When I was in first grade, my teacher saw me browsing the titles in the 4th grader section of the library. She tried to guide me back to the beginning readers, but I was undeterred. I wanted to read Charlotte's Web.
Mrs. McKellar wasn't convinced, so she opened to a random page, pointed to a paragraph, and asked me to read it. I did, adding character voices as I read along.
She never stopped me from reading ever again.
So yeah, I'm a reader. I'm often a double fisted (or more) reader. I have books everywhere, much to my husband's dismay. I also get asked to read and review new books from time to time. So, it made sense to me to give you the opportunity to see what I'm reading, what I like (and don't) and why.
Thus, this new "book of the week" post comin' atcha!
That's the premise behind Mike's book, Get Different. Mike Michalowicz has a brilliant, linear mind. He can distill anything into a useable framework or system - his past books (Fix This Next, Clockwork, Profit First), all illustrate this very well. But Mike's also good at making that framework understandable and USEABLE by just about everyone. So OF COURSE he developed a framework for marketing.
Justin Wise is the innovator of this system, and he and Mike bring it to life in this book. It's rich with case studies and examples - including from Mike's own business - to help you see how to implement and execute on the Different Is Better framework. The framework is simple - Differentiate - Attract - Direct (D.A.D) - but that doesn't make it easy.
I gave this book 4 stars because the opening chapter is SO bro-markety that it feels out of alignment with everything else Mike has ever written. It's definitely DIFFERENT, but I'm not a big fan of the guy he mentions, so the pot-smoking, pool playing, and name-dropping felt icky and not what I've come to expect from Mike's work. I'm no prude, mind you, it just felt out of integrity with the fun-loving, wise-cracking, caring approach Mike takes in his books.
But if you an get past that first chapter (and I did), you'll find a framework that's easy to understand and simple to use. Notice, I didn't say EASY to use. You'll have to test, tweak, and experiment to "find your different." But that's what marketing is all about anyway, so Mike just gives you permission to do more of it. The forms and instructions are very straightforward. It's easy to plug in your customer information and start testing/playing around with it. But you've gotta DO the work. You've gotta reach out to folks to confirm what sets you apart in the eyes of your best customers. You've got to iterate and evolve, too, because different today is samey-same tomorrow.
Overall, it's a solid read and, while I got an advanced (and autographed!) copy from Mike as part of his street team, I also bought several copies for my clients. It's a doable, understandable approach to marketing your business in a way that WORKS.
Confession time: I have sort of a business crush on Mr. Franklin. I stumbled across his first book, Produced by Faith, just as I was finishing work on my own book, The Secret Watch. His collaborator, Tim Vandehey was a friend of my editor, and I was actually checking out Tim's work when I came across DeVon. I read his book, and immediately fell in love with his vision for spiritual success in a secular world - that comes from staying true to yourself (and how God designed you).
I also saw how he and I were up to the same thing in the entertainment world, but coming at it from opposite ends of the spectrum. And yes, I secretly hoped he would read my book and decide to make it into a movie, but I digress.
DeVon is inside the industry, making decisions, policies, and flipping the script on how business gets done in Hollywood. I'm on the outside, working with the very people that haven't had a chance because of the way the old regime operated - to learn how to "pick themselves" instead of waiting for some big break. We're both working to change the face of entertainment media for the better, so it's only natural that I was a big fan from the start. Where DeVon's first book focuses on the inner journey of the movie that is your life, The Hollywood Commandments is the next installment - how to be yourself inside a machine that may try to make you anything but.
Franklin is a devout Christian, but don't let that dissuade you from reading this book. It is filled with gold when it comes to navigating the rough waters of career success - whether you're in Hollywood, CA or Hollywood, AL (population 1000), whether you're in entertainment or animal training. It's not what you do, or where you do it that matters, it's who you are as you're doing it.
Franklin's book centers on ten "commandments" for staying true to yourself (and your faith) in a secular world. He serves up a lot of common knowledge concepts - like over promise and under deliver - so in that respect, it will feel as familiar as many self-help books on the market. But, as Franklin points out in Commandment #8, Your Difference Is Your Destiny. Franklin's difference is his years behind-the-scenes rising through the ranks in Hollywood, making mistakes, learning as he goes, and doing it all as a person of color and a man of faith to boot.
While Franklin never makes race a point in the book, it shouldn't be ignored. It's tough to rise up in Hollywood, and there's still a lot of disadvantages for a person of color. To see this, his third book, speak so plainly about what it really takes to succeed in anything (and have it come from a place of hard-won experience), speaks highly of his work ethic and how true Franklin is to walking his talk. He came to Hollywood on a Divine prompting, knowing no one, and trusting the process. He went from intern to assistant to eventually owning his own production company, paying his dues along the way. This is the lesson of persistence and discipline that Franklin espouses throughout the book.
Watch the entire review, where we'll dig into the specifics of the commandments, and how they apply to you regardless of your faith walk. Here's the replay:
First things first:
I'm THRILLED to announce that the Creative Freedom Entrepreneur Types made their public debut this week over at Charlie Gilkey's Productive Flourishing blog. If you're a creative and you're not familiar with Charlie's work, I highly recommend checking him out.
My guest post is an excerpt from my book, detailing the 3 different types of creative entrepreneurs, along with the process I used to get clear on my target market (which is what started me on this research journey in the first place). Please take a moment to stop in and leave a comment or share the post. The more creatives that we can reach with this message, the better the world will be. I truly believe that.
Also, my accountability partner, Winnie, just posted my interview for her podcast, where we dive into the nature of assessments in general, and why self-awareness is a powerful tool in building your business. The Let's Talk Tech Show takes the mystery out of all the tech-y tools, platforms, apps, and software that solo-preneurs deal with as they grow their business. If you're a Chaotic creative - or otherwise feel overwhelmed by the tech stuff, Winnie's show is a great place to get some basic understanding in plain English.
Okay, on to this week's episode...
I've known Mike Michalowicz for years now. First as a fan of his work, then as a member of his book launch team, then as an editor of his last book, and one of the first certified Profit First business coaches in the world. Now, I think it's safe to say we're friends. And he's an interesting dude. Like me, he's a guinea pig for all the methods he teaches. As a Linear Cusp creative, he's great at creating and implementing systems, but he's got just enough Fusion in him to make it fun and easy to learn what he teaches. Mike's new book, "Surge: Time the Marketplace, Ride the Wave of Consumer Demand, and Become Your Industry's Big Kahuna," is the next installment of his guinea pig adventures. Using surfing as his framework, SURGE is actually an acronym for the steps you need to take to find and ride your own wave of business success.
Does it work? Watch the episode, then read on:
If you read the book, you'll see plenty of case studies supporting Mike's process - including examples from his own business. As I mentioned in the video, I was a smidge disappointed about the lack of specifics around the "cool kids" strategy, until I realized I did it myself, without really trying.
I've been doing the research on the Creative Freedom Entrepreneur Type spectrum for about 18 months. Interviewing creatives from around the world, analyzing the data, and testing theories. Back in April, Charlie posted on Facebook saying he didn't resonate with particular a social media platforms. I said that it made perfect sense to me because his creative entrepreneur type wasn't a good fit for those platforms. That got him (and a few others) curious, so I explained a little about the research I was doing. Charlie was intrigued enough to have an email convo with me that led to this week's guest post on his blog (and with a little luck, an interview on his podcast later this year).
Luck is where preparation meets opportunity - which typically looks like work! (Tweet this)
Charlie has a solid track record in the realm of creative entrepreneurship. He's one of the "cool kids" in the marketplace. But I had no idea how to get on his radar until HE said something where I had an opening.
There are a couple of things that you need to understand:
This was an organic way to "reach the cool kids" - and it worked. Will it continue to work? Well, I have a few more "cool kids" to check out before I can let you know!
One of my favorite shows on PBS is "Finding Your Roots" hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. It's always fun to learn about the ancestors and personal histories of some of the most well-known people of our time. I really enjoy getting to know how these people came to be who they are through the stories of their ancestors.
I believe that who we are is largely colored by the choices we make, and that includes the choices of our ancestors, since without some of the choices they made, we might not be alive today. Those immigrants, tireless workers, and visionary family members made a way for us in the world. It's important that we recognize and honor that part of them that lives on in us.
So when Nely Galan asked me to be part of her book launch team, how could I refuse? Nely is a Cuban-born immigrant who made a name for herself as the first Latina president of a U.S. television network. Her book, Self Made: Becoming empowered, self-reliant, and rich in every way is now a New York Times best-seller, and in it, she shares not only the story of her success, but also the stories of dozens of other women who are creating their own way through the power of entrepreneurship.
This week's episode is a new segment I'm trying out this season - book reviews. I read a LOT, so it seemed fitting to share some of what I'm reading in a meaningful way (and save you a headache or two if the book is a bomb). I'm sharing the highlights and lowlights of Nely's new book, along with some childhood photos, of every stage, including the time when do babies talk properly (and yes, a baby picture, too).
In short, Self Made is an excuse-buster of a book. Nely gives you every angle on how to carve out a space for yourself as an entrepreneur, using case studies from other entrepreneurs who are doing it themselves. She even includes a fun story about Jeremy Renner (#TeamCap). If you'd like to win a copy of Self Made, just answer one of these questions in the comments:
I'll compile all the comments from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and my blog, and randomly select one winner, who will be notified via email.
Earlier this year, I was one of the lucky folks that got an advanced copy of It's Your Business: 183 Essential Tips That Will Transform Your Small Business. It's a book written by JJ Ramberg, Lisa Everson, and Frank Silverstein, and ripped from the show "Your Business" on MSNBC. The book features immediately actionable tips and ideas from entrepreneurs. It reads like a resource guide or a reference book, and it's sitting on my bookshelf for handy access. The book covers a range of topics, from start-up to exit planning, and everything in between.
I got a rare chance to interview JJ and get her insight into:
We also dig into JJ's own history as an entrepreneur, as she shares some of her favorite stories and tips from her journey. Due to technical issues, only the audio was available for this program