Brian Dixon Can Help You Improve Your Writing | PoP 442

Brian Dixon Can Help You Improve Your Writing | PoP 442

What are some myths you have heard about publishing? How do you market a book? How can you improve your writing?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Brian Dixon about how to improve your writing and his new book ‘Start With Your People’.

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Meet Brian Dixon

Brian Dixon is a podcaster, conference speaker and business coach. He believes that each of us was made for a purpose. By clarifying your calling, discovering your audience, and creating your products, you can navigate a clear path to impact and income.

He helps authors, speakers, and aspiring messengers create a sustainable business through growing their platform and creating compelling online courses.

Visit Brian’s website and connect with him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Listen to his podcast here.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Brian’s journey
  • How to market a book
  • ‘Start With Your People’

Brian’s journey

Brian used to work in K12 education as a school administrator and then moved on to being the founder of a charter school where he was tasked with the marketing component in order to get more students into the school. He had however always dreamed about being an author and for him to get his foot in the door he started off as a marketing consultant to help people launch their books, start online courses and help them figure out their message.

When he attended conferences he was trying to teach people how to get their message out there, but he didn’t have enough time to cover every single aspect. He was often asked about the exact details and to go more in-depth with his teachings that he decided to put together a 60-page booklet that he had self-published which he would be able to hand out to people at conferences so as to answer their questions.

A while after having done this he attended another conference and a session on book publishing which made him realize that he could turn his little self published guide into a textbook, and this was where he discovered the entire publishing process.

How to market a book

A book should serve a reader.

You have to think about who the book is for and nurture an audience. To write a book is about 30% of the process, to build the relationships and to get the message out is about 70%.

‘Start With Your People’

1. Start with your people

Look at the people in your life and figure out how you can really show up and serve them. Ask these 2 questions to the people in your life on a daily basis: what can I do to make your day and what are you working through.

2. Purpose

Who is it that you help? Where are they stuck? How do you help them for free and how do you help them for pay? When you understand where your people are stuck, you are are able to show up and help them.

3. Profit

The more you help your clients, the more you can get paid. Profit is the fuel to sustain your dream. Think of money like water, you can drink or you can drown.

4. Practice

How do you improve your productivity? How can you live out the vision of your life daily? The most important practice you have to focus on is your morning routine and a morning affirmation.

Books by Brian Dixon

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]: This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 442.
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Welcome, welcome, welcome. Well if you have not checked out the other podcasts that we have helped launch, you’ve got to check them out over practiceofthepractice.com/network. I want to tell you about each of these eight podcasts. Some of them have already launched and some are launching very soon here and so over a practiceofthepractice.com/network, you will see the other eight podcasts in the Practice of the Practice podcast network. So, we’ve got Whitney Owens who launched the Faith in Practice podcast all about starting a faith-based practice. We also have Alison Pidgeon who has the Grow a Group Practice podcast. It’s all about kind of growing and scaling your practice by adding clinicians to the practice. Jeremy Zug, we have Jeremy over there and he is doing the Scaling of Practice podcast. Jeremy is the owner of Practice Solutions and also a consultant with us. He is going to be talking all about kind of scaling your practice systems to scale all of that.
And then the other practice development podcast we have is with Sam, our one and only chief marketing officer. She has the Brand Your Practice podcast, Marketing Your Practice podcast, sorry, and it’s all about marketing and kind of getting that to the next level. So, we have four new practice development podcasts and those are going to be weekly podcasts as well. But our first cohort of the Done for You podcasters, those are going live now. So, we have the Imperfect Thriving podcast, which is aimed at helping women in their forties, forties, and sixties find their identities outside of being a mom and a wife, and to help with kind of all of that phase of life issues there. So, Kathryn is just amazing with that podcast.
We also have the Bomb Mom podcast with Melissa. Melissa is a fitness instructor from San Diego who does a lot around mindset and around optimizing not just your body and nutrition, but just your mind. And so, she has the Bomb Mom podcast. My wife is actually a part of her community, and just loves working with Melissa. And then Veronica has the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast, which is aimed at women who’ve often kind of lost themselves in being a stay at home mom or being a wife and you know, all the struggles of kind of a young parenting and finding yourself outside of just those roles. Veronica was such an amazing, just person at Slow Down School. She’s been in consulting with me and, also you would have heard an episode with her kind of earlier in 2020 and so hers is another one.
Then we have the Beta Male Revolution podcast with Billy and Brandy. Billy and Brandy are a couple I met at Killin’It Camp and I love their approach because they talk about kind of the alpha male that’s, you know, all macho and maybe not super grounded, but the beta male is more grounded, more sensitive and Billy defines himself as a beta male. And so, they really explore issues around being a beta male. So, these are great podcasts for you to listen to, to refer your clients to and we are supporting them with the full resources of Practice of the Practice. So, we’re letting our email list know about it if you’re on that and we’re putting out onto our social media. We’re taking on podcasts that we believe are genuinely going to help the world. So that could be through practice development to help you be a stronger clinician to build the lifestyle you want, but you know, to also impact your community and to impact people that work for you. Or it could be, you know, podcasts like these other four that are really aimed at lifestyle, kind of improving who you are, self-development.
We really want to support podcasts that are going to improve the world. And so, if that’s you, if you’re someone that has a podcast idea, you can go over to practiceofthepractice.com/apply. There’s a Done For You podcasting, the opportunity there to, click to schedule an interview with me to find a time that’s going to work for you to be able to just chat it up and see if the Done For You podcasting might be for you. Because for most of us, you know, learning to do WordPress, learning to do the show notes, finding people to do transcriptions and sound engineers, you know, when we’ve done the math, that’s, you know, 40 to $50,000 or so if you were to try to outsource all of that. And so, we tried to have it be a really reasonable price and I coach you through it and we support you as you launch and would absolutely love to work with you.
The other thing we’re working on right now is Slow Down School, doing Slow Down School interviews. You’ve probably heard about that on the previous couple episodes. Slow Down Schools is the event we put on the last week in July, and we’re just so excited to be doing it again. It is genuinely such an impactful event where people fly into Northern Michigan, we slow down for a couple of days and then we run full tilt towards your business. Would absolutely love to have you there. So, if you want to schedule an interview for that or just buy your ticket, head on over to slowdownschool.com.
Well, today we have Brian Dixon. Brian is an amazing person to help you improve your writing, to really get better at it, to improve your copy on your website. You know, your writing is probably one of the most underestimated and undervalued things to work on. It’s one thing to work on your SEO, it’s one thing to just work on the images that you put on social media, but if you can’t have the writing behind it, the storytelling, the kind of just way to capture someone in the writing, what is it going to do? And so today on the podcast, Brian is going to really help us dive into how do we improve our writing. So, without any further ado, I give you Brian Dixon.
Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Brian Dixon. Brian is a podcaster, conference speaker and business coach. He believes that each of us were made for a purpose. You’ll discover that purpose by clarifying your calling, discovering your audience, and creating your products, which will help you navigate a clear path to impact and income. Brian’s passionate about helping authors, speakers, and aspiring messengers to create a sustainable business through growing their platform. Brian, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[BRIAN]: Joe, I’m so honored to be here. Thanks for having me.
[JOE]: Oh, you know, I love when people are launching books and doing things that impact the world around their passion. And you know, when your team reached out, it was clear I had to have you on the podcast right away.
[BRIAN]: I love it. I’m honored.
[JOE]: Well, take us back a few years because I think that people will see someone who’s written a book and they say, “Oh, like they’ve always been awesome and they’re always doing it.” It’s not usually the story. Take us back a bit and tell us about your story. How’d you get here? What were some of the kind of bumps along the way? And then I want to dive into this new book of yours that I think is really going to help people with their team development.
[BRIAN]: I love it. Well, yeah, thanks so much for the opportunity. You know, I started my business six years ago and so like many of you who have started your own practice, maybe were an employee, you know, you’re working for somebody else for a while and then dreams of like, “One day I’m going to do my own thing.” And so that’s what I did. You know, I was able to leave my job, I was, I used to be an education, so, I was in K-12 education as a teacher and then eventually as a school administrator. And I always dreamed about being an author. And my way in the door of getting involved in the publishing world is by being a marketing consultant. So, I help people launch their books, start online courses, and really help them figure out their message.
[JOE]: So, I’m going to pause you there. So how did you go from being a school administrator to a marketing consultant? Like that, because I think that’s so common for therapists or people that, you know, we’re talking to you on the podcast where they followed a very traditional line of education. The only way to make our money is to be an admin and then you become a marketing consultant.
[BRIAN]: Right so, the last job I had an education, I was actually the founder of a charter school. So, for those that are unfamiliar, basically, you have public schools, you have private schools, and then you have charter schools, which are kind of in the middle. A charter school is usually run by a private board or an elected board but it’s publicly funded, and one of the things that you need to do as a charter school leader is figuring out how do you get more students because you’re funded by the number of students that attend your school as opposed to, you know, local public school, they just get a percentage of tax dollars. So, I needed to figure out marketing. Like how do I get kids to say yes to come into the school?
And I really discovered the value of, you know, sharing your message. It, you know, even in terms of client acquisition. Like I didn’t even know anything about this. Like, how do you get somebody to come to check you out? So, we started hosting these open house nights and, and at first, nobody was coming because how do you get the message out about, “Hey we have an open house.” So, I started running Facebook ads. Totally, you know, not, never done it before. I had no idea what I was doing. I started researching and listened to podcasts and watching videos on YouTube and buying books about marketing. And I absolutely Joe, I absolutely fell in love with the process of taking a message that I cared about. So, in this case, it was, “This school is going to be great. We want you to be here. How do you take that message?” And you get it in front of the right people. And how do you push through all of the failure? You know, because most people are going to say no. Anything that you’re trying to launch, most people say no. Only a few people say yes. And so how do you do that? So that was the process of launching the school and actually got pretty good at it. You know, we filled the school. When I left, we had over 530 kids that were attending the school but we started from zero. So, I just fell in love with marketing.
[JOE]: I love that you used a role that you are already in to really learn the skills that brought you to where you’re at. And you know, a story, I actually have never told in this podcast that made me think of is, when I was in grad school, I had a job at a runaway shelter and I was the placement services specialist and that meant that all the people that came through community mental health, all of these kids, through community mental health or probation, like I was the kind of point person for these agencies that were sending kids to us. And the previous person she had got in trouble for like smoking with the kids and like do all these things that were just terrible. So, it was a big rebuilding. And I didn’t recognize it even as marketing at the time. I just was like, “I got to rebuild this thing and like build some trust,” but I made up these like cool programs that were like around cooking and we’d bring in local chefs for these kids to learn and it just took off. It’s so cool to look back on our careers and say, “Wow.” Like for me, when I was in a band in college that was marketing, getting people to the shows, but I didn’t think of it that way. Or, you know, it’s so cool to see these kinds of little moments that stand out for your future career.
[BRIAN]: Love it. It’s absolutely amazing. And you know, I think for those of us that are listening, that you’re not running your practice right now, you actually have a different dream, it’s, you can use your day job to build the skills for your dream job. And it’s often something that we just don’t think about. You know, I frequently speak to clients and to friends who are like not loving their job and they’re wishing to start something new or to leave. And I really believe that the you show up right now is the way you’re going to show up for the next thing. Like you, wherever you go, you bring yourself and the best thing that you can do is become the best version of yourself because you’re always preparing for tomorrow. So, don’t wait to level up your skills until you finally leave your job or finally buy out your practice or like whatever your next thing is. Level up your skills right now. And you can actually, often you can learn on somebody else’s clock, you know?
[JOE]: Absolutely. I mean, I often say to people like, “Go get a job and get paid to network in the community and then go start your private practice.” Or then, you know, if you’re bringing someone into your practice as a 1099 or W2 and they’re fresh out of grad school, don’t hire them right away. Have them go work at a nonprofit where they sit on the suicide prevention board and poverty reduction initiative and go get paid to network and then then join the practice.
[BRIAN]: Absolutely. And you know, I was the founder of the charter school and the CEO of the nonprofit that started this school. So, it was really hard for me to do any kind of, it was actually like in my contract, I had to have like my full, I think it was like full time faith and effort, was the phrase in my contract. So essentially, they were saying I can’t go get paid to consult with somebody else. So, I had to negotiate with my board. What I was allowed to do was basically anything that would move the school forward or level up my skills to move the school forward. So, things like speaking at conferences, I couldn’t get paid on my own to go do that, but I could go speak as much as I wanted to for the school.
So, I signed up for Toastmasters and I started speaking at education conferences and started hosting luncheons and all of that benefited the school. But also, it was changing who I was. So, I got so much better at communicating a message, I signed up for conferences that the school would pay for that would help me become a better communicator and as a better communicator, more people would understand what the school was about, sign up for the school. But when I knew I would eventually leave that position, you know, the average tenure as a high school administrator, which is the level of the school I was running is three and a half years. Like most principals aren’t there for 20 years. Like it’s, there’s a high degree of turnover, especially in charter schools. So, everybody knew, I mean, I’m not there for the next 30 years, but while I’m there, they were investing in me and my skills, as they improved, they helped the school as well.
[JOE]: Oh, I love that. So, you then start writing books and start going out into the world, sharing a lot of this. What were some of your first books, and, we aren’t going to go through every single thing because I know you have a newer book that I want to kind of dive deeper into, but what were some of the first things you did to take that step out from your traditional job?
[BRIAN]: You know, that’s a good question. I started with a self-published guide because when I’d speak at conferences, I kind of went, I was finding I was going a little too fast because I was trying to teach them, mostly nonprofit leaders and school administrators, but it applies to people beyond nonprofit worlds. How do you get your message out? And I basically taught them this is what we did to use Facebook ads, to host open houses, how we use LinkedIn, how we used Eventbrite, how we used Twitter, how we used Facebook, how we used email marketing. And I basically taught our marketing strategy from the stage and at conferences. But you know, there’s only so much you can cover in a 30 to 40-minute keynote. And I, and people kept asking like, “What are the actual words you use and what did the picture like, what did the screen look like?” So I put together this little 60 page booklet that I could give to everybody that was at the conference or I could sell it to them and so I had this little booklet for probably about a year that I self-published, you know, I used Amazon CreateSpace. Now it’s digital public, Kindle Digital Publishing.
But I made this little self-study guide and I was at a conference South by Southwest technology conference and I was there for the school. And so, I was going to these sessions on leadership and on nonprofits and community engagement. And I went to one session, one session on book publishing, because I was like, “I’m already here. There’s one on book publishing with a few editors. Maybe there’s something that they’d have for me to learn and I’m sitting there in like the front row learning from these guys and it hit me in that moment. This book could be bigger, like this little self-publishing guide could actually be like a textbook that other school leaders could use and it could be studied in educational leadership programs at universities. And that’s, so I met one of the editors there and struck up a conversation and sure enough, you know, about a year later, that little guide became basically a textbook for how to use social media as a school leader. And that’s where I discovered the whole publishing process and all that’s involved. And there’s so many myths that I believed about writing and publishing and this was like sort of my trial by fire of like really figuring it out, what works, what doesn’t and how do I make it better?
[JOE]: Oh, I want to hear some of those myths.
[BRIAN]: The first one is that publishers do marketing. Publishers don’t do marketing. You know, publishers are good at editing a book, they’re good at distributing a book, and sometimes they’re okay with the book cover design. Really their zone of genius is getting a book edited, like getting a book finished, and like a real physical book in someone’s hand. They’re good at that, the production process, and they’re really good at the distribution process, like making sure that books are in stores or that Amazon is stocked. But a lot of the other things that require you know, that you need to do to get a book out, like for example, nurturing your audience, testing the content to make sure it’s really connecting, testing titles, making sure that the cover resonates, and particularly for me at that moment, it was the marketing part. I thought, I write a book, they publish it, it goes automatically, like in a catalog and then all the universities across the country are all going to say, “We want that book,” they add it to their curriculum, and every single year there’s, you know, a thousand universities that get 30 copies of the book, and every single year I sell 30,000 copies of the book. Like that’s what I thought happens. And it doesn’t.
[JOE]: It doesn’t.
[BRIAN]: No, it doesn’t at all. I asked them, you know, “What’s our Facebook advertising budget?” And our first, actually our only marketing meeting, which was also a shock that we only had one and they laughed on the other end of the phone, they were like, “We don’t market our books on Facebook.” And I was like, “But how do you get it out? How do you get the book in front of the people that you want to sell it to?” And they said, “Well, that’s mostly your job.” And I realized at that moment that even though I had a message, I didn’t have an audience. I didn’t have educators across the country that were reading a blog of mine or following on social media and I, it just kind of hit me like, I don’t want to lose the deal because I worked really hard to get the publishing deal, but I realized that I have not nurtured an audience. And so, when the book came out, I mean sold maybe a thousand copies total. Like it didn’t sell tens of thousands of copies because I didn’t have tens of thousands of people following me at the time.
[JOE]: Wow, so what does it take to market a book? And I know I want to get into the actual meat of your current book, but now I’m a little intrigued on this too.
[BRIAN]: You know, we spent, so, the newest book Start with Your People just came out a few days ago and so, I’m just kind of coming down the other side of the mountain of that whole marketing launch calendar. And, so now I have a little bit more perspective because it just happened. The book hit number one in all three of its categories, sold from up by all accounts pretty well, especially for my, you know, where I am in my career and my following and the people that I know. And so, it was a good, you know, it’s gone well. So, basically, to write a book, it’s about 30%, to build the relationships and to get the message out is about 70%. And most people think it’s 99% writing the book and like 1% sharing it and it’s totally opposite. You know, you’ve got to really think about who is the book for? Like that’s the most basic question. One of the companies that I’ve started in the last few years, it’s been four years now is called Hope Writers. It’s a monthly membership site for writers. I’m a co-founder, there’s three of us total and we host a weekly teacher every week and we consistently hear from publishers, from agents, from editors that it is all about serving a reader. A book should serve a reader, and the biggest mistake I see people make, and for those of you in practice, maybe you wrote a book to grow your counseling practice or your chiropractic practice.
Maybe you have a self-published book that’s sitting on your shelf right now. And you’re wondering why it’s not selling. And usually it’s because you wrote it for yourself. You didn’t write it for a reader and even if you wrote it for a reader, you might not know who that reader really is. That’s the biggest mistake. So we tried to do that with Start with Your People; is tried to think like who is the perfect person for this book, and gave a person a name, you know, what are their demographics, what are their psychographics, where they hang out, who do they follow, who do they listen to, who do they listen to on podcasts, and just all those details. And that’s been really helpful. When we launched the book, we had a really specific audience that we were trying to engage.
[JOE]: Ah, so what are some of the pains that that specific audience deals with? And then let’s talk through some of the things that you present in the book.
[BRIAN]: I love it. That’s such a great question. So, for the most part, the audience that I serve are messengers. So, there are other authors, speakers and business owners. They know they have a message; they want to get it out, but they’re really overwhelmed with technology and the strategy to do that and so they’re chasing all of these new tactics. You know, it’s whether it’s how to launch or it’s how to run ads, or it’s, should I do a webinar? Like it’s like every day they feel like, “Maybe I should try this, maybe I should try this,” and they just feel like they’re getting pulled in all these directions because they don’t have a clear path, a clear plan. So, the pain is overwhelming. The pain is confusion about how, like, “What is my next step?” And so the answer, the answer that the book answers is to start with your people, the way to grow your business, the way to get clear about your daily practice, the way to really know what your purpose is, is to look at people that are already in your life and to really show up for them.
So that’s what the book does. It just walks you through each of your key relationships at home, at work, and in your life. There’s a chapter on kids, there’s a chapter on your spouse, there is a chapter on your clients, there’s a chapter on difficult people. And basically, how do we see people in our lives and really see them really serve them? Because when you do that, it changes everything. It changes how people refer clients to you. It changes how you package your service offerings. It changes how you show up with your face. Like how do you greet people when they come into your practice? And we’ve seen people start to implement the strategies that I teach in Start with Your People and their lives are already being changed. And that’s what’s so rewarding about this process.
[JOE]: So, there’s four parts in your book. Maybe quickly just give us a big overview of those four parts and then we can drill into each of them a little bit more.
[BRIAN]: Absolutely. When I started, I thought it was going to be a book about, how to make more money. Like how to take your practice from, let’s say you’re at a net income of 80K a year take-home right now. And how do you quadruple that? How do you get to 320K a year? Like what do you do? Well, we can talk marketing, we talk sales, but if you don’t think about who is that ideal client, like who is that perfect dream customer, then all of the marketing in the world is just, you know, David Ogilvy years ago said ‘Great marketing helps a bad product fail faster’ and right, so we’ve got to start with people. So, there’s a chapter in the book on clients and that’s within.
So, the four steps are start with your people. So, look at the people in your life. How can I really show up and serve them? Once you start with your people, the next step is purpose. Because people lead to purpose. What I mean by that is when we really look at the people in our life, whether it’s our spouse or clients or a team member, when we see them, it’s always obvious to us like where they’re stuck or what I say is fix what’s broken? Like look at your client, like the client that you just served today or yesterday and look at their life and go, “What’s the one thing I could do to help them fix what’s broken?” So, let’s say you’re a massage therapist. Well, you know that they have these exercise habits or lack of exercise habits or whatever it is, the stress at work that’s leading to them being so tense and that’s why they need to come see you. Well that can be your purpose. Your purpose is people.
So, when you understand where your people are stuck, then you can show up for them, which is purpose. That’s why you get up in the morning; is to help them. And the more you help them leads to the third step, which is profit. The more clients you have or the more or the deeper that you help them, the more you get paid. It’s just the way it works. And that profit, generating revenue, growing your business leads to what I call practice, which is what do I actually do? How do I improve my productivity? How do I have that life-work balance? How do I live out the vision of my life on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a yearly basis? So those are the four steps that I teach in the book. Start with your people, people lead to purpose, purpose leads to profit, and finally, profit leads to your daily practice.
[JOE]: Awesome. Well, let’s start with those people. So a lot of our folks here, they may have virtual assistants that are answering the phone, they may have some 1099 or W2 clinicians that work for them, they may have even leveled up to the point that they have a practice director that’s kind of taking over most of the responsibilities of the practice. What are the things in businesses that people need to know about people? But also, I like how you talk about your partner or your kids or difficult people or friends in your life. What should we cover? What are some of the kind of those bullet points for people?
[BRIAN]: Yeah, that’s great. You know, what I found is that actually starting at home has really been opening people’s eyes to the possibilities. So that’s where I’d love you guys to think about, like the people that are in your home right now. So, for me, my home life looks like my wife and my three kids. And I actually have, my two sons are home today, I work from home, because they’ve got colds and they’re not feeling well. And so, what can I do to show up for my kids today and really show up for my wife? And there’s two questions that I’ve started asking on a daily basis. And this is my challenge to you guys listening. Two questions to ask on a daily basis to the people in your life. The first question is, “What can I do to make your day?” Now we can ask it out loud or we can just ask it by living it out, but often a person in our life, especially our spouse and our, even our kids or [inaudible 00:27:17], you know, they know where they’re stuck, they know where they’re having trouble. So, showing up for my kids today was allowing them to sleep in and not being in such a hurry because they’re not feeling well.
You know, finding the medicine so my son, who has a cold and is coughing that he can relieve his cough a little bit. You know, for my wife, she had plans today and the kids are home and that wasn’t the plan. So, what can I do to take maybe that plan, that errand that she had to run that she can’t now? What can I do to go run that errand? So that’s the first question; is what can I do to make your day? Or you can just say, what can I do to serve you? But what can I do to make your day? The other way to kind of ask that, this works really well with your team and with your clients; is what are you working through? So that’s a great question, especially for you practitioners right now if you have your own practice. You know, for you as a counselor, as a massage therapist, as a chiropractor you know, and that health and wellness space, especially for you to say as your first question to your client. “So, tell me what you’re working through right now.”
Because of the way, it sounds like, how are you, but it’s not right. How are you, you’re going to get, “I’m fine. I, you know, my next so and so.” But if you say, “What are you working through right now?” You’re going to get a deeper answer. You’re going to get, “You know, I feel really stressed because my kid’s six months away from going to college and I just feel like I don’t have it. Like I’m not ready.” You’re like, that is the kind of answer that you can actually do something about. Now the way that you serve her might be through massage or it might be through counseling, but to really hear like what’s the answer that’s underlying that surface-level problem.
[JOE]: I love that, what are you working through? That is different than how are you because it quickly gets you to the point of that kind of internal struggle and where are you at with things beyond just how are you today?
[BRIAN]: Yes.
[JOE]: Or even, you know, some therapists might start with, “Where should we start?” And you know, that’s less clear. Now take us into some of the purposes that then flows us into a, how does that start to develop?
[BRIAN]: Oh, absolutely. I love the question. You know, I really believe that each of us are here for a purpose. And our purpose is people, our purpose is the people that are already in our life. But, when we lack clarity, then we don’t have confidence. So, and I call myself a clarity coach. I work with messengers to help get clear on who’s their audience, what’s their message and what are the products or what are the services that they offer. I call that AMP: audience, message and product, and so in the purpose section of Start with Your People, I walk readers through a 10-step process to creating their own personal mission statement. I call it your mirror manifesto. So, imagine Joe, you know, you’re shaving the morning, you’re looking in the mirror and, in the bottom, right corner thereof the mirror is this little index card with three sentences, and it just walks you through: “Who is it you help? Who is it that you serve? Where are they stuck? How do you help them for free and how do you help them for pay?”
So, what’s the content you create? And what are the services you provide and then how does that help you and how does it help your family? Having this little statement that you can look at on a daily basis gives you that confidence to be able to send that extra email or to push through traffic or to deal with that difficult client because you know, your purpose. So, that’s probably what I’m getting, earlier feedback from readers is, that’s one of her favorite sections is that 10-step mirror manifesto process.
[JOE]: Yeah, I think what I often see is that what we do in our day is often triggered by things external of ourselves. So, we might leave the bathroom and we’ll have a reminder that, “Oh, that’s, the cleaning lady’s come. I got to pick up my crap from the floor.” And then our kid is freaking out and says, “I don’t want Cheerios this morning.” So, we, all these things outside of our control trigger our behavior but when we have something like that as a reminder, I think it focuses us on the things that we want to be reminded by. And so for me, I’ll fill my schedule, whether or not I’m actually talking to people with the things that I want to be reminded of so that I look at it and say, “Okay, I’m going to work on the e-course, I’m going to work on Podcast Launch School.” Or you know, even to say, “I can’t work on that today, but in two weeks I want to make sure I work on that.” So, it’s not floating around in my brain or on some random to-do list. I actually put it in my calendar so it triggers me to do the things that I know I want to complete.
[BRIAN]: I love that. Well that, —
[JOE]: So, then take us into profit. So, how does that flow into profit?
[BRIAN]: Yeah, so profit has probably been my favorite section of the book because profit really is the fuel to sustain your dream. So, if you think about your purpose, that’s like the car, but how do you keep it going? Like, and it’s so much of our life has to do with money. The choices we make. The choices as simple as the clothes we wear, the house we live in, the food we consume, the vacations we take, the experiences we have, all that’s related to money and money can be a really challenging topic to talk about, especially for people who are more like heart-centered entrepreneurs or more nonprofit minded, and I’m thinking, especially for you health practitioners or those counselors. Like how do you charge a client? How do you decide what you’re going to charge them? It can be really overwhelming, confusing.
So, there’s two chapters on profit in the book. One of them is how to fix your money mindset. So that one, that’s chapter 14. That chapter has already made such an impact on people because we grow up learning sometimes just through our environment, not even intentionally, but just we learn these mindsets. And one of the mindsets that I’ve just found through coaching is that so many people have these money mindset challenges. You know, that money is the root of all evil, right? Or that wealthy people are greedy or, “If I grow my business and make a lot of money, it means that I am somehow going to not be generous or not going to be able to serve people well. So, I don’t want to get too big because I don’t want to become that person.” And there’s just so many, there’s so much flawed thinking when it comes to money. I believe money is like water. You can drink or you can drown. You know, you can kind of decide what you want to do with this tool; that you have options. And so, there’s a few exercises I walk people through in the chapter on money mindset and it’s already made a really big impact.
[JOE]: Oh yeah. That’s so true. I often in my webinars will say that money magnifies what’s already there. So, if you’re a bad person and you make more money, you’re going to screw over more people. If you’re a good person, you’re going to help the world in some way. And I think that’s so true and you know, whether it’s teachers or therapists, it’s like we’re told all through school we’re not going in it for the money. And that really has permeated the way that a lot of people think. And there’s so many ways that you can make money and have a greater impact on the world and not work 50 hours a week.
[BRIAN]: Yes, absolutely. It’s incredible. I just think it’s incredible that we get to live in 2019. And like I said, I really believe that you’re here for a purpose, even to a point where I believe that you’re born for this time. Like, statistically we could have been born a hundred years ago but we weren’t. This time, like we are alive today and never in the history of the world have we had this kind of opportunity to engage a global audience, to reach people in our community directly in such a powerful way, to share content that really matters to us with tools that are virtually free and ubiquitous. I mean, everyone has access for the most part to the internet. They, if we post the video on YouTube, they can watch it, if we share something on Facebook, they can like it, if we write something on email, they can receive it. It’s just amazing opportunity that we have, and so, I think that it’s so easy to overlook those opportunities for serving people well with the technology that we have.
[JOE]: And, I mean, even if you look at global statistics, poverty, access to clean water, childhood mortality, like almost every indicator in the world says that this is the best time to live, which doesn’t always feel that way, but you know, statistically it is. And, so that kind of takes us into practice and how we live our life and how we run our business. Take us through a little bit of that, so once we’ve gone through the first three steps.
[BRIAN]: Yes. So, let’s just focus on one practice. It’s the morning routine. You know, my friend and mentor, Dan Miller calls it your rudder of the day. So, think about if your life is like a boat and the day is like the water that the boat goes through. What’s the direction? Well, if you think about a boat, the rudder is this really small component but it’s so powerful because you turn that rudder a little bit and the entire boat is going to shift direction. So I believe in having an hour in the morning, for those of us with kids, especially little kids, an hour before kids wake up because I know, you know, when I’m woken up by a kid looking at my face and like waking me up, I don’t have that time and that space to really get centered, to journal, to read something inspirational, to pray or to meditate and having that time in the morning can be really essential. It is essential.
The days that I don’t have time in the morning to sort of get set for the day and set the rudder for the day, the rest of the day feels like it gets away from me. And there’s one practice I talk about in the morning routine section of the book which is a morning affirmation. And it goes along with that mirror manifesto idea. So the purpose leads to your practice and part of the practice that I do each day is actually have somebody on, there is a website called Upwork where you can hire people to do things for you, and I hired a voice person, like as a voice actor to record a two-minute message which is my morning affirmation. It’s sort of just a reminder of who I want to be and how I want to show up in the world. Every morning, the first thing I do is I get out of bed, I put on my headphones, I go to my app and I press play and I’ll listen to this 2 minutes and a 30-second message about who Brian is, how Brian’s going to show up for people today and how can I live out that purpose today?
If you don’t have something like that, especially for you guys running a practice where you’re dealing with difficult clients, you’re dealing with partners or dealing with team members, you’re trying to figure out how do I get more clients, how do I stay open, how do I pay everybody how to keep the lights on, I don’t know how you make it. You know, it’s so important to have a reminder of what’s important to us. And so, for those auditory learners, you’re, you know, listening to podcasts, so I highly recommend recording a morning affirmation that you can listen to and it can really, really help the rest of your day.
[JOE]: Oh, that’s so awesome. Well, Brian, the last question I always as is, if every practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[BRIAN]: I love that question. I think the world is going to be a better place if we ask one of those two questions I mentioned before. So, let’s start with, let’s do the second one. If you were, just today, let’s pick three people in your life. If you were to say, what are you working through? So as an example, I was at a Target store the other day and I was checking out and the lady at the counter, you know, at the cash register, she said, “How are you?” And I said, “I’m great. What are you working through?” So, I asked back to her, but I didn’t say, “How are you?” I said, what are you working through? She said, “I’m fine.” And then she said, “Wait, you asked what I’m working through?” And then she told me a story about how she’s dealing with her teenage daughter and how it’s been difficult. And I said, “You know, I used to be a teacher. I’ve worked with teenagers for years. Is there anything I can do to help?” And we had this great little conversation where I left encouraging her and feeling encouraged. So that’s my challenge to you. If I had everybody who runs a practice listening right now if you just ask that one question, “What are you working through?” and then took the time to listen to their answer, I think we would live in a better world.
[JOE]: I love that your example wasn’t to a partner or a client or someone you had a deep relationship with because that’s a tough question. And to even ask a random person at target and to see what happened from it, like that takes some guts to do. So, I love that you’re pushing the audience to do that. Brian, it —
[BRIAN]: It’s easier too. It gets easier. I asked a person at the bus stop the other day and he answered and he told me like what he’s struggling with and it was pretty awesome. So, it does get easier.
[JOE]: That’s so cool. So, Brian, if people want to get your book, if they want to follow your work, listen to your podcasts, where should they go for that?
[BRIAN]: I love it. Well you know, wherever you buy books, I think 80% of all books are purchased on Amazon now. So, hop over to Amazon, the book’s called Start with Your People, and you can also check out my website and my coaching and briandixon.com.
[JOE]: Awesome. And we’ll have links to that in the show notes as well. Brian, thanks so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[BRIAN]: Joe, you’re awesome. Thanks so much for having me.
[JOE]: Well, I don’t know about you but I definitely got some big takeaways that I am implementing right away into my writing. It’s so awesome. I’m just really excited about that. Well, today also our sponsor is Therapy Notes. Therapy Notes has been such an amazing sponsor for us. They are the top electronic health records out there. We absolutely love them. Our Next Level Practice community, so many people have signed up and actually if you’re new to Therapy Notes and in Next Level Practice, you get six months for free. Otherwise, if you want just three months free, no two months, use promo code [JOE] at checkout and you’ll get that as well. But if you are in the Next Level Practice community, that’s a bonus that we have to negotiate for you. So, all you have to do is just let us know after you sign up and we’ll connect you on for that. They actually don’t even give us a code because they said it’s too valuable to have that code floating out there. So, yes Therapy Notes, thank you so much for being a sponsor.
Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain. I’ll talk to you soon.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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