In today’s issue, I am going to show you a controversial framework for building social proof as fast as possible.
Founders, CEOs from big companies, and industry experts have used variations of this framework to make millions from coaching and consulting.
You can use this framework to grow an audience, grow a personal brand, and charge top-dollar for advice.
“Without promotion, something terrible happens… Nothing!” -PT Barnum
The plan is to acquire the credentials held by the highest-paid thought leaders.
Here’s the playbook for business:
- Get on the Inc. 5,000
- Write for Forbes
- Build an audience
- Publish a book
- Make it a best seller
Let’s break each one down.
Step 1: Get on the Inc. 5,000
The Inc. 5,000 is a list of the fastest growing business in the US. Being on it gives you instant credibility.
To qualify, you need a business with $2M in revenue & an 80% 3-year growth rate.
Whether you own a biz or are starting from 0, buying revenue speeds up the process.
If you own a business, you can use an SBA loan to acquire another for as little as 5% down. This counts as revenue growth. So if your biz does $1M in revenue & you buy another business that does $1M, you’ve grown by 100%.
Boom – you qualified!
If you don’t have a business, you can buy one on a marketplace like BizBuySell.
Here’s one that’s doing $2.4M in revenue:
It’s SBA pre-qualified for 10% down & the seller is open to financing. With a minority investor, you could pay $0 out of pocket & qualify for the Inc. 5,000—if the business met the growth hurdle.
For the record, I don’t recommend buying a business with the sole purpose of qualifying for the Inc. 5,000.
Step 2: Write for Forbes
Now that you own a multi-million dollar business, it’s time to tell your story.
Apply to join the Young Entrepreneurs Council.
To qualify you need to be under 45 years old and have a business that does $1M+ in revenue.
This is marketed as an invite-only club, but if you apply & pay the $1,800/yr membership fee, they’ll probably let you in. I applied in 2017 and there was no revenue verification process.
Forbes owns the YEC & the primary benefit is that you can publish articles on the Forbes blog. If you’re too old to qualify for YEC, you can join the Forbes Council. Same benefit, different club.
Step 3: Build an audience
Now that you have social proof to put in your bio, start publishing on LinkedIn & Twitter.
Don’t have time to write? You can hire a good ghostwriter for $3-$5k/ mo. Finding a ghostwriter isn’t hard. I receive 2-3 solicitations a week. The best ghostwriters guarantee follower growth & have testimonials from accounts you follow.
How to have 35 impressionable young gentlemen enter your dms within 60 minutes:— Dylan (@serialsales) September 9, 2022
Just tweet "I need a ghostwriter"
Step 4: Publish a book
A business book is a lead magnet for speaking & consulting gigs. Most business coaches I’ve worked with view them as loss leaders. Few make real money from book sales.
I don’t know what percentage of business books are ghostwritten, but if I had to guess, it’s probably north of 50%. A pro ghostwriter will run you $50-100k, but there are cheaper options.
I once belonged to a popular marketing mastermind that had a book template. The instructions were to find & replace the original author’s niche with your own.
Step 5: Make it a best seller
There are companies that will guarantee a spot on The NY Times & WSJ best seller lists.
You’ll need $100-$250k+ to get the job done, but few things are better social proof.
You can become an Amazon best seller by getting a handful of reviews shortly after you release your book.
The catch: there are over 16,000 book categories on Amazon. (But you don’t talk about that part.)
That should be enough social proof to get you speaking and consulting gigs. The total cost for the plan I outlined is $150-400k.
While this is out of reach for most, remember that you can accomplish any of these things without using vendors or growth hacks.
See you next week,