Our Guest Today: Joanna Penn
A conversation with one of my most beloved mentor, Joanna Penn from thecreativepenn.com
Joanna Penn writes non-fiction for authors and is an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author as J.F.Penn. She’s also an award-winning podcaster, creative entrepreneur, and international professional speaker. You can find her @thecreativepenn on social media (and Instagram @jfpennauthor)
Watch Our Interview
Joanna Penn How to Design an Ecosystem for Your Business as an Author and Creative Entrepreneur.mp3 – powered by Happy Scribe
Feisworld podcast helps independent creators live their creative and financial freedom. I’m your host, Fei Wu, and I’ll be taking you through a series of interviews with creators from around the world who are living life on their own terms. Each episode is packed with tactics, nuggets you can implement origin stories to make listening productive and enjoyable. We’re not only focused on the more aspirational stories, but relatable ones as well. We also have none interview based miniseries releasing throughout the year to help Deep dove into topics such as freelancing, marketing, even indie filmmaking that would benefit creators like you.
Show notes, lengths and ways to connect with the guests are available on Feisworld.com. Now onto the show. Hey, everyone, this is Fei Wu from Feisworld Media, I’m here with my Tony Robbins, whose name is Joanna Penn.
Thank you. Not quite, Tony, but heading that way.
Exactly. I am so thrilled about this conversation. Announce on social media. One thing to keep in mind, Joanna, is in England, the UK, and it’s really end of day for her. I just I so appreciate after five o’clock, so I have a gin and tonic.
But the thing is, your day starts super early. You mentioned you woke up at 4:00 in the morning today.
Yeah, well, I just feel like I mean, it’s winter here. It’s cold. And I live in Bath in the south west of England. And but I’m really fired up around my business stuff right now. And we’ll talk about some of that. But when my brain is buzzing with ideas and books and all of this stuff, I find myself waking quite early. And then I get started early because I record a lot of my own audio books and podcasts, exercise like you do have it, you know, recording really early in the morning before all the noise starts in the world.
We just came out of lockdown today again here in the UK. So suddenly it’s noisier in the morning. So, yeah, I like to still early on, early morning person. Wow.
Good for you. I am a little bit opposite of that. So late at night for me is very, very productive. But in case I mean, I’ve I’ve written about you. I’ve interviewed you before. I met up with you in Orlando, Florida, doing podcast movement. There’s so much I want to say about that. But for people who haven’t heard about Joanne, first of all, just a brief intro. Joiner writes nonfiction for authors and is an award nominated New York Times and USA Today bestseller, best selling thriller author as JF 10.
She’s also an award winning podcast, her creative entrepreneur. I love that word, an international professional speaker. I have listed her intro and her social media handles, including Instagram in the description below, wherever you are, YouTube, LinkedIn, and also links to her most two most recent books I absolutely love for you to explore in her website. It’s just still it’s not a hidden gem, but I still feel like should be read and discovered by even more people.
People within my group who are writing books right now just find it tremendously helpful and I’m just going to say it in twenty, twenty one. I will publish my book. So this conversation just means so much to me. So, yeah. Thank you, Joanna, for, for taking the time. We’re here to talk about Eco-System and that’s something I feel like it’s not just an idea concept you created, but it’s really a philosophy. I see you really as a modern day philosopher teaching us so much about not just about writing, being an author, but any type of business, especially a digital business anyone wants to to start.
I feel like you’ve really got that blueprint ready.
Oh, well, thank you. And I mean, I guess I’ve been doing this for a while now and twenty six I first self published my book, my first book. I’ve got like thirty four books or something at this point. But it’s interesting because back in two thousand and twenty six thousand eight it was only considered vanity if you put out your own book, whereas I always considered myself an empowered creative entrepreneur. So it’s a savvy business decision to do this.
And I started blogging, started podcasting. Twenty nine. And I feel like it’s in terms of ecosystem, it has snowballed. So if people listening are just starting their online journey, that online ecosystem that probably the number one tip to start with is it does take time to build. And I mean, you were saying about your YouTube channel, you know, you put one video out and nobody notices, then you put one out a week and eventually people start noticing.
And and I feel like right now I’m on I left my job in twenty eleven, so I’m coming into next year is my decade as a full time creative and some people say that ten year overnight success. So I’m looking forward to my ten year overnight success.
I love that. I even love the description to say this is no way a click bait. There’s so many click beats out there. And people are I mean, perhaps even we are clicking on some of those thinking that there will be great if there’s a shorter path to success. But meeting you and seeing how your system works, I was I was so blown away. And and for people who are hearing this for the first time, I told a lot of my close families and friends after we met up in Orlando, literally that day you left you went back to the UK and I lock myself up in an Airbnb for six hours straight.
I learned I watched more of your videos because I missed my flight was too late in getting back to Boston. I was like, why am I locking myself up? Always the best thing ever because there was no distractions, I signed up for all the affiliate marketing programs. I watch so many of your videos and on YouTube as well as podcast. I was ecstatic, just so felt so much synergy. And then a year later, as before I recording my 20 20 has been very different because of you.
And so I’m really, really grateful for what you taught me.
Oh, thank you. Well, I guess we should probably explain what the idea of the ecosystem is, so I guess so. First of all, obviously, I’m a multi passionate creator and I think you ought to I think you favor the visual medium, although you’re going to write. Obviously, I tend to favor written and audio over visual. But, you know, we are creative people and the idea of an ecosystem is a network. And in terms of a network, we need lots of different things that bring people into our world.
I mean, you have Feisworld Media, which is great because that is exactly the point. So you could say that it’s your world. I have different names. Jeff Penn is my thriller. I said, you want a pen? I do other things, but I have or I have to podcast now and I’m probably starting a third one. I’ve got two YouTube channels. I’ve got loads of different social media. I do interviews like this, but everything is designed to bring people back into my ecosystem now.
Or maybe you’re browsing on Amazon and you’re looking for how to market a book or maybe your own iTunes or whatever, finding me through SEO or social or podcasting or video or whatever brings you into my ecosystem. And then it’s not. And this is the mistake I see so much. Right. It is not content for the sake of content because we are also business people. So what you have to think is, OK, so I have all this ecosystem, I have my say brilliant, gorgeous social media posts or whatever, but it has to drive revenue because I want to make money and that’s the key.
So when we talk about ecosystem and what I said to you about affiliate revenue, for example, so if you are an affiliate, whatever you do online, you were going to use certain tools. So one of the tools I use to format e-books and you can do it for print books, too, is vellum software called Valan. So I made a tutorial on vellum is useful for my audience. It goes on YouTube, it’s being watched thousands of times.
And then if people use my link, I get money. So and that link to my tutorial is in pretty much all my books for writers. So it’s kind of scattered all over that ecosystem. I put it out in social media, in that ecosystem. I talk about it on things and put it in my podcast. So what you’ve got to think with an ecosystem is you’re designing products and services which are you’re kind of the cool thing that makes revenue.
But then you can also affiliate links and links to those products and services in all of the other things you do. And over time, it might start out really small, but over time that ecosystem gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And that’s the magic of content marketing as well. Is that this interview, people could find this in a couple of years time and they still might find it useful. And so that to me is the kind of the idea of ecosystem.
And as you have discovered, it is certainly even more valuable in an era of post pandemic or still during pandemic, as we would call this, the digital business model has come of its own, really come into its own in twenty twenty. And those of us with a digital first business model, a global business model, have been fine. As long as we’ve stayed physically safe, our businesses have been fine. And certainly I’ve been paying all my taxes, you know, and that’s great.
That is just the resilience of this kind of business model is incredible. And I think that’s what you found this year to.
Absolutely. And with full transparency, people know how much I love my mentor Seth Go and Christmas story, Clark. And this past year, I find myself mentioning your name very frequently, if I dare to say even more so than I have mentioned Seth Godin, which is really in my world because I feel like what you have provided us with are truly blueprints and things. We can experiment on top of that, a mindset to say how to merely ship, how to ship when it’s good enough and how to be better at it.
So one thing I’m not sure if you remember, but we’re sitting down to dinner in Orlando and then you pull out your phone without bragging at all and you say, you know, this is a video from YouTube where you talk about how to build a author website, but really is a marketing ecosystem, including this is how you capture emails. And that video is long. Forty five minutes or so with affiliate links. And you’re telling me that given the.
Traffic, not even millions of views on your video, but even with just a few thousands people have purchased products from you, whether it’s converted for email, whether it’s WordPress, that guys, I can’t even begin to tell you what it felt like to me to realize No. One, the missed opportunities where I can target and really create content that will help people. And then one more thing that you mentioned, very high level that I studied and more details are not all affiliates are made equal.
Some are one time payments. Some are what’s called recurring payments, up to 30 or even 40 percent. So, for example, converted only at the lowest and only cost thirty dollars. But for every single person, sign up through your link. You’re getting ten dollars every month and you don’t have to be a mathematician to figure this out. And that’s precisely what I have experience. And so I love the concrete details for what you thought.
Oh, good. And I think what’s interesting and just so people know that the creative can not come forward slash author website and of course you are welcome to model my stuff as I know you have and that I’m absolutely happy, like take notes on it and then make your own. I’ve done that with lots of my mentors over the years. So as he as he said, there are a lot of affiliate links within those three videos. It probably took me about two days to create them and I had to rerecord them this year because they do age, obviously.
But yeah, they make thousands of dollars every month and they just sit there doing that. But it is I think it’s in terms of affiliate marketing, I think the difference is, you know, obviously you and I were both female entrepreneurs. About a decade ago, the affiliate marketing space was very dominated by techie men who were sort of it was the sort of get rich quick thing. But that is no longer the case. You can absolutely use affiliate marketing in an authentic service way.
So I get emails thanking me for those videos every week. And this is the this is the golden side of it. You help people and people are grateful. And then they use your link because it’s useful and they want to repay you because the video is free. So and you absolutely just talk about it. You’re honest about it. You’re authentic about it. And also you only are an affiliate for products and services that you use and can recommend ethically.
So that’s really important. I know you’re a fan of that, but if people have that kind of oh, that sounds dodgy. It’s only dodgy if you’re recommending stuff that you’re just getting money on. Say, for example, I’ve been offered a very big affiliate payment, one off payment for leads to what I consider shock publishing services, not good services for authors, but the money they were offering. I could make a lot of cash on, but I’m not going to do that because I value my reputation and I care for my audience far more than I care about that money.
And yes, I might make more money in a couple of months, but over the years, people start not to trust you and our trust is a really important thing. So I read a book actually I’m talking a mentor is a guy called Chris Brogan a decade ago wrote a book called Trust Agents, and that book was one of those books. You know, we have these moments of getting it. And I was like, oh, write this.
If people know you, like you and trust you, they will buy from you and you will be able to make a good living still with a sort of ethical, generous way of doing things. And that’s underpinned my business. Since then, I have so many questions and are my audience have questions for you. OK, identifying audience. There is one more hidden gem. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe you don’t believe how much that one hour dinner really resulted in all these key takeaways.
And I still remember very vividly the last thing I remember. Cheers. And we got to go back to our hotel rooms. And you said that really there’s a key element and that was traffic. How do we generate sufficient traffic? So so more enough people are hitting the affiliate links. If your video gets five views, fifty views, and if you don’t see the affiliate payment yet, that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. You know, maybe you need to recreate the video.
But I got to say, the decision to appear on YouTube, which is part of Google, by the way, that generated such significant traffic for me, and that’s how I really saw all the links are getting hit. And like you said, all these payments are coming in automatically. So traffic was key. I don’t know why. Maybe it was obvious, but to me it’s like, wow, yeah. I’ve I had had not had enough traffic at that point.
The point I was. To you, your website, for numbers sake, I know, Joanna, your website was already getting more than a million uniques a month is probably more now, I assume.
Well, interestingly, it was when we met and then the Google bot algorithm change happened. You remember that was at the end of October twenty nineteen. And it was I was pretty I it probably about a quarter of my traffic went within a week, but what was what. And I was immediately I was like oh my goodness. And then I realized that it doesn’t matter. And I watched my income and it was fine and there was no impact at all.
So and this is a bit like the email lists discussion. How big is your email list? You know, we don’t have to compare list sizes or traffic size. But the interesting thing is I did have a few heart palpitations, but Google birds is related to a lot of voice search. And it’s interesting because, of course, YouTube and the instant transcription of things that’s happening now, the voice technology side and what that update did is make things even more targeted.
And look, let’s face it, we do not want traffic. We do not want email sign ups from people who are not interested in what we have to give. We only want to engage with people who are our target market. So, for example, I help authors and that’s a big, big statement. But then I really only help authors with a sort of independent mindset who want to run a business as an author. If you are attracted to that entrepreneur ethos, I don’t help an author who just wants to get an agent and a publishing deal.
That’s not what I do. So I think it’s just coming back to that. Yes, traffic is critical, but it has to be the traffic for the people who you want to reach with the stuff that you have to sell them or to click on. So, again, I’m not coming back to that author’s website video. For example, if you are an author who only wants an agent and a publisher, you’re not going to want to bother building a website, probably.
Whereas if you’re someone who wants to run your own creative business, then that’s something you might do. So just and then just on the traffic thing. So for me, again, it’s part of this ecosystem idea. No one in my mind is always SEO search engine optimization. So you know this with the videos, you have to have a good title and but then and this is possibly getting less and less relevant as we move into this AI world where intent, search intent is becoming part of the algorithm.
But we still need to get people’s attention somehow. So creating content that attracts your audience is generally the key you can pay for traffic. Obviously you can do ads, but it’s not something I’ve really done much of at all. I do pay for ads on my books on Amazon and through other sites, but not on my content. I have mainly relied on SEO and word of mouth, which means it’s slow growth, but it’s manageable and steady and pretty good.
Yeah, worries about how you can you know, sometimes I feel like I can be a little chaotic when I ask questions, but I love how you’re already managing our way into the who you’re targeting conversation because that is a struggle. A lot of my clients for me earlier on, I kind of had the struggle is sound really good. You got an avatar, put a picture on your computer. Look at that woman. That’s who you’re writing to. That sounds all well and good.
But did you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel like you want to target audience A but ended up having a maybe a little A, B and C like how to position yourself in your content to actually reach the right audience and stay there as well, saying there is another question. But OK, so I think this most recent book I’ve written, your author business plan, which again could be not just author business plan, it could be any creative business plan.
But this actually really solidified for me as I wrote it, because I realized I’ve always had one business plan. But what I realized is, is I do need two business plans. And one is for the creative penname, as Joanna Penn and I as I just said, I serve authors who want a creative career, who want to be empowered and run their own business. But JF so and that’s pretty clear and it’s very obvious what kind of content I can create for that person.
And but with Jeff Penn, my thriller persona, my fiction persona, I actually write in three very different subcategories. So I write for action adventure thrillers, I write crime novels and I write fantasy and. Exactly as you’re saying, those there’s some overlap, but very little, and so it makes it incredibly difficult to create content to attract those people. So what I’m actually ended up doing is I have a second podcast, books and travel, say the books and travel podcast, because the thing that underpins all my fiction is international locations.
And the fact that all my books are based on physical locations that I travel to the pandemic year has been difficult for that. But so what? So the tip for people is, first of all, let’s go to the easy one, like my Joanna Penn. The question is, who do you serve? And when you think about who do you serve as opposed to who do you sell to sell to is like here’s my product or my book, somebody buy it.
Whereas who do you serve? Has a different attitude. I certainly think Seth Godin is someone he thinks in that way. It is about serving a market. And that’s why I’ve recently written a book on A.I. and when I wrote that, because I was like the might the audience I serve needs to know about changes in copyright law, needs to know about reinvention of this market. And because I serve them, I’m going to put that out there for.
So that’s a kind of more obvious thing. So if you’re struggling with content, think about it. I mean, the read Avatar is a difficult thing. You know, I’m at least a decade older than you, for example. So saying only women over forty five enjoy myself. That’s not true. We’re from different cultural backgrounds. But what we share is an enthusiasm for creativity and business. I mean, we we share that. And so that’s the it’s called psychographics, the things that are more about attitude than about your race or your gender or your age.
And then on the day of pen side, if you are more diverse creators, if you are multi passionate creator, then it’s about looking for something that intersects. But what I am planning to do is offer different landing pages into those different series. So again, I mean, you have different landing pages on your site for, hey, you might be interested in my documentary is quite different to what I hired for at one point was how do I get my podcast into China?
Right. Exactly. So you have different landing pages. So I think my overarching suggestion for people is to answer that question, who do you serve? And it’s a pretty deep and meaningful questions. You don’t just have a one word answer. And then the second one is what are the things that underpin everything when it comes to who I serve and what do they have in common?
And because if I were to answer that question for China. Right, the reason what attracted me to your work is you you know, and I somehow found that to be the most astonishing answer. I said that to a group of podcasters and universe I serve. I said, you are the platform. You as a person, you’re the one who brings in all the unique insights, enthusiasm, the attitude. And that’s what matters, because, sure, there are other people writing a version of maybe what you’re creating or even share some of the similar philosophy.
But nobody delivers a quite like you, you know. And so do you agree with that or do you find that kind of surprising?
Oh, no, that I mean, that is the basis of a personal brand. Chris Dukkha, he’s another British entrepreneur, has a book called You Proner. And but the idea of the personal brand has been around a long time. Now, again, Seth Godin is an example of a personal brand. There are plenty of people who write about marketing, but we go back to Seth because he says and he’s so prolific as well. But this idea of no like and trust is something that pervades everything.
And interestingly, when I think about A.I. and the future of artificial intelligence, there is no doubt in my mind that the AI algorithms, tools, whatever you’re going to call them in the future, will do a better job of specific things that I can do now. But exactly what you just said, the thing that I bring is me. So when I write a book on, you know, I’ve got here behind me how to write nonfiction, how to write a nonfiction book.
I mean, seriously, how many of those books are there in the world or my fantasy novels, how many fantasy novels are in the world? And there were going to be so many more. Yeah. Like you, the book, what’s your book on next year?
Oh, I’m pivoting right now, but I like well, whatever it’s going to be on it, you will be the thing that makes it unique. So and if you’re just starting out, this can be really, really hard because you think, oh, I hate my voice or oh, I don’t look great on video or oh, it’s all right for say, she’s a young woman and I have to wear loads of makeup in order to look right.
Or, you know, you have this self-criticism around, oh, no one’s going to be interested in me or my life. Why why would anyone be interested? So you have to get over that because we connect with people. People connect with people. When I met you, I mean, obviously I meet loads of people at events and stuff, but you and I connected because of our shared enthusiasm things. And thus we have a friendship built on that connection in person in real life.
Amazing. But that’s the thing. So if you’re listening and like, you got to be honest. So, for example, I love graveyards. I’m a taffer file, someone who loves graveyards and death culture and buys books with skulls. And I’m basically a vanilla goth. If I was a proper goth, I’d be covered in tattoos and wear makeup. But I’m what’s known as a vanilla goth. And that’s part of my fiction persona that now I talk about.
I didn’t talk about it for maybe eight years because I was ashamed and I thought I was weird. But it turns out that loads of people like graveyards.
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. In fact, I’m so glad you’re touching upon this point, because the reason why I thought I was going to talk about I was going to write a book for immigrant creative entrepreneurs. So it’s a that was my idea. And I realized I could actually instill some of my own stories. And so I decided for the first time just a few weeks ago, I really basically rewrote the entire newsletter to be about actually a lot of what we’re talking about, income streams.
But starting with being 17, creating the podcast, nobody wanted to listen to it first, then the documentary, then pivoting to a lot of what we’re talking about right now. And people said the engagement was so high. I’m getting replies all the time. People said, why don’t you turn this into a book? Could this be one of your books? And I was like, two people. Are people interested in my story. Let’s just give it a shot.
So that’s just hearing that makes me feel like this is I definitely want to give it a shot.
Definitely. And look, let’s just encourage people about writing a book as well. I feel like there is a great fear of writing a book because you think that by putting yourself out there in that way, you there will be it’s such a high bar. I mean, and it is a high bar. And I want people to take it very seriously. But it is easy to publish a book. It’s actually easier to publish a book now on Kindle in ebook and print format than it is for you to create a stunning video on YouTube with all the cuts and stuff.
Right. So I want people to think that publishing a book is another form of content marketing. So, for example, I now I don’t read blog posts, I don’t watch YouTube videos. So actually for you to reach someone like me, you need to write a book. And when I read your book, I’m going to learn all the stuff that I am not going to learn from your videos because I’m not going to watch your videos. So you actually meet a completely different consumer when you write a book.
And then, of course, within the book, you’re going to have a call to action to your email list and you’re going to maybe have links to your products within it. You’re going to have affiliate links. I use pretty links, plug in for WordPress so that you can have because of course, with a print book, you can’t use clickable links. So you have to have easily readable ones. I mean, although that’s formatting stuff, believe me, a lot of people now, if I hear someone on a podcast, the first thing I do will be to go look for that book.
I don’t want to bother reading 10 years of their blog. I just want to know what they think about a particular topic. So you’re doing exactly the right thing. And what you have to think is the people who get that book, they either already fans of yours or you want them to be by the end of the book. So you’ll write. The more personal you can get, the better of it.
Oh, I feel so good. This is my I feel like this is meditation for me. I get so excited thinking about our conversation together. And I must say that what I’m also feeling really proud of you that I want to the fact that we’re still living in the pandemic and the fact that you ship and you produce content all the time at a high level, I have not seen any slowdown. When I get your email and you published two books, even just.
Recently, so I guess the first part of the question, if you are watching this and you are already a seasoned author, meaning you’ve published at least one book, and this is the type of question that I’ve received from a Jenny Lisk, for example, who’s really interested in your topic, your book on I know not everybody, but, you know, it’s we haven’t talked about pivoting, but her question is, you know, it’s so she said, I’ve heard that you say the next decade is likely to bring even more changes for authors and for the publishing industry that has been in the past decade.
So what do you, Joanna, think that indie authors and publishers should be doing now or thinking about now or learning about it now in order to prepare for that change? How can we be well positioned to jump on opportunities that may be coming?
Well, I mean, I think it is a great question and certainly the mistakes I have made are because I narrowed my choices. So my recommendation is to keep your options open as much as possible. And for authors, that means keeping your intellectual property rights. So when you write a book, you you own the copyright. You own it. If you sign a publishing agreement with a publisher and there’s nothing wrong with that, you should if you want to, but negotiate that contract because I’ve seen contracts which just blew my mind.
So all languages, all countries and all formats now and to be invented for the life of copyright, which is your entire lifetime, plus 70 years after you die and people are signing contracts like that for a couple of thousand dollars. And I’m just like, do you realize you’ve just signed away that you can’t do anything with that now? So if you decided you wanted to podcast a chapter of your book, you couldn’t. If if suddenly a Chinese publisher offered you a deal, you couldn’t take that deal.
If I voice narration was suddenly available for all languages all over the world, which is what I want. You can’t take that because you’ve signed those rights away to someone else. So the biggest thing you have to think about, because this is the difference with a book and a video or a blog post, I mean, you still have copyright over your creative work. But if you but most people are not signing a license deal, although when you and I were a podcast world, what was the podcast moment?
Yeah, yeah. Someone did offer me a deal for my show on their network. And I was like, oh yeah. So what does that involve? And essentially I’m an independent creator and they wanted my exclusive feed, but not for Joe Rogan money. I was like, so yes, it was how much you think, well, you know, they weren’t even going to pay. I was like, what is going on? What? You couldn’t believe it?
Because I was like, I don’t understand the upside for me. Why would I even consider that? He’s like, OK. And he wandered off towards some people who didn’t really know their worth, but it was this is the thing. So in order to take advantage of the next ten years, just think about the last ten years. I mean, I didn’t even think I had an iPhone ten years ago, certainly. Things were very, very different, e-books were just starting to go mainstream.
There’s so many things that we just didn’t have. So basically what I would say is just keep your options open if someone offers you a contract for your work. Look at the clauses. So don’t don’t sign all languages or formats now to be invented. I mean, what the hell does that even a clause say? For example, there will be space rights so at the moment or the rights of terrestrial rights. But what about those people had enough on own on their space holidays and things like that?
The moment they can’t listen to anything because nothing’s licensed for it. So, I mean, that’s just one example. But there are I made some mistakes. So, for example, I signed an audio exclusive deal seven years ago, which is just coming up now. So I’ve had to wait years to get that back, basically. And at the time it was fine. But I’m kind of annoyed at myself. But at least it wasn’t 70 years after I died.
Yeah, I mean, these details really matter. As ridiculous as the deal sounded, those deals are out there and I see even some of my clients and friends taking them. It just it really blows my mind that how much we are willing to say, let’s guess, post a guess on other people’s shows like you are right now. But we’re friends and there are benefits. But sometimes I see people almost want to be exclusively appearing on other magazine publications, names, brands.
I think we often so undermine or undervalue ourselves then the type of content you can create and control. I think if nothing else, that’s such a mean take away from I have a I’m just reading a book at the moment. I’m reading on audio, but so I’m just stretching over. If you read this book, it’s called Playing Big by Taurama.
No, I’ve not. This is a really good book and I’m listening to an audio board imprint because I like to scribble on things and it’s kind of more of a workbook. But this goes into exactly what you’re talking about. It is more aimed at women. But one that’s exactly one of the things she talks about, which is it’s the confidence that you have something to say and that can be really hard. So, for example, this book I’ve just written, I’ve been a technical person for like twenty five, five years or something.
And yet I felt and I’ve studied this stuff for about four years since the deep mind thing with the game of Go Lisa Doll and but I have felt like I’m not qualified to talk about this and I just reported on it, but I’ve never created my own content in that space because I’ve been so held back by my own fears of judgment, of people not thinking I’m good enough that my voice doesn’t matter, that actually the space is very male dominated.
How can I have something to say? And then I was reading that book and she’s like, you know, play a big game. And I know and your lovely saying things about how I’ve helped you and but we’re always moving forward, right? We’re always moving into a new space. And I’ve been kind of obsessing about this idea of what I want to do next from my next decade and this idea of playing bigger and stepping into your power. This is scary stuff.
So if people listening, if you’re feeling well, who am I to say things? Well, why not you? You know, you don’t have to have a PhD in artificial intelligence to write a book on it and hit number one on Amazon.com in artificial intelligence. So that’s all I know. I was really proud of myself.
Oh, my goodness. I was so proud of you writing the book. And I’m so glad you brought this up because I know that I feared for you. I don’t really fear much for you because I think you of your other creative muscles to really, really be able to handle a lot of situations or to be able to process that intelligently. But when I saw the book, I was like, wow, now who knows? Maybe now this is maybe only half of China’s audience is ready for this.
It’s about three percent, actually. But but the point is this and this is another point. Yeah. You can’t you can’t keep saying the same things as everybody else. You can’t. So I was one of the first people to have a blog and a podcast about self publishing. But now that’s a penny. They’re everywhere. I was one of the first people to write a book for independent authors on how to do marketing. Now they are really to a penny everywhere.
So this year, again, I was thinking if I said enough, there’s nothing new to say. I just I don’t want to repeat what other people are saying in the niche because why bother? Like, really why? I don’t. I don’t. I want to talk about that, and so I was thinking, do I give it up because I have nothing more to say or do I stretch and some people will follow me and I will still be talking about the writing craft and all of these things.
And in fact, as I said, I’m probably going to I haven’t told anyone. But since we’re here, I’m probably going to spin that out into another website because it does serve a different audience. And that’s another thing I feel like we do segment ourselves in these different ways over time, which which is fine. And if you’re multi passionate, you’re going to do that. But I think it’s you have to think about your own development as well as the development of your community.
And people want ideas. They want you to be a thought leader. They want to hear your personal situation. They don’t just want regurgitation of 10 tips on productivity. So, yeah, it’s it’s trying to blend both of these two things. But at the end of the day, I’m talking about productivity tips. That was one of the articles that the writer wrote that got to number one on Hackney’s and nobody knew it was an. So, yeah, writing tips, content, moxey about productivity can be done by a machine.
So what makes you special? That’s the important thing.
This is so important. I know where at the end of this recording, but it’s so important to hear about three percent. A lot of people simply won’t go there. And because people didn’t really witness witness us together. But I was like your little tail at the podcast movement. I was following you to like Descript, if you remember, which is now huge, and and another company very similar to that. But they use words to edit videos, reach out to me to sponsor my video on YouTube.
So I have to send a link to you shortly after those just called Type Something. I forgot the name of the company, but it just is just so daring. And most people don’t think of me as following many people at all. But I saw that you would text me to say, go to this booth, check out this technology, and you really help me kind of just push me forward to say don’t just go to the same company, same booth doing continue to do things or you’re used to.
That was really eye opening for me. So I know we are. I promise that I will let you get some rest. Is there anything that I haven’t asked that you’re you’re eager to to share with us?
Well, I guess if people I have a YouTube channel, it’s made mainly audio at this point, but I have the creative pen podcast pen with Dublin. And yeah, I mean, that’s the main place. If anyone’s got any questions, then probably the best place for me is Twitter at the creative pen with the Dublin. And just coming back to what is the core of my business, which we’ve talked about loads of things, but it still is writing books.
And in fact, I have I have a lot of stuff on my wall. You probably do too. But the number one thing I’ve got here is create a body of work I’m proud of. And I think that’s true of everything we do. You know, you’ve got your documentary and that’s part of your body of work. These videos are part of your body of work. Your book is going to be part of your body of work. And that is the long term thinking that I want people listening to have.
Seriously, don’t waste your time on tend to be more productive, like go deeper, like you’re doing around the immigrant experience of business and do stuff that actually matters to you. Because you if we’ve learned one thing in this pandemic year, it’s life is short and life is fragile and we have to make the most of our life. So if you’re not spending your time doing work that matters, then what’s the point? You know, just get a standard day job and do that.
Just be a delivery driver. You know, there are lots of things that you could do that are not meaningful necessarily. But if you’re going to do creative work, then make sure it does mean something. So that that would probably be my last step is really think about what you want to create as we move into this next decade. You need the twenty twenty, hopefully the Roaring Twenties, as they may be calling it as we emerged back in the world.
Again, I love that. And thank you so much, Joanne. I’m so, so grateful for you to to join us on this. If I can ask you to think of one thing that comes to mind that enable you to create so much more even during twenty twenty, what would it be? Would any part of your routine or like.
Oh, that’s really obvious. It’s called not traveling anywhere or doing anything except being at home working all the time. I literally put out twice as many books as I normally do, but erm my life is not as rich as it has been and I’ve pretty much emptied my head. So we better be out there in twenty, twenty one because I need to feed my creative self in. In order to produce, but, yeah, I mean, I’ve definitely learned that canceling everything really does leave time for creation.
So, I mean, it is something that I will take to heart. Like if I have a project, I really need to schedule more space without doing stuff because I’ve been so bored. I’ve just ended up writing more books to go.
Thank you for that. Joanna, I’m going to take us offline. And for everybody who’s just hopping on all the links below, this video can be replayed across all platforms, including LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. So thank you so much again. Thank you. Bye bye. This episode of the First World podcast is brought to you by Fey’s World LLC, our marketing service agency created for independent creators and businesses. We offer website development, video production, marketing, mentorship to people who want to tell better stories, level up and create a profitable brand phasor podcast team.
Our chief editor and producer, Herman Silvio’s associate producer, Adam Lefort, social media and content manager, Rosta Leon transcript editor Allena Almodovar. And lastly, myself, the creator and host of Face World. Thank you so much for listening.
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