The Ruby Freelancers Show 053 – Building and Marketing Products with Farnoosh Brock
Panel Farnoosh Brock (twitter facebook Prolific Living Prolific Living Podcast The Healthy Juicer’s Bible) Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Evan Light (twitter github blog) Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Ramp Up) Discussion 00:37 - Farnoosh Brock Introduction Prolific Living New Media Expo 01:41 - Marketing 04:00 - Marketing Coaching Services Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling by Michael Port Target Audience 06:05 - Giving away products vs time and services The Ruby Freelancers Show: 006 - Setting Your Rate 08:32 - Pricing The Prolific Living Podcast Episode 83: 4 Bold Steps to Communicating Your Prices without Apology Price higher than you feel comfortable Handling price criticism 12:54 - Levels of Access Freebies 16:48 - Value Working backwards pricing idea 19:39 - Advertising Mailing Lists (some at different levels of marketing aggressiveness) Guest Posting Blogging Social Media LinkedIn Groups Forums 23:59 - Closing Sales on the Phone Zig Ziglar 26:40 - Video Marketing Free content as teaser to paid content Credibility 31:51 - Effective Marketing Strategies Escape from Cubicle Nation 48 Days, LLC Cliff Ravenscraft 36:17 - Podcasting 37:46 - Getting on other people’s radar 39:33 - Help a Reporter Out (HARO) (Vocus will call you once as soon as you create an account. Saying you aren't interested will stop calls.) 45:39 - Speaking/Webinars SlideShare Speaker Deck The Ruby Freelancers Show: 036 - Speaking at Conferences 49:09 - Book Marketing (Self-Publishing) Amazon Author Central Reviews Farnoosh's Amazon Page Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) 55:13 - Book Marketing (w/ a Publisher) Taking the lead 59:05 - Self-publishing vs going w/ a traditional publisher 01:03:19 - Making the right product for your market Building your platform Amy Hoy The Formula You Need: 30 x 500: Zero to Launch for Your Very First Paying Product Picks Seth Godin's Blog: Choose your customers first (Eric) "If it Bleeds, it Leads" (Evan) Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler (Evan) Ruby Midwest (Evan) VIM to EMACS (Evan) Hazel (Chuck) Battlestar Galactica (Chuck) House of Cards (Evan) Young Justice: Invasion Destiny Calling - Season 2 (Evan) Asana (Farnoosh) Scrivener (Farnoosh) Edirol Recorder (Farnoosh) Paul Graham: You Weren't Meant to Have a Boss (Farnoosh) On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King (Farnoosh) Next Week Red Flags with Potential or Current Clients with Ashe Dryden Transcript [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 53 of The Ruby Freelancers Show. This week on our panel, we have Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello! CHUCK: We also have Evan Light. EVAN: Chuck had to think about Eric for a moment there... CHUCK: [laughs] I'm Charles Max Wood from Devchat.tv. And this week we have a special guest, and that's Farnoosh Brock! FARNOOSH: Hi! Thank you so much for having me on! CHUCK: You haven't been on the before; do you want to introduce yourself really quickly? FARNOOSH: Yes! My name is Farnoosh Brock, and I am the president and founder of Prolific Living, and that's at prolificliving.com. Chuck and I met at New Media Expo back in January and we had a lot of fun! He was really shocked that he met an electrical engineer -- an ex-electrical engineer -- at the party there, and we just hit it off! So, thank you so much for inviting me to the show. CHUCK: Yeah, no problem! It was kind of interesting when we met. First off, I met your husband before I met you. He's a photographer,
[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 53 of The Ruby Freelancers Show. This week on our panel, we have Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello! CHUCK: We also have Evan Light. EVAN: Chuck had to think about Eric for a moment there... CHUCK: [laughs] I'm Charles Max Wood from Devchat.tv. And this week we have a special guest, and that's Farnoosh Brock! FARNOOSH: Hi! Thank you so much for having me on! CHUCK: You haven't been on the before; do you want to introduce yourself really quickly? FARNOOSH: Yes! My name is Farnoosh Brock, and I am the president and founder of Prolific Living, and that's at prolificliving.com. Chuck and I met at New Media Expo back in January and we had a lot of fun! He was really shocked that he met an electrical engineer -- an ex-electrical engineer -- at the party there, and we just hit it off! So, thank you so much for inviting me to the show. CHUCK: Yeah, no problem! It was kind of interesting when we met. First off, I met your husband before I met you. He's a photographer, if I remember correctly -- FARNOOSH: No, that's not my husband. You met someone else. My husband was actually -- he was there, but he wasn't at the event -- he actually works with our company now. But we were both in engineering school, and that's what we were talking about at the party. But I no longer do that; I write books and create digital programs and run an online business, and coach and speak - a different world from previous life [laughs]. CHUCK: Yup. The reason that I asked you to come on the show is because we got into a conversation and I mentioned that I was going to be doing this course -- FARNOOSH: Yes. CHUCK: And I didn't know how to get people to sign up; I was a little bit disheartened because I didn't have many people sign up. FARNOOSH: Yes. CHUCK: Now we're in the middle of the course, but you gave me such great advice that I wanted to get you on the show so that we could talk about how to build and promote a product like that and get the word out. FARNOOSH: Absolutely. Yes, we were talking about marketing. Coming from that engineering background and technical world, Chuck, I never put much emphasis on that either. So it was really when I started my business and I learn just how important it is to market in your own style and really original and authentic way, but still, get the word out because you do all this work and then people don't get your product. It's just because they don't know about it. So sure, we can talk about that. CHUCK: Yup, absolutely. I know that Eric has some ebooks and other products that he sells as well. FARNOOSH: Awesome. CHUCK: So we can probably color this a little bit with our experience, but it sounds like you've really got it down. And so I'm kind of going to throw it over to you and just let you give us a couple of suggestions on how to get the word out about the product that you're working on. FARNOOSH: Okay! It actually does depend on the product you are doing. Like right now, I actually just signed a book deal on end of November, early December, for a first book with a traditional publisher. In the past, I have self-published my work; with this one, (I) was working with someone else under deadline. So book marketing, if you want to talk about that, is a totally different thing than (let's say) marketing your coaching services, right? So, is there any particular interest you guys have? And I also have courses, so did you want me to delve into any of them? Or just give general advice? EVAN: All of the above personally, because I'm working on a book and I market myself as a one on one coach also -- FARNOOSH: Awesome. EVAN: So, those are both of interest to me. CHUCK: Why don't we start with the one that is probably most relevant to most of our audience which are freelancers or people who want to be freelancers? And (then) go with the consulting or coaching your services marketing. FARNOOSH: Okay, let's do that. I have been focusing a lot on that and I've experimented a lot with different things that worked and didn't work. So, let's take coaching services, alright? The first thing you need to do is define your target client. I read a great book -- I know you may want to ask me my books and my picks later, but I will throw this one out there -- it's by Michael Port called "Book Yourself Solid". Book Yourself Solid is a system that he provided, but there was some really golden nuggets that I took away from him. One of them was "being transparent about your pricing", because there's a lot of back and forth "should you publish your prices (coaching and consulting prices specifically) or should you not". So, he promotes that you should and he also is very very clear on defining your target clients to the point where you are willing to not accept people who are not your target clients, and he goes on to tell you why. Believe it or not, that's the beginning of the "marketing" - getting true clarity for yourself, what it is you offer, and who it's for. That way, it's going to start to make its way into your speech and your conversation, and your writing, and your blogging, and your social media messages that go out. So, the first clarity is there. If you have that down, then we move on to the next level. But for instance (I'll give you an example), I help people in my coaching business specifically with drastic career transitions. So I don't want to help college kids, I don't help people who necessarily go off and become entrepreneurs. I help people who are going through a very drastic change in their career and they don't know what to do to make that very difficult transition. So, I'm very clear on who that is. And then I build my program around that; I create a web page, of course you have to have a hold of material, and then I create my packages and my pricing. At the beginning when you're starting out, few people know about you. So I do believe in doing very few pro bono coaching sessions. I believe more in maybe giving away your product at the beginning, rather than giving away your time. Some people will tell you "you should give away a lot of your time", but I think (in) your coaching services, you probably don't want to give away too much. Just do enough at the beginning to build some testimonials and some credibility and some practice for yourself to make sure you are serving indeed the right client, validate all of that, and then you just build up your page - it's all part of the marketing. Let me pause here, because I don't want to dominate the conversation [laughs]. CHUCK: No, that's fine. I do have one question (and) that is: you're saying give away your product instead of your time, what exactly do you mean by that? FARNOOSH: I mean that I am actually more prepared to give away products for whatever reason. I'm not saying (that) this is the regular practice, but if you have to choose between giving away free products, samples, or discounts on products versus services and your time, I am more likely to do the products than the services. I have done the coaching, I have given away coaching packages, and I've always regretted it because I don't believe that people who get your time for free value that at all. EVAN: Yup. FARNOOSH: It's really a weird psychological thing; and when they get the products for free, that varies. If they don't really appreciate the product, you haven't spent your precious time on them to find that out. So I would -- [crosstalk] FARNOOSH: Yeah, go ahead please. EVAN: Sorry. I was going to say, I think that's something we've talked about maybe way in the past to the podcast that people tend to value things based upon how much they paid for them. I think, that has come up in the past about how we talked about our rates. As for being quiet and letting you talk, frankly, you are a very good speaker. I hope you do public speaking often; you seem to be a natural. FARNOOSH: [laughs] Thank you! That's such a huge compliment because funny enough, I invested a fortune in a voice coach just last week because it's an area I want to improve on. So maybe just mentally I've made that shift, but I love that compliment, thank you! Who made that? Was that Eric? EVAN: No, this is Evan. FARNOOSH: Evan, okay. Alright, we're going to be best friends. That's awesome. [laughter] EVAN: Yeah. I'm the one with a sense of humor; Eric's not funny. [laughter] EVAN: Sorry, Eric [laughs]. No, that was evil. ERIC: Oh, that's okay. FARNOOSH: So going back, putting out there your coaching and your consulting services, I think it's really really important to price things correctly. In fact, today I did a podcast episode where I was talking about four bold steps to do your pricing and to communicate that pricing and that offering without apology, and without insecurity, and without shame, or any of that because as entrepreneurs and business owners, especially at the beginning, we have that. So one advice I have for you, which is going to still work itself into marketing is this: you want to price your coaching packages and consulting packages higher than you feel comfortable because more often than not, you are pricing yourself too low. So when you price yourself a little higher than you're comfortable, then when you have to overdeliver -- because we do want to overdeliver; quality is a non-issue, we all want to do quality work -- you don't become 'resentful'. (Do) you know what I mean? Do you know what I'm talking about? EVAN: I think we've all been here. CHUCK and FARNOOSH: Yeah. FARNOOSH: So it's a learning progress, it's not a one-time thing. But I would say, we are probably pricing too low and that's where it starts. Because you want to make sure the foundation is right, your message is right, you have the right client, the packages and the pricing before you go out there and market your services and your offers. ERIC: Another thing also, if you have a higher price for something, then you can do a lot more. I sell one of my ebooks for $49, and I've seen some people complain that it's not $9 like on Amazon. Well, I'm also including a one hour webinar recording that I did, which is an hour of my time is couple hundred of dollars, I'm including that for free. So it's like I get some kickback from maybe like half the percent of the people about the price, but everyone else loves it and some people are like "Wow! This video you have is awesome like I want to pay double for that video alone!" FARNOOSH: Yeah. ERIC: I mean just by having the higher price, I was able to bring in more income so I could dedicate more time to the product to actually produce the webinar, and then record it, and give it away. Like you said, I was going above and beyond just a book and everyone who's gotten it loved it. FARNOOSH: Right. So how does that make you -- [Eric talks] -- oh, sorry! Go ahead. ERIC: No, no, go ahead. FARNOOSH: Yeah I was just curious because the people who complain and come to you -- because we all have to deal with that criticism -- I'm wondering, how do you manage that? Do you respond to them? Do you just go out there and try to convince them that it's a worthy product? How do you manage that? ERIC: A couple of times, like when I first started, when I was scared like "oh, I am afraid I'm pricing too high", I tried to reason with them plainly. And then I came to conclusion that it was such a small percentage and realistically even if my product was $9, they would probably complain that it wasn't $3, and they still wouldn't buy it. So I kind of gave up. If they have an actual real criticism or someone else has like a real negative feedback about it, I'll take that into account. But if it's just a knee-jerk "this needs to be cheaper", I'd just ignore it and move on. FARNOOSH: Good! Good, good! CHUCK: Yeah. One thing that I've seen with that is, people either want it or they don't. The example that I'm going to give -- I'm actually in the middle of teaching the Rails Ramp Up Course right now that we talked about at New Media Expo with the speakers event -- and what happened was, I wound up pricing it (I'm not going to tell people what the original price was), but I basically doubled that price to come to the price that I actually wind up selling it at. And it turned out that it didn't seem to make a huge difference as far as people's willingness or ability to pay for it. It was the people who really wanted to be in the course and really wanted to have what it offered were willing to pay the higher price. They didn't even blink or bat an eye at it. In fact, some of them I think took it a little more seriously because it was quite a bit more expensive than it would have been if I'd left it at the original price. So what it really comes down to is, yes, you can price yourself out of the market that you're trying to target. But typically, you're going to have to be really really exorbitant in your pricing in order to do that. Otherwise, if the value is there, they're willing to buy it. EVAN: I kind of find that I'm the odd ball here -- I think it's one of the things that keeps me throwing back to the podcast – that, I tend to be the guilty capitalist. I don't like charging -- I feel concerned about being extractive of my customers especially when my customers are part of the community that I participated on a regular basis - this is The Ruby Freelancers podcast, and I'm very active in the Ruby community, and most of my customers come from this community. I'm not concerned about being extractive as a matter of reputation. For me, it's purely a matter of conscience that at some point, I know I have difficulty looking at myself in the mirror. So for the book I'm working on, I found a solution a friend of mine has been using that I rather like. Although his books are actually fairly cheap, I haven't decided on the price point for my book, but what he also offers for those people who can't afford it or are just willing to take the time as he lets his customers or let some of his customers who -- someone who can't afford the book hypothetically -- just send him a post card. And then when he gets the post card, he send them a book. FARNOOSH: Okay. EVAN: So that turns out to be a fairly small percentages, as far as I know of his customer base, and those are often I think in his case for college kids or people who are just starting off but don't have a lot of money to work with, but he still makes a fair amount of money off of his books. So, I guess I'm through to coming around to the question of "What's your feeling on pricing and do you concern yourself with being extractive that made you at some point feel 'I'm just being greedy with the pricing'? And how do you negotiate that with yourself?" FARNOOSH: Yeah. I love that! Can I take that question, please? CHUCK: Go ahead. FARNOOSH: Okay. I love that because I know how you feel you want to make yourself accessible, you want to reach a large platform of people, you want to share your message; you don't want them to worry about that. So what you do is, in my opinion, you offer different levels of access to you. So you can have your really bare minimums like a $10 book -- just about everyone can afford a $10 book if they're serious about learning what it is you're offering -- $10 investment I think is pretty fair, right? EVAN: Sure. FARNOOSH: So you can start there; that can be your barrier to entry to getting to know -- who am I speaking with? Is this Eric? EVAN: This is Evan again. FARNOOSH: Evan. I'm sorry. So this is the barrier to entry to getting to know Evan. And before that, before even the $10, you have all your free stuff; I have free newsletters, I have free blog contents, I have free podcast. I mean I have a lot of free stuff out there and people can learn a lot from me and what I do and techniques and details and all that just from the free stuff. If they want to go one level higher, then they make a small investment and then you can pick it up. The highest investment, I believe, should be one on one time with you if you indeed value your time. But you can have different levels of access for different people so that way people can reach you. Another thing that Michael Port talks about is, you always have something that's free; something that you always invite people to. He does a free coaching, group coaching weekly calls. So he charges $800 for 45 minutes of his time, but he does free group coaching calls. If you attend those calls, you get on the phone, you ask him a question, (and) he answers it free. That's something he offers all the time. So you can always say, "If you can't afford my stuff, you can listen to my podcast and then my show --" EVAN: That sounds a little like something that Seth Godin mentions, too, where he describes off, he described a "gift" economy, that giving away something for free is a way to demonstrate that you have that much more value because you can afford to give something for free. FARNOOSH: Exactly. Right. CHUCK: One other thing that comes to mind with this discussion is that, I feel like, especially with this course, that the value is there. And so I don't feel bad charging what I'm charging because I spent like -- EVAN: Chuck, I don't want you to feel like that I'm saying anything about what you're pricing; I don't know what you're pricing -- CHUCK: I know. EVAN: It's just a routine concern of mine in general especially with our community at large. CHUCK: Yeah, I totally agree. And the thing is this, like with my clients, it's the same thing. I want to make sure that they're getting the value that they're paying for; that they're getting the hundred and whatever dollars worth of work out of me every hour, and that they're happy to pay that. And as long as I am providing that value, I don't necessarily feel bad about where my rates are, what I'm charging for products. But if somebody felt like they didn't get the value out of it, then I would definitely want to address that one way or the other because for me, that's a question of integrity. Like I said, if it's worth it to him, then terrific I'm doing my job; if it's worth more to him than what I charge, then I'm definitely doing my job. And if it's not worth that much to him, then there's something wrong and we've got to make it right. ERIC: That's kind of like a rule I use. I've work backwards to get the price; I figure out what the value is. So say it's like a thousand dollars of my time, so I figure "Okay, I can charge 5-10% of that” and they're basically getting the rest of it. So if I charge $100 and they'd get that knowledge that I give them and they go make $1000, that's a great investment on their part; you can't get that at stock market. And if I'm okay with getting $100 for helping them, that's great on my part, and so everyone leaves happy. So I'm a lot on the pricing for the products I've done. I've work backwards of how much time am I saving them, how much pain/frustration am I saving them, how much are they going to grow their business, and then arrive at some dollar amount and then take a percentage of that. EVAN: How much is going to left? ERIC: For some of stuff, it's maybe 5 or 10% for a small business. But if it's something that I can change like 200 or 300% company like a processing there, I could be taking like .11% of the total value because of the effects when you affect processes and larger groups. So that's how I work at it, and it's really hard because you got to dig and figure out "Okay, how are they actually getting the value and put an actual hard number on it?" Once you do that, the rest of it becomes cake. CHUCK: Yeah. The thing that I like about that, too, is that, we're all talking around the fact that "If you're charging less than the value that somebody gets out of it, then you're injecting value-back into the system and into the community as opposed to extracting it", which is I think what Evan's concern was. EVAN: Yup, pretty much. That's a very good way to put it, Chuck. [inaudible] CHUCK: So I'm a little curious, there were several things that you mentioned to me about doing this course, and I think a lot of them apply to "getting the word out" for your coaching business and things like that. How do you get the word out once you've settled on who your target market is and set the pricing around, what things are going to cost? FARNOOSH: Right. CHUCK: How do you help people find it? FARNOOSH: Right. I think our conversation was that, I was telling you about one of my first courses, which was actually to help people get out of a corporate job, build a smart exit plan. To get very seriously, the first time I was offering it -- as I was building the course material, there's the time where you're creating the content at the beginning – actually 6 months before that, I started a very targeted newsletter just for people who are struggling in their career. I started sending them free newsletters and telling them that I was thinking about building a course; what is it they want, what is it they need. So I was already building a very niche group collecting emails, the stuff that you guys know. That's one of them; and building gap to it, and then just kind of serving them even making some calls, building some relationships, and then started to basically introduce something to course. And when it was time to market the course, that was one target channel of marketing for me - and I marketed pretty aggressively. So I have different levels of comfort; I have different newsletters, different groups. I have a health group, I have a confidence list of email list, and then I have this career list. And I have different comfort levels on how aggressively or softly I market to them. Because this course was something they had asked for, it was not something that was going to be available all the time; it was going to be just twice a year, and I have been working so hard at it. When it was time to market, I think I might have sent 12-15 emails, and every email had content, a story, a point, a takeaway. But in the end, I was like "Look, the course is coming; it's going to be here". If this is the situation you're in, you need to be here. This is time to address your problems what have you. And oh by the way, (I'm) happy to share the messaging of God as reference for you guys later. Beyond that, I use guest posting as a huge strategy for this. This is a lot of work! My marketing isn't exactly overnight; it's a very very heavy work and it's built around content. Because I feel comfortable creating content, telling stories, spreading my message, I have that comfort level. I wrote a lot of guest posts and I targeted places and platforms where I already had maybe somewhat of a relationship with a blogger or maybe the magazine online, but also they had the right audience so to speak. Some of them didn't pan out at all; some of them had no response. You write for a big magazine or big blog and nothing comes of it. And sometimes it's the small stuff, like you do a little interview on a small radio and they have a devoted audience. So you have to set aside time to target those places; you have to put yourself out there (that) takes a lot of guts and courage and tell them -- hopefully you have built some relationship so you're not just asking for a favor -- but you tell them "Look, I really think your audience can respond well to this. We can talk about it, we can do an interview, we can give them content, but we can also pitch my course." So I did guest posts; email marketing; blogging -- I blog about it on my own website; social media. I actually did some careful scheduling of a lot of messages that I believed was irrelevant weeks in advance; I was using HootSuite at the time mainly on Twitter. I started joining LinkedIn Groups because it was a career-based product; yours is may or may not relate to this, but Forums that focus on that. And I think maybe I had one or two students that came from there, not the majority of them. What else? I try to do some kind of traditional marketing, but I didn't go through with it. Advertising or getting some media attention just didn't pan out; I didn't think that was where my target audience was. I think that was it. I did the same thing the second time I offered the course plus one thing -- and this is the part where I am actually pretty proud of myself because I didn't think it was going to go this way. For the second time I offered the course six months later, and I'll close really quickly so you guys can comment, I doubled the price because I was putting so much into it; I had build it out, I had first-hand feedback. This is for corporate professionals who make 6 figures, so the investment in my course (with the return in investment they were getting) was not bad. And then I ended up closing most of those sales on the phone, which is not something you think about when you think online marketing. A lot of people had interest, but before they drop $600 into may class, they wanted to make sure there's somebody real behind it and they wanted to talk. One person gave me the idea to get on the phone, and then I ended up actually offering it to anybody who had questions about the course. So instead of sending them emails, I would say "Do you want to get on the phone and chat with me?" And I close those sales on the phone because the seats of doubts like "Is she credible? Is this going to help me?”, assuming it was the right course for them. So that was my strategy for the second time I marketed that. Now let's talk about whether any of that is relevant to your course. If not, what else you can do to market your course? CHUCK: One thing I want to ask really quickly is, it seems like a lot of these are good for getting the word out for your consulting and things like that and closing the sales over the phone for your coaching or consulting -- that makes a lot of sense and I think that's the direction we wind up going a lot of times, anyway. I'll wind up talking to people on Skype or over the phone and get a good feel for it. I actually went up to Park City on Tuesday and met with a potential client because they were within an hour of where I work and live. FARNOOSH: Yeah. Awesome. CHUCK: But I haven't thought about doing that with the course until you mentioned it and then I was like "Holy cow! That's a really interesting idea!" FARNOOSH: Yeah! In fact, I was listening to a lot of podcasts at the time, just consuming information. Who is the guy that we lost very recently? He was this amazing -- I should have looked him up. EVAN: Zig Ziglar? FARNOOSH: Yes! Thank you so much! So Zig Ziglar, I actually learned about closing sales on the phone from him. I remember I was listening to his podcast and then I was, at the same time, trying to do the marketing for my class. And I remember I just decided I'm going to get on the phone with people; I'm going to add that personal touch - I actually added a phone number on my self-page. And I just remembered one other thing I did for marketing for the second time around, I tried a video marketing approach on top of what I told you. So what I did is -- and this is something some high-end coaches have tried with their programs and I really liked it -- so let's say you worked backwards, maybe 4 weeks to 6 weeks before your class, you released videos that maybe part of the series (let's say you're teaching people how to code, that's some of the stuff you talk about) and you choose to offer free content -- mine was getting in front of the video camera picking a topic about career -- and you actually talk to that free content and at the end you talk about how if they enroll to your course, you're going to give them even more information. I released those videos and they were very popular. So I've got in front of my board and actually did the drawing that seems to resonate with this audience. But it was a different kind of content release that also was a teaser to the paid course. And I know this works because it worked on me when I signed up for a coaching course myself. I had no intention, but I kept on watching the videos of the person doing the class and by the end I was like "I have to get in this class! I have to do it!" So it's just like a trailer if you will. You want to give them content, but also build a teaser and build your credibility - "I know what the heck I'm talking about. And if you get in the course, you can learn more from me". ERIC: Yeah. I've done that exact same thing where I had a book basically about Redmine stuff, which is a software program. And the eve when I came to promote it, I created a dozen (maybe a little more) short like 3 or 5 minutes screencasts where it's giving some content that's similar to the book, but is not actually from the book. (I) put that on YouTube, put it on my site; send people to it and basically did like (if) someone watched, at the end of it it'd say "If you like this, you can subscribe to my newsletter and also see the rest of these videos and the series and you can also get a coupon to buy my book at a (I don't know what the discount was)". That actually worked really good. I got people to watch the videos; they enjoyed and got value from it. And the people who wanted more actually went out and bought the book or emailed me like "Hey, can you do a video on this other topic?" FARNOOSH: Right. Exactly. And you captured their emails just in case it wasn't the right time for them, but they still liked you; they had built that connection with you and you don't want to lose it. Very smart. EVAN: Right. ERIC: Another thing I've been doing is, I started up -- I guess a year, maybe a year and a half ago when the book came out, I think Chuck has some [inaudible], too, where you ask someone to sign up for like an email newsletter course. Mine is 9 days and teaches you about a certain topic and then at the end of it, it's like "Hey, if you enjoyed this, you'll enjoy my book that kind of goes into more depth and more detail about it". And I said that I think a year and a half ago, maybe longer, and I'm still getting sales. People are signing up, they're enjoying it, they're replying because I ask questions and say "Hey, what's the answer to this? I'll tell you in the next email, but if you know right now, reply to me". FARNOOSH: Nice! ERIC: I get replies from that one all the time and I'd still go in. And it was one of those 10-15 hours of work and, like I said, it works for a year and a half. FARNOOSH: Exactly! You put in, you invest the time, and then you set it up in such a way that it continues to work even when you're not working. Yeah, very smart! Very nice. CHUCK: One other thing, and this is related to this, I've been working with another member of The Podcast Mastermind who is marketing specialist and does coaching for that, and we've been treating services so I've been helping him with some technical things and then he spend helping me with my marketing for my course and my business as a whole. And one other thing that he mentioned to me that I may want to do with my course now that I've done the first session, is put up a sign up for people can get the first session and maybe some of the materials I prepared for that. That way, they can see exactly what they're getting from the course instead of just building credibility. It's "Look, this is what a session looks like, this is what you get out of it; you get all this extra content as part of the course". It really kind of get people in the door, and then they can sign up for the course and get the rest of the content as part of the deal. FARNOOSH: Right. CHUCK: And so, you took out at that every few weeks so you get the main video and then couple of weeks later, you get some of the extra content that I have. That way, the contact is kept warm until it's time to sign up for the next course. And then it's "Hey, we're opening signups for the next course, go sign up if you've enjoyed the stuff that I've been sending to you". FARNOOSH: Right. Exactly. There's so many ways to get creative with marketing. I think once you get confident and trust yourself and you have all the foundational stuff, you know what your product is, you know who it's for, then you can get gutsy and have fun with it and go out there and just get so creative. I mean we have so many tools that are disposal; it's not even funny. So, that's awesome! CHUCK: One thing that I want to ask you, Farnoosh, you mentioned all of these different ways that you got the word out with the mailing list and guest posting and blogging, social media, LinkedIn, I'm curious as to which ones were really the most effective for you in marketing your course? FARNOOSH: Yeah, a great question. Because I did sort of a post-mortem and I looked back, I believe email marketing to my career list because I build a relationship with them for a long time, plus guest posting on certain blogs. I think Pam Slim -- do you know her Escape from Cubicle Nation? She has a good blog. EVAN: Yeah. FARNOOSH: Dan Miller, the 48 Day community -- I have a couple of students who come from that; I had people come from the "Dan Miller community" to actual internal forums that they have, and I was actually being really active at the time. So those two: the combination of guest posting and email marketing. I think I had maybe one person from Facebook, which I didn't think would happen -- I even did some Facebook advertising, but I don't think that went anywhere - it wasn't the right market for my career product. Now for my juicing, which is my health product, that's a different story; Facebook responded really well to that one. But I think, to answer your question, it was a combination of my email marketing, but it was a very targeted email list; guest posting, not all of them - I did probably 20 guest posts and maybe 2 or 3 of them were really really well received; and I got students from that. And then I had a couple of people, like I said, one person from Facebook and then couple of people from maybe LinkedIn and Twitter (I can't remember exactly), but it was at that kind of distribution. And then one of them was a referral, like it was actually Cliff mentioning get on his show, and one of his listeners came over and took my class. I had a handful of students, but it was $600 a pop so it was okay; I think I had maybe 12 or 14 students for that one. It was a 8-week course, it was a lot of commitment, but it was good. It wasn't as many as I had hoped, but it was more than I had had before in the first offering. ERIC: Yeah. And you also have to be careful with trying to figure out where people came from because I had the set up on one of my sites with the analytics, and I was able to track like "Okay, this guy purchased". Well, he actually clicked the Twitter link, and that's what actually cause the purchase. But looking back through the analytics, I found that he's clicked about a dozen links in my email newsletter, he's watched something on my YouTube channel; he came from another site. So it's like, you can kind of make a [inaudible] like "Oh, yeah Twitter's going to be great for developers", well in fact, it might actually be your email newsletters what's great as they might end up following you on Twitter after reading your newsletter; and from Twitter is where they actually go to your site. FARNOOSH: Yeah. ERIC: So in my opinion, I think email newsletters are the best because they let you keep in touch with people and go to relationship versus a lot of other things (that) aren't as effective. (In) Twitter and Facebook and advertising, you have to like jump in someone's face and they have to be right there when it happens, whereas email it's kind of this positive about it. FARNOOSH: It's true. That actually is a really good point. This reminds me -- because I was a little frustrated because this was a pretty expensive class and I still offered affiliate program like affiliate commission (I think it was maybe 30 or 40%, it wasn't quite 50% because there was a lot of live coaching), so I remember one of my own good buddies who had been wanting to take the class forever actually came through as an affiliate commission, (and) I'm like "What on earth?" I mean I knew this guy had been on my email list, but he read a guest post; and on that guest post, I had given them an affiliate commission. So I would say -- I wouldn't say don't do affiliate commission -- but I would say "be very careful" because it's possible you may end up giving money away but it may be your own reader that goes through that circle you just talked about, and end up being ready to purchase and then they click on an affiliate link. So, I'm comfortable doing affiliate program for my passive products, but if I have to put my own time, like I said I had group coaching calls and it was live and a lot of personal attention and email commitment, then I would just be careful and be comfortable with whatever you decide to do. CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. One other thing that I wanted to talk about, because we've talked about newsletters and blog posts, and things like that, and that's where people are clicking through, I found that if you're trying to build a brand, a podcast is a really good way to go. But if you want people to actually click through on something, you have to get them to the web. It's a context switch that they have to make, whereas with the newsletters and other things, a lot of times they're already on their computers (and) all they have to do is click that link and they're there. FARNOOSH: But you know what, that reminds me, my podcast brought in a couple of people. And I think you build amazing relationship with your podcast, with your listeners you may not even notice. And if you have those shortened sweet links, like prolificliving.com/test, something simple that they can remember, you might be surprised. I had actually some people come through from the podcast. You're right; you have to make a drill a little easy for them because they're not going to be in front of the computer when they listen to the podcast. But podcast is a great marketing tool, so you just have to do it to the point where you're comfortable and you're not really pitching it very much. So what I did is, I just talk about communication and how (if you can communicate well enough) you can have anything you want. And so I just geared at the topics more toward career and professional setting during that time, so it lend itself better to talking about my class - it was just more of a natural progression. But no, podcasting is definitely a great way to get the word out. Another thing I just remembered is something really creative, and that is "Getting in other people's inboxes". That means instead of offering to do a guest post, you go to someone that hopefully you've build a relationship with them, you know they have an email list, etcetera, you could say "I know you're so busy, do you mind if I write your next newsletter for you? In exchange, I'd just like to talk a little bit about my class." and you have to know their style of writing. But if you can actually have them feature you in their newsletter, then you're actually even getting more than just getting on their blog. And you might be surprised of how many people might be open to that. I kind of came up on that idea late in my marketing; I didn't have a chance to really explore it. But I know that some very successful people have done that and grown their audiences. CHUCK: I really like that idea. The other thing is this, if you're part of the community that is out there at large, you know what they're talking about, and so in a lot of cases if your course or book or whatever is geared toward that, then in a lot of cases it's not even a stretch for them to have you do that - "Oh you're an expert in something that they care about? And you want to do this for free? And you're going to mention your class or your book in there? Oh, that's fine. Go ahead!" FARNOOSH: Exactly! Right! I mean it almost seems like a favor to them especially if they trust you. CHUCK: I think it goes back to Evan's point of injecting versus extracting value. And so if you can write that newsletter in a way that adds value to those people, you're not extracting value by putting something in there that says you can get more value here. Do we have any other questions about promoting a product? Or can we move in to maybe building and designing a product for your market? EVAN: I thought we're going to also talk about promoting -- well we did talk a little bit about promoting services, but mostly we've been talking about products. CHUCK: Yeah. So is it different then? Promoting a service versus promoting a product? FARNOOSH: Services, assuming your services are ongoing like my coaching is always ongoing; I like to build it into my conversations, to my interviews, to whenever I'm talking about my personal experience. I like to build it in; I like to build in client stories - client success' stories. So I like to do more subtle marketing with my coaching to the point where it says "This is what I do and here is a success', and here's a person I helped, and here is what I learned from my client and when I was working with my client." You're still making a point; you're still creating content. But I work that in and it's sort of something I do almost all the time, but not too much in your face. So it's more ongoing, whereas for a product, generally I think of there's a launch cycle and of course later on you'll be promoting it again. But I think that's where you're really really focused heavily on it during a period of time. The other one is more subtle, but it's really build in to what you do. So when you introduce yourself or when you are, again doing an interview (I do lots of interviews), or when you are -- I do another thing, the most recent thing I'm working on for marketing is HARO, Help A Reporter Out, which is a newsletter, you sign up, (and) you get 3 emails a day. So it's very intense. But basically, thousands and thousands of reporters and journalists are signed up to that and they're looking for sources. So if you act at that source, they give you a link back (I can get into that if you guys are interested), and the response isn't a lot. But when they do get back to you, it's pretty good! And depending on what the magazine or article or whatever where it's going to go, you'll get a link back; you'll start building a relationship. So that can actually build credibility because when people do a search on Google in those topics later, your name comes up; not on your website or on some blog, but on rather credible source (maybe the San Francisco Chronicle, I don't know) - everybody's on HARO. Sometimes you get really small sources, sometimes bigger. So that's worth checking out. And there was a technology section, because I think you guys are pretty techy here, so there is definitely a section where you can contribute and find a fit for your expertise. CHUCK: That's really interesting. So, can you explain a little about how this works? I mean you just sign up, put in "I'm really good at website or mobile stuff", and that's it? Or, is there more to it? FARNOOSH: It's actually not that. It's basically a subscription; you subscribe to them. And they've actually added something really annoying so I can warn you about it. They have partnered with Vocus, I think that's the company. And so when you sign up, you just sign up; you just look up HARO - Help a Reporter Out, you sign up for their newsletter. But Vocus calls you and tries to offer you their services and they'd make you give them a phone number, so you can give them a Google voice number and then get on the phone (and) say you're not interested, be done with it. Then Monday through Friday, you get the HARO emails and they're divided by section - it's basically queries. A reporter says "This is what I need, this is what I'm looking for", sometimes they have requirements; you must be 20-40 years old in this industry, you must be HR professional, you must have a PhD, whatever. Sometimes they don't have any requirements. And then, it has a time frame; they need the material usually between 24-hours to 36-hours, sometimes a few days later. But it's pretty quick because they just need a material to put their stories together, so I have a template. And you basically want to respond and you want to give them -- so there's some best practices around that. Can you tell like I've been really focusing on this? Because it's been really fun! So you basically have a template, you introduce yourself very briefly, you tell them quickly why you are the expert, and then you answer the question in exactly the form they need. Usually, I send them bullet points; you don't want to send them to a blog post, you don't want to give them homework, you want to make it as easy as possible. If you ever work with their reporter or a journalist, if you make it easy for them, make yourself available on the phone (or) whatever and then send it to them, then you may not hear back; these guys get a lot of responses. But depending on who you write back and what the query is, you might be surprised (that) they pick you, they might do a whole piece on you, they might just quote you somewhere; they always give you a link back. So if you're building your link back on your website, that's Google ranking and credibility. And also, again like I said, you're going to go into the search engine and so on and so forth. Sometimes it can be a full-blown interview. I mean they just need an expert and you could be that expert. EVAN: Interesting tidbit about HARO, I just discovered because I just signed up, and then when I went and look into my account I found out that I could delete my phone number. So, I don't know if that phone number still went to Vocus or not, or maybe if they only ever keep -- it depends on the structure of their software. If they only keep one record per customer, then Vocus isn't going to get my phone number now. FARNOOSH: Hey! There you go! So you just signed up as we were talking? EVAN: Yep! FARNOOSH: Awesome! Okay, you're going to get 3 emails a day, and I just scrub to them really quickly and have a template, have a system, even put a timer in front of you so you kind of like stay organized, and you'll hear back. You won't hear back all the time; the reporters don't say "Okay, thanks! I'll get back to you." But I think if you respond and you give them exactly what they need, you might be surprised. EVAN: Cool! FARNOOSH: Awesome. CHUCK: That's really interesting, an interesting angle. So are there any other tidbits or variations you've already given us for promoting your services as a coach or a developer? FARNOOSH: Speaking and getting out there to conferences, and this one of course, we only have so much bandwidth and speaking is huge investment of time and effort, and I've done that. I actually haven't got that much from speaking, but I think it's just added to the credibility. So I think, if you could get up there and speak on your topic of expertise, I really still believe that in person connection. And that's really harder -- coming from the engineering world generally, my husband is an engineer, too -- it's just might be harder for that type of personality. I'm not saying (that) you guys are shy in front of the crowd, but it may be stepping way outside your comfort zone. I think if you really believe in your expertise, there is going to be places where you can speak in person and it can be really good, it can be really good personal growth. Then you get material, you can re-purpose that material, put together your presentation, put it everywhere. In fact, I heard another thing I'm going to try -- what is that place where you put your online presentations? They called it like a PowerPoint -- CHUCK and EVAN: SpeakerDeck? FARNOOSH: No, no. EVAN: Well, a few of us actually do conference speaking; I've done quite a bit, Chuck did some, and Speaker Deck is one of the menu of mine. And Chuck, we might also want to link to I think we had episode several months ago about speaking at conferences because it might be pretty relevant to this issue. FARNOOSH: Yeah. I was thinking, was it SlideShare? Maybe I'm thinking SlideShare. Is that one of them? CHUCK: Yeah, that's another one. Yeah, SlideShare. ERIC: Yeah, that's another one. FARNOOSH: Yeah. But anyway, just to answer your question, I think -- okay, so I didn't know about Speaking Deck, thank you! But speaking, if you can add that, or if you don't want to get out there in front of people, do webinars. I had different error results from webinars; I just don't think I was doing it as well, maybe I should try again. But, I like it and I like attending good webinars. And then you have material again to use later, re-purpose, send to your audience, put on YouTube, what have you. CHUCK: Yeah. The webinars are nice, that's more or less what I'm doing with my course because it's an online course and I'm using GoToMeeting to host it. If I have more people sign up next time, then obviously I'm going to have to move to product that allows a few more people on each call. But yeah, I'm also thinking about doing a webinar series this summer. That's just kind of a "Hey, here are some topics that you're probably interested in learning so come sit in for an hour or so". And then I can either say "Hey, this is part of the series that I'm doing" or something like that, and let people know where more value is if they want more from me. The thing that's interesting about those is that, I really try not to be out-pitchy about things. I don't want to get in and the whole time be talking about some product I want them to buy. FARNOOSH: Then don't! CHUCK: I want to give them value and then say "If you want more, then here's how you get it: just go sign up for the newsletter or go this website and get this information here". FARNOOSH: Absolutely! You have to be true to your own style. And actually, I don't think people like it when you pitch to them. You want to make it so that they want to find out because you are the expert and they want to learn more from you, and then they can figure out all those different levels to engage with you. I like that! CHUCK: Is there anything else that we should cover on this before we move on to another topic? FARNOOSH: I'm thinking...So right now, I'm in book marketing mode and it's a little bit different. Are you interested in talking about that? Is that relevant to your listeners? CHUCK: Yeah, I think so. I know several of our listeners and pretty much everybody on this panel is either writing a book or thinking about writing a book or has written a book, in Eric's case. So yeah, I think that'd be very relevant. FARNOOSH: Okay. So I have dabbed into about the self-publishing world, and now with the traditional publisher - both of them have been really amazing learning experiences. This is the Amazon Kindle Store that I'm going to talk about mainly as far as self-publishing goes. I think it's important to get your work out there. Some people are waiting for a publisher to knock on their door. I think it's important to get your work out there; Amazon is a great platform. I can talk to you about the Kindle Store, their Kindle Direct Publishing Program, the ways you can promote your Kindle book, but first and foremost, you have to put quality work out there. And I say this because I've read so many Kindle books and some of them -- I mean people have put it together in 48-hours, you can tell; it's barely spell checked -- so, put something together you're proud of, and then format it well. Formatting is important; customers ding you if it's not formatted well for their Kindle, I've seen that and they've even done that to me. So we learned our lesson early on. You formatted really really well and you can either do it yourself, hire someone used to all kinds of tools online, what have you, and then you get on the Kindle Store. And then with Amazon, I think you have to understand this is a cold market you're selling to. Your newsletter is warm, you already build a relationship, they know who you are; Amazon is strangers, complete strangers that are buying your work. So you have to position it as a such at you are the author of it; you want to go to Amazon Author Central and make a profile. I can tell you how many really good authors out there don't even take the time to put together a little bio on the Amazon Author Central. And if you want to take it really further, you want to one for the U.S, then one for the U.K Store, France Store, Dutch Store, what have you. But definitely the U.K and U.S Stores, you want to make sure that's all done right. And then you can put video, like you can actually put a little video trailer on your Author Central page. And then the most important thing for Amazon is really use those Amazon reviews. And you don't want to solicit them so much as -- because you only want to just have like a product that has like all 5-star reviews, that looks a little bit suspicious, ask people to give honest reviews. If they're going to give you a 3-star, that's fine. I used to be like "You're going to give me a 5-star review" at the beginning when I was sharing my books with my friends. And then I realized, that's just not true. If they are going to give you an honest review, let it be whatever. And now, I don't even mind the 2-star reviews because they come. And my rule is, for all my book reviews, the 2-star and the 1-star reviews which are usually some lousy complaints (you're going to get people who are never happy), I make a comment; you can go to Amazon and actually reply. So I actually reply and tell them "You know you can ask for a refund". Sometimes they don't know they can ask for a refund on the Kindle book they complain about the pricing. Or, "Thank you so much for your feedback". That way, when potential buyers come and they see all the 5-stars and 4-stars and then they see the 1 and 2-stars, depending on what kind of Amazon buyer you are, you probably look at the extremes, they can also see your comment. So then they can make a more informative decision. But Amazon, it all comes down to reviews and then also I'm taking advantage of KDP, which is a whole other program on top of it. Did you want me to talk about that? CHUCK: Sure! I don't even know what it is. FARNOOSH: Okay, KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing. Basically -- KDP select actually, that's the name of the program -- so Amazon gives you an option to enroll your book in this program in exchange for exclusivity for 90 days. That means you cannot sell or distribute for free your book to anywhere else during that 90 days. So what do you get in return? They allow you 5 free download days; you can either do all 5 at once, you can schedule them, whatever you want in that 90 day cycle. And what happens is, during those days when your book is free (they slash the price and they say zero), then people download it. I had one day when my "8 Colors of Motivation" was downloaded 9,000 times; and this book wasn't selling at all. But because it was free, it shows up in different categories. Amazon has a huge reader base, huge! So the next day, what happens is the next day when your book, or the next or the day after, when your book goes back on off-sale and goes back to regular price, then it still holds those categories because the free downloads pushed it up the Amazon categories, then you sell. I remember the next day I sold 100 books, which is pretty nice. It's pretty good volume, it was selling maybe 20 a month, so that was really really exciting. So overtime, when you do this and you use the Kindle Direct Publishing, then your book starts to rank really well on the Amazon Store. I'm in love with Amazon, I'm in love with the Amazon Kindle Store, in love with my Kindle, I'm a huge huge Amazon junkie here, and I'm passionate about writing books. So you need to stop me because I could go on and on! [laughter] FARNOOSH: But no, I think it's a great opportunity; you can self-publish your work and then of course I had just the pleasure of working with the publisher just recently. That's different, but it was really good; it worked out really well for me. So those harsh stories of traditional publishers, none of that, I didn't experienced any of that. It's just a really good experience. CHUCK: I think this is just really amazing ideas regarding how to promote some of these stuffs. So that's self-publishing. I assume with the big publishers, they do most of the marketing? Or, is there still stuff that you need to do? FARNOOSH: No. That's a huge misconception, Chuck, that they do the marketing for you. I think that the author expects that, then they come away disappointed. I think if you're an author today, and you listen to this show so you're familiar with the online world, you need to take leadership of that marketing. And I will tell you that it has really really paid off well for me. My book went live, The Healthy Juicer's Bible - my print book, March 7th so it's only been out there a week. At the beginning, I was actually not even interested in working with these publishers, but they were really interested. (You) have to hire a publishing lawyer, in case you don't know that, you really need to have someone review the contract, etcetera. Then they give you a deadline for your manuscript; and I had it, aggressive deadline - 5 weeks to turn this book around (and it's how the things going gone). Anyway, during all that time, as I was writing the book, I still was thinking way ahead on the marketing. Because my goal was to impress this publisher so much that they want to work with me again, I took on the lead for marketing and they were very responsive. So you get assigned the publicist, they get some free copies of your book to send around, and they may call a view magazines and send out some in their distribution. But if you take the lead, they (in my case) were extremely responsive. So I made a whole project out of it. I had a reader base, I knew people in my network who are crazy about juicing, and then I just went out there and I found even more outlets, and gave them all these reasons why different people need to get the book. And then I send out templates to every single person and if they're interested, in exchange I ask either for an Amazon review if they liked the book, or an interview appearing on their platform. Do you only condition was my publisher said "Look, for them to get a free book and for us to do this, they just need to have some kind of a platform", and that's easy to do because that's my entire network, that's what we do. So I took the lead on that marketing, and it's a lot of work. And then we did a video; we did a whole video trailer, a video we put both on a page that I built -- we basically built a sales page -- then we also put the video on Amazon. So we really really did a lot. This was March 7th, the book went live, and they already want me to work with them on a second book because I was such an active participant in their publishing and in marketing of it. They liked me as a writer, too, but I can tell you, if you take a lead in being responsible for getting your book out there and also building a relationship with your publisher without expecting all these things in return, they're going to get it out there; they'd put it in Costco, for example. I don't have access to Costco, and that they're talking to Whole Foods now because it's a health book. But I really believe the fact that I pushed so hard and I worked so hard in the marketing actually has made a difference. And another thing, the video I made, they sent that to the entire publishing house and told everyone that "Every author should be doing this; use this as an example". [Chuck laughs] FARNOOSH: So take the lead because we know the technology, you guys do, I know you do, and take advantage of it. If they give you that opportunity to work with them, then just use the technology at our advantage and impress them, and they are more than happy to work with you because they understand the world of publishing is changing. Even though it's traditional publishing, they still need to take advantage of the online marketing and you can be the face of that marketing world for them. CHUCK: So my next question is this: what is the advantage of going with the traditional publisher over self-publishing? And then the reverse of that, what is the advantage of self-publishing over going with a publisher? FARNOOSH: Great question! I am a big fan of self-publishing; and when these guys came to me first -- the way they came to me is that they actually found my first juicing book, the one I self-published online, and what they offered me was that "We would like to take your book off Amazon to publish it as a print book to buy the rights. Then instead of Amazon gives you 70% of commissions, you would get (what) maybe 10%? So you would do all that, but in return you get a traditional published book". And I said "No, thank you. Go away!" [laughs] At the time, my book was selling between 300-400 copies a month, and it was doing really well; it's a $9 book, a $10 book. So I didn't want to lose out on all that money. Then they came back, and they still wanted us to write a juice book. So we kept talking, and we came up to another agreement, which was they're going to leave my juicing book alone (my first juicing book), they're going to leave my juicing business alone because I have a clinic, newsletter, all that stuff (you have to work all of these in your contract), and then I'm going to write a brand new book for them - from scratch. And I don't like when authors come out with the second book, I don't know if you guys read a lot, but sometimes the second book is like 80% like the first book, I can't stand that. So I wanted to write a brand new book, use very little content from my previous book, but still expand on the title on their work; suppose it's going to be a general juicing book, I was going to talk about healthy habits, etcetera. So we came to a better agreement. You asked for the advantages of going with them, I really think there is a steeled credibility factor. I can tell you that was just an assumption on my part, I never had a dream for a book deal some people do, which is great, but I have seen how the world around me perceives this as such a huge accomplishment. Sometimes I think some of my other accomplishments are bigger because I worked so much harder at it, but this is the one where it still carries a huge weight, huge weight. And then they have a distribution leg that I don't have. Like I said, the book is in Barnes and Noble, it's in Costcos, it's in maybe Whole Foods, they are negotiating that. My goal was to help people juice, that's my goal. I don't think I'm going to make that much money with this book, but I still will. It's actually doing really well already, but my mission was to help people juice. I don't think on my own even with my first book selling a few thousand copies on Amazon, I still don't think I had the reach that I do now with this one because there are people who really want that print book. I can't tell you how many people emailed me saying "Can I have your book in print?" I didn't think there was a return on investment for it. So if you want to serve that market, theirs is still a market; they're still traditional, they want to flip through it, they want to feel it, they want to touch it -- I love books, too, so I get that -- and you reach them. So there is your answer. You may not make a lot more money, although I don't know yet, I just don't know yet -- I may -- once in a while, you do really really well, and you get really really well-known. And there is all these other places where they want a traditionally published author, they still put a lot of stock into that, so I would say don't wait to get your message out and (note that) I actually came up to this opportunity because of my self-published work. So it can open up doors and opportunities for you. Does that help you to answer the question? CHUCK: Hmm-huh. FARNOOSH: Yeah? Okay. So now I'm a fan of both and I absolutely loved working with them and I just love what they did with the print of the book - it's just beautiful. So, I would say just explore if you have the opportunity and see whether you want to commit. CHUCK: Alright. I kind of want to move on to making sure you're making the right product for your marketing. I guess that is the next question. I feel like I kind of stumbled into the right product with my course, and I think I have a good idea of some of the other things that I can put together for my market. But how do you decide what the right thing is and how to put it together for them? FARNOOSH: Well, I learned the hard way because I created a product that I wanted to create, that I was in love with, and for the life of me, I haven't figured out how to sell it. I thought it was a brilliant product -- and you guys don't have to tell me it's brilliant -- but it's basically to help you build confidence so you can travel the world. Because I think a lot of people are just scared, I just breakdown all the reasons. Anyway, so I went about it in isolated little vacuum of my own, thinking that people would be interested in it because they associated travelling with me, etcetera. That's a wrong way of going about it. I think you need to want to do the product or the course, that's the first thing - that's why you're in business for yourself; you have to want to do it. But, if you want to sell it and have some success, you need to make sure there is a market for it and that you can reach that market. So it's a lot of building your platform; it takes time. I will be honest with you, it takes time. Unless you're very very specific, like if you really know your specific expertise is helping people, how to do this particular language, this particular coding, then maybe you just need to go write a book or just create a little course on that. But if you're open and you're still trying to figure out which part of all your skills and expertise to package up, then everything we talked about -- you blog, you listen to your readers, you build that email list early on, and you communicate with people. You survey them; people respond well to surveys if you do it right and keep it short and sweet. You ask your clients; every time you work with people you ask your clients, you ask people who you're building relationships with; lot of different ways. But it's a lot of listening and also making sure you're not in love with an idea so much that you can't hear all that feedback. That's really important. CHUCK: Yeah, makes sense. ERIC: That's kind of what I do, too. I've also found it's good to -- especially if it's a market you don't know like I started as a developer so developer stuff I kind of know, but one of my products is for human resources people so that's not something I'm very aware of -- and what I found that works really good that I actually learned from Amy Hoy is to go to where the audience is and read what they're talking about, read what they're doing, read what they're complaining about, and go through forms or with HR people LinkedIn is huge. So going with all the LinkedIn groups and finding out what conversations they're having and pick up ideas from that. I've done that. I don't know how many hours I've put into that because I've done this 2 or 3 times for the HR people, and every time I do it I have probably 30 or 40 pages of notes that I take just reading through things. FARNOOSH: Wow! ERIC: It's amazing because every time you do it, you're going to pick up different things. I did at once picked up like topic A was a big deal, and then I picked up topic B was a big deal, and then I noticed "Hey, look topic C was actually found all over the place, but they talked about it but in passing". Basically, using that I'm able to figure out what they need; and then from there, I can figure out like "Okay, can I build the [inaudible] around this, can I build a platform for this", and start doing what you're talking about - get a mailing list, get a blog, and start talking to them; and even talking to them in the forms or where they're at. That gets them to come to your platform, too. It's pretty amazing. FARNOOSH: That's awesome. Very good tips. CHUCK: Yeah. I don't know if I have anything else to add to that. We'll start heading into the picks. Let's have Eric start us off with the picks. ERIC: Okay. So March 13th, Seth Godin posted really good blog post that actually sent around a couple of people. It's actually relevant based on we talked about today. It's called "Choose Your Customers First", very short; take you 5-minutes to read. But it's kind of what we talked about of instead of going off in the base with building a product, coming out with it and then finding no one actually wants it, start your business on the other side, find out who your customers are, find out what they want, what they need; choose your customers and then make your product tailored for them. It's a good blog post; it kind of sums up a lot of how I'm looking at marketing and approaching customers. CHUCK: I like it. Evan, what are your picks? EVAN: Let's see...I've got a few. Not to be particularly self-serving, but a lot of it starts with a presentation that I did like a week and a half ago at Ruby on Rails called "If It Bleeds, It Leads", I'll have link to it. In a nutshell, I strongly recommend reading the Pattern -- though these are going to be largely technical, by the way, which I know is kind of uncommon for our picks -- I strongly recommend reading the "Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture" by Martin Fowler if you have any. It's almost a how-to on how to write your own object-relational mapper, and also describes on off a lot of the patterns that make Rails Rails in a nutshell. What intrigued me also is particularly that Fowler points up a lot of the weaknesses that people having complaining about in Rails, and even have some suggestions about how to get around them (or alternatives really, which was part of the presentation). Secondly, I'm presenting at a Ruby Midwest in about a month. Then finally, again self-serving, we're talking about books here, I started working on a book called "VIM to EMACS", which is going to have -- I'm going to sell the book, but it's also going to be available for free for those people who want to send me a post card - I'll have the link to the newsletter for it. I'm going to be [inaudible] a piece mail, I'm probably reading it on LeanPub. So if you're a VIMmer and you're looking to make a transition to a good handler, pause for people -- [Chuck laughs] EVAN: Exactly! Pause for people to scream at the podcast. No, but if you're a VIM user and you're sick of VIM script to (one of many reasons) want to switch over to EMACS from them, then sign up for the mailing list and check it out. CHUCK: Alright, awesome. So I'll go ahead next with my picks. The first pick that I have is, there's a product that I found -- and the reason that I picked it up was that I was having this issue where my bootable hard drive was filling up and the Mac OS complains bitterly when that source to happen. So I started looking around to see if I could figure out a good way to manage it. I did move quite a bit of stuff off of there, but it just didn't seem to be enough; it kept complaining. It turns out that there is a program out there that called "Hazel". Hazel gives you a ruleset for your file system and then what you can do is you point it at particular directories, you just say "apply these rules to this directory" and it will just do it. As an example, if I download a new app, then it will put it into the downloads folder like it normally does. And then what I can do is I can actually tell it (if it has a .app extension) move it over into the applications folder. Or, if it has a .zip extension, then unzip it and then as it runs to the rules whatever it unzipped, it'll figure out what to do with it and move it off to where it's suppose to be. So if it's a video, it'll move it off to one of the other drives in my Mac Pro and it'll put it in the movies folder over there, things like that. Or .dmg, it'll put it into the installers folder; and then I can just go over there and find it when I want it. So I've been really really happy with that and it really helped me get a handle on my unwieldy downloads folder and cleared out about 50 gigabytes off of my bootable drive. So I really really like that. Another pick I have, and this is totally not a technical or business pick, but I just started re-watching "Battlestar Galactica", and it's still my favorite TV show of all time. [Farnoosh laughs] CHUCK: My wife thought it was funny that I was watching it again, but anyway -- EVAN: Okay, if we're going to go for those, I got two more. [laughter] EVAN: I got two things that completely obsessed me in my spare time. One of them is [inaudible] embarrassing, so it should be fun. The first one that's not embarrassing is the "House of Cards" series on Netflix. It's original series that's related to ABC series with Kevin Spacey in the lead; that I could make toilet paper look interesting. It's magnificent, if not for any other reason for 13 hours of young Spacey. And then the second one, and this one is truly just embarrassing, is the season 2 of the cartoon Young Justice. It's called "Young Justice Invasion". I found it -- as someone as a comic book fan -- I found it shockingly good, that is their 20 or so minute episode. I found that when I put one on those on and I get on my stationary exercise bike, the time just flies. CHUCK: Awesome. Alright, Farnoosh do you have some picks for us? FARNOOSH: Alright. My favorite app lately is -- because now I work with my husband and he found this collaboration app and it's called "Asana", I love that because Asana is a yoga posture. But it's actually a collaboration tool; it's on the Mac, I don't know if it's on the PC, and it's everywhere so it sings up to your phone and it is a smart, intuitive, brilliant collaboration app, and I love it; it's free. That's A-S-A-N-A, asana.com, love that. If you guys are into writing books, we talk a lot about writing books, I love "Scrivener". Scrivener is not free, but it's been worth every penny and it's just brilliant. It really helps you layout your book, and work distraction-free, so I love that. As far as gadgets, I love my "Edirol", which is a digital recorder. And you guys know Cliff is also crazy about it; he got me to buy one. I think it's really a good backup tool because some of my other iPhones and stuffs, sometimes they can be unreliable. But the Edirol is really a good backup tool for recording and also the actual thing I use for podcasting. CHUCK: Yeah, we're recording into an Edirol right now. FARNOOSH: There you go. And I think one of the best articles I ever read was "You Weren't Meant to Have a Boss". It's a really brilliant article, don't remember who wrote it, but if you just type "You Weren't Meant to Have a Boss"...And what he does is he compares us - people who are in the corporate world or in a world or organization where they have a boss or hierarchy. He compares us to animals in the wild, and it's just a fascinating description and it takes you down that path and really questions the fact that, are you as a human being suppose to have a boss? I just love it; I actually have shared that with a lot of people. My book recommendation, again to keep it with a theme of writing, I absolutely love Steven King's "On Writing". It's half memoir; half, it talks about writing tips. But it's brilliant and I really recommend you read it. So, there you go! CHUCK: Awesome. Thanks for coming, Farnoosh. It's been an excellent episode and I think our audience is going to benefit greatly from all of the advice that you've given us, and some of the thoughts that Eric and Evan have added as well. FARNOOSH: Thank you for having me. You guys are a lot of fun and you can have me back anytime you like. This is really a great media, you guys have and [inaudible]. So thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it.