7 Things That Inspire, Educate, and Encourage Me

I’ve been enjoying Tim Ferriss’s “5-Bullet Friday” emails. If you don’t receive that weekly email, you should sign up for it here.

Today I’m experimenting with my own variation of this idea, which I’m dubbing “7-Link Saturday”. Here goes…

1. Music That Inspires Me – Jesus Culture, featuring Kim Walker-Smith, Unstoppable Love


2. Video That Encourages Me – André Rieu & His Johann Strauss Orchestra performing “And The Waltz Goes On” in Maastricht. A Waltz composed by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Watch Sir Anthony’s face.


3. Video(s) That Educate Me. The Story Grid video series by Shawn Coyne… required for all Storytellers, whether you write novels, screenplays, or ad copy.

“The Story Grid is a tool developed by editor Shawn Coyne to analyze stories and provide helpful editorial comments. It’s like a CT Scan that takes a photo of the global story and tells the editor or writer what is working, what is not, and what must be done to make what works better and fix what’s not.”

The Story Grid Book

4. Speaking of Storytelling

One of my photography mentors, Mason Marsh, has this amazing portrait and story about Ben Moon on his blog:

That post is worth reading in and of itself. It was through Mason’s post that I learned about the powerful short film Ben released earlier this year. It brought me to tears. Yet it left me celebrating life. (It’s about a dog named Denali. You have been warned.)


5. Great Blog Post. If you missed it, my friend Mike Kim published an amazing post this week called “Why You Must Attain Rising Star Status (And How To Do It)” 

6. Fantastic Podcast. Michael Hyatt published one of my favorite episodes of his podcast (“This Is Your Life” ) this week, called “How To Wreck Your Future: 5 Hidden Dangers of a Pessimism Addiction”.

7. Steve “SJ” Scott’s 8-book Summer Sale. Steve is a prolific e-book author, and this week he’s offering 8 of his books at 99 cents each! A couple of them are co-authored by my friend Rebecca Livermore. Check out the sale here.

The books that are available as part of this deal:

  • 10-Minute Declutter: The Stress-Free Habit for Simplifying Your Home
  • Master Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Organizing Your Life with Evernote (Plus 75 Ideas for Getting Started)
  • The Daily Entrepreneur: 33 Success Habits for Small Business Owners, Freelancers and Aspiring 9-to-5 Escape Artists
  • Level Up Your Day: How to Maximize the 6 Essential Areas of Your Daily Routine
  • 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Overcome Your Procrastination
  • Daily Inbox Zero: 9 Proven Steps to Eliminate Email Overload
  • Writing Habit Mastery – How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block
  • 115 Productivity Apps to Maximize Your Time: Apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and PC/iOS Desktop Computers

Okay, I Blew It

This was my first 7-Bullet Saturday (and maybe my last – let me know if you’d like to continue getting these each week), and I went way overboard. Next time (if there is a “next time”) I’ll keep it to 7 links. Maybe.

Enjoy your weekend.

Why You Must Attain Rising Star Status (And How To Do It)


Mike Kim is a specialist in personal branding, a marketing expert, and an extraordinarily talented copywriter. He’s also a member of my private Regency Mastermind – a remarkable, small group of people doing Big Things. ~ Ray Edwards

You’ve bought the online courses. You’ve attended conferences. You’ve read the right books, tuned into the top podcasts, and even modeled your blog after your favorite online expert.

But no matter how religiously you follow the “right” advice, you just can’t seem to get more traction.

What gives?

Chances are, you’re missing what I consider the “Rosetta Stone” of personal brand building. 

The real Rosetta Stone (not the language learning course) is a stone tablet discovered in 1799 in the Nile Delta. Widely regarded as one of the great archaeological finds in history, the Rosetta Stone helped linguists “break the code” to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

The Rosetta Stone contained a decree written by King Ptolemy V in three different scripts: Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Ancient Greek. Once discovered, linguists used their knowledge of known terms to unlock the meaning of the unknown hieroglyphs. 

In the same way, there is a “Rosetta Stone” in the personal brand space that very few people know about or even understand.

It’s no wonder.

There’s no course that teaches it. There are no books that talk about it. There are no conferences dedicated to it. And those successful bloggers and brands you follow? They don’t talk about it because most of them don’t even realize they’ve done it!

But I guarantee you — every successful personal brand has possessed this “Rosetta Stone” in one varying degree or another.

So what is this “Rosetta Stone” I’m talking about?

It is called …

Rising Star Status.

Consider: every big-name expert you follow today started out a beginner. No one “inherited” a blog with 100,000 readers from their late rich uncle. You can’t purchase a personal brand following on eBay, complete with thousands of social media followers, huge email lists, and jealousy-inducing amounts of web traffic.

No, every expert you follow was, at some point, a beginner when it comes to a personal brand. 

Slowly but surely, each of these folks started to get their name out there, find their niche, and gain traction. They stepped into and embodied the role of a “rising star.”

Eventually you saw their names on other blogs, or on your favorite podcasts. They became associated with other bigger-than-life personal brands, and eventually became one.

Please don’t think this happened by dumb luck. While each person’s path to success is different, the tenets are the same: building a successful personal brand requires you be smart, strategic, and savvy.

Here are a few strategies you can implement to break the code and position yourself as a “rising star,” all without being sketchy or spammy.

1. Become the best testimonial you can possibly be.

You may wonder, “How do I get noticed by or connect with an influencer?” The best way: enroll in a program and become their best case study. If you’ve already purchased someone’s course, all that remains is for you to use it to it’s fullest potential, get results, and make a big deal about it. 

If you have a blog or podcast, talk about it!

Becoming someone’s best testimonial will get their attention like nothing else can. That person is paying careful attention to what people are saying about his or her product. You’ve already set yourself apart from the multitudes by being one of their customers. Now take it a step further by being one of their best case testimonials. They may mention you or even Re-Tweet you. 

Looking for an example? I did this with the very owner of this platform, Ray Edwards. Check out: Why I Spent $4,102 To Spend A Few Days with Copywriter Ray Edwards.

2. Devote a blog post or podcast episode to another “rising star” (not a guru).

While you can use your platform to rave about a big name, you can also use it to build rapport with other people that are going places.

These fellow rising stars will appreciate the exposure more than the A-list personality; it will be easier for them to notice you. You don’t have to interview them — in fact, it’s probably better if you don’t. Just rave about them. They may share your content with their audience, and even reach out to you personally. 

If you connect with or even befriend them on their ascent, their success will contribute to yours in more ways than one.

I did this with a “rising star” several years ago, Jared Easley. Jared has since gone on to co-found Podcast Movement, and has become a household name in the podcast space. I wrote a simple blog post about him, and we became friends: Why I Love Jared Easley’s Starve The Doubts Podcast. 

3. Make yourself recommendable.

All these actions will be for naught if you don’t have a platform or presence that reflects the standards of the person you are writing about.

Friend, there is a difference between being appreciated and being recommended.

Writing a great review for a guru or fellow rising star may earn their appreciation — but it doesn’t mean he or she will repost or share your content. No, you must be recommendable.

Consider what the word “recommend” means. The root word is “commend,” which means to praise. When someone re-commends you, it essentially means he or she is “re-praising” you to others.

So, is your platform worthy of someone’s praise? Is your blog or podcast of such quality that the person you raved about would heartily re-commend you to their audience? Do you present yourself as a “rising star” whose success they would love to be associated with?

These are touchy questions, but deserve serious consideration.

Remember, you don’t need eye-popping design, or years of blog content, or a huge podcast. You simply need to be recommendable. Have your site in order. Focus your content. Use good pictures. Make a great first impression. 

Chances are that you are already this person — you just have to make sure your platform reflects that.

Implement these strategies and you will unlock the key to elevating people’s perception of you. This is the “Rosetta Stone” of personal brand building. Do it, and you’ll gain access to people, places, and platforms quicker than you imagined.

The only question is … will you do it?

#180: 5 Profit Poachers That Murder Your Business


There are 5 Murderous “Profit Poachers” that are on a merciless mission: to kill your business. The good news? Simply knowing about them can stop the cash-killers in their tracks. During this episode you’ll discover:

  • A simple app that increases the life of your Apple laptop battery.
  • The lessons we can learn from Ananias and Sapphira… and why they had it right about money!
  • “The 5 Profit Poachers That Murder Your Business” (And How to Stop Them In Their Tracks)
  • The Paul B. Evans secret to preposterous productivity (without doing too much).
  • How to get booked as a speaker, and make a better than decent living.
  • Why you don’t need a “speaker packet” or a “demo reel”… and might even be better off without one.
  • How to get your work finished each day before 8am.
  • How Paul creates content in minutes, not hours.
  • The secrets of packing for a 7-day business trip -carrying everything in only a single backpack.
  • How you can make an appearance on this show, and promote your business or website!

5,000 Words a Day With Ray

One lesson I learned at last week’s Worldcon: the most successful authors (like Brandon Sanderson, Kevin J. Anderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Scott Lynch, George R.R. Martin, and Eric Flint, to name just a few who were present) know their writing is a job.

Kevin J. Anderson impressed me – the guy has written 125 books, 51 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists; he has over 23 million copies in print in thirty languages. He has won or been nominated for the Nebula Award, Bram Stoker Award, the SFX Reader’s Choice Award, and New York Times Notable Book…. and shows up for work every day with a goal. A number of words he will write that day.

I’m now writing at least 5,000 words a day. To keep myself accountable, I’ve placed a widget with the day’s word count in the sidebar. It’s just a text widget, which I have to update manually each day. I’d love something that shows a neat little graph of: my total daily wordcount, wordcount on each project, and a progress bar for each… but I haven’t found anything yet. If you have any suggestions, please post them in the comments below. Thanks. Now… I gotta go write somethin’.

Selling From the Dark Side: Is Fear-Based Copy Morally Wrong?

Male lion attack huge buffalo bull

In the copywriting class I’m currently teaching (the now-closed Copywriting Academy), one question has come up several times during our Q&A sessions. The question is posed a little differently each time, but is accurately summarized this way: “Is it morally wrong to sell based on fear as a motivation?”

This question comes up because part of the framework I use to teach copywriting involves the Principle of Amplification. In this section of the training, I teach that once we have identified the problem we are solving for our customer (with our product or service), we must then Amplify the consequences of not solving the problem. We are, in effect, helping the customer to understand the cost of not buying our solution. All of this proceeds from the assumption that your product or service actually does solve a problem, and that not solving the problem actually does involve a cost.