International speaker, marketing consultant and copywriter Shel Horowitz specializes in win-win green and ethical strategies that lower costs, boost profits and have potential customers calling you. He is the author of eight books — six of them on marketing. Five of those six have won awards, sold rights to foreign publishers and/or made at least one category bestseller list at Amazon — including his eighth book, “Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green” (co-authored with Jay Conrad Levinson). Shel also works with unpublished writers to turn them into published authors, is starting an international trade association for green marketers (the International Association of Earth-Conscious Marketers) and has been both a marketer and environmental activist since the 1970s.

Shel’s been featured in many major media outlets, including repeat appearances in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and elsewhere. An expert on affordable, ethical and effective marketing, he’s been using social media marketing all the way back to 1995. Since 1996, it has brought in the majority of his income. Shel speaks frequently on social media, book publishing, green and ethical marketing, and business success through ethics and green principles

On the activist side, Shel got his first taste of victory in the early 1970s, when he was involved in a successful effort to block Con Edison’s proposed nuclear power plant two miles north of New York City. He has been an organizer for many environmental and social causes since then. In 1999, he organized Save the Mountain, a successful mass movement to stop a very inappropriate mountaintop housing development that all the “experts” said couldn’t be stopped, He’s also the founder of the international Business Ethics Pledge,

He lives in a 1743 farmhouse in Hadley, Mass., where he continues to influence environmental issues as a member of the town’s official Long Range Plan Implementation Committee. He’s married to novelist D. Dina Friedman and has two children.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on actively spreading the word about green and ethical business choices that cut costs, boost profits and attract the right kind of customer.

Starting a trade association for green marketers.

Developing and working a long-term plan to become much better known as a commentator and columnist, so I can spread these ideas to a much larger audience.

3 trends that excite you?

The environmental movement has finally broken into mainstream consciousness.

Within the last 25 years or so, peace and democracy have been achieved in several formerly strife-torn countries that had been under dictatorships — South Africa being one of them.

The business world is slowly realizing (and I like to think I had at least a little to do with this) that human-centered, ethical enterprise works better.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Getting ideas is always easy for me. I even have a research folder for a book I may write someday, “How to Find Your Next 10,000 Ideas.”

The hard part is sorting through which of the torrent of ideas are the right ones to focus on, which ones I have the resources to implement, which ones advance my personal, professional, and change-the-world goals, and which ones resonate emotionally with me.

A lot of my best projects were somewhat spontaneous.

What is one mistake you’ve made that our readers can learn from?

Waiting too long to be public about my commitment to ethics and values in business. When I started making a big deal out of this, I started attracting a much better and more lucrative class of client, as well as a much deeper national and international reputation.

What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?

Of the dozens of life-changing books I’ve been fortunate to read, here are one each for the activist and marketer. Dave Dellinger’s “More Power Than We Know” was the first book I encountered that showed how people’s movements can create social change, even when it feels nothing is happening. Jeffrey Lant’s “The Unabashed Self-Promoter’s Guide” was the first book I read on persuasive marketing copywriting, and confirmed a lot I already had discovered about marketing via media exposure (though if I were to recommend one of his books, it would actually be “Cash Copy”). My core concepts in both of these areas go back to those books I discovered  in 1975, and I think 1987 (and have been influenced by many others).

I find Twitter a great crucible for ideas. Resources, conversations, requests for help, networking, ability to magnify an idea … all there in 140-character chunks.

What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Going green doesn’t have to cost money. It can save money. Look at Wal-Mart as an example. Going green is not part of its corporate DNA, but saving money is — and thus it has aggressively implemented many green measures that are saving millions of dollars.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’d hope to have a column running in hundreds or even thousands of markets, be a frequent radio and TV commentator, travel the world as a successful international speaker, inspiring audiences with the idea that each of us can make a difference in business and in the world, and that those differences are amplified when we work together.

What do you do to keep growing?

Besides the obvious, like reading and travel (both of which I do voraciously), I’ve been working with an Alexander Technique practitioner and a vision therapist. Seeing better, standing straighter and moving with more ease have lifted a number of mental blocks, and I think helped to anchor my broader long-term business vision. I also have gained a lot from participating in mastermind groups, and one of those really pushed me to develop the “pundit plan” that should turn my 20-year secret goal into reality.


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