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The Published Author Podcast

SHE BUILT A $19M BUSINESS HELPING LIFE COACHES WRITE BOOKS

No one ever asks “How do I pick a great coach to make sure I finish my book?”. 

But according to Dr. Angela Lauria, that question is ten times more valuable than all the other questions she’s asked by people about to start or in the process of writing a book.

Why? Because accountability can’t be understated. If you’re just starting on your nonfiction business book and wondering how to pick a topic, organize it, and write it, make sure you add selecting a great coach to your list of needs for your book writing project.

NO ACCOUNTABILITY? IT’S UNLIKELY YOUR BOOK WILL HAPPEN

The difference between saying to yourself you want to write a book and saying it outloud is huge, explains Angela, an author and writing coach. 

She acknowledges that it's hard for people to understand the real value a coach can bring, especially when you throw in a cost of thousands of dollars. Lots of authors start out thinking they can coach themselves. But if you don’t have the accountability built in, it just won’t happen. 

Angela paid $10,000 a month for a coach, who told her to post in a group that she intended to have her book manuscript finished by August 14. The thought of missing the deadline and having to tell her group that she made a promise to herself was enough to keep her on track with her first book, The Difference: 10 Steps To Writing a Book That Matters

For people who can’t or don’t want to pay a coach $10,000 a month, Angela’s advice as a coach is to withdraw $1,000 from your bank, put it in an envelope, and address the envelope to like the political party you don't like. Then hand it to a friend and ask them to mail it if your manuscript isn’t finished on the deadline you set for yourself.

REVENUE INCREASED TO MILLIONS AFTER PUBLISHING HER BOOK

Before writing The Difference, Angela says her business was a mish-mash of projects and clients. She was doing well financially, but felt unfocused in her work and purpose.  

The Difference contains a ten-step process for life coaches and therapists who wanted to take one of their processes and put it into a book and use the book to get a steady flow of business. And when Angela wrote the book, she did so with a strategy in place to help her give her business focus and increase her income. Here’s her strategy:

  • Determining the one service she wanted to focus on and sell - teaching clients how to put their expertise into a book to get clients
  • Using the book as a filter to attract the right clients for this one service
  • Giving away copies of the book. In total more than 100,000 copies were given to potential or existing clients
  • With the The Difference acting as a filter, Angela spent way less time on sales and fielding calls, and the ones she had were serious enquiries
  • She was able to sell one product at one price.

“I said no to a lot more, but my revenue went from a few $100,000 to $3 million within 18 months of publishing,” she says.

TWO KIND OF BUSINESS BOOKS

Angela says there are two kinds of business books. The first is about your signature program, in other words, what you want to be known for. The second kind of book is about your philosophy or your leadership. These are platform books that aren;t going to drive clients but instead give readers an understanding of who you are.

Angela has two books about her signature program. One is The Difference and the other is Make ‘Em Beg To Publish Your Book

“Those two books teach my signature system; it's called the difference process. It is the system for how to get your book written and generate revenue for you. And that is how people walk through my door. That's how people get to work with me.”

Angela’s books about her leadership and philosophy as a human are The Incubated Author and Make ‘Em Beg To Be Your Client. The former is about her position on social justice, and how important she thinks it is for businesses, especially in personal development, to take a stand for their values. 

Make Em Beg To Be Your Client is about how to build a quarter-million-dollar coaching business. 

USE A BOOK TO MAKE YOUR MESSAGE CLEAR TO CLIENTS

She explains that these types of books require a massive upgrade in thinking because most coaches make around $40,000 to $60,000 a year. 

I always recommend until you've got your business cranking, to write what I call a front-end book, or a signature program book, or sometimes I call it in a Scottish accent: ‘Your wee portal,” explains Angela. 

“Your wee portal is the little door that clients can walk through. So if you're a pool company, your wee portal is going to be ‘We build pools’, but then you might do lifeguard lessons, pool maintenance, sell floats for people's pools, you might do a whole bunch of other things. But you wouldn't do them if they weren't add ons to your main core signature program.”

COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY WITH CLIENT PROCESSES AND PROMISES

While some marketers advise adopting an air of mystery and keeping the details secret, Angela believes the opposite is the best strategy. And she advises that authors do the same: If someone reads your book, tell them the exact system in great detail.

She says: “If you read my books, and you follow the steps—actually follow them—they will result in a book that can generate a quarter million dollars for you within 12 months.

“But most people won't do it on their own. So instead of being shifty or cagey about what you include, tell them every single exhausting detail and tell them if they're committed. If they do it with you, they're probably more likely to succeed because you've done it a few more times than they have.”

Angela covers a lot more in this episode, including:

  • Her ten steps to writing a book that matters
  • Which time of the day you should write
  • How she works with her clients 
  • How many clients are her ideal
  • Other lessons for entrepreneurs.

Learn more: If you got a lot from this episode and want to know what it’s like working with a book coach, listen to:

Why And When To Work With a Book Coach And What to Expect From Them

And this interview with Paul Epstien, who highly recommends working with a book coach:

You Hurt Others By Not Sharing Your Big Ideas In a Book

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ABOUT THE HOST

The Published Author Podcast is hosted by Josh Steimle, founder of Published Author. Josh is a book author himself and his article writing has been featured in over two dozen publications including Time, Forbes, Fortune, Mashable, and TechCrunch. He's a TEDx speaker, the founder of the global marketing agency MWI, a skater, father, and husband, and lives on a horse farm in Boston. Learn more at JoshSteimle.com.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle:

Welcome to the Published Author Podcast where we help entrepreneurs learn how to write a book and leverage it to grow their business and make an impact. I’m your host, Josh Steimle.
Today my guest is Dr. Angela Lauria. Angela has helped over 1000 authors write, publish and promote their books through her company, The Author Incubator. The Author Incubator was ranked number 275 on the Inc 500 fastest growing companies and number 60 on Entrepreneur magazine's Entrepreneur 360. Angela is also the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling author of five books, including The Difference: 10 Steps To Writing A Book That Matters. Angela, welcome to the show.

Angela Lauria:

Hey, thank you so much for having me. I’m thrilled to be here, Josh.

Josh Steimle:

So I know that our audience is really going to be interested in your business and what you do, and this book, The Difference, because it's exactly for who our audience is, aspiring authors. But give us a little bit more background on who you are and where you come from, your career as an entrepreneur and how you became an author.

Angela Lauria:

Well, I went to journalism school at the George Washington University in DC and was lucky enough to have one of my professors hooked me up with a job. It's sort of why you go to college, right? It's all about who you know and the network. So my senior year, I got a job with a New York Times bestselling author, who was an espionage author, very exciting. So I got inside the world of the CIA and covert operations, and did that for quite a long time. And David Wise, who was the author, introduced me to his network, and I went from one book job to another book job to another book job as a researcher, a marketer, an editor. I would do interviewing, I would do fact checking, I wrote flap copy for books, I wrote celebrity endorsements and ghostwrote forewords. I would pick up some ghostwriting work here and there, and I worked as a freelancer in the publishing industry for 19 years; and my family would always say, when are you going to get a real job, because I never, actually never applied for a job, never had a resume, had no idea I was a businessperson, I just thought I was a college kid awaiting a job for a couple of decades.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, you were just getting stuff done, right?

Angela Lauria:

Yeah, I was just like, well, let me just do this one other project, and then I'll figure out what I’m going to do when I grow up. And all of a sudden, almost 20 years had gone by, I was pushing 40, and I was like, I need to hire – I was actually 37 I think – I need to hire a life coach to help me figure out what am I going to do when I grow up. And I worked with a life coach for a long time, and the result was, you should really help people write books. At that point, I’d done 56 books, but they had all been in technology, espionage, and politics. I’m in the Washington DC area, and that was kind of the work that just fell to me. But I got a little more strategic, and started going to events and conferences where all these life coaches were, and I was like, I’m going to figure out how to build a business, and they're like, yeah, but in the meantime, can you help us write our book. So I had 24 clients that were all life coaches that wanted help writing a book to help build and launch their life coach business, before I even started my business. And then eventually, I took that as a sign that God was telling me I should help entrepreneurs write their books. So I work with life coaches and healers, mostly therapists, people, wellness coaches, nutritionists, some doctors and dentists that are in the biological dentistry space; and I help them get their books written so that they can drive leads and traffic to their business. And it all sort of, we've been doing it now for eight years, but it all sort of unfolded organically as I was heading towards 40, and I was like, I got to really get my life together. So that's how it happened.

Josh Steimle:

Wow. So the fact that you're an author is just the tip of the iceberg, because you've helped so many people, other people to write their books, literally getting into the books and the nitty gritty and such, but tell us about your first book. What was the point when you said I’m going to write a book myself, and this is what that book is going to be about?

Angela Lauria:

Yeah, and it was scary, because I'd ghostwritten 29 books. I wrote a book about investing and finance in Hong Kong. I wrote six books about the elusive Y2K problem. I wrote books about Air Force One, I wrote a whole book about Air Force One. I wrote a book about mobile computing. But none of them had my name on them. And I was very arrogant, like, I know, I’m a good writer, so I was like, this book is awesome, put your name on it. And then when I wrote my first book, which, by the way, I procrastinated – so if you're listening, and you've been procrastinating, I get it. It's easy to think that it's about writing being hard. For me, my book was about writing a book, and I was pretty sure the minute I published it, everyone in the world would read it and be like, what does this girl know about writing a book, none of this makes any sense.

Josh Steimle:

Even though you had all this experience behind you.

Angela Lauria:

It's so crazy. It's so crazy. I procrastinated on that book for almost two years, and it was really all about, which is why – I mean, we'll talk about book techniques and marketing here, I’m sure, but so much of it is the mental game of saying, I’m going to put my name on the cover of a book, and say, I'm an expert in writing books. And even though I had almost 20 years – by the time I wrote my book, I had almost 20 years of experience writing books. I’d worked on, at that point, 56 books; I’d written 29 of them, and I was like, what do I know about writing books. I thought someone else must actually know how to do it.

Josh Steimle:

That's where you need a cheerleader to come in and just say what are you talking about, are you kidding yourself, of course, you know how to write a book, you've done this more than anybody.

Angela Lauria:

This is why people need coaches. The way I got it done was I hired a coach. Even though I was coaching people I knew how to get – I’m a coach, I’m a ghostwriter, like, I knew how to get the books done. But accountability can't be understated. Most people want for me, I don't know what they ask for you, but they want to know, like, how do I write a book, how do I organize it, how do I pick a topic. No one ever says to me, how do I pick a great coach to make sure I finish, and that question is about 10 times more valuable.

Josh Steimle:

Right there. Man, if people get nothing else out of this episode, but that snippet right there, it'll be well worth it. So what did your coach do specifically to help you stay accountable and help you get that book done?

Angela Lauria:

Charged me a lot of money and gave me a deadline. I mean, it's true. He said, what do you want to do. I said, I want to write a book. He said, when do you want to write it by; and I said, the end of August. And he's like, great, give me a more specific date. I was like, I’m going to have the manuscript on August 14; and he was like, awesome, what are you going to do if you don't finish it. And I was like, I don't know; and he's like, well, I want you to post in the group, I set a goal and I didn't finish it, and tell everybody else and get advice from them. And I just didn't want to tell everybody in my group, I was the one idiot who made a promise to myself and I didn't keep it. And this coach was $10,000 a month that I didn't have. He's one of the best coaches in the world, I highly recommend, his name is Kevin Nations, an incredible human.

Josh Steimle:

You also didn't want to have to pay him for additional months.

Angela Lauria:

Right. So he's like, no one can do it, but do you know what goes in; I’m like, yeah. He's like, do you know what's stopping you; I’m like, yeah. Is there anything you need to talk about, nope, I need to do it. And he's like, great, why don't you do it. But the difference between saying that to yourself without giving a coach money and saying it out loud is huge. It's huge.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, and it's hard for people to understand that sometimes, especially when you throw out a figure like 10 grand, it's like, well, gee, I think I can just do this for myself. But author after author after author, their experience will show you that when you don't have the accountability built in, it just doesn't happen.

Angela Lauria:

Yeah, in my book, The Difference, one of my pieces of advice, if you don't want to hire a coach is take a $1000 in cash out of the bank, put it in an envelope and address the envelope to the political party you don't like, hand it to a friend and say mail this if I don't send you my manuscript by this date, and you need a good friend who will actually do that for you.

Josh Steimle:

That's a good one. So you got your first book done, and then how was it received?

Angela Lauria:

Well, I want to talk about the before and after, because if you're listening to this podcast, you're probably thinking about writing a book or another book, so I'll give you my before and after. Before people called me or emailed me with all different requests, so I want to do – I’ve written a book, will you edit it, I’m looking for marketing, I want a bestseller campaign – it was sort of a mishmash. And I made six figures, a couple of hundred thousand dollars doing that. I was not eating out of garbage cans by any means. When the book came out, I had had a 10-step process for life coaches and therapists who wanted to take one of their processes, put it into a book and use it to get a steady repeatable flow of business. And I decided to use that book as a filter, so I gave the book away – to date I’ve given away over a hundred thousand copies of the book at conferences, we mail it to people, we send to digital copies to people when they sign up, to come to one of my classes. So we've given away well over a hundred thousand books. And when people came to me, I only sold one thing, which is I will teach you how to put your expertise into a book to get clients.
So now instead of fielding a whole bunch of requests, I could explain what I did, I had a huge filter; I had a lot fewer sales calls, and the ones I had were much more serious. The next thing that happened is I could raise my rates; so instead of charging – some people I do a project for $1000, some people it's 10,000, some people I did a $99 class, I was doing group classes – I was all over the map. After the book came out, I had one price, one product, one price, one area of expertise, this is what I do, I said no to a lot more, but my revenue went from a couple of hundred thousand to 3 million within 18 months of publishing my book.

Josh Steimle:

That's incredible, and I hope that people listening to this are not just saying, well, that's nice for her that she did that. Like, what about you who's listening to this interview, what about your business, are you focused on 20 things? Are you splitting your attention across all these things? Could you narrow down your business to one thing that you do really well, you do better than anybody else, so that you can have that same benefit that Angela got from that kind of focus?

Angela Lauria:

And this is my, I have a little hack, because I think it's hard for some people to be like, well, I'm not the best in the world at anything, or, like, my hack is this – what do you want to be the best in the world? Because if you actually think about it – I like to use the example of a pool guy, and it's always a pool guy, I’m sure there are pool girls, my experience is it's mostly pool guys. So there are lots of pool guys, I would say every town has at least one company within 50 miles that will put a pool in your backyard. And if you went to the pool guy, and you said, hey, we're thinking about a pool, and the guy was like, I'm dabbling, I could try, I can dig a hole and then we could talk about if the whole looks good to you, or, do you know how big you want the hole, because I could probably figure out how to rent. You would be like, hmm, I, not sure I really want these people to dig up my backyard. But when we go to a pool company – every pool company can't be the best in the world or even the best in your neighborhood – but when you call the feeling you want to get from that guy is like I’m at least trying to be the best in the world, I’m not trying to dig up your backyard and mess things up for you lady. So if you went to the pool guy's website and he was running a Kickstarter campaign, that was like a DIY pool building service, contribute to my Kickstarter campaign, and then he was running a workshop for teens that want to be lifeguards, and then he had his weekend build your own deck workshop, you'd be like, dude, maybe should focus on pools.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, I just want a pool, I don't want to know all that other stuff.

Angela Lauria:

You want a pool, why is he working with the teens, he's training people, he's got lifeguard certification, but as consultants, and I know I was doing this as a book expert, I don't even have a website; but if you did, I did blurbs, I did editing, I did proofreading, I did book strategy, I'd build a website for you, I would build emails that went with your book. I would set up a booth if I actually did this for someone. I would set up a booth at trade shows for you. I would design the tradeshow backdrop. I did magazines. Of course, I wasn't making much money, relatively speaking, like, I was all over the shop. But we would never do that with our pool guy or our electrician. And it's what you do, let's say, you help people with sales; let's say you help people build great teams or build great work culture – those things are at least as important as a pool. So no one wants to hire you if you're not at least willing to try and be good at it. They should go hire someone who's good at it.

Josh Steimle:

[inaudible 00:14:49] you're calling me to repentance here too, because I’m like, I’m probably doing too many things in my business too, I need to listen to Angela's advice here. All right, so you wrote that book, now you've written in other books as well though, I mean, with your name on it, other than the 10-step book.

Angela Lauria:

Yes, and so I have, I think about this – can I teach a little principle here, would this be helpful?

Josh Steimle:

Absolutely.

Angela Lauria:

Okay, I [inaudible 00:15:12] keep about two kinds of books. One book is your signature program, what you want to be known for, pools, the thing you're the best in the world at. The other kinds of books are more about your philosophy, or your leadership, they're platform books that aren't going to drive clients, but they're going to help people understand who you are. So I have two books that are about my signature program, one is called The Difference: 10 Steps To Write A Book That Matters. The other is called Make ‘Em Beg to Publish Your Book – and what is the subtitle on that one? Look, I don't even have the subtitle on the cover. It's such a long – it's How to Reach a Larger Audience and Make a Full-Time Income in the Extremely Overcrowded World of Personal Development. Those two books teach my signature system. It's called the Difference Process. It is the system for how to get your book written and generating revenue for you. And that is how people walk through my door, that's how people get to work with me.
Then I have two books that are more about my leadership, my platform, kind of my bigger philosophy as a human. One is called the Incubated Author: 10 Steps to Start a Movement with Your Message, and that's about my position on social justice, and how important I think it is for businesses, especially in personal development, to take a stand for their values. My other book is called Make ‘Em Beg to Be Your Client, and it's about how to build a quarter million dollar coaching business. And most coaches make more like $40 to $60,000, that's a huge upgrade in thinking. Those two books, I don't really sell a specific program on. It's more like my philosophy. So I always recommend, until you've got your business cranking, to write what I call a front end book or a signature program book, or, sometimes I call it in a Scottish accent, you're we portal, you're we portal is the little door that clients can walk through. So if you're a pool company, your we portal is going to be we build pools. But then you might do lifeguard lessons, and you might do pool maintenance, and you might sell, I don't know, floats for people's pools. You might do a whole bunch of other things, but you wouldn't do them if they weren't add-ons to your main core signature program.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So how do these books feed and help you with your signature program with building your business – is it just that they give more background so people like you more and trust you more, or, how do they fit into your strategy?

Angela Lauria:

So I have a different approach, I think than a lot of people. There are a lot of people out there that you know, whatever studied from, Frank Kern and Dan Kennedy and the greats of internet marketing, who tell you – I forget how Dan Kennedy says it, but tell them the what and not the how is I think how he says it. So it's all about being elusive and mysterious, and you keep promising, and then someday maybe they'll get to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or something. My approach is the exact opposite. This is what I tell my clients: Give them everything. If someone shows up to read your book, tell them the exact system – first we order a backhoe, then we come in your backyard and we excavate three feet deep by 18 feet long, then we pour concrete. I mean, describe in great detail, maybe extra great detail, every single possible step that they would have to do if they were doing it on their own.

Josh Steimle:

Because then you're kind of talking them out of doing it on their own.

Angela Lauria:

Exactly. I want it to work, I'm not trying to trick anyone. So if you read my books, and you follow the steps, I mean, you have to actually follow them. But if you follow them, they will result in a book that can generate a quarter of a million dollars for you within 12 months, like, they work, but most people won't do it on their own. So instead of being like, I don't know, shifty or cagey about what you include, I’m like, tell them every single exhausting detail and tell them if they're committed; if they do it with you, they're probably more likely to succeed because you've done it a few more times than they have.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. So talk us through the process of your 10 steps or your system as much as you want to feel comfortable sharing here within our time format here. We got about 20 minutes left probably. So we probably can't dig into the whole 10 steps and every single detail but...

Angela Lauria:

I can do 10 steps in probably two minutes.

Josh Steimle:

All right, let's do it.

Angela Lauria:

So the first thing to know about the 10 steps is most people think writing a book starts with writing, and actually writing your book comes around the seventh or eighth step, I always forget which one it is, so I’ll walk you through them. The first is, and then for people who don't think that they're writing about, they're like, I should do my title or pick out my topic first, I have a different approach there. So actually start with who you want to help, and we call that define your ideal reader, that's the D in Difference; and then who are you going to be in reference to this person. So I want to help suburban families get pools in their backyard, that's who I want to help. And then who am I? I’m the pool installer. These seem very basic when I explain it right now. Most people don't do that. They start with what do they want to talk about. Like, I want to talk about how awesome meditation is. That would be like me saying, I want to talk about pool liners. Nobody cares about your pool liner. So we got to figure out who are they, and who are you. Define your ideal reader. Identify your voice.
Then I have a couple of marketing issues, the first one is to frame your outcome. So what do you want? We want to sell pools. Most people don't know what they want to come from the book; they want people to like it and it to sell copies. That's not how books work anymore. We got to use the book as a lead magnet. You got to be selling one thing. You could sell other things. But what's your main thing you're driving people to? Build a pool in your backyard. Now if you sell somebody a float, great; if you sell someone lifeguard lessons, great; but we want to write the book to sell pools, frame your outcome.
Step four is a little bit of mindset, but it works miracles. It's focus your author mojo, and what that means is don't expect to write any different than you do. Most people have this dream of like, I don't know, how Stephen King writes, and they don't really know how they – you already have a way it works for you. You're already good at this. And so, however it is that you get emails written or get your taxes done, we want to figure out what's your thing so we can do more of that.

Josh Steimle:

Right. Stephen King is not a life coach.

Angela Lauria:

Right. And the thing is, Stephen King might want to write in the morning, like, David Weiss, who is my first – I happen to have this book out, this is my first book I ever did. This New York Times bestselling Pulitzer Prize, bestselling author, incredible author, he woke up every morning and he wrote five pages before lunch, every day for 60 years. That's his author mojo, it's not yours. So people hear a podcast and they're like, Jimmy Smith said write five pages before lunch, not if you're not a morning person. It's a tip. Maybe you write five pages at 2:00 a.m. after you've slept for four hours. I actually have an author who does that. She sleeps for four hours, she wakes up in the middle of the night, she writes, and then she goes back to sleep for another three or four hours. Great. That's her author mojo. So that is a really key step.
Now the next one might be a little woo-woo for this crowd, but I really do recommend it. It's envision your success, one of the exercises I have my clients do is to put up a New York Times bestseller list with their name on the top, or take a picture of Oprah on the chairs and make their face one of the faces. It does help keep you focused if you know what the outcome is, because some of this stuff is hard. The next one – notice we haven't started writing yet, we're almost there – the next one is called release your blocks, and that is where you write a very specific type of outline; if you're doing a book proposal, you'll do this anyway, but it's where you write an abridged version of each chapter. It's a paragraph or two that describes what's in the chapter so that you're not making it up as you write. Most people make the mistake, they sit down and write a chapter and they've written themselves into a corner because they don't know where they're going next. So you want to release the blocks by being able to see the whole book laid out in front of you before you write.
My next step is writing, but we call it establish your author feeling state. There are two ways to write, they're both good. One is the way you wrote all your papers in school, and that's like a left brain methodical, write a sentence, rewrite the sentence, look up a fact on Google and come back. The other is more of a right brain flow state, that's when you're writing a card to your girlfriend, and telling her how much you love her, and it's just coming out of you. And when you read it back, you're like, well, this is pretty good, who wrote this. You read your own stuff and it makes you cry. We want 80% of our books written from that flow state, and we have some neuroscience hacks that allow our authors to do that. The next one is N, nurture your manuscript, that's where we edit it. So what I say is write the whole thing with no editing, then go into a methodical editing phase, instead of write and edit, write and edit, write and edit, because then the book changes before you can finish editing.
Create your masterpiece is about deciding how you publish. More than ever, we're recommending self-publishing these days. There are still reasons to go the traditional route, but most people don't fit that category. If you're listening, and you've got a million followers or fans, that's a good time to start tapping into the power of traditional publishing under a million followers and fans. It's almost better, in most cases, to self-publish. Not all of them, there are a couple exceptions. And then the last step is about marketing, and that's expand your reach. So we teach people to start with that we portal, the tiny little we portal that's at the center of everything you do, and then you expand in concentric circles out. So start with the pool. Be the best in the world at the pool. Then you can add pool floaties, pool service, lifeguard training, hire a lifeguard, then we can expand out, but let's be good at one thing first.

Josh Steimle:

So the funny story there is my uncle actually started the largest pool building company in California, which I think actually makes them the largest pool building company in the world maybe...

Angela Lauria:

It must be [inaudible 00:27:29] California like the seventh biggest country if it was a country or something like that.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. So the company is actually California Pools. They build 2000 pools a year or something. And it's funny, because your formula is actually what he followed. He started out, he built pools, that's all he did, he built pools; and now, of course, 50 years later, they do everything, they sell all the products, they've gotten into everything else, but they build the best pools. That's their core thing.

Angela Lauria:

Right. And you take that away, and what do you have? It's like a weird hack of a company that doesn't know what they want to be. So I love that [inaudible 00:28:04] I've never actually met a pool guy. I always use that as an example, because it's really expensive, and what I do is really expensive, and I teach my clients to be really expensive. And I don't want to pool from a company that's like, hey, I know the other people are offering you 100,000, but we'll do it for 10,000. Really? Like, is my house going to fall in? I don't want a cheap pool. I either want no pool or I want the best pool, like, please give me a good pool or none.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. Well, now you know that your advice actually works for pool people too.

Angela Lauria:

I did not know that – completely made up example.

Josh Steimle:

This is great.

Angela Lauria:

[inaudible 00:28:42].

Josh Steimle:

So tell us a little bit more about the business, I mean, you launch it, and it's such a great story about how you had – what was it – 24 clients, before you even realized you had a business there. So tell us a little bit more about where that's gone, and how you ended up on the Inc 500 list and creating this huge business that's doing so successful, and what other lessons can we learn as entrepreneurs from that?

Angela Lauria:

Yeah, it's been such a, just a fueled journey – what do they call that – inspired action. So there's been – it's not that there's been no work, entrepreneurship is hard, I work hard. But it's always been really clear what's supposed to happen next, and I've had a lot of good problems to solve, which, by the way, if you don't have a good problem to solve right now, they still feel like problems. One of the biggest problem in my business and we're always looking for solutions to it, is we just have too many people applying to work with us. We're a boutique shop, we work – I work directly with everyone. We've got a team of editors and designers and proofreaders. We've got about 25 employees full time or full time equivalent, the editors tend to be on 1099s, although not all of them, and making sure that we're picking the right clients; and I want to talk a little about client selection here because our business went – I did 250,000 the year before writing a book. After I wrote my book or the year I published was a million, three million the next year, six the next, 10 the next, 15 the next, 19 the year after that. And so, our business has grown exponentially based on a key philosophy which is called key philosophy of client selection.
My book Make ‘Em Beg to Be Your Client talks about the philosophy, but it goes something like this: when you've got 2000 applicants a month to choose from, and to pay my bills, I need to take 10. So if I’m feeling ambitious, and I want to make extra money – there are a lot of variable costs too, but if I want to make more money, I can probably handle 20, it makes me tired though. So I need 10 great clients a month, I'll take 20 but only if they're great. And I’ve got 2000 applicants to choose from. It's a totally different game than if I have no idea how many clients I need to pay my bills, which is how most businesses operate, and I want as many clients as possible. Energetically, I would approach each phone call if I needed as many as possible; this is what most business owners will say, we want to make as much as possible, we want as many clients as possible. I don't want as many as possible, I want as few as possible to crush my goals. So I would get on every call hoping someone would buy, I really hope they buy, I need as many clients as possible. And I would be – I'm going to say this, I hope you will get it with the spirit it is intended, I’ll be pulling some ugly chicks. Because I'd be like, I hope this girl goes out with me. Haven't seen her yet, don't know if I like her, but I hope she goes out. Can you imagine your goal is to date anyone who will say yes? That's a terrible goal. It's just not a great approach, but that's how most people approach business. And by the way, that's how I approached my business, the first 19 years as a ghostwriter. Someone called me and they'd say, I have a book about the Y2K problem. And I was like, well, I’m one of the world's foremost experts on the Y2K problem. I didn't even believe it was a problem and I was writing book after book about this thing I didn't care about, because I wanted people's money. What kind of...

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, I mean, it's just – I've gotten sucked into that in the past too, and I think so many entrepreneurs do where you say, anybody, anybody who has any money, I will do work for them; and then they come along, and you're like, oh yeah, I can do that, I can do that. In your business, all of a sudden, you're offering 30 different services, and you're not making money, and you're stressed out, and you're working with people that you don't like, and you're saying there's got to be a better way than this. But it's so hard, because the answer is you got to cut back, and that's hard when you're in that mentality.

Angela Lauria:

Saying no is the answer, and the best way to say now is to be the hot chick. So if you're the hot chick at the bar, and you know there are many guys you could leave this bar with, you have time to kind of sit back and be like, he's interesting, I’m going to have a drink with him, I’m going to go sit over there, I like his outfit, I like his shoes. You select who you're going to go home with, and sometimes you go home with no one, because there's not a good enough option, and you're not worried tomorrow, there won't be a good option. So here's some things I've learned from hot chicks, I’ve never been the hot chick like that, but I look and they're not trying to get a guy, they're open to it. It's not like pretty girls don't want boyfriends, but they're not chasing the guys, they're kind of laying back and seeing what comes to them. Now, they dress nice, but do you know why most hot girls nice? I know you guys don't actually know this, but this is the truth. Most hot girls dress nice because it makes them feel pretty. They're not doing it for you. I know you think they are, sorry. Most hot girls dress nice for themselves or their girlfriends. They're like, in the bathroom, they're like, oh I love those earrings, where'd you get those, I got them on sale at Marshall's. It's super fun to put an outfit together. It's like a hobby. It is a hobby. It's fun. We like to put on makeup because it's fun.
So when you're building your business to try and get a guy, it's some sort of, what do they call it, a honey trap, honeypot. It's not cute, it's like being a gold digger. If you're putting on an outfit to twist the guy's arm into asking you out or fake him out when you're actually going to, I don't know, try and get pregnant and screw him over for child support. It's not – it's gross. And people can feel that energy. Guys know when a girl's being crazy. And prospects know when you're just trying to close them. It feels yucky in their body. So here's the secret. Cal Newport has a great book about this. Be so good, they can't ignore you. Just be awesome. Spend your energy not on trying to look good, but on actually being good; like, hot girls are hot because they're hot, they're confident, they like dressing up, they're having fun with their friends, they're chill, they're not trying to get you to get them pregnant, they're just trying to have a good time. And if you're trying to be the best pool builder, or the best sales trainer, or the best software developer, that's what will make you attractive. That's why we get 2000 applications a month, and then I get to look at them and say, does this person seem cool, do I like this topic, do I like this person.
I got into a fight with a prospective client this week. She applied, and I said, yes. And I said, this looks great, love your topic, would love to work with you, do me a favor, watch this quick video, so you have a sense of what we do, and after you watch it, then if it still sounds good, let's get on a call. And she replied, how much is it, which is in that video, it tells them specifically the price. And so, I said, go ahead and watch that video, after you take a look, if you still have questions, let me know. And she's like, I still have a question, what's the price. So I knew she hadn't watched the video. So I just went in and said...

Josh Steimle:

It's funny when you're even telling her that the price is in the video, and then she asks, it's like...

Angela Lauria:

I don't want to work with you. So I wrote back and I said, upon further consideration, I’ve decided to revoke your acceptance into the program, I wish you the best of luck with your book, I know you're going to find an amazing person. She wrote back in all caps, I’m reporting you to the BBB, this is not a way to conduct a business. Now, do you want that lady as your client? She's that crazy lady who's trying to get pregnant and charge you for child support, like, I don't need that girl in my – my instinct was so right. I’m like, oh that's what not a fit looks like, and I don't want a business full of crazy people. That sounds like no fun. I have other things in my life that I would like to enjoy. So dealing on the weekends with crazy people complaining, like, no, thank you.

Josh Steimle:

It’s like that 80-20 rule, that 20% of your clients are going to take up 80% of your time, but what if you could get rid of those 20% of the clients.

Angela Lauria:

That's it. So that's what Make ‘Em Beg to Be Your Client is all about. At the heart of everything I do, it's client selection, every single one of my clients was a total rock star. And the reason I know this is the minute they do something annoying, we just say goodbye. We keep them in line. They know if they don't follow the rules, like, with love, but it's just like, it seems like you need something other than what we can provide in good conscience. So either you get on board with our program or go find another program. God knows, there's no shortage of people that will help you write your book.

Josh Steimle:

Well, Angela, I have a feeling we could go on for about 10 more hours, and it would be just as valuable to the audience as this. But if people really like you, I think they're just going to have to reach out and get more information directly from you and read your book. If people do want to connect with you, where's the best place for them to find you?

Angela Lauria:

Yeah, I've mentioned almost all of my books here, and you can get them all absolutely free at https://theauthorincubator.com/freebooks, and on the website you'll see, books we published and some of the people we work with, and what we do, and all that good stuff.

Josh Steimle:

All right. That brings up a question I think we need to answer, you're giving your books away for free. Why do you do that, and why should people listening to this show consider doing that as well?

Angela Lauria:

I highly recommend it. We know statistically that when I give away books, three of every 100 books I give away, become clients. So we run the numbers and know very consistently. Now if I sell books, closer to 10 in a 100 become clients, but selling books is like work. It's really hard to sell a book. I don't know if anyone knows this. There's this thing called the information superhighway, it's like a network of websites that are filled with information that there's no charge for. So selling a book is like much harder than selling a pool, like, if you want to sell a $20,000 sales training, much easier than selling a $20 book. So we give our books away because to sell a 100 books would probably cost me about $70 a book fully baked to sell it. So it would cost me somewhere around $7000 and probably a good 70 hours, but I can give away 100 books for less than 500 bucks, and I can do it pretty quickly. I give away about 100 books a day, it doesn't cost me that much to give them away, and in exchange, I get three out of 100 clients. My average client value is about $32,500, so spend 500 bucks, make a 100,000, it's pretty good math.

Josh Steimle:

That's incredible. All right. I’m going to have to cut myself off here because I just want to keep on going with questions, but this is such good stuff. Angela, thanks so much for being with us here today on the Published Author Podcast.

Angela Lauria:

Thank you so much for having me. It's been really fun.

Josh Steimle:

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