September was my first full month of school in over three months. Three months from now, I’ll be done with school.
This is an important point for me. The more productive I am during these three months, the more I will accomplish during my first year of full-time entrepreneurship.
A few things happened this month that gave me a new perspective and will help set the stage for 2020. Given the full-time status, I fully expect 2020 to be my most successful year to date.
With that said, here’s what happened in September…
New Media Summit
Steve Olsher and the entire team do an incredible job with this event. It’s one of my favorite events I go to twice a year as an Icon of Influence.
For people new to the event, the New Media Summit is an event where attendees pitch themselves to 40 podcasters . During the event, those 40 podcasters get the moniker “Icon of Influence” hence me calling myself an Icon of Influence.
I booked a ton of guests for Breakthrough Success and a few for the Profitable Public Speaking Podcast. I launched the Profitable Public Speaking Podcast between New Media Summit events and may launch another podcast before the next New Media Summit. I also got booked on a few podcast and built new relationships.
Each New Media Summit puts me at a higher level because the people and atmosphere of that event make you dream bigger and believe in your abilities.
YouTube Decoded Book Signing—Drama First Then The Actual Signing
After several years of writing books and marketing them on Amazon, I finally had my first book signing. While many authors are quick to do book signings for their books, I never really rushed into that kind of marketing.
This edition of the New Media Summit featured a book signing. Since I was almost halfway done with my book Profitable Public Speaking (based on the podcast), the timing was perfect…
…until my mom suggested I go in there with a YouTube book.
This idea made sense. New Media Summit attracts a ton of podcasters and people who are on the fence about starting their own podcasts. Many of the New Media Summit attendees eventually start their own podcasts since they appear on dozens of them after the New Media Summit.
From a business context, YouTube is often a forgotten platform. People know what is it but don’t use it for their businesses.
While this was a great idea, there was one big problem…
I hadn’t written a single word for this book…and there was only a month left before New Media Summit kicked off.
That’s not even the entire story. I finished the book on time but had difficulty publishing the paperback version. I resorted to B&N only to realize it wouldn’t arrive on time even if I paid an extra $200 to ship the 100 copies that I needed for the New Media Summit.
I finally published the paperback on Amazon, but the author copies wouldn’t arrive in time. After some digging, I realized buying the books directly from the Amazon sales page would result in the books arriving on time because of Amazon Prime (it currently takes longer for author copies to arrive).
The only problem with this route is that each author copy costs $2.15 while each copy in the Amazon marketplace costs $9.99.
We’re talking about an extra $784 which is nothing to laugh at. Luckily, I thought of a ninja trick to make the books cost less and still arrive on time.
As a self-published author, you have full control over your book. You control what the sales page looks like, the cover, the text inside of the book, the distribution, and yes, the pricing.
For YouTube Decoded, I barely promoted it leading up to the book launch. That was by design as I made the Kindle edition free for a few days to line up with the New Media Summit. This is a common strategy authors use to get reviews for their books and then tell their entire audiences about the book.
At this point, the Kindle and paperback editions are both published but have zero sales. Books at $9.99 can add up if you buy 100 copies. However, you can change the pricing of your book.
Amazon will tell you what the minimum price of your book must be for you to break even. Each of my books is inexpensive to produce since I keep my newer books under 100 pages. I sweetened the savings by turning off expanded distribution to lower the minimum price.
After everything was done, I purchased copies of my book at a rate of $3.58 per copy…with free 2 day shipping. I didn’t see the free shipping option from the order author copies part of KDP, but it was an option when buying it on Amazon sales page.
103 copies and $11.52 in royalties later, my books arrived on time for the book signing. If I didn’t use this ninja trick…or if I used it a day later, the books would not have arrived on time.
YouTube Decoded is now back to the $9.99 price point and doing well on Amazon. I’m starting up some Amazon Ads for it soon and am excited to see how it turns out. The book is off to a strong start and I may have figured out a new strategy that will add new sales to my books each day. I’m in the beginning phase of this strategy, so I want to make sure it works before I share it.
2 Important Points About The Book Signing
As I’ve shared before, the book signing was a massive success. I only walked away with a few copies. This is what I intended because some of those copies are now props in my videos.
But I had two conversations that changed how I view self-publishing and verified my strategy.
One person asked me for a copy of my book, and as I was signing it, she remarked how she was happy the book was so small so it could fit in her suitcase.
For context, about 30 authors were a part of this book signing. Unless you are a minimalist who hauls Texas sized suitcases everywhere you go and only packs one pair of clothing, you’re not fitting 30 books in your suitcase…especially with most books being 200+ pages.
Needless to say, I did not go home with 30 books in my suitcase. With that said, I probably got around 10 other authors’ books at the event, so you enough books to keep you busy for a few months or the entire year depending on how often you read.
And yes, I had to maneuver the space in my suitcase to fit those books because I packed like an anti-minimalist (never doing that again. I respect minimalists who do it right).
That was Important Point #1. People often forget that your book takes up space in the suitcase, backpack, or whatever it is your readers will put your book. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Other times, it makes a big difference.
That leads me to Important Point #2.
One of the attendees came up to me and said she loved my book and really wanted one, but said she opted against getting the paperback because it wouldn’t fit in her suitcase.
Rather than argue that a book under 100 pages could make the cut, I told her to get the Kindle version which was free for a few days. She did just that and walked out of the New Media Summit with a digital copy of my book.
If she decides to leave a review for that book, she will show up as a verified customer because she got her copy directly from Amazon (this will help with ranking higher on Amazon).
For new books, I’ll combine a free book signing with a free KDP Promotion. In my opinion, it’s okay for a new book that I’ve barely promoted and doesn’t have any sales coming in yet. I wouldn’t do this for one of my books that is performing well on Amazon and has profitable Amazon Ads running for it. Those are the books I will not make free again unless the profitability of those respective books dry up at a certain point.
Changing My Video Creation Pace
On YouTube, I’ve been releasing two new videos each week. For a few weeks, I am going to experiment with releasing only one video each week.
I have a few ideas on how to make my videos different from everyone else’s rather than just providing another talking head video where I cover a few talking points with some b-roll.
With that said, I’m all in for 5-7 LinkedIn videos each week. In my experience, you don’t need to do as much video editing to win on LinkedIn. I literally take out my iPhone and talk for 1-2 minutes.
I could never do that with YouTube because their algorithm places a strong focus on watch time, retention rate, engagement, and clickthrough rate.
Based on my experience, you can create a quick video on LinkedIn that gets engagement and do well. It’s harder to do well on YouTube if the watch time isn’t there which is why I create longer videos and spend more time editing the YouTube videos.
I used to create daily LinkedIn videos, but then I went on a vacation and never got back on the saddle. If you aren’t connected with me on LinkedIn yet, make sure you do that if you want to see the videos.
The most exciting thing that happened to me this September — and perhaps this entire year — was securing my first TEDx Talk. I had been working towards this goal for years, but I finally landed the gig when I thought less about myself and more about the event I was applying for and what it was all about.
Too many people think of the TEDx Talk as their big moment with empowering and providing value to the attendees coming at a far second place.
TEDxLincolnUniversity focuses on core themes that align with my brand and what I stand for. Many of the attendees will be college students, and I’ve always been about showing younger people that they can achieve success now instead of waiting until they get the degree.
I’ve been told I’m too young to have a business and that I should step aside and just listen to the people with 20+ years of business experience.
A TEDx is the ultimate goal for anyone who wants to speak professionally. But this TEDx means far more to me than just that…and that thinking right there combined with relationship building is how I got the gig.
With that said, preparation for the TEDx Talk begins now. While it differs for each event organizer and speaker, I wouldn’t describe the prep work as intense. However, you’ll have to put in a few hours each week leading up to the event. You’ll have calls with event organizers, rehearse the talk, and sharpen it so you’re ready for the big day.
I recently interviewed a 5-time TEDx speaker for the Profitable Public Speaking Podcast, and he told me that he rehearsed his first TEDx Talk 30 times before giving it on the big day.
I’ll keep you updated on the prep work so you have an idea of what goes into a TEDx Talk. It’s certainly not you getting the gig and then just showing up on the big day.
September was a great month, and I am eagerly awaiting 2020 when I’ll have my first year of full-time entrepreneurship.
I refuse to use school as an excuse for not hitting any of the business related goals I have for 2019, and I am also going to enjoy my final semester.
I recognize there are plenty of people I frequently see on campus who I’m not going to see or talk to for a while (if ever) when I graduate.
I also recognize I have a semester left of finance classes that are sharpening my investing skills.
With that said, I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions on the Performance Report in the comments below. So make sure you do that if you’ve got something to say 😉