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Friday, October 12th, 2012

Time Event
4:26p
Don't shoot ...
I'm signed up for a massive number of newsletters on the web, ranging all over the place, with a lot of them being thinly-veiled shills for various grossly over-priced “coaching” programs, webinars, etc. One of these this summer was featuring a throw-in of a copy of this book … which looked quite interesting … so I picked up a discount copy over on Amazon. A project on which I consult is developing on-line training modules for various clients, among which is a prominent Chicago new age center, and much of what we'd discussed with them had a certain parallels with what's in Brendon Burchard's The Millionaire Messenger: Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice, although I've certainly been interested in seeing how this sort of thing might work for me as well.

I had a rather love/hate relationship with this book, on one hand, much of it was quite to the point, with clear directions on how to do A to get to the point of doing B, and how to avoid X if possible, etc., on the other hand, much of it is in that rah-rah tell-you-anything-to-make-the-sale garbage that I heard WAY too much of back when I was trying to build a side income in network marketing. The other thing that I had difficulties with this was that it's very much about picking ONE THING and running with it. The author himself built his entire speaking/training career on the story of surviving a car crash … nothing more than telling that over and over embellished with “feel good platitudes”. Anybody who reads my reviews knows that I've been a life-long aspiring polymath, and the only thing that I really like is variety. The concept of “picking one thing” is beyond me (or in the words of Robert A. Heinlein “specialization is for insects”!).

Anyway, Burchard took is “golden ticket” spiel and delved into studying all the big “gurus” of self-development, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Steven Covey, David Back, John Gray, John Maxwell, and numerous others. As he notes, where he diverged from the typical enthusiast for that sort of twaddle stuff was that he kept asking himself “why can't I do that?”, and he then jumped into a study of the how involved in the advice industry. Within two years he had a best-selling book, was making $25k a pop as a keynote speaker, selling out seminars at $10k per seat, and had a bunch of online businesses raking in millions. Obviously folks wanted to know how he'd managed all this, and so became the training program he sells (which is outlined in the book).

In Ch.3 - “The Expert Calling and Lifestyle” he takes a look at a number of famous speakers and the puts out a nine-point analysis of the “expert industry” and what's involved, and why it might appeal to the reader. A couple of pages are dedicated to each point, with over-view, a bit of a breakdown, and some very focused suggestions on how these can work, and be implemented.

In Ch.4 - “You: Advice Guru” he lists three types of experts … the “Results Expert”, the “Research Expert”, and the “Role Model” and suggests building all three “consciously, strategically, and actively” on ones' topic areas. “When all these pillars are strong and aligned, you will have reached a level of expertise and trust that makes you incredibly respected and in demand.” One thing he introduces here, structurally, is what he calls “Expert Signposts”, which are open-ended sentences for the reader to add their own data. He tells the reader to stop at each of these and fill them out before moving forward in the book (yeah, I didn't do it either).

Perhaps the core of the book is Ch.5 - “10 Steps to an Expert Empire” where Burchard lays out the groundwork that needs to be done to get to the big bucks. Here they are:

Step 1: Claim and Master Your Topic
Step 2: Pick Your Audience
Step 3: Discover Your Audience's Problems
Step 4: Define Your Story
Step 5: Create a Solution
Step 6: Put up a Website
Step 7: Campaign Your Products and Programs
Step 8: Post FREE Content
Step 9: Get Promotional Partners
Step10: Repeat and Build the Business Based on Distinction, Excellence, and Service
In each of these he dissects the methodology, addresses concerns, and talks action details. They each have an “Expert Signposts” section which gets down to such nitty-gritty as “To pay the price point of this product, people must believe that ...” (which would be one of MY biggest stumbling blocks, since I've never found a “product” in this niche that I felt was remotely worth what was being charged for it!).

Again, much of The Millionaire Messenger is very much a “manual” (with illustrative material), so there's not much of a “story arc” in this, so I'm going to list some stuff here, as it's just easier than trying to paraphrase where he's going with it. In Ch.6 - “The Millionaire Messenger's Money Map” he lists The Six Profit Pillars for Entrepreneurial Experts”, these are: Writing, Speaking, Giving Seminars, Coaching, Consulting, and Online Marketing. Discussion of these then sets up:

A Million-Dollar Expert Empire in Five Steps
          1. Create a low-priced information product.
          2. Create a low-priced subscription program.
          3. Create a mid-tier-priced information product.
          4. Create a high-tier multiday seminar.
          5. Create a high-priced coaching program.
Burchard gets into detailed examples in each, although the dollar figures he quotes ($197 for a “low priced” product, $497 for a mid-tier-priced product!) must depend on the famous adage “there's a sucker born every minute”! Anyway, he goes step-by-step of how many of what his case study “Sally” needs to sell to make over a million dollars in a year. Pretty cold and clinical for something that purports to be all about “helping people”.

Which brings us to Ch.7 - “The Messenger Mind-Set”, a set of beliefs without which “would-be experts give up early, lose focus, fail – or, worse, they never begin”:

Mind-set #1: My life experience, message, and voice are valuable.
Mind-set #2: If I don't know it or have it, I will go learn it or create it.
Mind-set #3: I will not let my small business make me small-minded.
Mind-set #4: Student First, Teacher Second, Servant Always.
Mind-set #5: Mastery is a way of life.
Supposedly this gives one “the right psychology needed to share your message and build a real business while you are doing so”.

So, now that you've been through “re-education”, so to speak, you're ready for Ch.8 - “The Millionaire Mandates”:

Messenger Mandate #1: Positioning
Messenger Mandate #2: Packaging
Messenger Mandate #3: Promoting
          - Claim.
          - Challenge.
          - Commonality.
          - Credibility.
          - Choice.
          - Comparison Pricing.
          - Concern.
          - Close and call to action.
Messenger Mandate #4: Partnering
He then throws in a fifth, but more as an after-thought, although he calls it “the Ultimate Messenger Mandate: Serving with Purpose”, with warnings of not acting in bad faith because it's “not good - not for you or for our community” … sounds a lot like the “unofficial Chicago motto” - Don't Get Caught, but that may just be my cynicism talking.

This finishes up with a section about the industry - “The Messenger Manifesto” (Or The Great Industry Reset) … but you'd pretty much had to have read up to that point to have context for the various “resets” he talks about in this. The final bit is called “Trusting Your Voice” which goes back to encouraging the reader to get into the expert biz, telling a “heart-warming” story and throwing in a few literary quotes … which I guess is far preferable than getting into details on how to write a “squeeze page” to suck people into providing their e-mail addresses.

Honestly, I liked The Millionaire Messenger much more than one would think from my commentary here. It's a very cogent look at, and manual for, building up a business in the “advice business” … it's just that I see so much of this stuff come through my inbox, and have built up a major psychological wall against the whole industry. This is only a couple of years old at this point, and is still in print … the on-line big boys have it for about a third off of cover (which is very reasonable in and of itself), and you could find a used copy for about another third off of that (with shipping). If you've ever thought of getting into the “expert field”, this would be a great book for you (I have plans for lending this to 2-3 friends), but if you just hate those endless video pitches for this or that program, you'll probably want to steer clear of it. As noted, I was a mix of the two, but I'm glad to have this “manual” on hand for future ventures!


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