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The Published Author Podcast

AUTHOR AIMS TO ERADICATE GENERATIONAL POVERTY BY HELPING ENTREPRENEURS BUILD BUSINESSES 

John Meese is the author of the new book Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). John is also the CEO of Cowork.Inc, Co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

John is an economist-turned-entrepreneur on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by helping entrepreneurs create thriving businesses. He’s also the first member in his family to go to college. 

He readily admits that to succeed in business entrepreneurs don’t need a college degree, a lot of investment, or a big business plan. If you can find real people with real problems that they’re actually aware of and trying to solve, and if you can create a solution, then you can be successful!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh:

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 Stein Lee. Today, my guest is John Meese. John is an economist turned entrepreneur on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by helping entrepreneurs create thriving businesses. John is the author of the new book Survive and Thrive how to build a profitable business in any economy, including this one. John is also the CEO of Cowork, Inc, co-founder of notable and host of the Thrive School podcast. John, welcome to the show.

John Meese:

Josh, thank you so much for having me. It's a joy to be here.

Josh:

So give us a little bit more background on yourself John, who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for?

John Meese:

Sure. Well, I mean, as you mentioned, my, and my passion is really serving entrepreneurs and helping entrepreneurs create thriving businesses. But it comes from this deep held belief that if we want to eradicate generational poverty, which I do, then entrepreneurship is the best way to do that. And what I mean by generational poverty is not just the fact that there are some poor people in the world but there are lots of poor people the world. And that's, of course, a horrible thing. But what I mean is the cycle of where you get family systems, they get caught in passing poverty on from one generation to the next, much less, the ultra-wealthy might pass wealth on from one family to the next. And I come from one of these family lines of were just bad decision after bad decision after bad decision when it comes to money and wealth, meaning that everybody in my family as far back as I know, is really just kind of subsisted, you know, just kind of got by.
And so I'm a first generation college student. So the idea was like that I'm, I'm the, you know, Holy Grail, who's going to go out there, I'm going to get, I'm going to go to college, and I'm going to get this piece of paper that's going to dramatically change our family's trajectory. And I did that I got a couple pieces of paper that say that I know some things. And it didn't really change much. And you know, of course, I'm part of this generation, I'm 30. So I'm part of this millennial generation that was kind of part of this pivot, and what was the value of a college degree and especially a bachelor's and what whether where that's useful or not, but I got really frustrated, because I'd spent and, of course, a lot of money, and then years of time just devoted to this to this goal that didn't dramatically pay out the way that I hoped it would, for my background. I'm the first person in my family to ever get a college degree. So we didn't really know you know what to expect. But as I started to really break down from an economics degree, and I worked for an economics research lab, and started to really study entrepreneurship, I got excited about the fact that the reality is like, you don't actually need a degree or investors, or a massive business plan to build a successful business, all you really need at its core, is you need to find real people who have a real problem that you can create a real solution to.
And if you could do those three things, right, identify the real people who have a real problem that they're aware of, and actually trying to solve and create a real solution to that problem, you can create a thriving business, and no one asks where you got your degree or how many investors you have or how big your team is, because you're solving the problem. And so I got fired up about that. And so I've kind of made it my personal mission to be not only a poster child for entrepreneurship myself as a serial entrepreneur, but also to help other entrepreneurs build thriving businesses that support their life and make the world a better place. So that's a little bit about me.

Josh:

That's great. So tell us about your businesses, couple of work and notable what are these businesses? How did you start them? Why did you start them?

John Meese:

Yeah, so, well, my first business is not listed in that bio, cause it's kind of like a behind the scenes thing as meet works, you know, which is just the name that's on invoices. You'll see that anywhere else. But that's, you know, my first business was blogging and podcasting and selling online courses and making of, you know, full time living doing that. And I along the way, I partnered with another entrepreneur named Thomas McGee (ph), who is a designer developer. And we created a series of WordPress themes for content creators who want to, you know, have a blog or have a podcast or have a YouTube channel, and publish that on their website where they can build an email list and launch a membership site and have all that kind of stuff. And so we now have one flagship product over there, that's notable that company. And so we've got a product called Notable (ph) Press, which is what I use on my own website. But it's really designed for the new multimedia world of having potentially all three, a blog, a podcast, YouTube channel all really positioned in one place in a way that grows your email list and also has membership capability built in.
So Notable was kind of a graduate, like it was a natural. It's a different company, but it was a natural evolution of that first company. And that's where I was just teaching training to say, oh, but you also need these tools. And then Cowork Inc, is actually my newest company. And so that was something where I thought it was a good idea in January of 2020 to get into the co-working space business. And so on January 15 2020, I opened my first co-working space entrepreneur center and it's, it's really designed to be an entrepreneur center first, a co-working space second, and that's in Columbia, Tennessee. It's actually where I'm talking to you from right now is in my office. At the Coworking space 58 days later, this little thing called COVID-19 came along, and we were shut down by executive order for 48 days straight. So we've been open for 58 days, closed for 48 days, not a strong start to that business. So my story is not without its own roadblocks. But I really use that time to lock myself in a room and write, survive and thrive actually the first draft of that book, because I recognized right away, that what was happening was a health crisis. But it was also a mental health crisis. And that's something that I think will take a long time to unpack, but I'm unqualified to help with. But it was also an economic crisis. And the fact that, you know, now it looks like there were an extra 200,000 businesses in the US that were permanently closed in 2020.
That didn't have to be because of the COVID restrictions, because of the changing economy or many, many reasons. You know, and I think that's a tragedy. But it's also at a time when we're at an all time low of new business start-ups in the US and across the world. And so I said, well, I want to create a how to guide that will help solve that. And so I took my own experience, but I also interviewed a few dozen of my, and we could talk about the process behind this. But the short version is I interviewed a few dozen of mine mentors, and included their insights in the book as well. And that was kind of how I spent the lockdown. Some people got into Tiger King, I wrote a book. But that now that business has grown. So since we, since the lockdowns lifted, you know, the Coworking space, our first location is back open, it's up and running, it's growing, which is good, we're now talking about multiple coworking spaces. But that's also now we're rolling out this training arm of that business. Because again, the coworking space is just a piece of that it's all about serving entrepreneurs. So we're rolling out a new membership site called Thrive School Pro, a new conference in October. It's called built to thrive live, which we haven't officially announced yet. But here we go. And then, you know, all that kind of stuff. So that's a lot of things going on. But it's all comes back to the core of serving entrepreneurs.

Josh:

That's fantastic. Entrepreneurship will save the world.

John Meese:

Amen.

Josh:

So I'm amazed that you were able to survive COVID with a Cowork space, especially since you hadn't really built up a base. And then of course, you lose everybody that you had as a customer. How were you able to bounce back from that and make it through that tough time?

John Meese:

Well, that's kind of one of the points of the book, right? As it's called Survive and Thrive, right? Cause you have to survive first, which is what you're asking about, which was a real question was like, do we just close it? I mean, we just, but the reality was, we'd spent three months and a lot of money building out the space. And we had a big grand opening, lots of local attention, influx of members, you know, whole teams joining it was great, it was exciting. And then when we closed, not so exciting back on the phone with my attorney going through the executive order in Tennessee line by line, saying like, there's no way this applies to us, right? He's like, yeah, it, it applies to you. And that was not fun. So for those 48 days that we were close, we had zero revenue in the business, some coworking spaces chose to continue, much like many gyms did to continue to charge their members and say like, well, for us to stay open, we've got to keep charging, even though you can't access the space. But I didn't feel good about that. Because I felt like well, the problem we're solving for these customers, is to give them an inspiring professional workspace that we can't give them right now, that's not my fault. But it's also not their fault. So I didn't charge customers for a day, we were closed.
For people that already paid, we basically give them credit towards their future membership. And when reopened, you know about half our members said I'm not ready to come back and cancelled. So yeah, that was a rough start. That was a very rough start that business. What I then looked at was, and I talked about this in my book, there's, you know, every crisis, there's a right side and a wrong side. And so I looked around and said, okay, the Coworking side of our business is on the wrong side of this crisis, right? Because going out there and saying, hey, you want to leave your house and come work next to other people in April or May or June of 2020 was insane. It would have been a waste of effort, I would, we would have lost credibility with people. And so we said, okay, we're still in business. We're still here, we're still open. But we're going to downshift from the Coworking side, and then up shift on the training side, because that's something we can still do. So I personally took on a few clients, where I was a fractional CMO to do some consulting for their companies. But I also wrote this book and built out our new membership site. And then also on the note, because I have multiple companies also the luxury of focusing more on the software company and saying, look, that's actually blowing up right now let's focus on that a little bit.
And so we downshift with the Coworking space. So it's only really the last couple months, where we've seen such an incredible growth, where now we're running ad campaigns, now we're getting people coming in or calling almost every day to join the Coworking space. But the offerings also shifted because when we opened we had a full time on site Community Manager. That's not last we had to let that stuff ever go. I mean, that's just business, right? I mean, it's just there's not enough demand to support that role. But along the way, we discovered that there were only a handful of Coworking spaces in the US that are really pushing the limits of what you could do and to automate it. 24x7 coworking space without full time staff on site. And so we shifted our business model that's gone really well. And now it makes it a lot easier and cheaper for us to talk about having five or 10 or 20 coworking spaces, because we're not talking about having 20 full time employees, one at each of those spaces. So, yeah, that's a little bit about how we did that.

Josh:

Yeah. So sounds like part of the Survive and Thrive model is being able to have backup options, being able to pivot quickly change quickly take advantage of new opportunities, is that part of what's in your book?

John Meese:

A little bit, but I would say that more, more importantly, it's getting clear on the purpose statement, which is like not the products you offer, but it's I help real people solve a real problem with real solution. And so at the, and our, and our vision for this business for Cowork, Inc, then I recognize that our vision was to help entrepreneurs create thriving businesses. That was it from day one, the Coworking space was just a piece of how we did that. But once that Coworking space became a non-option, or at least not the best option, we went back to that purpose statement and said, okay, why do we exist? Okay, we help entrepreneurs create thriving businesses. Okay, are there other ways we can do that? Yes, what entrepreneurs need right now. And so actually, the first thing we did was we partnered with a company based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, that had a curriculum called rebuild, which they were teaching local business owners how to basically rebuild their whole business strategy in the midst of the crisis and in the very middle of it.
And so we licensed their curriculum, because like, I, like I wrote a book, I've written courses, we could have created our own, but time was of the essence. And I recognize they have something that's working. And so we licensed their curriculum, brought it to our community, got our local business community on board, and we had businesses go through that program, we got sponsors to cover most of the cost of it. So actually, most of the bit small businesses didn't pay very much at all. But some of the businesses were doing very well locally, because they were on the right side of the economy, could afford to write a check to offset our costs. So we could teach other small business owners how to pivot in the middle of that. So that way, again, it comes back to like, if you could claim the purpose statement, every then and then you have the ability to pivot, right? It's not just a question of like, how do we rethink the product? It's how do we rethink how we serve what our, what our customers need? Because I love this Michael Hyatt who I've worked with for years, and I worked, I was on his leadership team for, I guess, a little over three years.
And we and he's a he's one of the first, he's the first mentor I interviewed on my podcast. He asked me the middle of the beginning of the crisis when everyone's freaking out, especially a lot of his clients are business owners. And he asked them in his coaching program, he said, well, do your customers have more problems, or less problems than they did? You know, before the crisis, everyone's like, well, well we had more problems, he's like, well, then you know what to do, because your job as an entrepreneur is to solve problems. And so you just have to figure out the solutions is going to change and other surprises, but, but my books not just about crisis, it's about the fact that honestly, most businesses fail all the time. And how do we change that? You know, how do we refocus on the fundamentals of how your business is built? To really just beat the odds.

Josh:

So can you give us some of those highlights? Or is there a step by step process or a method or a formula that you have? Can you walk us through that real quick?

John Meese:

Oh, I'm happy to. So I've got a playbook that I kind of walked through in the book that also is like a kind of fill in the blank secondary tool. And then there's the thrive score assessment goes to the book, too. But it starts with your purpose statement, which I already mentioned, which is I help real people solve real problem with real solutions. So you have to have those three decisions, where your real people, what's the real problem you're trying to solve? And then what's your real solution. But the solution doesn't just mean your product, it's more of a category choice. Because then the next thing you need to ask is, what's your growth model, like in other words, in business, there are really only five growth models. There's different ways, strategies and tactics within those five, but you just need to pick one because you don't need actually five different growth models to succeed, you just need one that works really well. And most people kind of get skipped.
Most business owners get kind of scattered, they're trying to do a little bit of everything. So instead, I walked through in the book, how you pick, you know, first, like, do you want a viral or word of mouth marketing strategy? Is that your growth model? Or perhaps a paid growth strategy? And what does that look like? Well, that might be Facebook ads or billboards. I mean, that that, right? Those are still both paid advertising strategies is sticky growth, your growth model. And those three, by the way, come from Eric Reason, the book, the lean startup, he introduced those three, to my knowledge, he's the first to kind of identify those. But then I added two more that I think that are a little bit different, sticky growth, by the way, it's just like irreplaceable infrastructure like think QuickBooks or whatever accounting software you use. It doesn't really matter if someone hits you with an ad saying, like, buy my accounting software, and you're like, no, I've got years of history, and all my invoices and payrolls tied to QuickBooks. I'm not even looking at the other stuff. So QuickBooks can spend a lot of money on the front end acquiring you as a customer with sales calls and sponsorships of business events and all kinds of stuff that has a low conversion rate, but they're going to keep you forever, you know, and so that's that's sticky growth model.
The other two would be affiliate growth and SEO growth are search engine optimization, and affiliate growth. You might think, well wait a second, that's kind of like paid growth. But the biggest difference is with paid growth you pay before you get results with affiliate growth you pay after you get results. And so in the book, I walk through this five, how to pick the one for you. And then it's a question of what's your free sample, right? Some people might call this your opt in or your lead magnet. But what's essentially the conversion mechanism allows someone to give them their first, their first yes in your business, and then you get into your products. And I recommend you have three core products, your flagship product, your gateway products, and your continuity product. Because this is like the short version of everything. But that's the end of the framework. So the gateway product is set for the painless purchase, right you want this is someone who's like they're willing to take a bet on you, but they're not ready to go all in. And maybe they'll buy a $5 or $10 product, could be digital could be physical really depends on your industry. But the goal here is really just to wow them to give them an easy, painless way to make a purchase. And then to exceed their expectations.
And that gets them interested in your flagship product, which is more like the full package the Big Kahuna, the epitome of everything you offer, which is typically your most expensive product. And that's something that honestly, typically less than 10% of your customers are ever going to buy. But just because they know it's there, it's something to aspire to, you're communicating a vision of what transformation looks like, the continuity product or a subscription product is the glue that holds everything together. It's the automatic customer, as John Warrillow calls it the recurring subscription product. But if you have those three, you've got a business, everything else that's not one of those three, I believe needs to be either a complementary product or supplementary product one of those three, so it need to be really just like an add on. But if you build your business around those three, you don't have to have 100 products, you don't have to have 100,000 customers, and you can have a thriving business.

Josh:

That's fantastic. And I know that the books new I mean, it's just about to come out as are recording this by the time this recording is out. The book will just about be out. But you've already worked with people it sounds like on this. Do you have any case studies or any examples of people using this and surviving and thriving in their businesses because of it?

John Meese:

Yeah, well, that's a great question. The playbook that in the detailed way, I just shared it. It's something that that version of it is probably the newest version of this philosophy. So I don't have specific examples tied to that yet. I will, because we're launching this new membership site. That's the sole focus of it. But I will say all those that all of that framework comes out of my experience working with 1000s of students when I was the Dean of Platform University, as well as interviewing three dozen business mentors about what was working in their business, even in the midst of the crisis. So I got to interview some incredible you know, authors and entrepreneurs like Michael Hyatt, Ray Edwards, Pat Flynn, Mike (inaudible) (00:17:27) and many others in the middle of the lockdown of what was working and not working in their business. And that's really where a lot of his principles came out of was really just saying, like, looking across the board, not just my own experience, but what's working for my clients, what's working for these people, and then distil it down to a single framework. And so that's where this comes from. I will say, it's been pretty cool. It's still early to say because like businesses is not something can just kind of snap your fingers and get the results.
So it'll be some time to see all the business results that come from this. But it's been really cool to see just the early reviews and endorsements that have come in. I mean, one reviewer called it a weekend MBA, and just said, like this is everything that they needed that they didn't know in one place. And that's really cool. And I've had so many people tell me that they're already had advanced copies of the book that they've already pre ordered it for their clients or for I mean, I've got, I go to a jujitsu gym, and the head of the franchise, just told, just finished the audio book he got advance access to that just finished the audiobook, and he told me he was like, he's like everybody in my franchise now it's a requirement if you're going to run a gym to go through this book, you know. And so that's, that's really cool. So I look forward to coming back with a whole list of case studies.

Josh:

That's great. Quick break here. Are you an entrepreneur, do you want to write a book that will help you grow your business visit publishedauthor.com, where we have programs to fit every budget programs that will help you write and publish your book in as little as 90 days starting at just $39 per month. Or if you're too busy to write your book will interview you and then write and publish your book for you. Don't let the valuable knowledge and experience you have go to waste head on over to publishedauthor.com. To get the help you need to become a published author. You've already waited long enough do it today. Now back to the show. It also sounds like these mentors had a big impact on you. And I think this is an important message for a lot of entrepreneur authors out there is to realize you don't have to do this on your own. You can turn to people you know, to get information. Can you talk a little bit more about the help that you received from mentors, these business leaders, these people as you're writing your book?

John Meese:

Sure, well, the first thing I did was I started to write a first draft that was just me. I mean, it's sort of like I guess as a first time author was like, my, my assumption was okay, I need to write a book on my own. And so I'm just going to write my thoughts. And I wrote it out and it was okay. Right, it was okay. But I thought, man, this could be better. But there is this temptation, I think, to just want to write something that's completely original. But that's a lie. Because the reality is everything we know everything I know, I've learned from working with and learning from so many different people. And so I just reached out to a couple doesn't have my mentors and said and some of them didn't even know they were my mentors, right. I mean, my digital mentors like I'm, I would say most of them probably wouldn't have known. They were my mentors. It's more like I read their books, I listened to their podcast, I follow their blog. And I reached out and said, hey, I'm writing a book. And I really would love to include your, your insight in that, would you be willing to make time for an interview? So I can ask you some questions. And I recorded that.
And by the way, those were the first I think, 30 episodes of my podcast, the Thrive School podcast, each one of those is just one of those interviews, but I didn't the podcast wasn't even out yet. I bet I recorded all those during the lockdown of just like, asking them questions about what's going on right now in your business, what's working, what's not working? What have you found to be successful? What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs? And then I went back through and I transcribed all of those then went back through and kind of each interview went through the transcription and pulled out a couple paragraphs that I thought really captured really important key concepts. And so I had this massive it notion, you know, it, that's what I use to organize my book in the app Notion, I had this massive database, basically, of all these quotes about and stories, and I had to go through all of them to kind of figure out the pattern. And that's always actually been one of my unique gifts is just seeing a pattern and the noise. And so I went through all of that and found out wait a second, okay, he's saying this, and he sent this, but actually, that's two versions of this idea.
And then I mapped it all out. And that ultimately became the book. So most of those people are quoted heavily in the book. And some people like, like, you know, my wife, even, you know, at one point, she was like, why are you worried that, like, so much in the book? Cause you’re quoting other people? I mean, there's like, huge block quotes in there. I said, no, I'm not, you know, I just because that's just, that's just the truth. You know, like, it's not a curation book, I do write a lot of original content. But there's also entire, you know, half pages or there's one part where I cite the essay by Kevin Kelly 1000 true fans. And it's like three or four chapters or three or four pages of a chapter is just that essay. That's just setting my ego aside to say, look, I want to help the entrepreneur and they need to know this. Well, what's that turned? What that turned into is that a lot of the early reviews coming in specifically say things like this book now is the only book I recommend this and the four hour workweek by Tim Ferriss are the two books I recommend every entrepreneur or, or someone pointing out, they said, man, I love that John has so many footnotes in his book, because if you want to go deeper, any one of these topics is right there.
And so no one has said, wait a minute, this is just a bunch of quotes, you know, like no one if someone else had something like that eventually, and that's fine. I'm not worried about that. But, but I just included it there. And then I sent them to each of these mentors, I sent them in the mail, a signed copy of the book. Many of them now have had me on their podcast to talk about the book, you know, and I just thank them. I said, hey, thank you for this is your book, too. I mean, you helped make this possible. Many of them publicly endorsed the book. I mean, the beginning of the book is filled with a couple pages of endorsements from Michael Hyatt and Pat Flynn and Mike Michalowicz and Ray Edwards and Alan Dib. And Casey Graham and Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and just so many incredible entrepreneur authors, so yeah, I mean, I also we could talk about the publishing process that you mentioned, you want to talk about that I also did work with an editor. So there was some of that in there, too. But, honestly, so much of it came out of the interviews, the book is way better, because there's interviews and stories in there from these well-known mentors.

Josh:

And I think this is a great point that, I think as authors, sometimes we overthink it a bit and we think that the reader is going to be thinking about us. And really, they don't care about us as the author, they just care about what's in the book for them. And so when you're including quotes, and these block quotes from other people, all the reader is thinking is, hey, this is great value. This is great stuff. This is helpful. They're not thinking like they're not analyzing how the book was written or how much is it is the author verse. They're just what's in it for me. And if you've got a bunch of great quotes from other people, then that's great stuff for them. But as authors, it's so easy to get self-conscious and be like, oh, they expect me to do this. And I have to be this way. And I have to write it this way. It's like nobody cares.

John Meese:

Nobody cares. Well, one of the chapters in my book is literally called prioritize profit first, which you may know is Mike Michalowicz is framework Profit First, and I'm a certified fix this next advisor and I've, I’ve sort of loosely know, Mike, you know, like, we've talked a few times. But I was just like, I was like, no, I'm not going to create some new financial system. You need to use his I'm sorry. It's the best, you know, and so, so I interviewed him about it. And then I cited both the interview and his book. So that chapter is like, mostly me explaining his system. But sure enough, that Jeremy, that Gentlemen, I mentioned, who owns this whole franchise of jujitsu gems, he told me, he was like, man, that book was so good and profit first. Brilliant, right? So he's looking at me, saying, you know, you have a whole chapter in somebody else's framework, but he was just so grateful for that, is that he doesn't care where it came from.

Josh:

Yep. That reminds me of the book scaling up by Vern harnish. That book quotes so many people, and it mentioned so many other books, and it's one of my favorite books because I love reading books. And so a book that quotes other books and gives me more books to read. It just giving me that much more value on so I don't mind that he mentions 30 or 40 other books. I love it because then it's like all right now I know what I'm going to read next. So, yeah, tell us a little bit more about the publishing process. So was there ever a thought to self-publish this? Or how are you going about it? You said that, before we started recording, you mentioned that you're working with a hybrid publisher. How did you come to that decision that you said, I'm going to work with a hybrid publisher? Because you did work with Michael Hyatt, you know, people, you probably could have gotten an introduction to a traditional publisher. Why did you decide to go the route that you went?

John Meese:

Yes, Mike Michalowicz specifically actually offered to introduce me to Penguin, his? I don't know. I mean, he just needed say like the first the people and he's like, I'll introduce you to Penguin. I mean, they might be interested. So yeah, I had the option in front of me if there's really three paths today, right? Do you want to self-publish? Do you want to traditional publish? Or do you want some sort of hybrid? And I just had to back up and look at my goals for this book. And I said, you know what? I think that they're very well be a traditionally published book and my future, I don't think I think that's probably likely, I considered self-publishing this book. And what I came to was that, I mean, there's a lot of different factors, right, of course, there's differences in royalties and how complicated it is to get the book out there. If I self-published the book, I probably could have published it about six months sooner. But I don't know if it would have been as good. And for me, the two biggest things that a hybrid publisher, I'm working with Morgan James publishing, the two things that that were most important to me that they provided that I would be that I was wouldn't, it's not mean that I wouldn't be able to, I just wouldn't do on my own.
Where one, they have a full time sales team calling book buyers at traditional bookstores, to get them to try to get then carry copies the book. And if I self-published, I was like, I'm never going to do that. I mean, it's just, it's just the truth, right? Could I technically hire someone to do that? Yes, I'm never going to do that. And the second thing is they have a whole team that works on international rights to translate your book in other languages, and with their partners with they have other publishing companies in other countries who partner with them in a regular basis. And I thought, man, how cool would it be for this book to be in other languages? I actually speak Spanish, I could theoretically write this book in Spanish. Am I going to do that? No, there's too many other priorities. And so I've used that as a huge gift that they were going to focus on that. And it's still too early to say now what international rights will look like, but the plan is that we're going to advocate for international versions of this book in other languages.
Now, as a perk, Morgan James also handles the entire, you know, printing and distribution process and skews and Ingram and, you know, like all the all the behind the scenes, so really, I had to just focus on the content, but honestly, with things like Amazon, KDP, you know, Kindle Direct Publishing, or there or I think CreateSpace may have been renamed, but whatever, with the whole Amazon side, I know that there's a lot that Amazon could also do for me, but I will be the one I or maybe my assistant would be the one, you know, uploading files, clicking buttons, filling out forms, and I knew that I would get lost in that it'd be distraction to me, I wanted to focus as much of my energy as possible on the content, and that being thing that I uniquely bring to the table.
Now, that bakes the question, well, then why not traditionally published? Well, I'm early enough in my career as a first time author that I was not hopeful, in that I would get a good book deal. You know, and I've been in the room with, with other authors who've gotten incredible book deals. And I've been there for that. And so I know what's possible with traditional publishing houses. But I also knew that my email list and my lack of having a book, previous book, were going to be going to be really discounted, they were really going to serve me well, in that arena, through the hybrid publisher I'm giving up some of the royalties. So I told for an ebook or an audiobook, for example, we split the royalties 50-50, between the publisher and I after Amazon gets their cut, if it's on Amazon. You know, for international rights, we split it 50-50, I have a friend who had her book translated into, you know, seven or eight languages.
And when they got to like this, the first South Korean press paid 100 grand to translate the book just for the right to translate it. Well, that's 50 grand in her pocket, besides the fact that the book is reaching new people and in other language in other country, you know, and so, again, it's too early to say if I'm going to have those kind of results with this book. It may not. But that was something that I knew would definitely not happen if I self-published. And I just didn't really feel hopeful about my traditional publishing options. I have a friend who just signed a multi-book deal right now for his first two books. And it's a good deal. But he but, but him and I were talking about it, he said, man, he said, if I did what you did, he said, every one of these conversations with these publishers, even with an agent of the room would have been different. He said, because everyone is going we like the book, we like your platform, we think it's going to do well.
But it's your first time book. And so everyone's discounting their offer, because it's his first time if I sell this book, and it does really well, all of a sudden I can walk in. I mean, I have another client who has sold 50,000 copies of their book that they publish to Morgan James. So now when they meet with the publishing house and publishers like oh, yeah, oh, yeah, sure, whatever you want. I mean, they're basically. They're writing the terms for the deal at that point.

Josh:

Yeah. And Morgan James is a great partner. We interviewed David Hancock from the episode number 23 on the published author podcast. So if you're interested, if the listeners are interested, they can go listen to that episode to learn more about Morgan James and their high hybrid publishing model, but David's a great marketer himself too, which is a rare thing to get with a publisher, because often these publishers, whether they're hybrid or traditional, they kind of leave you on your own for marketing, but David Hancock, he's done guerrilla marketing and all this stuff, so he can really provide assistance in that area.

John Meese:

Yeah, David's great. And I mean, I don't know all the people in Morgan James, but David, specifically, then Karen Anderson, who also sits on the review board and has become a dear friend of mine, you know, the two of them really were influenced by decision to publish once I picked a hybrid publisher. I said, well, it's got to be Morgan James, because the people, and it's been good, you know, I, it's my first time. So I missed a lot of things along the way of like, just learning things as I go. So I'm not going to say it was just like, easy peasy, you know, like, there were definitely things that I missed along the way, or, or bumps and just figured out the process. But now, I know exactly how to do it. In fact, I've already written the second book, but so I'm addicted now.

Josh:

We'll talk about that in a second. But tell us a little bit more about Survive and Thrive in your marketing launch plan. You're going through this right now you're getting ready to release the book in just a few days. What have you planned on doing and what's your goal?

John Meese:

So, great question. I will say, I am currently so today as we're talking is a week away from launch dates a week before the actual official published publication date of the paperback. Now normally, I would say if I wasn't normally on interview, I would say we're just a week away from the public release. But because we're talking about published author stuff, I'll tell you some behind the scenes, we've already released the ebook. In fact, we released the ebook in March. And we kind of positioned it as like an early release of just want to get this ebook into the hands of as many entrepreneurs as possible. And I actually wrote in my journal that morning, the morning of like March 2, we were about to release the ebook I wrote, you remember, you know, we're not in this for I'm not doing this for bestseller status, right. I'm doing this because I want to get this into the hands of entrepreneurs who needed to genuinely help. But I don't want to hold back and wait a few more months to do that. Well, in all irony, the book hit number one bestseller and direct marketing on Amazon on day one, and stay there for a couple of weeks.
And so the books not technically out yet, and it's already a number one bestseller, which is kind of confusing to some people like it my friends, like we're doing an actual, like local book launch party next week. And we invite some friends to it. And one of them. He's like, oh, I'll be there. But I guess I'm confused. I really thought your book already came out. I was like, yeah, that's, that's fair. That's a little confusing, you know, especially if you know me, personally, we've talked about it. But, but that's, I mean, that's huge credibility. It's also a confidence boost going into paperback release that I genuinely hope it does really well. But also, it's already a number one bestseller. You know what I mean? Like, we've already got that, that screenshot. So that's kind of where we're out there. I've been focusing primarily on podcast interviews, like this one as my primary way to get the word out, you know, it's sort of like a speaking tour for an author today where I could do it from my computer. And so I've recorded, I think, a few, you know, a few dozen are the number off the top of my head, but, you know, probably more than 30 interviews now, on different podcasts, and I have my target list.
And, you know, I've still got some that are scheduled to come out and after the book release day, you know, into August and September. So, you know, this is meant to be kick-start the launch of the book, but not to be the end of it to my own email list. And then also, every time I've talked about the book on podcasts, I also promote that there's pre-order bonuses, of course, I usually find out when the episodes coming out. So for example, I know we were talking after the book comes out, and so I might change my language. But if the podcast was going to come out before the book comes out, then I would tell everyone, hey, go to surviveandthrivebook.com and you can actually pre-order the book and get $129. In bonuses, if you pre-order the paperback, you get the ebook and the audio book for free. But you also get an online course called built to thrive, which goes deeper into a lot of the concepts in the book, and we're going to charge for that it's $100 normally, but you're going to get it for free if you pre-order the book. So that's kind of just like the standard pitch for the book that I've given up until now.

Josh:

Yeah, so some great incentives there to pre-order the book and do you do any incentives around pre-ordering in bulk?

John Meese:

No and perhaps I should, like there's a note on my, on my sales page that says that if you reach you know, if you're interested in buying 10, or more like, email me, no one's done that. So I don't know. You know, I think yeah, and maybe I should have I think, for me, I that was probably like, on the front end of this. I was thinking, well, this is really meant for like an entrepreneur. So like you wouldn't like buy it for your team unless you want the ball quit. So that was my initial thinking going into it. But in hindsight, maybe I should have done that. But at this point, I've just stayed the course in this plan. I will say one thing that I did just a couple of weeks ago that's been really well is I ran and I've done press releases before never been impressed. But I used yourrelease.com calm this time and I had a different strategy for the press release. And Morgan James actually wrote the press release. And I kind of tweeted a few things at the headline. But we sent it out over YourRlease. And my the press release for my book got featured on Business Insider, Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, it literally I'm not exaggerating, literally and 100 other media outlets. Just press release for the book.

Josh:

That's great. So yourrelease.com is that?

John Meese:

It’s, yourrelease or yourreleases, let me see. It's one of the other yeah, yourreleases.com,

Josh:

Yourreleases.com.

John Meese:

And I've used other PR services never been impressed. But I, a friend of mine recommended this one. And I now recommend it as well.

Josh:

That's great. Have you seen any? I know it's hard to track results from the press releases sometimes. I mean, you see the results in that it gets into the publications, but in terms of book sales, but did you see any sort of bump from that? Or is there anything that you can track back to that definitively to say, hey, this really worked.

John Meese:

It's definitely books a few interviews, like I've had people reach out, because the press release, I'm getting interviewed in Basil and salt magazine, which is a basically a gourmet food magazine. So that one, I'm still not sure exactly how that's going to tie into the book. But we'll figure that out. But I will say that this has been the hardest part of working with a hybrid publisher versus self-publishing, is I don't have live access to most of the results. Like I have to basically email the author relations team. And they have to then talk to Amazon and find out kind of where things are at. So usually, there's like a long delay in terms of when I find out like how many pre orders or orders we have and that kind of stuff. So no, it's a short version of that. Other than I saw an uptick in people who pre ordered the book, just because they're claiming the bonus and joining my email list by doing so. And I saw I had people reach out and email several people reach out to schedule interviews.
And I got to put a couple new logos on the front page of our website, you know, Business Insider, and Marketwatch and Yahoo Finance are huge credibility for me. So I will say Karen Anderson, who's one of the review, she's on the pub board for Morgan James, she told me on the front end, she said, she said media creates buzz, but doesn't drive sales in their experience. And so it's a great talking point. It's a great credibility factor. I'm now talking to Business Insider to their editorial team about featuring and sort of my book on their website. And I think that's a little bit easier because they've already featured the press release for my book on their website. But not tangible number. I don't have a number of books traced back to that press release.

Josh:

Yeah, but no, those are real results. I mean, getting the interviews, getting the media exposure, getting those badges to put on your website. I mean, that's real stuff and.

John Meese:

That's what I wanted.

Josh:

Yeah. And you can look at that and say it's just buzz, but it's its credibility. And that does lead to sales, because then people go and they see the book or they see your website and they say, well, gee, this guy's in all these places. He must know what he's talking about. And then people are more likely to buy the book and apply it. And that's we what right.

John Meese:

Yeah.

Josh:

All right. So tell us about the next book that you're working on.

John Meese:

Okay, so it's actually already done. And I haven't decided yet how I'm going to publish that one. Honestly, I'm trying to focus on this book, right to get to the lunch and then kind of go back to the drawing board and say, okay, what am I doing here? I'd already in my head have the outline for the third book. So I guess I'm addicted now like I said, but my other book it's called Always be Teaching 50 illustrated insights and how to grow your business by creating content online. And it's an illustrated book and it more focuses on like specifically the content creator economy and Survive and Thrive I will say just behind the scenes Survive and Thrive is sort of like the top of the funnel or the gateway product for the my coworking business right, where we have the Thrive School podcast, that's Thrive School pro membership, that's all related. That's all related to survive and thrive. Always be teaching is more related to Notable you know, it's more like how do you build a business by creating content online? Oh, yeah, by the way, you're going to need Notable press.
And so I'm never looking at the book as the main revenue generator. For me it's it's really it's a top of the funnel kind of lead generator for everything else I'm doing. So that's what always be teaching is a natural extension to say, okay, well Notable press notable company, the company needs one of these books now. That's kind of like the anchor book. And so that's done. It's actually on my website. So if you go to johnmeese.com, you can find it, you can just buy like, you can just buy it there, but it's not anywhere else really just because I don't want to confuse anybody with the launch of this book. You know, like I haven't, I haven't put on Amazon or, or gone back to Morgan James and worked out a deal for that book or talked to a traditional publisher about it. That one's a beautiful illustrated books I actually I haven't figured out how to do that yet, because I haven't spent time on it. But I really want to do is create like a beautiful kind of like coffee table style, like hardcover book, it'd be more of a something you want to keep around.
So that's that book. And then my third book will probably be an extension of Survive and Thrive. That will be 100% focus on case studies. It'll probably be called Built to Thrive. And it will be at least that's a placeholder name. And it will take it will teach the 2.0 version of this framework through the lens of stories of people who've applied it to their business. So that's the multi-year book plan.

Josh:

Great. That’s a well thought out plan.

John Meese:

Thank you. I'm also meeting with a guy named Timmy Bauer, I think his name is in a couple weeks because he has a company called Dinosaur House where they, they take business books, they for they take, they work with authors who write business books, and they transform them into illustrated kids books. And so he like, we have a couple books that his companies put out, like, you know, I want to start a podcast When I grow up, but also you want to be an entrepreneur, Lucas, the dinosaur, you know, says he wants to (inaudible) (00:40:32). So that may happen too. We'll see.

Josh:

Oh, that's cool. That's interesting.

John Meese:

Yeah.

Josh:

Well, John, this has been great talking to you. If people want to reach out and connect with you, where's the best place for them to go?

John Meese:

Well, johnmeese.com is my website. So you can find all my stuff there. If you're interested in the book, I will say most of the bonuses I mentioned is pre-order bonuses, you're still going to be able to get after the book comes out. So go to surviveandthrivebook.com, get a copy, I hope it's helpful. But then I'm also on LinkedIn, it's literally the only social media platform I'm on. We didn't really get into the writing process too much. But I literally got off all social media to write this book, because I've talked about it for years, I got off all social media, I literally got the free right, which is this like, you know, huge modern typewriter with like an E Ink display. And you know, clackety clack, big key keys. So I could write offline, because I just, there's just too many distractions online. But now I'm back on LinkedIn. That's the only platform I'm on but you can go meese.link actually, to find me. That'll take you to my LinkedIn profile to want to connect.

Josh:

Perfect and Meese is MEESE just like geese?

John Meese:

Correct. Yeah. Thank you Josh.

Josh:

All right, John, thank you so much for being with us today on the Published Author podcast.

John Meese:

It was my pleasure. Keep up the good work.

Josh:

Thank you. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe. And if you want to spread the word, please give us a five star rating review and tell your friends to subscribe too. We're available on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts. And if you're an entrepreneur interested in writing and publishing a nonfiction book to grow your business and make an impact, visit publishedauthor.com for show notes for this podcast and other free resources.

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