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The Published Author Podcast

EXPERTS NEVER CHASE, A GAME-CHANGER FOR LEAD GENERATION 

You're lying in bed in the wee hours, feeling anxious because you have no idea where your next client will come from. 

Does this sound like you? If so, today’s Published Author episode is something you definitely want to hear!

Host Josh Steimle talks to Tobin Slaven, author of the book Experts Never Chase: The Hassle-Free Guide for Expert-Based Entrepreneurs. Experts Never Chase is designed to help business owners stop marketing and start growing their business by creating more conversations with the right people. 

Experts Never Chase contains the four gears of marketing methodology designed by Tobin to help entrepreneurs find their ideal clients. 

FIRST BOOK FROM THE PUBLISHED AUTHOR MASTERCLASS!

Tobin is the first member of the Published Author’s Masterclass to finish his book and get it published. 

An entrepreneur for about 15 years, Tobin has been called an introverted savant with a super power for helping entrepreneurs find their tribe and sparking conversations out of thin air!

Tobin’s LinkedIn profile notes that his book’s title is about the fact that we all know deep down that “chasing undermines the hard won trust and authority of subject matter experts. I help entrepreneurs find the easy path to dialogue that drives sales, without chasing.”

AUTHOR RAN A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN TO FUND BOOK’S LAUNCH

Tobin ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring in some funding to launch his book. He says: “I like exploring new territory and doing unique things. I've never run a Kickstarter before, so I didn't bring a lot of experience, but I've wanted to do one for a while. I just find it really interesting . . .This idea of gathering a group of people together and getting them to buy into the vision of what you're creating.”

The campaign encountered a scary moment. With 10 days to go left in the campaign, Tobin and his co-author Cat Stancik, were only at 22 percent of their $5,000 goal. With Kickstarter, the rule is all or nothing, so orders for their book would have been refunded if they didn’t reach 100 percent.

Although Tobin was aware that most Kickstarters don’t see a lot of activity until the end of a campaign, he knew he had to really kick it into gear. 

“I’d call it a good old-fashioned barn raising! I reach out to friends. I had family friends that came in in a big way,” he says. “Some folks supported with dollars. Some folks interviewed us on podcasts and helped us get the word out. And we ended up at 131 percent when we finished.”

The key to a successful Kickstarter campaign is, according to Tobin, being creative with what’s on offer. Tobin and Cat offered reward layers where, for example, people could buy a signed copy of the book, a digital package with a hard copy and audio copy due later this year, and a hard copy along with a consultation package. 

FRUSTRATED WITH LIST-BUILDING, PUSHING SEND, AND ONE-TO-MANY MARKETING

Up until about four or five years ago, most of Tobin’s experience in the digital marketing space was with his own consultancy. His work was all about list building and pushing send—one-to-many digital marketing. 

“It was all about efficiency and automation, and doing the least amount of work for the biggest results,” explains Tobin.

But clearly he wasn’t enjoying the work because he became frustrated and did a 360-degree flip, going all in on having one-to-one conversations with people and doing the things that wouldn't scale. 

Experts Never Chase is about this experience and process and the journey that he’s been on after moving away from the one-to-many digital marketing approach. He notes the journey has been full of mistakes, but the goal has been to find a more elegant way of winning clients.

‘WE’RE STARTING TO TUNE OUT THE MARKETING STUFF’

Toban changed tacks not because he wasn’t successful. On the contrary, he and his team produced $1.5 million dollars in revenue with two emails.

However, he was watching the open rates go down, even though they were doing a lot of things right and had pretty high open rates compared to the industry average. 

Explains Tobin: “It just was getting harder and harder. And I think we see this, all of us sort of recognize this, that we're starting to tune out that marketing stuff.

“Particularly with the pandemic, I think we crave real connections with people. And I just got to a place where I said to myself if I have to prove results, if someone put a gun to my head and said ‘You've got to produce results, how are we going to do that?’ it was this: Go out, talk to people, remove all the marketing that’s creating distance between you and the people you want to do business with.”

NETWORKING WITH MEANING IN THE ONLINE SPACE

As an introvert, Tobin finds networking at face-to-face events difficult. He also finds online networkers who he calls “leg humpers” a real turn off. They are the people who have something to sell, connect with you, and as soon as you say you’re not interested, they disappear. 

Because of this, Tobin says people have bought into automation or they believe that there is a perfect script for online networking. 

“The answer is there isn't one. Because if it's a copy and paste script, you automatically are removing your biggest asset, which is creating that human to human connection.”

Instead, explains Tobin, “Every message that is sent . . . the person receiving it is a hundred percent sure and certain that that message was meant for them and them alone. You do that by tying into the details that are only pertinent to them and would not have been sent to anyone else. And it completely changes the conversation.

“I would challenge folks who say ‘I don't have time for this’. Do you have time to burn your reputation with people because you only get that first impression? I want to create relationships with people I want to do business with. I don't want to drive people away who say ‘He treated me like a number, like I was a number on his spreadsheet to get more sales’.”

Learn more: If you appreciated this episode, listen to:

Imposter Syndrome Halted Writer’s Work. Now His Book Has 100s Five-Star Reviews

And:

Don’t Bother With PR. Do This Instead

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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 Tobin Slaven. Tobin has been called an introverted savant with a superpower for helping entrepreneurs find their tribe and sparking conversations out of thin air. An entrepreneur, Tobin has created the four gears of marketing methodology designed to help entrepreneurs find their ideal clients. Tobin is coauthor of the new book Experts Never Chase. Tobin, welcome to the show.

Tobin Slaven:

Hey, thanks for having me, Josh. You know I’m a longtime and a big time fan of yours, so this is going to be a lot of fun for me.

Josh Steimle:

Well, I’m a fan of yours as well, and this is fun. Tobin is the first member of our Masterclass, the Published Author Masterclass, to finish his book and get it done and get it published and out there. So this was really fun to interview him and find out more about his book journey. But first, let's find out a little bit more about you Tobin. Give us some background, who are you, where did you come from, and lead us up to your interest in writing a book.

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, I think I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last 15 years or so. And Josh, you're in Boston, so you can understand this analogy really well, I think. I grew up in Maine, so it's very pertinent for us, New Englanders. But what I did about four or five years ago, was the equivalent of leaving the Boston Red Sox to go play for the Yankees, and the reason why I frame it that way is my whole, most of my work in the digital marketing space was list building, push-send, it was all one to many digital marketing, and it was always about efficiency and automation, and do the least amount of work for the biggest results. But about four or five years ago, I got really frustrated in that space, and we can talk about why, but what I did was, I went all in on having one to one conversations with people, doing the things that wouldn't scale. And the book that we wrote is about the process and the journey that I’ve been on, making a whole bunch of mistakes the last three or four years, trying to do this in a more elegant way, and finally, figuring out a process that works really well for us, but also a number of clients that have been through workshops with us that now use it the same way.

Josh Steimle:

So what was it that frustrated you about the one to many model?

Tobin Slaven:

The inconsistency of the results, honestly, I just, it was heartache to take money from clients, and run these campaigns and not get the results that we expected or promise the sort of – we had some stellar results, at one point, one of my clients said, and this was a team effort, it wasn't just me, but we produced a million and a half dollars with two emails. Now, that's because we built a lot of positive rapport with the folks on that list, but we had a lot of success in that area, it just was getting harder and harder. And I think we see this, all of us sort of recognize this, that we're starting to tune out that marketing stuff like we, particularly with the pandemic, I think we crave real connections with people. And I just got to a place where I said, for myself and for the folks I’m working with, if I have to prove the results, like, if someone put a gun to my head and said you've got to produce results, how are you going to do that, it was this, go out, talk to people, remove all the marketing that’s creating distance between you and the people you want to do business with.

Josh Steimle:

So explain to me, how this changed your business, because you were running a consultancy, essentially, doing email campaigns, one to many marketing, how do you adapt to doing these one on one things, like, what did that look like, how did you work with clients that way?

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah. So I’ve actually had a couple of iterations, so I had a social media marketing agency, I’ve done a bunch of content marketing along the way, we did the email campaigns. At one point, my agency was doing newsletters, curated newsletters for our clients, which was sort of a really fun space to be in. But I was watching the open rates going down, even though we were doing a lot of things right. We were many times, two to three times higher than the industry averages. I was still watching those open rates and engagement rates diminish, and at the same time, I went out and started looking at, like, how do you personalize, how do you actually, I mean, you heard in the bio, I’m pretty introverted, so I'm not – I did not find this easy to go networking, for example, to go to a Chamber of Commerce event and meet people that way. But I found that in the online space, reaching out on LinkedIn, through email or through Facebook, I actually – there is a real a process where you can actually meet people in a comfortable and fun sort of way. You don't have to come across as a weirdo on the web. And one of my favorite words that I think perfectly describes what's happening, on LinkedIn these days, is the latecomers – these people that just show up, they've got an agenda, they're all about what they have and want to sell, and the minute you kind of say, no, I’m not interested, they're gone, and you never see them again. And I just didn't want to play in that space. If that was required to do the work, I wasn't interested.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, those people drive us all crazy.

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, and I think what I would say to the business owners out there is that's not the only way to do it. And a lot of folks have sort of bought that, I have to use automation, for example, I have to do a lot of – what's the perfect script that I can send to people that will get them interested in me. And the answer is, there isn't one, because if it's a copy and paste script, you automatically are removing your biggest asset, which is creating that human to human connection.

Josh Steimle:

I’ve noticed this in my own business, our marketing agency, MWI, we do PR work, and so, we're sending out pitches. But when I was writing for Forbes and these other publications, I was on the other end of it, getting the pitches. And at one point, when I was writing for Forbes, Mashable and TechCrunch, and like all these publications at the same time, I was getting hundreds of PR pitches every month, and it was like, everybody bought the same template somewhere. Seriously, I was like, is there a book or something that teaches people how to do this, because I would get the exact same email pitches from different PR firms all around the world, and some of these were really well established, reputable PR firms, like, they should have known better. And every once in a while, somebody would send me an email, and, of course, you put the name at the front, but everybody can do that. But then they would stick in a few bits of information that let me know, I've only sent this email to you and to nobody else, and I thought, how come, no – everybody should be doing this, and yet, it was one out of 100 or one out of 1000, that would actually customize the email, so that I could instantly tell they're only sending this email to me, it's a custom email, and then I'd read those emails. All the others, I could identify in two seconds, this is a forum email, it's going out to 200 people, I just delete those, I don't even read those.

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, your experience, I think we've all had that, and sometimes in the marketing space, we forget what it feels like to be the user or the receiver of these messages. But what you cited was, in our book, we kind of talk about it as rule number two, which is, every message that is sent has to be a 100% – the person is a 100% sure and certain that that message was meant for them and them alone; and you do that by tying into the details that are only pertinent to them and would not have been sent to anyone else; and it completely changes the conversation. And I would challenge folks that say I don't have time for this is, do you have time to burn your reputation with people, because you only get that first impression once. And I want to create relationships with people, I want to do business with, I don't want to drive people away that say, ah, he treated me like a number, like, I was a number on his spreadsheet to get more sales.

Josh Steimle:

Now, so are you doing this on behalf of clients, like, helping them to implement these one to one programs, is that what you do or?

Tobin Slaven:

I did for a while. So several years ago, we had a lead gen agency, and, in fact, I’m just owning this, we tried running automation, because that's what the experts were saying, like, this is the process. And because I came from that marketing background, it made sense that how do you do this at scale. But short answer is no, we're not doing it for clients directly where I am coaching and working with clients to figure out what this process looks like for them, because when you make some slight customizations, it can be really effective, but it always works best when people are running it in their own business instead of just farming it out to an agency to do on their behalf. We do work with folks, and one of the areas of specialty we developed is sort of a team based approach. So I don't know if you have someone else in the business working with you, Josh, that might be, for example, doing business development on your behalf, looking for opportunities, but there's a dynamic, particularly if it's a junior person, and they don't have your background. Like, if you and I meet, I’m like, holy cow, yeah, I want to connect with Josh, like, look at what he's done in his career; but someone on your team might not bring that same background to the table. So knowing how to work with those dynamics, it can actually be to their advantage if it's positioned the right way, when they're doing outreach on your behalf. So we work with those dynamics, but it's more coaching and consulting around how teams can do that for themselves.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So tell us about the genesis of the idea for your book. So I’ve got my copyright here, Experts Never Chase, so do you remember the moment when you said, I’m going to write a book, and this is what it's going to be about?

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, I’m going to tell you and it's going to sound a little bit dramatic, but I can tell you, this is 100% true. And it didn't happen once, it's actually happened multiple times, because I think part of this is just being an entrepreneur, but it's that 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. sweats, laying in bed, projecting out over the next couple of weeks, knowing that we have bills to pay and sort of all those financial pressures that we face. And thinking to myself, I don't know where my next client is coming from, and even worse, I don't even see anyone on the radar. Like, I don't feel hopeful because I don't see that person who should be sort of arriving as a new client in the process, and that scared me to death. And so, this process was specifically me going out and saying, I need help in this area, I’m going to find the best coaches in the world to work with me, to figure out what they're doing to solve this one problem. And several of those guys are actually really good friends of mine now, and I think they will tell you that what we learn from others. No, I always give credit to where I was able to adopt really good ideas, but I think we put some unique spins on what we do, and they would tell you that we're up amongst the world leaders, like, we're doing some cutting edge stuff in that space too.

Josh Steimle:

So when did this all happen, when did you get the idea for the book?

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, so I started writing, well, probably two or three years ago, I took a first cut at the book was with a different title, but it was an early version of our process. And at that time, I worked with a ghostwriter – she had gone through our program, so she knew the program that we were running at the time, and she helped me write up a first version of the book based on the program. Honestly, I didn't publish that book, because I didn't think it was good enough. I didn't think our program and our material at the time was good enough to get the consistent results that I expected and wanted out there. So I kind of tabled that book, essentially, the book was written once and just never got published, but we kept iterating and improving mostly through workshops. So the process that's in the book is the exact same thing that we're teaching in the workshops, like, a very hands-on, like, this is the feedback I got, and that's why it's a better book today. And then the other thing that happened is, so I wrote about 50,000 words in the first draft of the book, and I kind of got stuck, I got frustrated. I got in that place where I didn't want to pick the book up anymore. It just felt painful to even read it and rewrite and do the edits. And so, I made a decision, I reached out to one of my friends who does a very similar work, essentially, you could call her a competitor in the space where she and I are seeking clients to sort of do this coaching work with them. And I reached out to Cat Stancik and I said, I think you and I should work on this together, I have the book almost there, but I think it would be a better book if you and I teamed up on this. And I’m so glad I did, because she brings a really unique voice, if you guys have ever met Cat, and if you don't, you should follow her. She has a really unique voice in the space, she's great with one liners, she has a fun sense of humor. But having that male-female dynamic, two different providers, she's doing workshops and programs herself, but she talks about things differently than I do. The process is very similar. It's still very – it's all organic outreach, conversational outreach. But I just think that this was the best decision, and we've had a lot of fun putting it together. And honestly, I’m not sure I could have finished without her, because I was at that place where, in French, [Foreign Language 00:13:23] I had reached that.

Josh Steimle:

Such a great point here that, there's so many reasons to bring on a coauthor, one you mentioned was they help you actually get it done, which for a lot of authors, you get the book 90% done, 95% done, 99% done, and you still just can't get it across the finish line and a coauthor can help with that, or, they can help you start it or just get it through. You also mentioned that they bring a different voice to it or a different perspective, which makes it a better book and more relatable. And also, in your case, you said having the male-female dynamic, that makes it more appealing for everybody out there, so it's not just a kind of male centric book or a female centric book, but it can appeal to both genders. And the great thing about having a coauthor is you get all these benefits, and there's no real cost to it. I mean, we feel like there's a cost, like, oh, I’m sharing the cover, and especially with a competitor, you feel like, oh, they're going to take half the business, but it's really not the way it works. It ends up being a win-win for everybody, because you have a better book, you get more clients. Sure, they get clients too, but there's enough clients to go around.

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, I think that's an important part that it's, I mean, in a world, we live in a world of information abundance, right? There's more information than any of us can ever consume. And so I tend to think that abundance carries over. There are clients who will be the perfect fit for Cat, and then, I believe that there'll be enough for me as well. And if there's one piece of advice I’d share, maybe if someone's wrestling with this question about this was what I had to sort of acknowledge on my end, which was, there is a little bit of giving up of the ego to take on a coauthor. So in our case, when we started out, I had basically written a first version of the book, or the second version, as you heard before, because the first one went in the trash, but I have written 50,000 words, almost the whole book was there. And so, when we started, Cat sort of acknowledged that and so it felt like she was coming in to assist me. And so, my name was first on the cover of the book, we actually reversed that, because she contributed so much in the rewriting and editing process that so much of the book that we have now is equally her and mine, that we flipped the names around, we put her first and listed as the author – first author listed on the bottom of the book, and on the cover, because she earned it, it was that big an impact. But I think if I had a lot of ego caught up in that, then it might have been a hard decision to accept. In my case, I was happy to do this, whether, again, it's a better book, and we had a lot of fun doing it.

Josh Steimle:

Great mindset. Now, you ran a Kickstarter campaign for this, which is really interesting. Let's get into that a little bit. How did you even decide that you wanted to do a Kickstarter for this, what was the purpose?

Tobin Slaven:

I wanted, being in the digital marketing space, I like exploring new territory and doing unique things, so that was the appeal. I'd never run a Kickstarter before, so I didn't bring a lot of experience to the table. But I’ve wanted to do one for a while, I just find it really interesting, this idea of gathering a group of people together and getting them to buy into the vision of what you're creating, and then using that as a mechanism to get it out in front of more folks in the world. Cat was a little bit, I don't want to say leery, but she was like, okay, let's try this, but it wasn't her idea, and she wasn't fully on board at the start. She was kind of like, I think we should go for the Amazon bestseller campaign. And I said, well, I’m not opposed to that too, that's great, although I think a lot of us know, there’s a game to be played on that. Right? If you play the game, you can get that status. I wanted to do something a little different. And so, we launched the Kickstarter. With 10 days to go left in the campaign, we were at 22% of goal. Now, if you guys aren't familiar with Kickstarter, the rules are, it's all or nothing. So any orders for the book that we had received would have been refunded if we didn't reach 100% of goal. So that created a lot of pressure on us...

Josh Steimle:

And you're only at 22%. Right?

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, only 22%. A lot of Kickstarter see activity near the end, but I don't think we would have reached our goal numbers. We hadn't sort of kicked it into gear in that last week, and I would equate it to a good old fashioned barn raising, like, I reached out to friends, I had family friends that came in a big way, and I just said, this is a project we're working on, this is why we believe in it, why we think it's valuable for others, would you help me get the word out, would you support. And some folks supported with dollars, some folks interviewed us on podcasts like this and helped us get the word out, and we ended up at 131% when we finished. And what that has done is created, you know, we had fun bonuses for the folks that supported. In fact, we ended up – we're going to do several workshops with those people who supported the Kickstarter as well. And we have created layers, reward layers in the Kickstarter, so you could get a signed copy of the book for $35, a little bit higher than what you pay on Amazon, but they were sort of buying into this bigger, bigger campaign. But there was also a $100 a $500 level. We even had a $2500 and $7500 level to the Kickstarter. Now, I didn't end up finding those angel sponsors for the Kickstarter that way at that level, but I think it created a conversation with folks. And we had several people look at it and say, at that level, it was really a combination of our consulting services, plus support at the Kickstarter in a way that does this make sense for their business. So I think you can be creative and do unique things that allowed us to dovetail with what we're doing in our businesses, even beyond the book.

Josh Steimle:

So at what point, did you get past the 100% funded mark, was it down to the wire or?

Tobin Slaven:

No, I think probably four or five days to go, we went over a 100%. In fact, a lot of our – so I had one – one of my clients actually jumped in and pledged the exact dollar amount to get us to a 100%. But the interesting thing is that after we hit a 100%, we started seeing more activity, including folks that, names that I didn't recognize. So the early days of the Kickstarter, it's your friends, it's your family, it's your clients and peers and folks are supporting you because they support you. But then it starts to take on, and then we knew the end of the Kickstarter, we started to see more and more names of folks that were showing up, I didn't know who they were, Cat didn't recognize the name either, but they saw the book and they were conversing with them now, and they really liked the premise of the book. They could see how that could be valuable for them in their business.

Josh Steimle:

Awesome. Now, with the Kickstarter, did you do any paid advertising or anything else, or, was it purely word of mouth marketing?

Tobin Slaven:

It was all organic. There was 0% paid in it. And, honestly, it's the same process that we talk about in the book, which is, essentially real relationships. This is why when you do the conversational outreach, you can approach someone and have a conversation with them, and it does not have to be a sales conversation. It can be genuinely trying to know and get to know that other person. And when you build that rapport, you essentially have created an extended network that you can then go back to. So I went out to my network, like I said, everyone from childhood friends to folks that I’ve worked with in the last few weeks and said, this is what we're doing, and that's really the promise of the book that we wrote was, you should be able to read this book, follow the steps that we've laid out for you, we're going to show you examples and go get a new client and your business before you finish the last pages of the book. I felt like if we could deliver on that product on that promise, that we would have a book. It's the kind of book I would want to read. If one other person gets that benefit out of it, it was well worth putting the time in.

Josh Steimle:

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So let's talk a little bit more about the connection between the book and your business – is the content in the book, 100%, what you do in your business, or, is it a little bit more loosely linked?

Tobin Slaven:

No, it is what we do. It's a hybrid of what Cat does and what I do. So you're getting examples from both of us of clients that we've worked with. But when I do the workshops, I have a series of workshops that, it's a 10-day sprint, and it's $3000, and essentially, that same content that we put into that workshop is in a condensed version in the book. We didn't hold anything back, because my belief is that some people are going to read the book, and they're going to go get results, and that's great. If they bought the book or someone gave it to them, either way, they're going to benefit from that experience. Other people are going to want a deeper dive, they're going to want someone to give them feedback, they're going to want to adapt the messaging. And so, in those cases, those are folks who would be clients, who are in the workshop experience and happy to support them. The book essentially will be an asset of the workshop. As people come into the workshop, we'll get the book in their hands, so they can read it in that form, but we're really working the process more hands-on with them until they enroll those folks.

Josh Steimle:

Cool. So tell us a little bit about the actual publishing process. So who did you go through for this? It's hardcover, the copy that I’m holding right here, so it looks like you went through IngramSpark maybe, or?

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, so we did, we have an editor who helped sort of guide us in that process, get the manuscript set up for uploading. We did IngramSpark for the hardcover and we're doing Kindle. We chose not to do a soft cover. We may, in the future, add it, I mean, if people are really interested in it. And we also made a decision early on to go a little bit higher in the pricing. So my thought process or our thought process at the time was this book is valuable. Like, this is the same thing I do for myself on a day to day basis, use this to go get a client. If you're not willing to, I think we set it at $27. If you're not willing to do that for your book, then maybe this isn't – we pay attention to things we pay for. So whether it's a $22 book or a $27 book, doesn't ultimately make a difference to my wallet or to yours or anyone else's. But what if you're paying a little bit more and maybe it forces you to save this book, could be really valuable for me, I think that's a good thing.

Josh Steimle:

I know a guy who's taken that today to the extreme, Rich Lipton, he's a coach for coaches, and he sells the paperback version of his book for 75 bucks on Amazon, and he's like, hey, it's worth it. That's interesting. I will have to have him on the show...

Tobin Slaven:

[inaudible 00:25:02] $500 and $1000 books for the same reason. Obviously, I think that there are some folks out there that are doing good work, meaning the world is going to be a better place if they have more clients, and they make their positive impact. So if this book, that seems like a fair trade, if all they did was buy the book, go enroll several clients from it, I think that's a win for everybody. It's good karma in the world.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, exactly. So other than when you were talking about some of the hang-ups you had, getting the book done, finishing the book, what were some of the parts that worked out more easily for you, because at the beginning, it sounded like you were cranking it out a couple of years ago, and just getting a lot of content out, what was easy for you. And then, can you tell us a little bit more about where you got hung up, and why you think that stopped?

Tobin Slaven:

Yeah, thank you for asking this question, actually, because this is probably a question that I would pose, I would turn back to you, Josh, because I’m very curious to hear your perspective on this. I intend to write additional books in the future. So I want to avoid this pitfall that I found myself sort of in that I had to climb around to get out of. And so, if I can plan ahead in the future, that might be great too, for myself, and for others who hear this. But what worked really well for me, what I feel good about that I did with the book, that I will do in the future, the first draft of the book was really written as a series of letters. So I had, it was four people, real people, one of them a friend of mine, three others were people that I had met on LinkedIn. Interestingly, all of their names started with B. It was two men, two women, but every time I sat down to write, the first words were dear B, and then I would write a letter to that person. And so, I created an outline of what I thought needed to be in the book, like, I knew our process, I knew the rough structure, I'd gone through your process, the published author process, so I'd worked through the workbooks. And I think I had a really good grasp of what I wanted the table of contents and the outline and structure to look like. And so, the flesh, the words of the book, really were the, first version at least, was written as a series of letters, love letters to these Bs of imagining how they must be, and in a couple cases, I knew what they were feeling of where they were in their business and where they were struggling and what they really needed. So I was answering questions that I anticipated, they'd want to know or would be asking. Where I got stuck was taking that raw material, and sort of reorganizing it, it still had to fit the outline and the format. But there was a lot of – there needed to be a lot of chipping away, there was – it wasn't fluff, it was just – because it was written as a series of letters, you know, Cat would say, you sort of talked about this piece of the work five times in five different ways in five different places, because it was written sort of as Lego pieces that got stuck together. And so, I think in the future, I would try to maybe organize my outline better at the start in writing those series of letters, I'm not sure how I could avoid that. But by the time I got to the point that I needed to cut away, I just didn't want to work with it anymore. I was sort of mentally done.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, did it just feel like too much work, like, you knew there was stuff to clean up, and you just felt like, oh, I don't want to go through all that?

Tobin Slaven:

Yes. I don't think I’m a great editor. Also just by personality, I’m a really good, like, give me a machete and let me hack my way through the jungle, and I love exploring. But if you ask me to build the road behind me, that's someone else's going to be way better at that job. And I think Cat was really good. She had already published a book herself solo prior to this, and I think she was really good at sort of taking the information and assimilating it with her own, and then reorganizing it, and then we had an editor also reading through. And the editor – we've actually had a couple friends read the book, and they've said, this is pretty good, like, I’m already changing how I’m conversing with my prospects and clients, they saw an immediate sort of lift in what they could do to have those conversations in a more natural, organic, I think, elegant kind of way. And that felt pretty good, that was a validation I was looking for. This should be a useful book. This isn't just a book full of stories.

Josh Steimle:

That's great. For my part, when I get stuck on stuff, and I’ve been in your shoes too, I feel, I mean, I’ve got two books right now that I’m stuck on, and one of them is the workbook that you were mentioning for the Published Author Masterclass that I got so much of that done, I mean, it's like 350 pages right now; and then, it just became huge, and it became kind of a slog to get through it. But what I found with the workbook and other books I’ve written and articles as well that I’ve written in the past, is usually when I get hung up on something, it's because I know that there's something that's not right about the manuscript, about the idea, about the title. But something about that is not right, and until I fix it, it's hard to move forward, because I feel like I’m going to have to go back and redo it all otherwise. And sometimes I know what that thing is, so that's wrong, and it's easy to go fix, or at least it's easy to identify. And other times, it's harder to pick out, and I feel like there's something holding me back, and I don't know what it is. And actually, with the workbooks, specifically, I just figured this out today, that what was holding me back on this is that – I know we're kind of getting into the weeds here a bit on the Masterclass and everything, but through the Masterclass, I’ve seen that there are some people who get hung up on certain parts of the workbook. For example, I say, in the workbook, you need to build an email list, so go out and get ConvertKit or whatever, and set up an email list and start building that email list. Well, some people just quit writing their book right there. They're like, oh, I don't know how to do this, this is overwhelming, the technology, I’ve never done this before, and they quit everything. They quit writing the book and everything. When I got that feedback, I realized, well, that's not right. It's better to have a book out there with no email list than not ever get anything out there.
So I realized, I need to write this workbook, so that every section, every chapter has two parts to it. There's kind of the basic part, and then there's everything else that you can also do in addition to that, and I’m actually taking this from the 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch, who – that's just that Pareto principle idea that 20% of the inputs gives you 80% of the outputs. Well, when it comes to your book, there's the quick way to do it, the 20% version, and then there's the 100% way to do it. And I figure if people can do the 20% version, which is write the book and go publish it on Amazon and get it out there, well, that's better than nothing. Now, if you want to do the other 80%, you go hire an editor, and you do it hard cover on IngramSpark; or, you want to spend more time doing research, that's great; you want to do your email list, that's great. But it's not necessary. The necessary stuff is the 20% version. And so, now I’m rewriting the workbook, and now I feel like I’m on fire, I’m like, okay, that's what's been missing, now I know what to do, and now I can just plow forward through the workbook, and now it's a lot easier going.

Tobin Slaven:

I think that's really helpful, and I also noticed that in life, there are different personalities, and I also believe that our personalities will shift in different situations. But you know how there was always that one person in school that, if the teacher said do A, B, and C, they were going to do the whole alphabet all the way to X, Y, and Z. They're going to do everything, they're going to do it on the first day before the first class. So having that pathway for those folks that feel comfortable, really grasping all the information, they kind of need to see that – get into all of it that way, there are times in my life where I felt that way too, where I was going to consume and consume everything as fast as I could. There are other times when I approach projects, and I say, what is the minimal amount that I have to do here to, you know, what are the checkboxes, I’m really busy, I’m going to do what's required of me and nothing more, because that makes the most sense. And so, I think having, having both pathways to be able to follow according to where a person's at in the process, that's really attractive. And, Josh, I just want to say, this is one of the things I love about you, you've been very transparent with us in the process as you put the material out there. This was a great decision, it helped get me started, and now we have the book published. So that feels pretty darn good. And I’ve been following you for a while, I think you've always done, like, we run a social pod with our clients, and that's something that I learned from you probably three – well, we've been doing it at least three years, maybe four years now with our social pod, and I learned, you know, read one of your blog posts where you put really good information out there. And I don't know if folks even know what social pods are, but they don't tend to last very long, because there's a lot of fluff in them. And I think the fact that we're still – we have a group of people still around doing this together on a weekly basis three years later, I think you gave us some really good actionable advice in that.

Josh Steimle:

That's great to hear. I have to interview you about that too. But yeah, I want to practice what I preach. Right? And I think when it comes to a book, speed really does trump quality to a point. I mean, it's possible to write a book that's so bad that it hurts you rather than help you, but I think it takes a lot more effort to write a book that bad than people realize. It's, you can – because I’ve seen a lot of books out there that are not well written, that were never edited, that are full of typos, full of blatant mistakes, and yet, I’ve seen people get speaking gigs off of those books, I’ve seen people land clients off of those books, I’ve seen people build a personal brand around those books. And so, I think we worry a lot that the book has to be perfect – if anything is not just right, then I can't even put it out there, because it will ruin me. And the truth is, you can write a book that's full of mistakes and a mess and all sorts of stuff, and as long as it's not really, really bad, it's going to be a net positive. And so, the speed of getting that done matters so much. One of the other people I interviewed earlier, Sarah Weiss – so she published her book in two, two and a half weeks or something, like, wrote it and published it. And she wrote it in one week, and then she had somebody, a friend of hers, edit it, the second week; and then she went on Amazon and published it, print on demand, softcover only, no Audible, no hardcover. She got it done in two weeks. And yeah, that book has some mistakes in it, but it's still got good material in it, and she's making hundreds of thousands of dollars off of this book. If she had spent another year or two writing that book, of course, it would be a better book, but she would have missed out on two years of multiple six figures of business by waiting. So I think speed usually does trump the quality when it comes to writing a book that you're using to leverage to grow your business.

Tobin Slaven:

What I think helped me in that process was to always think there's another book, this does not have to be the only – this is not the book that I will write. This is the book that I’m writing right now. And so, that relaxed my need. I mean, our book is not perfect either. I would say from my end, I'm not a great storyteller, so I kept worrying in the back of my head, I don't think I have enough stories in this, I was thinking about books that I’ve read that I really enjoyed – I read a lot of nonfiction, and I'm like, I don't know if I’ve told enough stories in this book. I solved that to two ways. One was just to relax and say, you know what, this is a very actionable book, and I’m okay if that's all it is. And two, Cat's a much better storyteller than I am, so that was part of pulling her in, I knew she was great with the material, would have a really unique voice, and she could inject stories where I was struggling to find the right story to illustrate the point.

Josh Steimle:

Cool. Well, hey Tobin, do you have any other pieces of advice for anyone who's an entrepreneur out there looking to write a book that they can leverage to grow their business, any other tips or words of wisdom?

Tobin Slaven:

I’m not sure that this is a tip, but it's something that I learned in the process for myself, and that is – Cat's not here, but I think she would agree with me on this as well, that writing the book, writing a book forces you to a deeper level of awareness and knowledge of your own material. Because I think I entered this think, I know this, I’ve been teaching this workshop. But teaching a workshop over a couple of weeks is very different than condensing it into, I haven't done the audio yet, but I assume it's like maybe five or six hours of audio. You have to be on point with your material. And so, where there are sort of weaknesses or weak points in your process that you might have not been aware of before and sort of revealed in this process. So I think I know the material better and I had to get much sharper in what we were doing, so I appreciate that impact of the book. We're not going to make a ton of money selling the book, that was never the goal. But if it, one, makes the world a little bit better place because people are more into this, they realize there's a way to create this human to human connection and get business, that's a good impact on the world. Some of the folks will read the book and say, you know what, Cat's pretty cool; Tobin, he seems pretty cool too, maybe we could do some work together or do a cool project. Like that's a nice outcome, but it's not going to be from selling the book per se. It's putting a piece of work out there that will make a positive impact.

Josh Steimle:

That brings up two more questions. One, how do you envision people turning into clients from this book, was there anything specific that you did inside the book or that you're doing with the book to turn it into clients? And second, I know the book just barely came out, but have you already gotten any results from it?

Tobin Slaven:

So that's an interesting question. For myself, I don't know that I’ve had a new client specifically from the book because it's only a couple of weeks. But we had 69 supporters of the Kickstarter, so some of those folks are new people that I didn't know before. Some of them are, I knew the name, but I didn't really know the person. And I think one of the things that we're going to do to deliver on the promises made as part of the Kickstarter is we're doing several bonus workshops with the supporters, one workshop was promised, the other one was added in as an extra. And that will be an opportunity to really get to know folks, vice versa for them to get to know us as well. But share and help them at a deeper level, I fully expect that some of those folks probably will end up becoming long term clients as well. That's been my experience. That's the process is I’m looking for folks that we can do really cool projects together, and it's got to be a good fit, like, I have to be as enthused about their business as they are, and if I feel that, those are the folks that I want to work with. So that’s sort of, like, the book by itself, someone reaching out, they may or may not become a client, but if we can do this sort of enhanced engagement, something we probably didn't do a great job of, and other people have done much, much better is have sort of embedded Easter eggs throughout the book, like, halfway through the book, if you go to this URL on our web page, we've got this really cool resource for you. And so, they build a treasure hunt into the book of different assets and resources. We didn't try to solve that puzzle. We just said, go to expertsneverchase.com, we're going to put all the good stuff there, and we're still building that as a treasure chest for folks. Because throughout the Kickstarter, the URL was just forwarding to that Kickstarter, the new website's actually just coming up today.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. Awesome. Well, if people want to find you Tobin, learn more about you, connect with you, where's the best place for them to do it?

Tobin Slaven:

So I would say my name for the URL and for LinkedIn, tobinslaven.com, but maybe is not an easy one to spell. I think expertsneverchase.com would be a good memorable one. People can find a link to my page and more information about the book there. You can also get to know Cat a little bit. And, like I said, she's not party to this conversation, but she's done more than her share to get us here.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. Thanks so much, Tobin, for being our guest here today and sharing your journey with us on the Published Author Podcast.

Tobin Slaven:

No, I appreciate you Josh, and the work you're doing. You've created a great community and it's exciting to see all the folks, different ideas that people are developing. So if I can be one of the people that published and someone gets a little inspiration and then next up [inaudible 00:42:34] that's even better.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. Thanks so much, Tobin.
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