Mark Victor Hansen, the fabulously successful co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, has said, "Don't wait until everything is just right, it will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less-than-perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful."
Steven E was partners with Chris and Janet Attwood and Mark Victor Hansen in The Enlightened Millionaire Program. Steven took Mark's advice and created a publishing empire that today has more than 12 million stories in print. He is the number-one, bestselling author and creator of the highly regarded Wake Up…Live the Life You Love series, which is one of the fastest-growing book series in the world.
Steven's series has over 20 books in print, and his last 14 books have become bestsellers. Steven is dedicated to teaching people to find their purpose in life. At a young age, he had a dream in the middle of the night that screamed, "Write a book," so he did. Years later, his series is changing millions of lives.
Today Steven is a bestselling author many times over and one of the leading experts in the movie "Pass It On." If you have a favorite inspirational author or speaker, it is likely that Steven E has worked with them. He often says, "Get your life on purpose and the money will follow." He speaks to thousands of people throughout the world on how to become a bestselling author, how to find your purpose in life, and how to develop a passion for what you want to do.
Steven has spent his adult life as an entrepreneur building financially successful businesses. Today, he follows his passions by helping people awaken to their potential on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.
JANET ATTWOOD: Steven, I am really, really happy to have you as our guest tonight.
STEVEN E: Thanks a lot, Janet. I'm happy to be here.
JANET ATTWOOD: We've just kind of been paralleling each other for so many years, haven't we? It's just strange that we're not showing up more often in the same spot. It's like either you were there or I was there a little time before Chris, right?
STEVEN E: Absolutely.
JANET ATTWOOD: It's really fun. I remember when I first met you; you were running a successful fitness center in Laguna Beach, California. How did your passions, the things that matter most to you, lead you to become a book publisher when there you were running a successful fitness center?
STEVEN E: I always said to get your life on purpose at a young age. How this whole book series started is I was sleeping, at age 21, minding my own business, and a loud voice screamed in my head, and it said, "Write a book!" I jumped out of bed, and I thought somebody was in my room playing a joke on me or something was going on. Basically, what happened was it just lit a fire within myself, and since then I've had so much passion to really get out there and share my book, which I called at the time, Wake Up.
I just knew for sure, 100%, that I would end up selling millions and millions of books. At first I couldn't believe that this voice yelled, "Write a book," but I kept on pursuing. Somehow I just never gave up and listened to that inner voice. I know that we all have that inner voice. Some people call it God or your intuitive voice. For myself, I just always listened to that intuitive voice. Go inward and just really follow that guidance that we all have.
I just had that passion that I knew I would find a way, and that's how we created the Wake Up…Live the Life You Love book series. I'll talk a little bit more about it in this conversation, about how we work with teams. Now I realize that everything you do in life, you have to have a team, a team of people to work with. I say I started my life in the fitness industry really finding that I could really change people's lives as working with somebody one-on-one, and then my purpose kept on growing.
Now we're literally touching hundreds of thousands of people's lives through books; now we have CDs and all kinds of different products. It is just so amazing. I do know one thing: once you find that passion within yourself and you find your purpose, that synchronicity comes into your life. The people start showing up in such a magical way to help you with your purpose. Does that answer your question, Janet?
JANET ATTWOOD: You sound just like me. I always say, "When you align with your passions, all the people, places, or things that you need just show right up." You're just talking my language, absolutely. The Wake Up…Live the Life You Love series, what was the story on how you actually started that and made it into what it is? Wait, I want to ask you. I'm in one of these, right?
STEVEN E: Okay.
JANET ATTWOOD: Was I in the first one?
STEVEN E: I think you were in the second book I ever got. Yes, the second book.
JANET ATTWOOD: Why wasn't I in the first one? What's with that?
STEVEN E: Actually, the first one was all by myself. I have to share with you that when I wrote my first book, I really, honestly thought I was going to go out and sell millions of books. I was going to wind up on Oprah, I was going to go out and speak. Now, that is how I relate to so many people in this industry. Actually, I just came back from Mark Victor Hansen's seminar.
What a wonderful seminar, and all these people are running around with their books. However, I know for sure something about half these people. I talk to a lot of them; I say, "What are you going to do about marketing?" Most of them say, "I'm going to get picked up by a big publisher," or "I have a way to get my book out." The fact is, Janet, that out of a million books printed in the last four years, 950,000 books sold less than 99 copies.
JANET ATTWOOD: Wait. Say that again; 950,000?
STEVEN E: Yes, 950,000 books sold less than 99 copies. That means that people like to write books; however, they have zero marketing. Getting back to how the Wake Up…Live the Life You Love got started, I was like everybody else. I thought I was going to go out there and sell millions of books. However, I was all by myself. I didn't know anybody in this industry. I had a book. I was peddling it bookstore to bookstore. I got picked up by a small distributor.
However, I didn't know how to go out there and market, so I went back to the drawing board. My drawing board is going into meditation and asking for that guidance. I asked the question, "How can I get out there? How can I really get out there and start getting my books out to the public?" That's when it came up about my next book, which you came into, Janet. It said go out and get as many people as possible to write a story about living the life they love.
For my second book, basically, I just went around and asked people. I asked them a couple of questions. I said, "Have you ever thought about writing a book?" and 99.9% of people I asked said, "Yes." I said, "Have you?" and they said, "I just don't have time to do it." I said, "Perfect. Can you write me a short story? I'm going to put this book together." For my second book, I went out and I asked 55 people to give me short stories about living the life they love, or the path they are going towards living the life they love.
What happened is I got 55 stories. I hired an editor. She did the editing. I put this book together, and I had a party. At the party, I will never, ever forget-because I had a friend who had a big house-I invited all the 55 people to the party. I think 35 of them could come, so 35 of the 55 came to this party. However, they've got 400 people at this party. Everybody in the book, they invited their friends, their cousins, their aunts, their uncles, because they said, "My book's coming out."
Right then, I had this big party and everybody is signing the books. Everybody is happy, sharing their stories with each other, and I said, "That's it. My purpose isn't about me. My purpose is about helping other people get their work out, getting other people's stories out into the world," because we all have a story. That's when I knew that my purpose was so much bigger than just myself.
When I wrote my first book, it was all about me getting my book out, but the second book was nothing about me. It was about helping other people, getting their stories out. That is how all the Wake Up…Live the Life You Love book series started, and we started a concept that we are now known for in the publishing industry as a way to get published, and that is with 'team publishers.' Do it with a team. That's how it all got started. From there, I still listen to inner guidance that guides me through this.
JANET ATTWOOD: I love this. I was at that party. That was at your fitness center, wasn't it?
STEVEN E: It was, actually.
JANET ATTWOOD: I remember you had it there. Wasn't that it? Was that it?
STEVEN E: Yes. Actually, that was a little bit after, and actually I invited Mark Victor Hansen out to the fitness center. He spoke at the fitness center, and I invited you to that, yes. We had like 250 people at the fitness center.
JANET ATTWOOD: That's so cool.
STEVEN E: It was right afterward, yes.
JANET ATTWOOD: I love this story. Now your books all deal with the importance of passion and purpose. Why did you choose that as the common theme of your books?
STEVEN E: My whole theme is living the life you love, and I really, truly believe that. We all have a purpose. We all have this passion, this passion to get out to the world. We all understand when we go into any kind of customer-service store or we talk to somebody, we usually know when somebody likes their job or not. The whole thing is that when you find that passion within yourself, when you really, truly find it, it's no longer work.
It is more of this burning desire within you that you have to get your work out. It is no longer about money, either. The money is great because the money is only energy to get your purpose even bigger out to the world. What keeps you going every single day is that passion within yourself, because if that's a burning desire-and I know for a fact that we all have it-we just need to sit quietly enough, answer, ask ourselves, and get the answer from within.
What is that that you would completely go out there and do, not for the money, just because you want to really help people on this planet? That's what it's all about, is finding that passion within.
JANET ATTWOOD: I love how self-referral you are, talking about meditation and how you asked yourself. For everyone listening, Steven E, you know you didn't go out and you didn't try to get the answer outside of you. You just got still, and I'm sure you'd agree. Would you agree that all the answers are there? I mean, this is your experience, right?
STEVEN E: Absolutely. Actually, I was just on a call, and there were some pretty great people on this call. I think Mark Victor Hansen, Michael Beckwith, and all these great people were on the call, and Alex Mandossian was coming on the call, and the call was all about who was your biggest mentor. I have to say, I've had some great mentors, but I really sat there in meditation. When I came around, I had Wayne Dyer on my mind; I was going to share about Wayne.
When I came around what came out of me was something that I didn't even know was going to come out of me. What came out of me was my biggest mentor is going inward and that inner guidance that we call God or Spirit or that intuitive voice. That's my biggest mentor. I'm like, "Wow, I just said that?" Truly, we all have the answers within because we're all connected.
JANET ATTWOOD: I love that. Were you the only one who said that one?
STEVEN E: Yes, yes. I thought it was pretty cool because I love Michael, and Michael said, "Martin Luther King." Somehow, I think it was a good fit that we all have that answer within. I think everyone on the phone would agree to that, also.
JANET ATTWOOD: Yes, and I was laughing because I could just hear Michael and Mark just say, "Gosh, I wish I'd have said that." I guess they were just like, "How did he come out with that one?"
STEVEN E: I don't know about that.
JANET ATTWOOD: That is so good. I was going to ask you how you have sold or how you have 14 bestselling books, but I think you answered that one. Is there anything you want to add to that? How did you manage that?
STEVEN E: I think we are at about 19 now. I think that actually, right now, today, we have a Wake Up…Live the Life You Love transformation book that we're taking to the bestseller list right now. Anyway, yes. It's all about this. I always love this, too, because if anybody's on the call right now who's thinking about writing your own book, what I always say, and how we take all the books to the bestseller list, is this.
Let's say you opened your own coffee shop, and you had your own coffee shop, but say it was only you opening this coffee shop. You would have to go out and hire the marketing. You have to sell to people. You have to get ready for Grand Opening. What we do with each book, we put 40 to 50 authors in each book. Our Grand Opening is like if you had a coffee shop, and you had 50 investors come in the coffee shop. Everybody invests into the coffee shop.
On Grand Opening, guess what? All those people are going to be inviting all their friends, family, cousins. You're probably going to have a live band there, and you're going to have thousands of people show up for Grand Opening, because there are 50 of you instead of just one. That's how we bring all the books to the bestseller list, because we team up as a team, and everybody has a short story in the book, but we all claim it's our book because it is.
Once you see the book's on the bestseller list you say, "Wow! I could have never, ever done this on my own. I've done it with a team." That is the concept: we just put a team together, we all market one book around the country, around the world, all together, and that's how we bring them all to the bestseller list, which is very powerful.
JANET ATTWOOD: Is your second book a bestseller?
STEVEN E: No. I didn't do it until my fifth book. With the fifth book we came up with the concept, and it took a while to understand it, so it was my fifth book. I think we are at number 25 now.
JANET ATTWOOD: I love that, that you hung in there, you kept up, and you kept going. That is wonderful. It took five books, five learning curves, right?
STEVEN E: Yes, absolutely.
JANET ATTWOOD: That is very cool.
STEVEN E: Even in the beginning, Janet-and I didn't know it but-even when I wrote my first book when, as you said in the beginning, I was in the fitness industry, what happened, even when I had this first book is this. If you saw this first book, you would crack up because I have long hair on it, I'm in these clouds with my mouth open; you would crack up.
However, with my business, I had this little, small book, but what happened was my business started to prosper more, because when I met people I gave them a book and they said, "Wow! You're a young guy, and you have a book? This is great," and they read it. It was about visualization, about believing in yourself. Even though I wasn't sure at the time, I wanted to go out and sell millions of books, but my business at the time was really prospering, because most people liked that I was an author.
Now, I realize that a book is basically someone's calling card, somebody's calling card to bring more business into your current business that you have. It's a lot better than a business card or a brochure, because usually business cards and brochures go into a trash can. When someone gets a beautiful book, what happens is they're going to keep it, they're going to read it, and they're going to get wisdom from that book. Possibly, they may do business with you, because now you are an author, which is really cool.
JANET ATTWOOD: Also, you're an expert. That's such a big deal, isn't it? It's such a wonderful thing. It just says that you're an expert at what you do, which is so wonderful.
STEVEN E: Yes.
JANET ATTWOOD: How do you manage? This one really, to me, I just I'm so proud of you that you've managed to get all of these mega-bestselling authors like Wayne Dyer, Mark, and Tony Robbins, who is really hard; he's not easy. I know that firsthand. Then you've got Brian Tracy and the other 'greats' to contribute to your books. How in the heck did you do that?
STEVEN E: Yes, and to go on: John Assaraf, T. Harv Eker, Michael Beckwith.
JANET ATTWOOD: Janet Attwood.
STEVEN E: I'll tell you the secret right now, for everybody on the phone right now. This is great, Janet, because this is what you said, "Did I come to that party?" Even in the beginning, when I came in this industry five years ago, when I really came into this industry, I had a magic word. I was pretty successful coming in from the fitness industry, and I had a really good business going on. I came in, and guess what I asked everybody, even the big guys like Mark Victor Hansen and, as you said, Wayne Dyer? When I first saw them, guess what I asked them.
JANET ATTWOOD: Are you in shape?
STEVEN E: No. What I asked them was this, because I watch these seminars. When they come out to speak at seminars, everybody is bombarding them: "Hey, can you do this for me? Can you do this for me?" What I asked, even Mark Victor Hansen when I first met him, was, "Mark, how can I help you?" He says, "What's your name?"
JANET ATTWOOD: Yes. Yes.
STEVEN E: I said, "Steven E. How can I help you?" He says, "What do you do?" I said, "I've got a book out," and then I stopped talking. He said, "I could always use speaking engagements." I said, "Okay, great." The magic thing I did is I went and gathered about 200 or 250 people, and I put this seminar on. I called the office, and I said, "Do you think Mark could come and speak for 250 people? All he'd need to do is come down there and speak. I got the people."
Guess what? Mark came down there and spoke. That's pretty cool, because we all know that putting people in seminars, that's a hard job to put people in seminars. When I first met Mark-and really then Mark turned around and started helping me-is I helped him first. I just recently met Stedman Graham, probably about a year-and-a-half or two years ago, but I said the same thing. Stedman is Oprah's boyfriend, right?
I said the same thing to Stedman. I said, "Stedman, how're you doing?" He says, "Great." "How can I help you?" He says, "Who are you?" I say, "I'm Steven E. How can I help you?" Stedman said, "I'm a paid speaker. I get paid $10,000 to go out and speak to corporations." Guess what I did for Stedman Graham in about three months? I gave him three speaking engagements, so I made him $30,000.
I got him three speaking engagements at $10,000 apiece, so guess what? I get referrals now from Stedman Graham, because I helped him first. Anything in life, ask people how you could help. Don't just ask for help; turn around and take action and really help these people. I do know one thing. If you're still in business, and I don't care what your name is, you're still looking for something.
You may be a great massage therapist. Maybe their neck hurts; maybe if you gave them a massage and helped their neck, helped their body, nutrition, or anything, you have a talent, too, that you could give your talent to some of these greats.
JANET ATTWOOD: What you did was so ultra-brilliant. We talk about this in our Enlightened Secrets program, is that what you did for all of these incredibly mega-successful people, for whom time is so at the wall all the time, is you took off some of the burden. That was so brilliant. That is so brilliant. I love hearing that you did this, because most people are going to them like, "Can you do this for me?" I would say 99% of the people are. What you did was you made their lives easier.
Are they going to want to have you in their life? You bet. Congratulations for being so conscious, because you are. That's what I love about hanging out with you, is you are so awake to other people. That's what this is saying, so good for you.
STEVEN E: Thank you. I appreciate it.
JANET ATTWOOD: I want to ask you, why is it so difficult? Let me see, what question would I like to know? Actually, I want to ask you another question, and I'm going to segue over there. Some of our readers may not feel that they are writers or need to publish a book. Are there advantages, do you think, to being a book author for someone who doesn't necessarily have a drive to write a book?
STEVEN E: Yes. For anybody on the call right now, whatever business that you're in, what is so powerful about having a book and doing it with a team is this. I have to say that not just because I created this Wake Up…Live the Life You Love book series, but I was just like everybody else. I wrote my first book on my own. I found out how hard it was to write a book. Some people spend $20,000, $30,000, $50,000 with their first book, and they say, "I self-publish it." They still spend thousands and thousands of dollars.
Both of our friend-some of you guys may have heard of him-Alex Mandossian said something so clever. He said, "Out of the two ways of publishing, self-publishing and also getting picked up by a big publisher, it doesn't work anymore unless you're a Janet Attwood, a Chris Attwood, a Mark Victor Hansen, or a Wayne Dyer. If you don't have a name, you're not going to get picked up by a big publisher, because they want to know your marketing strategy.
If you only have seven friends in your life, that's not a marketing strategy. If you think you're going to get picked up by a big publisher, that's not going to happen. It just won't happen. Keep it always open. How about that? Keep it open, because there always could be the Harry Potter person on the call right now. Keep that open, but 99.9% of the time, it just doesn't happen. In self-publishing, you're pretty much by yourself.
Basically, Janet, the concept with everybody on the call right now is this. I don't care if you own a pet store, you're a chiropractor, or a pet therapist, when you give out business cards, it doesn't really state much, but when you give out a book as a business card, it states the world. What it does is what you said earlier, Janet. You become an expert; you have a book. What we teach people when they come into the Wake Up…Live the Life You Love book series is that if you have a way to go out and sell books, go out there and sell books.
If you don't, think about how much is one customer worth to your company? Say if you're a chiropractor, is it worth $10,000, $5,000, $2,000 a year for your customer? Say if you're at a post office or you're at a Chamber of Commerce meeting and you met somebody new, and you gave them a book. You have a short story-an appetizer is what we call it-something that catches their interest about living the life that you love. You gave them a book instead of a business card.
Now say you're at the post office. You're in line, you meet somebody new, and you say, "Let me run out to my car and get you my business card." You come back. You're in a book with, say, Dr. Wayne Dyer-some high celebrities in the book, so it gives you instant credibility-and you sign a book. You give them that book and you say, "Yes, this is my business card." They take it home, they read your story, and they find out how much you went through and how true a person you are. It builds relationships.
Everybody nowadays wants to do business with somebody they build a relationship and trust with. What happens is you're a little bit different. You use a book as a powerful tool for your business, and that's just one step, Janet. There are so many more. I know somebody who has a health club, and when they opened the health club, they went out and put all the books on doorsteps of all the neighborhoods. They joined the Chamber.
They sent 365 books out to the Chamber members. They did a press release. They did a book signing. Before they knew it, they had about $15,000 residual income monthly coming into their fitness facility, because a book is a powerful marketing tool. It got them famous in their own little city, so that's the power of it. Anybody on this call, think about writing a short story. Think about how you could possibly use a book as a powerful tool for your business. That is the whole concept. Does that make sense, Janet?
JANET ATTWOOD: Yes. I love this story that you're sharing about whoever it was that gave all of the Chamber of Commerce people a book. Using a book as a business card puts you in another league than the regular business card, no matter how snazzy that business card is, right?
STEVEN E: It's so true, yes.
JANET ATTWOOD: You've given a gift, that's the thing right there. I know that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who I have studied with a lot, says that when you first meet someone it's always good to get them a gift. What it does is it opens their hearts immediately. That's the subtle thing; that's the deeper thing. That's what you're doing, and it's all about love anyway, isn't it? Truly, right? It's all about love. They get that connection like, "Oh, my God! Here is something that is so valuable." Right?
STEVEN E: Yes.
JANET ATTWOOD: It's wonderful.
STEVEN E: That's what you want to think about with any business that you're in; a gift is always a powerhouse. In getting back to the health club, Janet, a kid knocked on the door, left a book on the doorstep, and the woman came into the health club because she read the book. She saw there were all these great people in the book, and she said, "I need to go down there and meet the person who owns this health club."
She went into the health club, she joined the health club, and she got on a monthly due, where she is paying a monthly payment. Then she meets the massage therapist who sold her $1,000 worth of massage; that's 10 sessions for $1,000. Now I've got this free book that's turned into the monthly dues to $1,000. Then she met the owner, and she invested into the health club for a $30,000 check. Is that a powerful business card?
JANET ATTWOOD: Don't you love it? It's fabulous.
STEVEN E: That's the kind of stuff you want to think about: what business you're in and how a free gift or passing something on to somebody could turn to thousands and thousands of dollars, because you're a little bit different than everybody else. That's what we teach people.
JANET ATTWOOD: Let's talk about self-publishing, if that's okay for you. Do you think that self-publishing is a viable alternative for writers who don't want or aren't able to go the traditional publishing route?
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