Introduction & Chapter 1 of Make ‘Em Beg To Be Your Client!
“P.S. I need space.”
He broke up with me over email… in a P.S.
It was 1996 and I was 23 when it happened and I never thought I would get over it.
At the time, I was working for New York Times best-selling author, David Wise. Wise wrote about spies and hired me for 4 hours a day as a researcher and editor. I’d cry all the way from my apartment in Alexandria Virginia to his office in downtown DC and then, for 4 merciful hours, I’d be lost in the world of espionage.
My work was intense and high-stakes. My boss had no tolerance for drama or distraction. But then, at 2pm, when my work day was done, I’d be back in my teal 1994 Dodge Shadow crying again.
In the evenings, I was an Actor’s Equity Stage Manager for professional theatre companies in DC. Usually there was a gap of about 5 hours between 2pm when my book job would end and 7pm when my theatre job would start. Rehearsal often went until midnight or beyond so by the time I got home, I would pass out from the long day, but the window from 2pm to 7pm was pure torture.
Most days I’d curl up in a ball and cry the whole time. But on good days, I’d make it to the floor of the self-help section of the Borders Book Store in Bailey’s Crossroads, just a few minutes from my house. The store was closed down almost a decade ago now, but I’m still sure I could navigate my way to my well-worn spot on the ground blind folded.
Self-help books were my first, last, and only resort. I made $200 a week from my book job and about $235 a week from my theatre job. That was $1740 a month total and my rent alone was $860. I didn’t have money for therapy, but somehow, I could swing books. I read about 1 a day in that window of time. And there was something else I discovered at that book store – self-help tapes!
Marianne Williamson had a collection of tapes on relationships, money, happiness, you name it. I bought them all. And driving to work I would listen to them over and over. I still have most of those tapes memorized. I listened to them so many times, Marianne sort of became a part of me, like the wise older aunt I never had.
Her tape on relationships was the hardest for me to listen to because I had to imagine being with someone other than this Australian surfer dude who broke my heart. Marianne asked her listeners to make a list of all the attributes of the person you wanted to spend your life with. My attributes were really just a description of him, since all I wanted was to get him back.
Tall, long–hair, bare foot, nature-lover, Aussie accent, amazing kisser…. And then, just as the list would crystalize, Marianne asks:
“Now…” (dramatic pause) “Would he date you?”
Marianne is the queen of the mic drop and her point was well taken. The woman he wanted to be with was a barefoot, nature-loving, Aussie surfer; not a theatre girl in a big city located hours from a crappy beach, never-mind a beach with good surfing.
Marianne was right! I was NOT the person that guy would be with.
And so, I was left with a choice: Become someone else or become more of me. It wasn’t easy, but I chose me.
I loved DC and books and libraries and museums and theatres. I was a city girl. I WORE SHOES… like, all the time. I was not going to be happy in the bush in Western Australia. I SLOWLY began to see, I was not the right girl for the Australian guy. More than that, Marianne taught me that I needed to get clear on who I was to even know who the right guy for me might be. The process took another 7 years.
I share this story about my early dating life here, because it’s the basis for this book. To get people to BEG to be your client, you have to first be the person they would be begging. As Marianne said on that tape “You have to become the person you want to attract.”
And that is the message of this book at its heart. You can’t expect your clients to beg you to help them until you become the person who is worthy of getting begged.
Here’s a short quiz to give you a sense of how ready you are to be the person who regularly is begged by total strangers to take their money and help them solve a problem.
Make ‘Em Beg to Be Your Client Quiz
T | F – I’m 100% sure what I am/or want to be “The Best in the World” at.
T | F – I’m 100% sure of the problem I solve for my clients (in their words not mine).
T | F – I’m 100% sure the result I get for my clients.
T | F – I’m 100% sure what I do works and works reliably for clients who follow my framework.
T | F – I have generated multiple tens of thousands of dollars in booked revenue.
T | F – I have lots of case study clients who came with the same problem and left with the same solution. (It’s okay if they are anonymous but they have to be real clients you can call to mind).
Until you have a perfect score on that quiz, you will not have a steady flow of clients begging to work with you; but don’t worry because in this book I am going to teach you how to get there as quickly as possible. Often it takes my clients just 90 days! And (spoiler alert) the answer is not to do more work, it’s to do less!
It turns out the answer to getting clients begging to work with you is pretty similar to meeting the right guy.
Step 1: Know yourself
Step 2: Be yourself
Step 3: Open your heart & shine
Imagine there was some playbook to teach you how to manipulate someone into loving you. Would you want to win a partner that way? How long do you think that relationship would last?
Getting clients to beg to work with you isn’t about manipulation or trickery. It’s about knowing who you are, showing up fully, and being the person your prospects KNOW will be the answer to a prayer.
So, before we get started, take out a sheet of paper and make a list of your ideal client, the one you most want to help, to teach and to serve…. And then ask yourself:
Would she beg to work with you?
Chapter 1: Book to Booked
“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Myrna said quietly.
I stepped away from my desk and walked with her to a quiet corner on the ballroom level of The Author Castle, away from the bustle of our book launch event.
“I know I’m supposed to be happy today, with my book launching, but something feels off. I love starting projects, often complicated projects, like quilts. I love learning new techniques and I thrive on challenges. I think it’s pretty fair to say I haven’t quite figured out the finishing part. So, writing a book – and finishing it – has been huge for me. It was important to break the unfinishing cycle. I loved the process,the accountability, the peer pressure, and the expectation held that it would be finished – on time. But now, it feels like my kid left for college. It’s a sudden release from the constraints and I’m distracted by the sudden reduced sense of pressure. It’s disorienting, and I’m not sure what to do next.”
Another “victim” of what I call Post-Book Depression.
Here’s the pattern: Getting the book accepted is euphoric. Writing the book is hard but feels important – so our other priorities are put on hold. The editing is grueling and feels like it will never end. You have coached yourself through it all to get to this moment…and now that big day arrives. You are an Author. It feels good for about three seconds and then you start to have a total melt down.
What was I thinking?
Can I really handle this?
Do I have what it takes to be an author? This is a lot of responsibility!
What do I do next?
Suddenly, the challenge of writing a book seems so much more fun and achievable than the challenge of marketing it. It’s like taking your first baby home from the hospital and feeling as though you have to figure out everything about being a parent, overnight!
The Numbers Don’t Add Up
I started The Author Incubator in February of 2013. By the time I opened the doors, I had 19 years of experience in the publishing industry behind me. But those 19 years were spent in the “old” publishing world. The world where publishers placed bets on authors and hoped their resulting books would sell. If they did, the author would get more offers, from the publisher, if not, the author would go back to hunting for another great idea and have to pitch it to publishers all over again.
It was the idea that would sell books or not, not the author. Oh sure, there were press releases and book signings that the author would create and hold, but that didn’t really move the needle on sales, or author careers. In that world, books were judged as being “good” if they sold, and if they sold well, it was because of the underlying ideas behind them. In any case, for most of the authors I worked with in the 90s and 00s, the next step after publishing a book was writing the next one, and hoping and praying for strong sales, and that the publisher would foot the bill for the ideal store placements.
This approach worked for very few authors back then, and it works for a lot fewer now. These days, unless you are launching a political campaign or celebrity tell-all, books will sell because the authors sell them. There is no shortage of marketing advice for new nonfiction authors, but sadly, most of it is based on an old system and it doesn’t work for most authors. Such bad advice falls into two primary categories:
- Do more stuff
- Sell more books
“Do more stuff” advice is all focused on tactics – encouraging the author to spend all their time hustling to be interviewed on podcasts, creating social media conversations, giving speeches, sending postcards, calling libraries, and building huge lists to get the word out about their book release. The problem with the “do more stuff” approach is most authors can’t actually do those things well. There just isn’t enough time or money, and they don’t have the skills or relationships in publicity or communications, so what they do isn’t terribly effective.
“Sell more books” advice goes back to the way traditional publishers make money. Generally, publishers take about 90% of the revenue from a book, so the way they make more of it is by focusing authors on efforts that result in selling books. Authors don’t even get much of a discount when buying copies of their own books, because publishers make a big chunk of change from the author’s purchase – after all, the authors are the most likely customers to buy it.
My advice is the direct opposite:
- Do less stuff (and do it better)
- Give away your books(and make money from clients)
Of course, most traditional publishers and traditional book marketers think I’m out of my mind, but the way I see it, there is no way to get the numbers to add up in their model. Authors make somewhere between $1 and $10 per book. There is still no way to sell enough books to really thrive as an author, let alone fund a movement. Unless you are a celebrity or a politician, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to make “doing more stuff” or “selling more books” pay off.
Now, you can go and built a platform and get famous with or without your book, but that would also take a lot of time, money, and luck. So, sure, work on it, but there is a much easier way to make money from a book: Give it away and focus on selling your coaching or consulting services to readers.
This is a business model that works well – and consistently – and I’m going to teach you how in this book.
The average author makes less than $250 from their book, but our average author makes $60,000 from their book – AVERAGE! And we have many authors who make $60,000 (or more) a MONTH, every month, after their book is out. You can have that too, but you have to be open to a totally new model for converting a book to generate revenue.
I should say, there is nothing wrong with making $250 from your book. You don’t have to use a book to build your business and fund your movement. A book can be a beautiful creation or catharsis experience that never goes beyond that, and that’s also okay. But if you picked up this book, it’s probably because you want to have a business where you help amazing people and businesses transform to the next level.
There are the steps you will need to take externally, and then there are the internal adjustments you will need to make, in order to become the person who has the outcome you want.
I checked in with Myrna a few weeks after her launch, and she said:
“I suspect you have known this all along. I have had an inner conflict going for some time, and this is the real reason I haven’t signed a coaching client, the reason I have self-sabotaged in the past. I am fearful, which I believe is some scarcity mindset.
I have been dividing my energy, because I am too afraid to let go of the one business success that I have had after several failures.
It is so very clear to me now that all of my energy has to be focused in one direction. Now I have to figure out how to do that. How do I let go of the one success I have had? How do I trust that my coaching business will be a success? How do I stop what I am presently doing – which includes leading a team of people – in order to do what I am supposed to be doing? When I say ‘supposed to be doing,’ I mean the work I know is what God has told me to do, has called me to.
I am not so much of a woo woo person, but I do know about energy and vibration, the Bible, and even general logic – and they all agree that a house divided cannot stand!
I have been stepping back and observing what I am doing, and why I am not having success, and conclude this is the reason. Now I need help figuring out how to let go of the one and grab a hold of the other. How do I let go of the ‘child’ I know and love to nurture the ‘child’ I know is being created?”
If you are reading this, I bet parts of her story feel familiar for you. The risk of letting go of what you have today feels more tangible than experiencing the upside of what you want. And so, you stay stuck. The book itself can’t unstick you, not my book nor your completed book. Only you can unstick you. The advice I can give you in doing so will include a combination of strategies, tactics, and tools for managing the drama.
You can also decide to be happy with what you have now. A book on a shelf is still a fantastic accomplishment. Or you can decide to take it all to the next level – to reach more people, to expand your platform, to become to most potent and impactful version of yourself.
Myrna asked: “How do I let go of one and grab for the other?” I wrote this book as my answer to her, and for all the other difference-making authors out there. People who wrote a book because they wanted to make a bigger difference, but they are afraid that somehow going for the next level means they will have to give up what they already have.
In this book, you will learn the exact steps and strategies to:
- Get your book into the hands of the right people, those who are most ready to put your ideas and strategies into action;
- Make more money (while helping people get amazing results) so that you can fund your dreams, and make the difference you were born to make;
- Stop spinning your wheels trying to figure out how to design a business you are proud of;
- Attract prospects who ask you if you will work with them, instead of the other way around; and
- Let go of the need to convince, prove, or show people that you are good at what you do.
If you already have a book, and it’s not getting you clients like you hoped (or if you want to write a book that gets clients begging to work with you), this book is for you.
Continue reading the rest of Make ‘Em Beg To Be Your Client! here.