Today, I’m joined by Gillian Perkins, an online market strategist for entrepreneurs and author of the book Sorted. Gillian is the CEO of four successful companies in four different verticals. Her YouTube channel, Gillian Perkins, has close to 500,000 subscribers and focuses on digital marketing.
When forced to become a minimalist, Gillian says, “I created a life that I enjoyed living more and was less focused on managing stuff and more focused on enjoying the things that I had and enjoying the people in my life.” From her experience, she decided to write a book, which she completed in one month.
Reflecting on her book, Gillian looks back at the toughest part of the process. “One was losing momentum when I got towards the end of the book. But probably even tougher than that was the editing. I found it tough to find the right editor.”
She recommends starting out growing your social media first, then writing your book. “If you can tie them together, you’re going to build more momentum.”
Listen in to find out how Gillian was able to write her entire book in one month, how she wrote her book while being a mom, and how she built a following of over 400,000 YouTube subscribers in three years. Find out how she sold over 10,000 books, how Gillian gained traction early on, and how you can increase your YouTube SEO.
[02:30] Why Gillian decided to write her first book.
[05:27] Gillian meets Chandler at a business conference after writing her book.
[06:22] How she was able to get her book done in one month.
[08:15] Advice for moms trying to write their book.
[10:36] The toughest part of the writing process.
[13:39] Steps to her successful book marketing plan.
[16:26] Starting her YouTube channel from zero subscribers.
[19:30] How she gained traction for her channel early on.
[21:25] YouTube SEO that works and understands the YouTube algorithm.
[25:39] Watch time versus watch duration for YouTube metrics.
[27:00] Getting ideas for your YouTube video content.
[29:38] Not all views are created equal.
[35:23] How to monetize your YouTube channel.
[40:44] Gillian’s critique of SPS channel.
[45:11] What she would have done differently with her book and her channel.
Learning how to become a better speaker is different for everyone.
If you’ve ever attended school, been employed, or participated as a member of a club or committee, you have almost definitely been subjected to some form of public speaking. 😨💀
Horrific, scarring, awful. We sweat, we cry, maybe we throw up.
Public speaking can be a terrible experience for the unprepared person, the anxious person, the just-spilled-coffee-down-the-front-of-my-white-dress person (maybe that one was just me?), but the benefits of public speaking FAR outweigh the negatives, AND (great news!) I’m here to help.
We’re going to learn how to be better at public speaking:
Like I said, participating in nearly anything presents the opportunity for public speaking. Can it be avoided most of the time? Probably. In fact–
When I was in college, seventeen-year-old Hannah’s presentation skills were weighed, measured, and found wanting. I spoke too fast, I used too many filler words (and filler sounds 😬), and I made inside jokes as a nervous tick (shoutout to my friends who sat in the back and laughed way louder than they needed to).
Opportunity after opportunity to speak in public presented themselves. I gave research presentations, I addressed committees, I taught classes for honors credit–it came up a LOT. And I was an expert at crawfishing my way out of it.
For example, in my required Speech class, I put HOURS of work into writing, practicing, and perfecting speeches–only to strategically fall ill, have a dentist appointment, or slouch so low in my desk I was halfway on the floor to avoid actually giving the speech.
I was supposed to give SIX presentations for that class–I gave ONE, and I only gave that one because someone ratted me out.
Shockingly, refusing to practice didn’t make me any better at speaking.
Go figure. I eventually decided I needed to face my fears and just rip it like a bandaid until I improved. Sophomore year, I started hopping at opportunities to speak. If we had a group project, I’d present. If we were hosting a fundraiser for an organization I chaired, I’d give the thank you address. I went to live readings for creative writing and read my own pieces out loud (awful, terrible, kill me).
It was awkward and uncomfortable! I’d walk up to podiums bright red and breathing heavy on my shaky little legs. But the more I threw myself out of my comfort zone, the better I got, and the more natural it came to me.
By my senior year, I was presenting something almost every week. I breathed evenly, my legs didn’t shake anymore, and my face stayed its natural, iridescent pale for the whole presentation.
Being a good public speaker often directly translates to being a better private speaker as well.
Here’s what I learned from public speaking:
I learned how to give cues better–I indicate with my hands to help people follow along with multiple or complex ideas
I can better read a room’s environment
I can code switch more precisely
I can translate ideas to coherent verbal communication much easier
I caught a lot of opportunities by putting myself out there. You never know who’s in an audience and what they’ll remember you for. I got job offers, scholarships, and friends just from using my voice and putting myself out there.
It is less often the things you say and more often how you say them that can influence people. A confident speaker instills confidence–people trust a well-presented thought more than that same thought when it’s expressed with stammering and uptalk.
If you believe what you’re saying, and you sound like you believe what you’re saying, other people will be inclined to believe it as well.
How Becoming a Better Speaker Can Grow Your Career
In almost any industry, being a strong speaker can help build your career. Taking on speaking roles can prove leadership capabilities, responsibility, confidence, and competence.
Volunteering to pitch a project to your boss, for example, can endear you to the coworkers who have been alleviated of the task, places you as the face of the project, and shows your boss that you have initiative. That’s something people remember.
If you’re self-employed, speaking at events can help promote your own work–like products, books, and courses. Public speaking events can be a great platform facet.
Pairing a book with a course with in-person seminars creates a full experience for your clients. And, just like in a traditional job, speaking well projects leadership, responsibility, confidence, and competence.
How to Become a Better Speaker
So we know why we want to be better speakers, but how do we get there?
Here are five easy ways you can practice public speaking without actually throwing yourself into the ring yet.
#1 – Study other people’s speeches
Watch talks from strong orators or presenters in your industry. See what you like about their presentation style, think about what you would do differently, and apply that insight to your own speeches. Take note of how they use the stage space, what they do with their hands, how they keep eye contact, and how they utilize pauses. All of these are practiced, intentional actions that experienced speakers master over time.
#2 – Practice at home
Rehearse your speeches in front of a mirror, or even record yourself presenting. Watch the video back to see how your body language is helping or hurting, if you keep good eye contact (or lens contact), and spot any filler language you might need to cut back on. This low-pressure rehearsal time will help you focus on honing specific skills.
Until I was sixteen, I barely spoke to people outside of my immediate family. I never expressed when I was uncomfortable, I never argued. Then I started my first YouTube channel. My old videos are awkward and cringey to watch now, but they literally taught me how to verbally express myself. I developed an online voice, and it translated over to how I spoke with others in person, which eventually led me to become a stronger public speaker.
#3 – Practice through the internet.
With COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing, now’s as good a time as ever to practice speaking through online live events. Maybe start even smaller by gathering a few friends in a groupcall to discuss something specific. Then you can transition to something like a livestream, where it’s only you talking. Try to interact with viewers’ messages to get practice generating live responses and engaging with an audience.
#4 – Start with small audiences.
If you have housemates or in-person coworkers right now, practice speaking in front of them. Having a friendlier audience you’re close with is often a more comfortable stepping stone as you work your way up to bigger crowds. You can even expand that audience a little at a time by adding one or two friends to the group each time.
#5 – Have your practice audience question you.
When I presented research in college, I’d present in front of friends first and have them grill me about the material. This helped me make sure I actually comprehended the material well enough to present it competently, and it also gave me practice answering questions the audience might really have. Having a more challenging practice round will help you feel more prepared and more confident when it’s time for the real thing.
Best Tips for Improving Public Speaking
Here are seven extra hacks and tips you can use to strengthen your public speaking skills.
Outline instead of planning word-for-word. Oftentimes, it’s better to have a bulleted list of topics to cover rather than memorizing a speech script. With a script, forgetting a word or a line can throw off the entire rhythm and you might forget what you were saying. If you practice speaking with your main points, you can make it up as you go, speaking from a place of studied authority instead of spouting a memorized speech phonetically. Even if you don’t stumble over a line, a memorized speech can also sound mechanical and less engaging to listen to.
Use audience-first language and present information with the mindset that the presentation is about THEM. It’s not a performance about you–you’re educating or sharing tools to help the people listening. Make sure you don’t turn a speech into one-sided speed dating. If you make the presentation about you, it’s less interesting to listen to and easier to get into your own head. It might make you feel more open to judgment if it’s about YOU, so keep in the headspace that it’s about your AUDIENCE and remember that you’re there to help them.
Make eye contact with your audience. Picking a spot on the wall or ceiling or floor to watch during a speech probably feels more comfortable, but if you can make eye contact with a different audience member every few seconds, you’ll keep the crowd much more engaged and help keep yourself on track of the conversation. Remember that you’re talking to people by looking at the people you’re talking to.
Talk to your audience before the presentation. If you can, mingle with audience members before your speech. If it’s an event, this is a great networking exercise, but it will also help to humanize the audience to you, and you to the audience. It’ll be more like a continued conversation by the time you’re ready to speak if you’ve already made a few introductions.
Be interactive during your speech. Ask questions to the audience, react to their reactions, call out to specific people you know in the audience and share related anecdotes involving them. If you make it an interaction instead of a one-sided information dump, you’ll be more relaxed and the audience will be more engaged to receive your message.
Gain confidence and authority on your subject matter through a book. Publishing a nonfiction in your area of expertise will instantly increase your credibility with an audience, as well as help to relax your nerves because you know that you know your stuff. You literally wrote the book on it. Like I said earlier, layering multiple elements like a book, a course, and live seminars gives you a strong, authoritative position for your platform.
Remember that no one wants you to fail. This tip was absolutely pivotal for me as I was building my foundation in public speaking. The audience wants you to do well. They don’t want to see someone crash and burn–they’re there to hear a compelling, interesting, entertaining speech. Everyone is supporting your success, so don’t feel intimidated!
These tips and exercises helped me ENORMOUSLY. If I can public speak with ease today after growing up crushingly shy and borderline nonverbal, so can you!
Don’t be afraid to volunteer to speak if the opportunity presents itself, let yourself be nervous, and know that practice will make it better.
If you need to, use the at-home tips to gain a little confidence before you try out an audience, but don’t be afraid to take chances and mess up a little! All speaking experiences, even the ones that don’t go so well, will help you grow as a presenter.
Today, joining me is Seth and Tori Bolt. Seth is a book author, Grammy-Nominated artist, and the bass player and founding member of Need to Breathe. Tori has created Bolt Farm Treehouse and has a background in television.
The first record deal Need to Breathe signed was in 2005, which took years to achieve for his band. “Typically, the longer you build something and the slower it grows, the stronger it is and the longer it lasts.” Seth’s advice is to think of growing your business for the long term.
Seth has taken advertising to the next level. His record label set him up with late-night show performances, even in the pandemic. Need to Breathe had PR opportunities through the music scene, popular magazines, and podcasts.
Tori says that her entrepreneurship aligned with her bigger goal. “For me, Bolt Farm Treehouse and being an entrepreneur allowed me to align with my bigger vision goals because it was about having purpose and hearing other people’s stories and doing something with impact.”
Both pieces of advice to make something amazing, and your project will attract people when they know you really care. Of course, marketing and PR is a big part of getting out the word about your business. Make sure to tell the world about your company!
Listen in to find out what to expect at Bolt Farm Treehouse, how to find local press opportunities, and how to target niche markets to advertise your product or company.
[04:05] How Seth received his first record deal.
[07:12] His seventh video album release and the PR he created for his album.
[10:27] Seth’s appearances on late night shows.
[13:44] Tory talks about starting Bolt Farms Treehouse.
[17:31] How Tory aligned her goals within her business.
[18:24] Checking off boxes with your entrepreneurship.
[21:11] What to expect at Bolt Farm Treehouse.
[23:14] Why Bolt House Tree Farm is unique.
[26:23] Tips for landing local press.
[29:14] Targeting niche markets to advertise.
[32:47] The promise Tory and Seth are providing with the treehouse.
[38:45] Affiliates and ambassadors who bring the right customers.
[42:32] How Tory grew her Instagram account so quickly.
Today, joining me is Ryan Levesque, the Inc. 500 CEO of the Ask Method Company and author of the best-selling book Ask. Ask is the #1 marketing book of the year on Inc.’s book list. Ask helps readers avoid the single biggest mistake when starting a business and guides readers to answer the important question of what type of business they should start.
Ryan believes everyone should write a book. “If you can convince someone to read a book, they are investing hours of their life. You can convey your beliefs and ideas.” Books are one of the few ways you can personally relay your message and advertise in one medium. “You own physical shelf space with a book, which is the best advertising medium in the world.”
Looking to get people from Amazon or Barnes and Noble to your email list? Ryan recommends using a quiz funnel. By creating a short quiz related to the content in your book, your potential client can use the quiz results and outcome as a path to purchasing your upsell that is offered. “I see this as a universal strategy that any non-fiction writer can incorporate into your book.”
Two main funnels attract different types of buyers: people who are aware of your brand and the potential customers unfamiliar with your brand. Find out how to advertise to these two distinct markets.
Listen in to find out how you can use pixel segmentation in your book marketing, how to become an expert in your space by using quiz funnels, and how Ryan’s new software company fits into his brand.
[02:55] Why Ryan decided to write his book and how they work with his business model.
[05:20] Which book marketing ideas worked out well for Ryan’s book.
[07:45] Marketing differences in his second book.
[10:23] Which marketing factors outperform when offering a book with free shipping.
[10:25] CPA – cost per acquisition and AOV – average order value.
[13:28] Attracting potential clients with a quiz funnel.
[16:05] Using assessment and quizzes to buy your book or service.
[19:26] Ryan’s publishing strategy with his trilogy.
[20:52] Two main funnels that attract different types of buyers.
[23:08] How you can use pixel segmentation in your book marketing.
[30:25] Ryan’s new software company and how that fits into his brand.
[33:12] Transferring your expertise into a piece of technology.
But NaNoWriMo can often take a toll on you mentally and even creatively.
It might not make sense to you now, but you’ll understand just how much NaNoWriMo can affect you in a little bit.
First, let’s talk about what makes NaNoWriMo unique and special.
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.
It’s an event that takes place over the course of November where writers from all over commit to writing 50,000 words during the month. That’s the main goal and if you accomplish this, that’s how you WIN NaNoWriMo.
So unfortunately, no, NaNoWriMo not some sort of nanobot that you can implant in your mind to write your book for you.
The entire point is to help writers have a month of very high productivity so they can get the first draft out of the way in order to pave the way for editing, rewriting, and overall polishing.
What can take writers months to accomplish (50,000 words) only needs to take one so the book gets finished faster.
Here are your daily, weekly, and total goals for NaNoWriMo. If you’re someone who likes to work on a weekly basis instead of a daily, this will help you.
How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo
One of the best things you can do if you want to win NaNoWriMo is to prepare properly. There’s a reason those who participate dub October as Preptober.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re ready when NaNoWriMo comes to town.
#1 – Download your survival guide!
When it comes to making it through NaNoWriMo, you might need help. It’ll be a tough month and that’s why we put together this survival guide for you to follow.
It covers expanded preparation steps as well as resources to help you get through the month.
Make sure to download this if you want to win NaNoWriMo this year!
So how do you choose which to write and which to save for later?
Here are a few questions I like to ask myself when deciding which story to try first:
Which do you think about the most?
Which is developed the most?
Which one is a book you’d be most likely to pick up and read yourself?
Which one have you been thinking of as you read these questions?
Chances are, there’s one idea that stands out to you above all the rest. Even if the others are good, the story you’re most connected to and think about the most is the one you’ll actually enjoy writing the most.
And since you’ll be spending a great deal of time on this book over the next month, actually enjoying it is very important.
Pick the one that has your passion and run with it.
#3 – OUTLINE
I’m a personal advocate of outlining. My outlines are very detailed and I want to basically have an instruction manual for my book.
That being said, it’s understandable that not everyone works well with an outline. Maybe it’s not for you.
However, going into NaNoWriMo completely blind is a mistake.
You at least want to have an overview of the plot and the major plot points figured out so you have a direction in which to write.
For those of you who need outlining, make sure it’s done before November starts!
That clear, step-by-step overview of your book will be extremely helpful for saving time. You’ll be able to sit down and get to writing instead of spending so much time trying to figure out where your story is going.
#4 – Join support groups
Going through something as arduous as NaNoWriMo requires some backup…preferably in the form of friends or just other people participating as well.
You all know that it’s going to be hard and therefore, you can count on support groups to help propel you through the tough times.
Support groups are your best bet to stay motivated throughout the entire month. Plus, anyone who’s a part of those groups is usually more than willing to help when you get stuck on your story, too.
So where do you find groups like these?
You can follow specific hashtags or accounts on Twitter, or you can join Facebook groups dedicated to NaNoWriMo.
Here are a few Facebook groups you can join right now to help you make it through:
Here are some of the tips I received on the thread of this tweet along with some extended tips to help you make the most of NaNoWriMo this month.
#1 – Pick a daily word count and focus on hitting that only
When you think about the overall goal of writing 50,000, you might begin to sweat, get anxious, and even feel discouraged.
Because it is a lot of words to write in a single month.
But one of the biggest tips experienced NaNoWriMo-ers have for anyone venturing to accomplish such an audacious goal is to only focus on hitting your daily goal.
So instead of thinking about it as 50,000 words a month, think of it as 1667 words a day.
This helps your mind process the amount better so you don’t get so overwhelmed.
#2 – Put together writing playlists
Inspiration doesn’t just exactly come around whenever you want it to. Sometimes it hides away like you might when winter comes around (just me?).
But the thing is, if every writer waited for inspiration to find them in order to write, hardly any of us would get our books done and we’d definitely not make it through NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words accomplished.
So instead, you might have to coax inspiration from the outskirts of your mind and one way many writers do this is through music.
Create a playlist that fits with the style of your story and turn it on whenever you sit down to write. It can serve as inspiration and a mental cue for your mind to get ready to work.
#3 – Have writing motivation and inspiration handy
Just like I mentioned above, you won’t always want to write but in order to hit your goal for November, you need to write daily (unless you want to sit and write huge chunks of words a couple days a week).
When you keep visuals, quotes, and even other novels that have inspired your own writing journey handy, it’s much easier to get in the mood to crank out some high-quality words.
#4 – Commit to NOT editing at all
This is one of the hardest parts for many who’ve done NaNoWriMo before.
They can get the words down, but only if they don’t stop to edit as they go.
Your first draft is better done than perfect, which is the entire point of NaNoWriMo in the first place. So put the editor part of your mind on hold and let your writer-brain take full ownership over the next month.
#5 – Ask friends/family to leave you alone
I realize this might sound harsh but NaNoWriMo is a commitment. You can’t have friends and family bugging you when it’s your designated writing time.
In order to succeed with NaNoWriMo, it’s best to make it clear to everyone around you that you’ll be unreachable for a specific amount of time whenever you write.
If you set that expectation early on and be stern about it, it’ll be easier to avoid this type of distraction throughout the month.
#6 – Recruit a close accountability partner
If writing groups don’t work for you because your posts get lost in the mix, pairing up with someone for one-on-one accountability might be a better option for you.
You can check-in daily and give each other support and encouragement when it gets tough.
And trust me, by the second week, you’ll need someone there to push you along and remind you why you started this lofty task in the first place.
What this app does is cut off access to certain websites or apps for a determined amount of time. Whenever you try to visit those sites (like Twitter) during the time you have scheduled to write, you’ll receive this message:
This prevents you from procrastinating or getting too distracted, which hinders your word count progress.
The idea here is that this app “frees” you from the addiction and distraction of sites you know you get sucked into easily.
#8 – Turn your notifications off
This is for your phone, social media, email, and any other notifications that might pop up during your writing time.
If you use the app mentioned above, this will be a little easier, but you also have to manually keep your phone far away from you so even text messages won’t break through your concentration.
Just me, those messages will still be there by the time you’re done with writing.
#9 – Never guilt-shame yourself
This will be very hard if, for whatever reason, you don’t end up hitting your word count goal daily. You’ll start to shame yourself, even if only internally.
This isn’t productive in any way, shape, or form and it’ll only slow you down further.
Instead, you should recognize when you’re behind, and then schedule the time to catch up if hitting that 50,000 words is truly important to you.
And if you need a little bit more to help you out with this one, just remember that no matter what, you’re making progress on your book and that alone is a major accomplishment.
#10 – Just write
NaNoWriMo is all about just making progress. That progress doesn’t have to be the best version of what you can do, it just has to be progress.
You can forget all about making your manuscript all shiny and perfect. Instead, just focus on pumping out those words.
Write to the best of your ability given the time you have to hit those words.
After all, the large majority of us tend to write best once we get into the groove of just writing anyway. And that means if you shut off the self-critical part of your brain for a while, you can make some major strides.
#11 – Go easy on yourself
Cut yourself some slack. You’re not perfect and writing can be very difficult.
If something comes up and you’re not able to write for a day, just forget about it and get back on track the next.
There’s no point in driving yourself crazy over missing a few thousand words because like I said above, you’re still making progress on your book and that’s the entire point of NaNoWriMo in the first place.