How do you monetize and market your genius? How do you start a business off of your skills and passion? In this episode, Robin Colucci talks to Nikki Nash, founder of Market Your Genius as she shares her twin passions of marketing and branding. Nikki discusses how important marketing is to your brand and why books are a great marketing tool to promote monetizing your skills and passion. Tune in to learn more marketing lessons from Nikki and Robin.
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Market Your Genius: Nikki Nash Shares How to Monetize Your Unique Skills and Passions
Heads up, everybody, because reading this episode can save you thousands of dollars, hours and losses from misguided marketing efforts. In this episode, I have with me Nikki Nash, who helps entrepreneurs use marketing to build their own businesses on their own terms by positioning themselves as the go-to expert in their industry, which enables them to multiply their sales and grow their businesses through strategic storytelling.
She is a Hay House author, motivational speaker and Founder of Market Your Genius, a training and development company on a mission to equip entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to share and profit from their message. In our interview, Nikki shares five common pitfalls that business owners of all kinds fall into when it comes to marketing and how to avoid them.
Prior to full-time entrepreneurship, Nikki served as the Head of Marketing at a tech startup, Rest Devices. She was the Senior Marketing Manager at Intel Corporation, where she won the Marketing Excellence Award. She was the Brand Management MBA Intern at The Coca-Cola Company and a Media Planner and Buyer at the advertising agency, Starcom Media. She was on the Kraft Foods account there. Nikki has also worked for brands such as InStyle, Travel + Leisure and Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. Nicky has seen it all from big corporate to small business marketing. She is going to share her wisdom with all of our readers, including you.
Nikki, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me.
I’m so thrilled to have you. I’m brimming with curiosity about this idea of marketing your genius. I love that. My first question is, I would love to know a little bit about how you landed on this particular idea and message of Market Your Genius. What led you to this point?
I would love to say that I remember the exact day that I was like, “Market your genius. That’s it.” I do remember what led up to this being the phrasing, messaging, and mission of my book, podcast and a number of brand elements. It all started when I left my startup job. I was the Head of Marketing at a tech startup after almost a decade-long career in corporate marketing before that. When I went out to start my business, the first thing I said to myself was, “What am I good at? What could I sell to people or market and turn into a product or service?” I’m like, “Marketing. I will be a marketing consultant, coach, or whatever the heck is possible from a marketing perspective.”
As I started working with more and more people, I pivot a little bit in business. I started focusing more and more on women who were similar to me who said for whatever reason, whether it was for personal lifestyle changes, traveling desires or children, they wanted more flexibility in their schedule and life. They wanted to make a good living doing what they loved and doing it not necessarily only on their own but on their own terms.
What that came to for me is that I was helping women turn their experiences, expertise, skills and magic into a profitable business through the lens of marketing. Whether it was personal branding, expert positioning or lead generation, either way, they were marketing their genius. I believe that everybody has something that’s unique and essentially their own genius in addition and in collaboration to their skills and knowledge. There’s something special about all of us in the way we come across.
I want to ask you a question because I used to have a fitness business for ten years. That was my little detour out of publishing. If there’s one thing I learned in ten years in fitness is there are a lot of people who are genius at what they do and they’re terrible marketers because they think more like artists. They’re so into the craft. Are there certain kinds of businesses where marketing is more of a challenge for people do you find than others or is it everybody?
I wouldn’t say that there’s an industry where it’s like, “This is so much easier or harder to necessarily market or sell.” Sometimes there may be timing. I’m making this up. If you’re somebody who coaches people on keto and keto suddenly blew up, then the news became big, it may make your life a little bit easier but you can’t control that. You’re riding the waves of what’s going on in the world.You're riding the waves of what's going on in the world. Click To Tweet
Most people that I work with and that I speak to are challenged with getting their message out to the world, attracting new clients, getting new leads or if they’re writing books, selling books. It’s a challenge whether you are an author, speaker, financial planner, lawyer, doctor, consultant, coach or fitness trainer. Everybody has challenges in marketing their brand, message and business.
Part of it is a mindset or visibility block. For some people, part of it is a marketing strategy challenge or roadblock. There are a lot of people across all industries that say to themselves, “I am so good at what I do. I can help people. I can transform their lives, business, health or relationships but I have no idea how to get in front of these people or how the heck to have them say yes to what I’m offering.”
One of the challenges now that anybody who is trading dollars for hours is that when you’re busy with clients, you don’t have as much time to market. When you don’t have as many clients, maybe you don’t have as much money to market. What do you say to people who come to you with that challenge?
I have been there. That’s what I did in the first three months of business. It’s funny because people automatically assume, “You have a background in marketing. You’re never going to make a mistake in your own business. It must be so easy for you.” I make the same mistakes as my clients have made. Maybe I realized it more quickly or recovered a little bit faster.
When I started my business, I remember I got my first two clients in a week. They were days apart. It was amazing. I thought that, “At that rate, I was going to have such a high-revenue-producing business.” That was not the case but what happened is I got those clients so quickly. I was so busy focusing on servicing those clients. I forgot to do the things consistently that got me those clients in the first place.
When their contracts were up, all of a sudden, I was like, “I don’t have any more money coming in.” It becomes either, “Maybe you don’t have the money or resources to market.” That’s oftentimes not the case. It could be, “I’ve gotten used to a certain income or revenue. I have maybe committed to other expenses. I better get this money in.”
There becomes this panic and it’s like, “I need these clients to come today or tomorrow.” It doesn’t work that fast for a lot of people. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. What I usually tell people is that, “There’s marketing that always needs to be done in your business. If you want consistent income and clients, you have to consistently market.”
Until you’ve been in business for a long time where you can tell the time period between somebody who hears about you and buys from you on average, you at the beginning don’t know that. You don’t know if you have to keep a marketing for 6 or 8 months before somebody says yes to you or if it takes two weeks. I encourage people to create a plan, stick to the plan and tweak the plan along the way but don’t start one thing and then throw it out the window and start another thing and throw that out the window.
I’m hearing in this advice that you gave two more common mistakes that maybe we can unpack a little bit more. One is you said, “Have a plan and keep doing the plan.” What would lead you to say that, Nikki?
In the first chapter of my book, I’m like, “Here are the five common pitfalls of people.” One of them I call TMI, which stands for Too Many Ideas because there are many people who are like, “I have an idea about this and that.” Every time they have a new idea, they’re onto the next one. It’s like, “You never finished your first idea here.” In that vein, it’s similar but usually, too many ideas create too many products or services.
There’s what I like to call RSS, which is Rapid Strategy Switching when you’re like, “Here’s a strategy.” You do it once or maybe not at all. It doesn’t work as well as you thought it would and you’re like, “Screw that. I’m going to do this other thing because somebody showed me an ad about how magical this other thing I could be doing is.”
You have people like, “I did webinars. I did challenges. I did a live launch. I spoke on stages. I did one podcast interview and I didn’t make $1 billion. I’m never guesting on another podcast again.” I’m being melodramatic on purpose but that happens. I’ve done that. I’ve said, “So-and-so told me this is the way to fame and fortune. I’m going to follow this.” I did it once and I’m like, “That didn’t work out at all. I’m going to do something else.”
It’s like digging these shallow holes and being surprised when you don’t hit oil.
It’s like you have 1,000 tiny holes. If you took all of the depth that you created and put them all in one concentrated area, you probably would have hit gold or struck oil. Unvalidated marketing is another challenge where people don’t take the time to test and validate the one idea they had in order to make sure it works. If it didn’t work, then you don’t go, “Let me throw the baby out with the bathwater,” which is an expression I never understood but I’m like, “My grandmother said it all the time and I know what it means, but I don’t know where it came from. Who throws a baby out with the bathwater?”
Instead of throwing all of your effort and magic out the window, you can go, “I did this thing. I tracked the results. This is what happened. It could have been better. Here’s what I think would make it better. I’m going to try again” Real talk, who has accomplished anything successfully on the first try in anything and then maintained that? We set such unrealistic expectations for ourselves as entrepreneurs sometimes where I’m like, “Could you walk 1 mile on your first time ever walking?” Probably not.
I used to get so upset. I’m a parent and I have two grown children. When my kids were little, they used to watch movies by a certain large movie company that does a lot of kid’s films. You know how it’s like the kid wants to play baseball, learn how to play the piano or clarinet or win the dance competition and they suck at first. With a three-minute montage with a music accompaniment, they’re like a champion-level player.If you can figure out a problem that people would pay to solve to which your book and business is the solution, then you're in a good spot. Click To Tweet
It’s either that or they break their arm and there’s some freak accident. I forget which movie that was but that was a movie. It was like, “You sucked. You broke your arm. It healed funny and now you’re amazing.”
As a parent, this was infuriating to me because here I am trying to teach my children, “If you want to master something, you have to suck at it over and over again and gradually become better until you don’t suck.” With these montages, I would be like, “It’s going to be all that extra parental coaching.” Do you see that with your clients that they’re responding in a similar way before you’ve worked with them or maybe when they first come to you that it’s a similar dynamic?
All the time. It’s funny because instead of it being a movie company that’s doing this, it’s a lot of other entrepreneurs. No shade and I get the marketing strategy behind it but if they can show like, “I’m going to show you my 1% of all my clients’ success story.” It’s probably not even 1%. It’s like 0.1% of the people that do my program reach this level of success this quickly but I’m going to promote the heck out of them. I’m going to let everybody think that they can make 6, 7 or 8 figures in 90 days, 3 days or 2 seconds and it’s consistently marketed.
If somebody were to try something in the same time period and fail, then it must be something wrong with the program. It’s like, “This program wasn’t right for me because this other one says they can help me get that result.” The reality is that you don’t know anybody’s precursor to their experience. You have no idea if they had been building their business for ten years. All these people knew who they were and then they did one thing to tweak it. Suddenly, they made a whole bunch of money.
That happens all the time when I speak to people. It’s a challenge for a lot of folks. I’m not saying that you won’t be the person that wins the lottery metaphorically because you could but the reality is most people don’t. If you can realize that, be comfortable with that and set more realistic, attainable actions for yourself, then you won’t constantly feel like, “I’ve missed the bar again,” and feel defeated.
I see that so often when people want help writing their books. If they don’t already have some momentum with their brand and business, a book isn’t going to rescue them from their obscurity or money problem.
I love everything you’re saying. Keep going but preach. It reminded me I have a side comment on that topic around books.
How would you add to that?
I was doing training to a group of authors and aspiring authors. Somebody had asked me how they can essentially make enough money to fund their life from their first book. I was like, “That is so cute. I love you and I don’t want to be a dream crusher here but statistically, that is not happening.” Statistically, the people who make the amount of money from book sales that you would like to make already have way more money. This is such a small amount of money to them. That’s not why they’re doing it. They’re doing it from a branding and marketing perspective.
I’m telling you to preach because that is so true. You can’t even afford a lifestyle living on the Santa Monica Pier for a book that isn’t driven by somebody who has a big platform is going to provide financially. There’s this fantasy land of the lottery like, “I’m going to put my book on Amazon, sell 100,000 copies and go live in Bora Bora.” Some people win the Powerball lottery and maybe you would win that lottery on Amazon but this is not something that is a strategy. I wouldn’t recommend this as a marketing strategy.
For people who are writing nonfiction books, whether it’s a teaching memoir, self-help book, how-to book or things along those lines, most people make their money by offering a course, membership, consulting, speaking, coaching, agency, some service or something on the backend. The book is more of a marketing tool than anything else. They may make some money off of it but it’s a marketing tool.
What I would add to that too is don’t do the book first. Don’t write a book to have a business. You want to have a business and then write a book to help grow the business. Another thing I see a lot of people selling is this idea of like, “Write a book and then you can build a business off of a book.” You’re not going to have a whole lot of value to share in a book for a business you’ve never done.
Unless you’re writing a teaching memoir and even then, I still would probably recommend you have the business first but at least then you’re sharing your own life if you’re writing. If the intention of the book is to train somebody or help them with something, ideally, you would have trained people and helped them in that thing to put it in the book.
Let’s give some good news. With this idea of Market Your Genius, give me an example. Speaking of clients, was there somebody in particular who came to you where their zone of genius may be on the surface initially seemed like, “How are we going to create a business around this?” Then you helped them find a way?
What’s funny is that my brain works differently where people can say, “This is my business. This is my book.” Somebody else will go, “How is that going to be a business?” Fundamentally, where I start looking is, “What is the problem that somebody would have such that they would even care about what you’re offering?” If I had brain damage, I probably want to see maybe a brain surgeon or neurologist. I probably should have chosen the field that I had way more expertise in.
I’ll give a real example that’s helpful. I’m moving into a new office building. The one I’m renting, I love the space but it desperately needs a paint job. It needs somebody to come in there and do the paint job. If I’m a painter, I might go, “If you look around and feel like your office space doesn’t represent the high quality that you want to deliver to people, a paint job will do the trick.” You sell them in on the paint job.You need to be crystal clear on who you are and how you show up in the world so that people can identify if they want you in their circle. Click To Tweet
You want to figure out why somebody would care. When somebody buys your book or pays for your services or products, they don’t wake up one morning and go, “I want to buy Robin. Robin is amazing. I would like to go buy her today.” They may wake up and go, “I want to write a book and I have no idea what I’m doing.” They may be like, “I wrote this book and I know I wasn’t supposed to write it before I started my business but I did and now I need to go figure out how to fix this.” They have a problem or something in which they would go, “Who could help me?” You’re there saying, “I can help you. This is my zone of genius.”
People can get at the core of, “What is the problem that somebody would pay to solve?” A lot of people have problems but if they’re not willing to pay to solve them, then that doesn’t help you either. If you can figure out that problem that people would pay to solve to which your book and business is the solution, then you’re in a good spot, at least a good starting point.
It seems to me that there’s no limit to what kinds of problems people would pay to solve.
The hardest part is not so much finding the problem people will solve. It’s choosing the one problem you believe you solved because that’s where too many ideas come up where people are like, “I could solve this problem.” If you were to see a healer, medicine person or doctor, there might be symptoms but there’s usually a root cause to all of the other problems.
What you want to do is figure out what the root cause is to your ideal target audience and ideal reader’s problem. You can say, “I help you solve this problem. When you solve this problem, all of these other symptoms will go away as well.” That’s where you’re making the magic happen as opposed to trying to solve all of the symptoms and saying, “I have all of these symptoms that I can solve.” It’s like, “Take a step back. What’s the core problem?”
One of the things that used to frustrate me when I had all these colleagues in the health and fitness industry and I mean incredibly bright, talented people but it’s like, “I’m a massage therapist and Reiki master. I do sound healings and angel readings. I do this and that.” It’s like, “Those are things you do or maybe treatments you offer but what’s the core problem you’re solving?”
Those are tools in your toolkit. I’m making this up. I’ll get specific. Maybe you help people with back pain and you may use acupuncture or Reiki. I don’t know if half of these solve the problem. I apologize to people but I feel like it does. You can come up with the right treatment based off of the person and where they’re feeling pain and what is the right package for them based off of their comfort and desire. At the end of the day, you solve back pain.
That’s the difference versus saying, “I go to a masseuse every month because I also see a mobility coach but my symptom was very tight hamstrings. That is not my root cause. I’m simultaneously treating the symptom and the root cause because the root cause plan to treat is a bit longer.” As I keep running, I’m like, “I don’t want this to feel worse, so I have to get both.” You want to look at what is the actual problem that people are having.
When you’re able to say, “All these symptoms are because of this root cause and that’s what we’re going to work on.” While alleviating the pain or the problems from these symptoms, people look at you. I’m making this up. At $99 for a massage, suddenly, you’re selling a $1,000 package to relieve back pain, and massage is just a part of it.
Let’s use back pain as an example too because it’s probably, if you know to solve back pain, you also know how to solve other kinds of pain. I’m going to let you finish.
What I encourage people to do, especially at the beginning, is choose a problem or something as specific as possible that you can get case studies, results or testimonials in and then you can expand from there. I had a mentor. I had one mentoring session with this person at an event while I lived in Boston. I can’t remember his name but I tell the story that he told me all the time. Shout-out to this man who I can’t remember his name or what he looks like but I know that I was in Boston when I talked to him.
Wouldn’t it be great if he was reading?
If he is reading, he is like, “That was me.”
If you’re reading, gentleman, reach out to us. Nikki wants to thank you personally.
Absolutely, because I feel like I tell the story in the book or at least on YouTube at some point, he was a veteran. He said, “If you were at war and your enemies occupied a beach, you wouldn’t send your troops to the entire beach if you needed to conquer the beach. You would choose an edge of the beach and then gradually conquer the next adjacent place until you had the whole beach. That’s what people need to do with their niches,” or however you want to say it wherever you are in the world.
You don’t think, “I’m solving this very specific problem for this very specific person and that’s it.” You make enough impact so that you own an area and then you can keep moving over and over to the next adjacent area until you’ve essentially conquered the world. That’s what I wish more people got because a lot of people out there have taught, “You have to create this one product for this one specific segment in the marketplace.” That’s not true, technically, if somebody is designing Macs or laptops.You choose how much you share and how much you don't share. You can share very little while making people feel like they know you a lot. Click To Tweet
I was the only person in my family for a long time that had a Mac. I was one of the early adopters. I’ve had one since probably middle school or high school, and my whole family made fun of me. They were like, “I don’t even understand why you like this device.” Go through my parents’ house and tell me who has a non-Mac product. Nobody. I’m like, “You’re welcome.” They went after a specific market first. I don’t even think I was in their additional target market but it worked for me.
You go after somebody initially, whether it’s creatives, early adopters or whoever you think is going to be right for you and you make such an impact with them that they become the people who give you testimonials or case studies, share how amazing it is, spread the word of mouth and spread all sorts of things so that you can continue to grow and expand who you’re reaching.
Apple was so genius about it because I would bet it was probably somebody who identifies as a creative. When I bought my first Mac, it’s because a client of mine was like, “What kind of laptop do you have? Are you PC or Mac?” I was like, “I have a PC.” She was like, “I never met a creative PC person.”
I was like, “Why do you say that? You’re so creative.” She was like, “Macs are for creative people.” I was like, “I have to be in the creative column.” I got my first MacBook Air and I’m on my fourth. It’s interesting. That’s sophisticated marketing. That’s an identity. Something about the brand is something that the person is associating with their identity. Do you see that this is possible for solopreneurs to accomplish as well?
Conceptually, it is. Even in reality, if you create a movement or something around what you do, then yes. For a lot of people, depending on their business, they may not be out to create a specific movement in which maybe there are people being proud to be a part of the community. Even if they don’t have physical products, maybe there’s merch or something that solidifies them or makes them feel a part of the community. You can do that with movements.
What’s also equally as important for most people that are building essentially personal brand businesses is that you’re crystal clear on who you are and how you show up in the world so that people can identify if they want you in their circle. Are you their mentor? Are you their friend? Are you somebody who is right there next to them going along with it? Are you somebody who has been there and done that? Who are you to these people or your ideal audience? How do you want to come across?
When you’re clear on that, the first step is to have people want to have you in their circle. Even if they will never meet you and they will only read your book or only buy an online course or something, give them enough of you. A lot of people, whether you love or hate Oprah, Oprah has built a brand where people associate her with certain things. If Oprah sells something and people are like, “This is coming from Oprah. I want to be in Oprah’s inner circle,” that’s a thing.
It’s interesting because what you said is if they want you in their inner circle, which is something I hadn’t heard before. I’ve heard about wanting them to be in yours or getting them to the point where they want to be in your community but this is an interesting point of view. Can you say more about that? I haven’t heard anybody talk about it in that way before.
My perspective or two cents is that so often, personal brand businesses or people who are experts in an industry or area are creating communities and saying, “Do you want to be a part of this community because we’re so amazing?” The way that I often look at it is if monetizing my personal brand, I want people to feel as though they’ve gotten to know me to a certain extent where they can decide for themselves if they would ever want me in their loyalty circle or not.
When I look at it that way, I’m very clear on who I am as a person and what parts of my life I’m willing to share publicly because as much as I am a public person, meaning like, “I’m on YouTube. I’m on a podcast. I wrote a freaking book. I’m out there,” I’m also a private person. That’s something that people often get collapsed like, “If you’re public.” We still don’t know who Mindy Kaling’s father is with her children. That’s the most amazing thing in the world. I hope that we never find out.
I want to be that person. I want people to be like, “She has kids. I had no idea who her husband is, if she had babies with someone or if she did in a sperm bank.” I’m cool with that because I don’t need my personal life to be public but I want people to publicly feel like they know who I am, what I stand for, what I’m like and powerfully choose if they want to be associated with me or not.
I was at a conference where this question came up. Especially when you have a personal brand that maybe you’re helping people deal with something that maybe you’ve been through, there is this question that comes up or I’ve seen come up for people regardless of what they’re helping people with, where if it’s related to something that they’ve overcome or gone through that was difficult. “How much do I share? How much is too much?” I would imagine your clients probably come to you with this question. What advice do you give?
First, you have to figure out where you are in the journey or cycle of things that you’ve been through and are going through. If you’re in the midst of something traumatic, not that pleasant or you’re still figuring things out, it’s not most likely the ideal time to publicly share it, especially if you’re looking to be someone’s mentor or advisor.
It’s not the ideal time to be coaching people through it either.
It’s because you’re still figuring it out yourself. Hopefully, you’re at this phase of getting your own support. The first thing that’s important is that whatever it is that you want to publicly share or help people with, that’s not necessarily in your past but you’ve worked through it to a certain extent. There are certain things in life where you’re constantly going to have to deal with it but you’ve at least gotten to the point where it’s not a traumatic response to it for you for the most part.
In terms of how much to share, you get to choose how much you share and don’t share. You can share very little while making people feel like they know you a lot. That’s who I am. Most people won’t believe it because I do share certain things. When you read my book, you get a clear sense of who I am and what I’m like. I’m very much like I am. It’s how I tell stories. It’s the way I write. I tell stories that are seemingly innocent like tiny stories to make a point but you feel like you get to know me.You have to understand market need and who your right audience is in the first place. Click To Tweet
I shared a story about a woman who was at a nursing home and I volunteered there in middle school. She had all of these little boxes. Do you know the little boxes you get with earrings inside if you buy from a department store? She essentially had things that side made out of probably cardboard and she painted them. She was like, “What do I do with all these boxes?” As a little young Nikki, I was like, “I’m going to sell them for you because who could resist buying a box from a middle schooler for an elderly woman?”
I tell stories like that to illustrate points in business that people are like, “I feel like I know what Nikki was like growing up.” It’s an innocent story. I’m purely comfortable telling that story. In fact, it wasn’t until I was writing the book that story even made its way into my mind to prove a point, which is a spoiler alert for people who were like, “Nikki, what was the point of that story? Why is it in your book?” It was about the importance of understanding market need because apparently, a lot of people could resist buying a little box of earrings. Not even with earrings in it but a little painted box from a middle-schooler selling on behalf of an elder lady.
You have to understand market needs and who your right audience is in the first place because I could have been marketing in the wrong pool. There are so many things that you need to learn. You can pull lessons like that and share that publicly. People are like, “I feel like I get to know you. You’re amazing.” You will not hear me publicly talk about things that are personal to me that I like to keep personal.
That’s something I get asked about too. It’s like, “How much should I share?” Especially when people have been through trauma. I always say, “Your reader can fill in the blanks. You can acknowledge this happened. The reader who is going to connect with it is the one who has gone through a similar experience. They’re going to fill in with their own. You don’t have to retraumatize yourself over and over again telling the story of your traumas.”
There are a number of public figures out there and there are many who keep traumatic experiences completely private. They may share or acknowledge that they happen but they keep the details and things very private. There are people who may be with less traumatic things but you know what their bedroom looks like and maybe even the underwear drawer. You know everything about them because it’s everywhere. You get to choose where on that spectrum you are. How much you share doesn’t have to impact how well people connect with you or how well they feel like they know you. It’s how you do it.
You need to feel comfortable sharing to the level that’s right for you and understand that they don’t need any more details than you feel comfortable sharing.
In the book, I shared stories from a TV show. I talked about a part of an episode of a TV show that I used to watch all the time growing up. I still watch it because it’s still on streaming networks. That gives people insight into, “I watched that show too. I feel connected to you.” You don’t have to, even half the time, share things that specific.
I love that because that’s also something I advise too. It’s like, “Look at not just your own experience and of your clients but the world around you. What are you observing?” How can you tie somebody else’s experience that you’re observing, a TV show or something in the popular culture that you’ve observed that also proves or demonstrates your point?
I’m right there with you. You get to choose and that’s empowering.
Let me ask you this. My company is RColucci, LLC. I’m a classic example. It’s great for so many reasons. There’s this element of when you are the face of the brand and you are the brand, do you ever advise your clients on an exit strategy? How do you make that transition?
It’s because it’s something that I’ve thought a lot about from my own business. One of the things that I used to believe and I’ve seen tons of examples where it’s not entirely true is that because the brand is my name and started off as my name, that it would therefore be harder to sell or exit out of. The universe has an interesting way of proving you wrong or showing things in your life where you’re like, “Let’s be real.” Oprah, I’ll use her as a public figure and share a whole bunch of others. Oprah is not running Oprah Magazine or all this other stuff. It’s not like she is gone. She is still alive but she is not in the weeds day-to-day making stuff with her name on it and go out into the world. She has probably guidelines.
Oprah, shout-out if you’re reading this. I would love to pick your brain on some things because I know that you’ve done things to protect your brand, which I’m sure are, from a legal perspective, fascinating. Systems and structures, you can put things in place where it doesn’t have to be you. You think about Stephen Covey and that brand still exists. He is not here anymore. Michael Hyatt is somebody who I follow a lot. He stepped down from being CEO of his company. It’s called Michael Hyatt & Company. He is on the board but he’s peace out. It was something that they had a plan for.
What’s important is if your brand is your name, know that there’s still value in the assets. If you think about the other assets that you have from a business, whether it’s, “Do you have a subscription-based model? Are you consistently bringing in recurring revenue? Do you have a large email list that I’m sure somebody will want? Do you have a sub-brand, the name of something or a podcast that has listeners that somebody would want?” You can decide when it’s time to exit to leave everything together and have a succession plan.
For Michael Hyatt, his daughter took over. I don’t have kids. I’m very clear that I will be an older parent should I have kids. I’m thinking, “I’m going to have to be in business for a while before any of my kids potentially are even old enough and pos it to even think if they want the business.” That may not be my succession plan. There are other people that will potentially want it. Maybe they’ll take the assets and rebrand.
Keep in mind. I’m not the exit expert but I have given a lot of thought and research to it. Even just from my startup experience, the company I worked at was almost acquired, you can choose to stay on for a certain period of time to help with that transition. It’s not like you go, “I’m ready to exit.” Then you exit the next day. It’s a strategy. When you’re at that level of business, you start going through the process.
I would do your due diligence to find out, for anybody who is reading and thinking about it, what it takes to exit a business and what people who will potentially want to buy your business will look for. If you can get that figured out early, it may change strategically what you do for your business now. Usually, when you’re ready to exit if that’s when you start thinking about it, it’s a bit too late.You have to get clear on what you want to happen. Click To Tweet
Speaking of Stephen Covey, it reminds me of the, “Begin with the end in mind.”
That’s my favorite habit, habit number two.
It can be so difficult when you’re in the throes of those early days of the business to be thinking that far down the road. Maybe you’re so in love with it. You can’t even imagine that you would ever want to exit, pull back or hand off some of the responsibility. It’s good advice, Nikki.
I got to pass it and pay it forward. When somebody tells you something and you listen, you better share it with somebody else.
My favorite final question is, what didn’t I ask that I should have?
This popped into my head right before you asked that question. It stems from, begin with the end in mind. What would you tell people who are writing a book to grow their business to think about or do before they finish their book? I want you to ask me that question.
What would you tell people who are writing a book to grow their business to think about or do before they finish their book?
It goes with begin with the end in mind but I’m going to elaborate on that. You have to get clear on what you want the book to do for your business. For example, for me, I don’t look at this book as a revenue-generating product. I’m working with a publisher. I love Hay House. They’re magic but real talk, people who have traditional book deals, don’t make money from book sales. I make $1.50 or something and that’s for the paperback. Let’s not even get started with that one. It’s not a money play. I’ll put it that way.
For me, it was a lead generation play. I sat down and thought, “How the heck do I get people to go from book to joining my email list, joining a community or something along those lines?” I got this from Pat Flynn. He did this for his book, Will It Fly?. I listened to him on a podcast. He was on the Self-Publishing School Podcast. He said this and I was like, “This is genius.” I’m going to share it with you.
What he said that he did was he created a companion course for his book that had digital copies of any of the exercises, worksheets or any bonus materials for everything. Throughout the book, he would say, “To download this, get the companion course.” It would be just a URL. Mine is MarketYourGeniusBook.com, and then there are different links. It’s all throughout the book. All the companion courses are digital versions of the stuff. If I mention a podcast episode of mine or something, I link to that in there. It’s super simple.
To get access to that, people have to fill out an opt-in page, giving me their name and email address. They’re now leads. Writing this book has been one of the best lead-generating things for my business because pretty much from the day the book was released because that’s when everybody got their Kindle, audiobooks or started getting physical copies in the mail, I saw every single day more and more people joined my email list. You have to get clear on what you want to happen.
For me, if they joined my email list, then I can continue to connect with them and ideally enroll them into another product or service but I need to be able to contact them first because if I’m selling books on Amazon, Target or Barnes &Noble, I don’t have their contact information. I don’t know who the heck they are. Think about that stuff before you finish the book because if it’s published, you’re too late. You can’t go back and be like, “Can you guys join my email list?”
I’ll add to what you’re saying because it’s so important too to think about like, “How do you intend to use this book as a tool to grow your business?” You’re going to use that as a lead generation tool to build your list. When you’re clear like that’s the primary focus, then you crafted the book to support that focus. It’s about like, “How do you see yourself using this book in your business? What is its role? If you’re bringing your book on as another team member, what are its responsibilities? How can you create it so that it can meet those responsibilities?”
The big reason I wrote my book is I heard myself say the same stuff over and over again. I thought, “What would be great is if I could say read chapters 1 through 4 before our next call and then we could get into the particulars of what they’re trying to figure out for their book without me having to explain all the foundational information of what I’m about to lead them through.”
For some people, it may be, “I need people to read this book because then they’ll understand why they need me and hire me.” If I didn’t have a traditional book deal, my goal might have been a little bit different and I might have said, “I’m going to write this book and publish it.” I’m going to mail it to people and say, “As a little gift.” That will have them go, “I need you. I want to invest in your services and choose you over someone else.” You get to choose. I love that.
I had a client who was in a highly niched area who did that. He closed multiple 6 and 7-figure deals by doing that. You don’t have to sell one book. If you mail out 100 books a year to a highly curated list that might be all you need to do.
Those are real strategies. I love that.
Nikki, this has been such a joy. I have loved every minute of speaking with you. How can our readers find you?
The best place to go is if you go to NikkiNash.co/Magic. If you go there, you will not only see how you can connect with me, but I have a number of freebies on there that will help you figure out whether it’s building your author platform or generating leads for your business. It’s got some great free resources on it.
I’m so happy that we spoke. Nikki, thank you once again for being with us on the show.
Thank you so much.
- Hay House – Nikki Nash
- Market Your Genius
- RColucci, LLC
- Will It Fly?
- Pat Flynn – Previous episode on Self-Publishing School Podcast
About Nikki Nash
Nikki Nash is a Hay House author, motivational speaker, and founder of Market Your Genius, a training and development company on a mission to equip entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to share and profit from their message. Known for empowering people to quit making excuses and start going after their dreams, Nikki uses her extensive marketing, business, and personal development background to help people build profitable personal brand businesses, position themselves as the go-to expert in their industry, multiply their sales, and grow their business through strategic storytelling. Prior to full-time entrepreneurship, Nikki served as Head of Marketing at tech startup Rest Devices, Senior Marketing Manager at Intel Corporation where she won the Marketing Excellence Award, Brand Management MBA Intern at The Coca-Cola Company, and Media Planner + Buyer at advertising agency Starcom-MediaVest on the Kraft Foods Account. Nikki has also worked for brands such as InStyle, Travel + Leisure, and Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy.