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Books are the New Business Cards with Guest Tucker Max: MakingBank S1E34

with Tucker Max



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Still handing out business cards?—why?

These days, a card doesn’t cut it—you need an introduction that proves your value from the get-go.

That’s why I’m convinced that books are the business cards of tomorrow. Writing a book gives you instant authority and credibility. It proves to prospective clients that you know what you’re talking about.

But how do you create a book when, like me, you’re not the world’s most talented writer?

In this episode we find out how from Tucker Max.

Tucker’s the founder of Book in a Box – a service that turns your knowledge and voice into a published book. Tucker’s written three New York Times bestsellers and created a service that’s changing the face of publishing.

Listen to hear Tucker talk in-detail about:

●       Going from writing comedy emails to his friends, to writing bestsellers

●       How he gets books out of people’s heads and onto paper

●       Finding a market so hungry that he had ten clients before he had a landing page

●       Why writing a book brings some of the best ROI imaginable

●       Reducing creative friction to bring ideas into the world

●       Tucker’s understanding of what business is all about

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I am Josh Felber and you’re watching Making Bank where  we uncover the success strategies of the one percent so we can give you the  same opportunities to build the lifestyle that you want and be able to have  the time and the freedom to spend with your loved ones. Today we have a  awesome content and a great interview as well. How many of you guys out there  have business cards? How many of you guys hand out your business cards  everywhere you go? I want to tell you 2016 business cards are dead and what I  mean by that is nobody really cares anymore. You have to start getting  attention in different ways. You have to start connecting with people and  giving them something of value when you first meet with them.

For me I’ve handed out business cards over the years and  you don’t get those call backs and several years ago I had the opportunity to  write a couple of books. One with Brian Tracy and another one with Steve  Forbes. Both of those books actually hit the best seller list on Amazon and  the great thing about this is I have these books, I’m able to hand them to  somebody, I’m able to FedEx one in the mail if I want to connect and meet  with someone and I get an instant response. They grab the book, they see it,  they see a hit best seller status and I usually get an email or a phone call  back within a few days of after them receiving it.

I’m here to tell you, books are the new business card.  Book are what’s going to separate you from your competition, books are going  to help you build and your brand as well as elevate your business. One of the  first things we do, “Hi.” You’re like, “Men, Josh you know I  don’t even know if I have something really to write about or talk about or  anything.” I’m here to tell you we all have a story. You have a story,  the person sitting next to you has a story, even your kids have a story.  Everyone has a story to tell and it’s just being able to get that down on  paper then spend the time in writing.

For myself, I’m not the best writer in the world and so  I was like, “Oh, men what am I going to do? How am I going to write this?  I don’t know if I’ll ever get this done.” At first initially for me I  followed a quick little format that worked unbelievable for being able to set  up the structure of my book and what I wanted to do. As I took an idea that i  had and I just started to put down different topics and how experiences in my  life, skill sets from that that I learned then utilize that maybe to create a  framework that you have. For me I created a framework in how fitness can  transform your life and lead you down the path of success in one of my books.  Another one was on calculated risk, how I’ve utilized calculated risk over  the years in the fifteen different companies that I’ve owned to be able to  generate success as well as be able to sell my companies as well.

Once you have that outline or that framework, that’s the  easy part. The next part is you’ve got to be able to craft that into  sentences and exciting information that people are going to want to read and  it’s going to deliver them value and interest in your book, how do we do  that? That’s a great question, that’s where I got lost from that point and I  know maybe you, maybe you’re the world’s greatest writer and you’re the best  writer out there. Well then I challenge you start doing it, spend the time.  Set an hour a day, a half hour a day to start putting down in just free hand  and just writing what your thoughts are on what you think and what you want  to share with the world as well.

For myself what I did is I actually worked with a  company to help me do this. I was able to record over the phone, I think it  was my iPhone or something like that, some answers to a list of question they  had as well as went through an interview process with them, where they took  my outline, my framework and asked a bunch of questions based on that. Then I  filled in all the blank for them. They were able then to take all these  information that I produced then write that into a book for me. As they  worked on the different chapters and things they would send those back to me  and I would go and edit them and make sure my voice flowed with it, my ideas,  my thoughts, the way I speak and the way I communicate with others out there.

It is all my information but I also needed to make sure  my voice as well too, just like I knew you’d want it to be your voice. Once I  had that and had that process, I eliminated hours and hours of writing or it  possibly not getting done due to that’s not where my skill set is. I was able  to reach out and connect with someone that was able to fulfill that skill set  and help me produce a best selling book. I want to challenge you, I know  you’re thinking, “Men, this just seems like a lot of work, I don’t know  if I have enough time.” We all have the time if you can set aside  anywhere from eight to twelve hours over the next six months, maybe ten  months, that’s an hour a month then you’re able to write a book.

You have the opportunity to go out and make it a best  seller and share with the world your message, what you have and how you could  help others and create value for others as well. I’m really excited today.  Our next guest took negative publicity, multiple books that are New York  times best sellers and created this whole program, now he has this whole  program to help you launch your book, have a best selling book and have that  new business card to build your brand to connect with other people out there  and to give you that notary writing credibility to move and accelerate you  business in your life forward. I am Josh Felber and you’re watching Making  Bank.

Welcome back I am Josh Felber, you’re watching Making  Bank and we have an awesome interview today lined up. I have Tucker Max here  with me. He is the co-founder and CEO of Book In A Box, it’s a company that  turns book writing and publishing into a service. Tucker Max has written  three New York Times best sellers which has sold over three million copies  world wide. He is credited with being the originator of literacy genre,  Fratire as the third writer after Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Louis to ever  have three books on the New York times notification best seller list at one  time.

He co-wrote and produced the movie based on his life and  his book also titled I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell and he was nominated to  the Time magazine’s as one hundred most influential list in 2009. He received  his BA from the University of Chicago in 1998 and his J.D. from Duke Law  school in 2001. He currently lives in an awesome city Austin, Texas with his  wife Veronica and his son Bishop. Tucker welcome to Making Bank.

Tucker: Thank you men, thanks for having me.

Josh: For sure. Excited to have you on. Real quick men, give  us a good recap, a little bit about your background, what got you started.  You’ve created such a name for yourself and just really taken the media by  storm.

Tucker: Get started on what? Because I’ve done a lot of things.

Josh: When did you realize, “Hey men, I’m and  entrepreneur and I’m not going to be in Law school, I’m not going to be in  business school.”

Tucker: There are different things, I started as a writer, I  started by accident. I would write emails to my friends about the stupid,  obnoxious, ridiculous things I would do when I had been drinking and my  buddies thought that the emails were hilarious, they would forward those to  all their friends. This is in 2001, 2002, this is way before the social web  or anything. This is before MySpace existed, this was when [inaudible  00:09:31] was still a thing. When I started getting my own emails forwarded  to me by other people outside of the original group, people would be like,  “Oh, hey you’ve seen this email this guy wrote? It’s really funny, it  sounds like you.“ I was like, “Asshole.” Scrolled down to look  at the header, I’m the one who wrote that email.

I realized I had something on my hands. Eventually I tried  to get published and I got rejected by every publisher and every agent, I put  myself up for free on the internet. This is before the word blogger existed  and my stories took off then all the publishers came back to me, they were  like, “Hey, we want to publish your stuff now that you have an  audience.” Which is of course always the way it works.

Josh: You’re right.

Tucker: That’s how my writing career took off.

Josh: From that writing career then you utilized that to  create some books then from that or …

Tucker: Yeah right. I wrote three number one best sellers, the  big one was called I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. That one became really a  classic for a lot of people then I stopped writing in 2011 because all my  stuff was just, it was about all the dumb, ridiculous stuff I did in my 20’s.  At that point I was 33, 34, I was just tired of getting drunk and hooking up  with random girls and throwing up on myself and acting like an idiot. It’s  really fun for a long time but then when it gets boring, it gets boring fast  and it’s time to move on. I retired from that then I dicked around, I did a  few things.

I did some angel investing, I had some good wins there  and I did a few other things, some worked, some didn’t then I stumbled upon  this idea where this woman basically asked me, she’s like, “Every  entre.” … I go to a lot of entrepreneur events and things like that.  I’m always the publishing guy, the writer. Everyone wants to know how I did  it, whatever. This woman basically comes up to me, she says, “Look, I’ve  got a great idea for a book, people have been asking me to write it for ten  years but I’m very successful in my business, I don’t have time then also the  writing and publishing process seems really asinine and ridiculous.” Which  it is.

She’s like, “I don’t want to go through it. How can  I get my book out of my head and done without having to do that?” Of  course I got all arrogant on her and I was like, “Are you asking me how  to write a book without writing it?” She’s like, “Yeah, kind of.”  Of course I had the worst day so I was so obnoxious. I basically just started  lecturing her about hard work. Which is ridiculous because this woman has  built a company that’s way more successful than anything I’ve ever done in my  life. She rolls her eyes at me and she stops me, she’s like, “Tucker,  are you an entrepreneur?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’d like to think I  am.” She’s like, “Well, I am an entrepreneur and all day I spend my  time helping other people solve their problems. Can you help me solve my problem  or are you just going to lecture me about hard work?” I was like,  “Ugh.“ Because she was a hundred percent right.

Josh: Busted.

Tucker: It was a total gut punch call out and I had nothing to  say. I became obsessed with this problem, “How can I get this woman’s  knowledge out of her head and into a book without her having to be the one  sitting at the computer banging it out?” Right?

Josh: Right.

Tucker: Long story short, I teamed out with the guy who’s now my  co-founder Zach Obront and we reverse engineered the process. There are tons  of books where they’re beautifully written and they don’t say anything and  other books where they’re terribly written but they’re brilliant and I read  them a bunch and it’s like, “Oh, of course.” We figured out a way to  essentially dis-articulate those processes and the big insight we just  interviewed her. Other people have thought like, “Oh yeah, I can do this  interview and turn it into a book.” That’s bullshit.

Speaking is a very different cognitive process than reading  or listening to speaking. You have to have a process to first structure the  book then turn this spoken word into the written word without losing any of  the voice or the ideas of the fidelity because it’s the author’s book. We had  to develop this process and it took us about three or four months with her  and we did it and it worked …

Josh: That’s great.

Tucker: Then I went on this podcast, Lewis Howes podcast about a  year ago and I talked about this. I was like, “Oh, we’re just doing  this, I don’t know if it’s going to work.” We got like ten clients off  of that podcast. It was nuts and we didn’t even have a landing page. We had  to scramble [inaudible 00:14:02] because we didn’t think this was a thing. I  was just like, “This for her.” I was like, “Zach dude, when  you’re selling hundreds of thousands of dollars or something before you even  have a landing page, that’s the definition of product market fit. We need to  fucking forget everything else we’re doing and focus on this.” A year  later we’re almost coming up on two million in sales and hundreds of …

Josh: [crosstak 00:14:27].

Tucker: The pipeline and it’s a lot of hard work but we’ve  figured out something that’s helped a lot of people get something they wanted  before.

Josh: That is awesome. I know when I was contributing to a  couple of different books, I’m the entrepreneur, it’s like I have all the  ideas just like you said but it’s like, “Men, how do I get that sound  right on paper?”

Tucker: I can tell, you’re dyslexia aren’t you?

Josh: No.

Tucker: You’re not at all?

Josh: No.

Tucker: Are you sure? Because I was listening to you read and  you’re reversing a lot of words.

Josh: It’s because when I read I start to track faster.

Tucker: You go faster than your brain can?

Josh: Yeah. I’m tracking ahead and I did a lot of training  with Jim Kwik and sometimes when I’m reading on the computer …

Tucker: I know Jim, we spoke at the same conference of Flogger,  he’s a great dude.

Josh: He’s awesome.

Tucker: Your mouth can’t keep up with your mind.

Josh: Right. Yeah.

Tucker: I know exactly that’s why part of our process works so  well, it’s because we get people talking. It doesn’t matter if you repeat  yourself, stumble , go over things because the way we edit it out of the  transcript it flows really well on a page but most people cannot type fast  enough to keep up with their minds.

Josh: I know, I’m with you, I hear you. Even with my wife, she  just launched a book and just seeing the whole process, everything she went through,  I love to talk some more with you on this, we’re going to be right back after  a quick break. Can you stick around?

Tucker: Yeah.

Josh: Awesome. I am Josh Felber, you’re watching Making Bank  and we’ll be right back. I am Josh Felber, you’re watching Making Bank and we  are here with Tucker Max and Tucker was filling us in, sharing as how he  launched his book business and how he can help you if you have an idea for a  book, launch your book.

Tucker: You can’t help everybody. Some people. Some people don’t  have anything to say. You can’t help those of you but if you have something  to say we can turn it into a book and launch it.

Josh: You guys filter that whole thing, do you have a process  that filters that out?

Tucker: Yeah. Our sales process, it works a lot like a  qualification process because our process is not ghost writing, we have a lot  of people actually come to us and like, “All right, I want a book on how  to be a great leader.” We’re like, “All right, well what do you think?”  It’s like, “I don’t know, you need to write the book.” We’re  saying, “No. Not what it works.” We charge eighteen grand which is  expensive but a good ghost writers really starts about fifty to seventy five  and ghost writing is where basically you’re paying someone so you can put  your name on the book they wrote. What we’re doing is taking people’s ideas  and thoughts and translating them from the spoken word into the written word.  That’s why we’re able to charge sixty percent less than a full ghost writer  but give you a book.  We have maybe  five to ten percent of the people who come to us don’t …

Josh: Fit.

Tucker: Yeah. It’s just not a fit because they don’t have  anything to say.

Josh: Right. You guys take all the information, do a whole big  information dump verbally?

Tucker: Super short, we basically do an outline process first.  We have one person whose job is to help understand exactly what the book  positioning is. Basically you’re looking at what your goal for the book is,  what audience do you need to reach to hit that goal then what do you know  that’s valuable to that audience. The two big mistakes most people make with  books is they either try to put everything they know into one book which  usually doesn’t make sense because it usually doesn’t fit together or what  they try and do is they try and make the book about themselves. They start  with what they want to write about instead of thinking what the audience  they’re trying to hit wants or needs they think will find valuable.

The first part of the process is getting that right then  once we know exactly what they know, that’s valuable to the audience they  want to hit, the book’s obvious and we structure the outline then it’s a  different person actually that interviews them off of the outline. Basically  we think of it as we act as advocates for the reader. [inaudible 00:19:02],  their job is to get everything out of your head into this transcription that  every piece of information, everything’s explained, everything the reader  would want to know, everything like that then your audio gets transcribed  then they edit it into book prose. It’s still your ideas, it’s your work,  it’s even your voice.

Josh: That’s cool.

Tucker: It’s just translated.

Josh: That’s awesome I think because being able to take that  information and drop it in and you’re still keeping that person’s voice and  since you’re thinking from, “Hey, I’m the reader, this is what I want to  see in here.” You’re really getting those areas and information dialed  in.

Tucker: Exactly. Because most people that are experts, they  almost forget what it’s like to be a beginner. The stuff an expert is worried  about is stuff that tends to be very much on the edges or obscure for a lot  of beginners. Even intermediate people, even if you want to get to the stuff  in the advanced knowledge, you need to lay the foundation first. That’s a big  part of our process and a big part of how we help these people turn their  ideas and wisdom into books that other people can use.

Josh: For you guys who is the best fit? Who do you guys  target?

Tucker: We’re not cheap, eighteen grand, it’s not super  expensive but it’s also not cheap. Generally speaking we’re looking at people  who can use a book to get some sort of indirect ROI, sea level executives,  they’re a huge part of our client base, consultants, people who do a lot of  speaking, entrepreneurs, anyone in business who’s trying to drive leads to  their business, anyone who have any sort of information product, anything  like that. If you want to get attention for yourself or anything at all then  a book can be really effective or if you want credibility or authority,  there’s really nothing better than a book.

Josh: It’s so easy when you say, “hey, I’m a best selling  author.” It changes the whole perspective of people.

Tucker: Think about it, if I want to hire let’s say a plumbing  contractor, right?

Josh: Right.

Tucker: I don’t Google plumbing contractor and it’s like,  “Oh God, it’s a mess, how do you find this?“ Or financial advisor,  right?

Josh: Yes.

Tucker: Or estate attorney, how do you find the best? The way  that most people actually find professionals, not most but for a lot of  things, high level stuff, they go to Amazon right?

Josh: Yeah.

Tucker: Because Amazon is the search engine for professionals, it’s  like, “How do you know who the best is?” “Uh, the guy who  wrote the book on this, that guy will know or that woman will know.” We  have a lot of financial advisors and estate attorneys actually who write  books too because it’s really hard for those fields to differentiate  themselves. Even the ones who are really good, other than client word of  mouth, they have no way to advertise. What a book does is it gives them a way  to display their knowledge and the people that they want as clients anyway  are not the type of people who are going to do it themselves.

For example for financial advisors, there people who  have ten, twenty million in assets or more, they don’t want to manage their  own money, they want to go make more money for someone else to manage. A book  is a way for them to be like, “Okay, these are the three guys who wrote  the books on this. I read these three, I like these two, I’m going to  interview them.” As opposed to just going by luck or word of mouth.

Josh: Do you guys help them then make that a best seller? Do  you just get the book and say, “Hey, here it is.” What’s that  follow up?

Tucker: We do a basic marketing launch package, a basic press  release, we do some basic Amazon promotions to help people get high up in the  categories they care about because there very few books that are going to  sell a million or two million copies. That’s usually not how people make  money on books. I’ll give you an example, one of the financial advisors we  were working with, he’s probably sold only five hundred books but already  three months after the book’s out, he estimates his main two, three million  dollars on this book in generating new business. He makes his money from his  business, not from his book. He doesn’t care how many books he sells, he just  cares that the right people see his book at the right time.

Josh: See it. Makes sense.

Tucker: We helped him get to a good ranking in his categories  then we helped him with a few content marketing pieces and basically split up  and divided the book into blog posts that would be valuable to people then  put them in the right places like sticking in Alpha and places like that.  Places where you and I would probably never read but people looking for  wealth managers or financial advisors are going to be looking in those  places.

Josh: Right. I run into so many people they’re like,  “Ugh, I got an idea for a book or how do I go to do this?“ I do a  lot with Brendon Burchard, you’ve been at some of his events and with the  people they’re like, “Okay, I got an idea for a book, I’m all fired up  now, now what?” Then it never goes anywhere and …

Tucker: Because the process is ridiculous …

Josh: It is.

Tucker: It’s really hard. Doing this yourself without  understanding it is a head of time, it’s going to take fifteen hundred to two  thousand hours, whereas with us it’s about twelve to fifteen hours on the  phone. We do all the rest of the work, what you’re paying for is time then we  just put out a book that explains the process, I think someone can cut it  down from fifteen hundred hours to maybe a hundred, two hundred with the book  then with us it goes down twelve to fifteen total.

Josh: That’s exciting and it’s a great service, obviously you  guys it’s taken off well for you and you guys are doing great with it. Is  this where you see your focus for the short term, long term?

Tucker: I think we’re going to turn this into a big company.  When I first stumbled on this, I didn’t really see the potential but as I  worked through it, I realized that we were doing like what the iPhone did to  photography, I think we’re doing to books. Think about twenty years ago, what  you had to do to become a photographer. Not just buying an expensive camera  and all these expensive lenses but you had to develop film and shit in dark  rooms. You’d learn all these insane stuff that really had nothing to do with  actual pictures but it was about the process of photography. Twenty years  ago, the best photographers in the world, a lot of them are using iPhones and  nothing else because it’s taken the creative friction from here to here.

There’s been no really changes like that with book  publishing. Traditional publishing was very limiting, it limited the voices  that were heard. Self publishing expanded the number of people who could  publish but didn’t make it any easier, in fact it made it even harder. It’s  easier to get selected but harder to do. No one’s actually bridged that gap  yet and reduced the creative friction down to the minimum amount necessary.  Once you do that I think we can ten or a hundred ex the number of books being  made every year especially if we can turn this into software as a service and  lower the price from eighteen thousand to let’s say eighteen hundred or even  a hundred and eighty then it becomes like, “Oh, wow.” Then it does  become like what the iPhone is to photography.

Anyone can get a book written quickly and effectively  then you change the idea of what can become a book and how knowledge is  preserved and passed on and I think you accelerate the development of culture  and I think it could be something really amazing but we’ve got to do that.  That’s a lot of work.

Josh: Steps along the way for sure.

Tucker: It’s a lot of work to do.

Josh: It’s great you found that niche that works well and  you’re interested in as well as it’s created a phenomenal business model or  business opportunity for you to move forward. Just real quick a couple of  more quick questions. What’s the best advice you ever received?

Tucker: I’ve received a lot of good advice and unfortunately I  haven’t taken enough of it. It’s hard to say, for me personally I would say  that the advice that I am finding best right now is to learn how to be  patient but also be diligent. I feel like so many entrepreneurs, they don’t  do the important work because they rush to the urgent work without  understanding that getting the important work done first is what really  matters. You’ve got to really be disciplined in understanding, “Okay,  what actually matters? What actually moves a needle for my business? I need  to do that first.” Then the urgent stuff can come either it isn’t that  important or it can come later, right?

Josh: Definitely.

Tucker: Then the other side of that is learning how to be  patient. I’ve heard these people like, “Oh, I started this company and  this and that and three months later, I’m hardly selling anything, I think  I’m going to give up.” I’m like, “Three months? Get the fuck out of  here. Three months.” It’s funny, most great companies are overnight  successes but it’s like somewhere between night thousand and night twenty  five hundred. Right?

Josh: Yeah.

Tucker: That’s the night it turns and you need to learn  patience. I’ve had to learn, not work less but just dial myself down a little  bit and stop rushing from fire to fire thinking I was making progress then  being impatient because I wasn’t. Everyday take one or two steps on the  important stuff then all of a sudden wake up and six months later you’ve made  a lot of progress.

Josh: It’s definitely great advice because usually those  urgent things or those fires are for somebody else.

Tucker: Almost all of them.

Josh: You never then get what you need to have done like you  said to move that needle forward and to make that progress in your business.

Tucker: Exactly.

Josh: I definitely agree with you on that and that’s some  great advice. What’s one device you can’t live without?

Tucker: My computer I guess. Most people would say their phone  …

Josh: I get, it’s the main idea.

Tucker: I leave my phone home all the time but I’m not totally  mobile like most people. I’m on my Mac now, I need my Mac.

Josh: What’s one of the best golden nuggets that you can share  with our community of entrepreneurs?

Tucker: About what?

Josh: Anything that comes in mind that you think will help  them move the needle in their life or business.

Tucker: This is a very fundamental thing and a lot of people  claim to understand but most people don’t actually do. If you want to be  successful in any sort of business whether it’s starting a company or anyone  else’s business or whatever, what you need to understand is that the entire  point of business is meeting someone else’s needs. You’re not in business to  make your product. Here is actually a better analogy, Black and Decker makes  drills but no one gives a fuck about Black and Decker’s drills, what they  care about are putting holes in their wall. The day Black and Decker  understood that, they changed their entire marketing strategy and saw like a  three hundred percent increase in sales because they used to just on and on  about their drills and it’s like, “Dude, no one cares, there’s like five  people on earth who really care about drills, everyone cares about what a  drill does for them.” That’s the test of I think every business is not  what it does for you but what does it do for the person buying the product or  using the service right?

Josh: Right.

Tucker: If you understand that very clearly and like very  clearly, most people rationalize, “Oh yeah people should buy them.”  “No, uh-ah, no. What problem are they actually solving? Why are they  buying this? Why are they giving you money?“ If you understand that then  business actually becomes easy.

Josh: That’s awesome. I really appreciate you coming on Making  Bank today and it’s been an honor to have you and share some of your  insights. The whole book program, where should our audience go if they say,  “Hey, I want to get more information on this?”

Tucker: Just go to the company website, It’s all  there, the whole process, it describes everything.

Josh: Awesome. Thanks again for coming on the show Tucker.

Tucker: Of course men, thank you for having me brother.

Josh: You got it. I am Josh Felber, you’re watching Making  Bank.