Welcome to Influencers!
Mike Koenigs has cracked the code to publishing success, public speaking and producing your own products. In the process he created hundreds of best sellers, discover is proven method.
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Mike Koenigs Will Make You Famous
Mike, will you please introduce yourself? What’s your company? What do you do? What are you known for?
My name is Mike Koenigs. My company is called You Everywhere Now, but what a lot of people might remember me for is my first agency called Digital Café. I sold it to the Interpublic Group in 1999. They’re one of the largest holders of agencies and they own a lot of advertising and digital marketing agencies. I discovered online marketing and I started a company called Traffic Geyser. Another company was called Instant Customer. As far as I know, we were the first digital content distribution systems. We’re really good at getting traffic. Instant Customer was one of the very first integrated mobile text marketing platforms. I sold both company to another publicly traded company several years ago, and then started You Everywhere Now. What we do is we create transformational business celebrity influencers, which essentially means we help people build their platforms by becoming number one bestselling authors, teaching them how to speak or speak and sell, how to productize their knowledge and wisdom, so they get off the road or sell their knowledge instead of their time, and also teach them how to be more influential and persuasive, and then media train them, too. That’s the gamut of our services.
Let’s say I’m a category expert in some topic. I could be a doctor who works with stem cells or I could be a corporate diversity expert. We’re in the era of the personal brand. Everybody cares about the size of their following, who’s listening to them, and how much influence they have. I come to you and I say, “I’m a real expert in what I do. How do I become famous for it and increase my success and my fortune?” Can you run me through an example? Tons of our listeners are real category experts. They’re either former dinner guests, they could be a Nobel laureate who figured out what statins are, or they could be a CEO of a large a food brand and would like to increase their status to increase the success of the company.
First of all, I just love doing what I do. After being a software guy for so long, it gets in the way. I started as a coder originally. I became a marketer because I realized that I wasn’t going to “get rich.” My goal is to be warm, rich, and first as that poor kid from Minnesota. For example, one of my clients’ name is JR. He is involved interestingly enough in the stem cell business. He runs this clinic and he has a whole series of doctors and they do PRP treatments, life extension, pain relief, etc. The pain that is in the medical world today, our doctors, by and large, hate their lives because they’re making about the same amount or less money than they were ten or fifteen years ago. They’re working harder. They’re spending less time with patients. They feel as though they’re forced into prescribing drugs and surgery. Many of them feel as though they’re part of the problem, not the solution. The really progressive ones are realizing they got to get into a cash-based business. They need to find a way to coach their customers and keep them healthy instead of dealing with these sick people who are dying of lifestyle challenges and mindset challenges.
What our point of entry frequently is our product which is called Publish & Profit. It’s either a digital program or a three-day event where you’re guaranteed to become a number one bestselling author. JR goes through the program, writes a book, becomes a bestseller, and it’s directed towards doctors to help them build a practice they love, a cash-based practice. What they’ve done is they’ve taken their business model and systemized it and now they license it. They sell coaching, training, and certification courses. The book becomes the point of entry. From there, he’s gone through and he wants to speak, so we got Speak & Profit. In three days, you walk out with a speech that tells the story, creates a framework, takes the listener on a journey, but more importantly, the message of the book and the speech are the same. Your book is your speech or your speech is your book. That becomes the framework for your product, so we’ve got Create & Profit. It’s how to create your product and create an escalation path. From there, we do a media training. In three days, you’ll walk out with a sizzle reel, a media kit, an infomercial. We teach you how to launch your own shows and interview and be completely camera comfortable.
Everything happens in three-day sprints. The net for JR is he’d show up for Speak & Profit, he speaks a day later. I get a call from him saying, “I just closed $125,000 in new business with doctors,” because he honed his message. The most valuable thing for a listener is we call this escalation in the business, but you need a point of entry. A book is by far the most powerful tool that gives you instant credibility and status and, more importantly, what we call celebrity influencer status. We live in the era of the influencer. Influencers, in some cases, can have more value than brands. If you’re an influencer with a brand, it defines the value system even if the founder, the creator of the values, goes away and is no longer the CEO. That permeates the brand and what people love about you. People need to fall in love with a person, not a brand. The pathway from there is speaking. It’s the most valuable skill in the world, understanding how to communicate with the media and become a broadcaster. We live in the world Kylie Jenner and the Kardashian family, from a crass point of view, I look at them and I’m like, “I have absolutely no idea what value they offer the entire human race.” What I think doesn’t matter. The truth is, not long ago, Kylie made a comment about Snapchat and the value of the company dropped by over a billion dollars in a day. There’s something to it.
One of the things that I ascribe the success of the Influencers community to is the iterative process of trial and error. Being able to take either the dinner concept and iterate it over and over again to refine what it is. Every time I would discuss it with somebody, I would describe it in a different way until I figured out how to approach or express it in a way that made sense to everyone. The problem is that most of us don’t have the opportunity to refine our message and get feedback in a fast-paced way. What you’re doing is brilliant, which is you’re producing an environment where people can refine their practice in a safe way with feedback because left to our own devices, we would never ever do it. When I wrote my book, my advance was less than impressive.
You’re lucky you’ve got an advance at all but keep going. It’s because you had a platform, even if you didn’t recognize it as a platform, but yes.
It was a hundred and something stories were written about the book because of the community and the access that it gave. What was incredible was that my speaking rate nearly tripled after because it gave an extreme level of authority. The amount of effort that goes into writing a book, if you’re writing it by yourself, is a monumental task. It’s like people have described it as giving birth. I would have no frame of reference, but it is 280 pages of thoughts and ideas and stories that needed to be a solidified in a complete experience. It’s an interesting process because a lot of people have great ideas but have no idea how to even begin to express them. If you can provide some pathway for that, that’s amazing. A lot of your programs are premium programs. They’re designed for very high-level professionals who are ready to take that next step in their career and really fully commit themselves. For people who are wanting to just take that next step, that first stage in the process, what can I do myself now that doesn’t require three days?
One of them is I have free books. I teach what I practice and I practice what I teach. One of my points of entry is a free book called Publish & Profit. I give away how my system works and I teach people one big idea that is powerful. I’ll give you some frameworks there, simpler ones. At the end of the day, everyone writes five to ten books a year. The challenge is they don’t have a system that consistently produces predictable results, whether it’s profitable results or predictable results. What I do is I break down really simple systems. One of them is a process that I call 10×10, which is if you brainstorm the ten most frequently asked questions your prospects, who became your customers, asked you and answered those, you’d have the first part of the first chunk of your book done. It’s possible to write a book using the content you create every single day, which are the phone calls you make, the conversations you have, the social media posts, and the emails you write as long as you have a framework to insert it into. That’s point A. I just give away the whole system and then people either fall in love with me or they don’t, it’s okay. From there, there’s either a digital program they can follow and there’s the live event version. Everything we do is a matter of fast implementation, get it done or if you want to do it at your own pace. Ultimately people are willing to pay for an experience.
I want to take a step back so that we can give something tangible. Let’s say I’m an accountant. It’s not the sexiest industry out there. It’s not professional athletics or a wild new unicorn startup, but it’s knowledge and information that everybody needs. Everybody needs to know the law around their taxes and what they should do and what they should file. Throughout a week, every conversation I have, I jot down the question that I get. I literally take my answer, type it up in the simplest form, maybe have a friend edit it, and I produce a basic PDF of the ten most important things that everybody should know about their taxes.
This is something that happened to me and it’ll personalize this whole thing. I was diagnosed with stage three colorectal cancer. I went through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and it was a horrible process. During that process, I decided, “If I were to pass,” and there was a chance that I could, “I needed to write a book.” I’d worked with lots of bestselling authors. I had produced products with them, but I hadn’t done it for myself. I was a classic shoemaker’s child. What I did is I wrote my book by speaking into my phone and I managed to write it, publish it, promote it, made it a bestseller in less than a month with less than an hour a day. I was literally waking up in a pile of my own hair every day. When I left the hospital, a lot of my customers said, “How did you do it? I’d like to write a book too.” I ended up turning that into the program that I have, which has helped over 1,600 people. Fast forward, as my living mitzvah and a cancer survivor, I started getting calls from people who either were diagnosed as well or their friends and families, saying, “You got to talk to Mike. He survived and he’s got a unique process that helped him survive.” Part of it has to do with a series of questions that I’d asked my doctors and how I changed my mindset, and also how I worked integrative and functional medicine into my healing process. I reached the point where I was getting three to five calls per week from people who are diagnosed. It reached the point where it was affecting my personal life, my family life, and my business life.
I got a call from one of my best friends, Pam Hendrickson, the woman who introduced me to Tony Robbins who’s responsible for producing his products for almost eighteen years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. What I did is I wrote down my process, my system, which took me about a half a day to brainstorm, and I performed my book by speaking to a camera and talking into a mic to one person, Pam Hendrickson, diagnosed with breast cancer, on how to survive a cancer treatment and diagnosis with your marriage, your family, and your business intact. The book became cancerprenuer. All of us have transformational stories and journeys that when you communicate to an audience of one, you will attract more like them. I It is possible to speak your book, to perform your book, and to humanize it and make it so authentic and so connected by helping someone. That’s the lens to look at and work on. From there, that turns into your entire platform.
We’ve talked about the initial product that a person can make. When they produce that ten by ten, as you call it, what would they do with it? Do they put it on their website and use it as what they call email bait? Is it something that put on Amazon as a book download at a certain price point? Where do you go with it and how long does it need to be?
As short as possible, as long as necessary. A study by Barnes & Noble showed that a book that is 80 pages or less is likely to be read 50% to 60% of the time. Once a book reaches 200 pages or more, it is likely to be read 3% to 5% of the time all the way through. It’s a fairly linear relationship in between there. A 140-page book will probably be 20% to 30% of the time. With regards to the 10×10, as an author, your first draft is going to be horrible. You’ll feel like, “I have no self-esteem. I have no structure. This thing is horrible. It’s never going to make the light of day,” but then you refine it. You test it and you look at it again and you fill in the gaps. You just need a framework and a structure. You can turn a speech into a book, a book into a speech, into a product, into what you coach, consultant, advise about, what you do events about. It should be a through line all the way through, a golden thread.
Getting back to how you distribute it, I suggest every chapter becomes a video, becomes a Facebook Live, it becomes a question that gets answered when you get interviewed by the media. Your book enables you to do that, so do your speeches. It’s just a matter that this builds an audience. The easy path is you take your content and you could easily have it transcribed. You can upload it to one of the services I use called Rev.com. You’d get a transcript back depending on the length in less than 24 hours by real human transcriptionist that format it quite nicely. You can choose to edit it or not, but it could be easily exported, uploaded to Amazon. Wrap a cover on it. You could have a nice cover made, maybe a picture of you and me, and then say, “This is an interview and it could be sold as a short for $0.99 on Amazon.”
Now your podcast is also readable. What we’ve learned is someone who buys a Kindle book is different from someone who buys a paperback book who’s different from someone who listens to an audio book who’s different from someone who downloads and listens to a podcast. My advice is give it away on every platform in every format. That’s the vision of You Everywhere Now. It’s getting attention, getting found, seen, heard, watched, and read on any device, anywhere, anytime on demand. That’s the idea of reusable, repurpose-able media. The hardest thing in the world to get is attention. That’s followed by trust because we live in a world that every connection we have is a thumb flick away from going away forever, our text messages, our emails, our Facebook posts. You’re a thumb flick. That’s the half-life of information.
One of the reasons that I think it’s great to do podcasts is to be exposed to new information. I get all my podcasts transcribed. This is what Tim Ferriss did when he wrote his book. Rather than write an entire book, he got great content from everybody else, got it transcribed, and use their wisdom and knowledge to perpetuate his success.
It’s crowdsourced celebrity content creation. That’s ultimately what he did. He’s totally transparent about it. He says, “I only reach out to people who solve the problems I’m currently having or on my own journey.” He’s self-described it. I have an interesting Tim Ferriss story. The very first information I produced is a program called Everything You Should Know About: Publishing, Publicity, Promotion, and Building a Platform. It was with a woman named Arielle Ford, who is responsible for creating eleven New York Times number one bestselling authors, including Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Louise Hay, Don Miguel Ruiz, the late Wayne Dyer, and many others. She was the go-to person. If you want it to be on Oprah back when Oprah had a love affair with authors, she was it. I met her in Egypt on a trip that I went down. All roads lead back to Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra, in my case.
I found out about Deepak Chopra through Tony Robbins. I went on this trip with him and Wayne Dyer and 70 spiritually conscious individuals. I met Arielle, fell in love with her, and we stayed in touch. Eventually, she told me, “I want to leave the publicity business. I’m tired of telling people bad ideas. I don’t think they have a chance of building a real platform.” This is back when you really had to work hard to sell books. You couldn’t gain the system like you can now. In any case, I said, “What if I sit down with you and interview you and have you teach everything you know about publicity, promotion, and building a platform? I’ll make a product, I’ll sell it for you, and I’ll give you half the money.” She said, “Let’s start tomorrow.” That became a product and I learned tons about the book business, publicity, and promotion. I built my own platform and we both made some money and had a lot of fun and did events together.
This is the part that I’m ashamed about and embarrassed about. I discovered this after the book came out. It turns out Tim Ferriss reached out to Arielle asking for help before The 4-Hour Work Week was launched. He was like, “My name is Tim Ferriss.” My assistant discovered this email right after The 4-Hour Work Week came out and I’m like, “This is horrible.” He was a customer. He bought our product. I ended up reaching out to him and I said, “Tim, congratulations on your success. We missed your email, but can I interview you?” We ended up building a relationship. We did this interview, he became part of our product. If you fast forward a little while later, he came up with The 4-Hour Body and asked if I could help during a promotion. I ended up buying a bunch of books promoting him. When I bought the books, part of his package was, “If you buy a certain number of books, you get me for a day. You can do anything you want with me.” I know it sounded horrible. I meant that in the cleanest way possible.
What happened is I have a studio in San Diego. He flew down for a day and we made content. I interviewed him and we did a 10×10. I reached out to my own audience. I said, “Tim Ferriss has come to the studio. I’d like to know what questions you would like to ask him.” I organized them and we did this 10×10 back and forth. It became fantastic content. I sent that out which helped sell even more books. There’s a point to this whole story, which is a huge part of how I built my platform. The way Tim has continued to build his spectacular platform is you do it on the backs of other people with platforms. When you start out, we’re all naked, alone and we have no audience. The way you build an audience is by interviewing other people who either have audiences or could and reassembling and assembling their content. In this particular case, I got some incredible knowledge and wisdom and I got this big affiliation with Tim at the time. Having a transaction like that, it was not an insubstantial transaction. He’s untouchable financially. He’s very selective.
One of the things we talked about was to get a content platform out there. You do your 10×10, you can do interviews, you package it all together, you put it up, and you can offer it for free. Each chapter in there becomes either a topic for an article for a news outlet or a video or both. In the case of my book, every chapter had a scientific research in it. We would take that scientific research and turn it into articles for all the major outlets. If you go across Inc. and Forbes and Fortune and Thrive and Business Insider, all of them have the content packaged in different ways to promote it. That content begins to give you a speaking platform in the sense that you can start doing small talks or share your advice in an organized fashion. How do people break into the whole world of speaking?
The most important, valuable ways is you need to go to as many events as possible. You’ve got to go to events where there are other speakers and participate. Find a way to get yourself on a panel. When you have a book, you can get opportunities to get on panels. Also connect with speakers’ bureaus, and you go out and you can do a search online. If you search on Google for call for speakers, there are websites that are looking for experts in every conceivable topic. See if you can get your rear end on a panel or to speak or do a breakout. Another way is to do sponsorships. One of the ways that I’ve used many times is I’ll go to some sort of an organization, like an association, that has the customers I need or want. In my case, I have a lot of customers who are doctors or any service professional for example.
I was at an event where there was an MMA fighter, Ken Shamrock. He was one of the original great MMA fighters, but he’s a speaker now. He does have a following. You connect with someone like that and you network a little bit. You talk about what you have in common and somebody’s going to say, “I’ve got an event coming up. I’d like you to show up and speak at my event.” We start connecting with people and you build momentum. You are in the business of connecting influencers and putting together parties. Doing a sponsored breakfast at an association is super cheap. You could do it for $1,500, get an audience that wants some free food in the morning, do a presentation, and maybe do an offer after that.
You just got to go out there and start hustling. In my opinion, it all starts with going to events. Every relationship I’ve ever had is a result of two key things, events and joining a bigger ticket masterminds where there are people who can afford to be there. It is a filter process and in there is gold. People will be like, “I’ll make a call, I’ll make an introduction.” The next thing you know, you get a speaking gig and from every speaking gig you do, you get two more.
One of the things that I’d recommend is for those of you who can’t afford like a $1,500 investment in industry breakfasts, agencies will often have lunch and learn, which is the employees bring in their own lunch and you can teach them something. It’s a great way to refine your talk because the issue is that when you first go out there, everybody thinks they’re interesting, but you need to work out the kinks just like if you’re a comedian working out your set. You need to know when to make the jokes, when not to, which issues come up, when people start falling asleep during your talk. All of this is part of the process. I remember in my really early days as a speaker, I would have a rule that I practice for one hour for every minute I would talk. If I’d be giving a fifteen-minute talk at an event or a ten-minute talk, I’d literally practice for ten hours. I’d practice everything from delivery to a cadence to working out which part of the speech at which point and how I wanted to end things. That process, there’s no substitute for really hitting the nitty-gritty and getting into it.
That is impressive because I don’t meet a lot of people who do that level of preparation. It’s why you’re great at what you do.
Thank you, Mike. I really appreciate it. I don’t put in that much time now, but the other thing I do is I do a completely original talk for each event I do. I might use the same concepts and slides, but I literally look at it and I say, “What is the last thing I want people to feel and think when they walk away?” I engineer the entire talk to build up to that. I look at how do I grasp attention at the beginning. Is it a story? Is it a strange fact? Is it a joke? How do I built up and have a few key points that are unforgettable? A few anecdotes because we’re wired for stories. How do I hit home at the very end and say something that will leave them going into action? I engineer it the way that somebody would engineer a movie or an experience at Disney. I look at it from as many aspects as I can and try to integrate what I know about behavioral science to make it work. I don’t want to get pulled off on a sidetrack. I want to leave the listeners with a few final thoughts. We’ve given them a huge amount of advice on how to get an initial product out, what to do with it, and how to begin a career as a speaker. Is there any final tips or advice you want to give people in this process besides checking out your programs?
I teach a process and this has changed a ton of lives. I call it Money Phone. The best thing you can do is get around other people who are doing what you want to do and that means going into events. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can connect with them online, but in person, nothing beats that. One, in-person connection is worth 100 or 1,000 online connections. I make a point of everywhere I go, if I have something interesting to say, I’ll take a quick selfie with someone and offer to share it with them on the spot with a reason why. I’ll text them the image and then a quick blurb with my contact info. I will genuinely spend some time, I’ll research them, I’ll investigate them, I’ll learn a little bit more about them. This has to come from a real authentic place. The most powerful words to reconnect with someone is, “Hi, I have an idea that will help you grow your business.” The rapport side is, “It was great meeting you the other night at so and so. I was just thinking about you. I have an idea that will help you fill in the blank here.” If you met ten people at an event and you sent that message out let’s say on a Tuesday morning, at least six of them are going to reply in some way, shape, or form. That can start the conversation moving towards a phone conversation or it could lead to a speaking opportunity, but it’s got to come from a point of service providing some genuine value.
You’d be amazed if you are explicit and specific about what you asked for. I developed a whole system, I call it Money Phone, and it’s based upon a scripted follow-up based purely on integrity that gets people engaged with you and makes them want you. The foundation of building a platform is how you make people want you all the time. We live in the greatest moment in human history where it’s possible for billions of people to have you in their pockets all the time. We have no excuse not to be incredibly wealthy and successful. It’ll impact a lot of lives, and it starts with that. It starts with engagement and you have to get attention first.
This has been a real treat. Thanks for sharing all this with our audience. Quite a few of them are going to become internet millionaires, thanks to you. Where can people find out more?
I can give you some free tools that you can check out. My primary website is called YouEverywhereNow.com. This process called Money Phone, you can have a copy of the book for free and the scripts and a step-by-step video and it’s at www.gomoneyphone.com. That will at least introduce you to this process, gives you some inspiration, and some ideas. If you’re really serious about doing that, I’ve got free webinars and trainings. The other book is at PublishAndProfit.com. You can get a copy of the Publish & Profit book if you’re interested in turning your message or your ideas into a book, and then leveraging Amazon, which arguably will probably soon to be the most valuable company in the world. They are probably going to beat Apple pretty soon.
Mike, this has been a treat. Thank you so much. Listeners, stay tuned. Next up, the anonymous interview. Good luck figuring out who it is.
Thank you, Jon.
About Mike Koenigs
Mike is a 13-time #1 bestselling author, interactive online TV producer, winner of the Marketer of the Year award, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, filmmaker, international speaker and patented inventor. Mike built and sold his last two businesses to publicly-traded companies, his most recent exit was selling Traffic Geyser and Instant Customer in 2014. His first exit, Digital Cafe, was sold to the publicly-traded Interpublic Group in 1999. An active philanthropist, Mike has raised over $2.4mm for the Just Like My Child foundation.
Anonymous Guest Interview
Welcome back, listeners. Now for my absolute favorite part, the anonymous interview. I have a close friend, Paul, who’s joining us. Paul, thank you so much for coming on.
It’s an honor to be here. Jon, you know I love you. I’m excited to be on the podcast.
Let’s give the listeners a few clues to who you are. If they can figure it out, then good for them because they’ll potentially win an invite to The Salon by Influencers. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the good old State of Cleveland, Ohio.
You have a bit of a crazy background. You’re a math whiz kid or something, aren’t you?
Yeah. They call me the Calc God in high school because I was really good at Calculus. I was really good at school and academics. All around, I’ve got a full academic ride to college, Ohio University, and I actually love school. It hurt me when I dropped out after my first year in college.
That’s a story of many greats: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, right?
Science geeks, you just can’t be held in a classroom. Then you went down a completely different path but we’re not going to give that away just yet. Is there a certain accomplishment that you’re most proud of besides dropping out of college?
I feel like my greatest accomplishment is bursting the bubble that I grew up in. It’s amazing to me and I’m very fortunate that I was able to see the world outside of just where I grew up and was known as the funny guy and make something out myself beyond just the bubble where I live.
So the listeners can have a sense of what you look like, if there was a movie about your life, who would play you?
The issue is I’m young. Is the movie being made right now? Because I will probably play me.
That’s the most outrageous idea. Let’s say an old version of you, I see an Owen Wilson. If you were Owen Wilson’s age, he would play you. How old are you now?
I’m 22. I’m a young buck.
This will maybe be a give-away. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done on a dare or stunt that caused your success?
The craziest thing for me, because I don’t get scared often, I wrestled a bear. Saying it out loud now, I’m used to saying it. I don’t know if it sounds crazy, until you’re face-to-face with an animal that can end your life one fell swoop of his giant claws as big as your face, that’s eight-feet tall and weighs four times as much as you. That’s just a scary feeling.
You’re talking to a man who was crushed by a bull, so I can associate.
There’s no hope. You’ve just got to cross your fingers that you don’t piss them off or sneeze the wrong way.
Was there a moment or experience in your life that made you feel like you arrived to some degree? Not that any of us truly arrived indefinitely, not at the age of 22, but things are different now.
Yeah, there was. It was when I bought my first house that I ever purchased. I’m way in-love with this house. It was aesthetically pleasing and it just made me extremely happy. Beyond that, it’s when I look to my left and I see that my brother also bought a house that is just as expensive as mine and he’s two years younger. We both grew up in the bubble. The fact that we both got out, to me it was like, “It’s safe to say that we have had a degree of success that we’re both extremely comfortable and happy with.
What hint or riddle would you give people to figure out who you are?
If you love me, you love me. If you hate me, you hate me.
If you love you or hate you, you’ve probably commented on a video of you.
Probably you’ve seen me somewhere.
Listeners, you have between now and the release of the next episode to figure out who Paul is. You’ve got lots to go on because let’s face facts, how many people who are under the age of 23 have wrestled a bear on video? Good luck.