Typically, speakers and authors work solo. As a speaker, author or thought leader, your greatest advantage is the fact that there is only one of you. Your career literally capitalizes on your uniqueness and the contents within your head. Lofty? Indeed!
This solitary uniqueness, though, can be your greatest weakness because it means you rarely have an extra pair of hands when you need them. There are also few chances to bounce ideas off trusted executives. From sales prospecting to product delivery, the buck stops right at your door. Having to wear all those hats means a time-consuming learning curve.
Ironically when you work solo, your most valuable asset is your time. Wasting it is not an option, and there’s no room for rabbit trails. Being incredibly efficient with your time is a must.
Eating My Own Cooking & Other Lessons
Just over a decade ago, I entered into the business of publishing audiobooks for professional speakers. At a time when Costco’s center aisles were bulging with physical media, Made for Success was moving CD’s by the pallet-load into stores worldwide.
Keeping up with the demands on my time was tough as we launched the company, yet falling behind wasn’t an option. My small staff and I had to take advantage of tools wherever possible in order to stay nimble and keep ahead of the game. Keeping track of To Do lists, schedules, contracts and royalty payments was an incredibly daunting task.
On top of the demands of running the business, I was launching my own career as a speaker and author off the launch of my book Conversion Marketing. I practically had to use a crowbar to open up my schedule for meetings, let alone find a little private time with my family and to pursue hobbies. My time was at a premium, to say the least.
It was during this period that one of our authors, Dr. Sheila Bethel, came to town for a Leadership speaking engagement at the IRS, her biggest client. She wanted to meet with me and talk strategy for her upcoming audiobook release. Though I thought about turning her down, I reluctantly said yes. Meeting with her turned out to be one of the smartest moves I’ve made in this business.
There was no way I could squeeze a meeting or a lunch into my already crammed schedule. I thought about offering her a fabulous home cooked dinner at Chez Heathman, but my lovely and talented better half wouldn’t hear of it. She insisted on reservations instead.
Thankfully Sheila was flexible, and she joined my wife and me for dinner at a quaint neighborhood restaurant called The Red House just south of Seattle. The place was a tiny but historical old house on the edge of town that had been converted to a restaurant. The off-beat atmosphere and great food lent something memorable to the outing, and the timbre of the conversation rose to the occasion.
I thought I would be advising Sheila on sales and marketing for her audiobooks. But as the evening wore on and dinner turned into dessert, it was clear this seasoned veteran had a lot to teach me.
Using Leverage to Be More Effective
One thing in particular that Sheila told me about leverage has stuck with me all these years. Since then I’ve used her advice myself and shared it with dozens of authors in my circle of influence.
As a speaker or author, you already know that content creation is time-consuming. Creating new content (books, audio programs, webinars, keynotes) gobbles up your most precious asset like it’s crème brûlée on your table at The Red House. Just like a rich dessert, content development leaves little room for anything else.
This is why it’s essential to make the most of every idea you present. You can triple your efforts by leveraging each piece of content you develop in at least three ways —more if you can. This technique not only maximizes your time, but it also develops an abundance of touches with your audience to keep your brand front-of-mind.
- Write a chapter in your book
- Create several blog posts from the ideas you have written about in each chapter
- Use the content in a newsletter to send your list of subscribers
- Record a podcast from the blog posts
- Record an audio program and compile it into an 8-part training system
Besides using leverage to create your content, you can use tools and technologies to maximize your time and efforts in your speaking and writing business. Using tools helped me dig out from under a heavy burden in those early years of Made for Success.
I’ve hand-picked several technologies that have stood up under the demands of my own schedule, at the counsel of my advisors. These tools will save you time and money as well, making the most of your limited staff and resources.
- Sweet Process: Visually appealing process documentation for standard operating procedures and work instructions. www.sweetprocess.com
- Commit To 3: Prioritization tool, with accountability. Create teams and simplify your priorities to 3 per day. www.committo3.com
- One Page CRM: Sales CRM simplified. www.onepagecrm.com
- Sprout Social: Social media management made easy. www.sproutsocial.com
- Bomb Bomb: An incredible app for business development, customized email to your prospects inbox. One of my clients claims to get a 100% response rate from her video emails. www.bombbomb.com
- Lead Crunch: Lead generation tool to find B2B leads. www.leadcrunch.com
- Wistia: Alternative to YouTube to post videos (no ads). www.wistia.com
- Ignite Reviews: Automation to grow your online reputation with reviews. http://ignite.reviews
You may not have an extra pair of hands or a trusted ally to help you in your speaking and writing business. By using leverage, you can get more done in less time, serve more people, and still have time in your day to make a fabulous dinner. Or reservations. You decide.
Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.