Jeff Goins is a well-known writer. He makes a full-time living from his writing business. He started off as a blogger, then moved to becoming a published author, to writing full-time and is now an author entrepreneur.
I have been following his work for a number of years and he recently gave an online seminar during an online summit I tuned into. He talked about his experience of how he got 10,000 fans, published a book and make $100,000 in 18 months. Here are my notes on the session which I hope you will find useful.
If you do the work, you will see the results.
It’s hard to make a living from your writing and building 10,000 fans. But it CAN be done if you do the work. You need to keep doing the work and build momentum. Failure is all too often due to not sticking to it long enough.
Top 3 reasons for why people think they cannot write and make a living from it:
- ‘That will never work’ (incorrect mindset)
- ‘I don’t have enough time’ (time management issues)
- ‘I’m not that good’ (lack of self belief)
All the above phrases are totally valid and Goin’s himself felt all three at some point. But whatever you are looking for in life, you will find it. Whatever you focus on, you will get.
So if you are looking for an excuse then you will find it. If you’re looking for a way to success, you’ll find one.
Build a Platform
A platform is essentially the way you communicate to people who trust you. A platform is a medium by which you teach, share or speak to people. This could be via blogging, Youtube videos or teaching courses online. Understand what your medium is and how your platform fits into that.
Suspend the above three excuses. Are you willing to try something new? Are you willing to get your words out in the world? Are you willing to let yourself make money from an online business? Are you willing to try something new to get a new result?
Building Your Audience
The key is to establish your platform. What is it?
It’s a place from where you broadcast your message. It is influence, it is the means by which you share your message to the world.
Whether you know it or not, you already have a platform. Someone is already paying attention to what you are doing and saying right now.
Building a platform starts off with realising you already have one and then building upon it. The medium does not matter (blogging, audio, videos etc). It’s about getting your message out there.
You need to understand how the game is played. Winners play by the rules and understand how your platform fits into that.
The 5 Platform Personalities
There are 5 types of platforms you can have that Goins refers to as platform personalities. Each platform is better suited to a personality type. Figure out what you have to say and how you are going to say it. You need to create something your audience wants. Pick one to focus and concentrate on.
1. The Journalist.
- What? This is a person who builds their platform by asking questions. If you ask the right questions to the experts then you start appearing as an expert.
- Requisite needed: Curiosity.
- Example: Malcolm Gladwell writes non fiction books. The 10,000 hours of practise’’ rule was attributed to him even though he clearly states in his book, Outliers, the rule is based on research conducted by psychologist Anders Ericsson!
- This platform is all about asking questions and sharing the answers with your audience.
2. The Prophet
- What? Builds platform with the ugly, nasty, dirty truth.
- Requisite needed: Dissatisfaction
- Example: Seth Godin challenges the status quo, writes about things that are broken and need fixing. Prophets are known for telling the truth.
3. The Artist
- What? Builds platform by making art.
- Requisite needed: An eye for beauty.
- Example: Ann Voskamp is a spiritual author. She writes about mundane moments of life in the most beautiful ways. She makes us see beauty in the everyday things. This category also includes design blogs and photography.
4. The Professor
- What? Builds platform on facts and data. (The are obsessed with facts / how-to articles)
- Requisite needed: thirst for knowledge
- Example: Jim Collins author of ‘From Good to Great’ spends all his time researching, wanting to understand how things work and then shares it with his audience. They differ from j’ournalists’ who collect and collates stories. The ‘Professor’ likes to dig deeper into the data.
5. The Star
- What? They are almost like celebrities and are typically Youtube stars building a platform of their charisma and likable personalities.
- Requisite needed: a heart for people
- Example: Tim Ferris , author of ‘Th Four Hour Work Week’ talks about his life and shares what he is dong and his audience loves it!
Platform building Key Point Takeaways:
Key #1 : Don’t build the platform you wish you had. Leverage the one you already have. Use your own personal strengths and leverage them.
Take Action: identify which personality you are. Pick one and focus on developing it.
(Just an FYI, Goins says he is a major in Prophet and minor in Journalist as he loves to tell and share stories. So you can perhaps have two types of personalities but one should be the main one which you focus on).
Key #2: Expand Your Reach (Social media/ marketing)
This is all about marketing. But so many people go about this in the wrong way!
I like the way Goins explains this analogy by saying how the internet is like a party. You can do all the preparations for the party, put up the decorations and order the food. The party starts at 2pm…..and no one turns up!
Because you didn’t do one thing. You forgot to invite people. So you need to first go and find these people! Connect with other people. Build relationships. Engage in communities. Join conversations. Tell people where you are and where you are holding the party! You need to have a way to tell people who you are and where you are. And how do you do this? By building your platform:
1. Start a blog. Start with a simple site and get a few blog posts up. Then start guest posting for other bloggers. Get that piece of content to link back to your site. You start to build an audience. But do your research beforehand. Read the other persons blog, form a relationship with that author.
2. Build an email list. This is still the number one way to reach people. Social media can be fleeting but email is the best way to build deeper connections and relationships with your audience. An email is an essential part of an online course business and serious platform building asset.
An email address is the most universal way that you can communicate with most people online. Give something away for free. Give before you ask and then you earn the permission to sell or share something to your audience.
3. Networking. The best way to network is to help other people by doing them favours.
Ask them to do something small that allows you to build trust over time. For example ask for just 15 mins of their time to interview them. Goins did this with Micheal Hyatt. He kept in contact with him over emails telling him what he had learnt from his work and how he was progressing with it. This eventually led to building a close relationship and after 7 months Goins was able to ask Hyatt to write a review for his first book.
What Can You Do to Help Others?
It’s not who you know, it’s who you help. That is how you build a network.
The Age of No Excuse!
If you have an idea that you want the world to hear, via a book or online business, you no longer have the excuse that ‘no one will let you’. There are no excuses for not creating a business or starting an online business.
Identify Your Expertise
‘Whats obvious to you is amazing to others’ – Derek Sivers
Ask 5 people you know what they think your expertise is. They may highlight areas you had never considered you were an expert in. And remember an expert is someone who knows only 10% more than you. What can you offer people? What can you do for them? What are your good at? For example, you may be someone who is motivating or inspiring.
Ask your Audience
Don’t try to guess what people want. ASK them! What do they need that you can build and make for them? Goins asked his 10,000 email list what they wanted. They said they wanted an e-book. So that whats he made and sold! He surveyed his audience with a combination of quantitative and qualitative questions.
Don’t try to make people pay you, let them.
Remember it’s not a question of if but a matter of when, so long as long as you are willing to put in the work. Trust the process and you will see the results
Nobody is going to pick you to do the work……will you pick yourself today?