Our latest featured author is Jim Shields, author of Three Guys Walk Into A Bar: How to Thrive As A Creative Business. By publishing his book, Jim has enjoyed more business success and he achieved his lifelong dream of a Tedx Talk.
Introduce yourself, your mission and/or your business
I am older than I ever intended to get. 53 years old just seems so unlikely to me – but here we are. I’ve been running a creative business for 25 years, selling ideas to corporations across the globe and making a decent living. My focus is on how companies fail to communicate to their employees and their customers. I use short comedy films to fix that.
Introduce your book
My book is called “Three Guys Walk into a Bar – How To Thrive As A Creative Business”. In the course of my work I have met hundreds of other small creative businesses, some are suppliers, some partners, some just networking friends. This book is a love letter to all of them. Oftentimes they seem so weary with how they are treated, and upset at the imbalance of the customer-supplier relationship. I call it a master-slave status. It’s not good for either party. My book shows a pathway to evening up the relationship and moving from just “A Guy” to “THE Guy”.
What was your goal in writing the book? Or goals?
My external goal was to inspire small creative businesses to clarify their value, and train their clients in the art of using their services. My personal goal was to honestly help small creative businesses succeed because this is where the real innovation will come from. The kind that will fix the big problems in the world. Practically speaking, I really want to be a speaker of choice when it comes to creative businesses, events, or corporate leadership events.
What were your reservations about book writing?
My reservations were mainly around how daunting it seemed. I barely have time to fill in my tax forms, let alone write a book. I also wanted to be sure I had a string core message that carried value.
What obstacles did you overcome while writing?
The main obstacle was my work itinerary. As I embarked upon the process with The Author Incubator, the diary just flushed with events and work. Not how I planned it. So – I was left with a 5 week speaking tour across 8 countries, slap bang in the middle of the writing schedule. The I remembered I was committed to several entertainment events – singing in a concert (which required rehearsals), two comedy shows, a weeks shooting for a major corporate client, and to cap it all, we were moving house! When I had signed up before the holiday season, only a quarter of this was in the diary.
How did we help you in overcoming them?
The Author Incubator gave me the tools I needed to fit writing a book into my schedule, including:
1. A clear plan with separate phases and the ability to break this daunting task into bite size pieces.
2. A community that met regularly to share questions and thoughts – I never felt alone in my journey
3. A personal developmental editor who played the parts of coach, editor and dominatrix in equal measure!
What activities did you engage in to launch the book?
My team and I made sure we were sharing the ideas with the creative community on my social media channels. I also had interviewed a lot of creatives for the book, so had them as a concentric network to use. Then there were my clients and suppliers. These people were with me along the journey and they were there when we launched – even if it was via social media. Then we organized a launch party on the night of the web broadcast launch date.
How did the book help you make the difference you are currently making in the world?
The books has garnered me more and more speaking opportunities, for bigger and gibber audiences. Simply put – there’s more of ME and my story out there.
How does it feel to have your work out there?
It feels amazing. And highly legit. Finally. As a non-graduate, my book is my degree certificate.
What has being a published author done for your credibility or positioning in your field?
The book is an excellent calling card, which means I am taken a lot more seriously than I might have been before. Selling comedy can mean that you are considered a kind of “novelty purchase” – like the free gifts I a cereal packet. This book positions me as a serious player, and my network has grown (and hence my influence) considerably.
What feedback did you get from readers?
The feedback was amazing. Look at this where I am mentioned in the same breath as my own guru of choice, Seth Godin.
“Three Guys is a brilliant reality-check for anyone starting (or struggling with) a career in a creativity-based industry. I work with graphic designers every day and this is definitely a book I’ll be recommending to them – It’s up there with Seth Godin but is more down to earth and practical.”
Tell us about any particular stories about readers or clients from this book that might be of particular interest to our readers
I was at a business event where I was being introduced to another potential client. This person had already found my book from another source, and said “You’re the GUY guy! I loved your book!” The person introducing me had no idea I had written a book – so suddenly I am basking in the glow of recognition, and landing a very nice new project.
I should mention that I was also approached by a local university to speak at their TEDx – a personal bucket list item for me. My whole family were in the audience and there were a few tears of pride that day.
How has the book helped you achieve your goals? (share client growth/revenue growth/ speaking opportunities, growth in the impact you are making in the world, help in making a difference in peoples’ lives)
The book has helped me onto the first rung of the speaker network. I am talking to agents now and developing relationships with event organizers. I am often invited to join groups of innovators in business, and executive leadership networks.
Do you want to write more books, or is one enough?
I have already started researching my second book!
What is the most important thing that you learned from writing a book?
I’ve learned that there is NEVER a good time to write a book, and that it’s ALWAYS a good time to start anyway. We tell ourselves all sorts of stories as to why we cannot do this right now. It’s all bunkum. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.