Writing Your Own Bestselling Book with Chandler Bolt

Most people dream about writing a bestselling book.

Well, today’s guest has written not just one – but SIX bestselling books!

His name is Chandler Bolt, and he’s got the book-writing process down to a science. In fact, he’s the owner of Self-Publishing School, a 7-figure business that shows others how to write a book in just 30 minutes a day.

Listen in as Chandler reveals what it takes to be successful, why you have all you need to write your very own bestseller, and more – in today’s episode of the Get Ahead podcast!

In today’s episode:

  • Why discovering and focusing in on your strengths is so important …
  • How Chandler succeeded writing SIX bestselling books, despite being a college dropout and a C-level English student …
  • Why you already have what you need to write a bestselling book
  • Why the concept of the “gap” can often make for a great book idea
  • One of the best ways to “get ahead” in business and in life
  • A classic Jim Rohn quote that you’ll want to live by (Chandler does this daily)
  • The “college dropout” approach to learning – and how it can help you master any new skills in record time
  • The secret of the “$15 mentor” and how it can help you overcome any challenge you’re experiencing right now
  • The leader-leader model that’s helped Chandler quickly grow his business to 7-figures (and counting)
  • And much more…


James Mel: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Get Ahead Podcast. I’m James Mel. On this podcast, what I do is I find successful entrepreneurs and I dig deep to uncover the strategies, the mindsets, the techniques, and other things they’ve done to get ahead in their life and their business so you can do the same. I know if you’re here, you’re a high achiever. I know you want to get ahead. That’s a topic I’ve been obsessed with my entire life, and that’s what I want to help you do is uncover the different strategies and the techniques you need to be able to do that to get ahead in your own life. So make sure to grab a pen, a paper, or something to take notes with because as we uncover these gold nuggets, you’re going to want to write them down.

Now before we jump into today’s episode, I have something really special to give you as a free gift. Like any successful person, I’ve got a mentor, and I’ve had one for over 10 years. And it turns out that he’s also my business partner. His name’s Eben Pagan, and he’s written a book on opportunity. Now if you want to get ahead in your life and your business, it’s super important that you not only know how to spot opportunity but you know how to take advantage of it. And that’s what this entire book is about, and I’d like to give you a free copy. Not only that, I’d like to ship it to you absolutely free. So you get a free copy, and you get it shipped to you absolutely free. The way you can get this is go to www.jamesmel.com/opportunity, and it’s all on me. Go there now. Grab your copy. You’ll be glad you did.

All right. Without further ado, let’s jump into today’s episode. Welcome to another episode of the Get Ahead podcast. This is going to be a fun one. I’ve got my friend and somebody I look up to, Chandler Bolt, on today, who is the owner of Self-Publishing School. We’ll talk about writing your own book. Also, runs the Self-Publishing School Podcast, has been on the Inc. 5000 two years in a row, multiple seven-figure business, runs it from his home. And very impressive, multiple best-selling author, six last time I checked. Chandler Bolt, welcome to the show.

Chandler Bolt: Hey, James. Great to be here, man. Thanks for having me.

James Mel: So what does getting ahead mean for you?

Chandler Bolt: Yeah, getting ahead. So I’m very competitive guy. Lately we’ve been obsessed with StrengthsFinder lately at my company. So we had someone facilitate a session for the whole team at our last offsite. Then we read StrengthsFinders 2.0 as a book club. Then we did Strengths Based Leadership. And needless to say, number one out of my 34 strengths is competition.

James Mel: Oh, wow.

Chandler Bolt: So I think you and I share in this in that I’m always looking to get ahead. How do you beat the competition? I’m competitive, and anytime there’s an environment where I can get ahead in an ethical, moral, and legal way, I’m going to look for those advantages. And so that’s what it means to me. I mean, it really means investing in yourself and in the knowledge that you have. I know we’ve talked about this. I’m just a firm believer that the knowledge upstairs that you have in your head, that can never be taken away from you.

Money comes and goes. You might make a bad deal. The economy might crash, all those things. But just really investing in learning, and I’m a college dropout and a C-level English student, so I treat life as college. And I take the money that would have been spent, if I would have stayed in school, and apply that to conferences, courses, coaches, things like that. And I think that’s, as far as getting ahead goes, that’s one of the best ways to do it.

James Mel: Yeah. I love it. We are who we surround ourselves with, and every time I’m around you, I just get that fire in the belly. You know what I mean? I know one of the awesome things about you too is you live this because you live in LA. You’ve got an entrepreneur house. You’ve done multiple of these. Let’s talk a little bit about that because especially I think when you get started, it’s so important to be around the right people. And you’re just a master at creating these environments.

Chandler Bolt: Yeah. That’s a great point, James. I’ve been very intentional about that. So it’s the classic Jim Rohn quote that says, “You are the five people that you surround yourself with.” It’s the often-quoted, underused principle. It’s like almost everyone I talk to knows that quote, and you’re like, “Okay. Great. What are you doing about it?” And it’s not that much.

So for me, it was, “Hey. Let’s create a house that has the five people that I’m going to surround myself with.” And so that’s what I started doing was creating these entrepreneur houses, and I moved around the US to do that. So the first one was in San Diego, and at one point … I think there’s now two or three of them down there. There’s two or three of these in LA. And just moving and surrounding yourself with super smart people.

So it’s funny. At the time of this recording, a week or to ago, it was just featured on … I think it was CBS or ABC. They did a feature on one of the entrepreneur houses in San Diego that exists now. And so for me, it’s all about surrounding yourself with super smart people that are doing big things that are going to challenge you to be the best version of yourself, and in a full wheel of life. 

So when I was creating the first entrepreneur house … I’ve got a little video on my YouTube channel on how to create an entrepreneur house, like the practical steps. But when I was creating the first one, it was, “All right. Who’s going to inspire me spiritually? Who’s going to inspire me physically to eat well, to get outside, to do things like that? Who’s going to inspire me from a business perspective? Looking at that wheel of life, how do I surround myself with people who excel in one of those areas so that they can challenge me to be better?” One of my favorite quotes is, “Each man I meet is superior to me in some way, and in that way, I learn of them.”

James Mel: Emerson. Emerson.

Chandler Bolt: Yes.

James Mel: Yeah, man.

Chandler Bolt: So as you continue to grow, I think sometimes it can be easy to fall into the trap of just like, “Oh. Cool. What can I learn from this person,” and then move on. But really, that’s what I’ve tried to do and continue to try to do is just look around and say, “Hey. You’re better than me in something, and probably a lot of things. So my job is to find that and to learn from you.” So that’s the entrepreneur house, and that’s the philosophy there.

James Mel: Yeah. That’s so great, and it’s so true. I mean, you’re one of the most inquisitive people I know, from day one, always asking like, “Hey, what’s working? What’s this?” And it’s such a great attitude, such a good reminder. I’m thinking about it too, Chandler, I know you’re known for … You’ve got an amazing company. You teach people how to write books in a short period of time, 90 days. You’ve written six best-selling books yourself. But what a lot of people don’t know, and this is what I know is true about getting ahead, is they don’t see the behind-the-scenes stuff. And you’re one of the most disciplined people when it comes to reading. You read what? 52 books a year?

Chandler Bolt: Yeah. Yeah, at least.

James Mel: And what’s so interesting, and I’ve seen you do this, is you read the books and then you create summaries about it. Could you just walk us through maybe some of your mindset around that and then the habits that you’ve adopted with it?

Chandler Bolt: For sure. So what you’re referencing is what I would call the summary and action sheet, which is taking basic notes and then two to five action steps on the books that you’re reading. I’m a firm believer in … I call this the college dropout’s approach to learning, and it’s what I was talking about earlier, which is once I dropped out of school, I said, “All right. I got to keep learning as if I’m in school but apply that time and money to higher-output activities or things that actually is going to grow my mind significantly more than learning how to run a business from professors who had never ran a business.” That didn’t make too much sense to me. That’s when I decided to drop out.

And so redirecting those activities, which I’m just a firm believer in … You talk about reading, and I used to be someone who hated reading. I wasn’t very good at it, and I’m a C-level English student, like I mentioned before. I mean, this was not something that was fun for me. I remember I’d take all the advanced classes in school except for English because, in English, you would have to read more and you’d have to write more, and those are the two things that I hated. But every other one it was like, “Oh, you just going to have slightly harder tests.” And I can take slightly harder tests, but I didn’t want to read and write.

But then when I got out in the real world, realized, “Oh my gosh … ” People always talk about, “How do you find a good mentor?” And that’s something that I care about as well, but I think what’s overlooked is that the smartest, most successful people on the planet have distilled all of the best information that they know into books. I mean, by and large, either through a biography, an autobiography, or through an actual book that they’ve written, the smartest, most successful people spend years writing a book. I call it a $15 mentor because you can pay 15 bucks and spend a few hours and you learn all of the things that they learned the hard way, usually over decades of their life.

And so while people are watching YouTube videos or listen to podcasts, which are really cool as well, or doing all these other things, I’m like, “I think so many people are looking past books as a way to learn.” I started to realize that every problem I had in business was in some book, and so it was up to me to figure out what the problem was that I had, what’s the book that I could read that would help with that? And then as you read so many books, you start to see all these dots that are connecting, and you start to then say, “Oh.  I’m elevating from the playing field a little bit and seeing how the pieces are moving. And now I have an even better understanding, and I can go back onto the board or into the game and start moving things around.”

James Mel: It’s so true, and I mean, you’ve kept that habit for so long and it’s … I agree. I remember … I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but the Good Will Hunting movie with Matt Damon or whatever? There’s this scene where he’s just like making fun of somebody and he’s like, “You could have got that same education for a library card and $1.50 in late charges.”

Chandler Bolt: I love that.

James Mel: I never forget that. I never forget that because it’s so true. So many people go and spend tens of thousands of dollars and time on, like you mentioned, university, college courses, not to knock it too much, but it takes a lot of time. And it’s taught usually by people that haven’t even done the thing that they’re teaching. That pisses me off.

Chandler Bolt: It’s mind-blowing, really.

James Mel: So I know one of the books that you and I are both a big fan of is Essentialism and The ONE Thing. And I’ve talked to a bunch of different people, and I know every entrepreneur has a different style. But I know you’ve gone all in, and I know we love that quote too, “All in,” on Self-Publishing School and ONE Thing. Can you talk a little bit about that in terms of getting ahead and your mindset with that and especially for somebody like maybe getting started, trying to figure out what to do, your approach on it?

Chandler Bolt: 100%. And this is very top of mind for me, James, because I’ve been doing these principles videos and all that stuff in life and business and stuff like that, and I’ve actually got a shoot next week to kick off principles, the season three. And one of them is literally about going all in. So I’ve been creating bullet points and notes for this. So I think so many people, they’re scared to focus because focus brings accountability, and they’re actually scared to fail. 

One of my favorite stories is I was talking with this entrepreneur, and I was telling him about what we were doing at Self-Publishing School. And he was like, “That’s really cool. What else are you working on, or is Self-Publishing School it,” almost as if … And then there’s that inevitable feeling of, “Should I be embarrassed that Self-Publishing School is all I’m working on and I can’t say, “Oh, well, I’ve got this and I’ve got this and I’ve got this and I’ve got this”? But it struck me because I was so shocked by the assumption in that question. I was like, “What? What do you mean, ‘Is that it?’ Of course that’s it. How could you do five things at once? This is the one thing that I’m focused on.”

And that really struck for me is there’s this need or guilt of not doing multiple things. And I also think, like I was saying, it’s for fear of failure because people feel like if they spread it off across five things, then they’ll never be accountable. It’s like if you’ve got one thing, if it fails, it’s either going to fail or succeed and everyone’s going to know. And so then you’re putting it all on the line. But if you have five things, there’s never true accountability in whether that thing fails or not.

So I think that more people should focus on less. And that’s why we both love those books, The ONE Thing and Essentialism. I read those back to back just to drill that concept into my head of just like less is more, focus, fewer things. But, “All in,” is one of my favorite quotes from Dabo, Clemson football coach, all about going all in. And so this is something that we require of employees in Self-Publishing School is no side projects. Either you’re all in or you’re not. And I practice what I preach as well.

Self-Publishing School, I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with Self-Publishing School for years, and she gets jealous when I see other people. So it’s been my singular focus, and I just truly believe that if more people did that, they would have more success in the thing that they’re doing. So not being afraid to commit, not being afraid to go all in, and know that you’re going to fail sometimes. But you’re also going to succeed a whole lot more than not, and you can just iterate faster. I’m ADD, so it’s very hard for me to focus on multiple things at the same time. And when I try to do that, it gets spread too thin, and the things that I’m focusing on, they do worse. So I’m a firm believer of just narrowing your focus and then really [inaudible 00:14:01] thing.

James Mel: It’s so true. We haven’t talked in a few months, but to take that a step further, this is a thing I’ve realized in my own life recently. I was just in Fiji with Tony Robbins and 10 other amazing entrepreneurs as part of that mastermind, and we did a talk with Tony. It was a four-hour mastermind, and everybody there, Chandler, was in the same age range between 30 and 40. And it’s interesting because Tony noticed the same pattern.

Everybody there had been doing something for five, ten years, gotten some success and some results. And there was this underlying theme that the questions was like, “Oh, what do I do next,” or, “What else should I do,” or, “Should I sell my business,” or, “Should I get out of this relationship,” or whatever. There was this urgency and antsyness. And Tony was just like, “You guys are running away from what you need to dig deeper into, and that is mastery. Mastery is digging even deeper. Don’t sell your business. Go deeper. Don’t run away from the relationship. Go deeper. It’s so easy to go to the shiny object, the new, fancy thing. Go deeper. That’s mastery.” That hit me like a ton of bricks, and I realized how true it was.

Chandler Bolt: Oh my gosh. And I’ll speak to that. So it’s a similar conversation I had with someone else was like, “What’s new?” And that’s the common question is like, “Hey, what’s new?” And I just find myself answering that question, “Not much. Just doubling down on a bunch of the same things from last time we talked.” And it’s not sexy, but it does work. And I find that people always ask me that question, and I’m like, “To be honest, not a whole lot, just more of the thing that’s working really well.” And there’s this need or this pressure to have new things.

And I was guilty of this. I don’t even think we’ve talked about this, but gosh, maybe a year or two years ago, I was thinking, I’m like, “You know what? I think I’ve really hit a ceiling with Self-Publishing School. Maybe I should train some people to run it. Maybe I should sell the company. Maybe I should get out of the business. What’s next? I’m sure I could be doing something even bigger,” and all those things. And I had a couple of friends challenge me. One friend said, he said, from a bunch of his mentors that he’s talked to, it was like all of them that have achieved significant success didn’t do it by doing a bunch of things. They did it by doing one, maybe two things over a 10 or 20-year period and doing them really, really, really well, and how, when you jump around, you actually kill momentum because you have to … 

It’s the whole flywheel doom loop. Just when you’re starting to get the flywheel spinning, you move on to the next one, and then that flywheel stops or slows down. And so you’ve got all of these half-momentum things versus continuing to push the same snowball down the hill or the same flywheel or whatever analogy you want to use. But really, in pushing that one thing forward, it’s going to double down. And I had another friend who really just challenged me. He said, “You need to look at the … ” It’s almost like I had forced a limit in the marketplace because I was looking at the internet marketing world, and I’m like, “Okay. These businesses cap out at maybe five to ten million a year. I think I’m going to approach that ceiling.”

But then he forced me to really look at, “Hey, how big is the publishing industry? How big are publishers? What’s their market gap? What’s their yearly revenue? And if you looked at it in that way, you can easily take this company to 50, maybe 100 million dollars.” And with that in mind, it was a new challenge in the same business. And that’s what, I think, you were saying that Tony was saying is just like there’s ways, if you truly seek mastery and if you go deeper in the thing that you’re already doing, there’s ways to find a new challenge in the current thing that you’re doing. And in doing so, you’ll inspire yourself to do bigger things, and there’s probably more meat on the bone than you originally thought.

James Mel: Exactly. That’s the point, but you got to be willing to dig deeper and really get mastery. I love what you said there too about just, “What’s new?” “Not much.” We think so alike because I’ve literally trained myself, Chandler, in business to, when things are quote, unquote, “boring,” I know that’s when I’m doing a good job. You know what I mean?

Chandler Bolt: Right.

James Mel: It’s like, as you know, I invest in real estate. It’s like, “Yeah, just got another property.” And it’s not fun. It’s not exciting. It’s not like investing in bitcoin that’s going to go up and down. It’s the same thing, but that’s when I know I’m on the right track.

Chandler Bolt: Yes, and if you hear a lot of people yelling about a thing that is new, it’s probably sexy and it’s often not a long-term, fundamentally sound thing. You don’t hear Warren Buffet yelling from the rooftop about how he’s reinvesting in Coke or any of those things. But I mean, he’s one of the richest people on the planet. Now you’re getting press from Amazon, and I just started reading this morning, The Bezos Letters, new book. It’s pretty good so far. But now they’re the company that everyone’s been talking about. What no one’s talking about is that that company’s been around for what? 20, 30 years? I mean, they went public in 1997, so this book is all about 21 years’ worth of shareholder letters-

James Mel: Wow.

Chandler Bolt: … that he wrote and the 14 fundamental principles inside that. But it’s like, “Okay. Well, they’ve been public for 21 years.” And it goes through the quote … It’s one of my favorite quotes. A friend of mine, Hal Elrod, told me, which is … and it’s not his original quote, but, “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.” And just that feeling that people want the overnight success. But when you see it, what you don’t realize is like the whole iceberg theory, which is the majority of the mass of that thing is below the surface and unseen.

James Mel: It’s true, and I love how transparent you are about that because I’ve seen some of the principle videos that you’re doing, and they’re incredible. And it’s like it’s such high value, so polished. But I remember a year ago you posted one of your very first videos just to illustrate this point, literally. And the thing is is you got started there, and that’s, I think, to get ahead, what I’ve realized is you have to start somewhere. And I mean, look at it. As you know, I’m just starting this brand. I don’t got the professional lights here right now. I’ve got … literally, look at this, like an IKEA light. That’s just it.

Chandler Bolt: Amazing.

James Mel: An IKEA light. But it doesn’t … You know what I mean? Because I know I’ll look back on this two, three, four years and then I’ll have probably the Lewis Howes Studio, and we’ll be flying to freaking Puerto Rico or something to do this. But until then, it’s just going ahead and getting started.

Chandler Bolt: I 100% agree, and be sure to invite me to Puerto Rico when you go, and I’ll be happy to fly there and film this. But yeah, no, I 100% agree. One of our core values actually at Self-Publishing School is, “Fail fast, fail forward, fail often.” And this is the Sheryl Sandberg quote and used to be the Facebook motto when they were just getting started is that, “Done is better than perfect.” And we talk about that all the time when we’re working with people on their books. “Get your rough draft done. Until you get your rough draft done, nothing else matters. Your marketing plan doesn’t matter. Your book cover doesn’t matter. Your title doesn’t matter. None of those things matter, because when you get your rough draft done, you’re going to start to believe that this book is possible, and you’re going to start to see the light through the end of the tunnel.”

And I think the same thing applies to all these little things in our life is ship it, and ship it, learn, and prove and do it again. Ship it, learn and prove. Do it again. And just fail fast, fail forward, fail often is a core value. That’s what that means is we believe that the best and fastest way to learn is to fail. And society does not celebrate failure, but it’s frowned upon. If you think about school, you think about anywhere else, it’s a bad thing. But we try to create a culture of really just celebrating those failures because every time I fail, I know that I learn.

And being a football fan as well, you always hear coaches talk about the best times to teach and the best times to learn are immediately after a loss. It’s really hard. I mean, you know Clemson, my favorite team, we’re on a 21-game win streak, and it’s really hard to teach your team when you’re always winning because they’re less coachable. And I feel like we as humans are that way as well whereas when everything’s going right and you’re never failing, you’re not learning. And it’s like my approach to snowboarding, which is if you’re not falling, you’re not going fast enough. And so if I’m not falling, then I’m not challenging myself. And I think in life, I try to look at that as well and say, “Hey, where am I being risk-averse, and how is that costing me in a learning or [inaudible 00:22:37]?”

James Mel: It’s so true. This would not be a podcast with Chandler Bolt if we didn’t talk about Clemson football. I got to bring this up. I got to bring this up because not only was this just an epic time, but there’s a really important lesson here too that I want to share and talk about is … So, Chandler and I … I don’t know. This was probably three years ago. We went down, invited me down to Clemson. I’d never been to a college football … I’d never been to the South, the real South [inaudible 00:23:03].

So we did all that, and it was amazing. And one of the nights we went out in the local scene, whatever, to check out the town or whatever. It was buzzing, all this energy. And I remember we tried to get into this one club or bar or whatever. And I don’t know why you got kicked out or something like this, or they wouldn’t let you in. But it was so interesting because that happened, and then you went around the fence and jumped in and got in. You remember that?

Chandler Bolt: I don’t, but that sounds exactly like something that would happen.

James Mel: Exactly. And I share this because you are one of the most tenacious people I know, persistent people I know, and I think this is a good lesson for … If you could speak to that, your mindset with it, not just in life but in business and how you approach things, because I think that’s one of the things that’s really helped you get ahead.

Chandler Bolt: Well, I think as entrepreneurs know, [inaudible 00:24:00] started, and no is not an endpoint. It’s a starting point. And so I think you’re the same, James, is when I hear that, I’m like, “Oh. Cool. Time to get creative. Time to figure this thing out.” And there’s nothing more motivated than someone telling me that, “You can’t do something,” at least for me personally.

James Mel: Totally.

Chandler Bolt: And it really riles me up, and I mean, I’m still waiting to get an honorary degree from the college that I dropped out of, from Harvard, and from other places. And I’m going to ship it back, copies of it, to all the people who told me that I should never drop out of school. I mean, there’s just that feeling of … And I like being the underdog, and so I almost find ways to … I almost create it in my business and in my everyday life is create this chip on your shoulder, just this someone from the South, from the middle of nowhere, that wasn’t crazy well-educated or didn’t have, I feel like, a lot of these crazy advantages. I look at that as this edge, and there was always this edge and this chip on your shoulder and this work ethic and this … Things like that.

So that’s what fail fast, fail forward means. And then also, just what you were saying, is when you get told no, that’s where a lot of people stop. But I know for me, that’s often … It means you’re within grasp of success, but because most people stop, they never see it. And then when you see it, when you get past it, that’s when you look back and you say, “Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I almost quit.” And one of the examples of this, I ran a painting business in college. It was an organization called Student Painters. They teach you how to run a business by running a house painting business, so you paint houses.

And my goal my very first year was to be number one in the company, number one in the country. And that was my singular goal, and I was doing well, doing well, doing well. And then on my only vacation for the entire summer, I took a four-day vacation to go to a music festival, and while I was on that music festival, my head guy called me and told me that basically my whole crew was quitting-

James Mel: Oh, wow.

Chandler Bolt: … because it’d been raining nonstop, and they weren’t getting hours in. So they weren’t getting paid that well because it was raining too much. And this was just a crushing blow. So I literally remember driving home all night. I stopped to see my parents for 30 minutes in South Carolina, and then drove four more hours to get to Charleston, threw my bags down, grabbed a paintbrush, and hit the job site, painted for 13 hours, and then got home that night. And I was just like, “What am I doing?” I think I had about $80,000 worth of jobs sold or maybe a little bit more, but I was like, “There’s no way I’m going to even be able to paint the rest of these jobs this summer, much less hit my goals of being number one in the company, number one in the country.” And there was a three-day window where I just essentially gave up on those goals.

And then finally, I just had this resurgence internally. I was like, “Chandler, you can’t do this. You need to buckle up, and you need to win this thing.” And I just remember I went out and I hired all these painters. I had them do a training on this house. It was this huge house that these people had paid us to paint. And meanwhile, I’m out there teaching people how to paint on their house. And I’ve got all these recruits, and I trained them. And one guy, I fired him at lunchtime just because I wanted to set the tone that, “This is going to be different.” And I remember painting with the guys after lunch and they were like, “Hey, where’s so and so?” I was like, “Oh, yeah. I let him go at lunch. This wasn’t going to work.” And you could just tell everyone was just … I mean, that sent a message.

But at the end of that, and to make a long story longer, it was a few weeks later from just day in, day out, getting this new crew established, saying, “Hey, how can we win the day? How can we win the day?” And then doing enough of that and winning enough days in a row, a few weeks later, I was like, “Oh my gosh. I actually can do this. I’m within striking distance of the person who’s in first. Let’s do this.” And then we ended up rallying. I ended up hitting number one in the country, number one in the company, as a rookie manager-

James Mel: Wow.

Chandler Bolt: … but all because of just recalibrating, taking that time where … I remember looking back and I was giving this speech on the cruise at the end of the year. And they said, “Hey, what was your best memory of the summer,” and it was that because that was the part where I grew the most. And so looking back in this concept of you’re getting a no, either externally, internally, wherever. Someone’s saying, “Hey, you can’t do this.” Maybe it’s yourself saying, “You can’t do this.” And then that’s where you give up. But if that’s where you give up, right beyond that is usually the biggest learning and the biggest success. And so just reflecting back on that summer, if I would have given up in that moment, I would have never achieved those goals and I probably would have stayed in school. I would have stopped taking risks. I would have said, “Hey, I don’t know if I can start that business yet.”

You start building, as what’s his name, gosh, that everyone’s talking about right now, the Navy Seal guy, “Can’t hurt me”? Building a calloused mind. You start building this calloused mind by continually moving forward when you hear no.

James Mel: Yeah, it’s so true. That’s one of my big mantras to myself is that there’s always a way because I find if you give up in those moments, then there’s no possibilities because you’ve closed all the doors. But the minute you’re like, “What … ” if you believe there’s always a way, then you’re like, “All right. Well, what’s the solution?” And in your case, it’s like, “All right. Cool. I’m going to go train a new crew. We’re going to hit number one. There’s always a way.”

Chandler Bolt: Yes. Internally, we have … like internally on the team, #findaway. And it’s exactly that. It’s like, “Find a way.” It’s like when someone makes a sale and they went O for seven that day but they’re like, “Hey, I’m going to call that one more person. I’m going to make a sale today no matter what,” and it’s just like that #findaway. Yeah, I love that.

James Mel: Hashtag. Isn’t it #findthreeways? Doesn’t your team come to you with three solutions and then you pick one?

Chandler Bolt: Are you talking about I Intend To?

James Mel: I thought you told me once that you get your team to come to you with solutions, more than one.

Chandler Bolt: For sure. Yes. Yeah, so that’s the I Intend To method. And so often, in most companies, people … and I found this was happening with me too. People take their problems and put them on your desk, and then it’s … There’s a book called The One Minute Manager, which most people have heard of. But then there’s a version of that book that’s like One Minute Manager and the Monkeys or something, and it’s this concept that people have this monkey, which is this problem, and then they give you their monkey. And then you have to hold onto their monkey, and it’s one of my top leadership books of all time, which is Turn The Ship Around, and they talk about this I Intend To. And so we teach this. 

This is very, very fundamental internally at Self-Publishing School, which is never come with problems but come with an, “I intend to … ” and things that you’ve considered. And it might be three things. It might be one thing, but if you really want serious input, you need to come with two or three because that’s the only way that I’m going to be able to give input versus, “Hey, James, we’ve got this problem. Sales are down. What do you think we should do?” That’s not a helpful question. This is your problem that you’re asking me for my input, and I’m happy to give input. But if you haven’t critically thought it through, you’re the best person to think it through because you’re in it every day.

It’s called the leader-leader model, so it’s basically this concept of building leaders instead of the leader-follower model, which is, “I make the decisions and then tell you what to do.” And so it’s really important that you just help through the, “I intend to,” and leader-leader model that they’re teaching people to think and teaching people to truly become leaders.

James Mel: I love how you’re training that in your team and your culture, and this is super important for anybody listening because maybe you aren’t an entrepreneur yet, if that’s what you want to do or the place you want to be. But you should still take on this mindset and attitude, no matter where you are, if you’re working, you’re not working, you’re self-employed, whatever, because that’s how you’re going to build yourself up, develop the skills and the mindsets to get to ultimately where you want to be and probably get ahead.

Chandler Bolt: 100%.

James Mel: Super important. So let’s talk a little bit about … with the time we’ve got left here, about creating a book because I think this is one of the best ways to get ahead. I know you’re a expert at this, especially in this day and age, how much easier it is, how people, they don’t even use resumes anymore. What’s going to help you out is a book and an Instagram profile, I think. What’s your take on somebody who’s trying to get ahead and thinking about maybe doing a book?

Chandler Bolt: Yeah, I think for most people, a book is either the best first step or the best thing to amplify the success that you already have. So for me, it was a first step. It was I created the book. It was the first time that I really committed to something. I got it done. It was semi-successful. It was making money. It was bringing in leads. It was bringing in customers, all those things, and so I think it’s a great starting point for most people.

And then as an accelerant, I mean, you’ve seen this play out time and time and time again. I mean, whether it’s Russell Brunson or Ryan Levesque or Eben or any … so all of these people are writing books and using that to accelerate what they’re already doing. And oftentimes, that brings them to new heights. You see Gary Vaynerchuk every two years or so writing and publishing a book, and that is part of what feeds the machine of what he’s doing. And then that books speaking gigs, all those things. So I’m just a firm believer in a book.

And you said it. A book is the new business card. You don’t need a resume. You don’t need a business card. You just give someone your book. And when I go to speak at conferences, we give these books out, my books out, like they’re candy. And it’s a $3 business card, essentially. And if I can give someone a business card, they’re probably going to throw it away within 24 hours. I mean, let’s be honest. Before they leave the hotel, they’re either going to throw it away or leave it in the hotel room.

But if I give someone a book, they’re probably a little bit like me. Maybe their parents taught them not to waste, so they would feel guilty to throw it away. So they put it in their bag. They take it home. Now it’s on their desk or it’s on their shelf in their office or in their bedroom. Every time they see that book, they think of you, or every time they see my book, in this case, they think of me. And a lot of times, people read the book on the plane ride home or read half of it. They book a call with my team, and then they end up signing up for Self-Publishing School.

So I call a book a silent salesman because it goes out into the world and then it educates people around what you’re doing, and it impresses them to where they’re like, “Hey, these are the people I want to learn from,” and they end up doing business with us. So I think a book is just a great differentiator, and it forces you to crystallize your knowledge into a singular thing, which is just very beneficial, whether you want to go on to create a business around that thing, create a course around that thing, or any of those things.

James Mel: And I believe we all got knowledge to share … Do you run into that problem like, “How do you … ” somebody’s like, “Oh, I’m not so sure I got what it takes or whatever”? What would you tell somebody who might be thinking that right now?

Chandler Bolt: It’s the old adage … because people think, “Oh, I’m not smart enough. I’m not successful enough. Who am I to do this? Who would listen to me?” And I was in Boy Scouts growing up. I’m an Eagle Scout. And I remember my scoutmaster telling us … It was just a joke, but it was like, “If you’re out in the woods and you start getting chased by a bear, you don’t have to be faster than the bear. You just have to be faster than your friend, because the bear’s going to catch your friend and you can keep running.”

James Mel: That’s that competitive nature. That’s where you got it.

Chandler Bolt: That’s where I got it is scoutmaster. But really, this feeling that you don’t have to be Tony Robbins. You don’t have to be Seth Godin. You don’t have to be Malcolm Gladwell. You just have to know a little bit more than the person than you’re teaching. So you don’t have to be this ultra-successful, ultra-knowledgeable person. We all have things, because almost everyone is a knowledge worker, meaning they get paid for what’s in their head. You use the knowledge that you have in your head to do some part or, in a lot of cases, the majority of your job. And in most cases, it’s like you’ve been doing that thing for years, maybe even decades.

And if I were to go in and do that thing today, there would be what I would call the gap. It’s the gap between where you’re at and where I’m at. And in that gap is often a great book, and you can teach the things that you learned the hard way or maybe that you wish people would have taught you. You can teach that to other people just like you from 5, 10, 15, 50 years ago, and you’re teaching that person. And then the advice I would have though is just get as specific as possible. The riches are in the niches, so don’t feel like you got to write the next … just this broad book, but go really specific.

My first book was about productivity and entrepreneurs, who controlled their own schedule, struggling with work-life balance. It’s like we don’t need another broad productivity book because that was a specific need that I saw and that I had as a first-time entrepreneur doing my painting business and being a full-time college student. So I said, “Hey, that’s a skillset that I feel like I’m really good at and I learned a lot on, and I’m going to write a book on that specific thing for that specific audience.”

James Mel: Yeah, so and I think you’re a really great example too, Chandler, the fact … You’ve got six books, so just go and do one. You’re going to learn a ton from the process. And then learn that, and you can duplicate it more and more. You don’t need a New York Times bestseller to start with, and in fact, that might even hurt you these days with self-publishing.

Chandler Bolt: I mean, it would. Learning how to write a book is like learning how to ride a bike. Once you do it, you never forget it, and you can do it again and again and again. And people think that their first book is going to be their best book, which just the sad reality is that’s not true. You think the first time that you rode a bike was the best time that you ever rode a bike? No. I’ll tell you how I learned how to ride a bike. My dad took me to our backyard. We had this steep hill. He put me on the bike and then pushed me, and then I went down the hill until I crashed. And then I had to walk my bike back up the hill, and then he pushed me again. 

So I’d cry every time I had to learn. I was like, “No, Dad. I don’t want to learn how to ride a bike today. I don’t want to learn how to ride my bike.” But I learned how to ride my bike, and the first time was definitely not the best time. And the same is true for your book, but you’ll learn and you’ll grow. And then you’ll do it again, most likely, a lot of people do, and then you’ll be able to apply those things and it’ll be significantly more successful.

James Mel: It’s so true. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. I’m going to be working on one next year. That’s part of building out my brand is putting that together and using your process, obviously-

Chandler Bolt: [crosstalk 00:39:14]

James Mel: Yeah, so I’m excited. You’ve inspired me in that. I remember seeing you do the published one, and the cool thing about this too I think, which is important, which you really inspire people for, is I remember 10 years ago, I always had the dream of doing a book or whatever. But I always thought it was the Oprah thing. It’s like, “Oh my gosh. I need this big publisher, and it’s going to be go to New York and get a deal.” It’s like, “No, you don’t.” It’s like you can get a beautifully designed, printed book done for way less. Anybody can do it.

Chandler Bolt: Oh, 100%. We haven’t talked in a long time. I don’t know if we talked about this, but we now own selfpublishing.com, and we’re-

James Mel: Yeah, I saw that. I saw that.

Chandler Bolt: … we’re building out that as just countering all this misinformation around the self-publishing industry. And now, self-publishing has really become not just the redheaded stepchild, like the thing that you only do if you can’t get a publisher, but now it’s become the preferred option. I mean, you’ve got guys like Hal Elrod selling two million copies of his self-published book-

James Mel: Wow.

Chandler Bolt: … and publishers are beating on his door like, “Hey, please sell this book to us.” And he says, “No. It makes way more money self-published. Why would I sell you this book?” And there’s just so many more stories like that now of self-published authors. On selfpublishing.com, we’ve got this book royalty calculator. It’s really cool. You can actually click around and see, oh, indie-published, traditionally published, self-published, [inaudible 00:40:41] print book, ebook, whatever. And it just spits out, “Hey, here’s what you’d make if you were traditionally published. Here’s what you’d make if you independently publish, and here’s what you’d make if you self-publish.” And the numbers speak for themselves. I mean, you look at that, and unless you’re getting a multi-six-figure advance, it absolutely does not make sense to traditionally publish.

James Mel: Yeah, that’s so great. I’m glad you’re educating people on that because that’s the thing these days is a lot of times we get in our own ways and we think it’s a lot more complicated than it actually is. And this I really believe, and that’s why I’m going to be doing it myself, is a stepping stone for so many other good things. I mean, we didn’t even talk about that, but I bet you had so many experiences where having a book and just taking that action has opened up so many other doors, whether it’s speaking on stage with whatever it is.

Chandler Bolt: 100%. 100%. I’m excited for your book.

James Mel: Yeah, man. I’ll keep you posted on it, man. It’s exciting. Yeah. Well, this has been awesome. Chandler, thanks so much for stopping by. I’ve got a ton of notes, literally taking them here, and oh man, so good to catch up with you. And thanks for sharing so many of processes, systems, structures, and just the inspiration more than anything. I feel your energy more than anything. It’s awesome, always, being around you.

Chandler Bolt: Right back at you, man. Thanks for having me. Love the new podcast. Excited to be here, man.

James Mel: Well, I hope you loved this week’s episode. If you did, tell your friends. That would be a huge favor for me, and it can help build this community and we can all get ahead. And something I’d like to do is give you a special gift. It turns out that one of the ways to get ahead is to be able to find, spot, and then take advantage of opportunity. We all know this. And it turns out that my business partner and mentor, Eben Pagan, has written a book on this very topic, and I’d like to give you that book and ship it to you absolutely free. So the book is called Opportunity, How to Win in Business and Create the Life You Love. 

And all you got to do is go to www.jamesmel/opportunity, enter your details, and I’m going to send you the book free. You’re going to get the book for free, and I know you’re going to love it. I have learned so much from Eben Pagan over the 10 years we’ve known each other, and it’s truly been one of the ways I’ve been able to get ahead in my life, in my business. And I know what you learn inside of this book is going to help you do the same. So go there now, www.jamesmel/opportunity, and grab your copy while you can. I’ve got 4,000 copies that I’m doing this for and sending absolutely free. Shipping is on me. The book is on me. So grab one while you can.

And thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for joining here. Thank you so much for investing in yourself to get ahead. By you getting ahead, it’s going to inspire other people, and then we’re all going to get ahead. So have an amazing week, and I look forward to talking to you on the next episode.