In the last few shows we've looked at all the elements of the Book Blueprint Scorecard you need to create the best book for your business or organization.
Today, we looking at mindset 7, and what not to do. The beneficial constraints you can put in place to increase your chance of completing a book.
Starting to write with the mindset of 'It will be done when it's done' is a sure fire way to make sure you're still writing (or avoiding it) this time next year. It's the time and scope constraints you put on the project that are key to getting it done.
As a special bonus, we also talk about why International Speak Like a Pirate day might be the key to getting your book out there, and I share the world's best Pirate joke!
So something for everyone this week ;)
Don't forget, you can see how your book idea stacks up against the Book Blueprint by going to BookBlueprintScore.com and if you want to be a guest on the show to plan your successful book, just head over to 90MinuteBooks.com/guest
Lastly, here is a link to the other Book Blueprint Scorecard Episodes.
Ready to get started: 90MinuteBooks.com/get-started
Be a Guest: 90MinuteBooks.com/guest
Your Book Blueprint Score: BookBlueprintScore.com
Titles Workshop: 90MinuteBooks.com/Workshops
Interview Shows: 90-Minute Books Author Interviews
Questions/Feedback: Send us an email
Extra Credit Listening: MoreCheeseLessWhiskers.com
Transcript: Book More Show 054
Stuart: Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Book More Show. It's Stuart here with Betsy, Betsy Vaughn.
Betsy: Hi, Stuart. Good to be here. Fantastic, gorgeous, beautiful.
Stuart: Fantastic, end of the week. We're recording on Friday this week, so it's always good to wrap up the end of the week with a podcast. It's always good to get to this stage, having dealt with so many people, particularly this week. It's really seemed to be pretty busy so lots of examples of helping people through, and we'll try and tie them into this here.
Betsy: Like we were talking about before we started recording. This entire week has been nonstop going, busy, busy, busy, specifically today for a Friday? Very busy, a lot of great conversations about books and potential books.
Stuart: It's almost as if people have kind of surfaced after all of their financial end of year stuff has settled down now. Obviously, we have a lot of financial advice and people in that space are busy not only with their own stuff but with client stuff, as well. Definitely seems like people are getting to this point in the year and then thinking, "Okay. I've been thinking about this for a couple of months ago. Need to get started. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel, so let's make a move now and pulling the trigger to get started," both in terms of jumping on board with-
Betsy: Yeah, I think so.
Stuart: ... of jumping on board with us, but also just thinking a book as a lead generation tool more generally.
Betsy: Exactly. You know, it kind of feels like January, the kind of buzz around it. That's really how it was feeling. Wow. In January, we're typically really busy. A lot of conversations, a lot of conversations. Kinda feeling like that.
But, like I said, good conversations are going on. People are excited about getting their books up. Like you said, they've been talking about it for a while, or thinking about it for a while.
Stuart: That was a great use case. There are lots of different industries. Lots of ways that people are thinking about engaging their audience in slightly different ways. It's always great to see that variety coming through as well.
Betsy: It really is. I will tell you, doing this podcast and speaking to people on a regular basis about our specific process in writing a book, lately, I have more and more people ... I'm hearing, first of all, they're listening to the podcast, which is awesome. We so appreciate that. But, people are really getting the idea of the purpose of this book, not being a best seller. About it truly being a lead generation tool.
That is something I really picked up on this week. I'm hearing a lot of that. "I'm really wanting to build my business. I'm wanting to use this as an extension of my business card." That really excites me, A, 'cause it makes my job a lot easier when we're having the conversations about the purpose of writing a book, the reasons to write a book. But, for people to know that they're listening, and they're hearing that. That's their purpose.
Stuart: Anecdotally, I think that ties in, a little bit, with the conversation I was having with Dean a couple of weeks ago, saying that, as markets and trends and the hottest thing kind of ebbs and flows, in the last six to nine months, maybe, have really seen a falloff in the number of people out there ... other programs, not ourselves, but talking about, "Writing a book on the best seller list is the ... that's the most important thing."
I think it's a reflection of, that was a particular point in time. The walls, and kind of quirk in Amazon space particularly, where getting something onto a best seller's list was relatively straightforward. The system could be, if not gamed or manipulated, there certainly was an algorithmic element that was known, that could be leveraged. I think that, as a trend, or as a tactic, rather than as a broader strategy that we talk about sometimes, that, as a thing, seems to have definitely died down.
Now, it might be just the kind of filtered bubble of ... Personally, I didn't engage with much of that stuff on Facebook, as an example. I just saw a few of those types of ads. But, I'm still following, broadly, the same group of people. I think it is very much now that we've got past that gaming the system type approach of, "Oh, you should do this, because it's a way of getting a quick win." Now more and more people are thinking about the actual underlying strategy, and how it can really make a difference away from the kind of top level, headline grabbing best seller type stuff, into, "Oh no, this is really around leads."
Probably, as well, some of the stuff that we're pushing out both on the podcast and on the other side of the business, through More Cheese Less Whiskers, and the Listing Agent Lifestyle. When you see numbers ... I just put the Listing Agent Lifestyle Podcast up, earlier today, and was looking at the distribution list that we send the email out to. Just checking the increase of that over the last month or two. This is the real estate based program. Dean recorded the first episode of the podcast as the kind of Listing Agent Lifestyle Manifesto. We talked about the different types of books in the past. There's the type of book that is kind of the declaration type book. It's the stating the manifesto. It's the introducing someone to a topic that they might not be otherwise aware of.
The Listing Agent Lifestyle is that, created from episode one of the podcast. We're at episode 17. I just put live earlier today. The Facebook ads leading into that, is for the book. So, it's targeting realtors, asking them if they want a free copy of the Listing Agent Lifestyle. I think from memory, the copy ... it's in an earlier episode. I'll try to put a link in the show notes next to the episode that we were talking about, specifically. It's about four shows back from this, so maybe about episode 49 or 50? The ad copy for that, I think, is as simple as, "Listing Agent Lifestyle coffee table book. Listing Agent Lifestyle: The Future of Real Estate is Better Than You Think. Download a free copy."
Using that as an example, which more and more people are hearing about, and thinking about how it works for them, that's generated just over 3000 leads in two months, less than two months.
Betsy: Oh wow.
Stuart: I think we pushed it live just at the end of January, and we're now March 16th. So, 3000 leads, that's just over 2500 in North American campaign, and about 400 or so ... I said just under 3000, just under 400 or so in the Canadian campaign.
I really think that as more and more examples are going out, those kinds of examples are resonating with people. People are thinking more and more about how they could use it, and I think that's what we're seeing more and more of coming through.
Betsy: Yeah. I agree with that. That's great. It's funny. I was just thinking about that campaign. Yesterday, I was talking to somebody about it. I'm glad to know those numbers, and see that kind of success there.
Yeah, as Dean Jackson would say, "It's all very exciting."
Stuart: Yes, very exciting.
Just on that, we were trying to think, in one of the shows a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about different examples in different industries. I mentioned last week, if anyone's listening, wants to be a guest on the show, then head over to 90minutebooks.com/guest. Fill out a couple of details and we've got quite a list of people now, so we got a sideshow doing those over the next week or two. In fact, I think the first one I've got, maybe, is next week. So, if anyone wants to talk through some ideas of how they can use their book, we're gonna talk today about the ... tripping over my words. We're gonna talk today about the book, Blueprint Scorecard, and mindset number seven, which is Beneficial Constraints.
In the next episode, we're talking about beyond the book, and how to use it. Thinking about that, knowing that's coming up, if anyone wants to jump on a call to strategize how they could use it, whether they've written it already, or they're thinking about writing it, then, definitely, head over to 90minutebooks.com/guest. Fill out a couple of detail ... name and phone number, and what you wanna get out of the show. Then we'll schedule something. That'd be a great opportunity to brainstorm specifically for your business.
Betsy: Right, very good.
Stuart: All righty. So, as I just mentioned, we're gonna go through another one of the Book Blueprint Scorecard mindsets today. We're up to number seven of eight. We're going to talk about Beneficial Constraints. So, this is really looking at ... We've moved past the kind of what you're doing, why you're doing it, and where you're taking people. We talked last time, really, about the content the leading people from A to Z. All of the building blocks are in place. These last two mindsets, we want to talk about one of the biggest things we see with people coming to us who have started to do something. This is around Beneficial Constraints. One of the most common questions that we get, "Okay, now that I've done it, what should I do next?" We all want to know that we don't have a long show, so we're just going to hit one of them this time, and one of them next time.
As always, head over to the show notes for this episode, which is episode 54. 90minutebooks.com/podcast, episode 54. We'll have a copy of the Book Blueprint Scorecard there, so you can follow along. As always, if you want to complete your own Book Blueprint Scorecard so that you know where you sit on the scale, then head over to bookblueprintscore.com and that's the site that will walk you through the eight mindsets and allow you to score yourself. Then give you just a summary at the end of where you're positioned.
That, I think, is really a great way of looking at which elements you're doing pretty well on, which ones you could do better on. Equally, looking at it as a whole, which lever to pull, is likely to give you the best returns.
Number seven, Beneficial Constraints. I'll read to you the four stages and then we'll talk a little bit more about each one of them, in turn. At the lowest level, we're talking about having no constraints at all. You really wanna write as much as possible. You haven't really even considered what a constraint might be. The second level is you're focusing on a specific problem to answer, but you haven't really defined the scope of the content, and more specifically, what not to include. You haven't given yourself a specific deadline. You know, really, what you're doing. But, there's not really that much in terms of constraints around it.
The third level, the next level, along then ... and this is probably where most people are, with the last ones we talked about. Most people are probably gonna be in between this second and third level. So, the third one, you've got a clear scope in mind. You've got a specific deadline in mind. Narrowing the content, the work really, now, is narrowing the content to ensure that it still delivers on the promise of the title.
The fourth and the top level, this is where it's really dialed in, is you're starting with the end in mind. You know the purpose of the book, in terms of the specific funnel campaign that you want to use it with, you know what its job of work is, that it's trying to identify leads within a specific group of people, at a specific time, within a specific funnel. The constraints around that, at the very top level, are really dialed in. You've set it up in a way that kind of stops you from going off the rails, or running long, or scope creep, all of these other things that we talk about.
Betsy: Yeah, I definitely think our clientele starts somewhere between two and three, for sure, when they come onboard. I think, maybe ... Once in a while you have that person who would fall under that fourth category there, with starting with the end in mind. But, most of them, yeah, I would say, definitely, two and three there.
Stuart: Yeah. I think that's because we've talked before. A lot of our clients have also coach clients, strategic coach clients, that all cross over in the programs. A lot of them have worked with Dean in other areas, Email Mastery, or have been to see the Breakthrough Blueprint Live Events, maybe longtime listeners to the Art of Marketing podcast, back in the day, and Less Cheese More Whiskers now. A lot of this framework that we talk about is really based around the eight profit activators, the Breakthrough DNA model. If you're listening to this and you don't know what that is, if you head over to breakthroughdna.com, then there's more information on that there.
I think, falling into that second or third category is really where people have got this kind of ... an idea of the scope. Then it's just dialing in.
Jumping back to the first level, this is really not considered any constraints at all. Not even really thinking why a constraint is important. We do, occasionally, see people come who have started to write something already. It's literally been a couple of years, and they just haven't got it over the line. I think this is ... I can remember back in school, whenever you'd have to write, kind of, anything long form, I was terrible for this. The opening act, if you like, if I was thinking about writing something in three acts ... which I never was. I was just thinking about writing something in the quickest way possible. I wasn't necessarily the most rigorous with homework, apart from working out ways of avoiding doing it.
But anyway, if I did go on to doing it, the introduction, or the opening section would be super, super detailed, because I'd be enthusiastic enough to start. But then it would get to the point where, either the time or the energy levels had just completely run out. So, without a very clear pilot of where to go and wanting to want to include all of this stuff, it was like I was trying to recreate Lord of the Rings on this one essay, and this elaborate opening, that then petered out into ... and all of a sudden they all died. Because, either the time constraint, or the scope constraint, or the energy constraints, all of those levels just ran out.
Quite often, and we'll talk to people about this in terms of both the not having a time constraint, so just open ended, "I wanna get this finished, but it will go on until it's done," which is a problem. Or scope, in terms of, "I know I wanna write about this subject, but this subject is huge and I wanna cover all of the areas. I want to make sure that I've got enough detail. I want it to be the best thing." We always talk about creating something that is the best thing, but within a certain, specifically designed scope, so that you've given yourself a chance. Without adding these beneficial constraints, wanting to ... Unless your job is an author, and literally, this is what you're dedicating all of your time to do, then this is something that you're trying to do in addition to everything else.
So, really, making it the best it can possibly be, but giving yourself the constraint of, "within this particular set of perimeters," is the only way that it's going to get done. I can think of very, very few people who are able to just start writing and then give themselves the discipline to stop without something external, or something written, or something ... a guideline within their own mind to say, "Okay, this is it, and then no more."
It's interesting to see those ones that do come back. Either people who've we been talking to a couple of years ago, maybe, or it's the first conversation that we've had with them. But they do say, "Oh, well I've made a start. I've got sort of 20,000 words there." That's great. That's tee book straight away. Or one book and a whole load of supporting material, which we'll cover in Beyond the Book next time.
Stuart: The next level ... so that's the basic level. If anyone is, as you're listening to this and scoring yourself on the scorecard, if you do score in that first section, the first thing to really think about is, jump back to some of the earlier ones. It is quite possible that you don't have a single target market dialed in, or you don't have a specific call to action. You don't know where you're trying to lead them to. Without that start and end position, you could be driving all over the place to get from A to B. So, if you are in that position, practical advice there is to jump back to those two earlier ones. That might immediately start to help.
The next level-
Betsy: That's good advice. That's great in advice, in fact.
Stuart: I think it is something that we harp on about quite a lot. Sometimes we get feedback about the ... We were talking about this just before we started recording, as well. Two pieces of feedback or either we're always talking about the same points about single target market, and where are you leading people. But, as we've said before, we still get all of the questions all the time. As soon as people stop asking us, or stop mentioning it, then we'll stop talking about it as well. But, it's still one of the key things.
The other bit of feedback is, "You talk to fast." So, I'm trying not to do that today.
Betsy: You're doing a great job, really.
Stuart: Thank you.
Betsy: I was going to tell you.
Stuart: I'm really trying to breathe in between words. It's quite funny. I've got my podcast ... I listen to hours of podcasts a week. I've got them sped up to like 1.6, 1.7 times. I wonder if there's a setting where you can go the other way and maybe people listening need to go down to like 0.7 or .08.
I was just going to make another point, then, about that, but I've lost the thought. But, yeah, jumping back to those first things, constraints are sometimes something that people see as a negative. The Joy of Procrastination podcast, if no one's listened to that, that's Dan Sullivan and Dean talking about their challenges overcoming procrastination. But, the realization that procrastination can actually be a good indicator of things that you need to work on. Likewise, with this, constraints could be seen as limiting and bad, but they're not. They're empowering and give scope, and make the likelihood of something getting completed and out there far, far, far higher than it would be if you didn't have those and you just started with the aim of finishing at some point in the future. Hopefully it's a slightly different way of thinking about it.
Moving onto the second level, and again, this level and the next level are probably where most people, as you listen to this, you probably fall somewhere in this category. You are focusing on a specific problem to answer, because you've heard us banging on about it, however many times, about defining a single target market. But, within that, you maybe haven't defined the scope of the content. So, you know who you want to talk to, and to a certain degree, you know what you want them to do next. But, you haven't necessarily taken the discipline of going through and thinking, "Okay, that means I am going to talk about this. I'm not going to talk about that."
The challenge there is, sometimes it's easy to drift down an alley that you didn't necessarily expect to go down. Whilst doing that on the podcast isn't too bad, because within the ... We've got a constraint more of energy than anything else to get to the end of it.
Stuart: You can get away with it in conversation, obviously. But, as you're trying to write, the challenge there is that you're just going to write yourself into a hole and get further, and further, and further away from the path, with, potentially, the problem of not being able to get back, or it'll take another 500 or 1000 words to get back.
Betsy: And at that time, you've kind of lost ... I had that conversation today, with a gentleman, or gentlemen, just ... They know what they want to answer, but they want to answer like every possible question. I think I shared that with you. I was a little overwhelmed with the whole conversation, because there's so much information they don't know how to define that scope of that content. They don't know how to make that happen.
In my head, I envisioned a 1000 page book sitting on someone's desk. That's what I was visioning, having this conversation. There was no possible ... and they ... The longer we talked, the more ... I saw this in the rabbit hole, at some point. There was no coming out.
Stuart: Right. It's a great example, I think, of some of the things that we've talked about before. A lot of people come to the project thinking about a book in a traditional sense of a book, because all of that magic and authority around a book that makes it so beneficial to do as a business owner or organizational leader, trying to start a conversation, all of those mental cues can also shoot you in the foot a little bit, because as the person then, also, being the writer, you're thinking about, in the same way. Thinking about making it like a textbook, or the authority of sorts that's going to answer absolutely everything.
Again, if you assess the situation and there's a genuine use case and benefit for doing that, you actively make the decision to do it. Then that's perfectly fine. But then, understanding that, that decision has baggage that comes with it. That's potentially a year's worth of your time, tens of thousands of dollars worth of editing, all of these extra things. Again, if all of that's worthwhile, then absolutely do it.
But, imagine breaking those 1000 pages and 10 different subjects into 10 different books. Being able to attract 10 different groups of people, all leading them to the same conversation. Then, it's much, much easier, or much more likely, that you'll complete the first one first, and then move on from there, rather than trying to deliver it all in this piece.
I was talking to a dentist on Monday or Tuesday this week, I forget which. Had been referred to us by someone else that's written already. I'm not sure that he had even seen the website. So, wasn't that aware of the bigger picture. Certainly hadn't listened to the podcasts, and wasn't aware of some of the other program based stuff that we do. He was pretty much coming into it, apart from that it was a warm recommendation, was pretty much coming to it as cold as possible from the point of view of the program that we have and the way that we structure it and suggest that it's done.
What I was saying to him was, we build through the program, from a theme and outline, and call, and then to thinking about the content, because the outlining call is really to get the chapter structure. The chapter structure is the journey that leads them from the front to the back.
If you are scoring yourself on this mindset, in the kind of mid to low second tier, so a score of kind of four to six, then taking a step back for a moment, and thinking, "Okay, I need to constrain around the content. I know it could be anything. I've already dialed in what the target is, so I know who I'm talking to. I know where I want them to go to. But even within that, I could still talk about a lot of different things. There are a lot of things running parallel to that, that I could fall into." To point you want on this mindset, on this level on the mindset is, think about the chapter headings first. The way I described it to the dentist the other day was, think of the chapter headings as a slide that you might have in a presentation.
So, say that you've got the opportunity to speak in front of a crowd of these people that you want to be in conversation with. One of the first slides that you would probably put up is bullets of what we're going to talk about. In the old kind of training mantra of tell them what you're going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you've told them. Similar here. The table of contents is the bullet points that kind of give people the reassurance that they're in the right place. Then tell them in the content. Then, tell them what you told them in the wrap-up at the end, and the call to action.
We were talking about physical books. We've said on the podcast before, many times, that the actual really, the number of books that get read, is intestinally small compared with the number of books that are bought or people intend to read. That's why we said that the most important piece of real estate is the front cover, 'cause that's what gets them to raise their hand and identify themselves. The back cover is the call to action, because most people turn over and flip to the back.
The next one, after that, is probably the table of contents. I think people request a book, particularly this ... and again, we're not talking about fiction. But, this type of book that's where the cover promises the answer to a question. Ideally, people then don't want to read it. They just want to be able to touch the book and have the answer. It's a bit like the Matrix thing. I would put money on the fact that if you gave someone the option of, "Okay, you can either request a copy of this book, and I'll give you 1000 pages that you can read, or even 100 pages that you can read, or even 50 pages that you can read. Or, I'll give you a copy of this book, and take this blue pill, and then all of the knowledge will be in your head." 99% of people would go for the second option, because they almost want the answer through osmosis.
"I've bought the book. I've requested a copy of the book. I want the answer. But, goddamn, you're telling me I've got to read the damn thing as well?"
Stuart: People would, ideally, just want the answer. So, the table of contents is a way of allowing a certain set of people, those who are the maybe slightly warmer, anyway, who are more likely to take an action, to open it. See enough in the table of contents that it does ... that they know it's answering their question, and then just cut to the chase and see what the next step is.
That table of contents really should be, the words that are on there, think about them in terms of bullets on slides in presentations. The content that goes in each chapter after that, the meat that fills up those areas a little bit of the pie. Then, that is what is in that chapter. That's the extent of the scope that you need for that particular chapter.
As long as you've done a good job of outlining one chapter to the next, to the next, churn can get down like that. Almost writing each chapter independently of the others, obviously you want some kind of coherent connection from one to the next.
Stuart: But, stopping and writing it in that way, which is the same way that we suggest people that work with us. We do the outline call. The outlining call is really all about creating that chapter structure, because we know when we get on the phone to record, that we want to lead you from one to the next, to the next, not allow you to ... it happens occasionally, that sometimes we'll get on the call and say, "Hey, Betsy, that's great. We're on today to talk about how to run a great school. What would you say the key important piece is when thinking about starting that journey?" And then, 10 minutes later, someone has blasted through all of their content. They've hit on all of the bullet points, said about two words on each, then a weird breath. We'll think, "Right, okay ... well ..."
Stuart: Now what? Obviously, I even done this a few times, we're good at spotting that. We step in earlier to try and stop people. But, having the main chapter structure, thinking of each chapter independently, having the bullet points below that, of specifically the points that we want to hit to make sure nothing's forgotten. But, just as important is the kind of negative space, is the things that aren't on that list, and the things that you shouldn't get sidetracked on talking about. Sometimes taking them section by section is an easier way to add the scope constraint and make sure you'll be more likely to get through it.
Betsy: Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah. It can go fast. We can lose track very quickly.
Stuart: We do it on the podcast quite a lot. You hear it on other podcasts a lot. It's so easy, because it, particularly when you've been in business for any length of time, your mind makes all of the connections. You kind of see the whole jigsaw puzzle as you're talking through it. You know that this piece here connects to that piece there, even if it's something behind the scenes that the reader won't necessarily know or isn't far enough into the journey, or doesn't have to care about yet. Because it is fresh in your mind, because the connection's there, because you know ... maybe it is something that's very important. But, it might be very important, but not very relevant at the moment. So, unless you are giving yourself that scope, again, rabbit holes to fall down and 1000 words later, you'll be stuck in a situation of, "I can't dig myself out of this."
Okay, that's the second level. The third level, I mean, really, is just the development of that, that we just talked about. Some of the things that haven't been done, if you're in the level four, five six. Then, have been done when you have sort of a clear scope in mind, in terms of what the outline is and what you are trying to talk about. A specific deadline in mind, so that you know that there's a hard date here that I have to hit.
This one can be a bit challenging on both ends of the spectrum, because sometimes people will give themselves a hard deadline, and not allow enough time to actually get through the process, which can be a problem, particularly if you're making kind of external commitments to things. On the other end of the spectrum, it can be very difficult for people to ... there's a saying that I both misquote and misattribute, of ... I think it's Douglas Adams saying, "I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they go washing by."
Setting yourself a deadline that is artificial, that is a constraint you're just putting on yourself, is sometimes difficult as well. At both ends of the spectrum, a time based deadline can be a challenge. But, without it, particularly on the open ended side of the spectrum, it can be very difficult not to dial in. If you know that you've got ... that you've got to hit a particular point in time, that will stop you writing, because otherwise, if you don't hit that, then there could be consequences. They could be real, again, or artificial.
A couple of the tricks around that might be an event that's coming up. If you know that you're speaking at an event, or you're visiting an event as a guest, if you've got the opportunity to get in front of a particular client that's of high value, if you know that there are dates out there, so, in the retail space, the lead up to Christmas is obviously big. In the real estate space, the spring market is a big one. If you're in a college community, then coming through the summer into the fall, that's going to be a big one. All of these things, they are markers in the sand.
It can go down to really artificial things. This is maybe 18 months ago, I'm talking to someone about an artificial constraint, 'cause they couldn't think of anything legitimate. So, we went onto ... There's a website. I can't remember what it's called. But it's got all of the national holidays, and then the made-up national holidays, like I don't know, Grandparents Day, or National Salad Day, or whatever-
Betsy: Right, right. Pizza day, yeah, yeah.
Stuart: Yeah, National Pizza day. So, Speak Like a Pirate Day. In order just to give yourself a deadline, if you knew that you were writing a book that was very relevant to wooden legs or pirate costumes, or parrot sales, then you know that one of the biggest days in the year, apart from Halloween, maybe, might be National Speak Like a Pirate Day. If you could write the book on How to Dress Like a Pirate for Less, and launch it ready for National Speak Like a Pirate Day ... I really don't know why I've chosen this as an example.
Betsy: Right. That's great, though. I love it.
Stuart: Apart from the fact that I've got a great pirate joke that I'll tell at the end. If you knew that that was a particular point, you could, quite possibly, get a whole load of local press. I don't know when National Speak Like a Pirate Day is, but I'm quite sure it's around a day that nothing else is going on. So, you could get a whole load of local press, and maybe even national press, because you wrote the book that was associated with the day. Particularly if it's a quiet news cycle anyway, you can have a huge opportunity to leverage that deadline.
So, just thinking about artificial constraints, there's a whole opportunity to create something. I'm a firm believer that your mind can't tell the difference between reality and a lack of reality as many modern situations tell us. But, you can convince yourself that a deadline is very important, even if you begin by thinking that it's not particularly important.
All of these things, having a hard deadline, even if the Dress Like a Pirate book was half the thing that you really wanted to do. Even if you never talked about particular types of eye patches, or the history of one pirate costume versus the another pirate costume. The fact that you get something out there, on a quiet news day, before National Speak Like a Pirate Day actually exists, is gonna be a thousand times more effective than getting something out there that does talk about all of these particular eye patches, that does talk about the history of the costume, four weeks after National Speak Like a Pirate Day happened. I mean, even just as we're talking about it, it's very easy to kind of conceptualize what the difference and the benefit is of getting the 80% thing out there on a good day, versus getting the 100, or the 90% thing out there on a bad day.
Betsy: True. Very true.
Just for those of you who are listening who might be interested, International Talk Like a Pirate Day will be Wednesday, September 19th.
Stuart: So there you go. So look at that as a ... Okay. I really didn't know this beforehand. But, when you think about that, we're March 16th now. So that's six months away. If you wanna put in a ... if you run a business where that's even remotely important, and assumedly then, if you were talking about pirate costumes, then Halloween, six weeks after that is gonna be an important date as well. The true fit can be the interest and the importance, and the recognition or the mind share that you're gonna get value writing the book, "How to Dress Like a Pirate for Less, launching that September the 16th. That's two weeks after, or a couple of weeks after, depending on where you are, all the kids are back to school. Everyone's been back to work. The excitement or relief of getting back to work has kind of died off. Christmas and Thanksgiving's still a long way away. Being able to grab mind share in the middle of September, for something that is gonna precede your funnel for Halloween, two weeks later, that's phenomenally more beneficial.
Especially when you think about, and I'm really trying not to talk too fast. But, especially when you think about-
Betsy: But you kind of got excited about this.
Betsy: There's that patch.
Stuart: When you think about it, and again, I don't think that we've actually talked to any costumer companies about wanting to write a book, but, as you're listening to this, if you know someone, then feel free to give them this as your idea, and look like a genius, as long as you tell them to write the book with us, I guess.
Everyone else is running ads. I imagine, if we were to look at Google Trends, or AdWords, or Facebook Ad prices, in the lead up through the end of September, through October towards November, and Halloween, then it's gonna ramp hugely as it gets towards that point, because everyone else is thinking, "We're two weeks out. We need to start running some ads." It's gonna spike through the roof.
If you can steal all of that traffic in the middle of September, when no one else is thinking about it, but people are slowly starting to think about Halloween, or, even if they don't come onboard in September, if they've seen an ad or seen something that talks about How to Dress Like a Pirate for Less, a week or two before, there's a huge opportunity to steal that traffic at a time when no one else is doing it.
For anyone that's on the More Cheese Less Whiskers mailing list, the Thursday broadcast that we put out, which is a snippet from an earlier show, went out on Thursday, obviously. That was talking about a More Cheese Less Whiskers episode we did last year sometime. It was a lawn care company. We were talking to them as one does the free treatment type postcards and flyers, at the beginning of the season, in the spring. That's when the majority of the activity goes on, 'cause everyone's starting to think about, "Spring is coming back now. Winter's passing." Everyone's starting to think about their lawns, mosquitoes, and things like that starting to come out a little bit later.
But what if, instead of spending exactly the same money, instead of offering a free treatment at the beginning of the season, what if you offered a free treatment at the end of the season? Almost like winterizing your car. What's another example? Like vacation rental homes, summer vacation homes, kind of winterizing them and shutting them down ready for the end of season. There's a certain crossover into lawns.
Everyone else is talking about spring and going into it, highly competitive time. If you talked about winter, and winterizing, and the steps that you can take now, to make next year's lawn the best it can possibly be, then there's the opportunity of stealing the customers six months before anyone else. Those same people are going to have the same lawns when it comes to spring. But, you've had the opportunity to give them a beneficial treatment at the end of the season, and continue the conversation with them through the fall. Sending them maybe a monthly check-in to say, "Okay. Now we're going into November. The thing about your lawn that you want to do in November is such and such. We're going into December. The thing you want to do now ..." so when it does come to spring, everyone else is rushing around looking for new customers. You're looking to engage existing customers, people that you've already gotten a relationship with, people who already know, "I can trust you."
This pirate book opportunity, to kind of have that artificial constraint is a way of getting something in there to a deadline that means you're going to get it done. There's a huge benefit of being slightly off cycle to everyone else. Again, the main thing is, trying to dial it, now, back into this particular mindset. You've given yourself a deadline that means it's much more likely that you're going to hit it rather than just being open ended and thinking, "Well, I don't really have a deadline in mind."
Betsy: That was a great example there.
Stuart: That was a great little rabbit hole where it's fine to fall into when you're on a podcast, 'cause it's any words.
That's mindset three and ... sorry, two and three. The middle ones where most people are likely to sit. We'll quickly touch on ... Actually, most important thing, before we move on, do you want to hear the pirate joke?
Betsy: Yes, please.
Stuart: This is so silly. Why are pirates called pirates?
Betsy: No idea. Why?
Stuart: Because the argh. Right? Okay. That'll make sense to all three of you out there listening to the podcast.
Okay. That might not make it through the edit, by the way. So if anyone does hear that joke-
Betsy: No, that has to stay. That has to stay.
Stuart: Okay. At least people can't see you blushing when you're on a podcast.
Betsy: Right, exactly.
Stuart: Mindset number four, the fourth stage of the Beneficial Constraints mindset. This really is the ... This is really where you've got it dialed in. You start with the end in mind. You know the purpose of where you're leading people to, what you want them to do next. More specifically, you know how the book's going to work, in terms of the funnel or campaign that you're using it for. And, all of these things tie in together, so you know when you need it for, because of the campaign. You know what you need it for, because of the target market. You know why you need it, because of where you're leading them. You've got all of this scope dialed in, the constraints dialed in of the what it is, the when it is.
That allows you to go back to the outline that we talked about before, the table of contents. Make sure that, at the top level of the table of contents level, it makes sense, so someone just looking at that one page by itself has a clear understanding of the thing that you'll say, the thing that you're communicating. There's a very clear beginning, middle, and end.
At each level below that, you've got a clear constraint about what it is you're talking about. There are maybe four or five bullet points within each chapter that are the key things you want to hit. That gives you a scope constraint, because you've got the discipline. You know that you don't want to go outside of that, because ... not that it's irrelevant, not that it's important, but it's just not important for this particular thing that you're doing.
You've got the time constraint of knowing when you want it to get out of there. At the top level, all of those things are dialed in. The outcome of that is, not that you can pat yourself on the back that you've scored highly on this mindset, but the outcome is, it is 100 times more likely that you're actually going to get it done, rather than thinking, "This is something that I should do. This is something that I want to do. This is something that I've started. This is something that I've been doing for two years, and still it's not finished."
Dialing in with the beneficial constraints is really the best way of making sure that this is going to be a project that you're likely to get finished. It'll get out there. Do its job of work. Collecting leads. Starting conversations. Engaging existing clients. Being a tool that you can give to existing customers as a referral for their friends to give their friends value that automatically, or eventually, leads back to you. Working with complementary noncompeting businesses so that you can give them something of value, so that you can spread your message. You can be known as the economical pirate outfit guy, or girl.
All of these things, none of it makes any sense unless the book's actually out there, doing some work and engaging those people.
Betsy: That was a lot of great information today.
Stuart: That was quite a lot. I just looked at the clock. We've definitely past 30 minutes. We were saying that we were just going to do.
Betsy: The idea of a 30 minute podcast just kind of gets thrown out every week.
Stuart: Maybe we should just stop saying it. The problem is, this is ... maybe there's a slight concern about saying that it's a 45 minute or 60 minute podcast, because then we might be an hour and a half in, and getting it dialed in.
Betsy: Yeah, we'll stick to 30 minutes. That's fine.
Stuart: This is the example we're talking about, beneficial constraints. We don't mind talking ... I think, psychologically, we've kind of got the expectation that, an hour is the hard deadline, because that is when it really starts getting long. Leading up to that, the constraint that we put on ourselves for the show is more around energy and subject matter, rather than anything else.
We know we've got ... We know that the scope constraint is less important, because as the podcast recorded and goes out, there's not additional work that needs to be done to it, unlike a book. The more you talk and the more you try and put into a book, the more you have to edit. The more you have to make sure that it's cohesive all the way through. So, one minute's worth of talking in a book sentence is five minutes’ worth of effort down the track.
I think it's worth thinking about constraints in that way, of the relevant constraints and the less relevant constraints. Time ... as long as we don't go past an hour, but time is less of an issue here. Scope is ... we still, obviously, try and keep it dialed, relatively dialed in, at least. But the impact of not being quite so dialed in, there's more of a benefit than there is a constraint or a cost here, because if we talk about things that are slightly broader, then it will give more of an example to people. Hopefully, as you're listening to this, more of the things that we say will resonate and give you that enthusiasm, encouragement to get it done. Whereas, in the book sense, it's problematic, because it means further effort down the track.
That's another way of thinking about the constraints as well, and why it's important. It's not necessarily important because of a day, or a deadline, or the fact that in your table of contents you said that you were going to do this and not that, those things aren't so relevant. It's the getting out there that's ... It's just one part of getting out there. It's the getting out there that's important.
Betsy: Exactly. All right.
Stuart: All righty.
Betsy: Very good.
Stuart: I was going to say, I'm a bit ... I needed a drink, so I was going to make some coffee. But actually, we have some good examples today. I'm a little bit amped up on the enthusiasm of looking for someone that wants to write a costume book now. So maybe I'll make decaf, not something else going into the bloodstream.
Anything else that we haven't mentioned that you can think about?
Betsy: No, I think we got it. I think, if anybody's following ... I hear from people that they're listening to this, and they're following along. Somebody was able to quote our purposeful outline conversation today, when I was having a conversation without someone. It's fun. It's great to hear people that are really absorbing this information. I think, this specifically, if you weren't thinking about a book, you're really thinking about one now, I think.
There's a lot of valuable information that we've provided here.
Betsy: One of my favorite subjects is Beyond Your Book. That'll be great next week. We get that a lot. I think we'll have a lot of examples. That one may be close to an hour, next week, as well.
Stuart: Yeah, you know what? We might need to spin that over a couple of shows. We'll see how it goes. Maybe, 'cause there's so many examples as well. It's so broad. We've talked about some of them in the past, and they've come up as we've been talking about things. It'll be good to get them in a specific show.
As you're listening to this, then, hopefully it's given you either A, the motivation to ... or some reminders of how you can get this done yourself. Obviously, we think the best, and quickest, and most successful way of doing it, is jumping in and doing it with us. If this has pushed anyone toward that decision, then jump over to 90minutebooks.com and follow the get started link. We'll be here to guide you through all of those steps of the purpose and the outline, and then the content afterwards.
To check out the show notes for this, head over to 90minutebooks.com/podcast. This is episode 54.
As I mentioned in the beginning, if you want to be a guest and we could go brainstorm some ... I've had some evil schemes for your book, head over to 90minutebooks.com/guest, or there will be a guest link in the podcast section of the website. Fill in some details, and we can get you on. Equally, if you got any either A, suggestions for the show, something that you want us to talk about, or B, questions about the process generally and how your book might come together, or the audience that you can target, then just drop us an email to support@90minutebooks. Betsy and I both see those. We'll be able to get back in touch and follow up.
Betsy: Sounds good.
Stuart: Perfect. Thanks again for your time, Betsy. It's a great show, as always.
Stuart: Thanks everyone listening. We'll catch you next time.
Betsy: Take care.