Never Quit on Your Dream – How One Author Landed a Big Time Publisher

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I’ve been a self-published author since 2008. My first book, Rich Habits. went on to become an Amazon bestseller in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia and India. Two subsequent books also went on to become bestsellers. One of them, Rich Kids, even won an award from Writer’s Digest, a well-respected trade publication for writers.

But, none of my success came easy. At every step, I encountered obstacles and setbacks.

After completing the manuscript for Rich Habits, I spent six months trying to secure a literary agent. I sent out over 140 query letters to literary agents in my genre (self-help). About half ignored me and about half sent me rejection notice after rejection notice.

After that major fail, I spent another six months sending out query letters to over a hundred publishers of self-help books. Only ten cared to respond and all ten said, “no thanks”.

I wallowed in depression for some time. As I saw it, two options: quit or self-publish. I decided to self-publish.

Being a self-published author is not a choice for most authors. Rather, it’s a fallback option for authors who are ignored or rejected by literary agents and traditional publishers. It costs money to self-publish I found out. I spent close to $20,000 to self-publish my books. I spent another $50,000 for PR companies, publicists, book promotions, book giveaways, travel (speaking engagements), website revamping/tweaking, and many other costs, too painful to recount.

Despite all of my mistakes and failures, I nonetheless succeeded. I learned that success in the author business requires daily dedication. It’s almost a full-time job. In defense of traditional publishers, they  know most self-published authors won’t do the things they need to do in order to succeed. Those few who are committed to becoming successful authors, do three things every day for many many years.

The Three Daily Habits of Successful Authors [Read more…]

Happiness & Epigenetics

Tip of the Morning

Last week Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands published a paper that, for the first time, linked genetics to happiness.

In the study of nearly 300,000 people, the researchers, led by Meike Bartels, found that there was a direct link between genes and happiness.

This is a groundbreaking study. For the first time, researchers were able to determine that happiness is genetic; that your your happiness is predetermined by your genes.

But there’s much more to the story. You see, the research also pointed out that environmental factors can turn happiness or sadness genes on or off. In other words, your environment can turn on or off genes that make you happy or sad. This environmental influence over your genes is known as epigenetics.

Environmental Factors That Make You Happy

  • Associate with Happy People – If your inner circle is made up of happy people, like a virus, they will infect you, turning on your happiness genes and suppressing your sadness genes.
  • Gratitude – Expressing gratitude every day can turn happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
  • Volunteering – Helping others through volunteer work can turn happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
  • Dream-Setting – Pursuing something you are passionate about, something that you love, can turn happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
  • Goal-Setting – Pursuing meaningful goals, goals that help advance your dreams, can turn happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
  • Happy Mentors – Finding a mentor who is happy, upbeat and optimistic, activates your own happiness genes and deactivate your sadness genes.
  • Happy Spouses – When you marry a spouse who is happy, upbeat and optimistic, activates your own happiness genes and deactivates your sadness genes.
  • Happy Boss – Working for a boss who is happy, upbeat and optimistic, activates your own happiness genes and deactivates your sadness genes.
  • Read to Learn – The brain loves to learn. It’s hardwired to learn and rewards you, when you read to learn, with happiness neurotransmitters that turn happiness genes on and sadness genes off.
  • Find a Happy Job – Finding a job that you like or love will turn on your happiness genes and suppress your sadness genes.
  • Reach – Taking on projects or responsibilities that force you to grow as an individual (meaning to learn new things) excites the brain, which then releases happiness neurotransmitters that turn on happiness genes and turn off sadness genes.
  • New Hobbies – The brain likes novelty. When you take up a new hobby or anything new, your brain rewards you by producing happiness neurotransmitters which turn on happiness genes and turn off sadness genes.

It May be the Industry That Sucks and Not You

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Tom Corley boats - crop

Back in early 1991 I was really just getting starting in my career as a corporate tax specialist. I had recently passed a rigorous three day, 22-hour exam and was awarded the prestigious CPA designation. With that CPA in hand I was able to secure a higher paying job as a Tax Manager in a large cement manufacturing company that was on the precipice of going public (issuing stock to the public via one of the stock exchanges) in the U.S.

Along with my new responsibilities as a Tax Manager, I was spending 3 nights a week attending graduate school to get my Masters degree in Taxation. I was also working  15-20 hours a week part time as a tax preparer for a friend’s CPA firm in order to pay for graduate school.

I was burning the candle at both ends but I was happy because my future looked bright. Once my company went public, I stood to make a lot of money in the form of stock bonuses and stock options.

Then the recession hit. My company lost $20 million dollars in 1992 because of that recession. Upper management issued a company-wide memo, informing all employees that salaries would be frozen for at least one year.

I remember sitting at a bar with my boss shortly after the news hit. We had both worked so hard the past two years organizing our tax department, hiring the right staff and putting smart systems and processes in place. We invested our lives in our company, at the expense of family time. We were both very down and we decided to drown our sorrows with some beer. We talked about the situation we found ourselves in. I naively suggested to my boss that things would turn around and everything would eventually work itself out. My normally optimistic boss looked me in the eyes and said that the loss likely meant our company would not go public. Then he looked down at his beer, then back up to me and said,  “it’s the industry that sucks, not us.”

I learned an important lesson from that experience. You can be the best, brightest, hardest working person in your industry, but if that industry is shrinking and not growing, all that hard work and smarts doesn’t matter. Becoming successful requires much more than working hard and working smart. You have to work hard and work smart in the right industry. Hard work and smarts are rewarded in growth industries.

Just look at those smart hard working people at Google, Apple, Uber, Facebook, or Netflix, many of whom are now multi-millionaires. Then compare them to those smart hard working people who worked at Kodak, Blockbuster, Shearson Lehman, or Barnes and Noble. These companies were all in industries that have been disrupted by technology and are either bankrupt, shut down or in steep decline.

Success isn’t easy. You have to forge the traits, habits, thinking, work ethic and good decision-making of self-made millionaires. While all of those success traits are important, good decision-making is probably the most important. It requires that you make choices in life that offer you the best chance for success. One of the biggest decisions you can make in life is in picking the industry you will devote your working life to. Make sure that industry is one that is exploding and not imploding. Plant your flag in the right industry and not just any industry. Life rewards you when you make good decisions and punishes you when you don’t.

 

 

Rich Habits Poor Habits Episode 22 | What Does it Take to be Successful Part 2

Is success just a matter of luck?
expert leader chess game strategy business win success lose think mind psychology

Despite most people thinking that successful people just got lucky – the reality is it take much more than that.

Rich successful people have developed certain habits and beliefs that have guided them through their.

In Tom Corley’s five-year Rich Habits study of 233 rich people and 128 poor people he discovered that your beliefs dictate your circumstances in life.

The wealthy adopt certain beliefs that promote success.

In this week’s video we discuss 10 habits that successful people posses

These include:

  1. All success requires an optimistic, positive mental outlook
  2. All success requires the development of processes that work
  3. All success requires adding value to the lives of others
  4. All success requires creating a herd of followers
  5. All success requires stepping outside your comfort zone
  6. All success requires laser-like focus
  7. All success requires developing unique skills and the acquisition of knowledge specific to your industry
  8. All success requires creating the opportunity for luck to occur
  9. All success requires the ability to pivot around obstacles, pitfalls, mistakes and failures
  10. All success requires the ability to survive until you thrive

You can catch up with past episodes of this weekly webcast here Rich Habit, Poor Habits – Tom Corley & Michael Yardney

You may also be interested in viewing:

RICH HABITS POOR HABITS EPISODE 21 | WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL PART 1

RICH HABITS POOR HABITS EPISODE 20 | NO IS A RICH HABIT

RICH HABITS POOR HABITS EPISODE 19 | IS BEING RICH OR POOR A CHOICE?

RICH HABITS POOR HABITS EPISODE 18 | FEARLESS HABITS OF ENTREPRENEURS

 

 

 

 

Dabbler’s Don’t Get Very Far in Life

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“Always hire fanatics. Fanatics get things done.” Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York City

Fanatics accomplish the impossible. They possess the passion, persistence, consistency of action and a single-minded focus that does not entertain distractions. Fanatics go at it every day. Fanatics succeed or they die trying. Fanatics are world changers.

When I think of fanatics, I think of Elon Musk. His obsession with going to Mars gave birth to Space X, the first private company to sent a rocket into orbit around the earth and now a billion dollar company. He was also obsessed with creating the world’s best electric car and formed Tesla Motors, now a billion dollar company. Musk committed $188 million, his entire windfall from the sale of Pay Pal, to funding Space X and Tesla Motors. He went all in. At one point, these two companies took him to within a hair’s breath of bankruptcy. But fanatics never quit and Musk overcame his near bankruptcy and is now estimated to be worth nearly $14 billion.

I also think of Andrew Carnegie, the founder of what became U.S. Steel and the richest man in the world at one time. Carnegie was obsessed with controlling the steel industry. His obsession led him to acquire coals companies, railroad companies, telegraph companies and many other companies in order to control the raw material that went into steel and the distribution channels for selling his steel. After selling his steel company to U.S. Steel, Carnegie shifted his obsession to philanthropy, giving away his $480 million ($310 billion in today’s dollars) to help humanity.

Dabbler’s, unlike fanatics, never wholly commit themselves to anything. They don’t put in the time or effort to learn and grow enough to become expert in anything. Dabbler’s never get very far in life.

Starting Small is the Key to Success

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Tom Corley boats - crop

Everything big, was once small. 

Small habits lead to lifelong habits. Lifelong relationships start with a hello. While home runs in baseball get most of the glory, the vast majority of runs scored come from singles and walks. 

If you’re an entrepreneur starting a new business, you want to start small. Smart entrepreneurs always start small because they know that new businesses almost always run losses in the early years.  Smaller businesses have lower expenses. Lower expenses results in smaller losses. Smaller losses means using less of your limited working capital.

The really smart entrepreneurs start businesses on the side, while working full-time jobs. The earnings from the full-time job can help fund the side business until it begins to turn a profit.

When you start small, eventually you figure out what to do and what not to do. When you figure out what to do and what not to do, that’s when your business starts to turn a profit. If the business is profitable enough, you can leave your full-time gig and devote yourself full-time to your growing business.

Starting small is the key to success.

Success & Happiness Lie at the Intersection of Passion & Talent

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You have passion. You have talent. But do you have passion for the thing you are talented at? If the answer is yes, I can almost guarantee that you will live a life filled with enormous success and happiness.

Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people, their passion and their talent are divorced from one another. Too many people have a passion for something they are not very good at and too many have innate talents at doing things they have zero passion for. And that’s too bad.

Yes you can become rich and successful if you spend your entire life honing your talents. And yes you can become happy if you spend your entire life engaged in activities you are passionate about.

But in order to be successful and happy, you need both. When you marry your passion with your talent, work becomes play. At the intersection of passion and talent is success and happiness.

65% of Successful Entrepreneurs Started Their Business Part-Time

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Tom Corley boats - crop

When I decided to write my first book Rich Habits I literally had only one to two hours every morning available to me. I was running a CPA firm and had just started my financial planning practice. Plus I had three youngish kids.

One of the many things I uncovered in my Rich Habits research on self-made millionaires was that 65% had started their successful businesses on the side, while still working full-time. I decided to take a page out of their book when I wrote Rich Habits.

The only available time, for me, was in the early mornings, including Saturdays and Sundays. So, every single day for six months I got up between 4-5 am and wrote for one to two hours, did 30 minutes on my StairMaster and then headed off to work. Rich Habits would go on to become a #1 Amazon Bestseller and provided me with the morning routine template I would use for all of my subequent books. As it turns out, I’m not the only entrepreneur who built their business on a part-time basis. Many very well-known millionaires squeezed in their passion in the early morning hours:

Brian Koppelman

Koppelman is a screenwriter, novelist, director and producer. He is the co-creator and co-producer of the huge hit Billions. He also was the producer for the Illusionist, one of my favorite movies, and the co-writer of Rounders and Ocean’s Thirteen. Koppelman co-wrote Rounders with a bartender friend of his in the early mornings. He and his friend spent two hours every morning writing that screenplay before they both headed off to butter their bread.

Khaled Hosseini

Hosseini wrote The Kite Runner in the early mornings before he went off to his full-time job as a doctor. His book was so successful, Hosseini was able to retire from medicine to write full-time.

John Grisham

Grisham, author of numerous blockbuster books, wrote The Firm and A Time to Kill, in the early mornings before heading off to work as an attorney. The Firm initially failed as a book. Grisham stored over a thousand copies of The Firm in the trunk of his car. he eventually threw them into a dumpster. His agent suggested he write another book. So, while still working full-time as an attorney, Grisham wrote A Time to Kill. Instead of pitching the manuscript to traditional publishers, the agent sent it off to someone he knew in Hollywood. They loved the story and decided to turn it into a movie. The Hollywood executives asked the agent if Grisham had any other books. The agent sent them The Firm. When word got out that Tom Cruise signed on to the movie, The Firm quickly sold millions of copies.

Joy Gendusa

Gendusa, CEO and founder of Postcard Mania, started her business on the side, while working full-time. Postcard Mania now employs more than 200 employees and brings in more than $40 million a year in revenue

Wally Amos

You’ve probably had a Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie at some point in your life. Amos is the founder of those Famous Amos cookies. It started out as a hobby. Amos was a full-time talent agent for the William Morris Agency. In 1967, Amos left William Morris and moved to Los Angeles, where he struggled to set up his own personal management company. Burdened with the debt of his failing business, Amos began to take comfort in baking chocolate chip cookies. Using a modified recipe of his Aunt Della, he opened his first Famous Amos cookie store on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1975. Within months, Amos had opened two more West Coast franchises, and the New York-based Bloomingdale’s department store began selling the his Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, turning him into a household name.

There’s no set formula for becoming successful. Every self-made millionaire is different. But I can tell you from my research that success leaves clues. One of the clues I found was consistency. All self-made millionaires go at it every day. They are consistent and persistent. Even just one to two hours a day can turn your dream into a successful business if you develop a daily routine and stick to that routine, day in and day out.

 

 

Today You vs. Tomorrow You

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There are two you’s. There’s the Today You and there’s the Tomorrow You. The Today You is your enemy. The Tomorrow You is your greatest ally.

Today You

  • The Today You requires immediate gratification
  • The Today You is focused on the here and now
  • The Today You seeks pleasure
  • The Today You takes shortcuts, such as gambling, to get what they want
  • The Today You wants money and things now. They use credit cards and debt
  • The Today You prefers relaxation over exertion
  • The Today You likes to party
  • The Today You wants to sleep in
  • The Today You does not want to exercise
  • The Today You does not want to eat healthy
  • The Today You does not want to read to learn
  • The Today You does not want to work long hours
  • The Today You likes to spend money now
  • The Today You has no dreams or goals
  • The Today You has bad habits

Tomorrow You

  • The Tomorrow You requires delayed gratification
  • The Tomorrow You is focused on the future
  • The Tomorrow You forgoes pleasure
  • The Tomorrow You invests in themselves today for future rewards
  • The Tomorrow You avoids going into debt
  • The Tomorrow You eats right every day
  • The Tomorrow You exercises every day
  • The Tomorrow You works long hours in the pursuit of their dreams and goals
  • The Tomorrow You has good habits

There is a war raging inside each one of us between the Today You and the Tomorrow You. You get to decide who wins that war. For most, the Today You wins most of the time. But for a few, the Tomorrow You wins most of the time.

The Today you will make your poor, unhealthy, unhappy and unfulfilled. The Tomorrow You will make you rich, healthy, happy and fulfilled.

 

Rich Habits Poor Habits Episode 21 | What Does it Take to be Successful Part 1

What does it really take to be successful? success risk wealth

Despite most people thinking that successful people just got lucky – the reality is it take much more than that.

Rich successful people have developed certain habits and beliefs that have guided them through their.

In Tom Corley’s five-year Rich Habits study of 233 rich people and 128 poor people he discovered that your beliefs dictate your circumstances in life.

The wealthy adopt certain beliefs that promote success.

In this week’s video we discuss 10 habits that successful people posses

These include:

  1. All success requires passion
  2. All success requires unrelenting persistence
  3. All success requires taking risks
  4. All success requires action
  5. All success requires hard work
  6. All success requires a team of apostles who believe in you and your dream
  7. All success requires continuous daily self-education
  8. All success requires a leap of faith
  9. All success requires patience
  10. All success requires good daily habits

You can catch up with past episodes of this weekly webcast here Rich Habit, Poor Habits – Tom Corley & Michael Yardney

You may also be interested in viewing:

RICH HABITS POOR HABITS EPISODE 20 | NO IS A RICH HABIT

RICH HABITS POOR HABITS EPISODE 19 | IS BEING RICH OR POOR A CHOICE?

RICH HABITS POOR HABITS EPISODE 18 | FEARLESS HABITS OF ENTREPRENEURS

RICH HABITS POOR HABITS EPISODE 17 | POOR BELIEFS PART 2