Should Online Entrepreneurs Write a Book?

If you have ever considered writing a book for printed publication, then you must listen to this episode.

Somewhere, in the far recesses of your mind, you may have contemplated writing a book. I know I have.

There is something special about being a published author. Being a published author can help you instantly gain credibility in your space and opens up new opportunities that extend far beyond the reach of your current online efforts.

And while you may have felt that author itch, be warned – it may not be the right pursuit for everyone, even for those who make a living writing online.

We are joined in this episode by New York Times best-selling author, Chris Brogan. Chris has written numerous books, including Trust Agents, one of the most influential books about online marketing.

Chris shares his witty insight into why you should not write a book as well as what it really takes to get published.

In this 37-minute episode, Sean Jackson and Jessica Frick interview Chris Brogan and answer some of the most common questions about publishing, including …

  • Why you should, or should not, publish a book
  • What publishers really look for in selecting an author
  • Why the real money in publishing is not publishing a book
  • The #1 rule you must follow to successfully write a book
  • Finally, our question for the week – What are the biggest mistakes online entrepreneurs make?

The Show Notes

  • If you’re ready to see for yourself why more than 201,344 website owners trust StudioPress — the industry standard for premium WordPress themes and plugins — swing by for all the details.
  • Get in touch with Chris Brogan by signing up for his newsletter at,
  • One of our favorite productivity tools, Trello
  • Follow Sean on Twitter
  • Follow Jessica on Twitter

Should Online Entrepreneurs Write a Book?

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You’re listening to The Digital Entrepreneur, the show for folks who want to discover smarter ways to create and sell profitable digital goods and services. This podcast is a production of Digital Commerce Institute, the place to be for digital entrepreneurs. For more information go to Rainmaker.FM/DigitalCommerce. That’s Rainmaker.FM/DigitalCommerce.

Sean Jackson: Welcome to The Digital Entrepreneur, everyone. I am your host, Sean Jackson. I’m joined, as always, by the voracious Jessica Frick. Jessica, how the Frick are you?

Jessica Frick: I am voracious. How the Jackson are you, Sean?

Sean Jackson: I am very well. Voracious, by the way, both means appetite — like you’re super hungry — and also it means to be eager in how you approach an activity. I am referencing the latter, not the former.

Jessica Frick: Well I’m eager to do this show with you. I’ve been looking forward to this.

Sean Jackson: Oh, I know. This will be a fun show. We left the last show with our question of the week, which is: Is it worth it for an online entrepreneur to actually write a book, especially nowadays? You say …

Jessica Frick: Not really.

Sean Jackson: Okay, tell me why.

Jessica Frick: I think that it certainly could be worth your while, but I feel like there’s so much pressure on digital entrepreneurs to put a book out there, and it doesn’t have to be there. There are so many other ways you can go about it. I think that in a lot of ways, books are not as relevant as they once were. There are other opportunities to get the attention and respect. You don’t need to put all the effort into a one-time content release.

Sean Jackson: Okay, I understand the point. Basically, of all the things that you can do, a book may not be worth your time, especially given the fact that some of the production of content can lead to more tangible results more quickly than all the effort that’s required for your typical book.

Jessica Frick: Yeah, what about you? What do you think, Sean?

Sean Jackson: I think you’re completely wrong. No, to argue the other side of that — I will say you are correct in the assumption that it is a lot of effort, but most things online are a lot of effort. Either they take a lot of time to get really good at it or take time to put together. They both have a certain degree of effort. Though typically a book — be it a digital book or a printed book. In this case, let’s say it’s a printed book. Yeah, it’s a pain. All of my friends who are authors will say that it is like birthing a child — even though none of them are women, so I don’t know what they are referring to. But I like the analogy.

I do think it is huge. But here’s why it may be worth it: you can use your book to establish instant credibility and authority in the space that you write about. Seriously. It’s not like anybody’s going to read the stupid thing. You’re going to be able to sit there and say, “For this subject matter, I’m the expert because I literally wrote the book on it.”

I’ll give you an example. Rob Garner — good friend of mine who wrote the book Search and Social. It was a laborious process. His research intern actually happened to be my intern. We were sharing the same intern at the time. I know how much effort went into that book. But you know what? When Rob walks into a room now, he is the definitive authority on search and social. Why? Because that was the name of his book. Maybe it’s worth it if you’re in a space that you need that type authority. What do you say to that?

Jessica Frick: I say that your company, Rainmaker Digital, actually sold courses on how to build authority, and they didn’t require writing a book.

Sean Jackson: Okay, well, when you put it that way. That’s probably good, because Brian Clark, our CEO, has never actually written a book even though he has been hounded to do so. You may have a point there, Jess.

Jessica Frick: I am just saying, Sean. There are a lot of ways to gain authority that don’t require you write this set-in-stone piece of content. I think there are a lot of really gifted authors. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if it wasn’t for books. Somebody’s got to write them. To those of you who are out there doing that soulless task, thank you.

Sean Jackson: Speaking of today’s show, we have a very special guest, don’t we, Jess? He is a New York Times bestseller, right, Jess? What else is he? He’s a …

Jessica Frick: He is a consultant. He is a speaker. He is an entrepreneur. He has written a number of books, and I cannot wait to hear what he thinks about this.

Sean Jackson: On our show today we have the most delightful Chris Brogan, who started in his book career with Trust Agents, a New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal — and pretty much every other bestseller list out there he was on. He’s going to be joining us to talk to Jessica and I about why you should or should not write a book, what book publishing is really like, and the essential things you need to know if you’re going to go down that path. Stay tuned, and after this break we’ll have Chris Brogan on the show.

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Welcome back from the break, everyone. Jessica, will you please introduce the infamous Chris Brogan?

Jessica Frick: Today we have an American author, journalist, marketing consultant, and speaker who has spoken for many of our events. He is an all-around amazing guy. We have Chris Brogan.

Sean Jackson: Chris, welcome to the show.

Chris Brogan: Hey, I am so grateful to be here and thrilled to talk to both of you beautiful people once again.

Jessica Frick: We are so happy to have you, Chris. As I mentioned before we started talking, Sean and I have been having a discussion about whether you need to write a book. My question for you is: Do digital entrepreneurs really need to write a book, for real?

Chris Brogan: No. I think the digital entrepreneur …

Sean Jackson: Well, that takes care of it. We’re done.

Chris Brogan: Okay, so let’s get to the next topic, motorcycles. Who thinks they’re neat? Who’s never had one? Me. The thing about a book … First off, I always wanted to be an author. I was five years old and I was like, “I am so going to be an author.” I figured I’d just write comic books for my life, and that didn’t quite work out. But then I started blogging.

Why You Should, or Should Not, Publish a Book

Chris Brogan: The reason I started blogging way back in 1998 was because I was submitting fiction stories to magazines and stuff like that — not paying any attention to what they really wanted, like, “Well, clearly you should publish this. I wrote it.” They weren’t taking them, which was weird, seeing as the stories had nothing to do with the magazines that I was trying to send them to.

I finally got fed up and I said, “I’ll make my own website and do my own damn thing.” Then I got semi-famous in blogging. Somewhere way back in ’08, when I’m at the pinnacle of my hype of, “Oh my gosh, Chris Brogan’s an amazing blogger,” I’m at a conference and I am asked if I want to write a book. I was really flippant. I was like, “Why would I bother doing that? That seems like a lot of work.” It was my whole life’s dream to have been a published author, and the first time I get the deal I’m like, “I don’t think I want to do this.”

To shorten the story up a lot, I take the deal, I call my friend Julien Smith and I say, “Hey, you want to write a book with me?” He was like, “Okay.” Literally that’s how the call went. So we wrote a book together. By weird circumstance it became a New York Times bestseller as well as a Wall Street Journal bestseller, USA Today, Inc. — all these other places. I was like, “Oh, I’m pretty good at this.”

Julien and I wrote another book and it didn’t do as well. Then I’ve written seven more books since. Now it’s a disease. But the first-ever book did incredible things for my career. Did I need it to have a career? No, not at all. To answer your question as longly as I could — that’s a Trump word — the answer is you sure don’t need a book to have a career but it doesn’t hurt.

Sean Jackson: Yeah, let’s talk about that. I’ve had several friends of ours who have written books, right? Rob Garner, Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, etc. All of them, they talk about the challenges of it, etc., but at the end of the day … This is what I call it: it’s the $15 business card. It is the thing that, when you walk into any room, you put that book down and you suddenly become the expert, the authority, the person who knows end-all be-all about whatever subject you just wrote about. Would you concur with that? Is that what helped in your career, giving you enhanced authority, or did it just open up brand new avenues of people who had no idea who Chris Brogan was to begin with?

Chris Brogan: That’s what I thought at first. I thought, “Well, clearly I must know something, I’ve got a book.” Some people ride that wave a lot more than other people. Some people really stick to the credentials of having published a book as if that’s why they have a voice in the fight or whatever. Now, I’ll tell you that with Trust Agents, it got into the hands of lots of people who didn’t know who I was. I’ve heard, absolutely, face-to-face with CEOs of very large companies — I don’t want to name names because I don’t want to malign people, but they would say things to me like, “Well, you must be pretty smart because this is a New York Times bestseller.”

Sean Jackson: Right.

Chris Brogan: There’s no correlation in that sentence. One is bestseller, not smartest author. My best books — because I don’t think Trust Agents was my best book — my best books sold the least. I can tell you that there’s really no correlation to me. That said, once you’re a New York Times bestselling author … A lot of people are Amazon bestselling authors. I could do that in a day. I could make one of my old books a bestseller if I work hard enough at it for a day. Once you’re a bestseller with the New York Times, that label’s there forever, and you can lord that over other people.

Beyond that, there’s not a lot of grand value unless you’re in some particular industry that really cares. Tech industries tend to care a little bit more. If you’re the guy who literally wrote the book on Java or JavaScript or something, you’d certainly probably carry a little more weight with me than some schmuck hacking around. I’m a big fan of meritocracy, so I don’t necessarily find that he or she who has published wins because they actually had the discipline to write a book. I just think that they’re the people who saw a project through. That’s the only credit I’ll give them, is that it’s hard to publish.

Sean Jackson: Right. Let’s talk about that a little bit. It’s funny, I talked to Brian Clark … When I first met Brian Clark back in 2008, 2009 he’s like, “Why haven’t you written a book yet?” Guy Kawasaki had been writing quite a bit by that time period, and that was where the evolution of a lot of the early influential marketing bloggers were moving towards, was starting to publish to gain that additional authority, if you will, by having a physical copy that is really a manifestation of what they’d been writing for years on their blog about.

Talk a little bit about what is that initial process? You obviously saw a benefit in doing it, and I do think there is a benefit — whether it’s to gain authority or to increase the exposure of your thinking to new people that may not be consumers of what you currently write. I do think those are tangible, actual benefits, but you pay a price to get them. That price is to get a book done. If you were doing this from day one back with Trust Agents, what would you do different? How would you start? Knowing that our audience who’s listening are going, “Gosh, I’m so scared about doing this. Where should I start first and what should I be doing?”

What Publishers Really Look for in Selecting an Author

Chris Brogan: There’s a Groucho Marx quote that I repeat it so often it’s almost my quote by now. Groucho said, “I would never want to belong to a club that would have me.” The day that Julien and I made the New York Times bestseller list we called each other. I say, “Hey, that’s cool,” and he goes, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool.” That was our voice too. I was like, “Hey, that’s cool.” He was like, “Yeah, that was cool. Hey, so what else are you doing?” That was it. Believe me, there’s days when I’m feeling miserable about myself that I cry into my vodka and I say, “I’m a New York Times bestseller.” Beyond that …

Let’s just say it’s day zero and we’re going to write a book. The things that I didn’t know about the book publishing industry that everyone who isn’t in there still doesn’t know is this: Number one, people publish books because the books sell, not because the idea is good. Craptons of authors tell me, “I think I’ve got this amazing idea for a book.”

By the way, almost 90 percent of the time when someone says that to me, the answer is “No, it’s not a really good idea.” It’s a horrendous idea for a book, or it’s a book that someone else wrote, and this person who’s telling me this isn’t a reader so they don’t know this. I can quote seven books that have a similar title or whatever. That’s one problem. If you’re not into books and you’re not into the book world and you’re thinking of writing a book, you’re already at a huge disadvantage, you boob. Number two, what book publishers want is sales, and they need you to guarantee some amount of sales. 96 percent of business books sell less than 5,000 copies.

Sean Jackson: Oh, wow.

Chris Brogan: That’s a startling number. Then again, you’ve got to understand, the American Department of Labor statistics said that — Americans anyway — read an average of 19 minutes a day total. Not 19 minutes a day on your paper book, 19 minutes a day total, including texts, tweets, Facebook posts, and all that. You who love books are already a dying breed. You thinking about writing a book are saying, “I think I’m going to write a book that no one’s going to read.”

I get sent about 12 books a day. Sorry, 12 books a week. That would be horrible if I got 12 a day. I get sent about 12 a week, which is still quite a lot. I can tell you that 60 to 70 percent of them I never crack the cover — even if they’re friends of mine. I’m just looking at it going, “This looks like work.” I’ll just read books that I think look awesome. So there’s that.

I’ve just dissuaded you twice. I’ve said that books are made for if the idea sells, not if the idea’s good. You’ve really got to sell a great book. What book publishers look for is your platform. If you don’t have a massive Twitter following, Facebook following, Instagram, or YouTube — if you don’t have a massive “x” following, you’re already at a disadvantage and they’re probably not going to say yes to giving you a book. Or they’re going to make you write something that you don’t want to write. Or they’re going to make you partner up with two or three of your other schlub friends until the numbers look like the kind of numbers that they think are going to help you market your book.

There are no marketing teams inside of book publishers dying to sell your book. They’re all working for Stephen King and those kinds of people. You basically get a court-appointed marketer, and they’re awful. I have never ever worked with book marketers — except for my friend Peter at Wiley, Peter Knox — except for Peter and his team. Every other team I’ve ever worked with in book publishing as marketers are the worst humans alive. I don’t understand how they call themselves marketers. As far as I understand they’re just good at talking on conference calls. They don’t actually do anything.

Sean Jackson: Right.

Chris Brogan: You’ve got to be the 100 percent marketing master. By the way, when you have a new book out, it’s like you’ve just joined Avon and you’re dying to have enough people to have lipstick parties and no one wants to go to your lipstick party.

The minute you start talking about how hyped you are for your book and you start putting up stupid infographics with your stupid quotes from your stupid book, your friends hate you and they’ve already unfollowed you. They haven’t unfriended you so you don’t know it, but they’re not reading your sh*t anymore. They’re sick of you already and they hope you die with your book in your … By the way, should you self-publish, which is highly recommended in a lot of ways, you’re going to die with your garage full of books you bought.

There’s a lot of negative, obviously, in my sentiments here, but there’s a reason. It’s because we glamorize books and we glamorize authors and all that. Listen, I’m working on my tenth mainstream book. I’m in the throes of writing the book right now. I want you to think, “This guy has a disease,” not “He’s that awesome.” Further, if you’re going to write a book, what you have to spend your time doing is writing the book. Not thinking about writing the book. Not talking about writing the book. Not researching a lot. Not buying all the book-in-the-box courses you could ever fit into. Type, because that’s how books get written.

Jessica Frick: That actually brings up … I have a follow-up for that. I’m going to show my fangirl for a minute, this is so embarrassing. Chris, one of my favorite things that you ever wrote was It’s Not About the Tights, which was digital-only.

Chris Brogan: Yes.

Jessica Frick: Why do you even need to worry about paper if it’s just going to fill your garage?

Chris Brogan: Yeah, I don’t know that you do. I printed a couple dozen of those myself on CreateSpace, just so I could hand them out to people. Seth Godin once said a very long time ago — and everything Seth says is true — Seth Godin said that books are like the perfect souvenir for the event. You have this moment where you meet an author or you see a speech or something like that, and you’re like, “Oh, it was great,” and you want to bring the book home. I have a very limited number of It’s Not About the Tights books that I have handed out to people for that reason. “Man, you’re going to dig this.”

Of my books, on the average, 96 percent of them sold in a digital space. And a great portion of those sold as digital copies. So you’re right, you don’t have to worry about the paper. But I can tell you that the strategic value of having some printed books is that should one want to get speaking and consulting gigs, having a physical copy means someone will actually read it. There’s a lot of people like this fiancée I have named Jacqueline, who buys a lot of books that she knows what the titles look like and she knows the covers, and they’ve never been opened.

Why the Real Money in Publishing is Not Publishing a Book

Sean Jackson: That was something else about writing your books, though. It did open up more speaking opportunities, paid speaking gigs, and big conferences. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve been paid to go to big companies to speak internally to them.

Chris Brogan: Yeah. For Trust Agents alone, the book itself, publisher company royalties … Julien and I probably made about $30,000 each on it since 2009.

Sean Jackson: Wow.

Chris Brogan: No one’s buying a Lamborghini on that. For my consulting — back when that book came out in 2009, for the three years right after that I probably brought in a million or so. Closer to $2 million dollars total in revenue — not salary, let’s not be crazy. Closer to $2 million dollars in consulting, speaking — doing all kinds of stuff that was directly linked to that book being out in the world.

Sean Jackson: Yeah, I think that’s something too. As an online entrepreneur, obviously you’re inhabiting a lot of the online space. You’re there, you’re engaged with it, you’re understanding it. The book does provide almost a transit to more of the offline world because of the speaking engagements. But it demands you to show up. Trust me, if you sucked as a speaker — which you don’t — but if you did, you would do it one time and people are going to be like, “This guy’s a snooze-fest.” So given your personality type, it was a good transitory step from the book to speaking to consulting to having more engaged conversation in the offline world while you mastered, of course, the online world as you did.

Chris Brogan: Yeah. Sometimes the book got me to some strange places. I was on the Dr. Phil Show. Lots of people get on the Dr. Phil Show who don’t have a book, like Cash Me Outside girl, but there’s plenty of us schmoes that show up there as the “expert,” and quite often they’re authors or whatever.

The same thing, though: that fact that someone could be a decent author in no way guarantees that they’re an awesome speaker. I’ve been on speaking tours where five or six authors — sometimes 100+ authors are all on the speaking tour, and we are so different from each other. Some of us love the stage. I am a would-be David Lee Roth on the stage. Others are like Morrissey, just trying to get away and hide in the corner as best they can.

Sean Jackson: What’s the challenge? Seriously. You said, and I agree with this, “Sometimes you just have to shut up and write.” You got to get into it. How much research do you put in prior to it? Everyone has the inspiration to do it, and that inspiration can consume them for years if not decades. But at some point they will say, “I have the time. I’m going to commit the time. I am going to write.” At the same token, how much pre-research should you be doing?

You’re correct, the title and the idea matters the most. But there’s also the format of it. Is it going to be more informational? A lot of books on our space tend to be very informational. Even though I love The Art of SEO, you’re not reading it cover to cover, you’re popping into certain sections. There’s other authors like Adam Grant, who’s one of my favorites, who really have that Malcolm Gladwell-esque type of tone. All of them had to do some research on both the idea that they were trying to promulgate as well as the tone and format. How much time did you spend on that, or would you recommend spending on that prior to just shutting up and writing?

Chris Brogan: Quick side note. I messaged Adam Grant the other day and I was like, “Hey, your new book with Sandberg just showed up on my desk here. What the hell? Didn’t you just write Originals? This isn’t like you.” He wrote back and he was like, “Man, I know. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ll never do it that close together again. It was just the perfect opportunity. It fell in my lap. I had to do it.” I said, “Hey, want to go on my podcast?” He’s like, “No.” I was like, “Okay,” and we’re friends.

What I loved about it was that he was who he is, you know what I mean? He’s really honest and really straightforward. He goes, “Yeah, it’d just be overexposure at this point. I just don’t want to do it.” I’m like, “Awesome,” but I loved that so much more. So many people do niceties for each other — and believe me, I wanted him to come on. I wanted to ask him a bunch of the same dumb questions he’s been asked. But I love that he said no. It makes me like him so much more. Almost like when you ask a pretty girl out and she says no.

Sean Jackson: He’s my favorite author, by the way. I communicate with him on LinkedIn and I frickin’ … Both that and Give and Take — both those books changed my life. I love that guy.

Chris Brogan: We spoke together in an event a couple years ago. He’s super sweet and lovely in person as well. He’s exactly the way you want him to be.

Sean Jackson: Awesome.

The #1 Rule You Must Follow to Successfully Write a Book

Chris Brogan: Just so you know. Research and stuff like that. This is a funny topic because I have a weird habit of when I write my books I don’t really research anything. I just write my books. I just write ideas. I say, “Well, you know one thing I think would be kind of cool,” and then I go on that for a while. It’s one way to write books. Trust Agents — Julien and I wrote a whole bunch of stories about people that we thought were interesting and concepts that we thought were cool, but we didn’t really do a ton of research, per se. We just told stories that we knew.

In The Impact Equation — we created this impact equation and we talked about stuff that we thought would make sense to that. There wasn’t a great deal of research, it was more like construction. Then other books that I wrote … Google+ for Business — there was a little bit of research of course, because it’s a technical platform. Strangely, that was one of my better-selling books for a platform that no one ever talks about anymore. I even got a lot of speeches for that one.

Then some of my other books … I wrote one about entrepreneurship and I did zero research, I just wrote the book. This time, my fiancée Jack said, “You’ve got to research and stuff like that. You’ve got to do some stuff you don’t normally do. You’ve got to go interview people. Get out of your Chris Brogan-ness a little bit and knock on some doors and see what people are doing.” She goes, “I love you and I think you’re a great writer.” Because she’s my fiancée, she has to say that. She said, “A lot of your ideas are still your ideas. It would be neat to actually bounce them off some real humans a bit first and see what they think, so that you can react to that ahead of time in the book instead of whatever.”

So I’ve been doing this weird thing, interviewing — I don’t remember his title. He’s the super big-ass head of digital media and marketing inside of Marriott International. Guys like that, like big CMO and CEO-type roles. That’s been fun. I’ve never done that for one of my books, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Lord knows how it all is going to play out.

This is such a long answer, but to say how much should you research or not depends what you’re making. If you’re making a really techie book, you probably have to research a lot. If you’re making some book that has health claims in it, you’re going to have to research a lot. But the real answer is you can start writing even while you’re researching.

There’s a couple different ways to write a book. I am the absolute strangest way. I start on page one and then I end at whatever the ending page is. I don’t write the way a lot of people do, which is mish-mosh all over the place. You could start wherever you want to start. Just start collecting pages, so to speak, and then use your editing phase to put that stuff all together. That’s what most normal humans do.

That’s why I say get going right now. If someone’s listening to this — which I feel bad for you because I’ve been rambling — but if someone’s listening to Sean, and sometimes Jessica and me, I would say, “You poor soul. Shut up, shut off the recording, and go write a damn page.” When I’m writing a book I write between 2,500 and 4,000 words a day across all …

Sean Jackson: Geez.

Chris Brogan: So in the book I’ll guarantee myself 2,500 words a day. Most people average around 300 words a day. I’m saying get good or ****. And start putting words in, because if you don’t, you’re never going to have a book. I meet tens of thousands of people a year that tell me they’re thinking about writing a book, and then I meet a few hundred authors a year.

Sean Jackson: Chris, this has absolutely been fantastic advice, seriously, dude. You speak the truth because you live the truth, and I can’t thank you enough for sharing the truth with us and our audience. Jess, do you have any parting questions for our good friend here before we conclude this segment?

Jessica Frick: Chris, if people want to follow up with you, where would they find you?

Chris Brogan: I try to make that as easy as humanly possible. If you Google “Chris” I’m usually right after Chris Brown, so there you go. If not, You can send an email. The thing I always tell people, too, is just grab my newsletter. The reason I say that is because then you can just hit reply any day of the week and talk to me right through my newsletter, any day. I’m always responsive. Always happy to help.

Sean Jackson:, everyone. Chris, thank you again for being on the show. We will be right back after this short break.

Hey, everyone, this is Sean Jackson, the host of The Digital Entrepreneur. I want to ask you a simple question: What is your business framework for selling digital goods online? Now, if the question perplexes you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most people don’t realize that the most successful digital entrepreneurs have a framework or a general process for creating and selling their digital goods in the online space. One of the best free resources is Digital Commerce Academy.

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Welcome back from the break, everyone. It’s that time of the show where we give our recommendations for the week. Jess, what are you recommending our audience try?

Jessica Frick: For digital entrepreneurs — if you’re an author or not — you need to be organized. Whether it’s for your business as a whole or your side projects and your business, I recommend Trello. We use Trello at PushFire. I know Rainmaker Digital uses it. It is an easy way to organize any project that you may have — whether it be in a specific timeline or just in general — until you get it done. I’m completely addicted to finishing projects in Trello. They make it so much fun to drag a cart over. Check them out at

Sean Jackson: Yeah, the nice thing is that they have a teams aspect too, so you can bring in other people to it. I am going to make a bold prediction on the show, folks. Here’s my recommendation. I’m not getting paid for it. There’s no affiliate link. I could care less whether you actually do what I’m about to tell you or not. But here’s what I think is going to change … I think it’s something so big, it’s going to be as big as the iPhone was to mobile telephones. Are you ready?

Jessica Frick: Oh my god, Sean. With a lead-in like that, come on.

Sean Jackson: It is Amazon Echo Show and it is coming out this summer. It is basically the Amazon Alexa device — you know that speaker that you talk to and everything?

Jessica Frick: Yeah.

Sean Jackson: It’s coming out this summer with an interactive screen. I think that is going to change the entire way a whole group of people interact with the technology. Let me explain why, folks. You can pre-order it now, so if you get a chance, go pre-order the thing. It’s the Amazon Echo Show or Amazon Show or Echo Show — I’m still not 100 percent on the brand name.

Here’s why I think it’s going to change the world. It has a video camera built into there. You can basically talk to the device and say, “Echo, call Jessica,” and it’ll bring up a video conferencing instantly if Jess has a device in her home. It also will show … “Hey, how do you make this XYZ recipe?” I know AllRecipes is working on a skill for the device so that you can say, “How do I make chicken tetrazzini?” and it will show you a video of how to make it. And you can pause it with your voice.

If you’ve ever used an iPhone or an iPad in the kitchen — which, by the way, mine looks like crap because I do all the time — you’re going to want one. Not only in the kitchen, but then, all of a sudden, when you’re getting ready in the morning you’re going to want one in your bathroom so you can watch the news or talk to it or see what’s happening. You probably will have one in your car. I think the technology — and it may not be the Amazon product per se, but it is the idea of that interactive voice video for $230, which is its pricing coming out the gate. That low cost combined with that much capability is really going to change the way that we interact with technology for decades to come. Bold prediction?

Jessica Frick: Super bold, but I think you’re onto something. I don’t know. You were telling me text messaging was going to take off years ago and I thought you were insane. I’ve learned not to just write you off as some crazy future seeker.

Sean Jackson: Well, I gave a big thing because I really want people to check this out. I really want you to think about what a world would look like with that. Our time is coming to an end, and we need to leave it with the question of the week. Jessica, you ready?

Jessica Frick: I’m ready.

Sean Jackson: What we’d like to discuss next time is the following: What is the biggest mistake online entrepreneurs make? What do you say, Jess?

Jessica Frick: You know I’m going to say it’s operations. They’re not designing the business for success.

Sean Jackson: Okay. Well, you can’t have success unless you do the marketing of the product or service correctly. I’m going to take the other side, which is the marketing product side. What do you think, folks? We’ll let you ponder it over the week, and Jessica and I will debate it like we always do on the next episode of The Digital Entrepreneur. Have a great week, everyone.

Jessica Frick: Thanks for listening.