Episode 42: Building Your Business with a Book

We're digging deep into how you can leverage your book to grow your coaching practice along with tips I've picked up along the way that can support you in the process.

42: Building Your Business with a Book

I've seen a statistic where upwards of 80 to 90% of people believe that they have a book in them and I would bet that that percentage would be even higher among coaches.

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Show Notes

Statistics say that more than 80-90% of people believe that they have a book in them and I'd bet that that percentage is even higher among coaches.

When it comes down to it, we're called to serve and positively impact the world so it makes sense that you would want to do that through sharing your story and writing a book that is anchored in the work you do as a coach.

Today we're continuing our conversation about how writing a book can serve your coaching business by sharing some of the ways that writing my book, ACT On Your Business, has helped me.

We're going to dig deep into how you can leverage your book to grow your coaching practice along with tips I've picked up along the way that can support you in the process. If you're one of the many people who are looking to make 2021 the year you write your book, I hope you find this episode particularly helpful.

Topics covered

  • Why a book is a fantastic secondary revenue stream for coaches
  • How being an author sets you apart
  • Planning for both the reader and the audience for your book
  • Getting clear on the who, what, and how of your work
  • The advantages of writing for one reader
  • Figuring out what your reader wants most from your book
  • How to help your reader get their desired outcome from reading your book
  • The power of sharing real-world examples and experiences
  • How to approach marketing your book

Resources mentioned

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Well, hi there, my friend. Welcome to another episode of the Coach with Clarity podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough and today we are continuing our conversation about writing a book to build your coaching practice. So last week on the show, I had my friend and editor Jodi Brandon on to talk about the process of writing, publishing, and marketing your book and how it can serve your coaching business. Today, I want to continue that by sharing some ways that I have found my book, ACT on Your Business, has helped me build my business, and why I'm choosing to write another book in 2021. 

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I've seen a statistic out there, and I'm sure you've seen it too, where upwards of 80 to 90% of people believe that they have a book in them, and I would bet that that percentage might even be higher among coaches. And to me, that would make sense. Coaches are called to serve and to create, and to generate a positive impact in the world. And certainly, we can do that through sharing our story and writing a book. So if you are a coach out there who has been thinking about writing a book, who maybe feels like 2021 might be the year where you actually get it done, then I hope my interview with Jodi in last week's episode was helpful for you, and if you haven't listened to it yet, you'll definitely want to check it out after this episode, you don't need to listen to that one first. You can start right here, but make sure you head back to Episode 41 to hear my interview with Jody Brandon, it was a fantastic conversation. And I think you'll find it provides you with the inspiration and motivation you need to get started on your book, and hopefully, today's episode does as well. 
I have found that writing a book and marketing a book is a fantastic vehicle for growing my coaching business, and so that's really what I want to focus on today, how to build your coaching business with the book. And I want to be clear that today is not about the actual process of writing, publishing, or marketing the book, again, head back to my interview with Jodi for more on that. Today, we're really going to be talking about how you can leverage that book to grow your practice. So we're going to assume that you've written it, you're in the process of marketing it, and I will be sharing some lessons that I've learned and some tips that I've picked up along the way to support you in the process. So if you are a coach who has already written a book, you may also find today's episode particularly helpful. I also want to be clear that when I'm talking about writing a book today, I'm not talking about writing a novel or fiction. Now, if that is what is calling you for 2021, if you are ready to write the next great novel, or if you've got a work of fiction just brewing inside of you, just know I am in your corner cheering you on every step of the way, and I hope you'll let me know when that book is done because I would love to read it. And so I want to encourage you to follow that creative path and allow that novel to come forth if that's what's inside you, but that's not what we're talking about today. Today, we're really talking more about writing a nonfiction book that is anchored in the work you do as a coach so that it can help you expand your business, expand your impact and reach more clients. I know a lot of people when they're putting together their new year's resolutions, have “finally write that book” at the top of the list, and so that's why I thought as we move towards the end of 2020, and I don't know about you, but I'm pretty much ready to have 2020 in my rearview mirror. So as we're setting goals for next year if you are one of the many people out there who are really looking to make 2021 a year they write their book. Well, I hope you find today's episode particularly helpful. 
So I thought I would start out with some honest truth and some real numbers about how a book can build your business, and I want to be very clear from the start that for most coaches, myself included, a book is not a great primary revenue stream. But it is an extraordinary secondary revenue stream. So what do I mean by that? Well, when I look at my year-end financial statements, I will be honest with you, the revenue that I generate from my book is fairly low. I published my book in February of 2019. So we're coming up on two years, and I actually went back and looked at the numbers. I have sold the vast majority of my books through Amazon you can find it in paperback or in Kindle there, and I've sold some at local trade shares and things like that. When I I have speaking engagements, I also make sure that I have copies of the book available with me in case anyone wants to purchase a copy, right then and there. So when I look at my numbers, I can tell you that from February 2019 until November 2020, which is when I'm recording this podcast, I have sold approximately 350 books and that's brought in roughly $1,750 in revenue. So I am extraordinarily proud of each and every book that I've sold, and quite grateful to the 350 people who have invested the money to buy it and the time to read it. Even though I don't know every single one of them, I really do feel like I have a relationship with them, because I'm able to speak to them through my book. But when we are looking at revenue, I think we can agree that while $1,750 is nothing to sneeze at, it's also not a primary revenue stream for me. And it probably won't be for you, especially if you're looking to grow your business into six figures or more. So when you are writing your book, and when you are marketing your book, I think it's particularly important to have reasonable expectations around how much revenue the book itself will bring in. And as a primary revenue stream, it is probably not going to be one of your main income generators. Now, of course, if you have a huge following, if you are a big name, if you are well established in your field, then you may find that your book is a primary revenue source for you. And if that's the case, I am so happy for you and like go on with your bad self and write another book and keep that revenue stream open. But for the majority of us, we are not going to be paying our mortgage based off of our book revenue. But the secondary revenue stream, that is where having a book can be extraordinarily lucrative, because what I have found is that because I have a book, it has opened doors for me to paid opportunities that I would not have had without that book. So whether it's speaking opportunities, paid speaking opportunities, whether it's getting exposure on a high-level podcast, and that has led to me booking clients, or whether it's one of those 350 readers who's read my book, and then contacted me and said, I want to work with you. Those are secondary ways that my book has allowed me to generate additional revenue in my business. And when I think about those secondary revenue streams off of my book, I can tell you that I have made easily five figures, probably coming close to six figures because I have a book. So while I think it's important to temper your expectations regarding the direct revenue that your book can bring in, I do want you to feel free to dream big and have a bold vision about how your book can connect you to other opportunities to allow your business to grow. When it comes to establishing your credibility, and getting yourself in front of the very people you most want to serve, I think having a book is one of the best ways to do that. Because while 80 to 90% of people believe that they have a book in them, the vast majority of those people will not write that book and so you already set yourself apart by being an author, by being someone who is able to communicate your message, and to see the entire process through so that you have a finished book at the end. Being an author, whether a traditionally published author or a self-published author communicates to people that you are dedicated, that you are knowledgeable, that you are experienced, and that you follow through on what you start. So don't underestimate the credibility and the power that comes from having a book, regardless of whether you sell 3 or 300, or 3,000, or 3 million, the very act of writing, completing, and sharing your book with the world tells your potential clients and referral sources a lot about you. 
So that's a little bit about the financial component of writing a book, and again, my hope is that I continue to sell more copies of ACT on Your Business, and I am one of those people who will be writing a book in 2021. I fully expect my second book will be all about the art and the business of coaching. So you'll be hearing more from me about that, and I look forward to seeing how that book can help me continue to grow and expand my business to bring more people into the Coach with Clarity Membership and ultimately to bring people into the Certified Clarity Coach Program. That's my big vision for the next one, three, and five years, and I know that writing another book will help achieve that. And how do I know that? Because I am approaching the writing of my second book very strategically, and this is what I want to share with you, that when you are writing a book for your business, you need to think about both the reader of your book and the audience for your book. Now, that may sound a little funny because you may be thinking, well aren't the reader and the audience the same person? Well, what I would suggest is that your reader is a part of your audience. Of course, the people who are going to be reading that book very much the people that you want to be speaking to, but also in the audience are the people who may not be your ideal reader, and may not even read your book, but are in a position to connect you and your book with other ideal readers. So when we're writing the book, I think it's important that we keep the reader at the center. But when we're marketing the book, we need to think about the broader audience that yes, includes the reader, but also includes other people who are in a position to bring new readers into your world. 
So let's talk a little bit about how to write a book for your business that centers your reader, and in this case, your reader is likely your ideal client. When we approach it like this, it's actually almost as if we are approaching creating an offer within our coaching practice. So whether you're thinking about an individual coaching package that you want to create for your one on one work, or maybe a group program, or a membership, or a course, the same principles can apply when you're thinking about creating your book. And so as I've talked about in previous episodes, whether it's creating a group coaching program, or creating your individual offer, you need to be solid, on the “who”, the “what”, and the “how” of your work. And so we need to apply the same “who”, “what”, “how” approach to your book. So of course, the “who” is going to be all about who you are writing for. And so all of the work that you've already done, around defining your ideal client, you can bring that into the process of creating your ideal reader. 
Now, typically, I'm not someone who says that you need to create a specific avatar, and an avatar is simply kind of a representation of your ideal client, and there are a lot of marketing experts out there who will tell you that you need to have one clear ideal avatar and know everything about them. And like down to the most mundane of details, like what kind of car do they drive, what's their favorite Starbucks drink. Personally, I have never found that approach to creating an ideal client avatar to be that helpful, because a lot of those mundane details have nothing to do with my business. So I am much more interested in kind of the general demographics and psychographics that unite the people that I most want to work with, but I'm going to throw in a little caveat for writing a book. And this is something that I experienced firsthand that when I was writing, and when I would start to feel stuck, if writer's block was around the corner, or if I was just feeling kind of paralyzed, it was so helpful to think about my one reader, the one person that I was writing this book for. And if I could envision that one person in mind, then all of a sudden the act of writing a book was really more about having a conversation with that one person. Sometimes I even imagined that I was simply writing a letter to that one person, and so for the purposes of writing a book, I actually did find it quite helpful to have a single person in mind. And I had a name for that person, I knew about that person's life, and what they were struggling with, and what they were proud of. And so every sentence, every word that I wrote, I was writing for that one person, knowing that that one person represented 1,000s of other people that I wanted to support, and provide guidance and inspiration to, and it was very helpful to have that one person in mind, I found that far more helpful when it came to writing a book than maybe when it came to creating programs. So I'm sharing that with you in case it's helpful, and certainly, if you find it helpful to have that one specific person in mind as you are building out your coaching packages or your programs, by all means, go for it, do what works for you. But if you're like me, and you haven't necessarily found that to be helpful as you've created your offers, maybe consider trying it as you are writing your book. It helps distill your message and connect so deeply with the people you want to serve. When you can imagine that you are simply writing a letter or an email to one person and then that just happens to be in the format of a book.
So that is the “who” component, and I want to talk a little bit about the “what” component. And when we are tackling the “what”, as we're writing a book, I want you to think about what your reader wants most from the book. So, why have they picked up this book? Why have they spent the $10 or $20 or $30 on your book? What do they hope to get out of it? And so that can tell you a lot about what matters most to them what their values are, what their goals are, and it can also kind of create an expectation that you can deliver through your book. So when I was writing ACT on Your Business, I was very clear that my reader wanted a way of approaching small business and entrepreneurship, from a sense of ease and fulfillment and flow, that my reader was tired of her business feeling like a job, that she was thinking about it twenty-four seven that it was taking over her life, that it was distracting her from her family, her friends, her relationships, her health. She wanted a new approach to business that would allow her to find that balance and to feel better about herself as a business owner and as a person. And so with that in mind, I was able to structure and write my book, to bring that to her, to give her a new way to relate to her thoughts and her emotions, to clarify what matters most to her and how she wants to take action in her life, and how to show up connected to the present moment, both in her business and in the rest of her life. So when I got clear on what it was my ideal reader really wanted, I was then able to answer that desire through the book. So that's where knowing who you are writing your book for, and what they most want can be so helpful. 
And then we move into the final piece, which is the “how”. How are you going to deliver that outcome to your reader? This is where you want to start exploring the main themes or concepts in your book. What ideas do you want to share with them? Will you incorporate any activities or suggestions or will it be more of kind of a straight handbook? There's all sorts of process components that you can consider incorporating as you're writing a book, and I'll be honest with you, this is where working with a developmental editor like Jodi was really helpful for me, because then we could see all right, you need to kind of set the stage you need to define this topic, you need to expand on why it matters, and then we move into how you incorporate it. And, how do you want to do that? Do you want to give them exercises or activities or examples? And so having someone that I could kind of talk through that with ultimately allowed me to create a repeatable format for each chapter that really lent to the book structure and made it much more likely that my reader would get what they wanted, which was a different approach to entrepreneurship. So as you are conceptualizing your book, I encourage you to take that “who”, “what”, “how”, three-pronged approach, and apply it as you are brainstorming. And again, Jodi in Episode 41, talks about how the very first step she has her clients go through, and the very first step she recommends for an author, is to do that brain dump. And so after you do that brain dump, after you get everything out on the page, and then you start organizing it, you will start to see the ways in which your ideas can answer the “what”, and you'll start to see the beginnings of the “how” emerge as well. 
Now, because this is a book to serve your business, and because therefore it's a nonfiction book, you're probably going to be talking a lot about the processes you use when coaching your clients. And so as you're doing that, I want you to start thinking about examples that you can incorporate into your book that illustrate how your process works and how it leads to your client’s successes, and there are a few ways that we can pull examples into a book. First, we can look at public figures or people or organizations that are generally known, and we can show how our process or our ideas show up in that organization or in that person's life. So an example from ACT on Your Business is how I used Facebook to demonstrate why having the “Know, Like, and Trust Factor” built up with your clients is so important. I looked at Facebook's mission statement and talked about how that built the KLT Factor, and then I talked about how that trust was lost when it was revealed that Facebook was sharing data and everything came out with the Cambridge Analytica scandal. So in that sense, I was talking about a concept, which was building the Know, Like, and Trust Factor with your clients, and I used a well-known organization like Facebook to illustrate my point. So that's one way that you can pull an example into your book, use something that is already in the public arena, and connect it to your main themes or concepts or processes. The second way that you can pull examples in is to actually share experiences that you've had with your own clients. Now, in this case, I strongly recommend not using your client’s name, changing any sort of identifying details, really talking very generally about it. Now, certainly, if you want to highlight a client specifically, you can do that, but of course, you'll need to gain their consent, you'll want to have a release form on file, all of that kind of stuff. And really, I think it's actually more helpful in your book if you remove some of the identifying details, and you don't make it about a specific client that you've served. When you keep it a little more broad, then your reader will be able to see themselves more in your client. So I would recommend not naming names, removing identifying details, and yet still talking about the work that you did with this specific client, how you were able to implement your process, and then reviewing the results that that client was able to achieve. So bringing in true real-life examples can be highly effective. And then the third and final way I want to talk about today is using yourself as an example. Being willing to share your own experiences, and your own successes and life lessons can be extraordinarily powerful in your book, and can really help your reader feel more connected to you, which at the end of the day is what we want most because if this book is meant to connect with a reader, who will then become a client, we want them feeling deeply connected to you through your story. So sharing personal examples can be a very powerful way to do that, and in ACT on Your Business, there were several points where I shared things that I struggled with, things that did not go well for me, I hesitate to call them mistakes, but let's call them things that I would do differently next time. And part of the reason I did that was because I wanted to show, okay, here's how you can use this process, even when things don't go well for you, but I also wanted to let the reader into my life to humanize me, and to be really clear, hey, yes, I'm writing this book, I believe in what I'm talking about, I know these processes work, and I'm human, and things are going to happen. And a lot of what makes us powerful business owners is how we respond to adversity and to the unexpected. And so if that meant sharing a story about how I face down writer's block, and imposter syndrome while writing this book, would allow me then to connect more deeply with my clients and talk about, here's how I use the process to get myself back on track, well, then that's a really profound way for me to be open, to have an appropriate level of vulnerability in order to build connection with the reader, and add credibility to the processes that I use. So I would encourage you to think about the extent to which you can share your personal experiences in your book, how you can tie them back to the processes or the main themes that you're talking about, and how to do so in a way where you're still centering the client, you're sharing your stories, ultimately, for their benefit, and it's going to promote that deeper relationship. And yes, it is certainly fine to share your successes and your wins and your victories in your book, I highly encourage you to do that as well but let's be mindful that the point of this book is to connect with your ideal reader. And so we want to make sure we're balancing our strengths and our victories with honesty about what it's really like to put all of this into practice. 
So now you have explored the “who” and the “what” and the “how”, and how that's going to show up in your book. We've talked about effective ways to connect with your reader. I also want to encourage you to think about how you can bring this concept of calls to action into your book. So if you're not familiar with a call to action, or a CTA, that's essentially what you are asking someone to do next. So for example, if they're on your website, maybe the call to action is to book a call with you. If they are listening to a podcast, maybe the call to action is to subscribe to the show. Your book can have calls to action as well, and I think it's helpful to consider both an overall call to action for the whole book. So for example, maybe that would be, go to my web page, join my Facebook group, email me to learn more, that can be kind of a call to action that gets woven in throughout the book. But I also think it's helpful to think about calls to action for each chapter or section of your book. So after your reader has completed a given chapter, what should they do next? Now, sometimes these calls to action will be explicit and maybe do this exercise, follow this process, or something else super clear, but then sometimes that call to action maybe a little more implicit, maybe it's simply you want them feeling more inspired, or you want them to start to change their mindset. Now, even with that, I think it's important to consider what will this allow them to do. So if the call to action is to feel more inspired, what will feeling more inspired allow them to do? So even within that, we can have a little direction. But I think it's important that the chapter level call to actions, or the section level call to actions, be well as the name would suggest, actionable. We want them to lead to quick wins. So whether it's discovering a new insight about themselves, whether it's successfully completing a small action, your reader should feel rewarded as a result of doing what you've asked them to do because when they feel rewarded, when they have that quick win, that positive feeling then is associated with you and your book. That deepens the relationship, deepens the trust, and it makes it far more likely that they're going to want to continue the conversation with you, so that they will take advantage of that larger book level call to action, whether it's reaching out on Instagram, booking a call, whatever it is, if we have set the stage for success through these chapter or section level calls to action that have gone well, then your reader is going to be far more likely to follow up with you, and perhaps work with you individually or in one of your groups or however it is you want to support your reader. 
Now, I've spent most of this podcast talking about your reader, but if you'll remember, I also mentioned that there are other people in your audience for your book and that's important to remember when you are marketing your book. We want to think about not just the reader, but we want to think about those who will connect your book to your ideal readers. So for example, it may be the host of a summit or the coordinator of a conference, these people may or may not read your book, but they will see you as a credible expert because you are a published author, and that's going to help you kind of get in their world. You can support them in whatever it is they're producing, again, a summit, or a conference, or a podcast, you name it, and then they will be able to introduce you to their audience, which likely contains your ideal reader. So when you are thinking about your book cover, when you're thinking about your book website, when you're thinking about how you want to describe this book, make sure that you are using language and images and things that will appeal both to the reader and to the audience. You can then position your book as a resource for their audience, which then allows them to serve their people even more deeply. And so as an example, Act on Your Business is written with the small business owner in mind, and one of the things I was able to do right after I published it was get on a number of different podcasts, and even though the podcast host may not have been my ideal reader or my ideal client, many of their listeners were. So I had to know how to talk about my book in such a way that would spark interest from a podcast host or a conference organizer. And even if they themselves weren't a small business owner or weren't really interested in entrepreneurial mindset, I could position my book and my message as a way of serving their people. So again, as you're thinking about your marketing strategies for your book, definitely center your reader but also consider the whole audience and that whole audience includes referral sources, people who can refer you and refer your book to their clients, their family members, their friends, and the people in their life. 
My friend, we have covered a lot, and so I think now is just the right time to move into this week's Clarity in Action Moment. For this week's Clarity in Action Moment, I want you to take the “who”, “what”, and “how” approach to program development and apply it to your book. So go ahead and pull out a journal and a pen, or if you're like me, your iPad Pro and your Good Notes App, and go ahead and set a timer for about, let's say 15 minutes, and I want you just to free write around the topic of who your ideal reader is, what qualities they have, what distinguishes them from someone who's not an ideal reader for you. And as you're doing that work, I also want you to consider what it is they most want, and how your book can address that need. So really give yourself some time to explore, take the time to connect with that ideal reader, that one person that you want to serve through your book, and allow yourself a room on the page to explore. I'm thinking back to something Jodi said in our interview last week, which is how sometimes we come into something with a very clear idea of what it's going to look like and how it's going to roll, and then as we get into it, it changes, it morphs a bit. And so that's why having some free writing activity can be so helpful, because you may think you know exactly who you're writing for and what you want your book to be about, but as you start writing, and as you start connecting with the soul of your book, your book may speak back to you. And that may come through in the writing you're doing and all of a sudden, you're finding new entry points to connect with your reader, you're coming up with new ideas that you want to address. And if we don't give ourselves time to tap into that energy, we won't access those great ideas. So I'm going to challenge you to set a timer for 15 minutes and just write, write about your reader, who you want to serve, what you want to talk about, what they need to know, and see what comes up. And then once you've done that, go ahead and move into the brain dump that Jodi talked about in Episode 41 of this podcast, I think you'll find that in a relatively quick period of time, you will start to see the main theme of your book emerge, you're going to start seeing some organization to it, and before you know it, you're going to have that working table of contents that Jodi talked about as well. So I want this activity to get you started on writing your book, and let's make it happen in 2021. 
Once you've done that, come find me over on Instagram, I'm @CoachwithClarity. I want to hear about the book that you are writing. I want to know who you are writing it for and what you most want them to receive from your book. I am here cheering you on, and know that I am right here with you doing the exact same thing for my book as well. We are all in this together. All right, my friend, thank you so much for joining me again this week for the Coach with Clarity podcast. I hope you will be back with me next week with a brand new episode. And until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.

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