Bio: After a near miscarriage by his mom before birth and an action packed entrance into the world, Chandler grew up as a rebellious adventure seeker trapped in a small town.
Chandler was bit by the entrepreneurial bug at an early age when he saw that he could make a lot more money working for himself. While his friends were off searching for jobs, he was out starting businesses.
He began early (age 11) by selling his personal snacks at scout camp and, by age 17 he hired his friends to help him operate his landscaping business that earned him $10,000 for college. All in all, by age 20 he started and ran over $320,000 in businesses.
During this time, he taught other college students how to run their own successful businesses and received the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award from Young Entrepreneurs Across America.
Chandler now speaks to students across the country teaching them the lessons he’s learned as a young entrepreneur and encouraging them to take the entrepreneurial leap.
Zephan: What’s up, everybody? Zephan Blaxberg here again for another episode of the Year of Purpose podcast and today, I have my buddy Chandler Bolt here. Now, Chandler, I actually found through a couple different channels. I’d heard some of his stuff before, I listened to a podcast that featured him, and really cool guy, teaching people awesome skills with making their own books and sharing their own stories. So of course, Chandler, I had to bring you in today to chat with these guys and just kind of talk about writing a book and the importance of doing that to share your story, so thanks for being here. How did you get into all this, originally? What happened for you where you were like “Man, we really gotta write a book.”
Chandler: Yeah, you now, it’s funny. I never really imagined that I’d ever write a book and, to be honest, I was the furthest from an author ever. Because I was a horrible writer. I actually hated writing, I hated reading, and all of that. And so—I kind of stumbled into it, though. I didn’t really enjoy writing. I didn’t think I was that good at it. I always made Cs or Ds on my papers in college and high school, and my friends would churn out a two/three page paper in like a couple hours and it would take me sometimes all night, and I’d just be staring at a blank word doc having no clue what to say. And I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that. It’s like the screen of death staring into that blank word doc.
And so, I finally stumbled into writing my first book, and it wasn’t—it wasn’t a huge book or anything. It was only like twelve/thirteen thousand words. But I put it out there and—me and a friend put it out there, and it kind of took off. It topped David Allen’s Getting Things Done, the number one time management book on all of Amazon, and he lowered his price from nine or ten bucks to three dollars and twenty-nine cents, which was cheaper than our book. And it just started selling. It made close to seven grand in the first month, and it started bringing in two to five a month of passive income, and actually, when I dropped out of school, the book what paying the bills and keeping my head above water.
So it really opened my eyes to what a book can do, both revenue wise, passive income wise, authority—you know, it’s gotten me on podcasts, it’s brought in thousands of leads for my businesses. You know, it’s really opened the door. So that’s kind of how everything started.
Zephan: So you actually dropped out of school. Was that decision partially because you realized that there’s some really good business opportunities here?
Chandler: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I’d—I thought about dropping out of school before, but really, it culminated with this. And it wasn’t all because of the book. I actually planned to drop out of school before the book happened, but that definitely affirmed things. And it was like “Okay, this is something I can do” and this—I was gonna drop out with no clue where I was going, just knowing that I was gonna start a business. But this actually lead into that. And I’d already done a couple businesses before that, but this lead into that and I kind of saw “Okay, this is the future and this is—I can really help people and make a lot of money from this.” So that took me on that path.
Zephan: Yeah. So what do you think—you know, we’ve kind of been raised in this society—you and I are probably around the same age, where we were taught to grow up, you go to college, you get a degree, you get a job, and then, you what, you retire and that’s just your life? I’m sure you kind of heard a lot of that, maybe from your family, and that’s kind of the thing I was raised under, as to we just kind of live our life on this set way and you clearly created your own path there, which is awesome. You know, what do you think about how people are growing up now and that idea of you just get a degree and just get a job and just do what everybody thinks you’re supposed to do?
Chandler: Yeah, I think a lot of people are realizing that the whole college degree thing, it’s kind of a fallacy. Like, it really is becoming this thing where a lot of people were going out of state and getting forty, fifty, a hundred grand in debt, and then they have what, a psychology degree that won’t get them a job, right. Not to hate on that degree or anything, but most degrees are the same way. They’re too general and they don’t teach you anything in terms of what you’re actually going for. And it’s great if you want to be a doctor, if you want to be a lawyer, if you want to be certain things that those technical skills and those degrees are necessary, but for a lot of other things, you can achieve it by either going in state, going to a technical school, or maybe not going at all.
I’m glad I went to school for a couple years, but I’m also very glad I dropped out, and part of me wishes I would have done it a little bit earlier. Because I—for me, running a business, it’s—I got tired of learning how to run a business from professors who’d never run a business. That really didn’t make too much sense to me. It’s like “I’m sitting here listening to you on how to run a business and you’ve never done it so why should I trust that, why should I listen to that?” So I wanted to learn by doing, and I wanted to learn from people who are actually doing it, so that’s why I dropped out.
But, yeah, I think people are realizing there’s a little bit of fallacy there, and it worked for some people. For other people, they just realize that there’s a lot more out there to life.
Zephan: Yeah, definitely. It’s kind of like a marketing professor trying to teach marketing, and then you get out in the real world and you’re like “This is nothing like how it worked in school!”
Chandler: Or “This is how it worked, but twenty-five years ago.”
Zephan: Right, back when they wrote the book.
Chandler: Yeah, exactly, or “back when you learned marketing, this is how it worked, but not now.”
Zephan: Yeah, so I think it’s safe to say that the way that our parents were raised is not really the way that we have to live our lives now. It’s totally different. We have a lot more freedom, a lot more choice. Uh, talk a little bit about the things that come along with the book. You know, money is great, but you got a lot of other cool things along the way, right?
Chandler: Yeah, well, I mean there’s obviously the authority, there’s getting on blogs and podcasts and all that. For us, it’s—leads is a big portion. You draw thousands of leads to the book, in sales and other courses and online products and stuff like that. That’s huge. It’s a glorified business card, you know. So it’s like, who would you rather do business with, someone who hands you a business card or someone who hands you a book and autographs it? It’s an inroad to a door or to relationships or to people who you really respect and what to learn from.
And then, deep down, for most people—and this is the case for most of our students, I think—people don’t like to admit it, but deep down it’s your mom is proud of you, your parents are proud of you. Your friends think you’re cool cause you’re a bestselling author—it’s like, these intangibles, it’s like a confidence boost where you see that and you see a book that you’ve done and you think “Wow! For maybe the first time in a long time or ever, I’ve done something that’s had a little bit of success and that’s actually making money. I’ve been trying all these things and they failed, they haven’t worked out, but finally I have something that I can build on.”
And for a lot of people, it’s that foundation. It’s something that they can build on and they can take it on to the next thing, to the next thing—so it’s not so much about the book, it’s what the book opens up for you and it’s a door to a lot more opportunities.
Zephan: So really, it could be a good start for people who don’t really know where they want to go, but have something really interesting to talk about. That could open to the door to businesses and all sorts of things. Podcasts, as you and I both experienced.
I’m sure you get this question a lot, but how hard is it to write a book? You know, for me, like I was that same person in college. I hated writing papers, I hated anything that involved sitting down and writing for a long period of time—and when I say long time, I mean like more than five or ten minutes. [Chandler laughs] So, like, I was in the same boat. So how hard is writing a book?
Chandler: Yeah, you know, your first one’s gonna be, by far, the hardest. I would start by saying that. And I would second it by saying it’s not that hard. You know, it really is—the average book size is about fifteen thousand to twenty-five thousand words, that’s being put out right now, so that’s a good target—not necessarily the average for all books that are put out, but that’s like a good size that sells well online right now online in the Kindle store, and a lot of books that are coming out are in that range. It’s shorter, easier to digest, easy to read.
And also, if—you know, if you get in there and do it, and if you just chip away a little bit at a time, it’s not that difficult. And the good news is that you can even speak your book. So if you’re like me, like you, you know, maybe you’re a better speaker than a writer, then it’s a lot easier for you to organize your thoughts into a mind mapper, into an outline, and then follow that outline and just speak it. So speak into your phone, and then have it transcribed through somebody like rev.com. They’re transcribe for a dollar a minute, it’s a really fast transcription, pretty high quality, and you can get it transcribed and then you have something to work with. You have like an eighty percent written book, and then all you have to do it polish it off or bring in an editor to kind of polish that off.
But if you do a little bit—I think people hear the transcription thing and they thing “Oh, man, just a crappy—just really crappy book,” but if you do some upfront work, like if you mind map, which is basically brain-dump what you’re thinking about, and then use that mind map to structure a little bit of an outline for the whole book, and then if you go back and do that chapter by chapter… So like, spend ten minutes on a mind map, and then ten minutes on an outline, per chapter, and then speak it? That’s gonna be a quality book. And then you can go back and tweak those things, move them around and do that. But a lot of people mess that upfront step and then just start speaking and then it just is all over the place.
So if you have a little bit of guidance and direction, you can actually speak the book pretty easily.
Zephan: Awesome. And so you have something really neat that you provide to people that allows them to do that, right. And we can chat about that a little bit in just a moment. I just wanted to ask you, you know—so, fifteen thousand words, was that right? About fifteen thousand words?
Chandler: Fifteen thousand and twenty-five thousand, in that range.
Zephan: So, do you know, just off the top of your head, does that mean I’m talking for five hours? Does that mean I’m talking for the next two months—what does that kind of come down to?
Chandler: Yeah, so the average person talks about a hundred and fifty words a minute, and so if you average that out, that’s anywhere from about an hour and forty minutes to two hours and forty-seven minutes, if you’re in that range. And personally, I’m pretty sure I talk a lot faster than a hundred and fifty words per minute. I’m probably closer to like one seventy-five or something like that, so, if you’re like me and you talk fast, you can get it done sooner—or quicker than that, I should say, but that’s the range there. An hour and forty minutes to two hours and forty-seven minutes.
And then, you can use interviews, you can use—like for one of my books, I have my 8 Step Intro checklist, and I just talked that out, went through the eight steps—because I’ve done this a few times—so I was actually just driving down the road and had my phone plugged in and I just—just talking and just going through the 8 Step Intro checklist. And then we had that transcribed, we cleaned that up a little bit, and that was the intro. And then we—I had one of my students interview me and ask me questions about the process, and we used that as well as some videos in our course and PDFs and stuff like that. And we used that and I had one of the students kind of go through and really dial that in a little bit, and that’s what we used for the book.
So very simple, it just required a little back end work. And then it’s not really writing, it’s just editing. So you’re—you know, it’s a lot easier to edit when you have something to work with.
Zephan: Exactly. So, theoretically, this could probably be semi-done within about two weeks. Now, realistically, we’re looking at what sort of time range to be able to do that?
Chandler: So for my very first book that I wrote, I and my brother wrote it, and we did it in one week, and that was 225, plus, pages. So it’s—it’s a really book, it’s a good looking book, but that’s what we did for there. And then my second book, we went from book idea to best seller in two and a half months. So that book went—I think it took us sixteen days total to write, and that was spread out over the span of a month. So, you know, basically writing every other day, kind of thing.
So, yeah, that’s a realistic time frame, and our program Self-Publishing School, our goal is to take people from book idea to best seller in three months. We allot about a month or a little over a month for writing. And it’s pretty fast paced, but once you get in there, or once you—not even get in the program. Like once you get into this process, people discover that it’s a lot easier than they think, as long as they have the discipline to keep going.
Because a lot of people, if you don’t have the discipline to keep going, you’ll get—it’s easy to start, but then five, six, seven days—where it’s you’re just far enough that you can’t see the finish line and it’s really far away and not close enough that you’re motivated to finish, you have to get through that one little part, but once you pass the half-way point a little bit and you start seeing the finish line, then it gets so much easier. But that’s the danger zone is that about one-third of the way through the book where that’s where people give up.
Zephan: Gotcha. So, do you ever get people who are like “Oh, man, I really want to write a book!” and then they’re like “I have no clue what I want to write a book about”?
Chandler: Yep. It was surprising when I first—I was like “Wait, you joined the program and you have no idea what book you want to write?” That’s pretty gutsy! Our program’s not cheap, you know, but it actually happens all the time. I think people trust in the process that we have.
So the mind map process I was talking about a while ago, that really helps people. And what I’ve found is that most people will go into that process thinking “I’ve got maybe an idea or may two that I could write five/ten pages tops about and that’s all I got.” And they go into that and they come out of it. And so they do this brain dump and we have them just write your idea in the middle and start writing lines off it. Stories, examples, conversations, everything you can think of.
And people go through that and thirty/forty-five minutes later, they’re like “Whoa, Chandler, I’ve got two to three books I could write and plenty of content to fill both of them. Now I just have to choose which one.” or “Wow, I’ve got so much more about this topic than I thought and now I can see it and it looks way less intimidating, because now I just have to write this then this then this—I can just go down the list!” as opposed to people look at a book and they think “Oh, wow, that’s just some huge, mammoth task that I can never accomplish.”
Zephan: Awesome, so you are making this probably infinitely easier for people to accomplish through the steps and skills that you’re teaching. So I guess people go through it and they’re—they’ve got like three books ready to go sometimes. So what do you—how do you pick and make sure that it’s a topic that people care about?
Chandler: That’s a great question. And then caution I will put out there is whenever people say that, I say “Okay, pick one.” it’s never a good idea to do multiple at a time. We always say “Finish one and then go back.” So get one to the finish line and then go back. Never do multiple—you’ll just not finish both of them, more than likely. And what I always say is you want to pick—there’s kind of like a few criteria. So pick the one that you could—what’s the fastest—what’s the one that you could finish the fastest? That’s the first criteria, okay pick that idea. And then the second thing is which one are you gonna enjoy writing? So which one’s gonna make you happy writing?
And then the third thing is which one are you actually gonna get to the finish line? Not just—not just like, you have a lot of info and you enjoy it, but which one are you most likely to finish? So then that’ll help. But getting—that’s if you have lots of ideas, but then getting over to your question which was how do you determine where or not it’ll sell, there’s several things.
So a lot of people look at a popular niche and they think “There’s too much competition. I can’t put a book in there.” and it’s actually the exact opposite. For me, that’s a greenlight that that’s a good niche, and you just have to carve out your spot. So I’ll give you an example, for our first book, it was time management. Massive niche, you got people like David Allen, Getting Things Done, Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog—you know, there’s a lot of books on that. And so we just carved out our niche, which was productivity and time management for entrepreneurs or for people who create their own schedule. So that’s a niche within a niche, and we—excuse me—we specifically targeted those people and that’s how we were able to carve out our niche inside there.
And then, if all else fails, there’s four main categories that always sell books. One is How to Make More Money. Two is How to Lose Weight or How to Get Fit. Three is How to Be More Productive. And then four is What to Do When You Just Got Dumped or How to Have Better Relationships. So those are kind of like the pillars of those books will always sell.
Zephan: So those are the biggies that you could always go back to if you’re really not sure but have some experience in that arena.
Chandler: Yeah, exactly.
Zephan: Cool deal, and so—I guess writing a book, you know, some people probably spill their guts. They might release stories and things that are fairly close and private to them. Have you ever worked with people where they might be sharing a crazy story that is hard to tell to the public and maybe this is the first time doing so?
Chandler: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And I think there’s a lot of fear and anxiety attached to that, and when people—just in general, even if they’re not sharing a personal story, in a way, sharing your work or sharing your book is personal. And a lot of people take it personally. And so there’s this big fear of “I’m gonna put this out and people are gonna hate it. They’re gonna slam me with bad reviews. They’re gonna make fun of me.” You know, all these fears that come out there. And the reality of that is that it’s just not the case.
I loved—we have weekly hangouts with our members, we were doing a hangout last night and one of the members, his name’s Mikow and he’s actually in, uh—he’s in New Zealand, and he was talking about his book and he was talking about how he put out to his network and people he knew about him writing a book and his deadline. And he just basically said “If I don’t finish it and put it out by this date, you can kick my you-know-what” and the cool thing is—and I promise this ties back to your question—is that when he put it out there, people started reaching out and he found an editor, he found like all these different things. People wanted to help him.
Because those fears that you’re facing when you’re about to finish and publish your book, everybody faces the same ones. But just by you doing it, people aren’t gonna judge you. They actually are jealous. Like, they see you and they’re like “That guy’s living my dream. He’s doing something I’ve always wanted to do which is write a book, so I’m gonna support him however I can.” Just in Mikow’s instance is, you know, they were like “Hey, I’ll edit your book for free.” “I’ll help”—and I bet you that person who reached out, they probably want to write a book but they’re too scare or they’re not doing it. So what you’ll find it those fears, everybody has them, and just by embracing that and stepping up to the plate and actually getting the courage to put it out there and let people know, a, that you’re doing it, and, b, that you’re gonna publish it, and actually publishing it—people will jump on board and they’ll be much more supportive than you ever imagined.
Zephan: Very cool. So how many book have you done since you started? I know your first one was with your brother, is that right?
Chandler: Yeah, so the first one was with my brother. And I’ve done four total.
Chandler: So, yeah, a lot. And we got one more in the pipe right now.
Zephan: Very cool. What sort of—can you share the topic for that one yet, or not yet?
Chandler: Yeah, yeah, sure. So this new book, it’s more of one that’s kind of close to my heart which is—it’s kind of along the theme of how to not suck at writing your first book. And it’s a book about how to write your first book for people who hate writing. So, whereas our book Book Launch give you the overview on how to do it, this is more into the—this is gonna be more writing focused, and it’s more for people like me when I started who hate writing and who are really bad at it. So kind of showing people like that that “Hey, this is possible and you can do it and here’s how.” So that’s what we’re diving into. I’m really excited about it.
Cause I want to help those type of people just like me. If you would have come on here and said “Hey, you can write a book,” I would have said “Nah, you’re stupid, I’m not gonna do that.”
Zephan: Man, I would’ve said no way, too. I was that guy in college. I hated papers, I hated writing. But I had stories. I always had stories to tell. One of the things, just you shared with you—so I quit my job and started a video production company. And about two years in, I had this big challenge of like “Is shooting my video my passion because I just love it or is shooting video my passion because I liked that I was really good at it and everybody saw that and what like ‘Hey, you’re so good at this!’”
And so I had this big question of “What really is my passion?” and I was talking to someone one day, and she stopped me and she was like “That was it” and I’m like “What?” You know, out of nowhere, she didn’t say what it was. I was like “That was what??” And she said “That’s your passion. Repeat what you just said.” And it’s storytelling. Video is just the best medium for me to communicate it because I’m really good at it, but I love storytelling. So that’s actually first why I decided to contact you and was like “Hey, I gotta know this guy” because I want to write a book.
So, for everybody listening, this is something that I am looking into both for myself and to share with everyone listening and watching in. because I think it’s a really cool thing to do.
Maybe could you just share with us a bit about how the process works? So like, day one, I get started with you and last day, three months later, my book is launched. Just maybe a few things in between of what I could expect when going through this type of a program?
Chandler: Cool, yeah, so it’s pretty interactive, pretty hands-on, so—you know, the program itself, we have like videos, tutorials, checklists, you know, you name it. And there’s a membership portal where you go at your own pace. But what I think is the most valuable part, and it’s the part that’s missing from a lot of online training programs out there, is the community. It’s a really, live community of people and we help pair people up with accountabilibuddies, that’s what we call them. It’s like accountability partners. And so those people—and we give you a doc, an actual like Google doc that you can use every week to set your goals for the week, and then you have a call with your accountabilibuddy every week. It’s like peer accountability. And then also for the higher level in the program, we have coaches and stuff like that, where you can get on the call with your coach every week.
So that helps hold people accountable, and that’s the real powerful part. Because you can come with your struggles, with your fears, with your screw-ups , with your successes—you know, everybody can come in there and post that and talk to your accountabilibuddy about that.
And then we have the weekly hangout. So every week we get on the hangout and I’m answering peoples questions and we’ll bring on students—like last night, we brought on Mikow and he was able to share his story and how he overcame his fears and how he was writing even when he was sick and when he was on a business trip, and like just how the community was able to pull him through that. And so we’re able to share cool stories like that, answer questions, but that’s kind of the format. We have an easy calendar. It’s set up where you can be successful by spending thirty minutes, an hour tops, a day. And then we can a calendar that’s like, takes you step by step through the process.
Zephan: Nice. And then do you kind of help out with—once I have this edited Word doc, what do I do from here, because obviously, I have to get it onto Amazon, I got to get book covers and stuff.
Chandler: Oh, yeah. It’s A to Z. it’s A to Z, how to write, market, and publish your book. So it’s kind of this step-by-step from idea to bestseller, and everything in-between that you need to do. And we try to kind of—there’s a ton of stuff you could do, but we say, “Hey, don’t listen to all this stuff. Just do this. These are you nuts and bolts.” Kind of your meat and potatoes of what you need to do, and we take people through that.
And then, also, we have like—especially for our higher level—our preferred outsourcer list. So, like, the people that we use to edit, to do our covers, all that. And that alone saves people a ton of money. Because you get vetted people that give good prices that do good work and stuff like that. So that just helps the process. When you’re having to do things on your own, it’s just one more thing, one more excuse, one more reason why you can’t get published. But we try to make that as easy as possible.
Zephan: So, basically, if you’re interested in writing a book, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing this, is that right?
Chandler: Absolutely. Maybe I’m biased, but I would say that.
Zephan: And so how can people, you know, get into—check out this program and learn a little bit more about what you do and maybe find your books?
Chandler: Yes, so I would sent them over to self-publishingschoo.com. There, you can find a little—you can get Book Launch for free, or you can check out some training videos, stuff like that. That’s the best place to start. That will give you kind of an overview. Our book, Book Launch, that kinda walks you through the process. So you can check out some of the training videos—free training videos—stuff like that. That’s a great place to start.
Zephan: Sounds good to me. Well I’ll definitely be heading over there as soon as we jump off this call to check that out. Defiantly, everybody listening in, we’ll be posting that link in the show notes for this. So if you’re over on our website at yearofpurpose.com, we’ll be sharing that with everybody so you can go check that out.
Chandler, it’s been awesome to talk to you. Thanks for taking some time out of your day. I’m sorry I missed you when we were back in Vegas last week, but hopefully I’ll run into you can some point in the future.
Chandler: Sounds great. Thanks, Zephan. Thanks for having me, man.
Zephan: Alright, see you soon.