that doesn't mean that you have actually started anything. I think he's just trying it on.
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