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August 22, 2009

I’m going to be posting primarily on my 24 Carat BOLD blog over the next 6 weeks, as my new book is being launched. Please follow me there!

Thanks!

Mindy

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A book is NOT just a brochure or a business card!

August 14, 2009

This morning I received an email that has me incensed. I’m absolutely furious.  I know I tell my clients not to write when they are angry, but I just have to make an exception this time.  I hate it when people compare a book to a brochure or a business card. Those items are not designed to inspire, teach or entertain. They are sales tools. If you are seriously thinking about writing a book, then take it seriously and write a seriously good book! One that stands up on its own and positions you as the real thought leader you are.  A good book is a special piece of yourself that you have presented to the world.

If you noticed above, I said ‘write a book’. REAL thought leaders write their own books. They put their own thought together in their own words and that is what their readers want to read. There are several companies selling the hype of having a book and the author not having to lift a finger. And encouraging people to slap a book together and whack it out into the marketplace, as if the only thing that mattered was the book. That really annoys me. That’s why we have so many rubbish books coming into the market and cluttering it up. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of self-publishing and cooperative publishing. I think good books do deserve to be published, but I also feel strongly that any book worth doing is worth doing properly.

Be careful if you are being wooed by companies promising the world. If it sounds too good, it probably is. I know a lot of people who have been to weekend courses costing thousands of dollars, and then spent $20,000 or more, to end up with something that competes with brochures!  Some spent their money and didn’t end up with a book.

Decide what kind of book you want to write and ensure you work with professionals that specialize in that kind of book. I’ve been a book coach for nearly ten years, and I have helped over 300 people make a powerful start on their books. It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to kick-start a book project! And you can write your own book and have the satisfaction of knowing it’s exactly what you want to say, the way you want to say it. You can do it in just 90 days (or even less – just ask me).

I’ve also helped hundreds of people through the writing process and I’ve helped them get published – over 100 now, and counting. Traditional AND self-publishing. Please don’t get duped by organizations that relegate books to the ‘sales tool’ category. And please don’t throw your hard-earned cash into schemes that are run by people who view books in that way.

A book can and will position you as an expert, but only if you write the best book you can, and only if it offers real value and something original. Something a brochure can never do.

Making a Statement Creatively and Cleverly

August 2, 2009
Mindy sits on the ice bench

Mindy sits on the ice bench

Yesterday I watched ice melt. And I actually felt it melt.  I sat on a bench made of ice in Union Square in New York. The bench was part of an art installation by a Taiwanese artist called Chin Chih Yang, who is concerned about global warming.

There were 3 or 4 benches made of ice, where you could sit – on a towel or not – and contemplate a structure made of 4 more blocks that was being measured with a yardstick. The project is aptly called Ice Emergency!  As the ice melted in the hot New York sun, the levels dropped, mirroring what is happening every day at the polar ice caps.  It felt good and cooled me down, but at what cost?  My sitting on it was actually accelerating the melting process?

I often write and speak about people who are courageous enough to make bold statements. Well, this one hit home with me. It was so experiential.  I have a photo which I will upload as soon as I can, but I wanted to share the news with you immediately. 

Blocks of ice in art installation

Blocks of ice in art installation

You also have bold statements you would like to make to the world.  If you don’t feel like producing a massive art installation, how else could you make as powerful an impact, with your writing or speaking?

We are ALL self-employed and need to be creative

June 30, 2009

Only those of us who have made the jump into self-employment know the real truth. And no matter what happens, we wouldn’t trade it for the world (of employment). The fact that the highs are higher and the lows lower, the wonderful feeling when you make it big and you know it was all down to YOU. On the other hand you have the constant pressure to do more, find more business, be quicker and smarter, more creative…

Now that last one is my absolute passion. Self-employed people do tend to use more of their creativity, I find, because they have to. However, in this volatile world, I would argue that everyone should see themselves as self-employed because they need to shine and stand out even in (or especially in) a job. When the axe comes down, there will be some people that will be spared, and they are the ‘top talent’. Some creativity is required. Now, where to get it when you are working harder than ever and the current climate and people around you are trying to drag you down?

Some of the best ideas I have ever had have been through strategic thinking games, such as asking What If? and following it with more and more outrageous suggestions. Such as, What If people start living to be 250 years old? What implications would that have? Mostly, you need to let your thoughts run free and unfettered for awhile and watch what comes up, without immediately stifling them. If you catch yourself saying ‘Yeah, but that would never happen’, just ask ‘But if it did happen, then what?’ It’s about taking risks, going out on a limb.

The other night my husband and I went to the fantastic Savanna restaurant at the Black Lion pub in St Albans and there was a very interesting music act playing. Imagine two guys in their 40’s playing guitars and singing. They call themselves Whateversclever (no website sadly). The best thing was not their voices, but they were having a great time. The guitars sounded pretty good and there was some fantastic performing on some songs. But the best thing by far was the eclectic mix of songs they chose to play: Beatles, Coldplay, The Monkees, The Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, plus a fast an very non-Reggae version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”, and best of all… Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Can you imagine, two middle-aged slightly balding blokes with fairly croaky voices singing their hearts out and strumming and picking away?! Priceless.

My first thought was ‘How on earth did they think to put this collection of songs together?’ They must have asked, What If. What if we played this one, that one… yes, even that one…

We could all do with taking risks like that, whether we know we are self-employed or not.

Latest from Dubai

May 20, 2009

My, how time flies! Since the last post I’ve been to Dubai again and there were lots of good conversations about books.   What I love about Dubai is the serious commitment of the business folks.  You may hear about tough times but there was no whinging in Dubai – only postive energy and people willing to try new things and work even harder.  My kind of people!    While there I met with some member of the Professional Speakers Association of the Middle East, conducted a Conception Meeting with my new client Clive Power of PowerTutoring, mgk photos Dubai may09 002     mgk photos Dubai may09 009

gave a talk at Carol Talbot’s NLP practice group, and delivered a lecture on writing and publishing for the EMDI Institute.       mgk photos Dubai may09 005
mgk photos Dubai may09 014
Oh – and I almost forgot – I finally got to meet my talented client Purvi Beri who has written her entire book in just 8 weeks with book coaching from me via Skype!  Photo will be coming in one of the next posts, along with her book cover…

How much should you network?

April 14, 2009

Structured networking is an amazing concept. To speak to a group of 20, 30 or 40 people and have them all listen to you, even for just a few seconds, can be the best thing you do to promote your business. (It can also be the worst thing you do, if you offend people, sell to the room, fail to say anything interesting or any number of other networking ‘sins’.)

I’m particularly interested in networking as part of the marketing plan. It is not always easy to plan for the ad-hoc events that come up, but there are lots of structured meetings that you can plan into your schedule and be strategic about it.

I’ve recently joined 4Networking, which is the UK’s fastest-growing networking organization. They have a ‘passport’ where you can attend different groups and you can go along as many times as you like – up to 4 times a week! My main reason for networking at the moment is to increase visibility. I then go meet those people I think are the most interesting and build relationships with them.

Obviously I will be abiding by the REAL Thought Leaders rulebook and make sure my message is compelling, well thought through and relevant. In addition to thinking about the content, you also want to be strategic about spreading the net – in REAL Thought Leader terms, exactly how do you want to go about extending your reach?

With that in mind, I’m just wondering how many groups to visit and how often. How many new connections can my brain handle without starting to forget people or get them mixed up? If it were you, how would you do it? How many groups can you realistically be part of, how many new people can you realistically meet and get to know and how much time do you spend on it?

Things to be careful with when publishing a book

April 9, 2009

Did you know?  Estimates are that in 2007 over 300,000 books were self-published; in 2008 that number jumped to over 400,000. As daunting as those figures may be, the startling statistic is that less than 1% were published according to Book Industry Standards. This is why retail bookstores are reluctant to order, let alone stock most self-published titles.

Self-Publisher Buys Rival As Sector Consolidates  

Author Solutions Inc., one of the largest self-publishers in the U.S., has acquired the assets of smaller Canadian rival Trafford Publishing, further consolidating the sector at a time when the traditional book industry is in turmoil. Author Solutions, which operates AuthorHouse and iUniverse and is owned by the San Mateo, Calif., private-equity firm Bertram Capital Management LLC, declined to disclose terms of the deal. In January, the Bloomington, Ind., publisher acquired competitor Xlibris, also for an undisclosed price.

Commentary – The business model here is simple: sign as many writers as possible, add as many services as possible, and control prices. Quality and selection are not even in the equation. This is by all respects the canned, cookie cutter approach to self-publishing and gives good writers and good books a bad reputation.

This information comes to you courtesy of my friend and publishing consultant extraordinaire Jerry Simmons.  You can read more of his wisdom at www.writersreaders.com

‘No follow up’ plan pays off

April 2, 2009

If you ask any sales trainer, networking trainer or referrals guru, they will all say that when you receive a lead or referral, you should follow up on that immediately. I tend to agree, but my own process for signing up new clients takes a different angle on the subject. I ask my advocates or introducers to let their contacts know that they need to call me. I don’t follow up or chase. The line they use is “You need to prove to Mindy that you are serious, by taking the first step and calling.” It’s amazing how many people never call and you could argue (as my good friend Philip de Lisle did), that it’s not professional not to follow up. It’s also a bit scary in this kind of market to leave the ball in the prospect’s court.

However, I have to trust the universe and over the years, I have found that the right clients do self-select and I end up working with those people that I’m meant to work with. And they have already made it through the first test!

Yesterday I got a call from Brad Burton, visionary thought leader and founder of 4Networking. It turned out he was most impressed with the filter process. Brad is going to be working with me to write and publish his excellent book, and it’s going to be a fantastic resource for small business owners. Very exciting!

The funny thing is that the ‘filter’ actually came about because I do not have the best organizational habits, I sometimes forget to call people and I lose their business cards! If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have half the sales conversations I currently have. I told Brad the truth and we laughed about it. A lot. We’re both going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

The publishing industry is so unfair

March 23, 2009

George W Bush is about to write a book (yeah, right) and Sarah Palin gets a $7M advance for her book? I can’t take this! I have so many wonderful, talented clients with important messages to share and they are creating amazing books every day.

Why does celebrity have to rule my industry? Why?

OK – enough crying. What can we do about it? I am looking for phenomenal, creative thought leaders to help redress the balance. You connect me with someone you know that has a great idea for a book, and I will help them get a fabulous plan together, hold their hand through the whole process as they write their excellent book twice as fast as the average first-time author, and together we will make a superb launch and marketing plan to get them the recognition they deserve. I can’t promise they will get a $7M advance (or any advance, in fact). But I can promise that they will have the best possible book they can write at this time and they will make a big splash with it.

Let’s get the REAL thought leaders in this world some results with a hard-hitting book. And I promise to stop crying about the unfairness in the publishing industry…

Lessons from Anthony Robbins Wealth Mastery

March 16, 2009

This past week I was privileged to be a senior leader at the Wealth Mastery event in London. Seeing the amazing presenters and getting a refresher on wealth-building strategies is always great, and this time it was even more exciting as my client Simon Zutshi took the stage for a session on Property. This is the first time Property has been discussed in the UK for a long time and Simon was in his element. He is currently updating some of the information in his bestselling book Property Magic to reflect the current economic climate and lending issues. He is also working on another book.

Personally, I loved helping the 46 people in Team 3 (Prosperous Minds) to have the best possible experience and step into their wealth. It occurred to some of us that wealth really does encompass a lot more than just money, and it is worth thinking about all the areas in our lives that we feel ‘wealthy’, especially at times like these.