I help people start, finish, and ship creative projects.

Sign up below to receive exclusive, weekly updates.

instigate. inspire. lead.
 
 

Want to become a bestselling author? Join me for a free live workshop where I’ll show you exactly how how I did it for an author this past month. Join by clicking here.
.

Ever since I can remember, I loved the idea of being a writer.

After all, how cool would it be to create something as epic as The Lord of the Rings, or The Chronicles of Narnia, or Gates of Fire and know that this amazing story came from you?

But time passed and I never did write my great novel…

Sure, I made some half-hearted attempts; a few paragraphs here, a few sketches there…but never anything substantial.

And certainly nothing I would actually “publish.”

Fast forward 15 years and I’ve finally written and self-published my first book (a couple actually), as well as published about a half-dozen books from other amazing artists and authors.

In these past two years since I finally hit the “publish” button on my work (and others), my life has improved dramatically (same for the authors I publish).

Below are the 5 most important reasons I’ve found for writing – AND publishing – my work…

Reasons that I hope inspire you to do the same.

Good luck.

5 Reasons to Write and Publish Your Work

#1. Become a Sought-After Authority

Before I published my first book, no one knew my name.

Or at least not the people I specifically wanted to know my name.

Since I’ve published, I’ve been interviewed on top tiered shows like Growthhacker.tv, EntrepreneuronFire.com, and FirepoleMarketing.com. More importantly, people consider me an authority in the topics I write on.

The Complete Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing has given people a reason to call me an expert (and even guru) on the topic.

I don’t say this to brag – the point isn’t whether or not I’m the expert – the point is to show you how powerful this is.

Think about it: if you’re looking for help on a topic (Pay What You Want in my case), who do you go to?  Probably the subject matter expert, right?

Exactly.

Because of this, my writing and publishing has allowed me to leverage my authority on the subject to create lucrative consulting gigs, get invitations to speak at conferences and meetups, and improved my credibility when the topic comes up.

#2. Conquer the Imposter

“Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to see their own accomplishments, dismissing them as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.” [Fast Company]

According to Psychology Today, over 70% of people suffer from imposter syndrome (at some point in their lives).

While there are lots of ways to overcome feeling like a fraud, the fastest way is to write and publish your work.

Why?

Because it forces you to get over yourself, get outside your own head, and come to grips with reality (that most people probably won’t read what you write anyway, so why not do it, right?).

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes about “Resistance” – that nasty thing that keeps us from doing great things in life.

Well imposter syndrome is just one element of “Resistance,” all of which can be defeated by the commitment to write (daily) and publish (as soon as you can).

#3. Create Additional Streams of Revenue

In my last year in the Army, I had no idea what I wanted to become after I left.

Lawyer? Wall Street broker? Real Estate Investor?

Because I had no idea, I figured the simplest thing I could do was test out various creative pursuits to see if they were economically feasible. Since I can’t program to save my life, I figured writing would be the thing I could legitimately test in the marketplace.

Sure enough, it only took 1 published book to show me what was possible (and that was PWYW!).

Since then, I’ve written and published more, and scaled that impact dramatically by publishing other peoples work.

Now, with every new book, is another stream of income that will continue into the future (I try to only write and publish “evergreen” content – stuff that doesn’t fade over time). Best part is: all of this compounds.

So if you’re waiting around believing you’ll eventually finish and eventually publish. Stop.

Set a ship date and launch in the next 30 days (I dare you).

[if you need help, join me for my next free live workshop: "how to launch your book to bestseller in 7 days" - based on a true story]

#4. Build Something That Lasts Forever

This is the reason I do what I do in the long run.

Money fades, success fades, what’s cool or hipster or whatever fades.

But good books don’t fade.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is as applicable today as it was 1,000 years ago.

And through his writing, we get to experience a piece of what he was like. Certainly not the entirety of his personality, but better than nothing.

So when you question your writing, or your ability, or your worth. Stop, and remember:

It’s not about you.

#5. We Become What We Do

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” [Aristotle]

In the past two years, since writing and publishing my first book, I’ve realized something important:

Envisioning myself as the person who has written a bestselling book is a lot different than actually writing one.

Too often we love the idea of being someone or something, but don’t embrace what it means to become that person (guilty).

It’s nice to envision oneself as a bestselling author.

It’s different thing entirely to work every day to become one.

No, it’s not easy.

But then again, it’s not supposed to be.

The question is: what do you want to become 1 year from now?

And while the answer differs person to person, the next step is always the same:

Start today.

* * *

Started, finished and shipped in Holland, Michigan.

Total writing (and filming) time: 1:37 hrs

Soundtrack: Kishi Bashi

.



Join me for a free, live, online workshop: “How to Launch Your Book to Bestseller in 7 Days.”

This is part 3 in a 3 part series. Check out part 1 here and part 2 here. For bonuses, including the copy-and-paste sales script from this blog post, grab The Business Building Toolkit.
.

Learn how to sell anything (that’s worth selling) in this 7 minute video that film critics everywhere are raving about*:

*I can’t confirm nor deny this statement.

.

.
Last month, I led and shipped a collaborative business project – a business training platform for veterans.

Two weeks ago I explained how I thrashed the idea using The Open-Loop Product Development Framework. This allowed us to outline and wireframe our product and specifically how we’d intended to launch it.

Last week, I explained how we developed our lean marketing funnel by using The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method. This let us build out the entire sales funnel to drive potential prospects to our product offer.

Today, I want to talk about how we presented our offer.

Specifically:

  1. how we designed the offer (what mediums and platforms we used)
  2. how our first attempt was a success and a failure (sorta)
  3. and how we made a slight tweak to our sales process to increase sales by 400%

Let’s get to it:

Always Be Closing

Before we get to the meat-n-potatoes of “The Coffee Is for Closers Technique” you should know where the quote comes from (trust me, you’ll thank me later).

So go ahead and grab a coffee or box of caramels, and enjoy these next few minutes of amazing, courtesy of Alec Baldwin (warning, it’s PG-13 at least):

.

.
While this video is ridiculous, it does bring up a good point: that we should focus on closing sales (if we’re in the business of closing sales…and anyone creating anything, outside of hobby projects, is in the business of closing sales).

In particular, we shouldn’t be afraid to get on the phone (or meet in person) to sell a product or service that can actually help people.

After all, if the product or service is any good, your customer will THANK YOU for it.

But…

If you come off salesy, you’ll scare people away and blow the chance of creating a loyal customer.

And that’s the problem: most people new to business / entrepreneurship / art / writing, think this is a black-and-white, one-or-the-other type choice; that you can either not try to sell at all (but hope desperately someone buys), or approach the customer like a used-car salesman and end up turning off potential customers.

Here’s the deal:

These are not the only options.

You can in fact maintain your honesty and integrity while selling your product or service. Actually, you MUST do this. Otherwise, why are you doing what you’re doing in the first place?

Of course, I wouldn’t tell you you need to do something without actually showing you how…

So in the next few sections, I’m going to share with you the particular sales technique we used to increase sales  by 400% while maintaining our honesty and integrity (and creating loyal customers in the process).

So take out a pen and paper, bookmark this page for reference later, and let’s get to it:

Crafting the Sales Offer

In last weeks blog post and video, I explained the exact process we used to funnel potential customers to our offer.

Part of any sales funnel is the offer:

What are you selling and why?

We set up our funnel so that potential customers would only see our sales page when we had the opportunity to share it with them personally (over a live webinar presentation). The reason for this is simple: a static sales page does not do a good job selling a premium product or service (certainly no one that’s brand new for something that’s not yet built!).

So we had to be able to present our offer in person (live webinar being close enough), if we hoped to get any early adopters on board our new program.

From Good to Great

Our first live webinar went off great.

Not only did 2% of attendees become early adopters immediately (about industry standard), but more importantly, everyone on the live webinar raved about it. 95% of our attendees stayed on for over 90 minutes of the presentation (way over industry standard in terms of engagement).

In fact, we weren’t even going to stop there as we had so many great questions coming in and such an awesome response, but we accidentally closed down the webinar in the middle of the Q & A…user error!

Here’s the thing though: while 2% conversion from a webinar is good, it’s not enough to truly validate our offer.

This is a tough position to be in: to have sold a number of your products or services, but not enough to know for sure it’s a home-run with your audience.

So for our next live webinar, we pivoted.

Instead of hoping we’d get more sales from the live webinar, we decided to focus 100% on the success of each individual on the call. We did this by asking for everyone’s number who would be interested in a short, one-on-one strategy call with us, to figure out ways to get their businesses off the ground (and to see if our program would be right for them).

Over 50% of attendees left their numbers – an amazing sign that what we were offering was useful.

The next step: calling every person who left his or her number, and giving 100% attention to their situation and sticking point, and helping them through it. After spending about 30 minutes on the phone with everyone who left their numbers, the results were in:

We quadrupled our sales and could confirm without a shadow of a doubt that we had a valuable service on our hands.

The “Coffee Is for Closers” Technique

Now, I could leave it at that, and let the lesson be: get on the phone with your potential customers, but that wouldn’t be very Tom Morkes of me.

So in this section, I’m going to walk you through the exact, step-by-step process I used to turn curious passer-bys into loyal customers.

Now, I have zero background in sales.

I spent 1/3rd of my life in the Army, where I never had to sell anything (except why I should be allowed to grow a beard…didn’t work). So getting on the phone with someone to get them to join a $3,000+ program…how do you do that?

So I did what I always do at times of uncertainty: I searched YouTube for the answer.

Lo and behold, I found a short video by Noah Kagan of Appsumo.com and SumoMe.com (you’ll notice that I use a lot of Sumome.com software on this site – highly recommend for anyone with a website looking to convert visitors into subscribers).

In the video, Noah shares a simple process for selling anything. To summarize, there are 3 main steps:

  1. Listen
  2. Relate
  3. Transition

Step 1: Listen to the Problem

The key here is listen to the potential customer’s problem. Your goal is to get the person to deep-dive into their problems so you can get a very good understanding of the issues they’re facing and what’s holding them back (so you know if you can help them or not).

Step 2: Relate

The key here is to be human (really, isn’t that always the key?).

Respond back to this person using the same words and style they use. You not only want to show them you understand what their problem is, but you understand them at a subconscious level (this is where using the same language / body language helps dramatically – for more information on this topic, here’s one of my favorite books on NLP…expensive but worth it).

Step 3: Transition

Once you understand the customer’s problem, you know where they want to be, and you’re confident your product or service can get them there, now it’s time to transition to the sale.

This means explaining to them how your particular product or service will get them the results they want and avoid the pitfalls of prior solutions.

* * *

For a step-by-step, copy-and-paste template of the exact questions I asked, head over the “The Business Building Toolkit” here.

* * *

How We Used This Technique

The approach we decided on after thrashing out our business plan and developing our product launch strategy, was to funnel prospective customers through a live training webinar.

Statistically, webinar sales presentations convert at about 2-3%. As in, if 100 people show up to a webinar, you should come away with 3 sales.

For a $3,000 product or service, this wouldn’t be too bad a showing.

The problem was, because we were building an audience from scratch, we knew we would have a hard time getting a large crowd to these webinars. 100 people might be possible in the future, but right now, that was about the size of our entire list (driven mostly through Facebook ads, which I show in this free bonus training).

That’s why we put a heavy emphasis that second live webinar on getting phone numbers from people interested in a 15 minute consulting call and follow on talk about whether our premium program was right for them.

By using this process, we ended up converting about 14% of live attendees into customers.  

Best part – we’ve gotten nothing but stellar reviews and feedback from our group (several people making the comment the other day, since the program has started, that it’s an insane value that we’re creating).

This is the power of the “Coffee is for Closers” Technique and the power of selling something that’s WORTH selling.

If you’d like the exact copy I used, you can sign up here.

When the “Coffee is For Closers” Technique Won’t Work

There are a couple reasons this technique won’t work.

  • If you have a product that doesn’t actually deliver

In this situation, two things can happen. Best case, people don’t buy. Worst case, they buy and ask for a refund and you’ve ruined your reputation.

Don’t sell something that doesn’t work. Only use this technique for products and services that create real results.

  • If people don’t trust you

There’s no real solution for this except to be trustworthy. How do you become trustworthy? Be transparent, be honest, and create products and services that deliver (or don’t try selling them).

Next Steps to Sell Anything (worth selling):

This wraps up the final update in the “How to Launch a Business From Scratch” 3-part miniseries.

I have received a few requests to go more in depth on:

  1. how to build an audience (because a business thrives or dies based on the audience)
  2. example of the thrashing process (how we iteratively go through the deployment process of an idea, how we test it, how we refine it, how we ship it again)

I intend to touch on these subjects over the next few weeks, but I’d like to know from you:

  • What else would you like to learn about?

Leave a comment below to let me know (I don’t make these videos and blog posts in a vacuum, so the only wrong answer is silence!!!).

Also let me know if you have used this technique for selling your own products or services and what the results were (or why you HAVEN’T used it – what’s holding you back?).

Until next time, stay frosty.

* * *

Started in Denver, Colorado; finished and shipped in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Total writing (and filming) time: 6:17 hrs

Soundtrack: Mumford and Sons youtube mix

.

Business Building Toolkit

 

This is part 2 in a three part series. Check out part 1 here. For bonuses, including how I created and optimized our Facebook ads and how I built the sales page, grab The Business Building Toolkit.
.

How to Launch a Business From Scratch Part 2: How to Build a Lean Sales Funnel From Scratch

Last month, I helped launch a collaborative business project.

What started as just an idea several months prior culminated in a launch that brought in 5 figures, allowing us to fund our operations for the foreseeable future and scale our business to the next level.

In part 1, I wrote about “The Open Loop Product Development Framework” – a process I use to thrash an idea until it’s clear.

What exactly needs clarity?

  • what’s the goal of the business or project (impact, revenue, etc.)?
  • how will you find and reach your first 10 customers (and then first 100)?
  • do you have the resources to fund and create this?
  • can you launch this within 30 to 60 days?

“The Open Loop Product Development Framework” allows us to systematically find this clarity as we thrash and build out a basic (but useable) business plan.

The fundamental principle of “The Open Loop Product Development Framework” is this:

Great ideas don’t matter without great execution.

Next Step After You Clarify Your Business Plan

At this point, you have a clear idea of:

  • what you’re building
  • why you’re building it
  • and who it’s for

Now we need to focus on turning this basic outline into a shippable product.

This means:

  1. building the product (or at least the shell of the product or service)
  2. leading people to your offer
  3. getting people to pay for your offer (product or service)

In next weeks blog post, I’ll explain in more detail how to build a product wireframe you can sell on proof of concept alone (as well as how to sell it). Today, I want to focus on building everything around your offer – the stuff that determines if your product or service ends up a success or failure.

In other words: how to create a sales funnel.

How to Build a Lean Sales Funnel

In the following video, I want to explain to you, step by step how to build this sales funnel. Below the video you’ll find additional notes and ideas on how to properly create a lean sales funnel.

Once you’re finished viewing and reading, please leave a comment and let me know what questions you have about the lean sales funnel process.

.

.

Defining the Sales Funnel

Mattan Griffin, creator of the One Month Growth Hacking Course, defines the 5 steps of the lean marketing funnel as:

Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue.

Acquisition: get someone to your site

Activation: get this person to take action (free trial, newsletter subscription,etc.)

Retention: get this person to come back to your site multiple times (coming back to use their free trial, coming back through your newsletter, etc.)

Referral: get this person to spread the word, either directly or indirectly. For example: directly – word of mouth; indirectly – putting your logo on the software so when others see it, there’s a chance they’ll click on it.

Revenue: get this person to buy something (upgrade to paid version of your software, but your book, join your premium ecourse or training program, etc.)

These building blocks of the lean marketing funnel are also the building blocks of the lean sales funnel I built for our most recent product, and something I’m going to share with you below.

Avoiding Complexity in Your Sales Funnel

There are hundreds of ways to overdo the sales process online; all sorts of bells and whistles you can add to your sales page, to your advertising, to your product or service. You can spend months building “virality” into your product, weeks creating the best survey lead magnet in existence (been there, done that), or days creating the best graphics.

At the end of the day: all of this just overcomplicates things.

The success of your launch is dependent not only on the quality of the product or service and the effectiveness of the sales funnel, but how simple it is for you to manage the whole process.

Most product launch failures are “user-error” failures.

Simply put, the more elements or layers we add to the funnel, the more complex the system becomes. The ramifications of complexity:

Best case: you’ve designed a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Worst case (more often the case): it doesn’t work.

So what’s the alternative?

A simple sales funnel that turns visitors into loyal customers.

Enter: The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method

How to Simplify and Optimize Your Sales Funnel: The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method

The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is a simple way to execute the lean marketing funnel explained above, but in this case: to launch a single product or service.

Instead of creating an overly complex funnel, The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method focuses on only the essential and removes waste in the process.

The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is composed of three (surprise) key elements:

  1. One Lead Generator (the thing getting people to come to your site)
  2. One Splash Page (the page you lead prospective customers to)
  3. One Conversion Process (the way you turn visitors into loyal customers)

One Lead Generator

If you’re trying to create an effective sales funnel, it’s best to identify one way to generate leads for your product or service.

There are hundreds of ways to drive customers, but unless you’re working at a large company or have tons of disposable income, you’ll have to narrow and focus your efforts (this is especially true if you’re new to all this).

It doesn’t make sense to try to drive traffic from a podcast, Facebook ads, outbound marketing, and affiliates right at the beginning; much better to focus on just ONE lead generation source so you can get really good at it (as opposed to spreading yourself thin and creating a lot of things that don’t really work).

One Splash Page

All your efforts should guide people to one page.

One page.

Not two, or five, or ten; Just one (and no need to even split test this).

This page should be coherent with the message that drove visitors to it in the first place, and should also be coherent with the conversion process you’ll use.

So, for example: if you want to convert people using a sales webinar, the one splash page should be a webinar optin page. And the traffic that comes there through your lead generator should KNOW they’re headed to a place where they can opt into a webinar.

Being consistent throughout is clutch.

One Conversion Process

Don’t try to sell a product a dozen different ways. Just focus on one way to convert visitors into loyal customers.

In the webinar example, a sales webinar would be the conversion process…not a free ecourse, not sending them to a static sales page, but actually selling them on the webinar.

Examples of conversion processes:

  1. in person meetup or event
  2. phone or skype call
  3. live webinar with sales pitch at the end
  4. autoresponder with upsells
  5. static sales page

Note: a static sales page is probably the least effective at converting sales. I’ve heard from dozens of business owners with large audiences (10,000 + ) who have launched products or services hoping a simple sales page would convert sales, but ended up converting at less than 1% (less than 1% of 10,000 people = 100 sales…not very much at all for a list that size). Then, when they through a more active conversion process into the mix (live webinar, phone calls, etc.), conversion sky-rocketed.

So pick one to test it, and ultimately: the more personal, the better (more on this next blog post – sign up here to be notified).

Why The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method Works

First, because it focuses on growth and learning foremost.

If you’re trying a dozen different things to sell your product or service, how do you know what’s working or what’s not?  But if you focus on just one thing, you properly measure it, which means you can learn from it.

And learning inevitably leads to success.

Second, it’s manageable.

Like I said before – most launch failures are user-error failures. Often because of an overcomplicated launch process.

The key to The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is simplicity. A single individual working part time can use this method and make it work.

What if I Don’t Have an Audience?

Now, this technique is based on the assumption you have an audience.

But what if you don’t?

Well, you build one.

For us, that meant spending some money on targeted Facebook ads to build a list of 200+ before we launched our first sales webinar (learn how to create these types of targeted FB ads here).

For you, it could be sharing your work with family and friends, with Facebook groups that might be interested, or using a tool like Untorch.com to spread your message viraly (is that a word? it is now…).

So ultimately, you need an audience.

Good news is: it doesn’t take much to build one.

(note: if you want more education on how to build an audience, let me know in the comments below and I’ll go in more depth in a future blog post)

Next Steps

So what happens when we’ve built out your lean sales funnel and people start showing up?

You close the sale.

In the next video and blog, I’m going to teach you “The Coffee Is For Closers Technique” and specifically how we quadrupled industry standards with our sales webinars.

Check your inbox next week for the content and bonuses.

Oh, and if you enjoyed this article or this series, please SHARE!

Thanks in advance for your support :)

.

Business Building Toolkit