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When you visit a sales page or read an email what is it that moves you to take action? If you're like most people then it's because the website or email did two things. First - it made you aware of a burning need. Secondly - it moved you to act. That, right there is a magical thing. Every single business is essentially very simple. It's a value exchange.

In this week's show I'm talking to Amisha Shrimanker about sales page and funnel copy. Often seen as a dark art Amisha will walk us through how to connect and sell online with integrity.

About Amisha

Amisha Shrimanker is a conversion copywriter and a launch strategist. 

She writes personality-based launch copy for course creators, coaches, and membership site creators. 

She’s made her clients mid to high six-figures in a single weekend with her launch copy. 

Amisha specializes in sales page copywriting and has a digital product that teaches non-copywriters how to write sales copy


When she’s not writing copy for her clients, she’s busy playing mom to her two kids, biking in the park, and adding exotic destinations to her travel bucket list. 

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When you visit a sales page or read an email, what is it that moves you to take action if you're like most people? Then is because the website or email did a couple of things first and made you aware of a burning need. Secondly, it moved you to act that right there is a magical thing. Every single business is essentially very simple. It's a value exchange. In this week's show, I'm talking to Omeish from Manka about sales pitches and funnel copy.

Often seen as a dark art, Amisha will walk us through how to connect and sell online with integrity. Hi there and welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle and every week I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. So if you're new to the show, take a second right now to subscribe and your player so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one.

Don't forget as well to join my Facebook community, just visit, amplify me forward, slash insiders, and you'll be taken right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Amisha. So this week, I am delighted to welcome Amisha, Sri Lanka, to the show. Hi, Michel. Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do? Absolutely. I'm a conversion copywriter in Philadelphia.

That's Pennsylvania, and I work for my beautiful formal dining room sometimes, which doubles as my home office. And I'm going into my third year of business as a copywriter. I've been in the online space a little longer than that, mostly dabbling in different things until I found my sweet spot, which is writing launch copy. And I run a micro copywriting agency called the Copy Crew and work with digital marketers who need done for you copy for their launches, whether that's a digital course or if they're launching a coaching program or a membership site.

I do a little bit of due diligence before I say yes to people coming on the podcast. And when you say you found your sweet spot, you're not joking. I've had a look at some of your work and it really is some of the most engaging sales copy I've ever seen a lot of the time sales copies, really almost KDDI. But yours is really lively, engaging, exciting, good fun. And that's really important because people buy from people and people buy from people they like.

And sales copy needs to reflect that. So, yeah, I really applaud the way that you approach. I thought you must have been doing it for much longer than that. Oh, thank you.

Yeah, it's. Well, here's the thing. I mean, we have to roll with the times and people's attention spans are getting shorter and you want to make your copy lively and engaging. It has to be backed by research because you can't put up anything in there in the in the sake for the sake of being creative. But it also needs to hold their attention long enough for them to click on the button. And that's what we care about. At the end of the day, it's all about the clicks.

So when you have a new client, I'm going to jump straight into it. When you have a new client and they've probably had to go themselves and they've had a failed launch or they've run lots of money ads and it's all gone up in smoke. How do you rebuild that confidence? What is what that first conversation often look like?

Well, typically, the clients that I work with, either they have never launched before. They kind of they've taken a lot of courses. And those are my favorite kind of people because I know what that's like. They take a lot of courses. They try to figure things out themselves. They piecemeal all the information and they try to launch and they feel that, you know, that's not really the reason of genius. Like writing copy is not their zone of genius.

They're you know, they they they need to build out their information, their course. That's where they're best at. Or they need to be promoting, but doing everything else. And there's a lot of copywriting when you're doing a launch, you know, there's emails, sales copy, landing pages, depending on if you're doing a webinar or not. So they try to do everything and then the results are kind of lackluster. Or I have the other kind of clients who are making a killing with their courses or evergreen funnels.

But they you know, their conversion rates are still low. And they'd like to bump that up, they think, and rightly so. They think if they used the right copy or, you know, it's optimized, they will get those conversion rates. So wherever they are starting with on their journey, when we when we take on a new client, that's one of the first things we ask them that they've launched it before. And what were their results like?

What were their conversions, how much sales they made? We get all that information and that is good. I'd rather work with someone who's had a failed launch because then we have the data to look look it up and then we go kind of digging deep into the holes of like. Have they missed the mark on their ideal client avatar? What are people actually saying about their product? It's it kind of baffles me that even if they have had a successful product or not, they they take very little time into, you know, into researching who their avatar is, even if it means getting people on the phone, 10, 20 people on the phone and say, hey, I realize you bought this for me.

What did you like about it? What did you not like about it? And really getting that feedback from them. And I love doing that. In fact, we had we worked on a client's sales page a couple of months ago, and she's making a killing in the mommy market. And her clients loved her. They the love the digital product that they've bought. But she was hovering around the one percent conversion mark and she would have loved to increase that.

So when I stepped in to optimize her copy, she got the framework right, like, you know, sales pages. I mean, there is a certain framework, you know, she had her testimonials, she had her fake U.S., she had all the goods, but somewhere she was missing the conversion marks. And I think that's because she wasn't speaking directly to her client or she wasn't. She was she was holding back her personality. And these are a couple of things which I love doing.

I my thing is you should not be holding back on your personality, go fall for it and also kind of meet where your client is. She had never spoken to any of her clients on the phone. She had no idea why they loved her so much. She did not know what they looked at when they looked at her sales page. And what was the exact thing that she said on the page that made them buy? So I went in to do all this research.

I got people on the phone. I asked them what they liked about the sales page. What was the exact word or phrase that said, like, yes, I'm going to buy? We looked at heat maps. So there is a lot of research involved and a lot of people don't see that. They think it's all just creative brilliance on the page. But really, it's a lot of research that you do. We take all that research. We kind of match the messaging kind of match where the people are in the, you know, the client journey.

And then the last bit is adding the personality of the client, and that kind of shines through on the page. So I know that's a long winded answer, but it's really it all comes down to doing the research. Where have they missed the mark and all that good stuff?

I think the long winded answer is important because it it's very easy to look at great sales copy and think, well, they're just great writing. That's a natural talent. But it actually goes much deeper than that. There are some core principles to persuasion. And the first thing you need to know, as you said, is who is it for? And then the other thing is, well, what actually is the value and how do you communicate that value to that avatar?

And busy people, busy, successful people, they've got a million things to do and they're already doing quite well. So it's quite natural to to lose focus on the avatar when everything is just rolling along. Exactly. Because it's very easy to start believing your own hype. Yeah. And lose sight of what was that essential mission and who was that mission for before? My focus was exclusively digital marketing. I used to work on a lot of websites.

And I worked on websites for all different kinds of businesses, everything from, yeah, engineering through to vacations and Internet stuff and telecoms and what I found pretty universally, and this is sort of drifting away from traditional conversion focused sales copy, but it isn't really if you take the average business, let's say telecoms, the way the website was usually produced, be produced as the client will speak to the web designer who will look at other Web, other telecoms companies websites, pull together a mock up and say, do you like this?

The client will go, Yeah, I like that. They'll build it. And then the customer, the web designer will say, Client, can I have some copy to shove in your website, please? And the client will go, Yeah, OK. Someone in the marketing department to write some copy, which will be garbage and that's where it ends. Do you ever see these really sort of tried and tested copywriting principles that we're accustomed to in the online entrepreneurial space being applied in a traditional business sense?

Have you any experience of that?

You mean where everything is laid out and you just need to shove some copy in just for the sake of it?

The opposite, actually, where a business that would normally be expected to do that actually goes the extra step to bring someone like you into a business where the kind of business where you wouldn't. I guess what the question is, I'm I'm I would naturally see you working with, of course, creators or online entrepreneurs, that kind of business. And I know you do a lot of that. But if you take those principles and you apply them to something like a telecoms company or a printing company, what could that what kind of difference would that make you mean what kind of process would I engage in to write the copy for them?

Yeah, yeah, I guess so. I didn't really know what the question was rambling around and hoping a question would come.

No, you got it. Well, if I have to write, let's say if I had to write copy for a printing company, anything with copy, all kinds of copy, it would start with the research, you know, really understanding who's their ideal client avatar. Even if I had to go back three years and I would even ask them, have you done any surveys or have you done any, you know, customer feedback forms? Have you had any sort of interaction, life transcript, live chat transcripts?

Can I look at that? You know, those transcripts can tell you a lot of things. What are your customers asking you? You know, if you have a customer, if you have a customer service department where a lot of people are calling because they're having problems or they they can figure something out, all those call records, I would really go into that to understand who is this person? Who is this company speaking to? Who is that one avatar that they speak to?

It could be maybe multiple personas, but typically 80 percent of your business is done with one kind of customer. So I would understand who their customer is. What have they really bought? Why do they buy from this particular company? What is their unique value proposition, which is very important in writing copy. You need to know what's your hook, what's your what's unique about you? Why printing company X instead of printing company wide? Because if you look at if I open up.

Websites of these, you know, printing companies, they all kind of sound the same. So you want to kind of you want to absolutely differentiate yourself. So I would go snooping around in what their competitors are doing, which I love. I typically look up at least three to five competitors in the same space to see what they're doing. What have they got on their website? What aren't they telling or what are they saying or what aren't they claiming?

Does their copy sound generic? Does it sound like blind that they can speak to everybody? So these are the things that I would go around looking into and kind of arriving at a unique value proposition. What is that one thing that I can shine a light on and I can blow it up on someone's homepage? That's where I would start. And obviously, you know who their ideal avatar is and kind of make the copy more interesting, user friendly, have more personality because, you know, I don't know a lot of printing companies that have personality, but you want to have a little bit of that edge.

And that's that that's the kind of copy that I do. Right. I like that the people that I write for, I have their personality kind of shine on their website, too. So these are kind of mix and match kind of things that I would do. I don't know if this answers your question, but hopefully. Yeah, it does.

It really, really does, because I think what you're talking about there is a is like a quantum shift from what actually happens on most traditional business websites. And it it really is the kind of copy that's going to start a conversation. And one of the things that I often see is people, designers, clients, they think people are browsing websites in a very conscious, very rational way when that's not the case at all. People are browsing in a semi-conscious, almost reptile way.

And what I like about the kind of content that you write is it's obviously not written for reptile's, but it's written in a way that you get this pattern interrupt. You're woken up and you have to pay attention. And not all sales pages are like that. So when you're creating copy, I don't know. I mean, many creative people and you are a creative person. Yes, there's some research, but there's also an element of creativity, a lot of that creativity, sometimes unconscious.

But how conscious are you of working with the unconscious of the browser or the visitor?

Um, that's a very good question, I think. And again, it's going to sound boring. I, I try to think from I try to put myself in their shoes, like, for instance, when I was talking to the moms who I was writing a sales page for, I let them have at it, I assume, cause I'm like, OK, what is what do you love about educating or teaching your preschooler at home? These are difficult times.

So some moms, they give me some really interesting answers. They said, you know, I'm I'm trying to do everything else. I'm trying to keep my toddler alive. And and, you know, I have a busy morning and there are toys all around. So it's really kind of taking what they're literally saying, like, you know, copywriting is yes, it's research. Yes. It's got a little bit of creative flair. And I can tell you where I put the creativity on a page, but it's literally 90 percent of it is really what your clients are telling you.

It's as simple as that. And if you can just take verbatim what they're saying and just put it on the page, that would resonate more, because those are the people who are reading your copy and they're like, oh, my gosh, that sounds like me. She must have been in my brain because that's exactly how my morning starts. My child is asking for my cell phone to keep himself entertained or he's asking me to watch Daniel Tiger. It's a very popular show here, cartoon for a lot of preschoolers or, you know, he wants to, I don't know, make a mess and not listen to me because he doesn't think I'm his teacher.

So these are things that moms were telling me on and on again. And there was this repeated pattern. And I'm like, OK, how can I just take that and put it onto the page and kind of, you know, make it a little bit funny. You know, obviously, then there's a copywriting thing where you're doing some alliteration, working in persuasion, kind of adding personality, maybe adding a pop culture reference here to kind of make it funny, have a little bit of chuckle.

So those are things that I do and it just kind of keeps the copy more engaged because it's it's the way I look at copy. It's more conversational. It's like I'm talking to a friend and they're telling me exactly what's on their mind. And I kind of take that language and I put it on the page and somewhere here and there, I have a little bit of a wicked humor or and it really depends on the course, on the on the person I'm writing copy for, if it's a person who's a minimalist, is elegant.

Doesn't use pop culture references, I would not put that on their page. Obviously, I would be very conscious of that. But on the other hand, if I'm writing for a person who has. How to explain it appreciates humor or maybe has a sarcastic sense of humor or maybe likes to make fun of things, I kind of try to bring that element into it. And a lot of this is kind of like, you know, undiscovered on the kickoff call with the client when I asked them to send me.

All right, send me a favorite gif and they kind of like, look at me confused. Like, why does she want to know why? What's my favorite gif? But them just telling me and I said, anything, anything that's your favorite. A meme or a gif. Just just send that to me. It kind of gives me an idea what their personalities like or I ask them, what's your favorite adventure or what's your favorite movie or what Netflix show you like to watch?

A lot of these things kind of give me an insight as to who this person is, and I'd like to bring that into the copy.

So even when you're reading their bio on a sales page, the About Me section, it's not like, oh, I've got like, you know, I made a million dollars in sales in three months and I was featured on I have a TED talk know that that's all great.

But what else? What makes you human. Right. What are what are your pitfalls? What are the things that maybe, you know, you screw up and maybe kind of we can make it a little bit more fun and relatable that that's what I'm looking for. So that's where all these questions that I asked during our kickoff call, they come into play and the client does not see it at the time when we start working together and they're like, how did you know?

I'm like, oh, OK. Yes, I told you that was my favorite show and you somehow made it in the copy. It always surprises them, but I love it.

I can already tell you what my favorite gif is. I'll send you a letter. Please do. I'd love to see I'm a gift queen.

That's that's from what you're describing there, the the work. And when you're working with personal brands, it makes so much sense because the voice is really important and drawing out what is that voice in order that you can extrapolate that into all these different funnel elements really makes sense and we'll make that funnel relatable. One thing I'm curious about is if you take a podcast, for example, or somebody that's built a YouTube channel or a blog or anybody that's invested in a platform in long term built an audience, they need to build that funnel for the first time because they they don't have lots of experience of the online business because they've been focused on building the brand, serving the audience.

But there comes a point where that has to be turned into a business. And this is where a lot of people fall down. There are so many bear traps. There are so many gurus. And I'd be interested to hear from you as somebody who is brought in to work on these various funnel elements. How should they cross that bridge from content creator to business owner with a functional funnel?

That's a very good question. And it is it is sort of loaded to it depends what their goals are. I mean, so let me give an example of a client that I worked with last year.

He created a lot of content on his Instagram channel, and he also had a YouTube channel where he taught people how to run an Amazon wholesale business. And he was terrific. He modeled his content on Gary V like kind of like, you know, detailing his life story, how he got started. And he has a huge following. And both these channels on Instagram and YouTube. And he produced a lot of content, a lot of videos, educational fun, kind of behind the scenes.

But he never had anything to sell.

So when we started working together, he he he had an idea what he wanted to do. He wanted to launch a digital course, a high end digital course, like in the forefingers. And the great thing was he already had a very strong following on social media. He just hadn't sold them anything. And he said, you know, I have already started creating my course because I know exactly what my clients want. This is the these are the questions they keep asking me.

And I've taken all that information and I've developed a course which I think was great because he was very in tune with what his audience was telling him. And I'm like, that's, you know, 50 percent, 60 percent job right there done because you're not creating something in a vacuum, which is super important because we can do that. Sometimes we like our work so much, we start creating in a vacuum without really understanding it. There's a market for that thing that you want to create.

So he had that. What he didn't have was a strategy or a launch, simple launch process where he could say, you know what, the course is ready, here's a sales pitch and go buy it. And he wanted to do this without spending any money on ads or any any of that sort. So what we did, what I like to call it, was it was through an email launch. It was really an email launch. And it was just content written in his emails, his launch emails that he reached.

And put it on his Instagram account, you know, make captions, make graphics and got people very interested. He had bonuses and announced bonuses that made his launch even more exciting because, you know, midweek bonuses like, hey, if you haven't bought into this course yet, here's why you would love to reconsider, because I'm also giving you this bonus, which I know was one of your biggest objections. All in all, it was a three week email launch.

He only launched to a very warm list and a very hot audience on both these channels. And he I think it was a very successful launch. He made close to eight hundred and thirty K in sales when we opened card for a week.

Yes. And was all done via email. He had a very good following. So it was not like we were doing a lot of things like building his email list and, you know, getting people to like him. We didn't have to do any of that. He had the audience. He just didn't have the launch mechanism or a framework, if you will, to kind of like, you know, or funnel in this case to kind of let people interested in what he was offering, get them on that wait list and kind of say, here's the doors have opened to this academy that I'm launching.

So that's where I came in, wrote a sales page, Rhoda's emails, and that's it.

So. That all makes perfect sense, and I think where there's a product, that mechanism of connecting the person who needs it with the product, a lot of the time it can actually be very simple, but. If you use the wrong words, if the story is not well told, if the value isn't well communicated, then it can all fall flat. So, yeah, I totally get that. And that's an amazing result. Thank you. One other question, I guess, is what's your perspective on how would I put that, what you would almost call contrived urgency?

Like, you will often see things like countdown's on a sales page or some like some tools that will almost change the price if you come back an hour later, things like that. Do those things work?

No, that's the shortest answer I can give. You know, they don't are the audience is way smarter than we think, especially now. I mean, this is not the early 2000s where you could get away with things like that. People don't like fake urgency. And I tell this to my clients, too, like if those are the tactics that you want to employ in this launch, then I'm very upfront. I'm not the copywriter for you. It's not like, you know, if you don't enroll in this course or a membership, you're a loser.

And that's that's kind of it's a very broad marketing. And I think we've all been like we've seen a lot of that before. Like, you know, you've got to if you nod, if you you know, if you don't do this now, then your your life's going to suck or blah, blah, blah. I don't think people like that anymore. People don't respond to that. And there have been times when well-known names out there have put things out like that and they say, you know what, this is the final call and this is ending and we're not taking any more students after this.

And lo and behold, maybe like a couple of days later, like, hey, you know what? There was a glitch in our system and we have decided to reopen this. And I have seen that. And that kind of like makes me lose respect for such marketers. And I'm like, you know, you are way better than that. You don't have to do that. So those are those are just icky marketing tactics. In one simple word, I would say, don't do that.

Really don't. I think if you've nurtured your prospects well enough in the pre launch phase, you know your prospect well, you know, your avatar, your audience, well, you've nurtured them at least three to four weeks before you've even opened cards to your offer. Then I think I think you're on the right track. And people who've made up their minds to be there, they're going to be there. They're going to come with you for the right if they haven't and for some reason they haven't, I don't think you should make them feel bad.

There's always a next time. Maybe they pay a high price. And this is something that you need to spell out in your copy that, hey, I'm not kidding. This is a beta right now. But the next time I open this, it may not be as cheap. You can be honest about that. But saying to someone, if you're not in right now and because you're not serious about making a big life change, then I think that that's that's not good.

And also, the other thing I don't like employing this tactic of like, you know, if you can't afford this right now, you should take on credit card debt to participate in my program. I think that's that's something that I don't stand for either. So these are the two things that I tell clients or prospects who want me to write their copy, that I'm not going to write something that tells people that it's OK to go into credit card debt and no fake urgency, because that really doesn't work anymore.

And people talk. I mean, people do talk. People talk about it on social media and on Facebook. So word gets around and yeah, you can't keep up doing these things anymore. I kind of went on a rant. I'm really glad you said that, I think the. Well, no, not at all. These things are important for people to hear. And I think the credit card debt for me is a big one as well.

I don't own a credit card. I wouldn't let my kids have credit cards. They're evil. And anybody that thinks they need to go into credit card debt to buy a product which is going to change their life. It won't. It just won't. You have a bigger issues if if you're looking at a product thinking you need to go into credit card debt in order to afford that, it's the wrong product. Guaranteed. Speaking of things, you can't afford good sales pitch copywriters.

I think they're a little bit like international assassins. Really good ones are very well high paid, very highly paid. So for the average small business owner, that's not quite there yet. What should they be doing to look on their own website as a little bit of a self-help of any really solid tips that, you know, you can pretty much point at any website and they're going to need to do these things? What was the question?

Again, if it's a small business owner, what they need on their Web site for the average business owner, if they can't afford to hire someone like you? What should they be looking at on their own website from a self-help perspective?

Uh, well, there are two ways. I think I understand how basic copywriting works. Let's talk about we more emphasis on you, because really it is about your ideal client. End of the day, I see a lot of copy where it's a lot of we talk. And I think that needs to change who you talk. Nobody reads mission statements. And this is just, you know, a home page copy. Nobody reads mission statements. Those are boring.

They don't care unless you can make it fun and enjoyable, which I've seen very few people do. Yeah, I would I would go I would go. Really ruthless with the Weese. Change that to you. You copy give people a chance to opt in if whatever it is you have like continue that conversation. I think every page on a website is a is a place where you can make a sale. It does not have to be people giving you money, but it's either, you know, have them join a list or have them get on a call.

These things need to be obvious because if you're not doing that, then there is no point of having a website. Your website can be a very awesome funnel, but only if you give people that chance to opt in and kind of somehow connect with you and take that conversation further. Definitely remove the wheat from the copy, make it more you centric, even your about you about us page is and I think a lot of people know the about US page is not really about you.

There is a little bit of you, but it's more about what you can do for your clients and how you can help them. And so those are my two couple of two tips right there. If you're doing this on your own, however, if you are someone you know or if you can work with a coach or work with a copywriting coach, or enroll yourself in a group program where a copywriter can be your guide and help you write copy.

And actually, as a matter of fact, that's what I'm going to be unveiling soon. It's my upcoming offer. It's done with you copyright's program. Yeah, I don't have a name for it yet. It's still in the beta phases. I'm creating this. The other thing, I don't like to create things or offers in a vacuum. I think strongly you should reach out to your audience and, you know, kind of like get their interest to see if there is any interest in there.

So it's very exciting. I'm launching it to my email list and it's primarily service providers, people like me or who also are non copywriters and also business coaches because they don't have the time to write copy, but they really want to learn how to do it. And that's where I'm taking them. It's a closed container. I'm not I don't have more than ten to twelve people who are going to participate in this first round. I understand what their business is about and kind of help them write their copy.

So whether it's for a homepage or a sales page, I will take them through that process. So yeah. Yeah. So either get into a coaching program where you can learn or yeah. At least do the first two things, remove the key from the copy and make it more union friendly.

I think it's very easy to underestimate how important this is because in terms of digital marketing or building a business online, it's actually very simple. You have traffic on the one hand and you have conversion on the other. And if you have traffic and conversion, you have money. Simple. Absolutely. And so many people underestimate this conversion piece of that. If that simple equation, the traffic plus conversion equals money and the conversion all happens at this point of dialogue, a relationship which usually happens either on a website or in email, those are the two main.

And if you get those right a lot of the time, you don't need to spend a lot of money on ads or CEO because you already have traffic, but most people never converted. So what you're describing there and as a product from from that that you're delivering is potentially a game changing for poor business owners. So, yeah, I'm I'm excited by that. Oh, thank you, Peter.

So so I'd like to look at your own marketing, your own sort of personal brand, that kind of thing. Obviously, you've been you pivoted into the conversion copy space a little while ago. What does your own digital marketing look like? How do you go about making sure people all know about Amisha, Sri Lanka? How does that work?

Well, first of all, I try to land on podcasts like Bob's well, my own digital marketing.

I I'm part of a very high level mastermind. And it's all it's a digital and marketing mastermind. So a lot of my clients have come from word of mouth referral based marketing, which I really believe in, and those are relationships that I've formed and nurtured. Relationship marketing is very important to me. So whether it's building relationships with podcasters, peers in the business, you know, like yourself, Bob, because you're interested in the same space as I am.

So this is this is what it looks like for me right now. I do have at least a couple of funnels that are in launch mode. They're not completely optimized. You know, no one will ever is completely optimized where people can opt in to my freebie and my website and they kind of enter this. I think they become a subscriber. I start sending them offers. You know, there are two or three ways to work with me. One is if you want to write the copy yourself and you're sort of sort of a go getter.

I have a digital course. It's a low ticket offer. When I say low, take it offer, it's not a four figure price tag that I put on my services. It's a 37 dollar course where you can learn how to write the sales copy yourself. It's a digital course. And a lot of people who find me on my website when they join and become a subscriber onto my email list, I eventually send them. They're saying, hey, if you want to write your copy, this is a digital course and it's only thirty seven dollars.

It's a no brainer price. So that's one way. The next level to work with me would be this done with you group coaching program that is, you know, which I'm very excited about because dun dun for you is great. One on one copy is great and I'm not retiring from that anytime soon because I am working on bigger launch packages. But I realize that there needs to be a mid level of people who can't, like you said, can't exactly afford hiring a professional copywriter to write all their copy.

So that's where I thought, you know what? Why not? I create this mid-level offer where I do done with you. Take my service. I have a sales page, product, my service. Take that and take them through that and get them the same results. It will be a four to six week process. And yeah, so that that's my mid-level offer. And obviously, if you want something which is custom bespoke, which is, you know, down to T.

that's where my higher one on one offering comes into place. So these are three different ways that you can work with me and mostly where I get my clients as Instagram. I'm very active there. I have a content writer who writes blog posts for us because that's something that I can't do anymore. I just don't have the time. And he's SEO savvy, so we're kind of like doubling down our efforts on to that, you know, doing podcasts like these, appearing as a guest on podcasts.

If you can become if you can join a mastermind, if that's possible for you, that would be great, because that's where a lot of your leads come from or another coaching program or another membership site where you have where there are people either in your space or a space which is complimentary to you. And, you know, you can partner up with someone, collaborate. Those ventures are also profitable. So that's that's really what it comes down to for me right now.

But it's if you if I had to really put one word, it's it's all about relationships. I mean, this is where I form relationships and get my clients this way. Would it look different maybe a couple of years down the line? What I do Facebook ads maybe, but I just don't know that right now. I don't see that as a possibility. Right now. It's it's yeah. It's just referral based in word by word of mouth marketing, I think for this place you're in.

Makes perfect sense, and if you don't have to spend the money on ads. Don't spend the money on ads. That's exactly. It's quite inspiring to listen to that. I really I love the way that you're going about that. I mean, if people do want to take things further with you, if people want to reach out to you, how would you like them to do that?

That's very simple. Go to my website if you want to get a start. You know, get a taste of who I am. The copy is sort of engaging. If I say so myself. You can. And if you have trouble coming up with writing your sales pages, I have a fantastic freebie for you. It's called the five compelling hooks and headlines to use that you can help you start writing your sales pitch. You can opt in for that and you will be onto my email list and I email my list at least a couple of times a month, two or three times a month.

And that's where you can get started to, you know, get on my list and get to know me that way. And the other thing, if you are interested in working with me and getting your sales copy done, I am going to be launching my Done with you program. It's going to start October 1st. And if this is of something of interest to you, send me an email, my emails, Amisha at the copy crew dot com, or you can find me on Instagram.

It's the same handle the copy girl. Just send me a direct message. Well worth following on Instagram.

You're good value. Oh, thank you. I mean, so what's one thing that you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago? That's a good question.

What is the one thing that I do now that I wish I started five years ago? Hmm.

I don't give too much warning on these questions. I like it. It's kind of like how I have these questions on my kick off called. The clients are stumped. What's the one thing that I would, I wish had asked for help earlier, much earlier than rather trying to do everything on my own. I remember when I built my first passive income funnel. It was a nightmare. I am not a tech person and if I had outsourced that from the very beginning, I would have had, you know, increase my productivity, my efficiency.

I would have been a happier person. I was not fun to live with those for six months when I was launching a funnel. The tech stuff really got to me and I can understand that, yeah, I was being very scrappy in my mind. I thought, like, no, you know, I have to keep costs down, but you know what I mean. There are plenty of people out there who loves that sort of work and they would be happy to do it for you.

I know better now. So I do have a tech visa and I wouldn't have I wish I had hired someone earlier, much earlier in the process.

I mean, you've been a fantastic guest. I have learned so much. And I need to go away and do some homework now. But yeah. Thank you very much for your time and look forward to meeting you in person sometime. Yeah, I would love to. And thank you for having me. This has been wonderful. I'd love to come and see you out in Scotland. It's on my bucket list for sure. After this crazy madness ends is well worth it.

Thank you. Thank you. If the words on your website were an afterthought, then think on this, you know you're special. If I ask you, are you the same as everyone else who does what you do, you'll say, of course not. You'll have a really clear story. You'll know why. But you may want to tell your website and your sales copy and your email before I go. Just a quick reminder to subscribe, but if you haven't already join our Facebook group, you'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me forward slash insiders.

I would love for you to connect with me wherever you hang out. You'll find me at Bob Gentle. And if you do, message me whichever platform you're on so I can follow you back. If you enjoyed the show, then as always, I would love for you to review on iTunes. It means a lot to me and it's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name's Bob Gentile. Thanks again to our mission for giving us her time this week and to you for listening.

And I'll see you next week.

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Playing bigger as an entrepreneur or as a content creator is a continuous process. Wether it's in your marketing, your business or the impact your'e having on an audience. If you're not growing and challenging yourself then you are not going to move forward. This is as true of learning new tactics and strategies as it is embracing your personal bran challenges and simply showing up on ever bigger staged.

There comes a time when showing up asks more of us and this week my guest is verbal communication and story coach, Helen Peckham. Helen helps people show up and play bigger both online and on stages and in this episode she's going to walk us through exactly how she does that.

If being a podcast guest, live streaming, being a guest expert or delivering in person or even virtual keynotes leaves you feeling frozen with fear - grab a coffee - chill out and get ready for a breakthrough.

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Playing bigger as an entrepreneur, a content creator, is a continuous process, whether it's in your marketing, your business or the impact you're having on an audience, if you like growing and challenging yourself, then you're not going to move forward. This is as true of learning new tactics and strategies as it is embracing your personal brand challenges and simply showing up on ever bigger stages. There comes a time when showing up asks more of us. And this week my guest is verbal communication and story coach Helen Peckham.

Helen helps people show up and play bigger, both online and on physical stages. And in this episode, she's going to walk us through exactly how she does that of being a podcast guest, live streaming, being a guest per hour, delivering in person or even in virtual keynotes leaves you feeling frozen with fear. Grab a coffee, chill out and get ready for a breakthrough. Hi there. And welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle.

And every week I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. So if you're new to the show, take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget as well to join our Facebook community, just visit, amplify me to have forward slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Helen. So this week, I'm delighted to welcome Helen Peckham to the show.

Helen, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me, Bob.

I am really excited to speak to you because for your particular specialism, I have many, many questions. But for the listener, why don't you start by telling us a little bit about who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do.

Yeah, thank you so much. So, as Bob said, I'm Helen Packham and I am a verbal communications strategist. That is the official term. But essentially I help entrepreneurs, business leaders and business owners who are ten times the impact of their communication, presentations, briefings, meetings or public speaking, which is my big thing.

I think the public speaking is the big thing, because for a lot of people it's a big thing, either because it's very, very effective and they love doing it or because it's a big thing in their head that they can't quite bring themselves to do. Where do you find when you start working with people, particularly in the public speaking side of things, have to they have some experience or is it they just know they need to do something?

It varies, I guess, depending on who I'm working with. If it's within the entrepreneurial market, as in coaches, consultants, people like that, often they don't have much experience. They may have done it a few times, but they have a burning desire. They know that they're meant to do it. They just are not sure how to do it, you know, to be confidently, to do it articulately and all of those things, which is why they come to me.

And I guess the public speaking side of things, when I look back through your LinkedIn resume, which is really all I have to touch, which is probably very limited and curated, I'm curious to know at what point to the verbal communications become your thing because it isn't immediately apparent.

No, no. It's been a very interesting journey and it's not something I ever had set my sights on. So my background is in corporate leadership development. I spent 15 years coaching and training leaders within the corporate world on how to be more effective leaders. And in that time, just it just naturally started to happen. People would gravitate towards me if they needed help with that communication. So, for example, an introverted leader who was very technically skilled but didn't necessarily have natural people skills.

So communicating, you know, standing up and in front of all their people and trying to engage them was something that felt very uncomfortable to them. So more and more leaders seemed quite senior leaders within financial services organizations in particular would come to me for help with those types of things. And so along the way, I picked up some tools. I studied heavily in specialized within psychometric development. So personality development so I could work with the leader on their personality to to make it authentic.

So I didn't have to be someone else when they were presenting or speaking. And then we also I picked up a tool which I still use very much daku storytelling. And what I found was that storytelling is an innate human skill that everybody has. And when you use storytelling, it lifts your your talks, it raises your confidence and it heightens the impact on your audience. And so I tested out storytelling on these leaders and with really great effect. And then I had a baby and lost the plot and I left the corporate world.

I ran away and I hid. I never developed an anxiety disorder. And the thought of standing off in front of a roomful of anybody, maybe physically sick. And I vowed that I would never do that again. And that lasted about four years. And I didn't really see anybody. I didn't do anything. And I was very limited. And, you know, communication was not my strong point at all. But a lot of things happened to me to come out of that story for another day.

And I set myself on a journey to regain those skills and to use them again. And I set myself a goal to do a TED talk because I thought, what's the best way I can prove to myself that I do have these skills and I can stand up in front of a room full of people. And so I set my sights on that, put it on my vision board, and eight months later that came true. So for the first time in four years, I stood up in front of a roomful of fifteen hundred people at the Broughton Dome and told my story.

And that was a very, very pivotal moment for me. I proved to myself that the skills I thought I'd lost were not lost, that I could I could verbally communicate in front of a roomful of people and everything changed after that. People kept coming up to. And saying they were contacting me and saying, how did you do that, given that you've been a hermit for four years? And so I pulled up. I pulled on my corporate expertise to do that.

And it was a natural thing. So I launched a speaker program and that sold out. And then I ran various other courses all around speaking and communicating and storytelling. And then I put on my first conference in Brighton all around speaking and leadership. And then I did a virtual conference and another conference. And it's really just gone from there. And I think it was about 18 months ago, I finally opened it. I stepped into this nation, said, yes, this is my thing.

This is my thing. It's built up all over the years. It wasn't something that I planned to do, but the various things that have happened in my life have led me here. And that's where I am today.

And how has obviously anybody listening to this as it's published would be very well aware of the covid situation at the moment. How has that impacted, I guess, your business and also your clients and and what their aspirations are?

Well, personally, in March, I had a lot of face to face, corporate work booked in for the rest of the year.

And in March, that was all cancelled. And luckily, I don't just rely on that in my business. I have an online element of my business as well that I have had for six years. But it was it did have a big impact. And so what I did was I pulled my virtual speaking and training experience together and I put two courses out there.

And in speaking to my clients and people within my audience, of course, people were concerned that any type of Face-To-Face delivery, whether it be public speaking or training or whatever it might be, obviously wasn't going to happen.

And but rather than that be it, of course, you know, there was opportunity. Now, I'm also a curator for today. I'm a curator at the lead curator for Mosley. And our event was meant to be happening in October and we decided to move it to next year. And so, you know, what's happening. What we're seeing is there's three things happening. So any type of face to face, it won't be a conference or a TED event or whatever it might be, either moving or they're moving online.

So a lot of face to face events moving online in different forms, which is fantastic. I'll give you an example. The a conference, I believe that where I met you.

Yes. Yes.

The Open Air Conference. So a fantastic conference over two days. Four hundred people is now being turned into a two day virtual event with breakouts and facilitation and mastermind's and really creative ways of delivering it virtually. And not just only this is happening. New events are being created. It's absolutely exploding now. Virtual events are exploding. Online festivals are now a thing. Five day events where you have campfire chats and, you know, all sorts of things going on virtually.

And I am absolutely loving seeing what's happening. So now there's actually even more opportunity for people to speak. It may not be on a stage, but the skills are still transferable hugely to the virtual space.

I think also that it's almost like the playing field is being reset because nobody can do in-person events. There's so much new opportunity for everybody. Yeah, there's a real leveling going on at the moment, which is why I think a service like yours is potentially so useful. I think what I was thinking about actually is everybody's familiar with the idea of digital. You need to show up, but there are degrees of show up, Ignace, and it kind of becomes a little bit worthwhile.

You need to post something on social media and. Well, you need to you need to write a blog post or you need to do some video or you need to do a podcast. But then at each stage of show up, there are personal challenges and thresholds to cross. And for most people, they don't push themselves beyond the content creator show up, but put to push into the public speaking, show up or into the author or show up.

There are two different, I guess, fields of play that are very yeah, they're big leagues and most people never really overcome themselves to go in there. And I put my hand up, that's me right now, which is why I'm so keen to speak to you. But now is a great time to do this because there's just so much opportunity. So what advice would you have for anybody listening? That's thinking I need to play a little bit bigger, but I really don't know where to begin.

It might be they don't know. It's one of these things, I think, where. If people know you're willing to do it, they'll ask you if they don't know you're willing to do it. They won't ask you. So how do you crack that nut, first of all? I guess.

So I think with that, particularly in a virtual space, it's about to think is what is my next what is the next step? And the great thing about virtual speaking, as you as you said, in terms of show up, think this is there's actually six of the six platforms for virtual speaking.

So there's podcasts like this, which is a fantastic platform for speaking because of the reach, because of the leveraging of audiences, because of the promotion of self and non promotion a way, and because it's a conversation. But to think about it strategically and in a focused way can really have huge, huge results. So I think it's to say, what's the next step? First of all, what are you going to talk about? What is your topic?

What is your area of expertise and why is it hot right now? Because we can talk about lots of different things.

But if we don't know what we're going to talk about right now, then we don't know who we're going to target in terms of how are we going to get ourselves out there. So what do you what's your area of expertise and what's hot right now in terms of what you want to talk about? I mean, we're talking about something that's hot right now because we're in the middle of a pandemic and the need for virtual delivery has hugely increased. And so what's that for you in terms of your area of expertise?

And the next thing you think is, you know, where is it? For example, podcasts, interviews. There's live streams. You know, people got sick of live streams, but they're still a tool that can be hugely leveraged to get yourself out there in a verbal way, to start to tell your story, to teach people something to connect with your audience emotionally. So livestream is actually is a speaking platform that you're in charge of. So that could be a next step if you're not sure or there's guest expert sessions.

Guest expectations are a fantastic way of increasing your visibility and reach and generating leads. And all you have to do is find a colleague who's running a program or a membership community, go in and deliver a guest expert session on your area of expertise or the resume, and you get to tell your story and you get to deliver value.

There's obviously things like virtual keynotes, which some people might think that is a huge leap, but it's not. And I really want to encourage people to believe that because if you know you're passionate about something and you have an area of expertise or you have a message that goes left, I talk about the messages that go left where everybody else is going right. Messages that have an opinion around them or a story around them, then you can do a virtual keynote.

There's just a few skills you need in order to deliver one effectively. But you can absolutely do that. It's possible for you. There's training workshops, of course, in the virtual space. So in terms of the corporate market, you can actually get paid very well for those types of things. And there's webinars as well. So there's really a whole plethora of virtual speaking opportunities for people.

I think if you if people are scared about it or they're worried about, you know, pushing themselves past their current comfort zone, it's what is the next step for you? Currently, you like posting on Facebook. Could you do a live stream? What would that be like if you're comfortable with live streams? What about focusing on podcast interviews, just as an example?

Hmm. I think that's a really good perspective. I think something that I found and you'll probably resonate with this as well as confidence is a bit of a muscle. And the more you stretch it, the more you train, the more quickly you can improve your fitness. I used to do an awful lot of oh, well, I go there.

No, I won't. I'm quite accustomed to understanding how fitness works and knowing exactly how what you need to do to build fitness. And I think with getting over these sort of confidence challenges around showing up, it's exactly the same. And I guess, yeah, it's a really difficult thing to explain until you've done it. But live streaming, for example, I was terrified of live streaming. And you just take me two months back and I wouldn't have really done a live stream.

I did a live stream. Suddenly I'm happy with live streaming. I'll tell you a secret. I got approved for LinkedIn live today. I'm so excited.

Excited. Very exciting. Congratulations. I know.

And I'm going to go nuts with that because it's really where my audience is. But I could never have said that with enthusiasm even a month ago showing up in other people's audiences. That's a little bit intimidating for me. But I understand the. It's just a case of once you do it, it won't be intimidating anymore and you are the expert. Yes. However, this is my next question. Many experts are experts on lots of different things. And Helen Peckham is an expert in verbal communication.

So when you're choosing to show up, how do you avoid the complete works of digital marketing, according to Bob, or verbal communication by Helen? Were you how do you choose what to hone in on to what to focus on?

Yeah, really great question. So there's two main ways of helping you with that. So the first the first is always, always starting with your absolute area of expertise. So within digital marketing, the best thing that is your thing. And there may be a number of things within that. How to narrow that down is to go back to a few things and look at your story, the core story of your business, and have a look at that and see how that may have evolved.

Now, a lot of people, they don't have a core story, so I help them to get that together. But a lot of the time we evolve, we evolve and our expertise evolves. And so it's really important to cast back and think, OK, how have I got here and what are the things the things that I can really hang my hat on. And secondly is is the thing that makes you unique in terms of your expertise. Generally speaking, we can we can find our uniqueness within our story because nobody else can have your story.

We can also find our uniqueness in a method we may have created or a framework we may have put together within that particular area of expertise. Those are just a couple of things. There are obviously more. But you can you can start to look within that, I think. Okay, well, I've got a thing. I've got a thing.

It's a framework or it's a process out of working with this many people or working with this many digital marketing strategies or whatever it might be. I've got this thing that you can talk about. That's your thing. The other thing to think about in terms of what do you talk about is I go back to what's hot right now and then look at the market, look at the industry, look at the audience, look at what's happening and take a pulse on that and think about topics that are really important to be discussing that are in line with your area of expertise, because particularly if you're going to do a keynote or a podcast interview, for example, the topic has to be hot, as in it's relevant to the wider world is in the wider world within that particular industry or the audience that you're talking to.

What do they need to know about that? You know, about that they might not know about? What do they need to start thinking about in terms of being ahead of the curve? These types of topics are always going to go down. Well, if you're doing a guest expert session, then you're probably going to be pointing towards an offer. So it's about thinking, what topic can I talk about that is aligned with an offer that I'm promoting?

So it could be a special offer that you put together. It could be a program or a course or workshop, whatever that that is.

Then you can track back and think, OK, so what's the problem that I'm solving? Just thought you might do if you were doing a launch marketing terms and you want to do a webinar live training, you would focus it on a problem that you can solve your clients in your program. Just the same with speaking. Think about a problem that they need that you can give value to by telling them about it that would naturally lead into promoting and offer the help that does.

That's really, really useful. What do they need to know? This is, I guess, is bringing mission into it a little bit.

It's a nobody really wants to come to a talk and be hustled, but what they want to see is somebody that's on fire. And where's that going to come from? It's going to come from somebody that almost evangelical who needs to communicate. This is what you need to know. So that's really very helpful because the last thing anybody wants, I remember. Oh, my God, I went to what was it? It was the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Oh, I thought this was a good idea. I went to one of their public events and there was this very knowledgeable geophysicist giving and giving a talk.

And I swear to God, I just wanted to sleep. He was transmitting what was obviously really incredibly valuable information, but he was transmitting information. He wasn't communicating. And he went on for about an hour and a half. Yeah, I never went back to them.

So this is this is where so as you said, transmitting and communicating, presenting and speaking very, very different things. Also, experts need to understand that they can't talk within their own language. And so this is where storytelling comes in. So any expert, any type of technical expert or an audience have no idea what they're talking about, even if it was a completely different audience. You can use storytelling in various various different forms to communicate an idea, to articulate something, no matter how dull or dry or boring or complex, so that it can actually hit home and be heard with intrigue, inspiration and delight.

I found quite a big claim, but it's true and a lot of the time people won't even remember what you said.

They just remember how you made them feel. Yes. And they might remember an idea. Yes. But that's about it.

That's what you want. That's where they talk with a keynote speech. You don't want to be people don't need to learn anything that's training with a talk. It's the golden nugget. What golden nugget can that person in the audience take away? How do you want to make them feel? What do you want to make them think? What are they going to take away and what do you want them to do as a result of you speaking to them?

So for the listener, that's maybe thinking, OK, I have established some credibility online, I have some emerging expert status. I'd like to take this next step into being a podcast guest doing guest expert sessions, maybe virtual keynotes or webinars, webinars, potentially not because you can own the webinar. You can there's nothing in the way there. You're not depending on a new relationship to make it happen.

But for the person who doesn't have the credentials to demonstrate or they've been doing this for a long time, they're reliable. They're legit. Obviously, they're a no brainer. How do you communicate? I'm somebody who should take a chance on me.

Really great question. So there's a number of ways that you can do it, depending on whether that person is cold, as in you've never had any type of connection with that person, whether they are warm as anything you may have heard of each other or whether they are hot. So you have a good relationship with that person. Maybe I should focus on the cold because a lot of people might find themselves in that situation. Now, I have always been a fan of the I call it the back door method.

So it's how I landed my TED talk and in my various programs and Ted course and I've got various other courses where I help people pitch for things and land gigs and whatever gig it might might be. The backdoor method is is a really great approach. And essentially what it involves is there being a some type of connection with that person. So, for example, if you want to get on a podcast and it's a really great podcast you listen to already that you are a fan of, then you would show the podcast host that you are a fan and that you.

Really value their work first and foremost, and that could be as simple as sharing things on social media. It can be simple, sending them an email and just thanking them for a particular episode, always genuine. I will have to say this always has to come from a genuine place and then that can lead into more content sharing. Maybe they might have a book that you've read that you can share an article about. This is a very great way of building a relationship with someone.

And then when you feel it is the right time, you would send the email showing them what you're made of and why it would be great for them to have you on their show for their audiences benefit always. See, I'm a curator, so I curated events. And when I get emails from people saying I'd like to be a speaker in your lineup, that doesn't give me any information about them or how their talk can help my audience. So it's always really good to think what is the audience?

How can your subject help them and why would it be a benefit to them? That's essentially, in a nutshell, my back door method. It's build relationships first.

Yeah, I guess that sounds like common sense. But one thing I'm also taking away from that is you need to have decided what's the value you want to bring before you go asking? Absolutely. Yeah, that's that's really, really helpful.

Even if you don't use the back door method and you go straight in for the pitch, which is I've done I've done as well, it's about really thinking and considering what's the hot right now topic. How is that aligned with your expertise? What is the audience? What do they need to hear? And so you have to know that to do your research, it really doesn't take long to find out, to listen to podcast episodes, to look at someone's audience, to tap yourself into what's happening and then make a really considered pitch that explains those things.

I think people think, oh, so not a lot of effort, but it's the thing that will get you the results.

Well, that's exactly true. I think if I look at I I saw Pat Flynn this morning on Instagram and he just made like a really short video and he was using his hands as a clock. And for anybody that's not familiar with an empire, Flynn but Flynn in the online world is as close to God as you get. And he was just doing a very funny image with his hands showing the amount of time people pay attention online. And he just put his hand up at the top of.

Right. A street above him as a as a minute hand and his social media posts, you'll get like maybe a minute YouTube video, maybe three minutes or whatever else it was. Again, you're talking minutes with podcasts, seminars, workshops. You're up towards an hour. It's quite unique. So it's worth the investment because if you want people's attention, you're going to need to show up where people pay attention. And a lot of the time that's not social media, that's not YouTube.

So it's the gateway to other things.

That's what I see social media as, something I do help people with content marketing in terms of storytelling and impact in their verbal communication, but also written communication. But it's the gateway to the podcast episode. And you think about the reach the podcast episode can give you over. Now, you know, saturated social media feed is. Yeah, I love that. I'm going to go look up that video because I wholeheartedly agree.

Just I had never thought of it in those terms before. But when you when you watch him doing that sort of little comedy gesture, you think, well, obviously. So looking at you and your own content marketing, I know you're quite busy with Instagram and LinkedIn, but you also have a radio show. How did that happen? Well, you co-host a radio show. Yes.

So the story behind that is I, I somehow managed to get a guest, a guest again, not a guest expert, a guest slot on BBC Radio Sussex. So every month I would go in I think it started because I was promoting my conference and she liked the banter that we had. So I came in every month. I read the newspapers, I picked the stories and I chatted with the presenter about stories and it went really, really well.

And pretty much the only person that tuned in to listen to me with my beloved dad.

And he would listen and my and my stepmom I know my mum did as well, but it was a very few amount of people that did. And my dad would always say, after listening to each month thing, you should do this, Helen. You've got a fantastic voice for radio. You should pursue this. And I never really thought too much of it. But then I lost him last May, and it was something that I really wanted to pursue because he said that.

And so I enrolled on a radio course.

Presenting course, and I thought, oh, my God, it's really tricky because of all the channels and the dials and the jingles and the oh my goodness, but I did. And then out of that came an opportunity to host the Brighton Business Show on Radio Reverb, which is a local community radio station in Brighton. We've got about 80000 listenership. It's extending. We're getting new masts up in different places. But it is a small radio station. It's volunteer run.

And I got the opportunity to host the show with my my colleague and friend Lisa Moore, and I jumped at the chance. And so we've been doing that since November last year, every month. And I absolutely love it. And obviously, we can't go in the studio at the moment, which was the most amazing experience. But yeah, we love it.

Living the Alan Partridge Dream. Aha. Sorry for the US audience. You'll need to Google it. So what else does how intentional are you about marketing the Helen Peckham brand?

I'd say I'm I'm quite intentional now. I'd say maybe within the last three years I've become much more focused in on that since I rebranded in the last 18 months and particularly stepped into the speaking niche. I've been very, very focused in on it and I have quite a specific strategy around it. And I'm developing all the time.

And it's the one thing that I guess over the years I really had to learn in order to get myself out there.

And I think your Instagram is really on point. I really enjoy your Instagram because, yeah, you you are very consistent in your visual storytelling, which a lot of people aren't. And it comes back to showing up. A lot of people use Instagram to point out to look out. What you managed to do quite well is take people with you, which is really surprisingly rare. But what I mean by that is I used to be guilty of this a lot, that you would take pictures of stuff, but you would never appear in your own social media, where we're quite accustomed to people in the online world taking selfies all the time.

But the truth is, that's quite rare. It's a very tiny proportion of people who actually show up in their own social media. Most people are busy showing other people stuff. Yeah, and you do that very well. How do you handle LinkedIn? Because I think I know you're you're active on LinkedIn, but I find LinkedIn really noisy would be the way to put it.

Very different, very different strategy. So I'd say Instagram really is only been the last year that I've been able to kind of get a handle on it and understand of using stories on Instagram has been huge for me, really interacting and showing the behind the scenes to build relationships with people. I'd say that's probably my most successful strategy on Instagram, but on LinkedIn, I'd say it's been really the last six, only the last six months that I've really, really focused in on.

On it now, again, I'd say that the the main strategy that works on LinkedIn is the building relationships through DMS. I do broadcast content, but I must say that I need to do a much better job of engaging with other people's content on LinkedIn. It's just a tiny factor in terms of time spent. But the most successful strategy has been writing articles and sharing those with people through DMS.

Now I'm going to sort of just nibble into this a little bit because I get random DMS from Hustler's every day.

How do you sidestep that?

You know, obviously there is a lot of noise in the DMS on LinkedIn and as I say, I'm quite new to this, so I'm definitely not an expert in terms of giving advice. Maybe I just I guess I've just got to share what works for me. I have found that obviously. Yes. You know, I'm making contact connection requests and I am sending out my article to quite a few people. Of course, there's going to be a lot of people that ignore it.

That's fine. There's going to be a lot of people that say thank you for sharing. I'll take a read. And then there's a small percentage of people that engage. And what I found is from that percentage of people that engage, you get results because it leads to a business development conversation about what's happening within the organization.

And I literally have literally just before this podcast, I sent an article to Dan and the lady had asked for a call. She's an H.R. director for a large organization. And I'm putting forward a proposal for four pieces of work tomorrow night.

Yeah, so it works.

I guess Fortune favors the bold, but I guess as long as you're able to come back to content at the end of the day, if you're going with what do they need to know rather than what can I get exactly? You're going to be received quite different.

That's it for the article. I guess what's hot right now at the moment in terms of organizations, people are suffering from virtual fatigue. So I wrote an article nine Ways to Prevent Virtual Fatigue, and I view storytelling in there and loads of other tips and tricks on how people can communicate more effectively over their virtual meetings and briefings. So it's very aligned with my expertise, but it's covering a hot right now topic.

I think when it comes, I'm a big believer that the the word digital marketing expert or social media platform expert is a myth. Everything moves so quickly, so fluid. It's somebody who uncovered what's working right now and understands why is about as good as it gets. So you're saying I'm not an expert? Well, I would say right now you probably are in it's working. So another question I really like to ask frequently is anybody's business work will typically come to them in one of several ways.

It's either referral based or it's inbound opportunities as a result of content marketing or its paid ads. Is there a fourth way? I'm not sure. But how does that typically look for you?

Sorry, in terms of in terms of is your work coming through predominantly through referrals or as a result of your content marketing or as a result of outbound sales or prospecting?

I would say it is. The majority is coming through content marketing. That's really good.

You wouldn't understand how unusual the answer is. I ask it often and a lot of the time with the people who you would think they're very big on Facebook ads, for example, those people get all the work through referrals or when their social media experts, they most of the work comes through open sales activity. So that's really encouraging to hear that. And I think it's testament to the power of showing up on LinkedIn.

I guess content marketing is sending someone an article in a D.M. as well as broadcasting. That's how I guess I see. I'm writing content and I'm sharing it. So I may have targeted that person specifically, but I'm sharing content. So that's on LinkedIn with Facebook and Instagram. Yeah, it's it's putting out content and engaging with the audience.

I'm being a little bit courageous, I think. So I'm curious to know, I think you are quite accustomed to being uncomfortable, but where do you feel you struggle or you don't quite push where you know you should? Hmm.

Oh, gosh. And let me think about that. So, yeah, I know it's a challenging question I can answer, I can answer it. So this is going to be a bit of a vulnerable one, actually, because I think losing my dad, I will say that I've really dipped into periods. It's happened about three or four times where I've not wanted to show up at all, like because of, you know, understandably grief and all of these sorts of things.

And when you feel those feelings, you don't want to be visible. And so what's happened since he died and I would say definitely come out of that period. Now, I'm all guns blazing at the moment. But, you know, from May last year to the end of last year, there were some significant periods where I did not want to be online at all. And in that time, so I used to do live streams all the time.

I stopped doing night streams. I literally just had my content strategy of just writing content and then getting that scheduled out. And that's all I did. So I wasn't actually showing up at all for periods. And in that time, I guess I became more uncomfortable with showing up on a life which I used to do all the time.

And then there was just no way I wanted to do that. So I'd say probably now very much is pushing myself to speak in more situations that might be a bit more of an uncomfortable audience or get more visible on video. In general, I think now, because of what's happened over the last year, I've tend to slip into written content as comfort.

I think that's actually a really important thing for people to hear, because I recognize elements of it and myself that when your energy is high and you're feeling very positive, it's very easy to be courageous when you're feeling vulnerable and things aren't quite going your way. There's every reason not to try and pushing through that is really hard. But I think understanding and shining a light on it will actually, when you understand something, it's much easier to move past something when you can see the monster in the light, you know, it's just a pillow.

And that's that's really, really helpful. I love that.

It's so true. But when you're in it and you're in the depth of whatever you're feeling and you can't see a way out, it's very tricky. And so what I would say, Don Meredith always says about the minimum effective dose. So even when I was feeling like I did like I wanted just to hide away from the world, I had my minimum effective dose, which was the minimum amount of times I could show up on social media a week to to make sure that I was still consistently visible.

Yeah, and the minimum effective dose is great for maintenance, but it's not so great for growth. So you can't stay there for too long. And I think for a lot of people, the minimum effective dose is actually to go first.

So, Helen, I'm looking at the clock thinking we've been going for quite a while now. If people want to connect with people, if they want to go further with you, how would you like them to do that?

Well, actually, just from our conversation, a few things came up that I guess I didn't know where the conversation was going. And I guess the thing maybe that people might be needing help with now is really how to get themselves out visibly as a speaker on those virtual platforms. And I have put together something that can help with that. It's a low cost cause. I actually put out in lockdown that it's called virtual speaking pro, and it covers those six methods that I talk to you about.

And it also has modules on how to decide what your hot topic is and how to actually land the gigs.

I had a look at that earlier. Actually, you don't know that, but I have a good rummage around people's websites before we have interviews and it looks like a really great product. And for the cynical listener, I don't benefit when guests promote their stuff at all, but I genuinely think this looks like a brilliant course. Helen, I'm going to ask this question that the listeners know I'm getting quite good at remembering. And that's what's one thing you do now that you wish had started five years ago.

It's a really great question, I guess is a number of ways I could answer it, but I wish five years ago I could have stepped into the niche that I stepped into sooner because I was a really good one.

And in terms of what people need to know, I think this is a big one.

Also, just having the confidence to own it that that's been the thing that's delayed me. And I think probably to be the same for lots of people. You may have that thing, but you're scared to step into it because it will cancel out loads of other people or it will narrow you down too much and you won't get other business. But I can I just want to say that is not the case. More business will come to you when you step into your greatness and you own the thing that is your thing, 100 percent brilliant.

And if anybody listening wants to jump on Helen's course, what's your website address? Dr. Helen Packham dot com. And you can find links to all Helen's other stuff right there. Helen, thank you so much for your time. You've been a fantastic guest. Thank you so much for having me. Bob has been great. Ask yourself this, exactly what is it you're scared of right now if you're like most people? The answer is probably one of the things we just discussed.

And if that's how you reflect on that for a moment and just imagine what life could look like if you just got past it. It's pretty exciting. So before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already join our Facebook group, you'll find a link in the show, notes or just visit, amplify me form forward slash inciters. I would love for you to connect with me on social media. A lot of people seem to prefer doing that on LinkedIn, which is amazing.

But wherever you hang out, just find me at Bob Gentle. I'm super easy to find. If you enjoyed the show, then I would love for you to review on iTunes or whichever platform you listen on. Sadly, on Spotify you can't yet. So go somewhere else where you can. It means a lot to me and it's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name's Bob Gentle. Thanks again to Helen for giving us her time this week and to you for listening.

And I'll see you next week.

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People try this every day. They make something at home and sell it online. But what needs to happen to turn that simple idea into a multimillion dollar business? What is that X Factor that makes one person success while another simply washes out?

For Jamie Cross from MIG Living the XFactor wasn't money or a great network. In this episode we explore how and why she built her business from the kitchen table, through farmers markets and into one of the fastest growing companies in America.

About Jamie

Jaime Cross is a wife, mother of four small boys (with a fifth on the way) & an eight figure entrepreneur. She founded her organic skincare company, MIG Living, after seeing a business plan in a dream ten years ago.

In 2019, Jaime also started The HER Effect® as a global movement to mobilize & empower women towards action & vision for impact, giving them all that is necessary to be successful in their families, businesses and in life.

Jaime’s been featured on top morning shows on NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS stations, as well as Life & Style Magazine, Forbes, USA Today, Red Tricycle, and more.

Links and mentions

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It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

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Automatic Audio Transcription

People try this every time they make something at home and sell it on, like what needs to happen to turn that simple idea into a multimillion dollar business? What is that X Factor that makes one person a success while another simply washes out for Jamie Cross from make living? The X Factor wasn't money or a great network. In this episode, we explore how and why she built her business from the kitchen table through farmer's markets and into one of the fastest growing companies in America.

Hi there, and welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Chantal and every week I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget as well, you can join our Facebook community, just visit, amplify meta form forward, slash insiders and I'll see you there.

So welcome along. And let's meet Jamie. So this week, I am delighted to welcome Jamie Cross to the show. Jamie runs Make Soap. Jamie, do you want me to start by introducing who you are, where you are and the kind of work that you do?

Yes, thank you. I am in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And I'm Jamie Cross. And I've been an entrepreneur for 10 years building a skincare company. And we also now have the effect where I'm teaching other women to do what I've done in building companies and being successful in the home and in entrepreneurship.

I think Colorado is pretty much the top of my U.S. bucket list. I've been to Florida twice. I think most tourists go to Florida once or twice. Yeah, but I really do want to venture past it at some point.

That's amazing. Colorado's amazing. You would love it here. Yeah, it's all mountain biking and skiing and snowboarding, and it's just exactly what I need help.

So tell me about milksop. First of all, I think one of the things that obviously a lot of people who come on the podcast, they're sourced by me. I hunt them down and I look at people that really intrigued me or inspire you. And I get contacted quite literally every single day by people wanting to come on the podcast. And I've said no to ninety nine point nine percent of them. But what really intrigued me with your business was from a foreign e-commerce business.

There's a strong personal brand there, which I really want to understand. And at the same time, I know lots of people who've tried to do what you do and not really done it very well. You've done it very, very well. And I really want to know, what have you done differently to build this business with. There's lots of places to go. But first off, tell me about mix up. What what was the genesis of that?

Yeah, for sure.

So it was 2010 and I was two and a half years into full time motherhood. I'd come out of, you know, corporate banking and just the whole corporate world and two and a half years into full time motherhood. And I just knew that there was more. And so I remember we were in this sort of I was in two positions. One is we were struggling financially because I had given up the salary. My husband was a full time teacher and wrestling coach and our take home pay was was laughable.

He's now the CEO of the company. So we worked together. But at the time, the financial struggle was really, you know, debit cards declining at the grocery store at checkout, you know, the utility companies calling. And but even more than that, I just in my own person, I knew that I knew I wanted to build something and create something and do something really powerful in the world. And so just one particular night, I just went to bed like bawling my eyes out.

And I asked God for a billion dollar idea so that I could change the world and leave a legacy for my family. And it wasn't too long after that I had a dream. So the dream was like a roadmap to this day. Here we are 10 years later, almost. And I remember every detail. And so I woke up from the dream, told my husband, I'm going to start a skincare company, and I did my research for a year.

I didn't know anything about chemistry or, you know, herbal alchemy or anything like that. And so I studied on my own nursing babies, you know, having a family, all of that, and then launched in 2011.

So no background in cosmetics, that kind of thing at all? None. No. Yeah, I signed up on a farm, so like as a farm girl and I understood the value of fresh and I had an early diagnosis for an autoimmune disorder. And so, like I was at a very young age, had a, you know, an appreciation for preserving health. And so there was that factor. But yeah, nothing regarding formulation or anything like that.

So what did they one look like? Obviously, you had this idea, you decided to launch it, but that that very simple thing of saying having an idea and launching it, there's a lot in there. It's true.

Yeah, good question. I always say that it always starts with our Yes first. And so getting really, you know, it doesn't always start with, like, this big idea or this dream or vision. A lot of times just starting is a very practical thing. And so for me, it's like, OK, I have this idea to start a skincare company. I decided that soap was going to be our first product. And so I went out that day and I found books on chemistry.

I remember studying old like 1930s medical journals on the skin. I was studying the human body and just herbal alchemy. And and I researched for a year before I formulated our first product and, you know, emulsion and stabilization and all these different.

Factors to bring it all together, but day one was just, OK, I need to learn how to how to create something powerful because and now looking back, I didn't really think about this early on, but we're in a saturated market. So in the beginning, it was like I just was really driven to create something very excellent that would create results for people.

And how long was it in between the having the idea then actually making your first dollar on a consistent basis, I guess.

Good. Yeah, that's a great question. So it was a little less than a year of, OK, I've got this finished bar of soap. I was passing it out to friends and family, so I got proof of concept, getting phone calls from people. You know, this is the best bar of soap I've ever tried. And from that point, it's like I don't have money for a website. I don't have money for labels and pretty packaging or, you know, logos.

So I have been in sales and bake banking. My very first job was at 16 years old. I was a telemarketer, so I understood, like, just get out there and hustle. And so I just started walking up and down the streets of Denver in Colorado Springs with my soaps and was walking into stores and talking to owners and buyers and making deals and then just grew. That first year was very rapid local growth here in Colorado. And so I would say from the time I got the idea to the time I launched the product, it was like that first day I went out onto the streets.

I was making sales.

See, I love that what's what's coming through there. And I think this is really where we're going to start to see what it was that separated you from the millions of other people to try and start small businesses. If I'm being crude is the hustle. It's just there and understanding that you need to do the hard work. Doesn't matter if you have a great product. You have to get that great product into the hands of people that can get it into the hands of people.

Yes, yeah. It's not about the one sale, but it's about that one person who can lead to dozens or hundreds of sales. Yes, exactly.

I think too many people want to cut corners or like get to the millions ASAP, you know, but it was a ten year journey or a seven year journey to that point that definitely just doing the work is so critical.

And at what point did you feel actually this is going to work when we're starting to see some traction? There's a business here.

That's a good question. So for me, starting out, I never started with this idea that it might work. I was like, OK, this is what I'm doing. How do I get this thing to be the best in the world? You know, how do I how do I make a splash? And so it was a year of just wholesale retail model doing the whole, like, store thing. And then I jumped into farmers markets. It did that for four years.

And that was where I would say we really created proof of concept on a whole new level. And we really started to develop a brand. I mean, there were situations like, you know, you talk to a thousand people in a week because we were six, seven days a week sometimes doing markets and and you'd get feedback or people would be like, hey, I've tried everything or I've tried every lotion and potion. I spent money on experts and where can you help me?

And so there was that like going back to the drawing board and getting clear on what kind of problems we were solving. And then it was just, you know, people coming to I remember there would be like three or four other so companies or skincare companies at these markets that would send spies to my table and they would start like copying me. And so I got I had to get really clear on who are we and what do we stand for.

And and that was a process for sure. But it was it at the farmers markets. I would say that I was like creating something very tangible that we could build from.

I think what you describe in there is is something that I see quite often, which is you have an idea, but then you start to react to what other people are doing and your own idea loses its central strength. And having that commitment, that sort of sense of mission that know this is what my product is, this is what my product is for, this is why my product is that's quite powerful. I really like that. Yes.

Well, and, you know, you've got people that would come to your table and they'd be like, this stuff doesn't work. And I'd be like, OK, why didn't it work? What didn't you like about it? And I learned so much about finicky people and which is what the majority like. Most people are finicky. So it's like I learned that people wanted texture and essence and they wanted efficacy without like this heavy feeling of skin care product.

And so I got really clear on how do I make something that is just so wonderful. For people to experience without getting offended in that perfection process and so I think too many people are so close to their work that they're that it's like an emotional offensive process to learn from the market. But you got to separate yourself in that way and be like, this is data. I'm just going to gather data here and then go back and make this thing the best.

Mm hmm.

And and in those early days, did you have any mentors or people that were sort of guiding you or helping you? I think it's often we instinctively think great people became great on their own great businesses. They're just great people, make great businesses. But a lot of the time, great businesses. There's a family around them. Was there anyone like that they're helping you?

Yeah, my husband. I mean, everybody should meet Nathan. He was you know, he was the one saying, go, babe. You know, I would come to him crying like, I'm sorry I made a mistake or it's taking a long time for us to really, like, grow this thing. Mean my husband would teach, he would coach, he would start pulling in like these landscaping side jobs so that we could be Bioscope tank. And we were turning very little profit in the beginning because all of our money was going back into the company and we would have those hard discussions around, OK, you know, how much longer do we have to invest?

And we always came back to this idea of there's two prices to pay. You can pay the price of mediocrity or you can pay the price or pursuing vision. And, you know, it's like here we are ten years later. I'm so glad we had those hard discussions and that we did it together. But I was just talking to a friend the other day who's an entrepreneur. Like, there were a lot of people who could relate to, like, my journey or even give me a solid.

I had you know, we've had like financial advisors and mentors in that way. But like the every day, how do you do like how do you build a company? How do you create proof of concept? All those things I had to learn on my own and I was just hungry to learn. Everything I've done has been driven by this hunger to learn and this fear of mediocrity like I didn't want to be. Twenty years from now, looking back on my life and saying, what if I had only or what if I had just, you know, gone all in?

And so but that's kind of deviating from your question. But so my husband was the really the biggest cheerleader for sure.

There's another question that I feel I should ask, and it may come across as parent. And if you think it's important and we're going to go back and delete the question and this question could go the wrong way, in which case I will delete the question. But a lot of cynical people might have picked up on the the corporate banking experience that you've got and think, oh, she must have borrowed lots of money to make this work and got lucky.

Did you have to borrow much money or was this sort of all sort of naturally organic growth?

Yeah, we bootstrapped. I mean, we we were like posta without Soss. We were like, if we bought fruit, it was like bananas. And I'd have friends that were like, your kids are going to Odean bananas, you know, they're going to get too much potassium, you know. But no, it was all like you make the sale. And that was that was how you continue to grow the business. But no, there was no like banks and finances.

We we worked for everything.

I am so glad that that's the answer because I was really hoping that was going to be good, because it really makes for such a good story. I think there's such a culture. It's definitely in the US and UK. I'm sure it's in the US as well that great businesses don't exist without venture capital funding and bootstrapping is just too slow and you just have to get lucky and nobody wants to work that hard and buy to sell or build. Yeah.

Build to flip or whatever you would call it. Whereas what you're doing is a nice organic growth over time just by building a great product, sticking to your guns, knowing who your farm, what you're for. And I love that. So one of the things I look at as well with the soap products is it's not just a soap anymore. There's a whole ecosystem of products that that seems to be very thoughtfully put together. Tell me a little bit about that, because, again, that's quite unusual, it would seem.

Not that I'm a big cosmetic user, but.

Yeah, well, the the vision was one day to be able to dominate in home health and self. And so and this is something to that you learn in in your journey with people is like. Some of the best marketing is, gosh, you're using this product, the next follow on natural follow on product is like if you're going to use a soap, you're going to need lotion. And one of the things I did very early on was I created the Meji method, which is like for the body, for the face, for remedy for four men.

And I take people through this sort of experiential journey with product that because I believe to like, you know, you we have so many people talking about beautiful skin, but they're neglecting the gut or like all the internal health that's that's necessary or and even the soul, like our tagline is seed to soul. And so one of the things that I've really done over the last couple of years is connected all of our systems together with our products. So, you know, the emotional factor, the sole factor of inhaling essential oils and experiencing that along with, like, soft skin.

And then now we've got supplements that are wholefood base and they're addressing like the internal health. And when you bring all of the systems together, the idea is that we want to activate people so that they can become who they were born to be. And so we've taken skin care into like a total body, total person empowerment movement, you know?

Yeah, I, I really like that. I didn't realize you did men's stuff as well. I have to go and have a look.

Yeah. Yes. The man method. All right. That sounds really cool. One of the things that stands out within your marketing strategy, if you like, is the ambassador program. And I didn't really dig too deep into that because obviously it's it's not it's not very obvious to reverse engineer that. So at what point in the growth of the company did you introduce that and what part does that play in your your overall marketing strategy?

I love telling that story because it's so it's so like this is what we're doing and where we're going now. But it was last year and of course last year we were at about the nine year mark in our business. And we had already at that point done like three plus million in our year and a half of being online. And I just thought I was starting to feel restless and knowing that there was more impact I wanted to make and I wanted to I had started the her effect, which is a business that I sort of had this vision for back in twenty fifteen to help women do what I had done.

But I didn't know how I was going to tie this idea of activating and empowering women to build successful businesses with the soap company. And so last year after had been, I'd been told, years and for years and years and years. Jamie, you should start a social selling business model. And I was like, heck no, no way. I will never do that. And. Last year, I really in this sort of restless season of what's next and where are we going to go from here?

I felt really prompted to start studying that business model. And so I discover that it's the most powerful business model on the planet because everyone can win. And in order to, like, win, you have to help other people win. And it's a it's a business model that's been driven by ego and greed. And I thought, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to go into it knowing that my responsibility is to restore an industry and help build people.

And so it took us about a year of just putting the building blocks together. We found some amazing talent who put together a logistics team for us and just all the different pieces. You know, we make our own product. We ship our own boxes. We do our own tech. It was a lot like building, getting all the feedback from amazing field experts who are now our ambassadors who were like, this is what we want and a good comp plan.

And so I it was about a year. And then in April of this year, we launched. As a matter of fact, a lot of our data team has been around for 15, 20 years in the industry. And they said, gee, we don't know if you know this, but you broke you broke records and you were in the top 10 of all network marketing companies that launched in the history of network marketing. So we launched just like over two thousand ambassadors.

And just because we had done nine months of pre launch, it was just very intense, intensive building and connecting. And I traveled all over for all over the country just doing meetings and talking to people. And so we have a good foundation of and the whole idea is building people, serving people. What is their goal? And we're not here to like, tell you what, you know, you should be making millions or you should be out there hustling.

It's like. We've got people who have never, ever done it, a single they'd never sold anything in their life, their stay at home moms, and we've got people and experts who come from, you know, industries and we're serving all of that and giving them a place to call home.

I think something I really like about what I feel around your ambassador program is it doesn't feel like a top down network marketing model. It really feels like a grassroots movement that's that's grown up around a business. That's certainly how it looks from the outside.

Oh, I could virtual hug you. Yes. So what are your ambitions for that at the moment? It's really just a US thing, isn't it?

Right now it's us. Well, we will go global. I mean, like the vision in the beginning was we got to change the world. And I think wealth is one of the number one ways to create impact. And the conversations that Nathan and I are having, you know, the conversations we're having with our team, like what kind of things can we do? So being number one is like one of my goals. I want to five years from now to be dominating in home health and self and be the number one network marketing company on the planet.

And so aggressive goals. But I know we can do it. And so much of that comes from this place of just like we're talking about what country do we want to buy orphanages. And we do a lot of work with human trafficking. And, you know, I know there's some other philanthropy that we want to get involved with children and adoption and that kind of stuff. So there's just so much there's so much that needs to change in the world.

And I think wealth is one of the number one ways to do that.

If you don't have money, you really are kind of limited in what you can do. Yeah, if you can't pay your utility bills, it's impossible to change the world. That's true. Mhm.

So I would like to ask you a bit more about the marketing of the business, because obviously this is the digital marketing entrepreneurship. We've got to cover the entrepreneur a bit. But I want to look at your your marketing and what stands out for me is the personal brand element of the marketing. I mean, obviously as a as an e-commerce business, you will no doubt you'll be doing some advertising of some kind. But I'm curious to know, within the personal branding side of things how important you feel that's been in the success of the business, because I see a lot of e-commerce businesses that should be good.

But I kind of feel that if that if the business owners would appear in the business, it would just thrive that little bit more. How intentional was having your personal brand in that is my question making sense?

Yeah, it was it was not only intentional, but it was very like it was based out of necessity, you know. And it's funny, too, because in the farmers market days and in like all before online, I would always hide behind my products, like here's my products. They're the heroes. They're amazing. You know, I'd send samples out or people would rave about the product. Well, when you go online and I'm doing video marketing and I'm writing my own copy and now, of course, in the ambassador model like relationship is so important.

And so I kind of had to bring myself out behind the the curtain behind the table and just put myself out there. And, you know, you can go back to my early videos and they're awkward. And I wasn't great on camera and but I just was like, it's either that or or you just have a mediocre business. And so it was based on it was based on necessity. But now I realized like and this is where I think people people often think that building a business is just this external process of creating something external.

But if you really if you really embrace this process, you're becoming is just as important as building. And so so with that, like, I think I just recognized early on in my the digital marketing season of that was back in twenty seventeen, just I had to get out there and like connect and love on people just like I did at the markets, but now is like via video and then even in the way that we've the fortune is in the follow up, you know.

So we've got an amazing email sequence that we create and we connect with people on the social level. We don't just talk about skin care. We talk about becoming who you were born to be and what's stopping you from going after your dream. And and so I think that message that comes from my heart is what what people see. And so I agree with you. If more entrepreneurs would tap into their own personal vision for people and let that really shine in their brands, they would probably would they would probably grow like crazy.

I love what you said about.

The the process of becoming in order to build your business, you need to build your yourself as well. If you want your business to become amazing, you're kind of going to have to become amazing as well.

You have to embrace the process. One of my friends in the early stages said, Jamie, the hardest thing you'll ever do is businesses grow a backbone. And, you know, we talk about like in the like the entrepreneurial circle. It's like, man, if you if you stay the way you are and who you are, you'll never get to where you're supposed to go, because I've had to turn around and, like, annihilate the Jamy that got me here because the Jamy that got me here isn't going to get me there.

And so you're constantly having to choose change and transformation and evolution and growth and and most companies, I think probably the centredness in business comes from the lack of growth in the entrepreneur. They just stop being hungry. I think it's a tiring process. You've got to have fortitude in this journey.

You know, I think as well that that whole pushing against your own comfort and leaning in to the fact that success lives in discomfort. Yes, I is wholly underrated. And I think that's that's really why I'm glad that this was true for you, because it's very easy in some regards to buy yourself, buy your way out of having to do the hard work. It's easy if you borrow money, for example, to hire an agency to take care of the digital marketing, the wave, a magic wand and you could have an element of success.

Yeah, but do you feel you would have had the success you have now if you had had the money to spend on getting other people to do things early on?

No, and that's that's great that you mention that that is that was like a battle, too, because there were so many times I was like, I just should hire somebody to build my funnel for me or somebody else to come along and try to, like, do my copywriting. And then when it came down to it, it was like, well, not only is that expensive, but it's better if I it's so much better when you get to understand the like, especially in the beginning.

Like, I don't do all those things now. I've I've delegated, but in the very beginning to have an intimate knowledge of every aspect of your business. Like when I'm working with my copywriters, I'll give them like really key insights. And here's how I write copy. And this is what works. And because I've done it or when we're shipping boxes, I'm like, hey, guys, if you do it like this, you know, the box will come together faster, like I've done every part of the business.

And most people that start with capital, sadly, they end up just blowing that money in there. They're in debt. And it's so much better to develop things over time and learn as you go because you can become a faithful steward. I'm like, man, all the work that I've done to get where I am right now, like, there's no way I would never just take one hundred thousand dollars and blow it on marketing or blow it on this or that.

I like. I be very strategic because I understand every aspect of my business, like nothing's been short cutted.

I think the one thing I'd like to dig into a little bit is your YouTube channel. And this would broaden out into video marketing in general. But you mentioned your early videos were quite awkward, but they're not now. They're really very polished now. They come across as very professional. And it's important for people to understand that process, because a lot of people look at somebody like you, the YouTube confidence that you have now, not just you, your whole family, really, they've become accustomed to that.

They've become comfortable with it. Hmm. Mm hmm.

But what was that like in the beginning and how did you train yourself to. Yeah. What did that look like?

These are good questions. I love that question because it takes me back to one of the first videos that I did. OK, so here I was like doing the farmer's market thing. I'm going to go online and I find this digital marketing expert. So I start reading all of this material and I'm studying through his stuff and he's like, OK, everybody needs to do this. What's called the perfect webinar video format. If you do this every week for a year, you're going to make a million dollars.

And I thought, I believe this guy, he's he's done what I want to do and in digital marketing. So I'm going to, like, follow him. And so I thought, whatever it takes, I'm just going to do it. And so I remember the very first time I had created my script, which was really awkward to like my whole script was lame and it was a 30 minute video presentation to sell like a bar of soap, which nobody wants to sit for 30 minutes and watch you sell them a twenty five dollar product.

So I had to get that really condensed down. But I remember the first time, like I asked my husband, I'm like, can you take the kids and can you help me set up the lights? And I was in the kitchen and my palms are sweaty. My my heart was beating out of my chest and I could feel just like the get me out of here and get me through this. Like, I just need to hurry up through this presentation and just post it and just see what happens.

And sure enough, like 90 days of that, 90 days plus no sales, nobody was biting and at but I kept going back and watching my videos and thinking from the customer's perspective, if I'm going to listen to this girl here, what's my internal and external false beliefs?

And there's this whole framework that Russell runs and teaches about, like, you know, the new opportunity and what this framework is supposed to look like. So I was asking myself all these the right questions, and I was going back and doing these videos over and over and over again, tweaking and fixing. And until finally I remember I was September 10th of twenty seventeen. I had done the video, I think probably over a hundred times at that point, and I was like scrapping the script.

I had tweaked the script so many times. I think I was like I had the right format, the right message. I had practiced on video and that finally sent the script literally blew away in the wind. I threw it out.

I was sitting outside my house and I was like, just screw the script. I'm just going to speak from my heart. I had done the dang thing so many times. And so we did a thousand dollars that first day with that video and one hundred thirty thousand in that first six weeks. And we hit our first million in less than six months with that one video, which now has like 30 million plus views on it. So it was definitely a process of like, I totally suck at this, but I'm going to second it less the more I do it.

So, yeah, I just got to keep going.

And so what is your production process look like now? For example, I had a look at your farmer's market video. I think it's the newest one and it looks professionally produced. Oh, yeah.

I have a video team. Well, a video person who and then an editor at a editing team.

And so sometimes she does editing and how sometimes we outsource the editing. But just one girl who it's worth it to have a good creative team who can. And honestly, it's not it's not that necessary, especially in the beginning. Like most of the time, people convert better when you're just doing, like, selfie style with your phone. And so as we're building the brand, like I'm expanding. But if I ever had to go back to just selfie style, it would work and work really well.

But I think what I like about the video that you're doing, though, is it's not very far away from selfie style. Yeah, it's really very close, which is why I kind of thought you were probably doing it yourself. But no, I mean, in the business you're in, it makes total sense to have somebody taking care of that.

Yeah. It can become like a full time job uploading, downloading and editing and all those things. But but it's not necessary to be successful. I would say, as much as you can do in the beginning to hit that first million without delegating the better. You know, once you hit the first million, then start like figuring out where you can replace yourself in certain roles and how do you move into the confidence.

The I think doing it in your kitchen, for example, where there's nobody watching, most people can bring themselves to do that if they're forced. But walking around in public, having somebody filming, you talk to the camera, that takes a different level of confidence. How did you how did you move into that kind of work?

Yeah, that is just you kind of just get out of your own head and you I think some of the greatest success comes from not even really consider yourself or thinking about yourself. You're always thinking about, you know, your people, the people you're serving, the people you want to impact. So I'm always imagining, like I'm talking to a group of people right now. I'm not talking to a camera as this is going to be on YouTube. What does that person need to hear to give them hope for their day or to get them through whatever struggle they're facing?

And sometimes it's like a skin care tip or like, here's how you shop at a farmers market. But I know that. And we always tell our ambassadors our you know, soap is a gateway drug for giving hope. So, you know, that's really what we're doing here. So getting really just focused on the vision and what you're doing and get out of your own way and just get out there and do it for other people. That's the most important thing.

I think that is the most important thing. And it was your ambassadors that I was kind of thinking of that need to hear this the most, because I work with lots of different kinds of businesses. I work a lot with the kind of businesses that might be your ambassadors, micro businesses, solar partners. And a lot of the time this is their biggest issue. It's how do I get from here, which is self-conscious, awkward, kind of scared, scared of being visible to being out there, letting people see me because people buy from people.

And if you're on a mission, you want people to know that you want people to go on that journey with you. But it's just crossing that bridge is so hard for so many people. And that's kind of why I wanted to look at how did you get from where everybody else was to where you are now with the confident video marketing that we all see. And that's not for me. It's been very useful.

That's awesome. Yeah, you just got to keep doing it whether you're good at it or not, because you will be you'll get good if you practice.

And how does your family feel about it? Because I think for a lot of people, that's actually a big worry as well as what will my family think of me doing this?

Oh, like extended family. Well, I guess you're a close family first. You're sort of immediate family, but, yeah, your your wider family.

Yeah. Sometimes, like, the boys would be like not another video of you or Nathan if be like because I'll be like, oh babe, go get your camera. Like, you know, if we're going to do some selfie style stuff or hey, we need we're going to have our video girl come and do a shoot. And sometimes it's like, OK, we'll do another video. But one of the first things I did when our business started to grow is I hired my mom to help in the house.

And so, like I was said, I would take care of her. I've hired my brother. My husband's hired his sister. So we've actually got a lot of family who have watched us in this journey. And they're like now part of it. But I guess I never really think about them because I'm just like, they're not right in my paycheck. So, like, I'm more concerned about how how we're serving the people watching our stuff, you know?

Yeah, I think I think what you've summed up there is it's it's the mission that fuels everything. Exactly. And and you get the mission right. If you get the way right, everything else actually becomes doable. There's a reason. There's a motive. There's a reason to move.

Yes. And it can't just be about money. Yeah, no, you're quite right. So, Jamie, you've been really, really generous with your knowledge. It's been so useful and I'm very, very grateful. But I need to come up with a question that I'm becoming really good at remembering to ask everyone. And that's what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago.

That's a really good question. It's actually being present. It's this idea that sometimes we think like, oh, man, I have to get this thing done. Now, if I don't get it done, like all this thing, all these things are going to happen. And so, like not living in the future so much as visionaries and entrepreneurs, we tend to live in the future. But if I could go back five years to Jamie, I'd be like, hey, girl, it's going to get done.

Everything's going to be OK. Like, enjoy this precious moment with your with your three year old or with your family and like be here with them. Don't be in some other world mentally building your business. You know, the present.

That's a great answer, Jimmy. If people want to get in touch with you, if they want to find out more about your business, your products are the ambassador program. How would you like them to do that?

Yeah, they can go to my G- living dot com and email us and we'll get your connected. We do have the YouTube channel, all that good stuff on the podcast. But I'm, I do living dotcom is the best place to start.

Thank you. Very much for your time. Thanks, Bob. So great. Make Living and Jamie are a fantastic role model for how an owner operated e-commerce business should be run. The X Factor is Jamie's commitment to personal growth and doing the hard things which make her stand out. These are the things which allow people to connect emotionally with her and her company and create relationships at scale. Relationships are her X Factor. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe.

And if you haven't already join our Facebook group, you'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me from forward slash insiders. I would love for you to connect with me on social media. Follow me wherever you hang out. You'll find me at Bob Gentle. And if you do, let me know and I'll follow you back. If you enjoyed the show, then I would love for you to review it on iTunes. It's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers and it means a lot to me.

My name's Bob Gentile. Thanks again to Jamie for giving us a hard time this week and to you for listening. And I'll see you next week.

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This week we're going deep into what life is for, why living in the moment and taking action on what moves you, now, is so important.

This week my guest is Richie Norton, author of The Power of Starting Something Stupid and in this episode he talks me through why he wrote his book and how he's built multiple businesses with one simple rule - and it's the rule which gives him the freedom to always live in the moment.

About Richie

Richie Norton is the award-winning, bestselling author of the book The Power of Starting Something Stupid (in 10+ languages) and Résumés Are Dead & What to Do About It. In 2019, Richie was named one of the world’s top 100 business coaches by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith. He is an international speaker (including TEDx & Google Startup Grind) & serial entrepreneur.

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This week, we're going deep into what life is for by living in the moment and taking action on what moves you, now, is so important. This week, my guest is Richie Norton, author of The Power of Starting Something Stupid. And in this episode, he talks me through why he wrote his book and how he's built multiple businesses with one simple rule. And it's the rule which gives him the freedom to always live in the moment.

Hi there and welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast.

I'm Bob Gentle. Every week I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget as well, you can join our Facebook community. Just visit, amplify me, EFM forward, slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Richie.

So this week, I am thrilled to welcome Richie to the show, Richie, why don't for those who don't know, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do?

Hey, guys, super excited to be here. Thanks for having me on. This is going to be a lot of fun. Just a side note so everybody knows we met up in London, didn't we?

Well, I have a funny story.

When I met you in London, the first time I saw you was you've walked into a conference hall and I thought, who's that guy?

Because you you were you stood out and you just look like a skater, surfer guy who I wouldn't actually be drawn to. And I thought he must be somebody's friend.

And then I met you at dinner with Jeff Goines and I thought, this is a guy I would really like to spend time with. And I have no idea what you did. And we will talk about what you do in a minute. But it was only afterwards when I got home, I realized, wow, this guy does a lot. So I've been really keen to have you on a podcast for a long time, so. Yeah, sorry.

That's my ramble.

No, no, no, thank you. So and I was super excited to meet you, not only because you're amazing and you're doing really cool things, but I just love Scotland so much. Have I don't have, you know, heritage there and and I've never been. And so you give us, my wife and I, some great tips and we just had the greatest time ever. So as really I can't wait to get back, but I'm born and raised in in San Diego.

I live there my my whole life until I was about 19 then I lived in Brazil for a couple of years doing missionary work. And then I moved to Hawaii where I did school and lived here in Hawaii ever since I did an executive MBA at Thunderbird. It's the number one international business school. And finish that up. We came back to Hawaii and have a bunch of kids. I'm a family man and I'm just kind of making it up as I go.

Uh, what age did you move to Hawaii? Uh, I was twenty one. I was twenty one. Yeah, I was twenty one. And I turned, you know, twenty six months later. So yeah. My, my wife and I, um actually met in Washington State working at kind of like a youth camp kind of thing. We were camp counselors and we were married within two months of meeting and she'd been living out in Hawaii as well.

But we didn't know each other here. And, you know, it's kind of a whirlwind thing. We immediately, you know, just jumped right into starting a family. Um, had and I'll I'll get to some of these details later. But, you know, I have four boys and it's just wild and crazy. We so but but for work and I'll get back into my family. So important to me, um, I'm an entrepreneur. I've been starting businesses since I was a teenager.

My my dad taught me how and gave me that that mindset. His dad was also an entrepreneur and his dad was an entrepreneur and so on and so forth, all the way back to the, you know, the pioneer days. And also those who decided across the pond, you know, come to the states, uh, or that and, you know, just open, uh, land, so to speak, which is debatable. By the way, we all know that nowadays times are crazy, but, uh, very, very grateful for the life we lead, the things we're doing.

The other day, I try to help other people make their projects successful and happy while while doing my my own. So I have my own businesses, several. And then I, I when people ask, I teach people how to start their own businesses and grow them, start scale and streamline and and from there I'm able to also my goal really is to impact the world in a deep and wide way now and not wait till I'm, you know, sixty five and retired to finally do the work that I want to do.

I think all of the things you do are quite impressive and we'll get into those. But one of the things that's impressed me the most is how publicly you do it. It's a hard thing to explain, but if I take the whole of Instagram and I think, well, who am I really learning from here, yours stands out, it's really, really impressive. And yeah, I would like to get into again a little bit later on how you manage the productivity side of that because you were doing a lot of different things.

You're also living life. And I'd love to know how you a make the time and be how you set your priorities because it's something to behold.

OK, excellent question. I'll dive right into it and then I'll also share why I do this and maybe some, you know, tips and tricks and how to do it on your own. For me, tight time is everything. And I'm not a. Fans of time management, I believe that you should stop managing time and you should start prioritizing attention, people who are in personal development have adopted time management practices from business to try and, you know, not only increase their output, but also increase their quality of time in life when in reality, if you know anything about time management and its history, it was legitimately created to squeeze every single ounce of blood, sweat and tears out of you for every hour, every minute, every single day has nothing to do with freedom.

It was all about maximizing output at the sacrifice of people lives to the point where people were burning out so fast. So they decided to implement things like retirement plans as an incentive to make you work for 40 years without stopping, except for except for maybe two weeks at a time, if that with dangling the career of maybe getting some tax deferred, you know, retirement money, only to find out that when you're older and have more money and you have no deductions, you're actually paying way more in taxes at the end of the day.

It's a it's a great plan for some, but for most, if you know anybody who in retirement or approaching retirement, some did well, but many with the economy as it goes up and down, they have been failed by this plan to the extreme.

And so when I saw this happening, especially like in 2008, you know, I'm young recently, you know, I'm married, you know, got a couple of kids and things are good. You know, I watch the bottom just fall out for so many people, including members of my own own family. And I thought this this is the plan I was given to to put my head down for 40 years and then put off living to one day, say, now I can finally start and, you know, to know that people lose their health and, you know, situations just change.

And I thought, you know, I've always planned to, like, do my part and grind and make everything, you know, just I'm a worker. I do things. I have no problem with hard work, get my hands dirty. But if that's at the sacrifice of my family in the hopes that I'll have more time for them later, that's just not true. It's not true logically and it's not true in theory.

It just you lose time and it doesn't work out that way, especially as the economy goes up and down. So I thought I asked myself a better question, how can I create the lifestyle I would hope to have in retirement? And to me, that was helping others helping in poverty, you know, working in places where or this is this is a major need, which is kind of everywhere, even in developed countries, and and have the ability to take my my kids to school when I want to pick them up, if I need to, you know, be their coach for baseball, basketball and soccer.

And, uh, you guys call it football, right? Yeah, very good football. All these things.

Um, and I thought about how can you do that work where you're helping people, where you're supposedly not making money, how can I do that and also feed my family at the same time. And that became my task ongoing to help people and make money at the same time. Later I learned that there's actually a term for it. It's called social entrepreneurship. And the idea is how to, uh, what's the catchphrases solve social ills with business skills.

And so I got into this world and in fact, my first business was a cashmere company in Mongolia when I was my first, like, real business when I was twenty four years old. And there wasn't even there's not even I don't know there is now. But when I went, there wasn't even a McDonald's there. I mean we're talking like, you know, like it's amazing, incredible people that nomadic and, you know, in certain parts of the country.

And the whole idea was to help people create jobs, not just be an employee. And so as we as we did that, I learned more about this world. I started doing stuff all over, I'm in Hawaii, start doing stuff all over base, you know, in the Asia Pacific Rim, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, all over the place. And this these people I would meet in Hawaii and eventually started what's called a center for entrepreneurship at my university, BYU, Hawaii, and that still runs today.

They have now paid professors and they're running the whole thing. Thousands are influenced. And I just kept doing that on my own and setting up sustainable ways for this to happen. But with the idea that it wasn't taking away necessarily or at least it was a choice, not def, not not not default, not taking away from my family and time. The idea is how do I create time, not take time with these businesses and systems.

OK, the reason this is super important is because at one point in time my brother in law who lived on and off.

Thus, he for five years, he passed away to sleep and he was twenty one, and when he passed away unexpectedly, no apparent reason just a short time ago or whatever, like it shook us to the core, as you can imagine.

And when you have a lot of people have terrible experiences, but you have to you know, it's the way you internalize it, interpret it, you know, that kind of changes you one way or the other. And for us, it was such a slap in the face and we were so sad that we realized not only can we not wait till later, but we might not even have a later. He didn't have a waiter. That was the end, religion aside.

Right. Like there's more to life done.

And at that point we thought, hmm, how can we how do we do this moving forward?

Let me tell you what happened a few years later. Actually, my our fourth son, we named him Gavin after my brother in law. His name was Gavin.

He end up catching, um, uh, communicable disease called pertussis, also known as whooping cough. And it was just so much on his little body. I remember we were in the hospital and at one point they took out all the tubes and the wires. And I held him for a moment after a long time of him being there and then trying to treat him. He handed it to my wife, put my hand on his little heart, and we just sang a lullabies and waited for those last beats.

And he slipped away your worst nightmare as a father. So here I have my brother in law passed away unexpectedly. My son passed away unexpectedly, and I had a mentor that said, Richie, like, what did you learn from these two, you know, people and their passing?

And I was like, I don't know what kind of a question is that?

Right. And my wife wife's like, ask me any year, you know? And she's like, Yeah, yeah, it's a great answer, you know, ask me in a year. And then I thought I thought about it for a while and I actually couldn't get the thought out of my head. And I came up with something that I actually talk about in my book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid. I call it Gavins Law, which is live to start start to live.

Meaning when you live to start those ideas that are pressing on your mind, you really will start living. There's so many people, you and me included, who walk around not knowing what to do, when to do it, how to do it. And they're like the walking or the living dead. And at the same time, ironically, there I there are ideas pushing, prodding, percolating in the mind that we decide to not do anything about it because we're scared or we say it's stupid or it's not a good time or someone else should do it, not me or I'm not qualified or I don't have enough time, education, experience or money.

When we do that, we're actually saying no to these ideas of the universe, to whatever, and then we wonder why we have no purpose in life. And it's like it's been given to you. Why aren't you doing something with it? You're the only one with this knowledge, with this idea. And if there are others, it's coming to you right now. Why aren't you doing something about it? So Gavins law, the ideas do what you have, do what you care what you have right now live to start and you will start living and people say, what does that mean?

How do you start? And I made an acronym for that. It's start, start, serve, think, ask, receive and trust, serve others think others ask others received from others and receive others. Actually you know them as a person, see them and trust others. And through that process, if you go back through history, this is how people make change and make a difference. So I can get into more details. But I've used this process now.

Yes. To write books that book The Power sorry, something stupid. Some like ten different languages. Now it's doing really well. And when people read it, they reach out to me, help them start their stupid idea.

I think the book I'm not finished yet. I'm probably about halfway through, but it's outstanding. I think it's when I'm reading it, I really wish that I'd read it when I was 19, 20 years old, because what shines through it is a route to overcoming fear. And I think so many people live life entombed in a case of fear. I don't know that that's certainly in my life. Help me back a lot. My fear of ridicule, comparison, who is this guy to do this thing?

And that that for me is the real reason I love the book, has the permission to just let it go and not worry about all the things that we neurotically worry about, especially me. And what I like when I'm reading that in conjunction with your Instagram is you so clearly offer a real role model that's 100. Aligned with what you're talking about, which which is quite rare as kind of you to kind. Thank you. I appreciate that.

I think one of the questions I've written down here, which I mean, there's lots of things that you haven't spoken about that. Yes, you have a business product. Yes. You've written a book. But also, I think Marshall Goldsmith's top 100 coaches in the world, that's no small accomplishment to get an accolade like that. The question that I've written is what made Richard Norton? Because when I look back through the years of the content that's around you, surrounding you, there seems to be a big change at some point.

I didn't I've never really got to the point of understanding what that was. But is that something you recognize?

Yes. And I'd also say it's one big soup.

You know, it's just, you know, many little spirals or roller coasters over and over and over again. And it's hard to pinpoint one thing. It's like I've had uniquely a string of events. It's funny because I could tell my story from the tragedy side. And you think this guy has the worst life, you know, and then you tell it from the positive side. And, you know, this guy has the best life, you know, and it's so when you put them together, it creates more context and in clarity.

Um, I'll talk about that for a second. So, yeah, my brother in law passed away. My my son passed away. At some point we there's a mom we need to help with her kids and a single mom and she we just met her like in a day. She asked if we could watch her kids while she went to like work at night, some new job and we're like we don't know you. But of course, like if you have no one like of course.

And we did. And long story short, his mom didn't come back and she kind of touched base here and there through text. And we're like, what in the world is going on? And eventually Child Protective Services shows up at our door and says, hey, we're here to take these kids. We've been you know, I don't I don't want to give too many details, but like, what do you mean? Like, what's going on?

And may explain why we said, well, what are you going to do with these wonderful three children, seven year old girl and one year old twins, boy and a girl?

And they said, well, nobody wants three kids. It's too many. And I know I can I can take that. So we're going to split them up and there's no way to put them. So they're going to stay in our office until we can find someone.

We're like, no, can we take care of them until you figure this out?

And they're like, well, you're not foster certified, but maybe since she put them in your care first, we can call it kinship placement and we're like, whatever in there, you go and get paid for this.

There's no you know, whatever we do with foster people all the way, I don't care. Let's not split them up. We love these children, you know, even though we've only known them for a little bit. And they said, sure. So these kids ended up being with us for two years and we plan on adopting them and now didn't work out to adopt them. The mom came around and eventually, fortunately and in other ways, sadly, you know, just one of those weird situations, I'm happy for happy for her.

Really, really worried. Right. For the children kind of thing. Got them back. But when this happened, it tore us apart. Like I mean, now we have a death of my wife's brother, death of our son. These three children are gone, which in some ways hurts ironically or weirdly or strangely more, because you know that this they're still out there. You can't do anything right.

Like you don't know what's happening. Anyways, when this happened, it tore us apart. And I don't know how this happened, but my wife and I were driving. We're like, we got to go take our thing with us. We went from three kids to four kids to three kids to six kids, so seven in total and then back down to three kids again on a short period of time. And family's everything, right. So we need to huddle our family back up and just kind of hug and love on each other and kind of figure this out and, you know, also protect our children's experience, you know, with with what life looks like now.

And we ended up flying to New York. But to go on this road trip that we didn't have a return ticket, so we were going to see what would happen on the way to the airport. My wife starts stuttering. She can't, like, remember certain things. She she loses, like, her ability to actually speak and comprehend and remember. And it turns out she had some sort of mini stroke or something. And we're not sure if it was induced by this, you know, horrendous situation or something else.

It was stress induced or not. But it happened.

And so here we are now, another crazy situation, after a few days, the doctors, you know, said, you know, go home and we're like, what are you talking about? Well, we don't see anything. We don't know what's going on. There's no damage. We don't know why this happened. We we do recognize that it happened and it could happen again. But we can't do anything right now. Thanks a lot, Doc.

You know, and my wife is like, I'm still going on this trip. Like, no, wait, we're going home. We're going to lay down your lives.

Like, no, if I lay down, I won't be able to get back up. And she was so brave. And in fact, the way we staggered the tickets, she was going to go to a conference first and then and then we were gonna show up after. So she was actually getting on the plane by herself and we were going to follow the next few days. So she gets on the plane by herself. But I give her a little piece of paper that says, if I forget my name, I call this number.

And then when she got the plane, I started realizing, oh, man, she's going to forget to give them the piece of paper.

So bad, so bad. I got so bad.

Terrible joke, everybody. Anyway, so she gets there. Her friend meets her in New York. She's fine. We get there, meet with, you know, later we meet up, we end up on the road, man for six months every day, not knowing where we're going to stay on purpose, just traveling, going wherever we wanted. Zigzagging up and down the states from New York to San Diego, almost. We went coast to coast.

We're like, let's go over the border. Let's go ride horses in Mexico on the beach, and let's go all the way up to Canada and see some ice, you know?

And so we we did that. Then we drove back down to wherever we needed and the somewhere in the Midwest and then flew back to Hawaii. There's more to the story.

But when this happened, it made me realize, again just how fragile life is. But what's interesting is people think, how did you do that? And it wasn't like we had all the money in the world. And in fact, we've gone through so many tragedies and it cost so much money.

I mean, it's almost like we're going broke every day.

You know, there is a time in our lives where we were literally collecting cans from trash cans at a park to be able to to recycle them so we could get money for gas anyways.

So this is not on the road trip. This is something else. But people said, how did you do it? And I actually gave a TED talk about this in Moldova, of all places.

And I and we made our money on the road from our cell phones because we had intentionally said, we want a life that we can live with autonomy, doing whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want.

And as these tragedies have forced us even into this practice, because it's so hard, you know, um, we'd actually learned how to create environments of resilience by spending more time with our family and making money from our cell phones. So when I create businesses, I think my my my constraint is. But can I do it from my cell phone? Because if I can't, I need to think of another way to do it or to do something else, because I don't want to be stuck in one geographical location if I don't have to.

Well, do you mind if we nibble into that a little bit? Because I think the the listener will not forgive me if I let that go past because everybody's heard of the myth of the digital entrepreneur and the the digital nomad. And a lot of the time is a very nice idea. But you're always left with the question of, well, how do they do that? Selling gigs on Fiverr? It clearly isn't that. So do you mind just sort of roaming around what it is you were doing on your cell phone?

Yeah, let me let me is unpacking a lot. So, you know, because everyone's in a different situation, right? Yeah. So it's not about being careful, but it's about being intentional. So people don't don't misunderstand if you're doing physical work that requires you to be in one place doing one thing like I mean, obviously you have to do that unless you choose to get another job or to outsource that or to figure out how to get the same result in another way.

So let's not dance around the fact that you have to do work differently.

You have to and we will shy away from that for some weird reason. It's like it's obvious you another job like that said there's way more to it. It's actually extremely complex, but it can actually be super, super simple. When I wrote The Power of starting something stupid, everybody came to me. I didn't know this would happen.

I just wrote a book because I was a great idea and it was very practical and inspiring around. I knew that people were. Were successful, started things, but what was curious in my research in talking to three hundred people or more personally in interviews and also studying the stuttering study, studying the success of people in history, they didn't just start things. They started something that someone once called stupid. Everything from the telephone to the you know, the model T, you know, automobile, even to Twitter.

And even now I'll just keep using words that start with t twitch and tick tock, all stupid and all stupid idea that turn out to be very smart and very great. And a lot of our ideas are that way. Anyways, as I wrote this book, I didn't realize that when people read it, they would reach out to me for help. I read it and run with it. And so I sort of thought the business model through better, but it would reach out and they'd say, well, how can I start my stupid idea?

I already showed you how to start it. What do you mean? Like, no, no, no. I want specifics. And when I quickly learned was I couldn't be the subject matter expert on this stupid idea because it was novel not only to them and the world, but like it's a super niche. And so I, I, I learned I could focus on their business model and the outcome or lifestyle that they wanted, regardless of what the thing was within reason.

And I learned I could help someone make a lot of money doing their thing, their stupid idea that not a problem, it's a matter of math and sales. But what was really interesting is that that wasn't what people actually wanted. They would come up with some random idea or they'd have a random idea and they would attach it to a result that would come from it later.

Meaning they would do the the in their head, they would have an idea of what success would look like after they were successful. For example, they would think, I want to have more time with my family in financial freedom and be able to travel the world like you, Richie, or whatever.

But they wouldn't necessarily say that. And so what would happen is and I am not saying like people went the wrong direction, but I'm saying what people normally do in life is just more in general than I'll talk specifics.

But they would say, for example, I'm going to start a gym. This is a real one. I'm going to start a gym so I can get out of my corporate job and go, OK, yeah.

And then we go, cool.

We obviously can make that successful. Like, again, we're going to get a thousand people doing a membership, paying you one hundred dollars. You're going to make one hundred thousand dollars a month. That's the way gyms work, right. Something like that.

And but then I then I quickly realized that wasn't what they actually wanted. They wanted the freedom. So I'd ask them, OK, we'll just pretend you're successful in this. All works out great. Then what for? Well, then I, you know, try with my family, do all these things like go wait a second. You think that if you're responsible. Let's be honest to lock and open this thing every night and every morning that you're going to have the freedom to go on and do these things, are you going to be the one doing this or are you going to hire someone else to do it?

Oh, no, I micromanage. I have to do it myself. OK. And how long is this going to take for you to turn a profit? Well, basically no numbers. It'll take five years. Mhm. And how old your your son. Oh he's 13. So you're telling me when he's 18 out of the house you'll finally have freedom to travel the world.

Yeah. You see people do all the things we don't think through.

And so, so, so, so, so in psychology, what I'm going to teach in my next book, it's actually called Final Cause like what's the actual thing? What's the success after success that you want? So I teach people, take that success. I'm getting back to the cell phone thing, by the way, take that success after success that you want and start there. Don't don't tip toe up to the crust or the fringe of this dream.

Put the dream at the center and build processes around it to support it. That way you can create time, not take time. So when I say I can work for myself or anywhere, it's the same work you would be doing anywhere just remotely. It's the same result, different process. Two people can be doing the exact same result, making the exact same money and have two different lives. One has all the time in the world. The one has no time because one is required, um, with one with no time is required to work nine to five and a chair in a cubicle somewhere, whereas the other guy can do it from the top of a mountain or on a boat in Fiji.

You know, what I really like about that is and again, we will get back to the cell phone thing. Roger, James Hamilton has written a few books about business. I can't remember their names, but one of the principles that he often comes back to is you'll rarely build true wealth from your first business because your first business probably won't be built to deliver what you actually wanted, that you really need to almost here's a much more eloquent way of putting it, but level up from your first business into your second business, which will just inherently be completely different.

And what you're doing there is almost shortcutting not learning process, not the learning process as such, but the experience process, because that experience isn't really helpful. You're right about that.

And let me is one more example and then I'll get some more specifics. You know, when I was in your land over there in Scotland, I saw a lot of castles. So let me use the castle analogy.

So let's pretend modern day lets modern talking go back in time. Modern day. Let's pretend someone wants to live in a castle, but they start by building a moat. The moat is work.

They never get out of the moat and they never get to live in the castle and it keeps filling up with water. There you go. That's beautiful. And instead you could just build the castle and not have a moat or build a castle and the moat simultaneously. So symbolically, if you could put your life's dream like your goals, your final cause, the actual success after success in the center, like a castle, then you can build strategic and economic moats around it to protect it.

So all of a sudden, your business that you're creating are supporting the walls or the goals or the dreams that you've created for your lifestyle as opposed to preventing you and distracting you from getting there.

So essentially, if it were to take you five years to become profitable and do this thing before you live your life or in most cases 40 years, when we're thinking of the retirement mentality, you just saved yourself five, ten, forty years. You literally can step into your dream life today. So let me take this super real. If you want to be able to work from your cell phone, that doesn't mean you grind for five more years at your work.

It means you figure out how to do that same work, same job from the road or.

Yeah, start a new new thing from the road or find a job that allows you to do that and you start living it immediately. This is possible for every one listening right now.

I absolutely agree. And I think one thing that it really bothers me, especially when I watch my kids and I think like you, I'm third generation business owner. And before that, I don't know. I think they may have been business owners. I don't know. But I'm very grateful that my kids have that, because when I look around in the wider world and I see people doing jobs they clearly don't enjoy because the expectation of peers and family is that that's normal, but it doesn't mean it's right.

And that's what really struck me with. For example, the video that you and Natalie did on the home page of your website, the show up video link is really powerful. Nobody needs to accept the way life has always been through.

You know, it's not like I can pretend like it's easy. I'm just saying it is simple. It's a choice. Like, I actually met with a professor of economics. I think it's from Kellogg or something. And he said something like this. I'm going to totally, you know, mess this up.

But he's like, oh, I messed everything up. He was like, you want to know how to, like, balance the, like, national budget? He's like spend less than you make.

And he's like, I know that sounds funny because everyone's laughing, but he's like it's purest, simplest form. That's the answer.

So when people say, how do I work my cell phone, it's like you want to take your cell phones, a computer. Right? So unless you physically have to be somewhere, you could be doing it from anywhere. That's the answer. Yeah, but my boss won't let me. Well, now now you've identified the problem. Talk to your boss and see if you can do it from somewhere else or get another job or create your own. Oh, but there's all these things I have to do.

That's right.

There's all these things you have to do. But if you don't do that, where does that leave you? Right back where you are right now?

I think for the purposes of the cell phone, you've you've been very sort of clear on there are many answers to that question. Yeah. And it will be very unique to the person in question. But there will always be an answer. You just need to look for where do you actually want to be and make a commitment that that's where you want to be.

Yeah, and I'm sure people like, well, what do you do from your cell phone? I'll give you three examples. Um, one, yes. Coaching, consulting, online courses done for my cell phone, done over the phone, done on the Internet, through, you know, the way you use the Internet to, which would not make sense to most people.

I make over a hundred different physical products for entrepreneurs around the world, everything from ideation to actually prototyping, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, warehousing and fulfilling from my cell phone is a multiple seven figure business I do for myself. Um, yeah.

And then, you know, we do, uh, I have a lot of clients. The thing is, I'm not just like choosing things. I just want to go and do I do that to many times of the questions people ask me. And it's usually around me seeing people have no time or ability. So coaching courses, online courses, because people say they want help in education. So I do that the sourcing thing. I have a background.

You heard I started a business in Mongolia making Kashmir people like how to make a physical product. I'm like, well, there's one hundred steps. Why don't I just do all ninety nine for you? So all you have to do is sell. That's what it is. There's no there's no entrepreneur that has a physical product that couldn't just step into selling right now because I have figured out the entire rest of it for you over years. But it's done.

And then for like I have a lot of friends that are like super big you tubers. And I saw they would go to Disneyland and pretend like they were having fun, but in reality they were stressed out and one parent would stay home editing the videos while the other one was out pretending to have fun with their kids stressed out. Right. It's a good time. So I started took me a year to figure this out, but I started. And in fact, that video you watch was a product of it.

I figure out how to have editors all over the world editing overnight for YouTube. I don't know how to edit stuff, but I'm editing hundreds of logs a month. I'm editing hundreds of logs. I'm doing literally not that the people I work with are, but I created a process in a system and offered to solve the problems so I could give you two hours their time back their life back, because that's important to me, their family. And I thought they would take this excess capacity or this newfound time and like spend more time with their family.

But in reality, you know, they do make more videos. So, you know, that's the thing is once you realize it's a choice to be busy or to be productive or to work in a job or to work on the road, once you realize it's an actual choice, it's hard to face, but then you can do something about it.

How many ideas do you say no to? I think well, maybe a different way of looking at that question is, oh, all of these opportunities come through relationships. And you clearly must spend a lot of time building and cultivating relationships and knowing you a little bit. That's going to be done in a very genuine way. You know, Hustla, really, I.

I'm not I don't I mean, I, I, I also don't really hustle's a great word sometimes. I just don't like it because a lot of people think it just means I can put my head down in one day it's going to happen. And I was like, no, this is not the way I works. Like you can put your head down and it's not going to happen to.


Yeah, I, I'm not a you scratch my back, I scratch yours kind of guy.

I hate transactional relationships. I'm a transformational. I go deep, like with people for a long time, with no expectation of anything return just because that's what life is. But it turns out by happen stance that when you do that, people get to know you as a real human. They know love and trust. You may refer business to you. It just happens that way.

I can see that. Yeah. And that is a really good answer to my question, because I imagine that you don't have to say no to an awful lot of ideas because you help people get to the right ideas, because you spend the time with.

Oh, well, OK. That that's actually a really good point. Um, we know we do say no to lots of things depending on the situation. However, you're right. When someone looks to me for for coaching or consulting, I listen to their idea. And I it's always there's it's always possible.

It's like it's always inherently a terrible idea. But I also know that when they're telling me that it's not what they actually want. Right. It's that final cause. So once I learn what they actually want, after they spit out all the things they think they need to get there, we can rearrange the whole process.

It might be a new business or a different business or different pricing model or different business model or different strategy. But once you know exactly the dream, you can then you can create whatever you want around that because there's a lot of ways to get there.

So something I would like to understand, and I'm looking at the time and I do not want to miss this question because it's important to me the way that you manage your to use a crude word, personal brand is not a crude word. I mean, it's there's not very many ways that you can express it. But you do a great job, particularly on Instagram, of being very present. And and a lot of people on Instagram and social media in general, they're very careful about turning a particular face to the to to the Internet.

And the face that you turn to the Internet is authentic is the only word I can think of, because it's it's everything and it's your whole family and you're very open, very public.

How do you do that? I'm I have to ask that question. I've got to speaking from the perspective of a very introverted Scottish, how would you describe this repressed British person? And I see somebody like Richard Norton, who's very open, emotional, vaguely flamboyant. And I think, wow, I'd love to be like that.

You don't want to be like me. It's OK. You know, I don't know how I do it, but all but all.

But to answer your question, let me explain. I've been highly criticized by many people, influencers. You know, people in my circle is as like I don't know what you do.

Like, you're all over the place. You're you're saying so many things. You need one message. You need to be like very clear on what what's happening in a guy. Why would I do that? I actually don't want to be in a box. I actually don't want anybody to know what I'm doing.

I want to be able to do anything whenever I want. I want to go to change if I want to change. Right. And I guess there's pros and cons in that. But to answer your question, like I share life as it comes. So so if you look on Instagram, everyone right now, it's super trendy. They're going to make every colour tinted with orange and teal and everyone's going to look all weird. And they're they're going to talk about something that just requires engagement, using questions and almost manipulating the conversation.

Sorry for people to do that. You might be authentic. I get it. OK, um, but that's what people are doing.

People are super into trends like what will get me more like. So get me more clicks. What will get me more. Get me more. Get me more. I'm not saying that's bad. I'm just saying that is transactional. And I'm not saying transactional isn't sometimes necessary and depends on your intention. But many people in that space are only looking to get more followers. They're not looking to create massive transformations. And in the same breath, they know that by getting more followers, they can create more transformations.

So it depends on the goal. So it's not a criticism.

It's just that's what is I mean, is it not like that is that's straight up truth? It is what it is, of course. But then you say, are they aren't they more than that or are they inauthentic? And it's like they're probably authentic people, but it's showing up online means you're only showing one side of you and then every once in a while manipulating a tragic situation and trying to get more like followers. That's just that's a strategy and a tactic.

That's not a life. Let's be honest. It's for the Graham, as they say, like it is for the Graham. I don't do things for the Graham or for or for Facebook. I do understand how to play the game. I do understand the game being played around, as I do know how to pull the lever, wanting to pull the leather, that leather pull, pull the lever, however. However, when I say I just talk about it as it comes, as I'm doing in that way, looking back on it, it's not intentional like looking for it, it becomes relevant.

So my goal, when I do a post, if it's for me, it's for me, it was to try and get more followers. Oh, my gosh. There's like a million ways to do a game and give away a gift card and get 10 people to chip in one hundred dollars and have everyone follow each other. That you can do that. That can be part of an overall thing.

But that's what you're saying about being like flamboyant all over the place and all these kind of things. There's two things that are important to me, character and competence. So I'm deep on I'm a covid guy. Stephen Covey was a mentor of mine. Like, I'm deep into principles that can be used universally and deep into character over like skills. I'm deep into character, over personality, and I'm deep into competence so that you can actually apply it. So yeah, I'll I'll show a picture of my dog and then I'll talk about coronavirus and then I'll talk about the ineffectiveness of the school system and then all because that's my life and that's your life and that's all of our lives.

But some people are so scared to mess up the algorithm that they choose not to share things that are important with them. And they're and they silow their lives on social media, which is a strategy and a tactic.

And if if that's good for that, it's good for them. But that's not what I do.

Well, I love it. And it's something that I regularly say to clients is that 30 percent of people will not like, you know, I'm going to sort of say Third's because my percentage get messed up. A third of people will not like you. A third of people will be ambivalent. They'll take you or leave you, but a third of people will really like you. And if you're always turning a managed face to the world, then people aren't going to get you.

And I like letting people get you is really important. And I think people getting you is more is more important and getting more if that makes life so good.

A managed face is a good term.

It's very good.

So I would like to dig into the time management side of your social media a little bit because again, you were very prolific and I'm curious to know what it takes to achieve that.

OK, everybody's brain works differently and everyone has different like fears. Right? So this this is that. But, you know, I prolific is the right word. Like, I believe that being prolific is better than being perfect. In fact, it does not practice. That makes perfect. It's being prolific. That gets you to become more perfect. Is practices behind the scenes. Being prolific is actually showing up for the world. Right.

So you can do both and perfectionists. This is where he will get stuck in the trait most associated. Ironically, with procrastinate, procrastination and perfection is actually an addiction to impulsiveness and immediacy. And we will say, well, how does that make any sense? You go well, it's like when you go to dinner and you fill up on bread. Before the main course comes out, because you because you can't wait for the thing to be perfect, because it takes so much time and effort, you choose to do other good things and you're actually highly productive at doing all kinds of less important tasks.

Procrastinators are not lazy. They're extremely busy. They'll do the dishes and the taxes before getting that project done.

So with with my social media, I know I'm different. Other people, I, I use it like a journal. I post my thoughts as they come. And it's not to say that every thought like I just put out there, I do obviously filter them. So I'm not saying the horrible or different or weird or like uneducated things, like I have to like, think through it. Of course, you know, what I'm trying to say is don't just post everything that comes to your head.

People get into trouble for that, you know, if you not watch Twitter lately.

But what I am saying is I don't stop and pontificate and make a masterpiece of each post. In fact, I intentionally don't. I am literally throwing out raw material every day as it comes that someone watches my Instagram stories, they will know stuff that is like legitimately a soup that creates something different and cool later. And so let me tell you what's happened by doing that. And I threw out an idea on Facebook or Instagram stories or even on just the feed on Instagram or LinkedIn or Twitter.

When I get a response, I'm just writing it down so I don't lose it. I look, I'm a punk rocker. When I was when I was a teenager, I was on a punk rock band. You know, we were offered a five year contract that we turned down so I could move to Brazil like that's what I did. And I would write down on a piece of paper every thought that I had regarding lyrics and melodies and whatever else.

Okay, so I've continued that practice and now I just do it publicly is what happens when someone responds to it and asked me a question and I and I answer because questions prompt answers. I create more content and I take that answer, if it's if I think it's halfway decent, I repost it and if these things start to catch fire, then all of a sudden I go, oh, this is a this is something that people are interested in. Maybe I should use this content where you work it, stretch it out, go deeper, research it and write a medium article on it.

So then I'll write a medium article on it. And let's say just it does well or it doesn't whatever. People highlight things on medium. So do I go look at the highlights on Medium and go, oh, these are the things that people like that they're interested in. Maybe I should share. This is a quote. Maybe I should make a video about it, maybe I should go deeper. So I'm throwing out my ideas, but the content builds content.

Oh, that's so good. I think I'm the cogs are turning and I'm thinking this is such a good workflow, such a good practice.

Content builds content and then you can repurpose the content for different platforms. And for me, obviously, because I'm a writer and I'm working on books, I'm thinking of larger content pieces that can be used in a book or an article or a course or a talk speech or whatever. See, this is how it happens. So in one way, I am every day throwing out things that I think and on the in the other way, if it's something that catches fire, then I'm doing I'm not I'm not punishing the market, so to speak, the market of readers and consumers.

I go, oh, you like that? Let me take it to the next step. And this becomes an upward spiral of fantastic content that people find useful.

What I really like about that is so many people are so worried about what other people think about their ideas and their thoughts that they never put anything out there. And what that means is they never get these little sparks of encouragement that if you fan the flames, there's a fantastic idea there. And so there's all these on board, fantastic ideas. And really what you're doing there is you're allowing people to to cheer you on and buy what they cheer on, you know, what works, what's what's good, where the interest or the passion is.

Yeah. And I'm letting people destroy me.

It depends on what it is, you know. And that really brings me back to the beginning, which is I have a notepad of notes here and at the top there's only one thing I've outlined and it's the word fear, because I think that for me is why when I look at Instagram, I really would have to think about Richie Norton as my social media spirit animal, because it's that element of fearlessness around the content marketing that really stands out. You I read your social media content.

You must get lots of negative comments. Do you get lots of negative comments?

Yeah, I guess a lot is is relative. And I've, you know, kind of gained and curated an audience of people that enjoy the style. Right. So but yes, it's always that way. And I'm always surprised, you know, when people say things. But then I realized I realized a couple of things. One, it's out of context. So now we can have a conversation to like, whatever. Do I have to engage this person if they're if they're like actually sort of like semi violent, like, can I just block them?

Of course, you know, whatever.

And then, um, the third thing, though, is it is the tough questions that people ask me about something that allows me to take the time to be more thoughtful and clarify my thoughts. Because when you're writing, it's really hard thing to do. But you're talking to like people with a thousand different points of view and it's hard to address them all at the same time because you can't. So it actually is sort of helpful in that refining. So I'm not afraid of someone attacking it.

Well, then what do I what you know what? I can use it. Now, here's the other side of that. I am afraid of people attacking it. It does scare me. I don't like it.

But at the same time, what's the alternative?

You know, and if you're not scared, are you pushing yourself enough? If your dreams live outside of your comfort zone, as they say, then if you're comfortable, you're not really living your dreams. So it's by intentionally pushing myself to say things or do things that are outside of my comfort zone that help me become more helpful to others.

Bridget, I'm looking at a time and we're pretty close to hitting our mark. And I know we had some technical problems at the beginning, so I've had your attention for quite a long time now. One question I always try and remember to ask everyone towards the end of the interview and all of them have had a little bit of No. This of this, except you, because I forgot and that's what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago.

I can't imagine you being someone who would struggle to have five years ago.

I wish I would have started podcasting five years ago. Yeah. How long ago did you start?

I started in January and ended up. But I mean, I'm talking almost 2011. So almost 10 years ago I started being a guest on podcasts and that really changed my career because people were just like you, like they would listen and they reach out and that would turn into something. Right. And then these things are evergreen. So that just keeps happening over and over and over again. Plus helped me with books and projects and getting to know people, and that's been extremely helpful.

I even have courses on being a guest on podcasts with John Lee Domus. And we do stuff. I mean, think about it. Think about who my clients are. I mean, Charlie Domus and Pat Flynn. I work with Russell Brunson. Like, these are all people that are because of this world, you know what I mean? I'm able to be a part of, fortunately, only by just sharing ideas. And then once you share an idea, I can turn into business if there's a fit for something, you know.

Um, so there's that. Um, but yeah, starting the podcast has really changed a lot of things for me, being on the other side of the mic and talking to people and getting to know people like you. So I don't know if he wants to do it. It's a great format.

It's very, very, very different. Being the host to being the guest, though I think I find being a guest much harder. It can be.

It's true. I was you know, I was honestly super scared of the technology. And this is a long time ago when I started to. But it seems like technology's gotten it's still difficult. So a lot of things to do, but it's gotten a thousand times better and easier. You know, it's really become an industry instead of some some weird thing on the side. So it's huge.

Well, I have so many more things that we could talk about, but it would make us ridiculously so. Maybe we have to talk again sometime. Let's do it. But for the listener who wants to connect with you, maybe they have a stupid idea they want to take further. How can people connect with you?

Go to Richard or Dotcom. And there you'll see I have something called the 1768 Challenge. My son live for the one that passed away for seventy six days. And so I've been doing my projects, you know, just under three months around that timeline. And I learned that if you put your head down like we talked about earlier, but you also keep your eyes up, you know, on the goal and then you also put your feet on the ground and start living it immediately.

You can make magic happen in three months. So are dot com last seventy six. They challenge all kind of hold you by the hand, help you make it happen. Another thing I didn't mention is around fear. When we came to Hawaii about a year after we got back from the road trip, my son was crossing the road with his bike on the highway car, didn't see him, didn't slow down and hit him. And he was sworn to a debt to news in the hospital.

And he should be dead or quadriplegic. But he's back doing his thing, diving and see cliffs, caves and, you know, doing all these kind of things that you probably see on social media.

And the weird thing is like, I'm like, why aren't you scared? You should be scared of everything. Like, this is terrible. He doesn't see it that way. He sees it like I survive getting hit by a car.

And like he has this courage, this commitment, this, this, but also humility and no ego around the fragility of life, but also being brave. I mean, it's called courage.

So if you've been around trying to say is like if you've been knocked down like it's a tunnel, not a cave, like you're going to get through it, you just have to keep walking.

I live in Hawaii. That is a beach right by me called Sunset Beach. My friend, like, almost died on this massive wave and broke his femur and half the board dead and he got a metal pole put in his leg. And then a few weeks later, he's back out surfing. I'm like, Why? How are you doing this? And he's like, Oh, how could I not? Like, I love it. It's so fun.

And I realized I said, Aren't you scared? And he said, everyone scared out there. But his fear of not being able to surf was greater than his fear of surfing and getting hurt. So when you're scared to post content or you're scared to do something, if your fear of not becoming or doing or influencing is greater than the fear of what might happen to you, if you do, you're like a mama bear protecting her cubs.

You will do anything to make it work. So everything's a challenge and you can learn more about stuff like that. But anyways, this is a great time, bro. That was such a fun. You ask great questions. Thank you so much.

Richard Norton, thank you very much for your time.

Thank you. I really hope you enjoyed the episode. Richie is one of my favorite people, and you can probably tell there's an important lesson in this show and that's now is all we really have. Waiting until the conditions are just right is just making excuses. So if you're thinking of starting something, do it. Now, before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already to join our Facebook group, you can find a link in the show, notes or visit, Amplify Me, Dot FM Forward Slash Inciters.

I would love for you to connect with me on social media. You'll find me wherever you hang out at Bob Gentle. And if you do message me, let me know and I'll follow you back. If you enjoy the show, then I would love for you to review on iTunes. It would mean a lot to me and it's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name is Bob Gentil. Thanks again to Ritchie for giving us his time this week and to you for listening.

And I'll see you next week.

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You can learn a lot speaking to great business leaders. But here’s the thing - you’ll learn a lot more from speaking to the people who made them that way.

Behind every single great leader you’ll find a legion of coaches and mentors and on this week’s podcast episode I spent time speaking to Tara Newman. Tara works with some of the biggest names in U.S. business and she talks me through some of the common barriers to peak performance and how to overcome them.

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It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

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Get ready to rethink social media as Mark Schaefer redefines what drives success online. In this interview Mark goes deep into why consistency matters, why engagement is the emperor's new clothes and how he's built his business around the freedom to follow his interest and curiosity. 

Mark is a content marketing legend. Author of so many books I'd almost certainly get the number wrong if I wrote it down. 

He speaks on stages all over the world and frankly - he’s one of my hero's ( can you tell? ). 

Despite my less than subtle hero worship we dig deep into what makes Mark's business work, his revenue streams and how he makes time to still do the work.

Links and mentions

Thanks for listening!

It means a lot to me and to the guests. If you enjoyed listening then please do take a second to rate the show on iTunes.  Every podcaster will tell you that iTunes reviews drive listeners to our shows so please let me know what you thought and make sure you subscribe using your favourite player using the links below.

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Get ready to rethink social media as Mark Schaefer redefines what drives success online. In this interview, Mark goes deep into why consistency matters, why engagement is the emperor's new clothes and how he's built his business around the freedom to follow his interests and curiosity. Mark Schaefer is a content marketing legend, author of so many books. I'd almost certainly get the number wrong if I wrote it down. He speaks on stages all over the world and frankly, he's one of my heroes and a mentor.

Can you tell? Despite my less than subtle hero worship, we dig into what makes Mark's business work, his revenue streams and how he makes time to do all that work. Hi there, and welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, take a second now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones once you're finished with this one.

Don't forget as well you can join our Facebook community, just visit, amplify me, form forward, slash inciters and you'll be right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Mark. So this week, I am thrilled to welcome Mark Schaefer to the show. Mark is one of my remote mentors. You have no idea of this, Mark, but I've read most of your books. They've had a big influence on me. And probably there are a large reason that we that there's even a podcast.

So thank you for your books. Thank you for coming. But for those people who don't know you, maybe just want to tell us tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are and what it is you do.

Well, first of all, thank you very much for your kind words and thank you for reading my books. I really I really appreciate that. I, I never take that for granted. You know, Bob, I remember the first time I ever got a comment on my blog. This would have been probably 11 or 12 years ago.

And it was just such a thrill to me that people would actually spend time with my content. And I never forgot that. And I still feel that excitement today. So I really appreciate anybody who spends time with me.

So I spent most of my career in the corporate world and I started my own business about I guess it's been 12 years ago now. And I started to consult, started to teach. I started a blog and the blog became popular and led to some interest from publishing companies. So the first couple of books I published through McGraw-Hill, then the last few books I've published on my own, because that's a lot more effective and efficient and flexible and all together have published eight books.

So I also am a public speaker. I speak all over the world and I get good marks for that. And I am a college educator as well at a big university in the New York City area called Rutgers University. And I've taught there for about 11 years, I guess.

So I do. I do a lot, so I've got to stay organized. But that's that's me in a nutshell, I guess.

I think what's interesting there is 11 or 12 years doesn't seem actually like a very long time for somebody. That's if you ask anybody who's the guy for content marketing, your name is going to be one of a very small list of answers. And to achieve that in 11 or 12 years, 11 or 12 years ago, a blog, everybody was blogging. I'm astonished that you were getting that thrill of a blog comment 11 years ago. And here we are today with the sprawling mess of social media.

Um, and if you go to a content marketing conference, you're probably going to be there.

Well, I think a lot of it comes down to consistency. I mean, you're right. You know, back 11 or 12 years ago, it was kind of the Wild West.

And if I think about most of the people who were regarded as the thought leaders, then they're all gone. Yeah.

And so there is something to be said for just, you know, sticking it out. And, you know, it's been fun for me, Bob, because it's endlessly fascinating. Marketing is endlessly fascinating. Social media and content is endlessly fascinating.

And so I never have a lack of enthusiasm for for writing about something or or addressing something. And I marvel at you know, I'm thinking about one of my favorite content creators who truly he was at the top of the game back when I started. That would be Chris Brogan. You know, in this same time frame, Chris is probably stopped and started 50 different projects. I'll bet he's had ten different podcasts in the same period where I've had one blog and one one podcast.

And, you know, he's just full of ideas. He's always pushing the edges.

But my style has been, look, I've created this content that's attracted an audience who, trust me, I'm not going to let them down. They expect something from me every day. And whenever they see a podcast episode, a book or a blog post, you know, I'm going to give my best. I'm never going to let them down. It's going to be interesting and relevant and maybe even a little entertaining, but it's definitely going to be worth your time.

And that's what's in my head every single day when I create content.

I think a lot of people don't appreciate the importance of consistency over a long period of time. Yeah. And when I read your book, I'm pretty sure it was known that was one of the standard things for sure, ordinary people doing consistent things over a long period of time. Exactly. And achieving incredible results, which is very motivating. That one book. I think I'm asked about it four times because I keep giving it to clients. Oh, that's very kind of you.

But I'm glad you picked up on that point because, you know, some people miss that. They get preoccupied with the idea that, you know, you've got to be entertaining or you have to be brilliant or you have to be insightful. And that is that's that's not true. It really isn't. And, you know, if you if you look at my book, I think the thing that's the most fun about the known book is that I have all these case studies of people who are really well known in their industries today, but they didn't start there.

Nobody starts out as an expert. Nobody starts out as being known. And one of my favorite stories is when I started to blog, I didn't know what I was doing. I really didn't. I was terrible. But I learned. I learned. And, you know, I wasn't trying to tell people what what to do because I wasn't an expert.

But I took people along on the journey and I told them what worked, what didn't work, what was frustrating, what made me happy, my successes, my failures. And then five years later, I wrote the best selling book I'm blogging now. You know, it took me five years to get there, but I didn't start out as an expert in blogging.

So, you know, that should not be an obstacle for for people. It really is. The long game is you just you put yourself out there, you take your best shot.

And I think, you know, for the known book, I interviewed 97 different people from all around the world in all different sorts of professions. And the last question I asked them was, if you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to do what you're doing, what would it be? And almost every single person said, be consistent. Don't you know? The biggest problem is people give up too soon. And certainly I see that in my career and with the people I work with as well.

So what piece of advice would you give? I think the reason I'm asking this is I work with lots of micro businesses that would consider themselves to be ordinary financial advisors, beautician's, ordinary, ordinary meat and potatoes, as we would say in this country. I'm sure you have it in your country. Yes. I mean, potatoes, businesses.

They have this mindset that they're ordinary. What would you say to them to unlock that? Well, the goal of any business today and certainly the big challenge in marketing is to stand out above the noise. It's harder than ever because there's so much content being created today. So you really only have one choice. You have to find out or find a way to be original and to be original. You have to share your voice, your stories, your experiences and connect them to your audience.

Now, you know, there's nobody that's really ordinary. Everybody's extraordinary in some way. I guarantee it. There's nobody like you. There is no competition. There's only one you. And so I don't think I really have any special, you know, talent, any special gift other than I'll just say I want to make a point about something going on in the world today. Here's a very good example. I have been trying to inspire people and lift people up during this pandemic and talk about how we can really connect with customers in an empathetic and genuine way that can build loyalty to our companies and our brands in this time when so many people are suffering.

And I thought about an example early in my career. You know, Bob, this is something that happened when I was in sales probably 30 years ago.

It's probably 30 years ago. But it's a story that really makes the point. And nobody else has that story. And it just occurred to me that this would really make the point. And and I told this story in my in a new talk that I'm doing, you know, for the pandemic age called fight to the other side. And that story has touched people so deeply. It's moved them so deeply. And it's something they could never hear anywhere else because it's coming from me.

Everybody has those experiences. Everybody has those stories.

And that's where true talent and insight come, I think is from connecting your experiences to something that's relevant today. And people love learning that way. They don't want to hear numbers. They don't want to hear statistics. Well, maybe sometimes they do, but most important, they want to they could remember stories. People will remember the stories I tell to make a point. That's how they learn. And so I think everybody is extraordinary in maybe the first point part of being a great content creator is just sort of, you know, admitting that that there's nobody like me.

And I want to tell my story to the world.

I think a lot of the time people are trying to that self identity is actually quite a challenging thing to really burrow into. And a lot of the time it triggers things like imposter syndrome and.

Yeah, and, you know, I hear I hear that a lot.

But I mean, one of the biggest lessons I learned in my journey and look, I struggled with all this stuff just like everybody else. And it was a lesson I learned, oh, probably maybe a year and a half or two years into my blogging career. You know, when I started out, I thought, I've got it.

My job is to show everybody how smart I am.

And every blog post I wrote and every talk I gave was nothing but a big data dump that was probably pretty useless and boring.

And then one day I went out to lunch.

I was going to I was mentoring this young person and I can't remember exactly what the conversation was.

But I remember I gave her some piece of advice that reflected really what was the truth about what was going on in the marketing world right now.

And I you know, I just thought, oh, if I just feel slimy for even, like, giving this piece of advice maybe was about SEO tricks or something.

And so I came back, I wrote a blog post in fifteen minutes and it was something like the title was something like I just turned myself into a social media slut and you know, the blog post was maybe four hundred words or five hundred words, and it was one of the most.

Popular posts I ever did, and it wasn't profound, it wasn't a PhD thesis, I just talked about a conversation I had with a young person over lunch.

And people love that. You know, they love seeing a little peek into you and into your life. And, you know, I'm not oversharing.

I'm not saying everything about my life, but I'm just, you know, connecting the dots between my experiences and ideas and observations and lessons that people can learn. And I mean, anybody can do that. It just takes a little practice, I think, to get the confidence to know, hey, you know, here's this dumb little blog post I put out there, and it worked just fine.

I think your most recent book, Marketing Rebellion, the subtext is the most human brand wins or how they got that right.

The most human company wins. That's right.

When I work with a lot of companies and I think a lot of people will relate to this, there's a certain size of business where they want somebody to come in and do the digital marketing to them. And it doesn't work very well because if you can't get the people in that business to engage and show up online, everything else is kind of is just checking a box.

Yeah. Yeah. What how do you turn that around? Do you turn that around or you just avoid working with those people?

Well, there's a there's a certain word that always sets off an alarm for me and that word is convince. Right.

So if I ever hear someone say, well, you know, I'm trying to convince my managers, try to convince my leaders, they're just you know, that's that's a troublesome sign to me.

I think great leaders, they want to know. They want to learn. They're they're humble. They acknowledge that the world is changing fast. And so I can certainly understand someone who isn't experienced with social media or in their own experience with content or they're uncomfortable with social media content.

But if you have your eyes open, if you're an active and open learner, then you should understand this is a place we need to be and we really don't have a choice. And I think, you know, you mentioned my book Marketing Rebellion. To me, that is the business case for how we need to operate in marketing today. And it's not my opinion of the world. There's a lot of research. There's a lot of data that says here where customers are today.

This is where the world is today and we really don't have a choice. This is the way we need to move. And I'll tell you something, Bob, when I wrote that book, I was fearful because the book is provocative and there are a lot of sort of sacred cows in that book that I say, look, these things that you might like them, you might love them, you might have been doing all these things your whole life, but they don't work anymore.

And I really thought I would get a backlash. And just the opposite has happened because people have read the book and they've been open learners and they're open to new ideas. And the response has basically been, you know, I could kind of see this happening. You just put a name to it. And I sort of feel liberated right now because I had a sense this is what we're supposed to be doing anyway. To me, that's real leadership.

I mean, you look at the data, you look at the business case, you say, all right, I understand it's it's compelling. It's overwhelming. We've got to make this change. And, you know, if if someone would read the book and still has to be convinced, then I'm walking away.

It was something really became conscious for me as you were talking there. And it was it was this whole idea of convincing people. Yeah. And I reflect back on my career. And what's interesting, and I hadn't really been aware of it until now, is that the more I've invested in my own content, the more my personal brand has grown, the less I've had to convince. And the more people are coming to me for me because they know what they want.

Right. Right. That's really interesting. A powerful insight, Bob. It really is.

And I think it sort of cuts right to the heart of the idea that, you know, my other book that I think is that a lot of impact on people is known and it's all about this idea of what is this process to to create a personal brand in the digital age and. Be known, and the whole idea is that great branding is about building an emotional connection between what you do and your customers, and that used to come through advertising.

So it could be cute ads and maybe we'd have polar bears in our ads and we feel a certain fuzziness toward the polar bears. So that means we love, you know, the Coca-Cola or whatever it is. But people don't see ads anymore. They don't they don't see ads like they used to work in a streaming content society. And it's it's just taking off even more. People don't want ads. They avoid ads. If they see ads, they don't believe them anyway.

And so the new connection is with people, is with humans. People want to know who are these people? What do they do? What do they stand for? So if you stand out with your personal brand that you'll eventually attract the right audience, they're going to you're going to attract people who who connect with you in an emotional way. And eventually, those are the people who are going to hire you and buy things from you.

I really like that. And I've certainly found that to be the case. I just hadn't been fully aware of it until that penny dropped.

That's one of the most amazing and unexpected things I've learned in my career is so there's a lot of attention paid to engagement, social media engagement, engaging with your audience and, you know, building a community.

And I would say that 98 percent of the people who hire me for consulting or for a speech I have never heard of before. Hmm. Now, that doesn't mean that they don't know me. It doesn't mean that we don't have that emotional connection. But the lesson here is that if you're not getting a lot of engagement, if you're not getting a lot of comments, that doesn't mean it's not working as long as there's an audience out there. And who's consuming your content, they're building this connection to you.

You know, I have this favorite example that I use in my college classes where this fellow started reading my blog in 2013. I didn't know he was out there. 2015, he learned about my book content code from my blog, bought the book midway through 2015, got an email from him. Just wanted to tell you, Mark, this is one of the best business books I've read in the last ten years. He was the chief marketing officer for GE Life Sciences.

Now, he had been he had been connected to me for two and a half years, and I didn't even know he was out there.

And then, like in twenty eighteen, he hired me to do a content marketing workshop for his staff.

Now, if you've been following along, that's five years. Yeah. And, you know, for the first two and a half or three years, I didn't even know he was there then. I never heard from him again. And then all of a sudden he's hired me to do this amazing workshop with one of the, you know, most valuable and interesting companies in the world. And that's sort of how it works, is creating content and marketing in that way.

It it it takes patience. It takes consistency.

It is, you know, for the long haul, that's for sure.

You're not going to be able to demonstrate a quarterly ROIC normally. But, you know, it does work. And I know with all authority that it works because hundreds and hundreds of people have read that known book and they've said, you know, this book has changed my life. This book has changed my business.

And I think a person would be very lucky if they hear those words one time in their whole life.

And I hear it every week because it it is working this idea of connecting, building that emotion, you know, being patient, you know, it pays off and it works.

I feel quite liberated by that because you're right, everybody does currently measure their success on engagement. It's the key metric.

Yeah. And actually, you know, maybe in the show notes or something, I actually wrote a very comprehensive blog post about the the actual measured business value of engagement.

And, you know, I kind of looked at all the current literature and all the current research and and the conclusion is there's not a lot of real business value to engagement. There are a few small exceptions, but in general, engagement is not necessarily a sign that you're being successful.

Well, I'm delighted to hear that, because on this, I'm going to address this to my podcast audience. You guys are super quiet. Yeah, I'm so relieved.

Well, look, Bob, I've I have a podcast. I've had a podcast for seven years. It's in the top one percent of our podcast on iTunes. We have thousands of listeners that are very loyal. I will be lucky if I get one comment a week anywhere on the Web about the show. And yet we know that people love it. They support it. We have people who it you know, if if something happens, you know, we'll hear about it.

But yeah, engagement is not especially with a podcast, you know, because there's no button to click. Yeah. You know, there's no. No button to click, so, you know, it is it is really quiet on on podcast and in a way this is going to sound weird.

I kind of like it because engagement can be exhausting.

I think it's well, what you have to remember with the podcast and again, sorry to the listener for geeking out on podcasts, but behind every number there's a super attentive person. Yeah. Where else do you get that?

Well, the research certainly supports that. That podcast listeners, they're more likely to to follow you as a brand. They're more likely to buy from you. They're open. It's one of the few places left on Earth where they're actually open to add to hearing advertisements because they're sort of conditioned to expect that from, you know, radio shows or something like that.

So there's a lot of advantages to podcasting, but engagement isn't one of them.

Hmm. I should run some ads. I don't run any ads. Get ready for this, guys. I'm curious to know, OK, you write books. You have the podcast. You have the blog. Mm hmm. But what does your day to day content marketing schedule look like?

Yeah, well, so first, let's take a step back and talk about my my business. I think that'll help explain my content strategy. So I wrote a blog post maybe two years ago and I updated it last year. And I believe that I have 22 different sources of income. Now, of this twenty two, there are only really, for that matter, you know, I get a lot of little dribs and drabs of stuff, but there are only, for that matter, maybe three.

So I, I have a nice I actually have a nice revenue stream from my books.

Now, I don't want to create any hope or optimism for your your listeners because the rule of thumb is, is that you cannot really make money off of a business book.

And I would say, you know, ninety nine point nine percent of the people out there would say that. However, I've written eight books over a period of 10 or 11 years. And, you know, they've they've become very popular. And and and I've also worked 10 or 11 years to build the audience. If you don't have the audience, then you can't really expect to sell the book. So let's put that one aside. But I do have some passive income from the books.

Now, can I ask is, are the books one of the top four? What are the top four books? Are are the books one of the top four revenue streams?

Yes, I would say for me, yeah. That books, you know, it kind of varies from year to year because maybe I'll get a big consulting client. That would be a very big contract or something. But basically I would say, um, you know, consulting, speaking and teaching. I teach at Rutgers, so I'll put those two together. But I say consulting, speaking and teaching books. And then I also have an event called The Uprising.

Now, the uprising is a is a retreat for marketers that I have. It's it's limited to 30 people. So it's a small group that gets together and just kind of thinks big thoughts. And we have facilitated discussions and we have this retreat in this forested lodge surrounded by, you know, hiking trails and gardens. And we have great food and music. And it's a great experience. But unfortunately, because of the pandemic, I've had to cancel it in May and now I've had to cancel it in May.

In October, I am having a smaller sort of online event.

But that has been a great joy for me. It's it's the thing I am probably most proud of in my career, because it's an event that's changed people people's lives.

So A, consulting B, you know, classes and speeches. And then I've got these these work, these events and of course, the books.

Now, there's a there's sort of a synergistic relationship between all of this. So, you know, whenever I teach college college classes at the grad level, I have got to stay on top of everything because these people are very sophisticated, they're very smart. And I've got to know what I'm doing. And their questions tend to turn into blog posts because they're really good questions and they're very interesting. Those blog posts start to like worked their way into my speeches.

The speeches sort of turn into my books. So there's kind of this synergistic relationship between everything. But at the center of it is really my blog. There was a period of time where I kind of did some reflect. About do I need to keep doing this block? You know, I put so much effort into this blog, I blog at least once a week, usually twice a week. I haven't missed a single week in 11 or 12 years.

And it is this should this still be my priority? And when you think about how everything connects and how I've built my brand, that has become, you know, I've become known and that's led to my business and my success, it really all starts with that consistent content. I can't come up with any other path that it all literally. Bob, it all starts with the blog. It all starts with the blog. It's that sort of like the sun that's radiating the energy into everything else that I do.

The blog connects me to an audience. It's probably the place where I'm most open and emotional and and vulnerable. It's an archive of my work and my history and what I think about the future, my blog posts there in my research and development lab. You know, I'm working on a new book now and I'm going to be writing some blog posts to test ideas. There have been a couple of my books have tested ideas on my blog, and I received a comment so good and so helpful that I included the readers comment in my book because they were right.

I mean, they added something that I hadn't even thought of before.

And so it's the emotion. It's the connection. It's the audience. It's clarifying my thoughts. It's researching my ideas. It's also a way to help respond to people. Sometimes I get the same question, you know, over and over again, hey, I've written a blog post on it. I just send them the link. So there's you know, it's the blog. The blog is The Sun at the Middle of the soul of the Mark Shafer solar system.

Yeah. And something that you hear a lot is you need to once you're busy, you need to delegate as much as possible. And one of the easiest place for you to delegate would be your content. And I'm curious to know, have you succumbed to temptation there?

Hasn't even crossed my mind. I'm so glad that's the answer. Yeah.

I mean, I just first of all, I enjoy it. You know, it's a great intellectual challenge. I've said a few times that my greatest achievement on my blog is that I haven't, like, embarrassed myself to the point where I've become a meme or something, you know?

I mean, I haven't really I haven't really screwed up. That's that's my biggest I think my biggest accomplishment. And that's not to say I haven't made mistakes or I haven't been controversial, you know, but I haven't become a silly mistake. I haven't become a meme.

And I think, you know, I heard this story one time that's always stuck with me.

There was a young woman who admired a certain business executive, and she was thrilled when this business executive followed her back on Twitter. And she was very humbled and honored when this when this fellow, you know, engaged with her and answered some of her questions. And so this guy, you know, became her hero and she had a chance to meet him in real life and introduced herself and explained, you know, where she came from.

And the guy just had a blank stare because someone else was doing his Twitter for him. And she realized that she had been engaging with an administrative assistant and was crestfallen. And this guy's reputation was really ruined. So, um, I just I can't see it, you know, and honestly, once you get into it and once you really get into a routine, it doesn't take that much time. One of the things that astounds me is if someone asked me a question or leaves me a nice comment on Twitter or LinkedIn or wherever, I try to respond to every one.

And and look, I've got a pretty big following.

I mean, I'm not Lady Gaga, but I've got a pretty good a pretty good following.

You know, if I had to add it all up, it might be 400 or 500 thousand people altogether.

And, you know, in fifteen or twenty minutes a day, I can kind of respond to everybody and I'm sure some things slip through the cracks. But I don't find it that difficult to to be just accessible and and and a human being, and one of the things that surprises me is a lot of times I get feedback and said, oh, Mark, what I love about you is that you're so accessible. You actually you ask people, you know, you answer people's questions now, you know, unless you're like some big movie star or something.

I just don't understand why that's a point of differentiation for me. Why isn't everybody nice? Why isn't everybody accessible? I, I don't understand why you wouldn't appreciate people who reach out to you.

You're absolutely right. And I think that 15 minutes a day, I don't a lot of people maybe don't appreciate how important it is, because something that I've experienced firsthand is when you do follow somebody and you engage in their content over a period of time. I as a consumer, I'm making quite a significant emotional investment. And I remember the first time I met somebody in person that I engaged in with on line for a long time. Yeah, I'd been I'd follow them on Instagram.

I watched their YouTube, I read their blog posts. I know their kids names. I know where they go to school. I know the wife's name. I meet this guy. He has no idea who I am. Yeah, but he respected that investment. He could tune into it and he twigged. And when you get comments, it's so easy to think it's just a comment not understand the emotional investment that might be carried with it.

Well, that's you know, that. And that's that's hard. I mean, I, I am right there and I appreciate that. But I'll give you an example that came to mind just as you were speaking. I was at social media marketing world last year, and this woman came up to me and she said hello. And I didn't know who she was. I didn't know who she was, didn't recognize her name. And she was from Scandinavia.

So she had a very I mean, she had a difficult name. It wouldn't be something that, you know, like Bob Gentil. That's a name that you could probably remember. You know, that's kind of a nice name.

But, you know, this lady, this is this this woman had a name that you could never pronounce or never remember.

And so I just I just kind of, I guess, had a blank look on my face. And she just couldn't believe that I didn't remember her because she had left a comment on my blog and I had left a comment back. And I think I've had seventy thousand comments on my blog. And but, you know, it did mean a lot to her.

She had invested that time. She invested that emotion.

And there's this there's this phenomenon called the para social relationship, which is very common now, especially with you tubers and podcasters, where people see your face just like you say, you know their kids names, you know where they go to school. You feel like they're your friend. But it's one way, right? I mean, the other people, they're they're not investing heavily in.

And you and I had this experience a few weeks ago. There was a young guy. He was like asking me all these big favors. And he said, well, my boss wants to be a public speaker. Could you get on the phone with him and teach him how to be a public speaker? So I'm racking my brain like, who is this guy?

So finally I said, do I know you from somewhere?

He said he said, no.

I said, Well, you're just asking me for some pretty big favors. He said, Well, Mark, I'll have to apologize. I listen to your podcast. I listen to your audio books. Your voice is in my head all the time. I feel like I know you. I feel like you're my friend. So you have to respect that. You have to appreciate that. You know, you have to, I think, just be gracious and patient and understanding.

And, you know, I'm very fortunate. I'm very blessed to be in the position that I am. And, you know, I want to support people. I want to be attentive to people is as much as I can. But, you know, sometimes that's hard when the audience gets really large.

Yeah. I think some people listening might find this conversation difficult to relate to, but I think we're all on different points of a continuum with that. So I would hope that most people could access what we were talking about. There is rather a strange idea. Yeah, but something I would like to ask you now is I know you as a very competent person. And one of the things with social media is that we all get to share what we're good at.

But I'd be curious to know, what does Mark Schaefer struggle with?

Oh, that's easy. First of all, it's a very long. But what's at the very top is sales. I don't like sales, I don't like self promotion, I don't like negotiating. I don't like, you know, pursuing. And I'll tell you, Bob, I'm so grateful that basically I'm well-known enough that I don't have to sell anything. I mean, people normally just come to me and the pipeline is always full.

But it was it was something I've known about myself for a long time.

But I actually had a start up around twenty fourteen or twenty fifteen and, you know, put a lot of time, put a lot of energy into it, put a lot of money into it, you know, had people had resources.

It was a great idea. It was a great business. But basically it just the B to B sales process just wore me out. I hated it and it's like someone says, yeah, we're going to do it. And then they leave the company. They said, oh, yeah, we're going to do it.

And then their boss gets fired and we've got to start all over. Yeah. And it just wore me down.

And there were so many other things going on in the world that were interesting to me that, you know, I just I gave up. I wasn't I just wasn't good at it. I didn't want to, you know, I could have stuck it out. And the irony is actually the the sort of the core software from that startup that I that I had is actually, you know, being incorporated into another business right now. So it is going to pay off.

But I'm not I'm not really good at sales because I don't I don't enjoy it at that.

Kind of leads me on to another question I'd always wanted to ask you, and that's if I pick up pretty much any business book on a shelf, there's a back end. There's always a OK, you've got the book. But if you click this link and come through to my website, you can do this, this and this. And that's never been there in your books. And on the one hand, I really appreciate that because, you know, everything's in the book.

But is that something you've done intentionally or is it because you again, you're so busy with other things you don't want to build those productize diko systems that would potentially allow you to make much more money?

Yeah, yeah. Well, I've I mean, it's definitely been an intentional decision. And in fact, I was just having this conversation with someone the other day about the initial advantage I had when I wrote my first book, Return on Influence. So this was the first book I'd influenced marketing in the world. It came out in 2012 before anybody was even using that word. And I predicted in the book that within the next two years this is going to become a mainstream marketing channel.

And I was right now, I could have been Mr. Influence Marketing. I was the first one there or one of the first ones. I could have had an agency. I could have built it up. I had no desire. I had absolutely no desire. I wrote the book because it was interesting. It was an intellectual exercise.

I thought, you know, I thought it was a fascinating topic. But, you know, I was at a point in my life, I don't want an agency. I don't want to hire people. So, you know, I've made, you know, most of the choices I've made, especially in the last ten years, have been lifestyle choices. You know, I'm I'm older than a lot of people on the scene. I didn't write my first blog post.

I was forty nine years old. And so, you know, I haven't had a mastermind group because they don't want that commitment. I and people have begged me to do online courses, but then you get on this treadmill where you have to make another you have to make another, you have to make another. You have to excel. You have to cross. So you need to, you know, be constantly advertising. Say, Hey, I'm Mark Schaefer.

Look what I have for you. That's just not me. That doesn't fit my personality. And so I've made lifestyle choices that if it's not consistent with my view of the world, if it's not something that's going to bring me joy, then I'm not going to do it. And I think probably one of the things I'm known for is that I'm honest, I don't have an agenda. I'm not trying to up sell you to something. If you read a book, you read the book, you know, there is no further obligation or even request, in fact, any of the links that I had in my book back to my site.

It gives you more free stuff for marketing rebellion. There's a. Free workbook that you can get. You don't have to give me your email, it's just free. I'm just I'm just giving it away.

Crazy, Marc. Crazy.

Well, but but that's but but, you know, my philosophy is, you know, if I ask people for their email, 95 percent of people wouldn't do it. So the better idea is to unleash that content and get it out into the world as much as you can, because that's how that's how you grow your brand. So. But, you know, I'm happy. I have fun every day. I enjoy what I do. I know I've left money on the table.

But, you know, I can go out on my boat when I want.

That's the trade off.

And I think that integrity and consistency that stood you in good stead and built that brand that's giving you the freedom you want to do what you want to do now, which is ultimately where we all want to get. But everybody seems to be working so hard, doing possibly the wrong things to get there. I think you're a fantastic role model.

I mean, I think it's important to to really stay centered. And it's hard, Bob. It's hard because there are so many people out there that are embracing the hustle culture and they make you feel like crap if you're not in the hustle culture and if you're not creating something, you know, every minute of the day and you're not working 18 hours a day. And so you really need to stay centered and sort of block that stuff out and stay focused on, you know, this is who I am.

This is the plan. I'm going to stick to it. I'm not going to sacrifice, you know, my time, my money time with my family or whatever that I you know, I'm going to do this my way. And, you know, I can remember times where there's a lot of slimy people in the digital marketing business. And sometimes it can be very disheartening, you know, to just stay the course and not do all these slimy things like everybody else is doing.

And and, you know, I've I've just stuck to the plan. I've just stuck to the vision, stuck to the plan. And just, you know, whenever you get content for me, it's it's the real deal. There's no agenda. I'm just being honest. I want to be helpful. I'm not selling you anything. But hopefully you'll fall in love with me.

Well, if they haven't already, I would encourage every listener to go at least and grab a copy of Known because it's one of my favorites. It's a handbook for content marketing. And obviously you should probably go and read all the rest. And I'm sure Mark would love them to read Marketing Rebellion as the newest book, which is amazing as well, because they will. Provide this roadmap for content marketing, which I don't see on the bookshelf anywhere else.

Yeah, yeah.

Mark, I am so grateful for your time. Very aware that we're heading towards an hour here. So I should probably ask you the question that I keep coming back to every week. And I'm getting really good at remembering what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?

I wish I would have invested in a company that made mask's what a good idea, because we're sure use it a lot of them in America right now.

Yeah, I think that's only going to go up for a while. Yeah.

Well, you know, to answer the question seriously, I mean, honestly, I'm on a constant path of continuous improvement. So, I mean, I, I change a little bit every week and every month. So I'm not I'm not too hard on myself for not seeing something or making a mistake because I know I'm on a continuous path. So, you know, if I if I had to give advice to myself five years ago, I would just say, you know, be brave, stay centered, keep on the path and you'll be OK.

Mike Schaffer, thank you so much for your time. You've been a fantastic, very generous guest. I'm delighted to finally meet you.

Thank you, Bob. We followed each other on social media for a long time, and this has been a lot of fun.

Hopefully I'll see you in social media marketing world soon. There you go. That's what I love about. One of the main takeaways from all Mark's work is that consistently showing up over time will get results where others come and go. Those who are consistent get consistent results. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already, then join our Facebook group. You'll find a link in the show, notes or visit Amplify to have them forward slash insiders, inciters.

As always, I would love to connect with any listener on social media. Follow me wherever you hang out, you'll find me at Bob Gentle. And if you do message me, let me know and I'll follow you back. Also, just another reminder. I do have a YouTube channel where we have slightly different content, possibly more a little bit more How-To content. So if you enjoy this, you'll probably enjoy that. And if you did enjoy this, then I would love for you to review on iTunes.

It means a lot to me and it's the best way to help me reach more subscribers, which does matter to me. My name is Bob Gentle. Thank you to Mark for giving us his time this week and thank you for listening and I'll see you next week.

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Have you ever wondered what writing a book can do for your career or your business? I've heard a lot of stories so I wanted to hear from the guy who makes that happen for people like Pat Flynn and Dana Malstaff. 

Azul Terronez is a writing coach and runs Authors Who Lead and in this episode he walks me through the process of writing the kind of book which underpins and powers so many incredible online businesses.

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Azul's Website : https://authorswholead.com/

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Have you ever wondered why writing a book can do for your business or your career? I've heard a lot of stories, so I wanted to hear from the guy who makes that happen. Podcasters like Paatelainen and Dana Mustafah Azle Tranny's is a writing coach and runs leaders who sail. In this episode. He walked me through the process of writing the kind of book which underpins and powers many incredible online businesses. Hi there and welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast.

I'm Bob Gentle and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget as well, you can join our Facebook community, just visit, amplify me, dot form forward, slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. So welcome. Come along and let's meet as.

OK. This week, I am delighted to welcome Azul Trueness to the show as well. Why don't you start by just telling people who don't know who you are a little bit about who you are, where you are, and the kind of work you do? Great.

I think so much so. I must tyrannous. I am a co-founder of authors who lead and we help leaders write books that people love. And currently I'm in Austin, Texas, have been a nomad for quite some time as the world is. It's time to settle down a little more for a bit, and our company helps publish books and helps authors write their message. That makes an impact in the world through books, words and speeches.

And I have to say, I follow you on Instagram and I'm always jealous of where you are. Always that warm it usually where I live and where I live in the northeast of Scotland, it's almost like the opposite. It's always cold. Well, for one year we chased summer and we didn't have a winter.

That was a really cool year.

That sounds like my ideal year, but my wife would not enjoy the ride. It was a tough new a new thing for us, but it was really cool experience. It's a really good idea. So when you talk about authors who lead, you're not talking science fiction authors or romance is typically business authors, am I right?

Yes, typically, I would say a thought leader style book or book where you're building credibility authority that people come to us for. What they're trying to do is establish themselves, grow their their business or their platform because they want to get paid more for their speaking or they want to make a bigger impact. So that's what we say that we do, is we help those authors. We do have some people that write fiction in our world, but there tend to work with us when they're writing the non-fiction book because it's a different animal for them to tackle.


And when you say authors who lead, how important is the leadership element of that? But I'm curious, obviously, you give your name, your business that name for a reason. Yeah. So I'd quite like to see what that really means for you in terms of a mission. Yeah.

What was really interesting is that we used to work with just about anybody would walk through our doors. Of course, as you start a business, you want to kind of keep a broad perspective about what it could be.

What we noticed was that oftentimes people who weren't doing it for a bigger purpose wouldn't finish their book because the statistics around the people who want to write a book versus the people who actually publish are very small. So we found that in order to have better success, that we need to attract a more specific avatar specific ideal client.

And by just putting the word leader in there, people that see it and go, oh, I'm not a leader, they actually self-selecting out because if they don't perceive themselves as a leader or someone who's going to stand in this truth that they're writing about, then writing a book might be more of a hobby or a legacy for their children, which is not a bad thing. It just means I want that. I want to make sure they understand they don't have to be a leader to work with us.

But that's their aspiration. That's their goal is you're leading this movement, this thinking, this this way of understanding the world through this book. If you are, for example, Chris Dukkha or Flynn, you're leading a movement to get people to behave or act in a certain way. And that's a leadership style book. So that was an intentional decision for making that choice. We don't of course, we take people who who aren't leaders, but we want to make sure that it's clear that our company's job is to help leaders transform.

And the way we do that is with the book.

I think I the the mechanics or the positioning that a book can permit you is quite well known. And you see it everywhere. There are people, like you said, Pat Flynn, Chris Tucker, also people like Daniel Priestley, Mark Schaefer, Michael Hyatt, people like that. They've all positioned themselves through the books that they produce as experts in a particular space. How often is it the book that's delivering that? It's obviously the book isn't delivering it, it's simply announcing them.

How often are they already leaders on how much does the book propel them into into that potential, if you like? I think it propels them exponentially. A book is the platform on which you are able to launch. So if you are such a cynic and you have an amazing TED talk, that's great. But Simon Sinek with a book, for example, becomes infinitely more useful to the world. So what that means is people already make an assumption of credibility.

If you're an author, that being just a speaker or a podcast or a business owner doesn't. People for centuries have known what. Is and have known that it has been a position of status to be an author, so it gives people like the media a chance they may not interview you because you're a business owner, but they they might reconsider if you're an author because it says, I know a specific topic I can speak to.

I'm clear about that message. I've made the commitment to write this. And so authorities granted to you for being an author.

And I think even if you're new to an industry, in fact, we we often tell people who are like maybe they're still in their 9:00 to 5:00 or they're trying to pivot into a new industry. They're writing a book can really help them gain that leverage that they, you know, might have gained in the past and some other way. So I think they go hand in hand. And so I've seen people who were not known go to speak, and I'm one of them because getting a chance to do 10x is a great thing.

But I wouldn't have been invited just because I'm a teacher. I was a school teacher, a principal for 25 years, and just being a director or headmaster of a school doesn't necessarily make you as credible as it does to be an author so it can propel you into a space that you're aiming for.

I think there's definitely some interesting psychology there. And the phrase that I loved was this assumption of credibility that's that really illustrates it very, very nicely. One thing I've always wondered, and you would be a brilliant person to ask about this, is you have people like James Altantuya, for example, who writes on lots of different topics, and he's a genuine polymath. He's a very bright guy. And then you have others who consistently write on the same topic.

And it's always been a point of curiosity for me why James Altucher could pull that off, but I don't think everybody could pull it off or should pull it off. So my question really is, how can how important is it to be consistent as an author on the topics that you write about? And the reason I ask that question is if you want to be known as the guy who does the thing, consistency is quite important.

Great question. I think that James Outdraw Persona is he's a tinkerer and tries things and he's an expert in thinking. So what he shows you is that in his books he's trying to push the boundaries of thought and what you perceived as is important. So his his books do have a common theme, which is I'm going to most people think this, but the truth is really that.

So he's really pushing on that notion wherever he pokes his head into. But you can easily if you're not clear about that uniqueness and this is what makes it work for James and for anybody else, is he's using his unique ability to see the world differently as the way in which he positions himself in his books. If he decides to write in real estate or he decides to write on cryptocurrency, it's still going to be James perspective on those things. It's not the topic.

He's not writing about the content. He's writing about how he sees those things. It could easily happen that you write a book and it can pigeonholed you. For example, I've had a client who said, you know, I don't want to be known for the be the Kickstarter woman or the person who helps do go fund me campaigns anymore. But I can't seem to get away from it because my book still attracts people. And like that's because you wrote a book about a topic that's that's contextual to that thing, but you didn't write about how you see it as useful and so you can't ever pivot out of it.

So you've got to write about what makes you unique in the world if you're going to make an impact. It's not the content that people see. They're looking at you. So you have two ways to write a book, in my opinion. You can write a book that's transactional, which means, hey, I have 101 secrets to master to talk, for example. That makes you an expert in this information. Maybe, but it's very transactional. It's a very how-to.

And someone else can do the hundred and two things you can do easily. They could mimic you. Right. And that happens often. But if you write a book that's transactional and want a transformational experience, you're going to be let down. A transformational book is where the author goes through some epiphany about who they are in the world and what they stand for. And they start to see themselves differently and start to share those transformations with the audience. And let me explain, because this can be a little confusing.

Well, when I was a child, I had a a science kit and they have a magnifying glass in there, you know, the kind that they were plastic, but they were still you know, you could look at bugs and sex or whatever, and I would use that to do that occasionally.

But it also used to burn a leaf or like my friends lay gunfire or burn an ant. Unfortunately, I'm sad to say that I was doing things like that.

But what's amazing about a magnifying glass is the same sunshine that you hold your hand out and does nothing but warm it with a magnifying glass will burn it and. We're all experiencing the same sunshine in the world, meaning content is everywhere, the same content is everywhere. If you go to a YouTube channel or podcasts, we're all talking about the same stuff.

So sunshine isn't the thing that you're trying to sell. Even though people are selling sunshine and writing a unique book and getting a unique message out there, it's about the lens. The lens transforms the sunshine into a hyper focused light that ignites and most people disregard their uniqueness. They are the lens. You are the lens that makes the unique sunshine change and bend and transform. And that's what I think people do. That's what James Altvater does. He always puts his perspective so uniquely in there that he could be talking about anything and his followers will listen because they know that this is the way he is.

And some people make the mistake of thinking that content is the thing that they should focus on. And really, it's them if their uniqueness that they focus on and then produce the results on the other side. I love that you are.

The lens on that for me is an important thing, because one thing that comes up again and again with clients when I'm talking about content and content marketing is something that I've personally struggled with a lot. When I moved towards, for example, if I if I'm invited to speak, what am I going to speak about? All the things that I could speak about have been spoken about before. And this idea of you're the lens, it's your perspective that people are buying.

It's not the information per say, but it's the experience around that information that makes you think about it, think about the people that you would like spend more than anything. It's that that makes you drawn to them. Let's pick someone that's not an entrepreneur, because this might help what she is, but that's not what she's peddling. Entrepreneurship. That would be a burning brown, the the speaker who talks about shame and all different types. She's a researcher.

She's a researcher. The reason her TED talk caught fire wasn't because she was a researcher talking about her. Her work is because she got on stage and said, I'm a therapist who needs a therapist, that that moment of not just talking about vulnerability in her work, but becoming vulnerable in her work. That's what made people leave, leaving and go. Huh. Interesting, because we don't need more researchers to talk about the things that they have observed.

We need more people to say. And so that means this because I'm I'm showing you my way of thinking. And that's what makes that unique. And most people don't see their own uniqueness. And I think yeah, I think I heard this first from Ray Edwards. But it's a thing that's around, which is you can't read the label from inside of the bottle.

You you just can't see yourself that way. So that's why people come to work with us as a you don't notice how amazing you are because all this time you're thinking you're a bottle of of of a pop or soda and really your beautiful bottle of champagne. You just don't know it. You have no idea. You just assume that because you're swimming in there that that's what you are.

So one other challenge that I've come across is, for example, when I come towards the idea of, OK, I'm going to write a book and I'm sure this must be a common experience is in my head. It has to be the universal theory of everything. It has to be the Philosopher's Stone or the Tesseract. It it needs to be everything. And how do you work with people to move them away from the universal theory of everything towards that one idea that actually needs to be in the book?

Yeah, it's a great cause as well. Oftentimes what I notice is most books are born in pairs. They don't ever come. I book ideas don't come on their own. I notice what that means usually is that people overstuff a book. They put three or four books into one because they think they're the topics related. So I must cover all these topics. And when book babies happen, they come together, they start to multiply like rabbits. So if you have two ideas that you don't separate, they become four and then become five.

They become ten producing of this book that never ends. So I usually try to tell people we have to pull this apart and take just one of these little rabbits and work with them. Because what you're asking a reader to do is make a transformation, a shift, a belief. But they're not textbooks. You're not trying to tell people, learn all this stuff, memorize it, take a test. That's the academic way of using a book. It's not very useful for the rest of us.

Otherwise we would go storm the library trash bins and get textbooks and put them on our shows.

But we don't. And if we do, it's because we just paid so much we just can't seem to get rid of them. But for the most part, we don't use textbooks as a way to learn. It's unfortunate that academia hasn't figured this out, but what we usually go for is the hopes of seeing something different. And if you think about a book or an idea or concept in a book, more like a journey, that you get to be the person that leads them on, but you don't get to finish the journey with them, then you you feel a little more confident that I don't have to tell them all things.

And that's the example I give people like you for both sailing early sailors. You know, explorers leaving from Portugal or Spain headed on to ships that are parallel path, except for we have a three percent deviation on our rudder. So the first several, maybe miles, were sailing seemingly together until we start to move apart.

By the time we finish our journey, one of us will end up in the Caribbean and one of us will end up in Brazil with that small little difference. All you're asking your reader to do is say, hey, you're looking over there, turn your head and look here. You're not asking them to do a 180 degree turn because that's too much to ask of a reader. You're just asking them to pay attention differently than they were. Some small shift, some three percent shift, some small deviation so that now that they pay attention differently, their whole life will change over the course of the time that they're doing this thing.

And when they land, they should be in a different place because of you, because the rudder, the most powerful besides the sails, the most powerful thing in the ship without a rudder, it doesn't matter if you have sails, you won't go. But it sits beneath the water line. It's very quiet. It does very little movement. And that's what your book should do. Your book isn't this big fuss. It's shoving people in a direction and so don't overstuff it or overcomplicate it.

It's a simple tool that gets people to notice you differently than before.

I love that. I think right at the beginning you said you start the journey with someone. You go along with them for a while, but you don't finish the journey with them. And I think I imagine that a lot of people, when they're coming to the idea of a book, they do think it has to be everything tied up with a neat bow at the end. And that's not really going to work for the for the reader. That's not offering a personal transformation.

That's just offering almost a prescription, which isn't really going to be a form of universal benefit. Oh, yeah, I really like that. Yeah. Because the truth is, you're assuming they're going to be you. They're not you. There's somebody who is at least interested in this topic. Curious. It's the mistake. And I always when I speak this boldly about these topics as being an educator for so many years that we did so much wrong.

I did so much wrong in that I made assumptions that kids needed more information to change and transform their thinking, their beliefs, their values. And what I really need to do is point them in a direction where they think differently so that they can make a step forward about what they're learning not to tell them. This is what you should learn. This is what you should know. That's just a mistake. And learning. You never learn something until you choose to, so you can't teach anyone anything that they don't want to learn.

So in your book, you're just making a suggestion for them to pay attention differently. And if they do, then their whole life shifts. And it's the reason that we as humans doing something as simple as standing on one foot doesn't seem difficult until you close your eyes and then it's almost impossible at first because you're used to it this way. And when you close your eyes, your whole balance changes because your eyes are actually a bouncing tool for your body until your body starts to use some other mechanism to balance you.

So if you're if you're curious about how that shift works, do that stand on one foot. No problem. Close one eye and then close both or you don't do that. Just gently look up. It changes everything about your balance, but that's all you're doing with the book. Don't try to make them flip backwards and turn around and run a different direction. That's a that's a big expectation and spend more of your time convincing them of the same single thing over and over in multiple ways so that at the end they go, I get it, I get what you're saying.

So I'm not going to do that right now because it would probably make a big noise. And I break things up. Great. I'll do it.

Now, if you're driving, don't do it. Now, you mentioned that you were a principal school principal and now you're now you're very well known in the author space within the business world.

How did that happen? Because that is quite a transformation. And I don't imagine that something that happens overnight, it must have been done with a degree of intentionality or something happened. Happened, right.

Well, that's a great point. So I always had an inclination for being an entrepreneur. And the problem was I was really good at failing.

So I tried many things. It didn't work. But as a school teacher, you know, you're always thinking and processing. And at least I was and I thought, you know what? I can't figure out this online thing I kept trying to do, you know, these niche sites and create a website and try to drive traffic. And in the early 2000s, it was, you know, create a product or do affiliate marketing get a niche and drive traffic to it.

And you can get ad sense, you know, from Google. And I was trying those things and I I'd owned websites like cheap wedding ideas, dot com and recover from bankruptcy. I had all these ideas, but I couldn't get them to work. I didn't have that either to the. Nicole, savvy or maybe even the persistence to care enough, but I did try I tried lots of those things and I just, you know, I was working, but I knew I wanted to make my living online so that I could travel, see the world.

You know, my kids were getting closer to finishing school. And I wanted to I told them when they were young. Look, when when you're out of school, I'm hitting the road.

I'm going to go see the world. So they already knew it was coming. But how I was going to do I didn't know. But what I noticed is that if I could learn from somebody who was doing this, I had a better shot.

I learned really well in person with someone, you know, like working, connecting with them than I did from a book or course so I could get inspired by a book, of course. But really for me to get it really helped for me to be connected with humans.

And I wanted to write about this notion of the art of apprenticeship, this thing that I felt like was lost in that if you learn from somebody, you really become the master over time.

But apprenticeship is sort of lost as an idea. Everyone wants a mentor because mentors tell you what to do, help you there. But apprenticeships about servitude, like you're indentured, you're not there as a guest. You're there to sweep the floor, empty the trash. You take out the filings, you know, deliver things, get up early, stay late. And if you're lucky, the master will say, grab that old piece of crap and he'll let me show you this or you try a little bit here and there.

That's what apprenticeships about. And I think people have lost their way when they want to learn. So I wrote a book. I said, I'm going to write this book I've been thinking about for twenty four years and never wrote.

And I've been helping people, especially young people, publish books. I helped authors as little young as 13, 11 years old, write and publish books, but I had never done it myself.

And one of my students said, Where's your book? I said, Well, hmm.

And they looked at me like, oh, OK, well, why don't you write it?

They're like, and I had a moment that I was like, What if I lie? I just say, are I think of something? And I was like, because I'm afraid they're like, you don't need to be afraid. You'll do great. And then they walked off. So I wrote that book in thirty days, the one that had been on my mind for 24 years because I finally had a purpose.

I was like, I'm going to write a book about how you can get a mentor by serving them and becoming an apprentice of theirs. And that's what I'm going to do. And I'm going to prove this model works somehow. And I wrote that book and I signed up the thirty days before I did it. I signed up for Chris Tucker and Pat Flynn's one day business breakthrough in San Diego. They had twenty spots. They said if you come, you sit with us and we help you with your business.

So I ordered I paid it on my credit card. I didn't have the money. And then I realized that the details of the event was send us your website, send us your funnel, send us your revenue, send us, you know, all these things, landing pages, words I did barely even knew. And I was like, I don't even have a business. I don't have an idea for a business like like that's worse than like the one thing I have a bad business, but I don't even have one.

So I wrote that book in the thirty days before and the day before that event. I send it to the editor and I showed up and I just pitched my idea of why I was writing this book about serving an audience, becoming an apprentice of those who you want to serve. And my intention was to prove my point that if you become The Apprentice, you can actually rise and grow over time by serving. And so people, you know, you only have fifteen minutes.

And these people were seven, six and seven figure business already in the room. And here's this guy with none. But what was interesting is they were all impressed with the fact that I wrote a book in thirty days more than anything else and sparked the attention. I totally got the spark, the attention of people in the room who were entrepreneurs, who wanted to write a book. That's how I started this journey.

I think it brings you right back to that assumption of credibility. That's really interesting.

And that's that's where I became a book coach. We had to know what it was or that people needed help doing that. And when people would say, you helped me write a book, of course I can. I'm a teacher. I can help anybody. I have a belief of that. I always could help any young person. So why would it be any different for an adult? And that's the perspective I've held and I have confidence in that.

So if you're a professional athlete or you're our CEO or you're Pat Flynn, I know I can help you because that's the confidence I have a being a teacher. It's the gift of serving in that way for those years has given me.

Well, you have a great business doing exactly that. Now you run an annual event, which did happen this year.

It did it happen this year right before everything changed. Yeah. OK, congratulations. Thank you. Know, you're probably one of the very few people that managed to pull off an in-person event this year. And something again, this is I don't have very many questions, but this was one thing I really wanted to ask you, which was writing a book is one thing and there are many, but there are many ways to monetize a book. And most people, yes, they aspire after the positioning that.

Permits and yeah, I'm sure most authors would like the royalty checks, but one question I overhear authors asking each other on podcasts all the time is what does your backhand look like? Mm hmm. And you know what I'm talking about there? All right. It's OK. What business is this book underpinning? How important is it with the authors that you're working with that they actually have the business plan that this book is supporting mapped out in advance?

I think even before the plan is why are you writing it? What what do you want this book to do for you as the author? So many authors, mainly because they're selfless and focused on serving, which is a good thing. And I say, what do you want this book to do for you? They'll tell me everything about what I want this book to do. I want to help people grow. I want to help people do this or that.

And I say, that's wonderful. Now answer the question, what do you want this book to do for you? And if they are not clear, writing a book won't help them because it won't make the shift. So if they become clear, like I want to get more speaking gigs, I go, then make sure you leverage yourself in this book as the authority in that in that way, make sure it says call the action book, you know, book, Bob, for speaking by going here.

Make sure everything about your landing page where you send people to tells them, hey, I'm a I'm a speaker. When you pitch the media, make sure that that's what you're trying to do. Use your book as leverage to do the thing you're trying to do. If it's to grow my email list, then make sure the first page of the book says, hey, I'd love to get to know you or some intentional way to bring them out of the book onto your page, because it's much better to get a client or if somebody who's in your world for four nine dollars than it is to worry about making nine dollars.

Because if you're selling your product and you can get a new client from somebody reading your book, that's a huge shift. It's better than being distracted attention on a platform. So just be clear and then decide, OK, now that my book is being written, where do I want people to pay attention? How do I want to leverage this book to build authority, build credibility, create a course, a book to course. It's a lead magnet, all the things you want them to do.

Those are the things that help people position them. I knew I wanted to use that book to get a mentor. I said I would love to have.

Wouldn't it be great if I don't know who I besides listening to his podcast, I don't really know Doug Flynn. But wouldn't it be great if they were your mentors? I thought, well, that was my purpose of the book. I wasn't trying to sell anything. I was trying to make that connection and it achieved my goal. That was the only go ahead and it worked. So check the books. If my goal was to make money, I would position it differently.

Right. I've made infinitely more money with that connection than I would have made trying to sell books or sell a course from that book. Yeah.

So I am curious and I would imagine the listener is as well to know what is the experience of working with your company like for authors. So I have an idea for a book go.

Yeah, most of the time it starts with that. Why. Why? What do you want this book to do for you? What's the outcome you're hoping for? The second thing is, is that we we guide them through the process of discovery. Most people want clarity more than anything else. Clarity is the thing that's actually not in abundance. Ideas content is in abundance everywhere. Most successful people are trying to get clarity about how do I know which book is right for me?

What path should I be taking? And I say, that's the spot that's important. And let me give you an example how clarity can help make the difference in your book. So working with us should feel like this shift that's happening right from the very beginning. So we often tell people the book writing journey that most people take you on is not correct. They want to start with the book, outline the book premise in March. You through this system of writing the book, the book is really about finding that uniqueness that we talked about earlier and slowing the author down because your conscious mind will compete with your subconscious.

And the way it looks like is most of us. We're trained to be editors, right? We were given an assignment in school. Right. This assignment, turn it in and I'll market what the grade it deserves as a teacher. Give it back to you and you have a choice. Either you have a bad grade or you redo it or whatever the thing is. So we're constantly thinking, what grade do I want to achieve? All right.

So we become the editor first, so we don't worry about how good it is. We worry about what does this do to get the grade I want, what is this result? So all through school, whether it's middle school, high school, college, university, we are trying to say, I want to get the grade. We're not thinking how can this really help me as a person? What do I really want from this paper? What are the I'm hoping this does for me.

We don't think like this. So we're editors first, not writers, my my job is to transform your brain, to use the creative part of your brain, your left brain and your right brain can't be in conflict because the editor brain will win.

It will edit you out of your own book before you even start. So I slow people down. Our process looks like I'm getting you to pay attention to that uniqueness that you have that you're missing. Let me give an example. Dana Mustaf is a wonderful business leader. And she I met her at an event with Pat. And what happened was that she was a content strategist. She left corporate world to help small businesses expand their reach with their content.

And she had a podcast and a blog, Expand Your Reach. So when she found out I helped people write books, she said, well, you helped me write a book. I said, of course, made logical sense that she could grow her brand, get more attention and authority by writing a book. Well, I made her do a visualization process, which is show me your book. If it looked like pictures showing images of your book on one page, don't write an outline.

Just show me your book. And she drew drew it out.

And I said, now, let's walk through this. Tell me about this. Sort of like imagine looking at someone's family tree. Tell me about that person. Tell me about that person. Because until then, they're just names. They're just pictures of people. Right. So she's telling me about a book and this and that. And then she got this one image. It was a a bucket with a heart. I said, what's this bucket list?

Well, that's my love bucket. I said, OK, what's a love bucket? Why? Why I love bucket. And you're talking about content strategy. She. Well, that's the bucket I kind of kept for moms.

I thought about moms and she went on to tell me why she thinks moms have a bad rap, but they don't. They feel guilty for loving their business more than their children and they feel terrible and they feel like that's wrong. She goes, men don't feel that way. They might go play golf on a Thursday at at noon and they call that work and they don't feel bad at all. But women have this this thing, moms in particular. And she went on and on and it was 10 or 20 minutes where she was just going on about this topic of this this thing.

And she goes, and that's why women should be boss moms.

I said, boss moms, huh? That's interesting. I never heard of that. She's like, yeah, like they take charge. They do it their way. They don't worry about it. And then she she looked at me, she took a breath and she said, You're going to make me redo this whole map thing, aren't you?

I said, well, I'm just curious why you spent twenty minutes on a bucket of love when I had nothing to do with content strategy. And you seem very passionate about it seems to be a unique perspective that, you know, you said that women should love their business, sometimes more than their kids. That's a unique perspective. I'm just curious. She's like, yeah, love is infinite. You can't run out of love. So why would you worry about loving anything more than one another?

So she redid the map and she wrote the book, Boss, Mom, she started an incredible community, has like eighty thousand loyal followers. She speak all over the country alongside people like Amy Porterfield. And she's a very prominent figure going from someone who just step out of corporate with a chip on her child and her hip, another one on the way. And it created an entire brand based on her unique view of the world. That's what we do.

We help people see that that they can create this brand where the conversation that happens and it happens over time. So our program looks like this like we're not rushing into the things, but we're going to get clear. Writing the book is the hard part. Words on a page aren't the hard part. It's the discussion your brain has inside internally that we have to work with and kind of get clear so that the book becomes more effortless to produce.

I really like that. I think what I like is it's a much more natural process than, like you said, to start with an outline where you're you're you're bypassing a whole creative process just to get to a finished product. That unpacking, that divining. What is it that's that only you can bring to the topic is. Yeah, I love that.

Yeah. The thing that I noticed is that people they want to rush this because they don't think of it as a creative process. And if you remind yourself the writing is creativity first before it's an editing process, people try to edit as they write. And that's the biggest mistake they make, is they never allow themselves to be curious long enough to figure out what it could be because they set their intention, what it was before they even started. And the difference is, in my opinion, is if we were going to go to the garden, the back of the house and there was a tree and around the back of the tree is a beautiful prize rosebush that we wanted everybody to get to to see.

So we decided, let's make a path, because it's sometimes hard to get there, the rocks, the mud, whatever. And you decide you're going to lay out a little path around the right side of the tree. And you you put the little frame and pour the sand to the concrete. You start, you know, doing this process of laying concrete and halfway.

There you go. You know what? Actually, it's much better if we go in the right side or the left side. Because there's sunshine here and it's an easier way to get there. So let's start over. Well, if you've laid the path in concrete, you're not going to tear up. You're going to forget it.

It's too much work. Let's just keep going. It's not worth it. Well, that's what writing an outline can be like for authors in their mind is they've already created this concrete thing and they don't see a way out of it.

But if you create a pathway and say, you know, let's create a path around this tree to this rosebush, but let's use stones, beautiful stones, OK, we'll make sure we pick the right ones, a beautifully polished. They'll be unique.

And once we have the stones, we're going to gently sent them on through the garden to every stone we collect. And then when we're done with those beautiful stones, we're going to arrange it around the garden and we can change the order. We can move them around the space in between. But it still takes you to that beautiful spot. But it's just a different way of creating a path for the reader. Get there and for the author to create.

It's much more gentle. It's much more clear and flexible so that the creative process doesn't get inhibited by this thing. It should be before it's too you know, it still meets the intention, but it's not so concrete, literally. I really like that.

And it's a real contrast to an awful lot of the online self publishing. But I call them vehicles, if you like.

Yeah, I'm all for the path to the quick way to get done. But if getting done quickly doesn't bring your result, then you're you're just putting words in a page. Yeah. You're the thing that shifts the world, not the book and these creative conversations. And that's because that's what they have to be. It has to be a conversation. They can only really happen with people who are ready for those conversations. And it's to be part of part of the culture of that organization, which is why I can imagine you get great results and you work with great people.

Yeah, and we run cohorts were like a group of people start together and end together.

And what you're doing is creating a space to be vulnerable, to be honest, that you don't know what you're doing to to to try and fail. It's that it's an incubator for doing the work. It's it's like, hey, this is a safe place where we all don't know what we're doing, but we all know we want to change the world in some way. And to have those peers with you makes it feel more confident. Sometimes people just want to work one on one with me.

But for the most part, I encourage them if it works for you and you can do it in a group setting for this cohort of people who are sort of like teammates along the way helps because writing in schools is a lonely process. Don't look at anyone's paper, don't get help, don't communicate, just do it. And unfortunately, writing isn't a solo sport. It's a team sport. But we just weren't trained to actually experience that. So we have terror of of judgment about this.

And my job is to break that down so you can talk about these things and overcome them with with others as well.

I'm looking at the clock and I am aware you have a coaching call probably in about ten minutes. I don't want to hold you up from that. Right.

If people want to get in touch with you, if they want to connect with you in any way, how would you like them to do that?

Well, they're always welcome to come to visit me on my podcast authors who lead anywhere, they listen to a podcast. So that's always a great way to learn more and also go to authors who lead dotcom. We have some great resources. We have a we'll have a quiz that can take to find out what's their publishing path is right for their book. And also a great summit that they can join, where we interviewed 40 authors who talk about why fighting your uniqueness is so important in writing books as well.

I need to end with a question that normally I give people some warning about. And when I do my pre-flight briefing, it's normally in there. I forgot to do. I'm sorry, but you strike me as someone who will have no problem with this. So I generally always end the show with asking the question, what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?

I wish I would have been confident enough to know that my ability to share my truth, my my knowledge was way more valuable than I thought. I didn't think that what I had to share would help anyone. And I wish I would have just been more confident sooner about trying things differently because I don't do things the way other people do. And then I should have taken the risk earlier and realized that is the secret sauce to anyone's success is a unique path that they find rather than trying to imitate others, which is what I did for so long as well.

You've been a fantastic guest. That was a brilliant answer. Thank you so much for your time. And yeah, I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon, but thank you so much for having me. Writing a book doesn't have to be a massive undertaking. We all think our books can be anywhere from 15 to 40000 words, sometimes a bit more. And at the lower end, that's only 10 longer blog posts. So if you've got an idea bubbling away, take some action.

Who knows where it might lead. Before I go, just a quick reminder again to subscribe. And if you happen to join our Facebook community, you'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me tort from forward slash inciters. As always, I would love for you to connect with me on social media. You'll follow me wherever you hang out. You'll find me at pop gentle. And if you do message me, let me know and I can follow you back.

If you've enjoyed the show, I would love for you to review on iTunes or whatever player you listen on. It means a lot to me and it's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name is Bob Gentil. Thanks again to us all for giving us his time this week and to you for listening. And I'll see you next week.

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In his new book, the Age of Influence Neal Schaffer digs deep into what an influencer really is, how they're made, why they're currently a 4billion dollar industry and how you can leverage them for your business — but also how you can claim your own influence, in whatever shape that is.

Neal also shares what makes his own business work and exactly how he's shaped his business around his passion, his family and how he makes sure he's always doing his best work.

About Neal

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping innovative businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and development and execution of social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. Founder of the digital marketing consultancy PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in more than a dozen countries.

He is also the author of 4 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley) and the recently published The Age of Influence (HarperCollins Leadership), a ground-breaking book that is redefining digital influence and the variety of ways in which businesses of any industry or size can leverage influencer. Check out Neal’s Maximize Your Social Influence podcast for weekly marketing inspiration.

Links and mentions

Connect with Neal on Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/nealschaffer/
Neal's website : https://nealschaffer.com/

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In his new book, Age of Influence, Neal Schaffer digs deep into what influence really is, how influencers are made and why there currently are four billion dollar industry and how you can leverage them for your own business, but also how you can claim your influence, whatever shape that is. Neal also shares what makes his own business work and exactly how he shaped his business around his passion, his family, and how he makes sure he's always doing his best work.

Hi there. And welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one. Don't forget, you can join our Facebook community. Just visit, amplify me, dot form forward, slash inciters and you'll be taken right there.

So welcome along. And let's meet Neal. So this week, I am thrilled to welcome Neal Schaefer to the show. Neil, welcome to the show. Hey, thank you so much for having me. Bob, it's been a long time in the making, but glad we finally made it happen today.

I know you nearly came on the show a year ago and then life got in the way. So, yeah, I'm really excited to get a chance to finally meet you. I think I've been following you on social media probably for longer than I've been following most people. I've been following on Twitter for a long, long time and then latterly on Instagram. And I have to say, you are the king of the selfie. You've been self-heating for longer than it was a thing.

You know, I will say that I don't know if you've heard of Pam Moore. She's another one of us, sort of social digital marketing consultants. And I had a chance to meet her in her hometown of Orlando, Florida, when I spoke there many years ago. And we met at a Panera Bread, you know, a coffee shop. And I'm like, Pam, before we go, we need to do a selfie together. And I was doing it.

She goes, No, Neal, you got it all wrong. So she holds up the camera way above. And then we are like, you know, scrunching below. And so she takes it an angle from above looking down. And it was perfect. And she's like, Neal, this is how you take a selfie, so you know what we all learn from others in life and yes, ever since then, find the person with the longest arm and then they hold it and it's above and you look up and they shoot it down and it's perfect.

So what's your position on the selfie stick?

I have had a selfie stick. I think that they are a very convenient, but they can also be very obnoxious. So I would not take one with me wherever I go, but as a utilitarian tool, they can come in handy.

So before this descends into the ridiculous, which it's verging on right now, for the benefit of the listener who may not have heard of you, just a very positive history, sort of who are you? Where are you? What kind of work do you do? What does Neil Schaefers world look like?

Sure. So, you know, I suppose my world begins before social media, where for the first, you know, 17, 18 years of my career, I was a B2B technology sales business development marketing executive. I worked in Asia. So I speak Japanese and Chinese actually lived in Japan the first 15 years of my career. And I was in charge of really, you know, in charge of Asia sales or Western Japan sales or, you know, launching new sales offices in China.

So I had a very, very holistic business experience of having to wear a lot of different hats and being an entrepreneur within a bigger company for a few companies. When I came back to the United States after I got married, had a baby girl decided to raise her here. And it was in 2008 where I was in transition for the first time in my own native United States. And my network was either in Asia or, you know, I went to college in Massachusetts.

My friends from high school in Southern California went up to Northern California. So I really didn't have a network. And I had received an invite and joined LinkedIn. I was one of their first million members back in 2004. But I realized that, you know, maybe I'll use LinkedIn to try to create this network. And it was at that time where I got really it was, you know, January, February 2008, where I got really active.

And LinkedIn and LinkedIn used to actually be even more engaging than it is today. They had something called LinkedIn answers. So like a Q&A, like a Quora type thing that was brilliant. LinkedIn groups were a lot more organic and engaging. And I began to really you know, I was really active in that LinkedIn answers forum learning, but also starting to contribute my own answers and the same in LinkedIn groups. And I began to really proactively connect with a lot of people on LinkedIn.

I guess you could call me a LinkedIn open networker when when it still had a good name for it. But, you know, fast forward, I ended up finding a job. And the same day that I got an offer for the job actually launched my first blog, which was on LinkedIn, because they used to have an app platform. So I started a blog on WordPress Dotcom. It wasn't branded. It was sort of like expert answers to your LinkedIn question, something very general like that.

And then three and a half months later, the company that hired me decided that they you know, they wanted to sell the company. They they wanted to give up an international sales. And everything that I had invested just went out the window. This was also the time of the Lehman Brothers crash back in 2008 where jobs were, you know, sort of like today, I suppose new jobs are hard to come by. So that's when my wife had said, Neil, why don't you write a book?

And I never thought I would write one, but I kept blogging after that. And at some point in 2009, I realized that I already had a good quarter of my book already written. So I pursued that path. And in 2009, I began to I did a lot of, you know, networking locally. I began to get asked to do speeches. And as I released that book in September 2009, those speeches became paid speeches. And then just very quickly, in January 2010, I had a number of companies reach out to me wanting help with social media, and they didn't know what they didn't know.

So it was up for me to decide how to service them. And I decided then that I thought what companies needed wasn't necessarily me doing their social media, but really they needed education and they also needed strategy. So I started a I called it at the time a social media strategy consulting company. I now call it a digital marketing consultancy. And I've been doing that for ten years. And even though, you know, my my clients are on the corporate side, I still try to be very active and very social online.

So, you know, whether it's LinkedIn or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest, Facebook, I'm actually not as active on as as I probably could be. But, you know, I try to stay active. And really what I've learned working with companies and speaking of what have you, I try to share that with my community online through blogging podcasts. What have you so so yeah, so thank you for being a loyal follower, that sort of explains sort of my philosophy as to why I'm I'm always sort of online and very active and sharing lots of things.

I I originally began connecting with a lot of people on LinkedIn and writing the book because I saw social media, especially LinkedIn, as a networking vehicle that with each connection, it gives me the opportunity to learn and to share and vice versa. So if I could connect with more and more people and reach more and more people, it's just going to be a good thing for everybody. And that's been a sort of a guiding philosophy of mine that I've had for some time.

So I'm always very, you know, either proactive in reaching out to people or when people reach out to me like, you know, in your case, I you know, I want to I want to become friends and spend time and get to know them and see how we might be able to help each other. So here we are today.

That was a great potted history. But I think I while you were speaking, I was reflecting on LinkedIn. I knew I joined LinkedIn early and I joined in 2007, but there was no one else there. It was a complete waste of time. You wrote a book about LinkedIn in 2009 when still nobody was there. And then again, your social media strategy book in 2013, the word early sums you up quite well. And that really brings us on to the new book, which is The Age of Influence.

Now, I'm going to ask you to talk about the book because there's so much in there. You were kind enough to give me a copy. I haven't gone too deep into it yet because I've had my own stuff going on. But once again, early, I thought that there must be lots of books about influencer marketing. I had to look, there are plenty on how to become an influencer, which I probably have dubious quality, but there were none about how to engage and leverage influencers, which was a real surprise.

So why this book? What led you to the point where you thought, yeah, influencer was going to write a book about that? Yeah. What's the story with the book now?

Yeah, there's actually another book that I wrote that, you know, I wrote that first book about LinkedIn because at the time there were you know, Jason Alba had a book out, um, I'm on LinkedIn now. What that was a you know, a leading book at the time about LinkedIn. Lewis Howl's, who's now very famous, had just published his first book, which was about LinkedIn. And then there was mine and I thought that those books didn't go into the detail and all the sort of tricks and hacks that I had found that I really wanted to expose for others to utilize.

So that was my gift to the world at the time.

Two years later, you know, a book like a podcast or blog becomes part of your Imbil marketing tool.

And I realized I wanted to write another book and I had half of a book about Twitter written at that time, believe it or not, back in 2011, which is probably it might have been earlier than Mark Schaefers toward Twitter, might have been about the same time. And I had just fallen in love with Twitter and found great business use from it. But I think a lot of people once again thought that was a waste of time. But I ended up writing a book.

I wanted to write a business book because now I was doing social media for a living. And therefore, in 2011, I wrote a book called Maximizing LinkedIn for sales and Social Media Marketing. So I was talking about things like employee advocacy and social selling before they were terms. But, you know, and I was doing obviously a lot of the speeches I was doing and consulting was related to LinkedIn, but not specifically LinkedIn. So when 2013 came around, it was actually 2012.

I got introduced to the acquisition editor at Wiley, this large publisher, and she was say, Neil, you know, what do you want to write for a book? So at the time, I actually had three book ideas. I could have gone back to that Twitter book. I was also because I do a lot of business in Japan scene that I speak it there. I was actually negotiating with a Japanese publisher to write a book on social media for executives.

And the third idea was, well, you know, now what I do for a living is social media strategy consulting. So I could write a book on how anybody can create a social media strategy. And immediately they said, that's the book. That's the book we want you to write. That's the book that we want you to create a platform out of. And that became Maximize Your Social, which is still my podcast, used to be called Máxima.

It's now called Maximize Your Social Influence, but that's very much become a big part of my brand.

So, you know, writing the book for me, you know, social media strategy, social media are way back in the day was was the number one question I would get asked, you know, how do you do it? And I think there was one other book out on the subject, but it had a very, very different perspective on it. Not not the way that I would present the subject. So so, yeah, I ended up writing that book.

And at the time it's like, wow, I'm giving away all my IP. Right. But for me, writing the book and pun intended, it was sort of like closing a chapter, sort of like getting closure so that I can move on to bigger and bigger fields. So by by writing that book, it allowed me to really, you know, showcase my my subject matter expertise and my authority in space. Right.

So fast forward two years later, you know, wanting to serve my community again as I do a lot of speaking. I was getting asked about a lot of social media tools and technology and automation. So I actually launched a social media conference called the Social Tools Summit. It was all around tools and technology. I think this was 2015 and 16. So instead of a book, I did that. And then, you know, 2017 came around and, you know, as a speaker, I realized that, you know, when when people look to hire speakers, they look for people with fresh new content.

And often that means they have a book out. I just came out with a new book, Let's Have Them Speak. And it's a thing that's very, very common in the industry. And really, when 2017 came around, I thought, you know, this is really a good time to think about what that book is going to be.

And at the same time, similar to how I got ask questions about social media strategy, social media, r.i, or tools, I was getting asked questions about influencers and it was really the first time. It was when I taught a I was a guest lecturer at an MBA class on digital marketing at USC here in Los Angeles. And at the end of my presentation it was a general social media marketing presentation. Almost all the questions were not just about influencer marketing and tapping into influencers, but also these marketers in the room were saying, how do I become more of an influencer?

Because they had friends that were that were monetizing their Instagram or what have you. So I thought that there might be something there. And I started to, you know, think about a book and then someone contacted me. Now, Bob, before we started this conversation, you mentioned how you get a lot of people asking to be on your podcast. And I'm the same way I get people asking for all sorts of things for me, as you can imagine.

But one guy, a guy named Lee Konstantine, reached out and he said, you know, I have this startup called Publicize Her. I come from the publishing world. And the idea about publishes her is if you have a book idea, you throw it out there and it's a Kickstarter and you can basically start to get money for your book, get preorders without even writing the book. And psycho, huh? He goes, Neil, just used to test market your idea, give it a try.

And I did. I test marketed an idea for this book about influencer marketing at the time. It was called The Age of Influence. And I ended it selling a few hundred copies without writing the book. So that was my test market. It was successful. And as I delve deeper into the subject, we're now into 2018 2019, where I wrote the book. I realized that marketers were completely misled and miseducated as to what really was influencer marketing and how it wasn't just about Instagram or Tic-Tac.

It was relevant to any social network. It wasn't just about influencing gen millennials. You could influence baby boomers and Gen X. It wasn't just about photo and video. It was also about blog. It was also about podcast.

So I you know, the more research I did in interviews I did and just more, you know, doing my best to be innovative because if I want to do something, I want to add value. I ended up writing what what ended up becoming the age of influence. And I was very close to working with a publisher from the Netherlands who was going to create a Dutch version before the English version, believe it or not. And right when that happened, I got serendipitously got introduced to HarperCollins Leadership, which is one of the biggest business book publishers.

They they work with Gary V and what have you. And I was able to secure a contract with them. And the rest is history. So in March of this year, the book came out. It was renamed, you know, the The Age of Influence from the Business of Influence, the original name. And so far I've gotten really, you know, great feedback. And, you know, since a lot of the book was written in 2019 because of the way the publishing world works, I knew the book would come out for a while.

So I really painstakingly worked hard to ensure that the concepts would be as evergreen as possible so that when this book comes out a year later, it would still have relevance and five years from now would still have relevance. And I think from the feedback I've gotten, I you know, I feel like I've been able to do that. But now, you know, similar to how I got closure before, I'm already thinking about my next book, Bob.

And I think this whole coronavirus pandemic has gotten a lot of us thinking. But, you know, I see influence. If I was to tell you what my next book is going to be like I said, I'm still conceptualizing. Influence, I think is one of the biggest things that most businesses just don't haven't figured out. They haven't leveraged only a very, very small percentage of maybe really aggressive B2C startups on Instagram, for instance, have have been really good at leveraging it.

But most brands, especially in B2B, have not. But it's not all about influencer marketing either, right? I always say social media replaces nothing. It compliments everything. So is one piece of the puzzle. I believe it can be really impactful because companies have such under utilized it. But you still need social media, you still need content. There's all these other ingredients that go into the mix to create that perfect recipe and not sort of this.

The next book that I'm thinking of, you know, more of this going back to maximize your social. But you know more broadly about digital and really bringing all these concepts together to help companies create their own unique digital recipes for their business. That's the this is the first time I've ever really talked about the book publicly, actually, Bob.

But but that's how far you know, I just you know, if I'm going to do something, I want to be innovative and I want to add value. So I appreciate the fact that, you know, getting back to the original question that you thought that I was first to market on some of this stuff, it really just comes down to the experiences that I've had with my customers. But it also goes back to something that really influenced me when Steve Jobs passed away, that Stanford University graduation speech where he talks about connecting the dots.

And it's that connecting the dots and going back into my own history, both as a professional and even further back into, you know, the music that I grew up with or experiences I had traveling when I was in university. It leads me to greater insight. It actually leads me to to innovation. Right. And from there, I try to you know, I try to create something unique that that no one's ever heard of. And I try to test it and see if it resonates to me.

Podcasting gives me the ability to do that.

I you know, my blog posts, which I try to blog weekly, are more I won't say they're for SEO, but they're more they're not necessarily the thought leadership type of content. My podcast is where I want to establish myself first as a thought leader. It's where I will speak future ideas and test out future ideas and see if they have a flow to them. So, yeah, you know, remaining creative in an ever changing world of social media is not easy, but I think we can all do that when we find our own sources for inspiration, which for me is really just working with clients, looking around at what I see, and then connecting those dots, as has been a really, really great formula for me.

So I don't know if there's a perfect formula for everybody, but.

That sort of explains a lot of, you know, what I've done, but I'd say the other part of that is serving my community, serving my customer, serving my readers, always having that in the back of my mind. So, you know, if people aren't going to ask me about ticktock and I don't see the immediate value because I don't think my clients are on tock, I'm not going to start blogging about tick tock because everybody else is talking about tick tock.

You know, if everybody's talking about Facebook Messenger marketing. Yes, I'll give it a look. But if I don't think it's more compelling than email marketing for a variety of reasons, I may not necessarily talk a lot about that because I want to keep balance. And if I just do what everybody else is doing and catch on every trend that everybody else is catching on to, there is no value in there's no value to my clients. There's no value that I'm providing as well.

So I tend to be selective as to, you know, what I talk about, what I recommend, and that so far has served me well. It's prevented me from wasting a lot of time that you could be wasting. So I'm sort of old school while everybody talks about Tic-Tac. I still stick to the tried and tested. You know, LinkedIn is still an amazing network for for business. Facebook, obviously. It's still amazing. Instagram is still amazing.

So, you know, you go over to tick tock. There's still a lot of business and a lot of, you know, people to be found that are still active on these other networks.

I think I do. When I do look at a lot of things like tech talk, I often feel I see a lot of people chasing a tactic without any real strategic direction behind. I think that's really almost what you were talking about. There is there is a strategy, there are universal principles of digital marketing and sometimes these faddy tools computer a bit of a bit of a distraction. They're not inherently wrong. They work. Don't don't get me wrong.

But your average business shouldn't be distracted by those to the detriment of solid strategy.

Absolutely. That the new shiny object syndrome right here, every marketer falls to. So, yeah, I agree with you. It does come down to that strategy and it does come down to really critical thinking. So who is on tech talk and are people leaving other networks to go on tech talk or is it an additional network?

And then even if I was to be on tech talk, what would that content look like for most businesses? It's obviously going to be a struggle. And, you know, I sort of putting my, you know, my social media history professor hat on, I would say that this is very similar to Snapchat. It's a it's a young generation. It's probably people that were using Snapchat that also used Instagram are also on tech talk.

And I don't know if it'll go like Snapchat really failed to go beyond a generation. I don't know how far tech talk is going to go. And therefore, you know, we don't know the future, but we can't control how much we invest in it now. And one day I like to say, Bob, is you're never too late. If you were to get on the LinkedIn now as a new user, as a new company, you can still get really impressive results.

It's not like you have to be there ten years. You know, being there early helps. Don't get me wrong. But I like to say you're never too late for any social network, so you can always jump back in a tick tock. A year from now. You may not be one of the early adopters, but for every early adopter that gets a big following. There's, you know, way more that never get that following that are going to do the same if they came in later.

So that's always been my philosophy on these things.

If it's all right with you, something I would like to speak about is obviously when you observe people on social media, you you see the effect, not the cause. And by that I mean you see the veneer of people's business, what they appear to be doing. And and when I watch you on social media, you're in Japan. One day you're you could be anywhere. I remember watching you in London and you had hired this really nice girl to take some pictures of you.

And I now follow her on Instagram. She's going to be working for me.

Oh, that's excellent. Oh, she's great. Yes.

I have a fantastic idea either. Why have I never thought of that? When you travel, hire a photographer, get some pictures taken.

But these were these were some of the secrets of influencers that I was doing research. I realized that, you know, the notion of hiring a photographer to do a photo shoot, get 100 hundred photos. I think from that photo shoot, I got maybe 120. And if you post once a day, you have three to four months of content. And that's what a lot of influencers will do. They'll hire a photographer every quarter to take those types of photos, not necessarily when they're on travel, could be in their home office or in, you know, the nearby environs where they live.

But, yeah, it's a great idea. Hmm.

However, a lot of the time, that's all you see of people. And when I have somebody like you, I would like to understand what's going on under the bonnet in your world or under the hood, as you would say in America. So I'm curious to know if you have climbed. Work going on, you have speaking come maybe just have a little walk through what is your day to day work sphere look like?

Will the works for every day is never the same. And I'd say now it's very different because of the coronavirus pandemic. So if we had connected a year ago where I was doing a lot of traveling, for instance, the beginning of March, I spoke at social media marketing world in San Diego. I then came home for a night, then went to Orlando, Florida to go to podcast, my first podcasting conference. And I got back home March 10th.

And then the whole pandemic, you know, came here in the United States. I was supposed to have spoken in Belgrad and Mexico City in May, which those events obviously got postponed. So right now, it's going to be very, very different. But I have I divide my work into two. I have client work and I have my work, and my goal has always been, how do I get the most money from my client work for the least amount of time so that I have the most amount of time to spend on my work.

So that's why and, you know, I started as a consultancy and one of my brothers is an entrepreneur. Sanyal Consultancies don't scale and he's right. I never wanted to do the agency. First of all, for me, philosophically, I was sort of opposed to it when it comes to social media. Now, I've grown up a bit since then and I realized that if companies don't have the resource I can provide, I would rather do it for them than have them hire someone that is not as well versed, you know, as I am.

So I've gotten over that. And in 2016, I did have a client that said Nikolov, love the strategy. Can we hire you to do this all for me? So I had already built it up. You know, I have a staff that supports me on various projects, my own, as well as my clients. And I have the tools, the processes. So I started doing that and it went really, really well. But, you know, I realized after doing that for a year or two that the time invested in the money that I got, while it is scalable.

Right. It still wasn't worth my idea of my value and how much I should be getting for every hour I work, I put in, you know, that's why I love to speak, because on average, for an hour work and yes, there's preparation and there's travel and everything, I tend to get paid the most. But what I've realized, Bob, now that you're asking me and it's you know, as we record this, it's about August of twenty twenty.

What I really enjoy doing, I'm getting back to my roots, right. Connecting those dots of I really enjoy the strategy and education. And I find the best way that I can do that is not as part of some project that a company outsources to me, but being part of their team. So it's more of a fractional CMO. And this is something that I have been actually a I've been ramping this up and I've gotten many new customers since the coronavirus pandemic hit me or hit the United States.

And companies just need more help with their digital right. I'm sure you've probably seen that in the UK as well. So that's a role where I'm getting deep experience working together with companies. I have deep impact because now I can guarantee that they're going to do what I teach them to do, which if I just did strategy consulting, I can't and I can get paid more by the hour. I can get paid, you know, enough money so that I could work three days a week in the very, very, very, very comfortably.

And that's always been my goal over the past six to 12 months once I realized this. So with working three days a week and because it is a time that is spent together with a client, there's no homework per day.

There's no overtime per say. Right. So it allows me to have a clean cut and have an off button, which is very critical when you work from home, especially over a 15 year old and a 13 year old. One of the reasons why I do what I do is to spend time with my family. Right. And watch my kids grow up. So it gives me the ability to do that. And it gives me, you know, two days a week.

If I'm not if I don't have a full schedule to pursue all these other things that I do.

So my blogging, my podcasting, you know, speaking opportunities that come up now, they're obviously virtual. So, you know, Bob, now with the pandemic, because I don't have that travel and even some of my my fractional CMO clients, I would travel to their offices locally. I don't need to do that. So I've had so much time. It's almost been like a renaissance in terms of me being able to develop content and ideas. But it also means for the first time, I've been able to properly promote my book because because as you said, if I'm one of the first to market, I sort of want to own the space.

So I just want to do what I can do to get the word out about my book. And, you know, it's my own exercise in influencer marketing of tapping into influencers like Bob Gentil has this great podcast or bloggers or what have you.

So I like to do things in sprints. You know, my first 90 day sprint was, you know, I had these ideas and and now I'm in my sort of second 30 day or 90 day sprint. And for me to get closure, I want to say, OK, you know, I want to get to a certain number of Amazon reviews or I want to appear in a certain number of podcasts or I want to make sure that everybody I mentioned in my book I interviewed, they all got sent a book.

It's little things like this, but they're KPIs that say, you know, if I can hit if I can hit these goals, then I know that I would have done my best.

I would have left no stone unturned. And then I can get closure and move on to the next avenue where I want to go, which is this next book and sort of a digital a digital product or digital mastermind or master class that goes together with it.

So so. Yeah, so. So now those extra two days and because as I mentioned before, we started recording, but I've gotten really into podcasting and it's really exciting because I started by finding. And podcast to listen to, and I found them on Apple podcast just doing searches as well as, you know, people who are listening to my show, what other podcasts might they be listening to? And for the first time, one of those 10 podcasts I'm going to be a guest on for the first time and one of the 10 podcasts, I actually had them as a guest on my iPad, my podcast.

It was just the most exciting thing, right? I mean, they're not like, you know, I think of like the social media marketing podcast, these iconic podcasts that, you know, Pat Flynn, they're like top five business podcast world. They're not like that at all. But to me, they're my heroes, you know, that that I've been listening to them. And with podcasts, you create such an intimate relationship with people. So so.

Yeah. So that's it's really, you know, as I tell people in crisis, there's opportunity in this pandemic has give me the opportunity to double down on promoting my book and writing more and more great content and obviously doing more podcasting, but also developing more relationships, whether it's, you know, recording this podcast with you, Bob, or with others out there in insulting me, other content creators. And you know, my definition, once you finish reading The Age of Influence, at the end of the day, every content creator is an influencer.

Some have more influence than others. But only one percent of of social media users are content creators. Right. So every content creator has, you know, influences through their content. And I want to meet as many of them and offer as much value as I can to all of them. So those that's sort of what what gets me through my day. But hopefully that gives you some idea as to how I work. And I do have a to do list, which I started doing this year or every day, you know, do X number of this.

Why of that these projects that don't appear in my email inbox, they don't appear on my Google calendar like writing the book. These are things that I put up, put down there as reminders of. I want to make this much progress on this week. And it's a very old school way of managing my calendar, but I seem to be very effective with it. So that that's sort of what my days look like.

That's a very good answer. And be the only area where there's no light been shown yet is who can you give me an idea of what your team looks like now? Is it a virtual team? Permanent fixed team?

So I've always worked virtually. And it's the same thing where when I launched my blog in 2008 and started to see that I was getting traffic all over the world, there were other people that were speaking on LinkedIn, but they stayed very local. They wanted to own the local Orange County, California market, which at three million people is quite a big market. But I always thought global. Once you published content on the Internet or podcast, you're global.

It can be consumed everywhere. So with that in mind, I've always wanted to tap into resources globally. So I have a team of specialists. Like I said, when they don't have client work, they work on my work.

So beginning with a podcast editor, which is one of the people I'm most indebted to.

You need a podcast editor? Yeah. And you know, it's funny because I use bug spray for my host and they have a fantastic Facebook community. And all these people, they just spent hours talking about all the audio edits they do. And I'm thinking, why don't you put that time into the content right into your podcast?

So, you know, it's about working, working more on your business rather than in your business. So I do have that sort of a critical resource. I do have someone that helps me with blogging where we're WordPress. Ciccio, more on sort of the content management side. I do have writers that I work with. There's one especially that I tend to work with more frequently than others. I also have, I guess you could call sort of a social media marketing assistant, slash graphics person that helps with a lot of the graphics that are created.

So it's always a team of, you know, four or five. And instead of hiring a general virtual assistant, like a lot of solar burners do or entrepreneurs, it's really about finding key people that have key skill sets that I can use for those skill sets.

So these are people that are not working for me full time, but they're they're freelancers, but they have the ability to ramp up when necessary, assuming they're not at full capacity.

And I found that that for me, works very, very well in doing what I doing. And then when there are client projects putting them in as necessary. So if people are listening, you know, that are interested in this, there's a whole world of qualified people out there that at especially if you lived in if you live in a developing developed economy, not everybody I work with is located outside the United States somewhere in the United States for quality reasons, but for other things that are just easily repeatable tasks that you can teach people, you know, things like Fiverr, things like up work.

I mean, between the two of them. And I know it's not easy to find the right person. You're going to make a lot of mistakes along the way. But once you find the right people, it really helps you scale. And that's the secret to how I've been able to. Even though my consultancy doesn't scale, I've been able to scale my work and be able to charge more and more and take on more clients because of that and because I'm very much into processes and very much in the tools as well, because obviously I ran a conference on the subject.

So processes, tools, people. Right. And it's the people that I think a lot of entrepreneurs and social partners are scared to hire. So you don't need to hire full time. You could start at five hours a week. You can start by project only when you have work. But if you're not doing that, you're not going to be able to grow and you're not going to be able to spend more time on your business. I'm always trying to find ways of of replicating what I do into a process and teaching someone to do that and giving me time to do something that has more impact.

That that's a really good answer. And I think anybody who wants to break that scale trap, I think you would call it, of thinking that you have to hire lots of prominent people and have an office. Chris Tucker is virtual freedom is a master work on how to escape that. It was a big day for me when I read that book.

Yeah. And I'd say that's it's funny because that's something that I think is missing in a lot of education that's out there as well. You know, to your question, exactly how how do you do all this? Who is your staff? What are they doing? Are they there's not a lot of people. Chris obviously talks a lot about this. So I when I work with clients, obviously, and this is part of this community I want to create, I really want to share this and help people do what I've been able to do and find those key people that can really help.

So. So, yeah, Chris, obviously it's funny because I didn't really know much about Chris until I started speaking with more UK podcasters and UK people in social media and listening to more podcasts where obviously his name comes up quite a bit. And it's just an example how and Flyn. I didn't really know either. I mean, I knew it was a podcast or I had no idea how influential he was. Just, you know, these are the influencers to us, like our kids who are watching YouTube and that we've never heard of.

It's a similar thing, right?

It just it falls in this concept of influence. But but, yeah, I you know, I've never read virtual freedom, but I'm I'm looking it up in the Internet as we speak. And so you recommend that over. I think you is also one that he's very well known for, right?

Yeah. There's virtual freedom and then there's resources you partner with right there. Quite different virtual freedoms about building virtual teams. Rise of the Ukraina is is very much about building marketing and monetizing your personal brand or influence. Gotcha. Perfect.

Which I think is quite interesting because you said consultancy doesn't really scale, yours doesn't scale. However, you have scaled it as much as you can because it scales in direct proportion to your personal brand or your influence. The more influential or brand capital you've got, the more people are willing to pay for your time.

Yeah, you use scale by your price. Mm. And if you think of it that way, yes, there is a limit. But I also have that speaking. I also teach at a few universities. I have, you know, revenue streams from books and I have brands that reach out to me as an influencer. Some of those, if I find it, serves my community, I'll do as well. So I also have that other sort of upside income on the side.

Um, so what's interesting is you have choices and I think a lot of people have very few choices because you built this personal brand, you built this influence. You have choices other people don't have.

Yes, you're absolutely right. And that is this gets back to obviously I'm in this for a business and I want to make it as as as profitable as possible. But there's also the lifestyle for me.

The lifestyle is being able to make that choice is being able to make the choice that no, I don't think that you're the right fit for my business, my consultancy, or being able to say I want to block out Fridays in my calendars because I want to have that time with family and only schedule all my client meetings Monday to Thursday. So it's yes, I believe being an entrepreneur gives you that luxury of choice in how to manage your time, which was really critical for me.

I think a lot of entrepreneurs forget about that and they think they just need to be on all the time. And I think you forget about the reason you became an entrepreneur. You know, I was a punk rocker growing up. So one of my first concerts was seeing the clash back in the day. And, you know, maybe I was a little bit anti authoritarian, which is why I never maybe fit in that corporate world. And where I fit was I had my own company within a company.

Right. Like my own entrepreneurial journey. So for me, you know, being an entrepreneur is being able to make those choices and having the freedom of time. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs start out with the same mindset. But somewhere along the line, they forget about that. And to me, just hiring an overarching staff and having, you know, lots of clients where if on any given day, at any given hour, if there's a mistake in a tweet or some crisis that's going to eat away at my freedom, I'm going to become a slave to the tweet, as I'd like to say.

I'd like to say, and I never wanted that to happen, I realized with my agency that some of that was sort of starting to happen. So, yeah, you know, there's a book by Marie Kondo who either you know of her, you don't. But it's all about like living the organized life. And and she teaches you how to clutter your home and your workspace. And it's very simple. You go through every single thing that you have and you look at it and you say, does it give me and my passion about this?

Does it make me feel good or not? Does it spark joy? I think. Does it spark joy?

Yes, thank you. Think I haven't read it in a while. Does it spark joy? And if not, you got to get rid of it. You got to keep things around you that only spark joy. So I like to apply that concept to my work. And and I think that's a that's a really, really good way to describe what I did and what I recommend everybody else listening to as well. Well, Neal, I think that's a brilliant place to wrap up.

I'm looking at the clock and I know you have appointments shortly, but it's been a delight to meet you. And I'd like to spend time with you. If people want to get in touch with you, if they want to connect with you, how would you like them to do that?

Well, my name is Neal Schaefer. I am the real Neal. So to any A-L I know and in that part of the world, there's a lot of any ill Neales or an IBL as the baristas at Starbucks in London would do. But anyhow and then it's Shaffir, there's a few Schaffer's of us. I don't know why, but, you know, there's a lot of us that work in sales and marketing. So it's S.H. AFA. So I'm Neal Schaefer, everyone.

Social media. Yes, I'm on talk. I may not get back to you quickly if you message me there, but I also have my website, Neil Shefford ICOM. I have a podcast. If you're interested in learning more about this perspective on influence and how it applies to digital and social media marketing, you can find that maximize your social influence. And then my new book is called The Age of Influence. I know a number of people bought it in the UK, so it's it's available at, you know, on Amazon and where and wherever.

And I'd love for you to read it and let me know what you think about links to all your things in the show notes. So if you're listening to scroll down to shows, there will be there. Neil, I always wrap up with one question and I didn't give you any warning. Haven't been very good at warning people recently. But what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?

I wish that I would have more intent in what I do. I think that once you once you put yourself out there in digital, whether it's a podcast, a blog, what have you, a lot of people contact you for a lot of different things. In some ways I've been blessed because I've never had to prospect for business. Bob, it's come my way. I've never had to apply to speak at events. They've always invited me to speak, for instance.

But a lot of good things have happened from that. But a lot of things that I've wasted time have happened as well as you can imagine. And although I try to become a better filter as to what I should and shouldn't do, I just wish earlier on in my career I had a little bit more intent, a little bit more. This is the direction I want to go, and this is going to define the things that I do or don't do.

I'm not going to do it on the spot based on the opportunity. And if I done that a little bit earlier, you know, I think I might be I might be in a slightly different place. I like to live a life of no regrets, Bob. I tell my kids the same thing. I don't regret any choice I've made. I've done my best. And yes, we all make mistakes and I'll continue to make mistakes. But a mistake and regret are two different things.

So even though, yes, I wish I would have done that, I have no regrets. That's a fantastic place to leave it. Neil Schaffer, thank you very much. You've been a fantastic guest of honor. Thank you so much for having me, Bob. But only one percent of social media users are actually creating content. It's very easy to stand out. Doing so consistently takes some discipline and willpower as well as a bit of creativity, but not as much as you might think.

Like Darren Hardy shows in his book, The Compound Effect, small, deliberate actions taken over time lead up to a disproportionately large effect. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already join our Facebook group, you'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me from forward slash insiders. I would love for you to connect with me on social media. You can follow me wherever you hang out. You'll find me at Pob gentle.

And if you do message me, let me know and I can follow you back. If you've enjoyed the show, then as always, I would love for you to review it on iTunes. It means a lot and it's the best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name is Bob Gentil, thanks to Neil for giving us his time this week and to you for listening. And I'll see you next week.