Today’s Topic: A Book As A Business Card - How to Use a Book to Start A Business
Have you ever taken the time to search the web for hot topics? If you’re in the business of creating content that people want to see, hear, listen, to or read then you start to pay a bit more attention to how to satisfy an audience. I love entrepreneurism and I love the power a book gives to people just starting out on any topic. The writing of a book crosses off so many hot topics in the top business keyword searches all in one giant swoop. The top keywords in business right now are very much about entrepreneurialism. Here are the top eight and let me tell you how a book gives you a gift that keeps on giving!
I can tell you that without any doubt a book is going to address all of these issues and so much more. You see, when you are producing a book for your business you are going to have to think through so many of these things already…especially for a new business!
Let me first give you a little background on me and how I can help guide you outside the book, then we’ll get into the benefits of the book.
First, let me tell you that over the years I have started a few businesses. I have also worked my way to the top of many corporate ladders. As an entrepreneur, I have been far more challenged than I ever was as an employee and it had more to do with getting crystal clear on my offering and my target market than it ever did my ability to shine once I was up and running in business. One of the hardest things is clearly positioning oneself for the value you are offering. I mean, you might be really good at what you do, but the trick is letting others in on the goodness you are selling and making sure your message is hitting your preferred target market in an effective way.
I remember the days when my ex husband and I sat down to write out our business plan for our chiropractic offices. I mean, I knew nothing about writing a business plan and nothing about the chiropractic business. In fact, oftentimes it can even be hard to think of what you’re offering as a business. The fact is that healthcare is a business just like everything else. In order to get patients you have to think like a patient. And in order to get a business loan you have to think like a lender. You can’t build a business on a business plan made of sticks and mud that causes the lender to worry about the risk of your success and the payback of a loan. You really have to think things through. And… just a little side-note: we never did end up going to a lender. As, I ended up selling my house and financing our first chiropractic office.
When you start a chiropractic business you have to first think about the basics well before you ever think about treating patients. And I can tell you that once we got up and going and hired doctors and staff for our office, you could see very clearly that not all doctors are business-minded. They want to treat patients because that’s what they were schooled in. They weren’t necessarily schooled in the foundational elements of building out their business. So, like all businesses, you have to first walk through what you need to get started. Some things are quite basic, like you need a phone and a phone number for patients to call. Then you need treatment rooms and adjustment tables and pens and paper. Then you have to think through your business model… do you believe in x-rays and if so, will you do them? Then you have to think through things like hanging lead on the walls and having the state come in to test the room for leaks and safety. Of course you have to process the x-rays so what kind of darkroom and equipment you will have? You have to walk through a day in the life of the business and the principles and beliefs you have as to why you are offering what you do.
When it comes to writing a book, it’s much like writing a business plan. You have to first think about what you are offering, how you are going to offer it, and what the value is to your audience. When you are writing a business plan you are going to be looking at all of this, the costs for doing it, and the expected return. So many authors don’t know the book is much like a business plan and they just write because they have something to say or a story to tell. Unless you are in the business of selling books for $24.99 then you are going to want to start thinking about the business behind your book. So, lets walk though all of these items in the top search list and I’ll tell you how a book is going to help you further identify your business model and why you can also write a book that is your business plan and make it work for you to start and grow your business.
How to Start a Business. OK, lemme first say that I have been overwhelmed with emails from other book coaches lately that are claiming how much money you are going to make on the writing of your book. Of course, you have to hire them to figure out how all this works, but at the base of this thinking is really just all about being smart in your business. Basically, if you are good in business a book will fit naturally. I mean, really? Of course! Your book is not the primary factor in your success. I can tell you that! I mean it’s kinda goofy marketing really. I’m never going to promise you there is a direct correlation to your book when it comes to your success. I think any smart business person can see that! But, if you are just starting off you’re going to find that when you write a book like a business plan you are thinking about what your business looks like and how you engage a prospect, a client, how you do the business behind your book, and how what you offer provides a unique value. When you are starting a business you look at the gifts you have to offer, how to package those, and who your target audience is. I mean, do you have what it takes to make a business out of your knowledge and skills? It’s the same with a book. If you’ve accumulated some good life experience and knowledge then you weigh if you have enough to sell a philosophy, an idea, a method, a practice, or a service. You ask who wants what you have to offer and in a book you talk to them.
How to Write a Business Plan. The business plan for your business is not just what you are offering, but how. You can begin to outline this in a book by sections or chapters or subheadings. As you are laying out the content of your book its natural that you are thinking through the details of what you are offering so that you can get the reader off the pages and into a program, class, seminar, or online program. Your business plan is going to layout the subject, the purpose, the goals or objectives, the financial investment and it’s the expected return, measured results or factors of success, your audience or market, the unique value you offer, etc. I mean, once you understand that these are the kinds of things expected in a business plan, why would you write a book any different? It really doesn’t matter the topic of your book, you have to think about the business behind the book. You might be a massage therapist or an executive recruiter… either way you have to define your offer and be able to identify the effort was either profitable or directly understand the value it provides.
How to Start Your Own Business. If you are in the business of selling books than focus on selling books, but if you are looking to do anything else with your book then you have to build it into your book business plan. I get a lot of people that come to me wanting to speak or coach after they write a book but they think the book alone is going to do that for them. They don’t think they have to actually build out the offer behind the book. It’s a novice mis-understanding and that’s ok, but that’s why you hire a coach…to get you away from the typical mistakes authors make. There is not often a lot of thought about the buildout of the business because, in all honestly, writing a book is a pretty big deal. It’s not an easy task. But, when you have proper guidance, you’ll understand that if you are writing a book for any other reason than book sales you’ll have to put some effort into the backend platform or foundation of your offering. Think of the book as the sign in the yard of your bricks and mortar business. Your sign (or book) tells people what you are offering when they come inside your world. Now, you’ve gotten their attention, but you have to offer them something once they open the door (or crack open the jacket). You can offer them an experience as a writer, value as a business owner, or guidance as a coach. But, again, unless you are selling books, you’ve got to get them from enjoying the atmosphere of the experience to wanting to engage with you personally for the friendship, mentoring, or other more personal interaction. This is the point where you up the ante and offer them a higher value than the words of your message.
How to Start a Small Business. Now that you’ve hooked a fish on your line and learned to fish you’ve got to have a defined offering available. I see it often that interest is peaked but there’s very little for a prospect to engage with. I’m totally guilty of this! I mean, how many times over the years have I gotten a client and not told them what else I offer. Yes, I can layout and design a great book but not every knows I’m also a book coach, that I can also do eBook layout, or that I do marketing pieces to help an author launch their book. And, since I also don’t do a good job of marketing my online training program, not many even know I have it. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I updated my client agreement to showcase not only what we are agreeing to, but also the other services I offer. My business grew so fast back in the day that I never took the time to even put an agreement together. Then, I’d get upset when my client hired someone else to do the eBook, until I realized I actually just never even told them I could do it. Sometimes the biggest mistake we make is just not being clear on the offering or letting someone know clearing what we can do for them. I mean, even though I lay it right out int he proposal, still clients get to the end of their book design and layout and send their book off to the printer and, until I mention it, don’t even know I offer other services. People are just busy. But, also because people are busy, you need to let them know that you might be a one-stop shop for all their needs. It’s very likely that you could grow your business by simply returning to old clients letting them know what else you offer. When you are wiring your book you are starting your business. It might just be that you are starting the business of the book, but if you are smart, you are writing a book to start your business. Your book is always going to be that sign in the yard that flashes to people driving by what they are going to get when they come inside. So, things like a clear title, clean imagery, or brand recognition is going to draw their attention no matter what the speed of their drive-by.
Your book should contain all the foundational pieces of your business offerings. If you never get a chance to explain your offerings, then it should be showcased in your book. In a perfect world you could trade a book for your offering. What I mean by this is that when you give the gift of your book you are also securing a client into your business. A book is a great way to start your small business. If you’ve always been known as doing one thing a book can also help you draw attention and pivot into something different or new. For example, perhaps your struggling in your business and you want to pick up a side gig til things pick up (pretty common these days). Like, I love DoTERRA products and have been a distributor for gosh, I don’t know, when did they start? 20 years ago? I have never run my DoTERRA business but I help network marketing professionals all the time and I’ve studied how they do business for years. I always thought it might be fun to showcase my healing with essential oils chapter in my Healing Your Dog Naturally book and showcase some recipes and promote more of the products. But, I’ve always been so busy in my book business that I haven’t had time for a side gig. But, not many people know I even have an interest in healing when they hire me for book layout, design, or coaching. But, a fun little book on the business of essential oils might help kick off a side income. Do you have a side thing that a book might also help promote?
How to Start an Online Business. These days starting a brick and mortar business is just not as common. Most people generally get into some kind of online or remote business… if they aren’t working for someone else. A book is a great tool to separate you from the noise of the online space. I get a lot of coaching clients…people looking to do some kind of coaching using a book to pivot into that world as a new coach or someone that is adding a book to their system. Many newbies want to quit their job, write a book, and start coaching. There aren’t very many coaches that stand out. In fact, most coaches seem to go study what others are doing then regurgitate what they learn and call themselves a coach. There really aren’t very many original thinkers out there. So content just gets re-purposed over and over. In many cases there can be a confirmation for those just starting off that they are on target with trends, but the growth kinda stops there. Coaches get plateaued and therefore so do their mentees. I am finding it rather interesting these days how few people actually research the coach they are hiring to mentor them. People claim expertise in things where they really don’t have training or experience and many get hired because they are simply likable. There’s a kind of ecosystem created online that seems to create followers. I watch a lot of social media influencers and it’s always the pretty ones that gain the followers. So many act ridiculous and claim their success and others just show up every day to say “notice me”. I watch some of the unspoken rules of the network marketers as many of them are my clients. There just seems to be a repetitive function and flow in the social media world. If you’re like me, you probably wonder how these influencers spend so much time online doing something ridiculous and actually make an income. So, don’t get yourself so focused on this being a key to your success. There is a lot that can be done online where you can still be quite effective. Yes, a book can be showy in a noisy online world but at the same time it causes it’s reader to be reflective and step back and do the work. Many of my network marketing clients write a book to educate or influence their downline or team and break down some of the repetitive training or other on-boarding activities for the new team members. If they’ve been in the industry awhile they use a book to talk about the success they’ve had with the idea that you can follow suit. A book can be a great tool to teach or train teams, to showcase expertise to those team members or to a prospect, but in general it’s always going to be a way to showcase a certain level of expertise. It’s a great tool to layout the culture, history, methodologies or tools of your business. It’s a great backbone that says I’ve done the time and I’m well-organized! It’s certainly a great opportunity to stand out as you’re getting your business started. Oftentimes, when you’re forging into something new, others might not realize something is really not new to you… this just might be the first time you were associated with a particular skill-set. I know lots of people watched me move into a role as an author and book coach because I was partnered with someone that appeared to have more knowledge and for the viewer into my world they might have believed I rode on someone else’s coattails to begin doing what I am. But, I can assure you that I have great knowledge in the publishing industry and all things books. Lets move on to the next hot business topic…
How to make business cards. I guess the first thought for business cards is probably when your friend says “go to vista print!” I mean everyone needs a good business card, right? But, the great thing about a business card is the opportunity to say you are proud to do the thing you do and… if you are like me, I offer much more! Not only can a book be a business card, but it can also be seen on your printed business card, your online profile, and your website. The first time I met a friend that was also an author I remember being intrigued and impressed. Honestly, the book wasn’t even that good, but I was impressed that they were able to organize their thoughts and had enough motivation to make it happen. A book can make up for many failures in communication, showcase skill-set or aptitude to compile and complete, highlight expertise, train a team, and so much more. Yes, it’s a promotional tool that surpasses the typical business card, but at the same time it begins an engagement rather than getting stuffed in a drawer. As it sits in someones personal space its a constant memory of your interaction and expertise. Even if you are not forming an instant working relationship with someone, you will most certainly be on their mind each time they look at that book. It’s a good idea to try to send your book to as many prospects as possible because everyone loves gifts. Just remember, the cost to ship, the cost to produce, and you must be smart about with whom you send your book to. You always want to get a return on your investment. To ship a book in the mail via priority mail is about $10, but don’t forget the cost of the book and the other marketing materials you place in the book. If someone is willing to invest in your coaching services for say $2,495 then I’d say it’s certainly worth it. On to the next top business keywords searched for on the web…
What is a business model. Well…a book can be exactly that! A well-written book is going to showcase your model and so much more. It will bring a prospective client into your sphere, showcase your offerings, begin a relationship or enhance an old one, position you as an expert in your field, and further explain in greater detail the kind of value you can provide. I’ve always found that a book gets me crystal clear on all functional areas of my business. It’s kinda hard to leave cobwebs in any corner of your business or thought process when you are writing a good 50,000 word manuscript. A book is going to help you further understand your business because it gives you a kind of time-out to stop and look at what you’ve been doing and how you can do it better. It makes you accountable!
How do you promote your business. Once you’ve written your book you have another tool in your tool belt to showcase your business, skillset, practice, trade, and value. How you go about promoting yourself? Really the sky is the limit. I have an entire chapter in my Let’s Get Your Book Published book that goes into great detail on marketing, so you can certainly pick that up or even download the eBook or audiobook on Amazon. To be quite honest, many authors go a bit crazy on paying for marketing and advertising once they’ve produced their book and it doesn’t ever turn a profit when you are selling only your book. So, just remember, you are never selling a book! You are trading a book for a booking! If you can speak just a few times because you’ve written your book, you will pay back the entire investment quickly. If you never intend to get out from behind the book you may never break even from the initial investment. I never suggest writing a book if you don’t intend on marketing yourself and your business. I always tell me clients that when they do their book release party they should never show up selling books, but rather happen to have a few books available. The smart entrepreneur will plan an event that’s wonderful then in the small print let attendees know you will also launch your new book there. This way you’ve got true interest in the real offering and a great opportunity to really grow your business. In fact, as you prepare to write your book you should be thinking about sponsors and affiliates to partner with upon it’s completion. Find like-minded businesses to do a fun event with and get them to offer prizes and speak and just be the coordinator of the event and slip the book launch into it. If you can get your sponsors or other supporters in the book in some way, even if it’s just a testimonial or forward they are going to be far more inclined to support you.
Alright guys… I hope I shined a little light on the value of writing and producing of a book and how it can support your business. A book is a far broader reaching tool to enhance your professional world than you might realize. When you are smart about the content it can be re-purposeful for interviews, webinars, speeches, a podcast, etc. But, most certainly it’s going to get you laser-focused on the foundational, organizational, and functional aspects of your business like nothing else can. You’ll be able to provide so much more clarity and value to your contacts because you took the time to organize your thoughts, set standards, provide clarity, paved a solid road for all communications, and so much more!
I know so many of us are struggling right now to understand how we fit into a quickly changing world—whether that be in business or personal settings. I have been really taking some time to jot down some of my thoughts in a new blog I’ve created over on my NicoleKristinGabriel.com website. I get raw and vulnerable over there and sharing a bit more personally than I have here. Perhaps one day I’ll get up and going on a new podcast I’ve been noodling over. I’ve been watching which podcast episodes are more popular here and what you want to hear more of and I’m trying to give you more of what you want to hear, but I’m not always quick to get it out. When it comes to my clients - they always come first, so my podcasts and blogs are just what I do when I have some spare time or a busy mind. Anyhow, I hope you are finding peace and balance in these interesting times we are living in.
On that note… and as always, wishing you peace, love, and light!
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