About Tom Morkes

Hi, I'm Tom Morkes.

I'm a West Point grad, Iraq war veteran, founder and CEO of Insurgent Publishing, and author of The Art of Instigating, The Complete Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing and Collaborate.

I am also the host of In The Trenches, where I interview today's most fascinating (and sometimes controversial) marketers, entrepreneurs, writers, creators, inventors and leaders, including Dr. Jordan PetersonSeth Godin, and John Jantsch among many others.

My clients describe me as a "Launch Architect" -- and since I don't have a better way to describe what I do, let's just go with that.

In the last decade, I’ve helped hundreds of brands and businesses grow their traffic, leads, and sales using my Launch to Profit Methodology.™

Some of the projects I've worked on include:

  • A record-setting Kickstarter campaign that grossed $453k in 33 days...
  • Book launches that have landed my authors on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists...
  • Dozens of product launches that have generated a full year of revenue in less than 30 days...

From high-profile influencers like Neil Patel to fast-growth startups like Teachable, my clients come to me because they need results and I deliver.

These are just a few examples of the brands I've worked with. Most of my work goes unattributed by choice.

Why this matters to you right now...

Let me ask you a question:

Have you ever felt like everyone online is saying the same thing?

If you read a lot of blogs or listen to a lot of podcasts, I'm sure you've noticed the echo chamber...

The advice goes something like this:

"Be everywhere! Be authentic! Start an instafacesnapinterestiscope account to sell $10 billion in 4 hours (and look sexier naked)!"

You get the idea.

It's the same cliche, repeated again and again - sometimes with a fresh coat of paint.

And that's all well and good...

...until you start implementing.

And then where does that advice get you?

The fastest way to get where you want to go...

Is rarely a straight line.

In fact, it usually means taking a very indirect, unconventional approach.

Why?

Because the beaten path is full and if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to do things other people aren't doing.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it - most people usually aren't doing these things because they're harder.

....but if you're willing to "do the work" (h/t Steven Pressfield), I truly believe you will succeed where others fail.

What you must do...

Building a profitable online business is hard.

It's even harder if you go it alone.

Tip #1. Don't try to do everything yourself.

Instead, find, connect with, and leverage the talents, insights, and wisdom of those who have come before you.

Don't recreate the wheel; learn from other people's successes (and more importantly: their failures).

A simple way to start?

Follow along as I share what's working (and what's not) in the online publishing and media space.

I will show you what's working RIGHT NOW when it comes to starting and growing a profitable (and sustainable) online business.

These are NOT theoretical insights.

I share real results from real experiments that I use to test new marketing strategies for myself as well as those I've used to grow my clients' online businesses (for software companies like Teachable, digital media companies like Entrepreneur On Fire, education brands like seanwes, and for high-profile influencers like Neil Patel, Ash Maurya, Jesse Krieger, Joseph Michael, and many others).

I share my very best stuff exclusively on my free newsletter.

Click here to get cutting-edge marketing and sales insights you won't find on the blog.

History + longer bio of Tom Morkes

In 2012, I authored the book The Art of Instigating, which I subsequently gave away for free to all of my email subscribers at the time (all 10 of them).

In early 2013, I decided I wanted to validate myself as a writer by seeing if people would pay for my work, but I also didn't want to charge.

So I released Notes From Seth Godin's Revolution Conference (with Seth's permission) as "Pay What You Want." I thought people would laugh at me. Instead, people started leaving "tips" and thanking me for all the work I was doing and all the books and training I gave away for free.

I made close to $500 in the first month.

This surprised me for two reasons.

First, it taught me that maybe people would pay for my writing (maybe I was good enough, contrary to what the Enemy would have me believe).

Second, it taught me that people would pay even if they didn't have to.

This experience inspired me to share my story in a Fizzle.co article (external link).

Once again, the response was overwhelming. This article instigated so much feedback, both positive and negative, that I decided to dive head first into Pay What You Want pricing, testing out the pricing technique with products (digital and physical), and services (which, turns out, allowed me to make more money per hour than most doctors and lawyers in the US).

After about 10 months of testing, I compiled my experiments and research into a new book: The Complete Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing. While I sell this book using Pay What You Want pricing (clever, right?), I've been able to make over $7,000 from people's generous contributions, which I believe gives testament to the power of generosity (and that authors can make a living from their writing, as this is just one of many books I've written and published).

This book also went semi-viral, landing me interviews and appearances on podcasts, blogs, and radio shows around the world, including Growthhacker.tv, Problogger.net, Gumroad.com, and Mirasee (former FirepoleMarketing), among dozens of others.

In the Spring of 2014, I co-founded and launched a "Pay What You Want" business incubator, which I believe was the first of its kind. We did $41,000 for the launch of the in-person event, then followed up with the digital launch several weeks later.

In the Fall of 2014, I co-founded HighSpeedLowDrag.org alongside John Lee Dumas of EntrepreneurOnFire.com and Antonio Centeno of RealMenRealStyle.com. HighSpeedLowDrag.org is a platform to help veterans transition into the civilian world as entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders.

In the Winter of 2014, I crowdfunded my book: Collaborate: The Modern Playbook for Leading a Small Team to Create, Market, and Sell Digital Products Online, which raised over $12,000 in 30 days.

The book is now available. You can purchase your copy here.

Since 2014, I've engineered the launch strategy behind over 100 product launches across a range of industries. These campaigns have generated hundreds of thousands of leads and millions in revenue.

I feel blessed and honored to work with some of the best companies and most influential thought-leaders in the world, to help them expand their reach, impact, and profit.

Here's what people are saying about Tom Morkes...

"When I'm looking for business smarts, not just Internet business, but business smarts, Tom is one of the first people I turn to. It started with PWYW product launches and now he is one of my primary advisors on the launch of my latest book. His work has my highest recommendation." - Ryan Hanley, Hanley Media Lab

“Tom is that rare combination of great work ethic, positive attitude, and willingness to learn. He has a smart and savvy take on business and in particular how to grow a business. He's one of my most trusted advisors whenever I have a question about my own business.” - John Corcoran, Founder of SmartBusinessRevolution.com, prior writer for the White House

“Tom is one of those rare people that you meet and just know they're a rising star, on their way to greatness. It's been an absolute pleasure working with him on the Paid to Exist book and having his guidance launching it. His hustle, heart and commitment to giving courageously makes him shine. I'm grateful to have him in my corner.” - Jonathan Mead, Founder of PaidtoExist.com

Want my help on your next launch or marketing campaign?

Click here to see ways we can work together.

Before Tom Morkes was a publisher / entrepreneur / male model

Before life as an entrepreneur and publisher, I graduated from The United States Military Academy at West Point, NY.

At West Point, I majored in Russian and Human Geography with a track in Environmental Engineering. I also fought on the boxing team.

After graduating, I spent five years active duty as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, deployed to Iraq as a Guntruck Security Platoon Leader, and eventually commanded a Company in an airborne unit where I got paid to jump out of helicopters - true story.

tom army

This blog is my way of applying what I've learned leading troops in a combat zone to the world of entrepreneurship, writing, and art.

This is your opportunity...

During my years of active duty military service, I've learned no more important lesson than this: people need you to instigate.

Every team is waiting for someone to take point, to lead, to be the first through the door (or out of the helicopter).

Your opportunity is to be that leader.

I'm here to help show you how.

When you sign up for my free newsletter, you join me and the growing army of artists and entrepreneurs who are taking the lead, fighting and winning the creative war, and creating remarkable, meaningful things for the people who matter.

It's not for everyone...

But it could be for you.

Click here to join.

I hope to see you in the fray.

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