5 Articles Every New Business and Marketing Graduate MUST Read

I am so sorry my tie prevented you from choking me, sir.

John Carlton \\ The Marketing Rebel Rant

Congratulations… Now, Stop Being a Wuss

John Carlton’s article is packed with advice for new business and marketing graduates. He lays down the law with his main piece of advice about launching into anything new:

Stop being a wuss. Everyone is scared. The successful ones acknowledge that fear, put it aside, and just get busy taking care of business.

He stresses the importance of self-education, emphasizing that we live in the information age, and more resources at our fingertips than any other generation. He emphasizes the importance of learning from experts and teaching yourself the things that are relevant to your success.

However, he does not guarantee success.

Will you still fail? Maybe.


But you will NOT fail because you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. If knowing how to persuade and influence can make your business sizzle, then learning salesmanship means you’re armed to the teeth. Like everything else in life, having the right tools for the job at hand is the best way to put the odds in your favor.

Do not tolerate lightcycles.

Barrie Davenport \\ Pick the Brain

12 Critical Things You Should Never Tolerate

Everyone needs to pay their dues when they enter an industry, but there’s a limit to the point where you can be taken advantage of. Barrie Davenport lists 12 things that are simply intolerable at any stage of life.

The most universal, I think, is this one:

Accepting Ignorance and Inertia

We use both of these as excuses not to do something. We talk ourselves into our own inability to accomplish or change because we are afraid. We are afraid it will be hard, we are afraid we might fail, we are afraid it won’t work. You and everyone else knows [sic] these are just excuses to avoid. Don’t accept them anymore.

Does this make me look fat?

Janine Popick \\ Vertical Response

The Power of Saying “I Don’t Know”

People often consider “not knowing” to be the same as “not smart enough to know.” Even within a specific field with years of experience, it’s impossible to have your fingers on the pulse of every new trend and development. Learn the power of saying “I don’t know” and put yourself in a surprisingly positive light in your clients’ and superiors’ eyes.

Popick describes a scenario in which only you are brave enough to ask for clarification during a meeting in which everyone appears confused but none are willing to admit they don’t know:

The leader then elaborates and you see a sign of quiet calm come over all of the people that now know what a TPS report is, because you asked. They wouldn’t risk looking like an idiot or risk showing a sign of weakness, but you actually showed a sign of strength.

In today’s ultra competitive work environment, many people feel the need to be “super workers” and have an answer to every question. But, it’s not always a good thing if you have people who work for you that are afraid to admit they don’t know something, and it’s the kind of behavior that can ultimately get you in trouble with potential clients.

Susan Weinschenk \\ What Makes Them Click

100 Things You Should Know About People

Psychologist and author of Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click?, Susan Weinschenk compiled 100 cognitive and psychological tendencies and explained them in an easy-to-read format. Even better, she ties many of them into marketing and business.

Although you should eventually make your way through all 100, the two that jumped out at me for being especially helpful to marketing and sales were Brand Names Talk To Our “Old” Brains and Even the Illusion of Progress is Motivating.

One of the best, though, was when she discussed how mood affects whether you rely on instinct or logic to make a choice.

[When] you are in a happy mood you rely on your gut instincts more, AND the outcome is that you make better decisions. When you are in a sad mood you rely on your logical decision making AND you make better decisions as a result.

By matching the decision making to the mood, you have a better chance of a good outcome. Neat, huh?

Jon Morrow \\ Copyblogger

How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World

I saved the best for last.

Jon Morrow’s article is all at once a resume of his professional, personal, and spiritual life. He explains exactly how he accomplished the three objectives in the title of his article despite having some pretty serious obstacles in his way.

I would hate to spoil his effective writing by giving you a play-by-play of the structure, but the turning point in his life came after a painful car accident:

For the next three months, I had nothing to do but endure the pain and think about my life. I thought about my childhood. I thought about my dreams. I thought about my career.

And overall, I decided I didn’t like the way things were going.

So I quit.

He presents this as simply as if he were choosing cereal at the grocery store, but his reasons were sound and his drive unstoppable. He wants anyone who wants to pursue seeming impossible dreams to do it and leaves the reader with these stirring words:

At some point, I guarantee you’ll want to quit. I guarantee people will treat you like you’re insane. I guarantee you’ll cry yourself to sleep, wondering if you made a horrible mistake.

But never stop believing in yourself.

What do you think of these articles? As new graduates, what kind of guidance do you hope to get as you transition into your career As seasoned veterans, what kind of advice would you give to your younger self? Sound off in the comments below!

Until next time, keep expanding your brand!


Jana Quinn

An old ‘G’ that’s been working for QLP since it was in Bret’s basement – Jana has been writing since she made up a story about a Jana-Tiger that liked rocky road ice cream and got straight A’s. She enjoys writing about marketing and pop culture, posting a ‘Die Hard’ article as often as she’s allowed. She is inspired by the articles at Cracked and frequently wears a Snuggie in the office. You can also connect with Jana on Google+.


  1. Jenna

    The advice about knowing when to say “I don’t know” stood out to me. I’ve been taught that in a professional setting it is not necessarily important that you know everything, but that you know where to find the information that you don’t. In particular, my Communication Law professor gave us open-note quizzes and tests because he believed that out in the “real world” no one will require you to memorize all of that information — you will just need to know where to go to find it.

    And of course, the last tip of advice is the best advice that anyone could give a college graduate. 🙂

    • Jana Quinn

      That one stood out to me the most as well. I like the example you had of your communication law professor letting you have open notes. In graduate school, the classes I learned the most in were the ones where we were given open ended problems and had to work in groups to solve them.

      We were exposed to a wider variety of resources and options when we knew we had to provide a comprehensive final project rather than filling in bubbles.

      Hunting down resources > memorizing context specific information

  2. Jill Tooley

    Marvelous picks, Jana! It was a pleasure to read every single one of these, but I’m particularly fond of the ones you mentioned first and last. John Carlton’s post had my attention from start to finish (I love his bluntness and honesty) and sort of whipped me back into shape. Meanwhile, Jon Morrow’s post pulled at my heartstrings and filled me with an overwhelming desire to DO SOMETHING. I was moved so much, in fact, that I was brought to tears by the end. That’s some powerful writing!

    Thanks for sharing these articles – I think any businessperson, whether seasoned or brand-new, would get oodles of valuable information from this top 5 list! 😀

    • Jana Quinn

      I think ANYONE – business person or not – can benefit from these articles. I mean, the list of 12 things no one should tolerate was fantastic. How many people trudge through something miserable because they think they need to “pay their dues”? This can apply to being a customer and interacting in personal relationships, too.

  3. Joseph Giorgi

    I checked out “100 Things You Should Know About People,” and I just have to say that I love the awareness video shown in #1:

    Crazy stuff! Check it out if you haven’t already.

    By the way, Jon Morrow’s article is pretty much the most inspirational article ever. If he can accomplish all that he did, then there’s really no reason the rest of us can’t. Did you see that guy’s “office”? That right there is something to aim for in life.

    Kick-ass post, Jana! 🙂

    • Jana Quinn

      The 100 Things list is one of the most helpful time-sucks I’ve ever been pulled into. I remember having seen the awareness video a while ago (a different version), but it still baffles me!

      It makes sense that focusing too intently on a single aspect of a problem can give a person such limited tunnel vision that other critical details are ignored.

    • Amanda

      Whoa, that video blew my mind a little bit! Awesome video to point out Joe…that wasn’t one of the articles that I checked out from that list.

  4. JPorretto

    My personal favorite is saying “I don’t know.” I always feel reassured when someone says something to the effect of, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” rather than a suspicious “Yes” or “No” in which I have to ask like a schmuck, “Are you sure?”

    • Jana Quinn

      EXACTLY. If you don’t know and say you do, not only do you not have the information but you’re going to get busted – which also makes you a liar.

      I certainly recommend being prepared and having frequently-used information on the tip of your tongue, but if you know how to locate and search through resources, you’re gold.

  5. Amy

    Great articles Jana! I was reading through them and it struck me how obvious their advice sounded, but you don’t typically hear it. With John’s article telling the audience to not just get an education because ‘the man’ says to, but because you really, truly want to learn more about a particular subject. I hope the new graduates really follow that advice and not just major in something that’ll make them rich and famous. Great post!

    • Jana Quinn

      Great point, Amy! The advice sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people still want to try shortcuts.

      Want to lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. But people still buy crazy diet pills and try insane combinations of meat and dairy and carbs and whatever.

      Hard work and disciple – the only things that have ever made anything happen consistently.

      • Amy

        Amen sister! hahaha 🙂

  6. Amanda

    What an awesome blog post Jana! I enjoyed each of these so much! =)

    I agree with what you said, these are excellent reads for anyone! They’re thought provoking, inspiring, and so interesting.

    • Jana Quinn

      Thanks! I certainly could have found 500 articles to feature – there’s so much good stuff out there! – but these provide a diverse selection of inspiration.

  7. Lgroce

    Having just officially graduated from college on Saturday, my two favorite articles were “Congratulations…Now, Stop Being a Wuss” and Jon Morrow’s article. I was tired of hearing congratulations by the end of the day almost. Really, college, like all your other education, is just a stepping stone to where you want to go and now it’s time to go there. I’d rather hear congratulations in five to ten years after landing a promotion or finally attaining that dream job.
    Jon Morrow has a lot of guts and that’s the only way to describe it. Throwing your old life away isn’t easy but it shows that if you dedicate yourself to something 100% then you can accomplish whatever you want to.

    • Jana Quinn

      I like your point about waiting to hear congratulations until you’re successful in the field, not just after learning some skills in a highly controlled setting.

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