Rank #1: 113: Creating an Indie Publishing Plan for Fiction Authors with Brian Anderson
Dec 02 2016
Rank #2: 050: How to Write Better Historical Fiction with Bestselling Novelist Deeanne Gist
Apr 10 2015
Rank #3: 03: How To Become a Top 100 Bestselling Self Published Author on Amazon
Jan 02 2014
Rank #4: 046: Online Marketing and Ancient Wisdom with Amish Shah. How to Build Million Dollar Businesses with Digital Marketing
Mar 13 2015
Rank #5: 53: How to Create a Success Mindset and Get Unlimited Motivation with NLP
May 01 2015
Rank #6: 81: Personal Branding Tips and Becoming an Expert in Your Field with Shahab Anari
Feb 17 2016
Rank #7: 104: Finding What You Were Born For with Zoe McKey
Sep 30 2016
Rank #8: 107: How to Turn a Book Into a Movie with Ken Atchity
Oct 21 2016
Rank #9: 110: International Book Marketing Strategies with Marc Reklau
Nov 11 2016
Rank #10: 127: How Amazon Data Science Can Help You Sell More Books with Chris Fox
Mar 10 2017
Rank #11: 101: How to Get Published in Literary Journals and Write Better Query Letters with Dani Hedlund
Sep 11 2016
Rank #12: 028: Steve Berry On Writing, Self-Editing and the Creative Process
Jun 25 2014
Rank #13: 172: How To Create and Build Your Personal Brand with Dorie Clark
Dorie Clark is an adjunct professor at the Duke University School of Business. She’s the author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You, and Stand Out (named the #1 leadership book of 2015 by Inc. magazine). She’s a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, and she regularly consults and speaks for clients such as Microsoft, Google, and The World Bank.
Dorie’s first job out of graduate school was as a political reporter. When she was laid off from that job, she began the process of reinventing herself. She tried a lot of different things, not all of which worked out.
She worked in two unsuccessful political campaigns and then turned her talents to running a nonprofit. After two years of doing that, Dorie realized that running a nonprofit is exactly like running your own business.
So…Dorie decided to start running her own business. For the past 11 years, she’s run her own marketing and consulting company. She’s done all kinds of activities to help build her brand and the brands of her clients, including:
- Writing books
- Giving speeches
- Doing executive coaching
- Launching online courses
In this interview, we talked about what a personal brand is and how to build yours. We took a deep dive into social networking, how to do it, and why it’s essential to building your personal brand.
Why Dorie Decided to Start Her Own Business
Dorie was the head of a small nonprofit for two years. She decided to start her own business because running the nonprofit and being responsible for the livelihood of three other employees was super stressful. Also, she didn’t get paid very much.
Working for herself and being responsible only for her own income and needs seemed like a move toward a more stable, less stressful life.
Dorie’s time as the head of that nonprofit was an incredibly valuable learning experience. Running the nonprofit taught her what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be a jack of all trades, because you’re responsible for everything that happens in your business.
“You have complete independence. Yeah, you might have to solve problems yourself, but you don’t have to answer to anyone, you don’t have to answer to a boss, nobody’s telling you what to do. Everything is more fulfilling because you are making the choice to do it.”
– Dorie Clark
Why Dorie Decided to Write Her First Book
Dorie made a New Year’s resolution in 2009 to publish a book that year.
She’d always wanted to write a book. She thought it would be cool, and she also thought it would raise her company’s profile and demonstrate thought leadership in her field.
All of that turned out to be true. What Dorie didn’t count on is how difficult it would be to actually publish her first book.
In the first six months of 2009, Dorie wrote three book proposals. They were all turned down because she didn’t have a big enough author platform.
So she went back to the drawing board and figured out how to build that essential author platform. She was able to do it primarily through blogging.
Dorie signed her first book deal with Harvard Review Press in 2011 and her first book came out in 2013.
Why Dorie Chose Blogging to Build Her Author Platform
Blogging was a natural choice for Dorie because of her experience as a print journalist. Also, audio and video were much more expensive and complicated to jump into back in 2009.
Audio and video are much more accessible to new people now than they were back then.
How to Become a Recognized Expert in Your Field
Becoming a recognized expert involves three key components.
1. Creating Quality Content
Content creation is the linchpin of becoming a recognized expert. You can’t be known for your ideas unless you share your ideas publicly. You have to share your ideas, and you have to share your ideas a lot to break through the noise today.
The biggest mistake Dorie sees in the marketplace today is people not creating enough content. So many bloggers think that posting one blog post a month is enough. The truth is, Dorie spent three years posting 50 to 100 blog posts a year before she saw any measurable uptick in inquiries about her work.
“You have to do a lot more than you might otherwise suspect you have to do, that’s the truth. The good news is most people won’t last that long. Most people will not keep it up, and if you do, you are far more likely to succeed, because the field has thinned.”
– Dorie Clark
2. Social Proof
Social proof is your credibility. What is it about you that is going to get people to take you seriously? How can you demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and that your suggestions will work?
3. Your Network
Your network is who you surround yourself with. The world judges you by your associations. Your network can also be the early ambassadors for your ideas.
How to Create Multiple Revenue Streams without Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Dorie has several income streams that feed into her business. She developed them over the last seven years.
Her income streams are:
- Consulting—this is how her business started
- Executive coaching
- Writing books
- Business school teaching
- Giving keynote speeches
- Affiliate income from online marketing
- Online courses Dorie has developed
- Live events
That may seem like a lot of spinning plates, and it is. But they aren’t burdensome, because Dorie developed each income stream independently and systematized it before moving on to another income stream.
Dorie recommends that you focus on building one income stream per year. Once you have that income stream systematized and automated, you can build another income stream without sacrificing the first.
As you build new income streams, they should relate in some way to the other income streams that you have previously built. If you build income streams that target wildly different audiences, you could very easily be pulled in too many different directions. In contrast, if you build income streams that support each other, each income stream you build will make the others stronger.
As you build new income streams, opportunities will appear that you never expected.
Dorie didn’t plan to organize live events. She started to organize do so after her customers asked if they could be part of live events.
What Is a Personal Brand?
“Basically, ‘personal brand’ is a modern colloquialism for your reputation. That is something that has existed from the beginning of time.”
– Dorie Clark
If your reputation isn’t what you want it to be, it’s probably worth your time to think about how to change it. If you’re not reaching people in the right way, if you want to be understood in the world, then you have to understand what your reputation is, and make sure it’s congruent with how you see yourself.
Reframing the question of your “personal brand” that way allows you to see that authenticity is a vital part of your personal brand. In fact, if your personal brand is inauthentic, audiences and customers will realize that, and they will steer clear of you.
One of the problems that entrepreneurs face when they first start out in business is that we feel like we have to project this image that we have it all figured out.
One of the first iterations of Dorie’s website had a background image of skyscrapers, as if that represented her power in the marketplace. The truth is, that type of stuff is silly.
People really respect you if you have something interesting to say and you say it in your own unique voice. That’s what makes you stand out in this crowded world.
“The ultimate source of strength is not pretending to be anything other than what you are. Some people are going to be like, ‘whatever.’ Some people aren’t going to like your message. But for those who resonate with your message, it is such a breath of fresh air to have somebody say it the way they’ve never heard it before. There’s a huge amount of power in that.”
– Dorie Clark
How to Build Your Personal Brand to Increase Your Influence and Get More Clients
One thing you can do to build your brand is to make a concerted effort to write for “name brand” publications like Forbes. There are two benefits of writing for well-known media outlets like this:
- You get exposed to new audiences who have never heard of you.
- You build your reputation and personal brand because you’re associated with respected publications.
Creating content that allows you to associate with blue-chip brands that people have already heard of creates a social proof that’s valuable, as you’re beginning to establish your personal brand in the marketplace.
How to Start Writing for Blue-Chip Brands
If you’re starting from scratch, what you want to do is develop a portfolio of “writing clips” that show you can write an article like your target publication. One of the best places to showcase your writing ability/style is on your personal blog. You can also publish your article on LinkedIn or Medium where there is no barrier to entry.
From there, you want to start writing for more and more prestigious brands to raise your own reputation.
You can figure out the best publications to read in your industry by simply having conversations with people and asking them what they read. Ask them where they get their information from. Target those publications.
More Ways to Get Social Proof
Social proof is all about making the public aware of connections that enhance your credibility and stature. Think about who you’re connected to that would make people think better of you.
Think about your:
- Former or current employer (Many former Google employees have become bestsellers, for example.)
- Educational affiliations. Did you go to an Ivy League school? Or a well-respected school in your field?
- Professional associations. If you take on a leadership role in a locally or nationally recognized professional association, that can be great social proof.
Social proof is all about networking.
Interviewing as a Form of Social Networking
Doing interviews is a great way to meet people and network with them. It allows you to have a conversation with people you wouldn’t be able to meet on your own.
The key to this strategy is you’re offering value to the person you’re interviewing by giving them access to your audience. That’s why they’re willing to talk to you.
This works especially well if you can time your interview to coincide with something they are promoting, like a book or movie.
Organize Dinners to Get to Know People
Another way to get to know people is to organize dinners in your community. Dorie did that when she moved from Boston to New York. It worked really well for her.
Another thing you can do is organize dinners or drinks for a group of people if you go to conferences on a regular basis. By taking it upon yourself to organize these types of social gatherings and being the host, you’re establishing yourself as a person who has social value.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
https://dorieclark.com/ – Dorie’s website
https://dorieclark.com/entrepreneur – download Dorie’s 88-question self-assessment that helps you think about how to utilize multiple income streams to support your own life.
Books by Dorie Clark
Places to Publish Your Articles
https://www.linkedin.com/ – a networking site for professionals. You also have the ability to publish articles on LinkedIn for free.
https://medium.com/ – another place you can write articles and gather a following, with no barrier to entry.
Jan 19 2018
Rank #14: 165: How Traditional Publishing and Agents Work with Evan Marshall
Dec 01 2017
Rank #15: 014: How to Get 40,000+ eBook Downloads in One Week
Mar 19 2014
Rank #16: 018: How to Earn a Full-Time Income Writing Books with Lindsay Buroker, Bestselling Fantasy Novelist
Apr 16 2014
Rank #17: 05: Turning Down a Seven-Figure Book Deal with Hugh Howey
Jan 15 2014
Rank #18: 171: How to Find Your 1,000 True Fans and Make a Living as an Artist with Jeff Goins
Jeff has always been a creative person who likes to make things. As a kid, he drew his own Garfield fan comics with a friend.
Jeff’s dad taught him how to play guitar when he got older. He was in a number of bands that played really bad songs.
It was in high school that Jeff started to write stories for fun. He also acted in plays during his high school career.
Jeff gained more experience with writing as a writing tutor. After he graduated college, he toured with the band for a year. The most fun Jeff had during that year was writing weekly blog posts about the touring experience.
After a year, he quit the band and moved to Nashville, where he was hired as a copywriter by a nonprofit. He eventually became their director of marketing, and learned quite a bit about traditional and online marketing.
That’s when Jeff had the idea to use the brand-building strategies he learned at the nonprofit to build his own personal brand as a writer.
Today, goinswriter.com is Jeff’s ninth blog. The first eight blogs he wrote for failed. goinswriter.com succeeded because Jeff took the right steps and didn’t quit. Jeff’s successful blog allowed him and his wife to quit their day jobs and do this full-time.
Jeff’s Author Journey: Defining Moments and Small Steps Forward
Jeff’s success has been made up of both huge defining moments and small, consistent steps forward. When Jeff was 27 years old, his boss enrolled him in a coaching program for professional development. Early on in those meetings, someone asked him what his dream was.
Jeff had seen many of his friends quit their day jobs to pursue their dream—only to be back at a day job within six months. He didn’t think he had a dream. So he replied, “I don’t have a dream—I have a job, I have a family. I don’t need a dream.”
Jeff’s coaching buddy replied, “That’s funny. I get the sense that your dream is to be a writer.”
That resonated with Jeff and he said, “Yeah. I guess that is my dream, to be a writer someday. But that will never happen.”
Jeff’s coaching buddy pointed out, “Jeff, you don’t have to wait to be a writer. You just have to write.”
Jeff published a 500-word blog post the next day. Every day for a year, he published a blog post between 500 and 1,000 words long.
Throughout that year, when he met new people and they asked him what he did, he told them, “I’m a writer.”
This wasn’t a case of “faking it until he made it.” Jeff believed he was a writer. Then he took small consistent actions until he became a professional writer.
“People won’t take you seriously until you do.”
– Jeff Goins
Jeff developed a system for creating daily blog content that allowed him to write and edit a post before publishing it to his blog. Want to learn from his experience? There’s a link to his three-bucket content system in the links section of the show notes.
How to Deal with Fear
“Fear is what happens to us when we hesitate to do the things we know we need to do. Fear is what happens when we wait. ”
– Jeff Goins
When you act quickly, there’s no time for fear to creep in. Children have very little fear. Fear is something we learn as a result of watching the consequences of certain actions. We think, “Oh, if I do this I will get hurt.”
Because Jeff was producing daily content for his blog, he didn’t have much time to feel fear. He knew his content wasn’t necessarily that good. But this was his writing practice. He was just practicing in public.
Jeff knew that if he wrote on his blog long enough, some people might notice. But that wasn’t the point. The point was to practice his art to improve his skill.
There’s something interesting that happens when you put yourself into a daily practice: It doesn’t allow you a lot of time to feel afraid.
Most people feel fear and stop what they’re doing. When Jeff studied other successful people, he came to realize successful people also feel fear. The difference is successful people feel fear and yet still do what they’re afraid of.
“I began to see fear as a friendly reminder that I’m moving in the right direction.”
– Jeff Goins
From Blogger to Author
Six months after Jeff started regularly blogging, he was approached by a traditional publisher who asked him if he was planning to write a book.
He signed a deal for a small book contract. That gave Jeff the confidence to keep going. He also began to notice that readers of his blog were asking questions he couldn’t answer in a long blog post.
“I don’t think you write a nonfiction book because you want to. I think you write a nonfiction book because it’s the most succinct way of saying what you have to say.”
– Jeff Goins
A lot of people have a blog post go viral and think they should write a book. Jeff doesn’t agree. He thinks you should only write a book if you need the length of a book to express your idea.
If you’ve expressed all you need to express in a blog post, then move on to the next thing.
The Message of Real Artists Don’t Starve
Jeff writes books because:
- He’s serious about something.
- He has an experience with something.
- He has something unique to say about the topic.
Real Artists Don’t Starve puts forth the bold argument that if you’re starving as an artist, that is your choice. Starving is not a necessary byproduct of being an artist.
Jeff has met a lot of people doing great work and making a decent living who aren’t national celebrities. These people are thriving artists and creative entrepreneurs. They are making a living from their art and loving it.
Jeff lives in Nashville, and he kept meeting people who said that making a living as an artist is impossible. He wrote the book Real Artists Don’t Starve to introduce these two groups of people to each other.
“It is possible to do creative work, and make a full-time living off of that work, and now is the best time to do that. If you have a dream, a passion, a gift you want to share with the world, you have no excuse not to make a living from that, if that’s what you want to do.”
– Jeff Goins
How to Be a Thriving Artist
The first thing you have to do to become a thriving artist is educate yourself. There are many ways for artists to get paid for their work today. There are many artists who are making a living by selling their art.
The next thing you have to do is realize this isn’t a path to becoming Taylor Swift. This is simply a path that helps you earn an income from your creative work.
Use the internet to find the people who need your art. You have to find your 1,000 true fans, as Kevin Kelly would say. That’s not a lot of people in the grand scheme of things, but it is enough people to build a platform that will support you financially as long as you nurture it.
If you can find 1,000 people who resonate with your message and need your art, you can make a living from that kind of exposure.
We need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that you have to be famous, or that you need a big break in order to be a thriving, successful artist.
You can find the people who need your work and connect with them directly to exchange value with them.
How to Find Your True Fans
Jeff has a few tips on how to find those 1,000 true fans.
You have to think like a thriving artist. You have to see the value in your work so that you can market it effectively. You have to take your work seriously before anyone else will.
You have to cultivate that mindset. You have to begin to think in terms of what’s actually possible. You have to dream a little bit.
Michelangelo was the richest artist of his time. At the end of his life, he had the equivalent of $50 million to his name. Before Michelangelo, artists were working-class citizens. After Michelangelo broke the glass ceiling of what was possible for an artist, artists of the Renaissance became aristocrats or upper-crust people.
Michelangelo was told his entire life that his ancestors were noble. His family believed it, and when he became an artist, he proceeded from the assumption that he was of noble birth.
- He got the wealthiest patrons to commission his work.
- He charged 10 times what contemporary artists were charging for the same type of work.
- In short, he did everything differently and got a different result than artists who came before him.
The interesting thing about Michelangelo’s story is that he wasn’t actually descended from a noble line. He just believed that he was and proceeded from that assumption. His belief led him to act differently than his peers, which led to his amassing great wealth.
If you believe you’re going to starve and struggle, that will come true for you. Conversely, if you believe the world needs your work and you just need to find a way to make that happen, eventually you will find a way to succeed.
How do you get your work into the right people’s hands so they help you find more fans and spread your message?
The best way to do that is to find a modern-day patron. Find an influencer who has an audience that can help spread your message faster than you can by yourself.
Patrons didn’t just give money to artist in the Renaissance—they lent their influence to their artists. They became evangelists of their artist’s work.
When Lorenzo de Medici became Michelangelo’s patron, he commissioned many statues. But more importantly, Lorenzo invited Michelangelo into his house and introduced him to the connections that would support him for the rest of his life.
Michelangelo was building a network, which is really important if you’re going to support yourself using your creative work, and have your work spread.
This still holds true today: Hank Willis Thomas, a successful photographer, says all of his success came from five people he met in art school.
Never work for free. Always work for something of value. Don’t just work for the “opportunity.” Valuing your own work is how you teach others to value your work.
“We’re not just doing the work to get a paycheck. But getting paid is an important part of being a professional.”
– Jeff Goins
“We don’t make movies to make money. We make money so that we can make more movies.”
– Walt Disney
“The point of making money is so that you can do something in the world to help people, and make the world a better place.”
– Tom Corson Knowles
Money buys you time. If you’re focused on paying your bills this month and you need to write a book in the next three weeks to pay your bills, the book you write isn’t going to be as good as if you had three months to write it.
Money gives you the freedom to spend the time necessary to produce quality products. Money provides a little bit of security so that you can make the next thing that’s going to make a dent in the universe.
More on Mindset and Expectations
We have to be really honest about what’s driving us. Chasing status very rarely brings you the fulfillment you are searching for. Once you achieve the status you’re looking for, whether it’s to be a bestselling author, or get a certain number of people on your mailing list, or whatever, you might feel good for a moment.
After that moment passes, your mind will either come up with reasons to be unhappy about your success, like you don’t deserve it or you aren’t worthy, or you’ll decide that you want even more success.
And you’ll never get enough.
The challenge is that being content with whatever you have is boring! It isn’t bad to want things, to be ambitious and want to grow.
“As human beings, we think we want the summit. We think we want to be at the top of the mountain. What we really want is the climb. We want the experience of gradually moving towards a worthy goal.”
– Jeff Goins
The journey is the fulfilling part of the equation, not the destination.
On the other hand, if you have an endless journey without a destination, it can be exhausting. So it is good to have milestones and achievements to celebrate.
The important thing is to do work that fulfills you as you are doing it. If you enjoy the act of creating your art, you will create art forever. If you consistently create your art, eventually something you create will break through the noise and help you find fans.
“I love who I am when I’m working on a book, a project, something that fascinates me, something that I’m curious about, but also something that challenges me, that I haven’t quite figured out. And there’s all these questions, and I don’t know how it’s going to end. This is what makes it exciting.”
– Jeff Goins
One of the things we need to do as creative people is understand that we enjoy the process of making things, not necessarily the process of finishing things. We need to finish a project in order to get to the next project.
“As soon as I finish a book, it’s very important to me that I start another, regardless of how the first book does.”
– Jeff Goins
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins
https://www.hankwillisthomas.com/ – a successful photographer, and an example of a thriving artist in the 21st century. Hank says all of his success came from five people he met in art school.
1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly – an article about how to make a living with 1,000 true fans.
Jan 12 2018
Rank #19: 04: On Writing, Self Publishing, and Earning a Living as an Author
Jan 08 2014
Rank #20: 031: The 15 Habits of Highly Successful Authors, Writers, Artists and Entrepreneurs
Jul 16 2014