How to get into Ghostwriting

How to get into Ghostwriting

In the last week, I’ve had a couple of people ask me how they can get into ghostwriting.

I’ve shared a great deal about this in the past, but strategy and best practices have changed a little, so I figured it was high-time I offered a refreshed perspective on the work that has been a mainstay for me in the last seven years or so.

Here’s how to get into ghostwriting.

Publish on Medium

In the past, my advice would have been to start a blog. And while this is still sound advice, you’re bound to get more attention for your work on Medium.

You can get 30 views per day on your content on Medium almost instantaneously. If you erected a blog and published daily starting today, it could be months before you start to see 30 views per day, and it could even take over a year. The advantages of Medium, therefore, should be obvious.

Think of Medium as your portfolio. Publish your best work two to three times per week. Write on the topics you ultimately wish to be writing about.

This doesn’t mean you won’t get connected to work and topics you don’t know much about, and it doesn’t mean you won’t take on such work either. A ghostwriter has to get paid.

But your love for the craft of writing, editing, and research should be obvious in your work. Because prospects need to be able to see that you can do something they cannot, or at the very least, that you love the practice of writing great content more than they do.

Remember that writing great content is the baseline requirement to be at the table. And if you’re just getting started, sorry to say, you’re not great. Which is why you need to cut your teeth on Medium. The readers are discerning, and the stats are harsh. It will take a long time to see any traction. Can you endure this? If not, you are not made for ghostwriting.

Writing great content is the baseline requirement to be at the table. Click To Tweet

One more pro tip: Be sure to back up all your work to your hard drive. If Medium closes its doors one day, or if another more attractive platform comes along, you don’t want to lose any of your content and not be able to take it with you.

But rest assured you’re picking the right platform with Medium. Many top shelf writers agree – it’s the best opportunity available to bloggers right now.

Many top shelf writers agree – Medium is the best opportunity available to bloggers right now. Click To Tweet

Get Connected with Ghost Blog Writers

In 2012, I began working as an online marketer with a music industry startup, and a couple of my key responsibilities were blogging and social media. Make sense, since they tend to go hand in hand.

I made a lot of great connections in the music industry during that time, because I was proactive about commenting on people’s content.

Amid that, I got connected to the owner of Ghost Blog Writers, Dayne Shuda, through a mutual friend, Corey Koehler.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. But I continued to see Dayne’s daily updates on LinkedIn.

In summer 2013, the startup I was working for put the brakes on our marketing efforts, as we were having some issues with software development. So, my role was effectively put on hold.

That’s when I reached out to Dayne. And I ended up working with Ghost Blog Writers for the next six years.

Now, there are a few things you should know:

  1. Now that you know about Ghost Blog Writers, recognize that you’re probably not going to be the only one applying to work with them. Competition is a given.
  2. Ghost Blog Writers may start you off on a couple of easy assignments that don’t pay much. If you give up too early, you won’t be trusted with more lucrative work.
  3. If you don’t exercise the same determination I talked about with publishing on Medium, you will not succeed with Ghost Blog Writers or any other companies you choose to work with.

If nothing else, Dayne is a great guy and he can point you in the right direction, even if it’s just to one of the hundreds or thousands of blog posts he’s written.

Keep an Eye on the Pro Blogger Job Board

Darren Rowse of Pro Blogger was an early innovator in the world of blogging. He had – and still has – a lot of great ideas, and the Pro Blogger Job Board is one of them.

On the Job Board, you will find people looking for writers to work on their projects.

When you’re just getting started, you’re probably not going to be bum rushed with requests, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on job postings.

You may or may not find work this way, and I’m not suggesting you count on the Job Board to bring the bacon home. Because it may not.

That said, it’s still a good idea to make it a part of your daily rounds.

Offer Your Services on Upwork

Create an Upwork profile today. It can take a while to supply all the information requested and test your aptitudes, but the effort you put into this will ultimately pay off.

There is a near endless stream of work on Upwork. Not all of it is great. Not all of it pays a whole lot of money. But as a stop gap, it can come in incredibly handy.

Don’t wait around for someone to send work your way. Look at the types of jobs employers are posting and gather as much information as you can. You may be able to track down some missed or unfulfilled opportunities this way. You may be able to create your own!g

Once you’re set up, as with the Pro Blogger Job Board, you can simply make Upwork a part of your daily rounds and pick and choose which work you’d like to take on.

Reach Out to Businesses That Don’t Have a Blog

This, in effect, is how I started blogging with the music industry startup mentioned earlier. I have told this story elsewhere, and there’s a little more to it than that (I also invested a sizable amount of money into the business), but suffice it to say, the right pitch will get you hired every time.

If a business does not have a blog, it’s usually for one of three reasons:

  1. They don’t know what the benefits of blogging are. They don’t know that they can rank for keywords, drive more traffic to their website, generate more leads, and encourage more sales from the simple act of blogging.
  2. They don’t have the time or money to blog.
  3. They don’t care about blogging as other advertising and marketing channels are doing just fine for them.

All three types of businesses are potential customers. It mostly comes down to the pitch and how you frame the value of blogging to them.

If you’re dealing with customer #1, you simply elaborate on the benefits of keywords, SEO, content marketing (throw a few buzzwords around) and show them examples of companies that already have blogs and are publishing regularly.

With customer #2, you just need to show them why they can’t afford not to blog, and volunteer to take on the work for them. Do it on the cheap or pro bono (more on this in a moment).

And with customer #3, you need to show them how you can complement their existing marketing channels with blogging. Give them examples of how you can tie in content with their ads.

Now, as a complete beginner, see if you can negotiate a small fee or work pro bono for a company that doesn’t have a blog. You need to polish your skills anyway, and the added pressure of being “under the gun” can help you refine in a hurry.

Sure, some will tell you “no,” but rejection exists in every freelancing or entrepreneurial endeavor. It’s par for the course. If you don’t love writing, and don’t want to keep pursuing it, you will give up. It’s as simple as that.

Final Thoughts

Get established, work hard, keep your deadlines, read lots, and keep improving. Keep your working relationships private. If you do, making a couple grand a month at ghostwriting will prove relatively easy.

In due course, you may be able to earn five-figures per month. But it’s a rare writer who does.

As a ghostwriter, you will rarely get credit for any of your work, and that is a bit of a downside, but it’s not impossible to begin building your own following as you are serving your clients, just as I’ve done.

Are you a writer? What has your experience of ghostwriting been like?

Let me know in the comments.

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How Content Marketing Works for Creatives

How Content Marketing Works for Creatives

There are different ways to promote your works.

But I don’t know of one artist who doesn’t need to promote their works, even if it’s just starting a mass movement among fans.

Content marketing is largely considered the “modern” way in the business world and it can be incredibly effective. But why is that? And can it work for creatives too?

How You View Content Marketing Shapes Everything

It has been my observation that some creatives don’t even like the term “content” let alone “marketing.”

If that’s where you get stuck, then rest assured no progress will be made, and you will not effort to understand content marketing let alone recognize its benefits, utilize, and profit from it (“profit” being another term that could leave a creative feeling uncomfortable). Perhaps it would be best to pursue other channels.

To tackle this mindset issue, though, it’s important to understand a few things:

  • Important ideas, through the ages, have been shared in the written word. If it was written before the printing press, and it has survived, it was clearly an idea worth keeping and spreading. Although I do not take it for granted that your content marketing efforts will land in the domain of blog posts, articles, or more generally the written word, the point is that content marketing is the sharing of ideas and knowledge.
  • Content marketing isn’t new. If you’ve ever engaged with a piece of direct mail, a newsletter, a magazine, or otherwise, you were the willing participant in content marketing, which predates the internet.
  • Content marketing is honest. It begins with relating to your target audience. Sharing about yourself, building rapport and trust. Talking about things that matter to your customer. Sharing valuable information that benefits their lives. Then, and only then, do you ask for their contact information, and eventually, the sale.

There are more points I could offer to convince you, but both you and I know you will not be sold on anything you don’t have an open mind about.

You will not be sold on anything you don't have an open mind about. Click To Tweet

So, I leave the rest in your capable hands, to do your research and to come up with your own conclusions.

What can Content Marketing do for Me?

People sometimes ask how it is that I drive traffic to Music Entrepreneur HQ or sell my books. And though some find it hard to believe, most of it was built on the back of content marketing in the form of blog posts, infographics, podcast episodes, and videos.

I’ve experimented with advertising, sure, and have done my share of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work too. Although, let’s be honest – much of SEO is predicated on the publishing of fresh content.

If this is still a little abstract for you, then have a look at how Music Entrepreneur HQ has done traffic wise in the last 30 days or so:

Content marketing traffic

Sure, there was a rather obvious dip during the holiday season, but most days the traffic holds at 300+ visits per day, and even exceeds 400 some days. And this is largely based on work already done, not on the back of fresh content. Generally, I only publish once per week on Music Entrepreneur HQ these days.

If you don’t understand what 400 visits per day (or even just 200 visits per day) could do for you and your art, then I’m not sure I can help.

Why Content Marketing?

I saw others succeed with it. So, I thought to myself – “why not me?”

In 2007, I learned that Steve Pavlina had built an entire income on the back of blogging (no advertising). And in ensuing years, I learned about the likes of Darren Rowse, Pat Flynn, James Schramko, and many others who’d done amazing things with content.

I think what cemented it all for me was my reading of Content Inc. (affiliate link) by Joe Pulizzi, which still stands as one of my favorite business books. I was already knee deep into content marketing when I had read the book, but reading it made me present to the fact that the opportunity was even greater than I first thought it was.

Now, there are plenty of extraordinary claims about content marketing if you go looking for them. But I wouldn’t get too caught up in those, unless they offer actionable tips to help you improve your content. Generally, there are no shortcuts to success.

But if you stay consistent, continually improve, and publish on a set schedule, you will see results in six to 12 months.

This is exactly what many creatives don’t do, as they start and stop, and sometimes stop altogether after publishing once or twice.

It’s rare that anything works as rapidly as we wish it would, and if not done in a strategic way, content marketing will a) not work, b) attract the wrong audience, c) not build an audience whatsoever, d) disappoint people who started following you, e) not make you any money, or f) some or all the above.

Trust me, I know. I have made most mistakes you could name.

How to Make Content Marketing Work for You

You share your work, and people become interested in it. And that builds an audience. That’s the essence of content marketing.

If people don’t know who you are or what you do, it makes it much harder to gain them as subscribers or customers.

And that’s the “why” of content marketing, which is more important than the “how.”

But in this section, I offer some tips on how to execute.

Talk About What Your Audience is Interested in

If I’m starting to sound like a broken record, then remember that reinforcement comes through repetition.

Reinforcement comes through repetition. Click To Tweet

Learn as much as you can about your audience. Keep notes on them. And be sure to talk about them as well as their interests in your content.

And be sure to share about yourself. Each insignificant detail matters (e.g., “I’m married and have two kids,” or “I was in the Girl Scouts”) as there will always be someone in your audience who can relate to it.

If you have been reading my works for any length of time, then you will know that I am fluent in Japanese, as I grew up in Japan!

Pick a Channel & Stick with it

I plan to elaborate on this in a future blog post, but the key here is to choose from blogging, podcasting, or video and stick with one channel until you find success. Branching out is unnecessary, and marketer Russell Brunson even says you can make up to seven-figures by focusing on publishing to one channel. Which is probably more than most creatives even aspire to.

If you’re going to blog, Medium is the best place to be.

If you’re going to podcast, check out Anchor.

And if you’re going to run with video, you might assume YouTube is the best place to be, but you might try a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn instead, where video tends to stand out a little more. And you can always distribute or syndicate your content across multiple sites using a tool like Repurpose (affiliate link).

(By the way, any content you create should be backed up to your hard drive. You never know when these platforms could change or disappear completely, and I don’t advise building entirely on rented land.)

Based on my experience, I can only recommend blogging or video though. Podcasting tends to be an uphill climb to the tune of at least five years. I have been podcasting for over 11 years and haven’t even come close to my listenership goals (might be time to take my own advice and leave the “loser” behind).

Use Noah Kagan’s Law of 100 to determine whether you enjoy and get results from your chosen channel. Or, if you’re more daring, try publishing daily for a full year and see where it takes you.

Stay Consistent

I’m not asking you to be a robot or to do this perfectly. I’m just asking you to be consistent. Because content marketing, by definition, is the ongoing creation and publishing of valuable content.

Content marketing, by definition, is the ongoing creation and publishing of valuable content. Click To Tweet

I know ambitious people who started out with the best of intentions and still missed some days or weeks.

With my podcasting efforts, I usually end up publishing 48 episodes per year instead of the anticipated 52.

But when and where possible, be programmatic in your publishing. If you’ve chosen Sunday at 7:52 AM as the day and time your content goes live, then keep publishing weekly on Sunday at 7:52 AM.

If you don’t do it, it will not work. But if you keep showing up, you will reap the benefits.

If you don’t do it, it will not work. But if you keep showing up, you will reap the benefits. Click To Tweet

Iterate

The more and longer you do content marketing, the more useful data you will have ready at your fingertips.

You’ll write pieces that you think should do well, that end up bombing.

And you’ll write pieces that you think are obvious nonsense but end up exploding.

The trick is to keep improving. Practice Kaizen – gradual improvement.

Keep an eye on the stats and figure out what’s working. Do more of it. And try to do less of what isn’t working.

Sometimes you will create simply because you feel like creating. Trust me, with thousands of pieces published online, I’ve been there.

But as I said, strategy is par for the course. Content marketing doesn’t work without strategy. Find and use whatever feedback mechanisms necessary to keep iterating and adjusting course, as necessary.

Don’t Worry About Search Engine Traffic

Don’t buy too heavily into tails of ranking in search and winning the instant traffic lottery. Yes, this is still possible, but unless you’re paying $99 monthly for a tool like Ahrefs, doing your keyword research and have a backlinking strategy, I can almost assuredly say this is a race to the bottom. Because SEO is a skill like anything else, and it’s tough to learn while you’re still learning how to create great content, which should be your initial focus.

In time, you will get search engine traffic. There are a variety of reasons why this is true, including the fact that you will begin to rank higher for your name, your projects, your poems or lyrics, your photos, or otherwise. In short, this goes a long way towards exposing why coining your own terms is a good idea.

And you will also be able to tap into organic sources of traffic like social media. To me, social media is mostly pointless without a content strategy though. Because otherwise, what do you have to share?

As you grow your email list, you’ll also be able to share your content with your subscribers and continue to build a relationship with them.

So, again, traffic will build with a lot of patience and tenacity. And it will come from various sources. But don’t count on it. Don’t write for search engines. Just make things that are interesting to you and your audience.

Have Fun with it

Content marketing, as with anything else, can become a bit of a grind given time. So, if you’re not having fun with it, it probably isn’t worth doing.

As an artist, you know as well as I do that people sniff you out if you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing. Why stick to anything you don’t have much enthusiasm for?

It seems to fly in the face of strategy, but this is mostly how I decide in what to engage in. Will I make a video about my blog posts? Only if I think it’s going to be fun!

Get used to thinking long-term because instant gratification with content marketing is rare. Focus on having fun, and the journey will prove more rewarding and you’ll stick with it for longer too. And it takes sticking with it to see any results.

Content Marketing, Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, content marketing doesn’t work all that differently for creatives than it does for anyone else.

What’s important to understand is its purpose. If you are unclear as to why you would do it to begin with, then there is no point in starting.

Content marketing adds value to your audience. And people who like what you’ve shared are more likely to become an email subscriber. An email subscriber is more likely to become a buyer. That’s what’s at the core of it.

Do you use content marketing to build awareness for your art? How have you utilized content marketing to benefit you?

Let me know in the comments.

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You Are in the Business of Marketing

You Are in the Business of Marketing

“I’m bored of it because I’ve been doing it for so long now – when think about having to work on another client’s skin, I get anxious” she said.

Many creatives and creators dream of one day being able to pursue their passion full-time, asking themselves what that might look like.

And this is answered by comments like the above. At some point, passion becomes work. Ironically, we got into our chosen field because we thought if we just did something we loved, we’d never work another day in our life.

The Height of the Glass Ceiling

As I thought about what she said, I turned to her and offered:

“If Dan Kennedy were here coaching us right now, this is what he would say.

I am not in the business of music entrepreneurship.

You are not in the business of skincare.

Both of you are in the business of marketing.

This completely shifted the context for her. Suddenly, she had a realization.

All those years spent growing a six-figure skincare business, she was focused on getting more clients – not on becoming a skilled marketer. But getting more clients wasn’t the answer. It just led to burnout. And she’d burned out enough times to know it was costly to her business. Everything she built crumbled like a sandcastle because of cancellations, healthcare, and vacations.

She understood that, as a marketer, she was still green. She could see that her upside potential was not capped by her ability to get clients. The height of the glass ceiling had always been determined by her skills as a marketer.

The Entrepreneur Myth

The E Myth (affiliate link), properly understood as the Entrepreneur Myth, is exactly this.

Many times, as creatives and creators, we get into our chosen fields because a) we love what we do, and b) we’re good at what we do.

We make so many decisions that go counter to conventional wisdom. We become our own boss. We take on the lion’s share of the risk. And we make major sacrifices for our work – evading social events, putting off raising a family, and sometimes even risking our health.

Yet, when it comes to choosing our profession, we follow the conventional model of evaluating what we like and what we’re good at.

This leads us into a situation like the one described in Michael E. Gerber’s book. We start a bakery because we like it and we’re good at it. But the business keeps growing, and our workload keeps increasing. Suddenly, eight-hour workdays turn into 12, 14, and even 16-hour workdays. And the business becomes a constant source of stress. We find ourselves handling administrative tasks, bookkeeping, marketing, and more. But we can’t do all of it well, even on our best day.

The Missing Question

There is a missing question often not asked by career counselors let alone entrepreneurs.

That question is this:

What results do you want out of life?

This question leads us down a different path. Because it has us looking at what we want out of life, instead of putting off living in favor of building our businesses. It has us considering how we’d like to live (lifestyle), how we’d like to spend our time, and who we’d like to be around more.

No surprise that we should have breakdowns in our projects when we haven’t given thought to any of these things in years, and let’s face it – sometimes decades.

But when you think carefully about why you do what you do, you’ll realize it was because of the life you thought you could create through your projects. Instead, you end up living the differed life plan. When there’s enough money, you’ll finally take that vacation. When you make seven-figures, you’ll finally be happy. When you have your business under control, you’ll finally start that family you’ve always wanted. And so on.

When none of these created meanings tend to ring true. It’s all arrival fallacy. Entrepreneurs reach these milestones all the time, and scarcely even recognize or acknowledge themselves for their accomplishments.

A Secret Formula?

Recognizing that you’re in the business of marketing (instead of the business of whatever you sell) is not some secret or magical formula that leads you back to creating the life you once thought you could have. But it does put your ladder against a better building. And it stops you from climbing the ladder that’s against the wrong one.

If you can market one thing, you can market another. Many entrepreneurs focus on more product, more leads, more customers. Without recognizing that they haven’t leveraged their products to the maximum extent possible, or that their current customers are the most profitable source of business.

I have five books. But the one that outsells the rest and has had the greatest longevity is The New Music Industry, my first best-selling book. It stands the test of time. And I have not even come close to milking it for all its worth.

This context becomes more apparent when you change your paradigm from being a visual artist, or accountant, or hairstylist, to seeing yourself as a marketer.

You can also maximize results. You can orchestrate a virtual world tour with your existing products. There may be a market you haven’t even tapped into yet. You can create spin-off products. If your customers have already voted for a specific product with their money, what’s the chance you could turn a book into a course, coaching program, mastermind, and so forth? You can accomplish more with less. Although some of us thrive on tackling many projects at once (here, here), you could 80/20 your products and add additional support for them, thereby achieving more in significantly less time and effort.

More isn’t more. Less is more.

Your “Why” & Marketing

The only way to become a better marketer is to study and work on it. As a creative or creator, you’ve already made the difficult decision of investing in your own success. Which means you should be willing to fail, too.

Not all marketing spend will pay off. And in this instance, I use the term “marketing spend” broadly, as in any time and money you allocate to your projects.

You must become a student of what works and what doesn’t. And then double down on what works. Stop doing what doesn’t work.

If this all sounds like selling out or too much business talk, then go back to your “why” – the reason you do what you do. Didn’t you get into your chosen profession because you enjoyed it? And don’t you want to enjoy it again? And didn’t you get into it because you thought you might be able to create the life you loved doing it? And don’t you feel like you might be a long way off from reaching that vision?

What they don’t tell you is this – marketing is fun. It’s rewarding. It’s as if a game. And the results you want for yourself are available if you shift your paradigm from being an artist to being a marketer.

Marketing is fun. It’s rewarding. It’s as if a game. Click To Tweet

You may not have got into your field thinking you’d need to become a marketer too. But your creativity will serve you well. And if you understand the critical connection between your projects and marketing, you’ll see them as one – not as two disconnected entities.

Final Thoughts

“When I think of myself as a marketer, I see more possibilities. And I can see that I need to improve.”

She came to that conclusion on her own. I didn’t have to tell her.

Remember – at some point, your favorite activities will at some point turn into work. And when it does, you have a choice. You can continue to load up your schedule will to-do items you don’t enjoy doing and burn yourself out. Or you can shift your paradigm. And see that you can accomplish more with less. Hard work may be par for the course, but most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, know that four to six hours of intensely focused work is about all we can hope to accomplish in a day.

How do you think about marketing? What would it mean to you and your efforts if you could shift your paradigm?

Let me know in the comments.

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3 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success in 2021

3 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success in 2021

For me, the last four months of 2020 were kind of tough. That said, I still learned a great deal that is now benefiting me in a significant way.

In this post, I wanted to share some of my discoveries with you. If you take these to heart and implement them in your creative workflow, you will set yourself up for more success in 2021.

1. Level Up Your Association

I’ve talked about how I accidentally weaned myself off social media before.

But now when I go on social media, I see it as an opportunity to hang out with my Dream 100 and learn from them.

For example:

On Twitter, Ty Frankel (you can find my podcast interview with Ty here) is always dropping value bombs on how to build a six-figure agency. And I’m learning lots from the way Ralph Smart shares and promotes his content.

On Medium, I’ve picked up quite a bit from Tom Kuegler and his Medium strategies (and yes, they are working!). I learn from his headlines and content ideas as well.

The point is that, while social media can be a blackhole of stupidity, if you follow and model the right people, and interact with them, you can learn plenty and create valuable connections.

It takes some work to curate your feed (that’s something I should write a post on as well), but if you do this, you will think bigger, set bigger goals, and accomplish more. That’s the power of leveling up your association.

2. Publish Daily

For me, publishing daily is not a decision. I wake up every day knowing that I will publish. This is in service of my future self, as I know I will look back on it later glad I made the decision.

This isn’t to suggest that you must publish long-form, definitive, comprehensive, skyscraper guides all the time. To me, their conversion rates are a little suspect anyway.

My average post is somewhere in the 900- to 1,300-word range, but I’m not saying you’ve got to go to those lengths, either. By the way, I also publish my share of 100- to 500-word posts.

Your posts can be long and detailed, if need be, or they can also be short and pithy. It’s a matter of how many words you need to get your point across – not how much you can pad your content.

It’s a matter of how many words you need to get your point across – not how much you can pad your content. Click To Tweet

Derek Sivers and Seth Godin publish their share of short form content, and you will find that this is the exact approach they use – they focus on the message, not on the word count!

You can take a cue from Sivers or Godin, or even Austin Kleon, who tends to share more visual content with some commentary wrapped around it.

But what is the benefit of publishing daily?

My friend Chris Naish started publishing comics on January 1, 2020. On December 15, he announced that he’d drawn 200+ comics and gained 18,000 followers on Instagram (congrats, man)!

Chris Naish comics

I’m not going to make any promises regarding what publishing daily will do for you, as I don’t have any standout results to report on after 161 days of consecutive publishing.

Then again, I am still refining, and I was able to 5x my Medium income, even though it’s still small.

The point is that if you are a creative or creator, you will always have something to promote or share with the world. And publishing daily can help you build a following and get your projects in front of more people.

Publishing daily can help you build a following and get your projects in front of more people. Click To Tweet

3. Plan Your Weeks

I’ve been doing #StrategySunday planning sessions for a little over a month now. I’ve even shared about how these sessions can improve your life.

Although I’m a big believer in following my heart, using my intuition, and even leaving large unplanned gaps in my schedule, there’s simply no denying that planning has made me more productive overall.

Again, I’m not suggesting that you follow my example to a tee and plan on a Sunday. You can do what works for you.

Sunday works for me because of my publishing schedule, which I’ve detailed on my about page.

Although I believe in being in action, it’s also good to take a step back and think. When you do, you can:

  • Determine how to structure your week for productivity
  • Achieve more clarity on your goals
  • Brainstorm tactics and ideas
  • Eliminate tasks from your to-do list that aren’t high priority
  • Attain a big picture view of everything you need to do and what matters to you most
  • Create a routine that serves you
  • Cut unneeded expenses and increase your spend on winning tactics
  • And more

Just don’t force yourself to do something out of obligation. You probably won’t follow through on it.

Do everything (or as much as you can) on your own terms. That way, all your efforts will be in service of you and not the other way around.

Do everything on your own terms. That way, all your efforts will be in service of you and not the other way around. Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

As you look to create new habits in 2021, keep it simple, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. In most cases, working on one high level habit (until it is fully integrated), is of greater benefit to you than trying to work on 10 habits at once, because there’s a good chance you will give up.

Find what works for you and keep doing it, because at the end of the day, what works for another may not work for you.

What are you doing to set yourself up for success in 2021?

Let me know in the comments below.

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How to Create an Irresistible Offer

How to Create an Irresistible Offer

You can have an awesome product that never sells. You can also have a terrible product that sells like gangbusters.

How could that be?

Well, it has a lot to do with how irresistible your offer is.

Now, I’m not suggesting you create a terrible product with a candy coating. That’s snake oil sales at its ugliest.

But you could also put all your blood, sweat, and tears into something amazing that no one buys. And that can be shattering.

So, here are some thoughts on creating an irresistible offer.

Know Your Audience

Whether common sense or trite, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse whenever I bring this up. Which is why I sometimes glance over it.

But it must be said, because you’re not going to rack up sales with a tone-deaf offer. You must know who your offer is for.

You must know who your offer is for. Click To Tweet

It’s like if someone came to Music Entrepreneur HQ and pitched a guest post about the environment (oh wait, this actually happened!).

Sorry, though many musicians are environmentally conscious, trying to sell them your recycling services is going to prove an uphill battle.

What are musicians interested in? Growing their fan base. Getting listeners for their music. Bringing a crowd to their shows. And so on.

There might be an opportunity to sneak in some tips about reducing their carbon footprint in an offer that covers one or more of the topics just mentioned. But it would be best to assume no opportunity, because you want your content to be focused and targeted.

Who is interested in recycling services? That’s what you’d want to figure out before pitching your offer.

In like manner, if you wish to create an irresistible offer, you must know your audience and what their needs are. If you can, go and ask them now.

If you wish to create an irresistible offer, you must know your audience and what their needs are. If you can, go and ask them now. Click To Tweet

Make it Valuable

Australian bogger Darren Rowse co-authored ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income (affiliate link) with Chris Garrett.

ProBlogger book

This book has instant magnetism to anyone who a) blogs and b) wants to make money blogging.

I bought a copy many years ago, because both a and b applied to me.

As I began reading it, I soon figured out that there were no secrets (at least none which I didn’t already know), at which point the book became a little less valuable to me. But the copy still hooked me and that got me in the door. And overall, I don’t regret the purchase.

So, consider what would be valuable to your audience.

Are business consultants looking for more clients? Almost always!

Are podcasters looking to build a bigger audience? Unless their name is Joe Rogan, and they’re just doing it for fun, the answer is yes!

I would suggest taking a little more of an investigative approach to figuring out what your audience truly desires (don’t just assume), but I think you get the point.

Once you know your audience and what problem you’re solving, it’s just a matter of wrapping it in a sexy outer coating.

Let’s go with the podcast example. You could name your product:

How to Grow Your Podcast Audience

Or…

How to 10x Your Podcast Audience in 90 Days or Less

Which seems more attractive to you?

Build Authority & Credibility

Again, I feel as though I’m beating a dead horse.

But I’ve thought back on my purchases over the past year, and I must say, most of them were based on my partiality to certain personalities. Meaning, I bought from those I know, liked, and trusted.

And that’s generally how business works. People don’t just buy randomly. At least not very often.

Sure, people binge and go on shopping sprees. But even then, most of the time, you could say their behavior was predictable based on interests and past purchases.

So, the question is, how do you become known by your target audience? How can you be seen favorably by them? What signals would they be looking for? What achievements, accomplishments, or experience would speak to them? How could you position yourself uniquely in the market?

These are critical questions.  And they all deserve thoughtful answers.

I’ve seen marketers make up B.S. backstories to appeal to their target audience, and sorry, that’s just not my thing. If you want longevity in your niche, I’d warn against such fabrication.

Earn your authority. Earn your credentials.

And until that day, just keep documenting your journey. Your audience will come along for the ride. And to your delight, they will buy your stuff anyway, especially if they see you in your transparency and authenticity rather than your bravado.

More isn’t Always Better

Writing definitive long form guides has shown to be effective. This statement is problematic.

Yes, it was the wont of yesteryear marketers, and to an extent, it still has its place. It can certainly help with SEO, though it shouldn’t be thought of as a silver bullet.

But let’s look at this with regards to an offer.

If someone had 77 Marketers Reveal Their Top Marketing Secrets for 2021 as their offer, it could seem overwhelming to prospects instead of being irresistible.

It depends, at least somewhat, on who the featured marketers are. But chances are I won’t know all of them, I won’t heed all their advice, and I probably won’t gain much by listening to all of them either (focus is spelt Follow One Course Until Success).

Even if you find you get a high conversion rate with an offer like that, chances are your engagement rate will suffer. And that’s not what you want unless you’re after a “quick buck.”

Something like this would probably work better as a lead magnet. Even though it might have the density of what some might consider a product, people aren’t always looking for denser material.

If you focus instead on helping your audience get quick wins, and stack on those, I think you will find your infoproducts more engaged.

Although I’m all for sales funnels, big bonus stacks with inflated value and gigabytes of content aren’t universally appealing. Again, assume people want fast results, and if you can get them wins upfront, they will stick with you for longer. It’s all about whether to play the long game or the short game.

Assume people want fast results, and if you can get them wins upfront, they will stick with you for longer. Click To Tweet

Get the Pricing Right

The final piece of the puzzle is pricing. As with every other component of the offer, pricing strategy is something we could easily spend another 1,200 words on (if not more).

But let me ask you this:

How could pricing not play a part in creating an irresistible offer? It’s critical, because it’s part of the appeal.

I’m far more likely to buy a $600 course for $7 (something I literally did a couple of weeks ago) than to purchase it at full price, even if the value was there.

This isn’t to say you should go as cheap as you can. In a race to the bottom, Walmart is the only winner. Remember that.

In a race to the bottom, Walmart is the only winner. Click To Tweet

And as I already said, it’s not necessarily about the value stack either, though there can be something attractive about an eBook that comes with three expert interviews and 10 video tutorials, just as an example (Nathan Barry has something like this).

Nathan Barry offer

Nathan Barry’s three-tier offer.

If the value stack is our chosen strategy, then we need to ensure it is in fact valuable (each product should solve a problem the last one created).

But let’s face it – many people sell “fake” value stacks. They just break one product broken down into six – three core pieces and three bonuses.

An irresistible offer can be at any price. It doesn’t need to be cheap. But it does need to reflect the value offered, be something the market can bear, and be more customer oriented than seller oriented (that’s key!).

Irresistible Offer, Final Thoughts

So, if you:

  • Understand your audience
  • Create a valuable offer
  • Build your authority and credibility (presence) with your audience
  • Give your audience exactly what they need
  • Price it at a rate your customers would be delighted by

You’ve got your irresistible offer.

Note that it can take time and effort to put all these pieces into place, but if you want to make an awesome product that also sells, you’ve got to put the work in.

What offer will you be creating in 2021?

Let me know in the comments.

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Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.

3 Ways to Stop Frustration & Keep Growing Your Business

3 Ways to Stop Frustration & Keep Growing Your Business

I earned my degree in Frustration and Disappointment at the School of Hard Knocks.

So, for all those times frustration starts to rear its ugly head, I’ve begun developing a set of tools to stop frustration in its tracks so I can keep growing as a creative and creator.

Because growth doesn’t seem to happen when you’re caught in the pendulum of frustration. So, more action rarely if ever solves the issue at hand.

It’s your mindset that needs to shift. It doesn’t always take much to produce that shift but depending on how deeply embedded you are in the frustration cycle it may take something.

Here are several tools you will find useful in dealing with frustration.

1. Review Your Data

Frustration generally occurs when something we’re doing doesn’t seem to be working. But under the guise of productivity and hustle, we tend to bite off more than we can chew.

And no creative or creator likes to be told they are biting off more than they can chew. Ever.

But let’s look at the facts. You’re probably wasting more time on scanning the news, social media, games, and other distractions than you even realize.

It’s fine to have planned time for little diversions in your day. I think it’s important to get up from your desk, walk around, go to the bathroom, have something to eat, meditate, read, and so on.

But if a lot of your time is going towards tasks that don’t move the needle on your project, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that you’re getting nowhere, and therefore frustrated.

And some of the reasons we end up tending towards those low value tasks is because we’re bored, tired (you need rest and sleep to perform at your best), worried, and so forth.

So, I’d suggest reviewing your data. If you’re just getting started, you may not have months or years’ worth of data, but that’s okay.

If, for example, you’ve been blogging on Medium for a few weeks, you can probably see that a few of your stories are getting more traffic than most. And that means you should do more of what’s working, instead of wasting time on what isn’t.

The point is this:

No matter what your project is, there are tasks in your day that deliver disproportionate results. You’ve got to focus on those. Review your data for actionable insights.

No matter what your project is, there are tasks in your day that deliver disproportionate results. You’ve got to focus on those. Click To Tweet

2. Take a Break

Resting. Relaxing. Chilling. Sleeping. Taking a break.

These are all four-letter words among creators and creatives.

Yet, it has been my experience that there is immense value in taking a break, long or short. I recently shared about my two weeks in Vernon as well as the lessons I learned while spending time resting, reading, thinking, and reflecting.

Ask business coach Quazi Johir. He will echo these sentiments.

Before leaving for Vernon, I was in a major frustration cycle. There was no growth in my business and everything I was doing wasn’t working. More actions weren’t resulting in desired outcomes.

By the time I returned, I saw that my email list was growing again. I also started making more affiliate sales and my books started selling too. All without lifting a finger. I made no changes to my business whatsoever.

I’m not here to tell you that it’s all about positive thinking. That some magical force will come to your aid if you focus on how you’re feeling.

But if you understand the mirror principle, you know that your internal world is always reflected in your outer world. It’s as if wearing yellow glasses. The entire world will appear yellow until you take the glasses off.

Meaning – if you focus on negative, you will only see more negative.

If you focus on negative, you will only see more negative. Click To Tweet

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to take a break occasionally. By doing so, you can stop frustration dead in its tracks.

3. Have Fun

I don’t know anyone who starts a project hoping it will turn into a grind. But for better or for worse, big projects can easily become that.

Whether it’s writing a book, recording an album of music, working on a collection of paintings or otherwise.

It can be frustrating when things don’t go as planned, when they take longer than expected, when they don’t produce desired outcomes, and so forth.

Some of this will naturally fall away as you work on more and more projects. You’ll begin to expect the little twists and turns that inevitably show up.

But I rarely go into any major undertaking expecting that everything will go smoothly anymore.

I’ve found that while you’re busy chopping the carrots, the water in the saucepan overflows.

In other words, while you’re engaged in your projects, something else will go wrong – your health, your relationships, your finances, or something else. It seems to happen like clockwork.

You’ve still got to trust that you’re on the best path to completion, because chances are, you are. It’s just that the road you’re on, as with every other road, has obstacles.

Regardless of what you’re facing, if you want to get out of a frustration cycle, get back to the joy of creating. If there is no joy in it, you probably won’t make much progress. But if you start having more fun, things will come together as if by magic.

If you want to get out of a frustration cycle, get back to the joy of creating. Click To Tweet

Frustration, Final Thoughts

If you’re feeling frustrated, you don’t want to stay there. Which isn’t to say you should try to counteract it by force either.

You’ve got to learn to let go. Sometimes that’s the only way to get out of the swing of a pendulum.

Also remember – you may not be able to get out of a frustration cycle instantly. It may take some time. So, try to exercise patience.

Did you find this helpful? How do you cope with frustration?

Let me know in the comments below.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

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