Chantal: Mark we like to start each of our shows chatting about tips for staying focused. So, can you start us off by sharing any apps, systems or rituals that you would recommend.
Mark: Well, I have a very powerful ritual in my life and that is every opportunity, everything that I’m being asked to do, I am putting it through a filter. And the filter is this. There are three major pieces of my work that bring in the revenue. It’s my graduate college classes that I teach, it’s the consulting I do with clients and it is the content I create in the form of blogs, podcasts, videos, speeches that really make people aware of me and really bring in the clients. And if it is not a request for a piece of work that doesn’t fall under one of those three buckets, I don’t do it. I either don’t do it, or I get help. I outsource it in some way. And that is really the only way I can survive. And it is hard sometimes because I don’t want to disappoint people and I don’t want to say no. But it helps me stay focused and it helps me stay productive.
Chantal: That’s a really good way of staying on track and staying on focused because it is so easy to get distracted by different tasks that are coming into our day isn’t it?
Mark: Oh, it really is. And you know, I’ve been so fortunate Chantal that I do get a lot of requests and I do get a lot of opportunities and if I said yes to all of them, it will really take away my focus from what’s really bringing in money to the business.
Chantal: Well, thank you for sharing that ritual with us. Now, I wanted to get you on and say huge congratulations on the launch of your new book KNOWN.
Mark: Thank you! It’s been so rewarding. This is my sixth book. And everyone has loved my books and they give you nice comments saying, “Oh, this has helped my business.” But this book has been different. I know you listened to the book on Audible and the first review on Audible the headline is “This is the most inspiring book I have ever heard.” Now, that hit me in a big way. There is so many comments that this is a book that really changing people’s lives. And that is so rewarding.
Chantal: Mark, when you did the research for your book, I believe you interviewed more than 100 people including Joe Wicks, who we mentioned on last week’s show. Tell us, what did you discover in your interviews?
Mark: Well, it was so inspiring and I’ve learned so much. When I write a book, I have kind of a thesis but I will let the research write the book. And I would have loved to have written a book “How to have a powerful personal Brand in a 100 days” But I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t there. And I’m sure even from your experience, it takes time. It takes patience. It takes persistence but everybody followed the same four steps. So maybe for your listeners I’ll go through them very briefly. The first step is to be really clear about what you want to be known for. And that is not necessarily your passion. Sometimes I ask people, if you are on a stage two years from now, imagine yourself, the audience wants to hear what you have to say, they are so excited and you’re excited to give them your message. What is that message? What did they want to hear? Maybe that is what you need to be working on over the next two years.
Now, it is a very busy world and now that you have your story, you have to figure out where is that story going to reside. How am I going to tell it? And you would have to do a little bit of thinking about what’s the space on the web that you want to own? The third step is the content that we produce. And this is where a lot of people get overwhelmed. Should I be in Facebook, should I be on Twitter, should I blog? And the position that I take in my book is really, it is not overwhelming at all, in fact, you generally have three choices, maybe four at the most.
You need to write something; you need to record something like a podcast or you need to do a video series. And possibly, another option might be, photography like on Instagram but for most people, it is written, it’s audio or it’s video. So pick one. What do you love to do?
The fourth step is to build an actionable audience. This is a key idea because you know Chantal if we follow each other on social media, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I would do something for you or you would do something for me. We need to build a stronger bond. We need to build this emotional connection somehow. Now, you got interested enough in me to check out my book. Read a little bit of my book. You started to build this emotional connection to me? You became interested. You knew what I stood for. And you knew what I was thinking and you invited me on your show. Now, we’re collaborating together. We’re creating content together.
Who knows where this may lead? Maybe we’ll meet in an industry conference some day. And now, we’re becoming more actionable for each other. And so, I spend a lot of time in my book talking about how to do that. So social media wise when people follow you on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook. It’s like they’re waving at you. But it doesn’t mean that they are going to connect with you without actually taking action or pull out a wallet to buy something from you.
Chantal: Mark, in the fitness industry globally, a lot of our fitness professionals, our gym owners have this social media presence that we’ve talked about. So they might have a great Instagram following or they might have a really good group that they’ve got on Facebook. I think, one of the challenges that we face is that to take it from that level and having that base community that we have on those social media channels to then take it to that next level and follow those steps that you’re talking about can seem really overwhelming. It can seem really quite daunting. In this instance – what would be the very first three steps for them to take to becoming Known?
Mark: There are three things that I think could get them to the next level. If they all started to create some sort of content. The first one would be to have the courage to really be human. Don’t just be scripted. But show yourself. Show behind the scenes. What’s going on? Add a human element. People don’t fall in love with logos or buildings or health clubs. They fall in love with people. So, have the courage to show yourself.
The second recommendation would be, persistence. Each person that I’ve interviewed for the book, the last question that I’ve asked them was “If you could give one piece of advice to these readers that want to be known, what would it be? And almost every person used some form of the word, consistency, tenacity, resilience. They all exhibited a certain amount of grit. And you know, you and I have talked about it. It took time for you to build your audience, to build the brand that you have today. On average, the people in my book, it took them about two and a half years to really get that brand to ignite.
Now, the third recommendation would be purpose. How do you stick with it for that long? When I was interviewing these people, I started hearing this thing , they would say, even when I’m tired, even when I’m sick, because I know of having an impact on people.
Being really clear about your purpose seems to be a key driver for people who make it to the next level. Sometimes, you know that right away. Sometimes, it kinds of follows you. When you start on getting feedback for people, you know, I love what you’re doing because it has inspired me. Because I am be able to help my children be more fit or to help my parents be more fit. And you start to realize, “Wow, I am having an impact.” I do have a purpose beyond just building a business but that seems to be a point of differentiation that really gets people to the next level.
Chantal: Mark, one of the things that I thought was really interesting and I think that our listeners will appreciate it – is you gave an example of about someone who had a passion for cooking and was trying to find a point of difference and try to kind of narrow it, my memory of this story was that she ended up on video I think, on YouTube doing cooking classes, dressed as people from famous movie scenes. So I bring that up because, when I was listening to you talking about that story, I was thinking how that was so unique and you talked about how important it is to really find something that is unique, that you can stand for. Can you explain that to us in a little bit more detail?
Mark: Well, it is critically important because the fitness industry is an example of an industry that is absolutely flooded with content, flooded with people who are creating content and they want to stand out. So, the first part of the book has I think eight different exercises to help you find a new way to stand out. And the woman that you mentioned is Isadora Becker, she is a food blogger and video producer in Brazil, actually. And the reason I used her is because she is a great a great example of someone who combined another passion or another interest with food. So, what are some of your values? What are some of the things that excite you? What makes you come alive? Now, how do you combine that with fitness. How about fashion for example? What if you really love fashion? Or maybe that is a really interesting niche. You know, people that work out today, it’s almost like a red carpet, right? I mean people wear really beautiful things when they work out. Is anybody blogging about that? Creating photos of that, creating a podcast about that, so that is an example where you combine some other passion. Maybe it’s food. Maybe it’s spirituality with fitness. So that is just one idea, one example, one exercise to explore that I have in the book.
Chantal: I found those exercises really useful and I wished at that point that I had the printed version of the book. Is there an online guide to those?
Mark: There’s a workbook that goes with the book as well. For the people that do the audio version, you can just get the workbook that has the exercises. It has some bonus content, some exercises. And if you fill out the workbook (you don’t have to do all the workbook exercises but do some exercises from each section) you will have a plan. You will have a strategy to become known.
Chantal: That is one of the things that I’ve found was so great about the book is that as you are saying, it’s practical. It’s a workbook. It’s not a novel that you are going to read and put down and not look at again. It’s actually got a very detailed guide of how you can identify this area that is going to be right for you and that sort of four key areas that you spoke about.
Now, there is one other thing that I want to touch on and on the show, we very frequently talk about the importance of identifying your niche. We talk about the importance of becoming an expert. But in Known, you say you don’t have to be an expert to succeed. Do you want to explain what you mean about that?
Mark: Now, one of the things… When I give to talk, I give to talk about this and I’ll find…maybe I’ll go let’s say to a fitness conference or something. And I’ll try to find who are the most famous people in that industry. And I’ll go and I’ll try to find baby pictures. And I’ll use that in the beginning of my talk. And I’ll say, look at this lovely little girl. Isn’t she cute? Isn’t she adorable? And then I’ll show a picture of them as a grown up. I’ll say, “You know, she wasn’t born an expert.” She wasn’t born a nutrition expert or a fitness expert. And then maybe I’ll show another one to make the point that everyone starts at zero.
You don’t have to be an expert. Part of establishing your personal brand is your journey, is sharing that journey and learning along the way. You don’t have to be an expert but you do have to be a continuous learner and an urgent learner. And make progress week by week and year by year. When I started my blog, I’ve been blogging since 2009. I had no idea what I was doing. But you know what, I’ve written a book on blogging. It’s one of the best selling books on blogging in the whole world. I didn’t start as an expert but I learnt. And once I learnt, I was able to share my insights, my take on it. And eventually, became an expert but the most important thing is you need to start.
Chantal: Thank you so much for sharing that advice Mark. I’ve got one last question for you. We finish off our show each week with Fitbizpiration. And I am hoping you could share with us your top three tips for fitness professionals to become known.
Mark: My wish and my hope is that people will have the courage to start. One of the things that I hear Chantal a lot is that people might say, “Oh, it’s all been said, what can I add?” And you know, you have no competition. You have no competition. There is no one that’s had your experience and has your perspective and you know, ten years from now, we’ll look back in 2017 and we’ll look back and we’ll think, “Oh, I wished I lived back then.” There were so many opportunities. The internet was just beginning. The ideas and the people that are going to impact the fitness industry the most, ten years from now, they haven’t started yet. It hasn’t been invented yet. And so maybe it’s your time. The second thing I would say is take a very clear-eyed assessment of where you are in your life right now. Is it the right time? How would you have the time to do this? I recommend for most professionals really building a big brand and creating the content to support it may take five hours a week. That is a lot of time. And I am sure you could probably vouch for that as well. So, think about the time commitment. Is this the right time for you? And you know what, You’re taking care of a sick parent or you’re recovering from a financial problem or something, you know. Maybe a year from now is your time.
The third thing is “Don’t quit too soon.” I heard this over and over again. And I’ve got exercises in the book. I’ve got a way to measure it to look at little milestones, little progress that you make along the way. So, you know, it’s working. Because I said at an average, it took 30 months for that personal brand to really ignite. So don’t give up too soon.
Consistency, persistence I think is more important than being an expert than having that big idea, just outlasting people, being reliable, building an audience that loves you is so important. It might be even more important than like I said, being an expert in something. So, hanging in there and consistency would be my third piece of advice.
Chantal: Mark, thank you so much for joining us today. I said to you at the very beginning that interviewing authors is my absolute highlight, and you are no exception. It was just such a thrill to have you on the show. So, if people want to get their hands on a copy of Known or any of your previous books, or they want to check out the podcast or your blog, where do they need to go?
Mark: Everything can be found as businessesgrow.com and I hope your listeners do stay in touch with me. I’d love to hear from them. Check out my blog, my podcasts, my books. All of my books are available on Amazon, in paper, in Kindle. And most of them are available on audio. And I’d love to hear from them. And thank you so much for having me on your amazing podcast. Congratulations on all your success and thanks for all your great questions today.
Chantal: Mark, the pleasure is all ours. Thank you.
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