Have you ever wondered why some people quickly become recognized as a leading expert in their field with all the goodies that go with that: the fame, the fortune, the opportunity, while others in the same exact industry struggle just to get by?
What is the difference here? Why do some experts, authors, business people or just people with an inspirational message, why do some people get book deals and licensing deals, and speaking tours and spokesperson contracts, the list goes on and on, while others wait and wait and wait, perhaps years, to get invited somewhere, anywhere or find a publisher for their book or whatever it is? Well, Janet Switzer is going to be giving you the answers to those questions tonight.
She is a woman whose work I’m sure you already know. She is the secret business advisor behind many of the biggest named experts you have already heard of, Jack Canfield, Marc Victor Hansen, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series itself, Jay Abraham, Les Brown, Yanik Silver, and Laurie Beth Jones.
All of these stars have been her high profile clients. In fact, they have paid her a fortune to create new profit centers for their businesses. She has never revealed her system for building entire publishing and media empires until now. We are getting her to reveal how these empires are built tonight on this call, exclusive to Healthy, Wealthy nWise.
Janet is also the New York Times and USA Today’s best selling co-author of The Success Principle – How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. It has been published in 17 languages around the world. The co-author is none other than Jack Canfield from Chicken Soup for the Soul fame.
She is also the creator of the Instant Income series of small business books, multi-media training courses, public seminars, coaching and distance learning products. All of this stuff is designed to help small business owners enjoy an immediate cash flow for their business and to develop long term revenue streams.
She has her own book coming out in March 2007 from McGraw Hill Publishers called Instant Income, A Strategy to Bring in Cash. What is really cool is that she is also the narrator and feature income expert in the upcoming motion picture documentary, You Are Pre-Approved, documenting personal finance and debt crisis in America. It will be released in theatres in January, 2007.
Janet is literally one of America’s most respected authorities in the knowledge products industry. She helps people who are experts in their field attain worldwide status and million dollar incomes by building media companies and publishing empires around their expertise or their inspirational message.
RIC THOMPSON: Guys, I have heard her talk, so let me be blunt. If you have any expertise or any inspirational message, you are about to get a whole notepad full of great stuff from this call tonight. So Janet, if you are ready, I want to just jump right in and get this going.
Most people, when they think of this kind of broad category of just being published, they think about authoring a book, which may or may not be a good fit for people. You have a much different philosophy, though, on this. What does it mean to be published and how do people eventually become these celebrity authors?
JANET SWITZER: Well, Ric, there are actually 52 different income streams available to anyone with an expertise or with an inspirational message or with information that they want to share. One of those profit streams are books, but also ebooks and subscription audio series, multi-media programs, keynote speaking, speaking internationally, hourly consulting, licensing, spokesperson contracts.
There are huge, staggering revenues to be made from a lot of these profit centers that are available, again, to any one who has some expertise to share with the world, but also anybody who wants to use information products, or what we call knowledge products also, as marketing tools to help their business.
If you have a bricks and mortar business and you need some extra marketing assistance, one of the easiest things you can do is start producing some of these intellectual properties that will help market you and your services and your expertise. There are 52 different income streams of what I call beyond the book revenue.
Not only that, I mentioned bricks and mortar businesses. A lot of those businesses’ profit margins are not that great. Maybe they are well under 20 or maybe well under 10% profit margins in some industries, but information products by contrast, carry profit margins of about 85 to 95%. You think about the idea of producing an audio CD of your material, maybe a workshop that you taught, a one hour teleseminar like this one, where it cost just a few dollars to produce a CD.
You record it, produce it, package it, mail it out and yet you can charge maybe $29.00 or $39.00 even for that CD because it has specific expertise that is very useful by the people buying it. Again, 85 to 95% profit margins. It’s a great industry to be in, a great business. But we know that celebrity authors, specifically, we talked about just being published versus building an entire information empire and entire media company.
This is really what celebrity authors do. They build media companies around their expertise and around their market presence. They are really smart. They turn their expertise into these long term profit streams, some of them I talked about licensing, spokesperson contracts, joint ventures, co-branding deals, and other very, very smart business strategies.
A lot of times, the book figures in maybe a couple of years down the road or maybe it is just incidental to the rest of their empire. In other words, their book is not their business. It’s not their entire business. Too many authors out there approach the publishing industry or their publishing career by just writing a book. That is actually one of the worse things you can do because, again, the most successful and wealthiest authors out there treat their book publishing deal, not just as a book, but as a business.
They create these tremendous additional streams of revenue beyond the book revenue, in addition to, maybe, their radio show, their TV show, other kinds of things. The other thing that celebrity authors do in building a media empire, very, very important, is they actually retain a lot of rights in their publishing deals. When you go back to New York for these pitch meetings and you finally get a deal, your agent negotiates for you and you have a dollar figure, an advance on royalties that you like that you’re willing to take.
The first thing the publisher is going to do is send over a contract. They are going to send over their standard contract and that locks up virtually every single right you have, not just around your book, but also around all of the other elements of your career that we’re talking about tonight. Also, in some cases, it locks up your content, the rights to your content.
You have to be very, very careful. Celebrity authors are smart and they actually negotiate. They take months sometimes to negotiate these agreements to make sure that they retain rights so that they can go do radio and television, they can create workbooks, they can create audio series, they can create multi-media packages, they can do co-venture deals on coaching because again they haven’t given up all of those rights to a publisher, which by and large is not going to use those rights anyway.
They don’t need the rights to your content which may be actually the underlying basis for your entire professional career. You need to be very, very careful and be smart like a lot of these celebrity authors are. What we find, though, is when we approach it this way it’s a lot easier to see the vision for these kinds of businesses versus, again, just approaching it like a book, because we know that the book is not your business.
Too many authors, again just to reiterate, they approach their publishing career just from the standpoint of a book when really they could be building something much greater than that.
RIC THOMPSON: Let’s kind of bring this down to everybody because there are at least hundreds of people listening, possibly up to a thousand people listening, and they all have one thing in common. They’re all good at something. They have some sort of expertise. Let’s bring it down to them. How does someone develop these beyond the book income streams?
JANET SWITZER: One of the things that you need to do is that you need to start with a business topic that has, what I call, legs to it. That is something that we say in the business world. That business really has legs to it. That means it’s going somewhere. There are other profit streams beyond just that one activity that you’re focusing on.
In the publishing industry, it works the same way. There are certain topics and subject matter, certain niche markets that have legs to them. For example, a lot of the business categories, the niche categories, how to be successful in the XYZ business. That is a topic, a subject matter, and also a market that has some legs to it.
One of the things that I always look at is what does the market need? What is the market looking for? What problems does the market have? How can you become the guru that they want to spend money with because you have the solution to their problems? So many authors out there, they just say, “I’m just going to package up what I know and then I am going to try to figure out how to market it to the market place.”
When in reality what you ought to do is go out to the market place, do the research on what problems they have, what solutions they’re looking for, what kind of things they are willing to spend money on, is it coaching, is it training, is it a book, is it one-on-one advice, what are they willing to spend money on? Then become the guru.
Actually turn your expertise, put a certain spin on your expertise, so that you’re selling the market what they already want to buy. This is a very, very logical approach, but it’s an approach that a lot of authors don’t take, unfortunately. Again, package up your material so that you are the guru, you’re the business genius that the market already wants to spend money with.
If you have a personal growth or self-help topic, a lot of people on the phone tonight have that. Maybe it is inspirational or motivational, it helps people see the vision for their lives, gives them actual tools for making changes in their habits, their attitudes, their approaches to life, you can certainly turn your expertise into an empire the same way.
Of course, we know that the personal growth category is a huge category. There are tons of seminars going on all of the time. Thousands and thousands of books written in the personal growth, self-help category and it’s just as easy to identify a niche market and start developing your material into the kind of solutions that the market is already looking for.
Now, one of the things that we know is that most authors, unfortunately, they really never develop their brand, their topic, their material, their content in a way that lets the market access them in a lot of different ways. A perfect example is a restaurant consultant that I was advising just a couple of months ago. He had expertise in helping restaurants market themselves better so that they developed a very loyal clientele on a localized basis.
He worked with small chain restaurants that maybe would have five or six different restaurants in a geographic area. He was really, really great at developing these marketing strategies, these customer loyalty strategies. But guess what? You know, restaurants need a lot of other help. They need a lot of other information, a lot of other assistance.
They need help with inventory control and buying techniques and hiring wait staff and kitchen staff and cost containment. All of these kinds of things that the business owner, the restaurateur himself or herself, needs personal coaching, maybe life coaching, or business coaching to make sure that they achieve the leadership skills to run the restaurant properly.
He didn’t necessarily have all those skills, but he could, in time, create actual information products or knowledge products, either by acquiring that skill himself or by going out and joint venturing with other experts to maybe co-author publications or products with them or co-produce seminars with them. In other words, that business, his business of being a restaurant consultant definitely had legs.
Not only is it a huge market, the market is sizable because there is everything from fast food restaurants all up to the very high end super-expensive restaurants. Not only was the market very broad, but there was also a lot of legs to his business in that there was a lot of different kind of information products that he could produce.
That is a model that we really look for in building these information empires based on someone’s expertise. Again, it is not just your own expertise; it’s other peoples’ expertise that you can bring in. Once you start creating clients who like what you have to say, customers who, again, are spending money with you because you’ve produced materials that they need.
That is something that we do to build these empires. Again, the number one best selling kind of information is actually this business of how-to information that I was talking about. Not only in terms of units that can be sold, but also the dollar amount that can be charged for individual products and services. In some of these niche markets, by the way, we can charge as much as $5,000, $10,000, even $20,000, $25,000 for seminar programs, coaching programs.
Of course, when you get into corporate consulting or consulting contracts, the number goes well beyond $25,000. But, again, the best selling information out there is how to be successful at the XYZ business, you fill in the blank. A very, very important distinction for authors who are considering taking their expertise and building it into an empire is where do I start?
The place to start is to put this spin on it, research what the market already wants to buy, the solution they’re already looking for, and become that solution for them. That is the easiest way to get going.
RIC THOMPSON: Fantastic. So, basically, what we’re talking about here is kind of a simple process if people take their passions and turn them into profits. They take their passions, they take their strengths, they take their expertise and they find some way to help somebody else out. They find a way to solve somebody else’s problem.
JANET SWITZER: Absolutely. Whenever I take on a new consulting client, I always ask, without using the word “everyone”, who is the market for your expertise? Sometimes those questions really shock the client into silence. Usually, they try to convince me that their information can really help everyone, but I never buy that.
The information might be helpful to everyone, but everyone is not the most logical buyer for the information. When I ask who the market is, what I am really asking is who the buyers will be. Which groups of people have the problems that you can solve and who has the money to spend on your solutions? Are there a number of other people out there who are selling similar type of information, who could be joint venture partners for you that are already operating in that field, people that you could create future alliances with.
The other question to ask is, “Are the buyers easy to find?” A lot of times, particularly in the personal growth category, the success category, inspirational self help, those buyers are everywhere and nowhere at the same time. They are everywhere, they are in the mass market, what we call the mass market, but they are difficult to pin down.
In some of these niche markets, which I really like dealing in, you can identify these people either through their buying habits, their industry affiliations, their professional certifications, maybe their career choices, the magazines and the newsletters that they subscribe to and read, and other kinds of relationships that they already have in place.
That’s, really, the approach to finding the market and really the ease of contact with your potential buyer is what constitutes a viable market. Remember I said earlier that some markets just have legs where other markets don’t. This was one of the distinctions of a market that has legs. That ease of contact constitutes a viable market.
By the way, these buyers, and the points of contact where you can find them, really should be defined very, very early on in your empire building process, because once you do define them, then you can begin to devise the marketing programming, but also the products that will reach them and convince them to buy. That is really the most important distinction of getting out to the market place.