Author: ian

The Secret to Writing Non Fiction Books

  1. Teach, Don’t Write.  (I’m not Hemingway.  Neither are you)
  2. Teach 1 Thing at a Time. (avoid the urge to overwhelm)
  3. Think small, but scale.  (or series)
  4. Make people better.  (pop pains, heal hurts)
  5. Re-purpose like a rock star.  (blogs can become books, content can become courses)
  6. 3 quick wins.  (and always begin with the win)
  7. How can you help me to live?  (answer this, and people will love what you do)

How to: People (or Product) Interviews for Your Directory or Community

A quick follow up on some of the previous posts about doing interviews as a way of inviting your professional peers (or products, if that’s your thing) to participate in your  directory project, community or authority site.

I’ve done interviews a zillion different ways.

I’ve done some super basic ones.  (remedial text based interviews – like the one you can see here, which remain popular within very narrow niches….to this day)

I’ve done – “answer these 5 questions and get back to me” interviews…….and sent the same questions to 500 people.

I’ve done webinars.  I’ve done calls in my car on my cell phone with well known life coaches while eating sashimi with my free hand and watching pick up basketball games far more interesting than the voice on the other end that have been liked, shared and listened to tens of thousands of times….and I’ve done similar calls with interesting strangers based 100% on directory style invites, that have led to later calls, collaboration and connections.

Today, in 2017, there are so many cool and creative ways to actually DO the interviews, and transcribe the calls (which you DO want for content, and your members/clients should want as well) that it’s difficult to keep track of which tool or tech is best.

(I used to use “TapeaCall” exclusively – and then for converting that audio file into text, but that approach may have officially jumped the shark in the last 6 months)

More recently, as I’ve been sharing here, I’ve used and recommended – as they have a built in transcription service with a whole bunch of extra bells and whistles built in.  (although the transcription IS a bit wonky – and I do find myself having to edit the text these days far more than I planned, which is souring me a bit on the service)

I want to recommend, if you are planning on doing a lot of these, that you check out ANCHOR.FM.  It’s free – and super duper cool – and far more than an app for recording interviews for sure.  (as a matter of fact, it’s an ancillary feature, and one they just shipped last week I believe – complete with on demand (and free) transcription of your interview/and or call)

It’s a huge time saver.  It’s super cool.  It’s beautiful to use.  And it’s free.   Check it out at the link below.

Exactly a month ago, we launched a brand new version of Anchor that made it possible to create interactive streams of audio called Stations. With Stations, Anchor lets anyone easily broadcast their voice, share full length songs from Spotify and Apple Music, take call-ins from listeners, and even publish external audio clips. The reception to this new version has been incredible — and inspiring: we’ve already seen over 2 million plays of audio from the new platform in the month of March alone (far exceeding our original internal goal of 1 million plays).




What Do You Value?

A few random thoughts on launching something new.

Over the weekend I was doing my usual early morning wind sprints & high high interval fitness training regime while carefully navigating security by President Trump’s Palm Beach Island estate, listening to my favorite podcasts, and thinking about building something great.

And when I say wind sprints and high interval fitness regime, I really mean I was power walking to the Publix supermarket for bagels and donuts, about a mile away from Mara Lago, with very little security to dodge, other than the the hungover looking middle eastern looking guy with a badge in the golf cart who was eyeballing my bialy and whitefish like I owed him half.

But I heard a quote that was attributed to former VP Joe Biden, that I’m pretty sure was originally said (or some variation of) by management guru Peter Drucker. It goes something like this:

Tell me what you value, and I may believe you. But show me your calendar, and your budget, and I’ll tell YOU what you really value most.

The irony is, for most of us, we have these great goals and bold ambitions, and yet…..where we spend most of our time betrays this.

What do you value? What do you REALLY value in your work…and in your life? How much of what you do, timewise – would reflect in a crystal clear way that THIS is the top of the totem pole of your professional priorities?

So often, when I fuck stuff up – it shows up there, first. (if only I’m willing to look)

We’re all really good at some things.

And pretty mediocre at others.

If you are lucky in life, you get to do the stuff that you excel at every morning to feed your family. And if you are reading this – with the expectation of using these ideas in your business, the chances are, you ARE in fact, lucky in life.

So make a commitment, right now… do what you love.

And where you excel – expand. Double down. And invest.

And where you don’t – don’t.

It’s easy for me to see this in other people’s lives and businesses endeavors. It’s often far harder to spot in myself.

One of the keys, for me, to maintaining a fierce focus and a commitment to invest in my strengths – to pursue my own passion and align with what I REALLY value (while avoiding their close counterfeits) is to state these things clearly for the world to see.

Here are my three things:

  1. I need to get super clear to win.
  2. And because life is short – I need to do work I love to make winning mean anything.
  3. And, I need to control what I create to make sure I’m not counting on too many other people to knock down the pins….yet, to REALLY win, connecting with a community, cultivating clients and vibing with my tribe feels most rewarding and worth pursuing.


What are yours?

What do you love? Where do you excel? And how do you put that out into the world in a super specific way, so that you maximize your contribution, your creativity and your cash flow?

Control what you create. This sounds so ethereal….and yet, to me, it’s the simple key to doing meaningful work that matters.

As some of you know, we have a new publishing platform launching this week.

It’s based on a very simple premise. It’s focused on a very specific audience, and asks only a few simple questions and action items.

The key ones being:

  1. Passion. What do you love?
  2. Purpose. How does it serve?
  3. Publish. Wake up the world with your words…and work.
  4. The more empowering questions I ask, the more I simplify, strip down and streamline my focus, the more clearly those values come back into view.

How about you?

How to Customize Vantage 4.0 (and make more money from your online directory)

Here is a pretty cool way to brand your Vantage 4.0 directory in some unique and creative ways.  It’s a new plugin that changes the way your pins (and map) appear on a default Vantage install.  Read a bit more about it below.

A bunch of people have been checking out Vantage 4.0 through my affiliate link, and have been asking customization questions about modifying the theme.

The truth is, when it comes to coding, or design, or making modifications to a WP theme of any kind (a directory or otherwise) i’m not the sort of person you’re going to want to take advice from – not because I can’t do it (If I give myself enough free time and enough booze, I can fumble my way through the code and CSS to make it look almost the way I want) – but simply stated, I’m pretty much a complete code dummy – and there are far more elegant, intelligent and expeditious approaches than asking me for advice.  (although if I’ve had enough caffeine, I may pretend to know what I’m talking about)

That said, here is a super easy way to change the map based elements of your Vantage directory, using a $14 plugin that was just released in the appthemes marketplace.

It makes some stylistic enhancements to the map and pin system – AND, from a marketing standpoint, opens up some really interesting ways to conceptualize how you can advertise and promote your featured listings as well. (something that is a bit bare and underwhelming, in my view, on the base Vantage framework thus far)


Because you can literally change the graphic icons for any categories you choose on your directory. This means, you can set a different color, pin and icon for FEATURED lets say – or “BEST OF” lets say – and they’ll appear this way on the map, to folks in the public who are browsing your directory, and looking for the premium spots to eat, shop or visit in your community.

This is much more appealing, from my perspective, than a traditional “featured” listing, as a way of enticing and seducing your members to want to buy a premium listing, or to include as part and parcel of some higher cost package that INCLUDES showing up on the map in a very complimentary and unique way.

While I wouldn’t clutter up the map with a lot of meaningless icons – you CAN do this for unlimited categories – which really amps up your ability to showcase specific individual listings in a way that appeals to their ego – and should have a really practical and measurable bump in their click throughs as well. (from the map —> to their listing)

Lots of cool things coming for Vantage through the appthemes marketplace – I’ve been in touch with a few plugin + theme makers since before Vantage 4 was even released, and I’m pretty sure that, all things considered, Vantage may reclaim it’s place as the goto directory theme for WordPress, for the second half of 2017.

And don’t forget, you still have another few days (until April 21) to can get a great deal on their LAUNCH BUNDLE, which includes 3 premium plugins, in addition to the theme + framework as well.

Do You Want to Write a Book? A Brand New Challenge for Aspiring Authors, Inspirational Architects and Enlightened Entrepreneurs

Okay, I’m not really sure what an inspirational architect is.  But I heard someone say it last week, and thought it felt like something to shoot for in life.

So here is the deal.  We’re launching a brand new super exciting publishing platform and suite of services for authors in the personal development, spiritual growth and mindfulness/meditation marketplaces.

We’re looking for folks who want to write, teach, inspire, uplift help and “heal” others in cool and creative ways.

We’ll going to have a social network and creative community you’ll be able to interact with professional peers, and the public who are looking to learn about you, your words, and your work.

We’re going to have a content and course community where you’ll be able to teach what you know, share what you love and take (and sell) classes around your experience and expertise.

We’re building a super suite of publishing and promotional services for those of you who want to focus on doing what YOU do best….and let others handle the messy marketing stuff you don’t.

But most important to me – we want to “disrupt” the self publishing scene a bit as well -with revolutionary easy tools, tips, techniques and TEMPLATES for turning your content into courses, your blog into books,  and your passion and purpose into perpetual piles of profit to boot.  

(in other words – if you thought writing a book needed to be hard, or requires you to lock yourself in your room for days at time with bad bedhead and CNN on infinite loop like I do – the good news is, you don’t. That’s our job) 

So help me by answering:

1 – What are your biggest self publishing questions?   Have you written a book to help build “buzz” for your blog, brand or business?  If not…..why not?  What keeps you from writing, creating or sharing your sense of passion or purpose for your work?

If you have questions about writing your first book, creating your first course, or codifying your content into a high ticket coaching program or suite of services, I’d love to hear your BIGGEST challenge.   Shoot me an email (ianrhollander(AT)gmail with the single biggest obstacle that’s holding you back.

2 – On Monday (the 17th of April) I’ll be launching the first of a series of monthly 21 day self publishing challenges.   These will be perfect for folks who have always known they wanted to write a book…and simply need a gentle nudge in the direction of your destiny 🙂   I’ll be leading, writing and demonstrating a book being written on the fly – with all the marketing strategy – mocked up, mapped out,  from concept to published in under a month.  If you take part in the workshop – you’ll be showing up to doing the same thing – and will be held accountable to having your first book published in 30 days as well.  (an extra 9 days over my commitment to you!)

(we are thinking of experimenting with some different accountability exercises to ensure folks follow through – at this point, it looks like we’re going to offer the workshop for Free – but if you don’t follow through and have a published book up on Amazon after 30 days – you have to pay for the course – or donate money to charity – or some variation of that idea)

This is JUST for non fiction books and our target audience are coaches, consultants, teachers, trainers, mindful marketers, mentors, helpers, healers, yogi’s, artists, aspiring authors, blogging bodhisattva’s, “light” workers, purpose driven professionals and enlightened entrepreneurs.

In other words – if you want to change the world through your words and work – THIS challenge – and this community – is all You.

Send your questions to ianrhollander (at) gmail (dot)com or connect with me on FB – we’ve got a whole content campaign planned around reader questions – so if you’ve got them, I’m happy to answer!


How to: Picking a Name for Your Website or Community (and a simple example that doubled response)

Q: How important is the name for my new website? How much time should I spend picking out the the perfect domain? Does it make a difference….and if not, why not?

In this short audio, I share my own thoughts on picking the perfect domain name, (spoiler alert:  it’s usually just another good way to procrastinate) and why if you ARE one who likes to get caught in the infinite loop of analysis paralysis,  good news!  There IS a little bit of difference when it comes to a web community, directory or “authority” style site.

I also share a bit of thinking behind the naming of my newest social community and how some of my experience with other web directory projects, including how the NAME of one directory more than doubled our response – and ultimately, led to a ton of additional viral shares, simply by exploiting a bug in the human condition.  (that little known but universal desire to feel like we are all rock stars  and someone else has noticed 🙂

The most important takeaway, from my perspective anyway, is this:

Get people to raise their hand, metaphorically……and say – “that’s me!” when they see your brand name, and you’ll find it much easier to get people to sign up and become ambassadors for your brand, blog and business.

It’s not the only thing that matters, of course….but when building something new, having one less friction point is better than one more.

And if you can capture something that appeals to people’s ego, as in the example I articulate in this audio, not only will more people want to JOIN your community, they’ll be far more likely to share YOUR community (and their place in it) as well.

NOTE:  The last piece of this audio that I blanked out on (I started a final point – and then lost my complete train of thought – it was 130 am and i’ve been recording all day) was this:  Don’t fall in love with your own ideas.  Worry only about what works, and what appeals to your audience, as measured by the metrics that matter.  (this was the “Jay Abraham” reference I started to discuss before my brain blanked out.  I was going to edit this out – but life is short – and I’ve got to eat some lunch 🙂